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Old 04-25-2017, 12:25 AM   #1
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1977 Chevy Silverado half ton Suburban help!

Hey everyone! I'm new here. Live in good ol' Idaho. Aquired this beast a little over a week ago. Traded my 99 Grand Prix GT plus $250 for it. I've been stranded in it 3 times so far including once the first night I had it. Two times were battery, the first time was the accelerator cable coming off the gas pedal and being stretched out. Anyways, it has an exahust leak of which me and my cousin who is a mechanic are trying to tackle. We got the exhaust manifold off but two of the bolts are rusted in there and will not come out no matter what so we are going to replace that exhaust manifold. Anyways, besides the exhaust leak, the suburban itself runs and sounds like ****. Someone who owned it before me thought it'd be a good idea to install dual glasspacks on it. It has the 350 small block engine in it and normally those have quite a bit more power than this one does. We added some oil to it the other day because there was hardly any in it. Seemed to run a little better but had kind of a knock. I'm thinking it was low on oil for a bit after I got it and thats part of why it sounded bad and was running rough. It didnt seem to have a knock before I got stranded and it was running decently. As for the exhaust leak, I'm thinking because of the extent of it, that is the cause for the lack of power but I'm also thinking the engine itself being low on oil is another reason for lack of power. Transmission shifts fine. The vehicle itself is really fun to drive and I got alot of complements on it when I would drive it. The front and rear main seals are also bad, and transmission leaks from the transmission vent hose, the battery is 7 years old, the previous owner changed the spark plugs and wires and did a ****ty job of it and put some of the wires on backwards of which me and my cousin had to fix, and the previous owner also ducktaped two of the wires, the battery is 7 years old, the carburetor needs rebuilt, the accelerator cable is currently rednecked thanks to me so the vehicle can at least be driven, and the glass in the tailgate doesn't roll down more than an inch. So my question is, is this thing worth fixing at least to the point where I can drive it? Did I really get myself into a money pit? If I fix it and do the work myself or have other people help me, would it be worth it? Would it be pretty reliable if I fix it? Are these engines pretty easy to work on? Any info would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:57 PM   #2
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Re: 1977 Chevy Silverado half ton Suburban help!

My only concern would the integrity of the engine. The other stuff sounds like lack of maintenance. Even with the engine possibly going south, it would depend on your checkbook, commitment to a project and if it is worth it to you.

On another note, I just had a customer tow in his 84 K10 with a 6.2 turbo diesel that I think blew the engine oil cooler that is inside of the radiator and in doing so blew out the heater core. There is engine oil dripping out of the heater box. I've been working on this truck for the past 15 years. This may be the breaker for him, he gave me a 1000.00 dollar budget to fix it. Could be a head gasket, who knows yet.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:21 AM   #3
Keith Seymore
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Re: 1977 Chevy Silverado half ton Suburban help!


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Old 04-27-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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Re: 1977 Chevy Silverado half ton Suburban help!

Thanks Keith for a new website! Wasn't aware of that one.

To OP, I think you have a lot of deferred maintenance that needs to be done.
Change Oils (engine, axles, tranny), do a tune up, clean up any obvious wiring issues (bad splices), check and service brakes. With axle fluid change, replace rear seals too at same time. Front is a little more involved.....

You need a good base to get an idea how the truck will perform.

Exhaust leaks, can contribute to power loss a bit, but not huge (relatively speaking).
Low oil isn't going to contribute to power loss either. Just maintenance.

These are not power demons compared to today's modern vehicles but they are still a lot of fun! I have 360k on my 89' and it is very reliable. I drive it almost every day and 2 of my 3 girls have learned to drive on it.

If it's lacking rust, you have a very decent rig!
- Jeff

89' K5 Blazer, 2.5" lift, 35" tires
04' GMC Yukon XL, 3/4 ton, 8.1L

Last edited by Ski-me; 04-27-2017 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:26 AM   #5
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Re: 1977 Chevy Silverado half ton Suburban help!

I don't know if the OP has been back to see the responses. But just in case:

Idaho, that is a cool looking rig. Most, if not all of us would be glad to have one like it. The things you've listed are not a huge deal to fix. But if I understand correctly, you drove your recently acquired vehicle for awhile without having checked (or changed) the oil. That suggests that you may want to drive something newer that requires less attention. If you have decided to put some time and effort into upgrades and maintenance, then you may have just learned a valuable lesson and if that's the case, then have at it!

Just to be fair, I drove a truck I had just bought home 175 miles on old oil and low oil pressure although I did top it up. I had bought it for parts and it had a 305 I didn't need and thought I didn't want. That changed on the way home since it ran great and I decided I needed to keep it rather than pulling it apart. Now I wish I had taken better care of the little motor on the way home.
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