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Old 07-12-2017, 10:28 AM   #1
Farm Shop
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1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

*This is a new thread after my first build thread got decimated by Photobucket links being killed*

After years and years of wanting one, I finally picked up a 67-72 2wd SWB C10. On valenties day a 2015 my wife (who was 9 months pregnant with our first child at the time) gave the the ok to drive 5.5 hours one way to Kentucy and pick up a 1970 C10 I found on CL. It was rough around the edges, but the price was right and I loved the patina'd original paint look.

The truck is a VERY base level C10 with the 250 I6, manual drum brakes, manual steering, and no corner lights. I believe the only options it has are the powerglide automatic, and the AM radio. The truck has a lot of rust, but its different from what we see here in the salt belt, and it is solid in all the right places.

The approach to the build is pretty straight forward with some very simple requirements:
- Do everything with a budget in mind, but not sacrificing quality or execution.
- It needs to be completed in a way so that I want to drive it. No heavy fuel smell, weird driving characteristics, AC is a must, etc.
- Keep the worn patina look, while having a fresh/clean engine bay and interior
- This is a muscle truck that is going to be driven a lot... not an original resto, not a pro-touring build, and not a bagged show queen.

Some key details on the build:
- Original 1970 C10 short bed 2wd Arkansas truck and natural patina on mostly original med olive green paint
- 1999 Vortec 454 L29 and 4L80e running a modded stock harness, 0411 ECM swap, Merc Racing 454 Mag cam, and Hooker A-body long tube headers
- Chassis was blasted and epoxy painted, 80's front suspension with 6 lug conversion disc brakes, sway bars, CPP 3/5 lowering springs/shocks, 90's silverado brake booster/MC, several DIY suspension mods
- 15x8 aluminum slots with 275/60r15 radials
- 1999-2002 Camaro EFI fuel tank
- DIY power windows/locks/seat, keyless entry, cruise control, electronic speedometer, and compass rear view mirror all salvaged from the donor 1999 suburban.
- Air conditioning
- Updated exterior lighting, including 2015 Jeep Wrangler OE headlights


Couple pics from the ad:











The old farm truck Dmax pulled it back just fine.



Unloaded, sitting in my yard.



I bought the truck knowing that the I6 did run and had new plugs, cap, points, condensor, and rebuilt carb, but they were too lazy to clean or replace the crusty fuel tank. The seller and I ended up using a 5 gal gas can under the hood to pull fuel from long enough to drive the truck onto the trailer.

Now that it was home, I wanted to get it running correctly. I bought a replacement gas tank, but first tried to get it running as-is as a sanity check. Turns out, I think the engine is junk. The oil was good when I bought the truck, but after a few min of cranking, it looks like chocolate milk and was high on the dipstick.

I was hoping to address the suspension issues (lowered on heated stock springs), wheels/tires, bring the interior back to life, and drive it with the I6 for a while, but it looked like an engine swap was going to happen sooner than planned. I had planned to use a 4.8/60e combo I had sitting around, but stumbled across a deal I couldn't pass up...

1999 running/driving C2500 Suburban with the Vortec 454/4L80e for CHEAP. Who doesn't like an EFI big block??







I also bought a set of 15x7 15x8 slotted mags to help with the look. I ended up buying another set of 4 15x8's and have new 275/60's ready to go on.



Fast forward to Feb 2016 (having a newborn messed with the timeline a little lol) when I finally got the C10 into the shop.









The truck came apart very easily. This truck is definitely rusty, but not in the way I'm used to with midwestern salty roads. Once the 250/powerglide were out and sold, it was time to move on to rust repair.

I started in on the passenger side. Dust, mud, leaves, mice, etc settled in every location possible and rotted out a lot of low areas of the truck. Rockers are the only exterior panel I plan to replace, and they'll be paint matched as well as possible to match the patina.




Fitting the new panels


Getting better.


The Lincoln welder was singin'!


Other than grinding a few more welds, the passenger side is good and solid



Moving on to the driver side







The cab supports didn't warrant replacements, but I did clean up the bottom of one and reinforce it




Floor and inner rocker getting welded up


Fitting the outer rocker with the door in place.




It turned out pretty nicely
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1970 SWB 2wd C10, Vortec 454/80e, CPP 3/5, slotted mags, patina
1972 K20 Super Cheyenne, Short bed, EFI 396, NV4500, NP208
1970 GTO Judge, heads/cam LS1 & stalled 4L60e

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Old 07-12-2017, 11:20 AM   #2
bodydropped68
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Looking good love the big block
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:35 AM   #3
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Are you installing the engine/into the stock '70 frame???

You are doing it the way I would. I see folks spend loads of $$$ on these pickups, I don't have it to spend. I look for ways to make something work without a lot of $$$ leaving my pocket. It's still a free country.

I don't care for the manufactured patina look, but appreciate a vehicle that looks bone stock, and isn't.
I have a 67 that will start out that way. It had some good panels on it when I bought it. I have collected a bunch of fenders, doors, and a hood. Some are in good condition and some are terrible. My plan is to install all the worst looking panels first, to drive it, while body working the good panels into smooth and straight pieces. It will be a real "hillbilly" look'n pickup to start with. Almost every panel is a different color, LOL
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:43 PM   #4
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

The firewall near the heater box needed a lot of help





Next I dug out all the old seam sealer on the cab, wire brushed it, and applied POR-15 rust encapsulator. I'll come back and touch this up with olive paint later.






Once the POR-15 was cured, time for new seam sealer



I got VERY good results pushing out the dents in the passenger side of the bed. Its by no means perfect, but definitely better and less noticeable now. I'll be installing lower belt trim, which will hide even more of the waviness.



Once the body was all solid, it was time to pull it off the chassis.



The cab needed a counterbalance weight...
[




With the cab off the chassis, welding up the floor patches was 10000x easier. I overlapped most of the floor panels, so this way I was able to fully weld the perimeter of the patch panels. Integrity of these repairs will NEVER be an issue.





I made a huge mess with the wire wheel on the grinder removing all the old undercoating and dirt/mud, and then primed and undercoated the entire cab.


_________________________________
Unfortunately, this is where my project stalled for about a year, up until this spring when I got motivation and decided I want to drive it this year.


Finished cleaning up the firewall, primed, and painted a custom mixed "medium olive green".





With the cab at a good stopping point, I turned to the chassis. First up was swapping on all the necessary 1980's front end parts



Then it was on to sandblasting. I confirmed what I already knew: paying someone else to do the blasting is money well spent... which I'll remember for next time.




Getting all angles



Sitting in the shop ready for "chassis black" epoxy





MUCH better, and new parts ready to go on



In an effort to get the most bang for the buck, I flipped the stock front truck arm mounts in an effort to keep rear suspension geometry in check after lowering it 5 inches.


Welded in place... these aren't going anywhere!


Mounts flipped, painted, and the truck arms sliding into place with their new Energy Suspension poly bushings



Another cheap suspension mod was to build new upper mounts for the rear shocks. The OE mounts are fine for stock height, but when lowered, the shocks lay over so far that the damping effect is significantly reduced. These mounts move the top of the shock up and back, standing the shocks up again. These were also welded in place.









The front end got new 6 lug conversion rotors, brake pads/calipers, springs and shocks.








With the chassis all sorted out, its time to start putting stuff together again!






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1970 SWB 2wd C10, Vortec 454/80e, CPP 3/5, slotted mags, patina
1972 K20 Super Cheyenne, Short bed, EFI 396, NV4500, NP208
1970 GTO Judge, heads/cam LS1 & stalled 4L60e

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Old 07-12-2017, 01:04 PM   #5
BossHogg69
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Nice build & workmanship - very cool that you're going with a late model EFI big block - it's refreshing to see a swap that doesn't involve an LS engine!
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

This truck needs to drive and handle good enough for modern day highway speeds without feeling like I'm living on the edge every time I hit an on-ramp. The front is getting a 1-1/4" sway bar off an 80's 1 ton, and the rear is getting the bar off a '99 Z28 I have. First up was to blast/prime/paint the bars. I went with a metallic gray to give the chassis some contrast.



Front bar mounted with new Energy Suspension grease-able poly mounts. I'll figure out the rear bar mounting later.





I went back and forth on fuel tank options a lot. I landed on using the stock tank out of a '99 Z28 parts car I had sitting around, for several reasons:
- OE quality/function
- EFI ready
- Nice profile to fit behind the axle, but not look like a loaded diaper hanging down under the bed
- I had it, and it was free!



The Z28 uses a fuel pressure regulator in the tank with a full feed/return system. However, since I will be using the rail-mounted FPR on the 454, I had to gut the one in the Camaro tank. I also upgraded the pump to a Walbro 255 which should be plenty for any future power improvements.



The frame rails needed to be trimmed for the width of the tank. Nothing behind the spring perches is structural on a truck arm suspension, so I wasn't worried about this at all. I definitely wouldn't do it on a leaf spring truck, though.



I had my project supervisor keeping me in line that day



I moved the rear x-member back about 2 inches, and added some top braces for the tank to secure against.



Custom tank meant custom tank straps that follow the OE retention design.





I love the profile of this tank





Once it was all painted up and hung in place for the last time, I started on the fuel lines. I'm using 3/8" nylon feed and return. This material is about 1/2 the cost per foot of braided line, the fittings are 1/3 the price, and it all ends up being OE fit and finish. Plus, if I decide to need e85 in the future, the fuel system can handle it.





Mocking up the frame rail mounting. I'm using existing holes in the frame from the tail light harness clips. I still need to mount the filter, run the feed line, and secure the harness.





This was a small win, but a win none the less... I found the retaining brackets for the heater core in a 2yr old pile of parts! lol. So I took the opportunity to clean up the heater box and get the new Spectra heater core installed. I'll install the box once the engine is in place.



This is one of those things that doesn't add any HP or get the truck running any sooner, but my new steering wheel showed up, and I'm pretty stoked about it. Polished spokes with walnut half wrap and brass rivets.
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1970 SWB 2wd C10, Vortec 454/80e, CPP 3/5, slotted mags, patina
1972 K20 Super Cheyenne, Short bed, EFI 396, NV4500, NP208
1970 GTO Judge, heads/cam LS1 & stalled 4L60e

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Old 07-12-2017, 01:32 PM   #7
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

At this point I was happy with the status of the rolling chassis, and moved on to harvesting its new power plant from the suburban. The 96-00 Vortec 454's are great engines, but suffer from early MPFI ECM shortcomings. I decided to swap out the stock "black box" ecm with a much more capable 0411 which is used on most '99+ DBC GM vehicles. However, with all the variables already associated with this project (modding the stock harness to fit the C10, pieced together fuel system, cam swap, modded tune, etc), I decided to complete and iron out the 0411 swap in the currently running/driving suburban to rule it out as a reason the C10 might not (who am I kidding... when) start the first time.

Here's the 454 ready to be plucked and provide some new motorvation for my C10.



Lextech provided the fantastic pin-out document that made this intimidate project very straight forward.



I loaded a tune from another member on the OBS forum that I had tweaked to my liking, and it fired right up! So obviously I had to go verify the performance.



Once I was confident with the ECM swap, it was time to get the 454 out of the burb.



I promise, there's a 454 under there somewhere



I'll mod the stock harness to work for my project. The current plan is to tuck everything and locate the ECM and fuses/relays in the cab of the truck... we'll see if that's doable.



THERE's the 454! It ran and drove like it should, but definitely needs a lot of attention before going to its new home.



The goal is to have a ratty looking old truck outside, but open the hood to a crispy clean fresh engine bay. First step: remove all the emissions junk. The original plan was to just use blockoff plates, but after looking at the intake, I decided to shave all that junk off permanently.



Getting tiggy with it, welding up a couple small holes.



MUCH better. Some of the chunks I cut off are sitting on the valve cover.



And this brings us up to the current status of the project. I've got the 454 town down as far as I need to and the new cam is in place. I settled on a used take-out from a Mercury Racing 454 Mag, and the corresponding dual valve springs and hardware.




Seeing things finally coming together has me pretty amped up about getting this thing making some noise and on the road. Hopefully I'll continue to make fairly quick progress.
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1970 SWB 2wd C10, Vortec 454/80e, CPP 3/5, slotted mags, patina
1972 K20 Super Cheyenne, Short bed, EFI 396, NV4500, NP208
1970 GTO Judge, heads/cam LS1 & stalled 4L60e

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Old 07-12-2017, 01:52 PM   #8
Mr Chevorlet
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Very nice build you have going on there!
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:26 PM   #9
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Hope pics stay here....lol. Looking really nice!
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:45 PM   #10
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Quote:
Originally Posted by bodydropped68 View Post
Looking good love the big block
Quote:
Originally Posted by BossHogg69 View Post
Nice build & workmanship - very cool that you're going with a late model EFI big block - it's refreshing to see a swap that doesn't involve an LS engine!
Thanks guys! An LS was the original plan, but after thinking it over I just couldn't get excited about another LS'd C10. Don't get me wrong, I love a clean LS swap, and LS performance/$ is hard to beat, but it didn't match my goals for the truck.




Quote:
Originally Posted by 68Gold/white View Post
Are you installing the engine/into the stock '70 frame???

You are doing it the way I would. I see folks spend loads of $$$ on these pickups, I don't have it to spend. I look for ways to make something work without a lot of $$$ leaving my pocket. It's still a free country.

I don't care for the manufactured patina look, but appreciate a vehicle that looks bone stock, and isn't.
I have a 67 that will start out that way. It had some good panels on it when I bought it. I have collected a bunch of fenders, doors, and a hood. Some are in good condition and some are terrible. My plan is to install all the worst looking panels first, to drive it, while body working the good panels into smooth and straight pieces. It will be a real "hillbilly" look'n pickup to start with. Almost every panel is a different color, LOL
Yep, 454 into the original C10 chassis using 1972 OE BBC mounts. I love watching the big $$$ builds, but I can't keep up with the Jones's. I'm going to make the most out of this truck that I can, on the realistic budget I have to work with. Sounds like you have a cool project as well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Chevorlet View Post
Very nice build you have going on there!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustmaker65 View Post
Hope pics stay here....lol. Looking really nice!
Thanks guys!
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1970 SWB 2wd C10, Vortec 454/80e, CPP 3/5, slotted mags, patina
1972 K20 Super Cheyenne, Short bed, EFI 396, NV4500, NP208
1970 GTO Judge, heads/cam LS1 & stalled 4L60e
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:51 PM   #11
bowtieguy79
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Congrats on take two thread! you are getting close now.. Keep it up
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Old 07-12-2017, 04:38 PM   #12
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

I'm in to watch this one.
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Old 07-12-2017, 04:43 PM   #13
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

You may not need drop spindles with that particular engine. It's pretty heavy, The old stock springs might work, if it doesn't bottom out on the snubbers...
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:33 PM   #14
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

I'm watching this one.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:23 AM   #15
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Great start 'ya got there...this should be a fun ride!
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:17 AM   #16
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

Subbing in on this one. I like the drivetrain choice. Different & updated @ the same time.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:41 AM   #17
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

I'm in on this one too. I've settled on the fact that I want big block power and aod in Walt, so it's good to watch someone else do the same.
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Old Today, 09:50 AM   #18
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Re: 1970 C10 "RATTY" - EFI 454/4L80e, patina, SWB 2wd

The last few weeks haven't been overly exciting on updates... mainly just a LOT of degreasing, cleaning, priming, painting, then repeat over and over.









A pet peeve of mine with this engine is the oil fill tube that is upfront and center staring you in the face. My first preference was to find a '91-'95 driver side valve cover to match the design and include an oil fill cap. However, used ones in rough shape go for $70+ on ebay, so that wasn't an option. So I went with the cheaper (free) 2nd option: shorten the fill tube.





Starting to look like an engine again!



The OE vortec injectors are notorious for leaking down and flat out dieing. Mine all currently worked fine, but now was a great time to upgrade to a set of stock LS6 take-outs. I'll adjust the tune accordingly to work with these.



The current focus (see what I did there? lol) is modifying the stock engine wiring harness to be stand-alone. I'm spending the time to do it right; removing all unnecessary wires, altering routings, and making the wiring as invisible as possible.




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1970 SWB 2wd C10, Vortec 454/80e, CPP 3/5, slotted mags, patina
1972 K20 Super Cheyenne, Short bed, EFI 396, NV4500, NP208
1970 GTO Judge, heads/cam LS1 & stalled 4L60e
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