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Old 07-31-2020, 05:58 PM   #1
Camaro Misfit
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Safety Updates

My husband and I are considering giving our 15 yr old daughter his father's old 1970 Chevy truck. It's been sitting in his brother's garage for at least 15 years now collecting dust and occasionally being started but not driven.

My BIL keeps telling my husband he's holding it till he wants it and my husband keeps saying he doesn't want it (there was some bad blood between him and his dad). Our daughter (my husband's stepdaughter) loves older Chevy and GMC trucks and Burbs, so I've suggested instead of us buying her a truck we just give her this one and put the $5-6k we planned to spend on buying a truck into getting this one road worthy and what ever is left into restoring it.

One concern though is safety. I know we will update the brakes at some point. What other safety updates are out there for these old trucks?

Thank you.
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:39 PM   #2
tdangle
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Re: Safety Updates

I'd do front disc brakes, rebuild back brakes, 3 point shoulder seat belts, Tires and just make sure the engine is running well. by adding a HEI distributor, flushing the fuel system, and new radiator. All this should make the truck as safe as you can (won't compare to new vehicles but you can't do anything about that) and running/stopping reliably to avoid stalling and or breaking down in traffic.
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:41 PM   #3
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Re: Safety Updates

I view disc brake conversion a must for a younger driver
Go through it ball joints tie rods power steering power brakes
Ls engine swaps are now popular in our trucks

I do view a new harness a must all our trucks are 48 plus years old
How many hack splices worn and rubed wiring
M&,h and american auto wire make great repo harness

Cost very from little to lots depending on skills and tools to do the work or shop

Like disc brake upgrade can be cheap or buy a kit for 600 plus

I picked up a new set of brakes from a 95 g20 van which gives me rotors spindles calipers larger rear drums
Which still used 73 to 87 hd brakes
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:49 PM   #4
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Re: Safety Updates

We'd do a lot of the work ourselves. Between us, my dad, and my BIL, plus the guys from my local Mopar club (lots have worked on older cars/trucks), I think we could do all the work ourselves without needing a shop.

My husband did some work on this truck when he was a teen and he drove it himself as a teen. We want her to have about a year of us in the vehicle with her before she gets her license. Right now she's been driving our Ram and loves it. I know before it was parked it was used to tow a camper trailer across the country and back a few times and was built for doing some of that.

We'd probably buy the upgrade brake kit knowing my husband. He's not one for going around looking for stuff when he can just buy it new.
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:52 PM   #5
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Re: Safety Updates

I also have a nicely build turbo 400 transmission waiting for a vehicle to go in. My dad originally built it for a 77 Nova, then I took the transmission for my 78 Camaro when he sold the Nova, then I sold the Camaro before putting it in. It's been sitting for years (no fluid added). He did a variable switch pitch conversion on it and put in extra clutch packs (machinist for you, lol). So might get a bench test done on it and have it for the truck. Probably would build it as a nice street machine and have her taking it to car shows too.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:00 PM   #6
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Re: Safety Updates

Some thoughts on Safety and these era vehicles for a first vehicle.

The front ends just absolutely crumble in a frontal collision with minimum to literally no protection. The dash is mostly metal and will provide again little to no protection, may even injure the occupants more.

Now the rear of the truck is well protected with the ever lovin steel bumpers and lots of material before getting to the driver. These vehicles were built in an era when safety standards where just getting into full swing.

For a first driver, for my daughter I would consider something more like a more modern Suburban with Air Bags and Frontal, Side crash crumple zones.

Expensive to put gas in, to keep her eyes on financial focus, and a literal tank engineered out of many materials to keep her safe.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:04 PM   #7
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Re: Safety Updates

The upgrade discussed definitely will help
As parents we all have different thresholdís of safety for our children
I just took a looked where you live.
Right along the i5 corridor
I have driven these trucks my entire life
And let my son and daughter drive my trucks when they got their licenses
But, we live in a smaller town with slower roads
These trucks were not built with the intent of 75mph
Probably more like 55mph
No airbags, headrests, antilock brakes etc. etc.
The most important thing you can do is drive that truck in the areas your daughter will be driving it. ( and see if you feel safe )
If you do - Teach here how to Drive it within its limitations
Itís so cool when the next generation appreciates
This era of vehicles
She will be one lucky girl ....
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:10 PM   #8
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Re: Safety Updates

LED lights and possibly mount a cargo light converted to a 3rd brake light. I feel these trucks are perfectly safe. The shoulder belts, of course and better brakes won't hurt. But our population is, as an expression, asleep at the wheel when walking. They just don't pay attention and think "I didn't see" is an excuse. They are used to seeing ultra bright brake lights and 3rd brake lights, not that they see them any better. But certainly having what came on these trucks is less than these folks expect. I'm not concerned as an experienced driver who can't allow himself to not pay attention. A new driver needs all the advantages they can get.

HEI has nothing to do with safety. Points will let you know plenty in advance that it's getting to be time to replace them. When electronic goes it's usually all at once with no warning.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:11 PM   #9
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Re: Safety Updates

Overdrive trannies are nice too on the highway
Putting a nv3500 5 speed into my 68 c10 build i would like my Richmond 6 speed not sure how far ahead i can move my shifter

I view old wireing as a fire hazzard waiting to happen

Front spindles come in 3 varities 67 to 70 72 to 72 73 to 87 tire tod specific to each right now belltech has a bad batch of 67 70 disc spindles tapered holes drilled wrong size
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:30 PM   #10
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Re: Safety Updates

These are all the things I was going to suggest in addition to Bilstein shocks and a front sway bar. And first class driving instruction.




Quote:
Originally Posted by tdangle View Post
I'd do front disc brakes, rebuild back brakes, 3 point shoulder seat belts, Tires and just make sure the engine is running well. by adding a HEI distributor, flushing the fuel system, and new radiator. All this should make the truck as safe as you can (won't compare to new vehicles but you can't do anything about that) and running/stopping reliably to avoid stalling and or breaking down in traffic.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: Safety Updates

Along with brakes and seatbelts, I would recommend a front end rebuild (suspension and steering). Especially upgrading the lower control arm u-bolts...they like to snap when the truck is in reverse with the wheel cranked all the way. You'll need the 9/16" bolts. Maybe add a front sway bar for better control. Replacing motor mounts is a biggie.
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:44 PM   #12
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Re: Safety Updates

How would she feel about a chunk of railroad track for a front bumper? Yeah, it cuts into the mileage a bit, but anyone who runs into the front of the truck is going to suffer. I'm only half joking! I'm considering doing it on my truck, the way people drive around here, anymore.
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:45 PM   #13
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Re: Safety Updates

One thing I'd add to the list others have provided is to do a collapsible steering column or steering shaft. Would help in the event of a front-end collision.
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Old 07-31-2020, 09:22 PM   #14
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Re: Safety Updates

Here's my list:

Power front disc brakes
Power steering (if it doesn't already have it)
All steering components as needed
Bushings and shocks as needed
Lighting
Seat belts
Tires - regardless of tread, based on age
Glass and mirrors, if needed

After that, depending on your budget, I'd add dependability items - things like HEI, a remanufactured carb, hoses, seals, etc.
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:35 PM   #15
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Re: Safety Updates

This is the only way this hobby stays alive!

With that said, Iím in my 30s and my first car (which I still have) was a 2nd gen camaro with entirely too much HP (325+) for a 15 year old kid. I did some remarkably stupid stuff in that car way back when-and got lucky a lot. So while disc brakes and 3 points are a great idea- remember to give her some anemic low horsepower 350 too....just to be safe.
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:53 PM   #16
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Re: Safety Updates

With 3.73 gears these trucks can go fast too
My truck i got it with 292 with 3 in the tree i would bury the needle
Even with old fairly stock 350s i used to scrounge up and put in after i converted it to 4x4 i could light it up in all 4 gears

So tall gears like 3.08
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:57 PM   #17
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Re: Safety Updates

I would keep a 15 yr old out of a truck that doesn't have air bags. All early drivers get into accidents. When she has more experients then let her have the truck. I am not being mean, I would just like to see her stay alive.
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:30 PM   #18
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Re: Safety Updates

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc684x4 View Post
With 3.73 gears these trucks can go fast too
My truck i got it with 292 with 3 in the tree i would bury the needle
Even with old fairly stock 350s i used to scrounge up and put in after i converted it to 4x4 i could light it up in all 4 gears

So tall gears like 3.08
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:37 AM   #19
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Re: Safety Updates

I'm not a parent, and I don't drive where you live or know the teen in question, but I would think really hard about making an old truck into a daily driver for a new driver. I wrecked my first car in a no fault accident and I had a perfect driving test and was relatively risk adverse.

A crash is just a matter of when, and there are no replacements for crumple zones, airbags, door impact bars, and rollover protection. My neighbor totalled his 1971 Chevy truck, and hurt himself in our 20mph zone a couple blocks from his house. The truck was mangled (bent frame and crumpled cab) after getting hit at a 4 way intersection. I don't want to even imagine freeway speeds.

If she wants it as a project and to cruise around, that's a different story!
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:44 AM   #20
gmc684x4
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Re: Safety Updates

Yes Steevedee comment is perfect put a governor on it

looking at building a truck with my son good project as long as your kids hands on building it learning how things function i get him helping me now he is 8 learning how to wrench
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:07 PM   #21
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Re: Safety Updates

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc684x4 View Post
Yes Steevedee comment is perfect put a governor on it

looking at building a truck with my son good project as long as your kids hands on building it learning how things function i get him helping me now he is 8 learning how to wrench
The day after I put a four barrel carburetor on my '64 Malibu SS and ran it up to speed. 120 MPH. I had slowed to take a broad curve and here came a CHP officer going the other way. I went by at 105. Like a dummy, I slowed down. I was close enough to where I worked that I could have parked in the back lot of the dealership where it wouldn't have been seen. He wrote me up for 65 in a 50. I wasn't going to argue!

I needed a governor!
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:26 PM   #22
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Re: Safety Updates

Quote:
Originally Posted by siggyfreud View Post
One thing I'd add to the list others have provided is to do a collapsible steering column or steering shaft. Would help in the event of a front-end collision.
This is something I feel is totally overlooked by most and should be done to any truck built before 1971.

If you have ever seen one of these trucks after a front end collision you wouldn't hesitate to replace it.

Sorry to be graphic but:
The steering wheel folds up and you stop going forward when your heart hits the horn button.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:25 PM   #23
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Re: Safety Updates

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBird05 View Post
I would keep a 15 yr old out of a truck that doesn't have air bags. All early drivers get into accidents. When she has more experients then let her have the truck. I am not being mean, I would just like to see her stay alive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkidmoreGarage View Post
I'm not a parent, and I don't drive where you live or know the teen in question, but I would think really hard about making an old truck into a daily driver for a new driver. I wrecked my first car in a no fault accident and I had a perfect driving test and was relatively risk adverse.

A crash is just a matter of when, and there are no replacements for crumple zones, airbags, door impact bars, and rollover protection. My neighbor totalled his 1971 Chevy truck, and hurt himself in our 20mph zone a couple blocks from his house. The truck was mangled (bent frame and crumpled cab) after getting hit at a 4 way intersection. I don't want to even imagine freeway speeds.

If she wants it as a project and to cruise around, that's a different story!
I agree totally with these posts! I bought my Ď67 GMC about 6 years ago, and it didnít take me long to realize (like about five minutes) that I would have to make serious changes regarding my driving habits (like lane changing, following distance, etc.) When Iím in my truck I feel as vulnerable as I do when riding a motorcycle, and I drive it accordingly. Itís wonderful to think about a young person wanting to drive these trucks, but driving one as a cruiser every now and then is in no way comparable to driving one as primary transportation, especially in an urban or suburban environment.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:41 PM   #24
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Re: Safety Updates

According to everyone here, I shouldn't have survived my teens. My first car was a Chevelle that ran high 12's in the quarter. My gas milage vehicle (lol) was 72 K10 with a highly modified sbc400. I survived just fine and yes there were some accidents. Most were while I was doing dumb stuff.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:37 PM   #25
Camaro Misfit
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Re: Safety Updates

She’s really good at following our directions. She’d loose wrestling and JROTC if she doesn’t and she knows that. She works extremely hard for what she wants.

She’s been in two wrecks while her sister was driving (not her fault) so she’s always concerned about getting into another and I think would be a safe driver because of that.

Talked with my husband last night and he thinks it’s already got disk brakes and a lot of safety updates already. We’ll be doing more before she gets it. And if she’s got to drive on the highway she can drive my Chrysler 300. I want her to get a job after she’s 16 and buy a cheap daily driver car too. She’s use to riding in my Charger with a 382. And she’s been driving my husbands Ram with a 5.7. So speed is there if she wants it, but she’s good at keeping it under wraps.
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