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Old 11-19-2019, 11:39 AM   #1
wixthedog
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The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Hello all! Like you I have been fortunate enough to be able to have read through so many inspiring and informational build threads that I thought it only fair to finally jot some stuff down and update as things happen to my pickup.

She is a 1975 (titled as a 1976) Scottsdale RCLB that came from a one owner family Arizona. She has her share of bumps, bruises, and idiosyncrasies but shes a fine truck and a great pallet to spend some time on and enjoy.

I have always loved square bodies and after finally selling off a company I was running that was running me into the ground I needed something to allow me to relax when I have some downtime. Half the year I am home, the other half I spend working around the globe in oil and gas.

The day I got her. Checked the fluids and took off an hour and half home, not a hiccup to be had until I found out the fuel filler hose had a massive hole in it! Fortunately the guys at Outback Truck Parts in Houston had the quick hook up.






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Old 11-19-2019, 11:42 AM   #2
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

The second day of ownership the ol' girl got me out of a bind when my 3 year old batteries died in my 3 year old truck!

There goes $400 in beater money...


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Old 11-19-2019, 11:50 AM   #3
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Not long into out relationship I found a few brake issues.

1) when cold or wet the front brakes would lock up with the mere thought of touching the brake pedal
2) the dummy light came on after a couple weeks, signaling a loss of fluid somewhere
3) the LR wheel cylinder was leaking like a sieve!

I did my due diligence and tore down the brakes and found that the rubber and steel tube was likely original and the rears needed a lot of love. The locking up issue was collapsed brake hoses on the front.

A visit to the local NAPA and O'reilly and a quick swipe of the AMEX yielded most of what I needed. The fine folks at Outback Truck Parts got me going with a steel tube set that I desperately needed.

Not many pictures but I did replace the following:

All rubber and steel tube line
Both front calipers, pads, and hardware
Front combination valve (it was leaking upon inspection)
Rear drums (REALLY out of spec!)
Rear shoes, hardware, adjusters, and wheel cylinders
Both rear parking brake cables since they were seized open

After all that the truck stops on a dime and also stays put when I park, meaning I don't have to leave it in gear.




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Old 11-19-2019, 11:10 PM   #4
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Off to a good start! It's always cool to me to see a rig that the gen pop would pass right by, be snatched up by an enthusiast and start to get the attention that makes it a good driver. Thanks for bringing us in on it.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

So not long ago, while making my way home from the gym, the old girl decided to show me a new trick and play dead. While I was able to coast to a nice shady area to stop I was unsuccessful in making any roadside repairs.

(Lesson Learned: carry more tools than a pocket knife and a pistol)

I was only about 8 miles from the house so I called the local tow company to come fetch us.



Once getting home I found out that the ignition coil called it quits and I had no spark, the rest of the ignition system looked shabby at best and needed a refresh. A quick trip to NAPA and a smooth swipe of the old AMEX yielded new plugs, cap, rotor, wires, coil, module, and a new HEI harness for good measure since the one in it was horrid.

All fixed up she started up and runs like a champ. Good times were had by all, and I found out my insurance company pays for towing so win-win.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:45 PM   #6
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Glad you found the issue quick and got her back rolling again.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:58 AM   #7
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

So the ol' girl needed some attention in the stance department and this is phase 2 of the build plan so we needed parts. Most items came from eBay and then a few from Summit Racing as well. No swiping of the AMEX this time, all PayPal!

McGaughys 2" Lowering Springs: PN 33128
Western Chassis 2.5" Spindles: PN 13100 (Returned twice due to damage in shipping!)
McGaughys 2.5" Spindles: PN 33153
Rear Axle Flip Kit: PN Unknown eBay (WC is 2104)
McGaughys Front Shocks: PN 1350
McGaughys Rear Shocks: PN 1850
Wheel Vintiques 37 Series, 15x8, 4" BS: PN 37-580504
Wheel Vintiques 37 Series, 15x10, 5" BS: PN 37-500505
Wheel Vintiques Police Caps: PN 1000-C

Other odds and ends:
New lug nuts all the way around, nothing too good for the Beater
New bolt in chrome valve stems.

Good news is that the spindles came in a really nice looking box, very heavy duty, from Summit via eBay. Bad news is that within the box was a shoddy torn up box that held a damaged spindle. Not the end of the world and the process to rectify it has been started, no doubt Summit will take care of it.

Since I am still away at work for another 2-4 weeks I have to live vicariously through pictures just like you!





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Last edited by wixthedog; 12-06-2019 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Spindle PN Update
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Old 11-26-2019, 04:40 AM   #8
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Good news, Summit is shipping a new set of spindles. They have not said what to do with the old ones yet...
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:46 AM   #9
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

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Originally Posted by wixthedog View Post

Bad news is that within the box was a shoddy torn up box that held a damaged spindle. Not the end of the world and the process to rectify it has been started, no doubt Summit will take care of it.

It looks like Summit made it right. A lower long bed is always a great look. Nice truck and looking forward to more updates.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:55 PM   #10
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

You have a nice truck. If I was you I'd knock out the dents, fix the rust, work out the kinks and leave it at that. Chevy's will always run even when the others won't, lol. A pocket knife and a pistol. It's a good start.
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:15 AM   #11
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

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Originally Posted by NGN View Post
You have a nice truck. If I was you I'd knock out the dents, fix the rust, work out the kinks and leave it at that. Chevy's will always run even when the others won't, lol. A pocket knife and a pistol. It's a good start.
As usual, there are plans made that are often dictated by time and money! I mentioned above that I spend half of my year travelling abroad but the other half I spend chasing my three boys from baseball field to baseball field.

Once I knock out the suspension and get the stance a little more favorable I'll start on body repair and top coat. Been a while since I've painted so it'll be fun. I hate to tear it apart to the point that I can't drive it, I really enjoy that part.
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:13 AM   #12
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

So the second order of spindles came in from Summit and wouldn't you know it, one of them is damaged from poor packaging and shipping too!

Ugh.

These will be going back for good with the other pair and I just ordered some McGoughy's 33153 spindles from another source. Let's see how this plays out!
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:33 AM   #13
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Good news! The order from Switched Suspension came in and all is right in the world. Quality is miles ahead, packaging was superb, and the price was great.

Now, if I could just get home so I can install some of this stuff! And see the wife and kids....
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:46 PM   #14
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

I'm home! It was a whirlwind trip with delays and lack of sleep so I did not get much done today, but I did hang out with my wife and kids a bit so not all was wasted.

I carved out some time to get the tires mounted and balanced and boy am I excited!

Wheel Vintiques 37 Series, 15x8, 4" BS: PN 37-580504
Wheel Vintiques 37 Series, 15x10, 5" BS: PN 37-500505
Wheel Vintiques Police Caps: PN 1000-C

Cooper Cobra 245/60/15 (front)
Cooper Cobra 295/50/15 (rear)

Just seeing those fat rears makes me want to dig into the truck and get the work going! Unfortunately, errrr fortunately, I was conned into doing some welding work and that will take up all of my day tomorrow and likely some of the Friday too. Not what I want to be doing but you know how it is, and cash sure does talk.

Buckle up, things are about to start happening!
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:29 PM   #15
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Before any work was to begin I had to finish up the welding projects that I took on and then get organized. All the new parts take up space, all my welding junk takes up more, and the truck and incoming old parts take up even more! I am sure plenty of you can relate to space issues... I am fortunate, I have a 30x20 shop but its never big enough it seems and I can't wait to go bigger. Anywho....

I took the truck to an open parking lot to get some before pictures of the stance and overall look. Weather was nice and a massive cold front moved in today so timing was right.

I could not be bothered to get center or hub to fender measurements so ground to fender on level ground with a 1/4 tank of gas will have to do as a reference:

LF: 30.5"
RF: 31.0"
LR: 33.5"
RR: 33.5"

Got the ol' girl moved in the shop sideways, got her jacked up, and have been spraying PB Blaster on everything throughout the day.

Surgery starts tomorrow with the rear, then I'll tackle the front.
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Old 12-20-2019, 01:49 PM   #16
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Updates were promised and updates you shall receive! (even if they are not that impressive)

As expected the ol' girl has been fighting tooth and nail. It appears untouched in her 44 years so I knew this was coming. Torches, big hammers, air hammers, and presses are all employed to make the immovable move again.

I found that several leaf springs are cracked in half in the center but fortunately these happen to be leafs that are being removed anyway. A cleaning and critical inspection of the leafs that are staying revealed they are good to go, sans bushings. If you have never replaced leaf spring bushings you are missing out! There really is no easy way. My go-to method is to drill out the old rubber bushing until you can drift out the center bushing. I then insert a hacksaw blade and make two cuts into the old outer bushing so it can drift out a little easier. Then I clean the prep the ID of the leaf spring, add a little grease, and then press in the new bushing. I have an actual press but I found a large hammer makes quick work of it as long as you prepped correctly and have a solid work bench.

New 3/8x16x2" allen head cap screws were used to bolt the leaf spring packs back together.

I'll continue on and replace all 6 leaf spring bushings and then do reassembly between Christmas and family stuff.
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Old 12-23-2019, 09:05 PM   #17
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Finally had the afternoon to get stuff done and wouldn't you know it, another snag!

I got everything lined up once, and realized I installed one of the lead springs backwards. Not sure how I did that since the axle on the passenger side was about 6" back from center but it was an easy fix, albeit a frustrating one.

Everything back together and happy, rear wheels bolted on, and the axle sits straight on frame. I can only think that the leafs are in poor shape since I did fine some cracked ones so now I am on the hunt for some replacements.

Until then I'll let it sit on frame and tackle the front.

No pictures, far too frustrated!
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Old 12-29-2019, 02:02 PM   #18
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Good new! It took longer than I had hoped with the holidays, a couple odd welding projects, and of course the truck fighting back but this phase is done. Well, about as done as it ever is.

I found some local leaf springs, a 5 pack, from a Suburban pretty close by on Christmas Eve so I snatched those up and it fixed the problem I had with the rear. I suspected there was an issue when I found the cracked leafs but you never know until its too late and the work is done usually. My experience level in removing and replacing leaf spring bushings has gone up exponentially...

I had two frustrations with the McGaughys drop spindles, the 3 threaded holes for the rotor backing plates were too short for OEM bolts so I had to clean up the threads and then cut down some bolts to 1/2" rather than 3/4". Not a big deal and easy enough. One spindle had the nut threads cut on the top edge where the step was made for the washer so starting it was a real PITA. Overall design and quality was much better than Western Chassis so it was all acceptable. This combination of wheel/spindle/spring allowed plenty of room and no trimming was needed on the LCA.

The flip kit instructions recommended using the forward most hole when mounting the axle so that the driveline would not self clearance into the transmission but that was not correct for my application. I switched it to the rear hole, moving the axle more forward, and everything was peachy.

It's the first dropped truck I have ever owned so driving is a bit different than my typical 4x4's - I've already scraped pavement a few times! It looks cool and I am pretty happy, I may end up putting the factory front springs back in to raise the front a little bit to help with driveability.

So what's next? I'm going to enjoy driving it for a bit and then I'll dig into the next thing on the long list.
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Old 12-29-2019, 11:13 PM   #19
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Looks awesome!!!
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Old 12-30-2019, 03:48 AM   #20
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

That’s so rad! What a huge improvement with the wheels, tires and drop.

I love the roof lights on the cab. Cool truck!!
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:28 PM   #21
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Thanks guys! At first I was not a fan of the cab lights but they have grown on me. I need to remove and weld in a panel for the leaky sun roof but I think I'll keep the lights.

I keep scraping around town so I am pretty sure I will end up putting the OEM springs back in and see how it looks. If its too high I'll order some 1" drop springs and try that combination. Too busy driving and enjoying it to slow down so it will take a bit to get back to that.
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:47 PM   #22
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

I really stoked to see where this headed. Cool truck.
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:40 AM   #23
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Looking good! What's your fender measurements now?

Rick
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:32 PM   #24
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

Looks good.

I have some 1" drop springs that are brand new. They didn't work out for me....lmk...

T,
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:04 PM   #25
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Re: The 1976 Beater Build - by Wixthedog

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Looking good! What's your fender measurements now?

Rick
Thanks!
24" front and 26" rear. I am starting to live with the dropped truck life. I've always had stock or lifted 4x4's so there is a learning curve for sure. You really have to watch the road!

Quote:
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Looks good.

I have some 1" drop springs that are brand new. They didn't work out for me....lmk...

T,
I'll reach out to you. I'll actually be passing though your way next Wednesday...
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