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Old 03-29-2017, 09:24 PM   #1
Smniekamp
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1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Hey Everyone,
Well, I figure its time to put my project up, I'll do my best to post lots of pictures of the progress. I got it from an older lady in my home town (Palmer, Alaska). It was her husband's truck that he bought back in 1982 with the camper pictured. Sadly her husband had passed away in an avalanche a few years prior to me inquiring about it. At that time she was not ready to sell, but kindly took my number down in case she changed her mind... Fast forward 3 years and she gave me a call saying she was ready to let it go. $1200 later and the Blue Ox was all mine, along with a meticulous record off all maintenance dating back to 1982! Anyway, I'm really excited about the project and have already started into it. Here is the picture of the first day I had it (last fall).

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Old 03-29-2017, 10:50 PM   #2
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Great find. Anxious to see what you do with it.
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:36 PM   #3
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Here I'll turn you right side up lol
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Thanks Jeff! Hahaha I need a little lesson on posting pictures on here!
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Old 03-30-2017, 05:07 PM   #5
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Updated Pic of truck and paperwork

Here's a picture of the truck this month with the camper off of it, picked up some new sheet metal for the rockers last weekend. Also, I got all the paperwork together that came with the truck. Even has the manual for the old cassette player they put in it back in the 80s!
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Old 03-30-2017, 05:27 PM   #6
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Looks great! Let me know if you need anything for it, I can keep an eye out for you.
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Old 03-31-2017, 05:12 PM   #7
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Valve Cover Studs

It's a little chilly out today, so I decided on an easy project. My valve covers are made of stamped steel and warp easily when I use the original hardware.... So I got myself some new spreaders and studs to help the problem. I went with rubber valve cover gaskets instead of the old cork style, any opinions on which are better? Its my first time with the rubber style on a 350.

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Old 03-31-2017, 05:14 PM   #8
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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Originally Posted by Nick_R_23 View Post
Looks great! Let me know if you need anything for it, I can keep an eye out for you.
Thanks man! Always cool to see a fellow Alaskan on here.
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Old 04-02-2017, 09:12 PM   #9
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New Parts

Went and pulled a grill, doors, and fender off a parts truck this weekend. $100 well spent I think. There was a little surface rust on the doors and fender. Decided to tackle the fender first, going to spray a little primer on it tonight. I also posted a picture of a hole in my bedside. I could see some cracked Bondo peeling up behind the rear tire so I chipped away at it to evaluate the damage level.... THIS IS WHY YOU DON'T COVER RUST WITH BONDO!
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:42 PM   #10
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

More fender work today. Used some fishing line to cut through the adhesive behind the badges. A little work with a razor got it cleaned up the rest of the way. Sanded it down then shot a few coats of primer on her.

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Old 04-05-2017, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Looks good!
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:50 PM   #12
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

I was kinda on a roll today, so while I was waiting for my fender to dry I decided to move onto another project. The old front speakers were toast, so I pulled the dash and wired in a new pair. I figured it was a good time to clean up under the dash as well (35 years worth of dust adds up haha). The new speakers went in really easy, now I can really enjoy my tunes when I drive the Ox around (70s Rock'n'Roll!). The bad news is that the new speakers are a bit taller than the stock ones....so now my dash doesn't fit back in. Working on a solution for that next!

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Old 04-05-2017, 10:53 PM   #13
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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Looks good!
Thanks man, this "warm" 40 degree weather has me feeling motivated haha. Love your stepside by the way!
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:48 PM   #14
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Thanks! And yes, it's been a big help. I even saw it peak at 50* up at work today! As far as those speakers go, seems like they'd fit well if you mounted them direct, without the brackets.
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:13 PM   #15
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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Originally Posted by Smniekamp View Post
The bad news is that the new speakers are a bit taller than the stock ones....so now my dash doesn't fit back in. Working on a solution for that next!
Can you trim the mounting tabs and mount them under the stock speaker mount instead of on top?
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:59 PM   #16
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

I appreciate the input on the speakers guys! Since my dash was already cracked in the areas where the speakers go, I decided to cut out those areas. I know.... it looks a little tacky at the moment, my next job it to cover them with some sort of screen.

I went ahead and pulled my bumper, those bolts didn't come easy... While I was removing the bumper I noticed a little container bolted to the back of it. Guess what was inside.....Spare Keys! Score! Hahah not a bad place to hide them if you ask me.

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Old 04-11-2017, 04:47 PM   #17
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Had a little time this morning so I went ahead and installed my new stereo, took my time and feel like it turned out pretty well. The wiring had been spliced a couple times previously for other radios. At some point I'll go back in and cut all that crap out and wire it in cleanly...but for today, I just twisted the wires together so I could take it apart later on easily.
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:36 AM   #18
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Nice match to the blue!
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Old 04-15-2017, 05:37 PM   #19
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Finished up my first fender, caught a nasty cold so its been slow going this week. Took 8 coats but I like the way it turned out. Still would like to lay a clear coat over the top, which is something I've never done before...
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:30 PM   #20
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Came back and finished up the front bumper today, it went on a lot easier that it came off. I was planning on a chrome bumper but, craigslist being craigslist, the chrome bumper suddenly became "unavailable". Not to worry, I think the black turned out just as good! ...The only down side is that the fresh bumper makes the rest of my truck look even worse than it already was
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:31 PM   #21
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

It's coming along nicely!
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:56 AM   #22
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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It's coming along nicely!
Thanks Nick! Glad to have at least one person following the progress slow and steady...
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Old 04-25-2017, 01:07 AM   #23
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Found myself a replacement bed this week! It looks a little beat up, and that's because it is haha.... but there aren't and rust holes in it. So its a great improvement over my old blue bed with its softball sized holes. I'm replacing the front panel with the my other one, the red one is all beat to hell. I know it doesn't look like much, but I think it'll clean up pretty well.

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Old 04-25-2017, 07:12 AM   #24
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

I like the truck. It's cool to see it being saved from the rust. Keep us up on the improvements. At the rate you're going it'll be a clean, solid rig soon.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:51 AM   #25
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

The Ox is getting groomed nicely, well done.
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