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Old 09-25-2018, 03:23 PM   #1
skyphix
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Introduction and Short Story

Hey all,
I've been lurking here for a long time but figured it was time to sign up.

I had to sell my old cars about 10 years ago and have missed them ever since - finally have the means to pick something up and make it my own. I went truck this time - mostly because I need a bed, but also because I've never owned a classic truck.

I picked up this 1980 SWB.



Originally a 250 i6 truck, its got a basically stock 1979 350 with a mild build TH350 behind it. Sitting on an unknown flip kit and 2" drop spindles in the front. I have 2" belltec drop springs to swap in, but here's where the story is...



I live in Maine. Sort of toward the middle of the state. The truck is located in western South Carolina. I've yet to see it in person (though I have a good friend in the area that picked the truck up for me and has been going through it.) I'm flying down on Thursday, we're thrashing on it (just tune up stuff) on Friday, and I leave Saturday morning for the 1300 mile/21 hour drive home. I've shipped a bunch of tools and the normal spare parts down to SC already (fuel pump, coil, etc.) and will be doing the usual tune up stuff before I leave. I'm doing the trip itself solo - and hopefully, in less than 24h. No radio, no AC... just me, my truck, windows down, and a lot of road time.

This is going to become my running/driving project (I already have an overlanding 4runner and a 1972 Honda motorcycle for non-driving projects right now!) and will get a 5.3 (L59) swapped in next spring/summer (I have a complete 2006 Yukon that is being used as a winter vehicle but is completely rusted out... truck has 300,000 miles but the engine only has 45,000.) Basically, burnouts, some 1/8 mile dragstrip time, daily driver, dump run truck is the goal here.

Wish me luck!
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:27 PM   #2
Mike W.
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Welcome and good luck with your journey. Sounds like an adventure.
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:42 PM   #3
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

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Old 09-25-2018, 08:04 PM   #4
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Welcome and Good luck.
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Old 09-26-2018, 10:07 AM   #5
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Welcome and best of luck on your ride home....
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Old 09-26-2018, 12:22 PM   #6
Wgesnerjr
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

post photos of your trip. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:03 PM   #7
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgesnerjr View Post
post photos of your trip. Let us know how it goes.
What he said!

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Old 09-26-2018, 04:54 PM   #8
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Bring credit cards..Good luck. Cool project and journey.
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Old 09-26-2018, 05:37 PM   #9
skyphix
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Thanks everyone! I fly out tomorrow night after spending the day at a conference in Boston. I'll post photos as soon as I get back! And maybe an SOS post if I get myself into a bind. Hah!

My biggest concern is overheating. I've set my route to go around all the major east coast cities I'll pass (DC, Philly, NYC, Boston) so hopefully I wont have to sit in traffic for too long. It did NOT overheat on the 60ish mile trip from the sellers house to my buddies house in 90+ degree temps so I am fairly confident but you never know.

Last time I did a long trip in a classic car (upstate NY to NJ and back) I learned that the "rebuilt Buick 350" was in fact rebuilt, but the ORIGINAL mechanical fuel pump was reused. $15 part got me towed off the highway, stuck in a bullet-hole-in-the-door shady motel in Newburgh NY and a long flat bed tow home to find I could have swapped it on the side of the highway in 10 minutes and been back on the road. This time, I am bringing spare parts. My plan is to get the water gauge installed and let the truck idle in the SC mid day heat for a while - if it stays cool, I'm good. If not, its scrambling to find a nice 4 core to throw in and maybe junkyard search for a shroud since I found out too late that it didnt have one at all.

Here goes nothing! I'll just update this thread with photos along the way if I stop long enough or as soon as I get home.
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:03 AM   #10
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Make sure you change oil and filter and grab a few extra quarts and check Everytime you stop,just from past experience driving a weapon of a truck from S.C to Ontario
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:29 AM   #11
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

That sounds cool! Thanks for checking in here and getting us on board. I look forward to the updates. If you want to swing by Seattle on your way I could get you fixed up with a fan shroud ;)
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:23 AM   #12
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Nice looking truck. Good luck on the trip.

Be sure to check the suction line(s) from the gas tank(s) to the frame pickup. If original, they are end of life by now. They are out of sight and often forgotten about. Stuck by side of road failure.

Check the fill inlet to gas tank hoses. They are near or at EOL as well if original. Not a stuck on the side of the road issue but can result in a bunch of gas sloshing out.

If the heater core is original, be prepared to bypass. It is a PITA to replace but bypassing is simple.

Some provision for a spare tire if a PO lost the original.
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Old 09-27-2018, 02:29 PM   #13
skyphix
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Thanks guys! Oil is getting replaced with a high zinc oil from Lucas oil, filter as well obviously.


Happy to be here to share this adventure! And thanks for the offer on the shroud - if Seattle wouldnít add a week to my trip Iíd love to stop by! Havenít been to the pnw yet.


And awesome advice on stuff to check and replace or be prepared to replace with the fuel tank and heater core. Iíll make sure I get under and check all the fuel lines - luckily a lot of work was done not too long ago on the truck but Iíll be checking and replacing if they need it.

Iíve always just looped Heater core lines back to bypass it - Iíll bring a length of heater core sized hose. Great idea. I have belts and radiator hoses, but hadnít thought of that one.
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:40 AM   #14
skyphix
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Re: Introduction and Short Story



Here we go! Buddy did basically everything except install gauges and check the fuel lines. We're doing that today and then running some errands! I can't believe how little rust there is on it, but I am used to northeast cars. There are dents and dings, but I love that. I'm going to lay down a cheap single stage urethane this fall just to keep rust from forming and I'll do the body work... maybe... once the performance is where I want it to be. That may be never, and it might just stay single stage Urethane with dents because thats more my style anyway.

Its originally a red truck, and I am debating whether I spray it wimbledon white or a red close-ish to the factory red as the temporary paint. Any opinions?

I'll keep this thread updated with pics as the trip goes on!
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:31 PM   #15
skyphix
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Well, I made it, but the truck is DEFINITELY worse for wear. NJ has some of the worst interstate I've been on - definitely should have stayed west and gone via Scranton but it was midnight and everything was going so well I figured it'd be OK.

Lost the brand new power steering pump somewhere in Connecticut - should have removed the belt but didn't so it really chewed itself up, ended up having to find new tires at the last second because the ones on it, while only a year and a half old, had weather checked between the treads.

I either need to raise the back a bit or C notch it. Axle to frame a dozen or more times, and hard... With only about 75lbs in the bed, up against the cab. NJ has bad roads. Now the rear diff leaks pretty badly - hoping it's not cracked anywhere.

Trans started leaking in Maine - luckily didn't get low enough to smoke the Trans, but it's another thing I have to deal with. I'm pretty sure it's just the crappy dip stick tube so I'll be switching to the top hat style and not getting another chrome one. Never had anything but issues with that one.


Truck is also running pretty rough - I suspect it's ignition related. Its getting an LS swap so I am not all that worried about it. Same with the starter - it has a new positive battery cable and hard starts when it's hot. I might get a rebuild kit for it and rebuild it mostly because I've never done it before and it'd be a fun winter exercise, but I'll do that after I pull the motor. I got 14mpg steady the whole trip, which is better than I expected with some of the traffic speeds I had to keep up with.


Overall, pretty epic trip. I've got my work cut out for me. I'm a little disheartened, but nothing a good night sleep won't fix. I was on the fence about trying one of those bolt on 4 link setups (and then have a better welder than I am seam weld it) so that might get pushed to the top of the list after the repairs and LS swap. Hoping to get the leaks addressed this week but unfortunately it doesn't look like I'll make it to the drag strip this year to do a pre-swap 1/8 mile run.

I'll post some photos either later tonight or tomorrow. I've slept about 45 minutes since 6am Saturday morning. I'll be hitting up Napa tomorrow for the diff cover gasket and some 80w90.


Thanks everyone for following along - photos soon.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:11 PM   #16
skyphix
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Photos!

First gas stop about 15 miles from my buddies house. $18 tote from Walmart and some gorilla tape to keep my spare parts and tools.



Cheap seat cover and center console - both life savers! Seat cover has pockets and center console has cup holders and an arm rest - both important for 1300 miles.


Little gas stop glamor shot



Big Roadkill and Pisgah beer fan. Was just doing a oil and trans level check at this point.



Dinner glamour shot in Virginia - I really was not happy with my tire size choices but I took what I could get. I'll be picking up an inexpensive pair of 31x10.5's (265/75/15's) for the back to replace the 235/75/15's back there now. I'm going to do a far different wheel/tire setup ultimately but the mechanical stuff is all getting a lot more attention right now, so $200 for rear tires will make me a lot happier for the time being.


Still from some in cab video



Beautiful day for a drive


Stayed between 190 and 210 the entire drive. It has a fan shroud (was off in the photo I received of the engine bay) but it also has a crappy flex fan. Temps were creeping up in mid 70 degree sun but dropped immediately when I started moving. Thinking a better fixed-fin fan will address that but with the LS Swap impending I'm looking at picking up a big block radiator anyway (LS Swap radiators are stupid money, bigger big block radiators with the stock water ports, 2006 Yukon/Tahoe/Sierra/Silverado hoses, and a part from a VW solve the swap for a LOT less money) and probably wont bother with a different fan for the fall before I yank the motor this winter



Just another cool photo from the VA/WVA mountains.

Last edited by skyphix; 10-01-2018 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 04:46 PM   #17
Wgesnerjr
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

Glad the trip turned out good. A good road trip is not without it's small pitfalls and is a memorable experience you will not ever forget.

1993, I drove my 1980 Formula Firebird from NJ to AL and back on a cheap vacation for a college kid. No A/C, music blasting, highway gears made the run very well. One small oil fire in in NC but put it out with a Mountain Dew. Some Gunk engine cleaner and a quarter car wash later, i was back on the road soaking up the miles. I would NEVER do that now, but back then; i was invincible!

Just put the same seat cover in my truck and LOVE the pockets in the front. Great place for the Cell Phone!

What kind of console is that? Did you get it a walmart too?
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Old 10-01-2018, 09:44 PM   #18
skyphix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgesnerjr View Post
Glad the trip turned out good. A good road trip is not without it's small pitfalls and is a memorable experience you will not ever forget.

1993, I drove my 1980 Formula Firebird from NJ to AL and back on a cheap vacation for a college kid. No A/C, music blasting, highway gears made the run very well. One small oil fire in in NC but put it out with a Mountain Dew. Some Gunk engine cleaner and a quarter car wash later, i was back on the road soaking up the miles. I would NEVER do that now, but back then; i was invincible!

Just put the same seat cover in my truck and LOVE the pockets in the front. Great place for the Cell Phone!

What kind of console is that? Did you get it a walmart too?

Those pockets were critical! Change, phone, phone I used as a speedometer for part of the ride, wallet, even a good water bottle holder.

The console and the cover I got from Amazon and had shipped to my buddies house. I had a bunch of stuff delivered to him in advance including a toolset since I was flying down.

I'd absolutely do this again. This is my first LS swap and if it goes well I'll probably sell my other daily drivers and maybe even my motorcycle and pick up an early 80s B or G body to do a stock 4.8 swap in for a daily driver. I drive all over the state for a living so might as well make it more awesome than my current Honda and Toyota (I'd keep the Toyota - it's my off road camper)

I was incredibly impressed with 14mpg and handling most everything I threw at the truck - I come from a Ford family and still love them but dang if this isn't going to be awesome to build. The 350 that's in it is in amazing shape so I'm not sure what I'll do with that when it's out. It's got smog heads so at the very least I'd be looking at some upgraded heads. It's an obsession now.
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Old 10-02-2018, 10:07 AM   #19
LT7A
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Re: Introduction and Short Story

The bug has bitten. Welcome to the square side. Keep us up to date. This is a cool project.
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