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Old 12-14-2011, 01:08 AM   #1
DD1
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71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Hello Everyone,

So I picked up a 71 C10 that I probably... no definitely, paid too much for; this is my first time working on one of these. As I took it apart, I found the cab is in worse shape than I thought (not entirely surprised), and am overwhelmed between those who think it's not that bad and those who think it's way too much.

The rocker panels (inner and outer, cab supports (front and rear), front pillars, inside door bottoms, and inner cowl all need to have work done. I think I will need to replace the front part of the floor board along with the cab supports, but am not sure. I know I can get the body panels for the various parts online, but trying to decide if I should just try and find another cab in better shape or repair this one.

Welding and body work is not my thing, and I am having trouble finding affordable help in my area (Hudson Valley area of NY). I am also having trouble finding a decent cab as well if I want to replace the whole thing.

So, what are your thoughts? Should I repair what I have? Try and find a better cab? Kinda stuck in a rut and not sure how to proceed.

I'll upload some better photos of the side of the cab tomorrow, the ones shown are all I have on my computer right now. You can view some photos from when I got it at http://1971chevyc10.shutterfly.com/

I would really appreciate any thoughts and opinions from the people on this board who are all probably way more experienced with this than I am. I have seen posts where some of you have been really helpful and given great advice, and I am hoping someone will have some wisdom to share with me.

Thanks!
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:26 PM   #2
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

if it were me i would look for another cab. all those areas are fixable...but if you plan on paying someone else to do the work, plus the cost for the sheetmetal a donor cab would be the cheaper way to go. if nothing else you know now what areas to pay attention too, when looking for a replacement.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:11 PM   #3
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Smile Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Thanks for the input, Redbaron. A friend of mine offered to help me with the welding today. I am still going to look around for cabs as it may be a while before we get to the main part of the job since it is getting cold out. I will probably spend the winter sanding the frame, rebuilding the carb, and painting engine parts and putting the 350 back together while it's on the stand.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of cabs or even whole trucks available for sale in the NY/NJ area right now. The best I saw was Baltimore, MD which would be a hike and probably cost too much to transport.

I appreciate the response. Hey you probably know this - what is the stuff I have seen people on this forum coat their frames with?
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

clearly another cab is the way to fix this. I understand the challenges with that but if you persevere it will work out
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:01 PM   #5
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

There's quite a bit of work ahead of you to fix all that. Don't feel bad about finding more repairs necessary than you expected. We've all been there.

I am in the middle of a SWB swap project and have felt overwhelmed a couple times. I remind myself that my intent was to make a driver (not a show truck) and that this is a project (takes time, $, and I'm going to learn some things the hard way).

IF you can find a good cab that would be the easier route. If not you will be a good welder when you are done!
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

My cab has plenty of work to be done also. As stomper said, I am using this opportunity to become a better welder....
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:14 PM   #7
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Thanks for all the comments. I don't think we are going to be working on the cab itself this winter, so as dmw said, I will try and persevere and see if I can find another cab in the meantime. My friend is going to help me with the doors; so we will start there.

I am interested in learning how to weld, so I guess it is a good opportunity to practice.

@stomper, you know I think I am not so annoyed about having more work than I expected, as I am that I paid too much for it and did not check it out enough. The truck looked really nice when I got it, as you can see in some of the photos on the link I provided, but there was a lot of hidden damage. Unfortunately, it may have been a bit of an impulsive decision when I bought it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:55 PM   #8
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

por15 is what most ppl use on there frames. finding a good cab in that area is gonna be hard to say the least. It might be easier to find a new cab and transfer vin tags. You might even get lucky enough to find a cab that does not need to much at all. I have a few cabs one is not to bad at all, I can even offer to repair the rust as i do paint and body work and fixed a few of these cabs. I am currently doing one now its not to bad if you have repaired one or two before
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:13 PM   #9
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Since you will have to pay someone else to do the work IMO I would pay more for a good solid can that needs minimal work. If you can do it yourself it maybe worth the money but anyone who does good work will cost a lot in hourly rates to fix that one right plus you have to buy the metal.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:45 PM   #10
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Thanks, blacksheep and stepside. Since my friend offered to help, and his help will be very cheap, we might just give it a shot, and maybe I will learn some welding in the process. Stepside, I appreciate the offer, but according to your profile, you are a bit too far away from NY.

Hopefully a cab or maybe a truck with a bad bed will turn up at some point before I get to working on the cab.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:47 PM   #11
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

If anyone hears of a cab for sale in the greater NY/NJ metro area, please let me know! Thanks!
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:04 AM   #12
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

WECOME!!! Unfortunately you are in one of the worst areas of the US for body rot.I doubt you find anything much better in your area.You can fix what you have but it will be a lot of work and $$$ for patches.It may be as cheap/easy to find a cab and have it shipped.You may want to do a price comparison before deciding.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:11 AM   #13
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

yeah i am far away. Most of the patches you will need can be bought and there not to expensive. But some of the patches you will need have to be fabricated buy you. Just IMO i would stay away from lmc for patches I have never had any luck with good fitment from there patches. I do know not every patch panel will be perfect but I have had good luck with classic parts and they have good customer service and fast shipping. I wish you luck it will be a fun learning experience for you.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:24 PM   #14
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Thanks for the tip 454; that is good to know about LMC. I ordered some panels from classic parts and they do seem very helpful, and they were less expensive especially with the 10% coupon for Thanksgiving. The only thing I was thinking about getting from LMC is the front half of the floor panel b/c Classic charges oversized shipping on it, where LMC does not. Classic Parts also has a very good return policy in case I end up not using some of them.

Question for everyone, I am assuming that I would want a 69-72 cab to work with my frame and fender properly. Would there be any issues with putting an older cab on my frame if I change the fenders as well? Any other issues I might have?

Thanks for everyone's help so far, I really appreciate it.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:01 PM   #15
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

A 67-72 cab will bolt right on to your frame with the stock fenders
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:59 AM   #16
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

I would say... look for another cab but then again in NY its a miracle that truck hasnt fallen apart from rot (been there NY seen the damage). work on the frame and keep your eyes out and if you cant find anything better then start replacing the rot with replacement panels. it can be overwhelming at times but dont give up!
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:38 PM   #17
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Welcome aboard from Sunny Central Florida!
First of all you have found the best place for info and help on these trucks, I can tell you are already feeling more comfortable with your purchase. You already have some things going for you, a friend that will help and a truck that is in better shape than most in your neck of the woods.
Keep this in mind...when you are done you will have a unique vehicle for your area that is very cool and something to be proud of.
I didn't know squat about these trucks when I bought mine over a year ago and thought I might have payed too much but, as it turns out I got a real factory big block that was in pretty fair shape. Now I'm working on making it semi-show worthy for about $25K. Can't touch a new truck for that kind of money and wouldn't be half as cool.
So hang in there, don't get discouraged and build you something special.
Good Luck!
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Old 12-16-2011, 04:59 PM   #18
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

You're in the exact situation i was in around this time last year. I bought my SWB K10 (and probably overpaid) and struggled with the same decision. Like you, I'm good with everything but bodywork. Being all the way out east on Long Island, i'd say mine is about the only place harder than yours to find a nice cab (we are blessed with salt roads, and salt water in the air). Keep looking on craigslist, i ended up finding one that was 95% rust free in northern CT for $650. The guy had it shipped up from Arizona and ran out of money for his project. So i guess the moral of my story is keep looking, and one will pop up within driving distance. The money i spent on that new cab wouldn't have even gotten me halfway through the rust repair on the old one. Dont give up!
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:07 PM   #19
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

por15 is what i would use for the frame. if you decide to fix the cab just take it slow. finish one job before starting a new one. what i mean is remove one rocker do the repairs then go to the other side. see too many people fly in to chopping one up and jumping all over the place welding, grinding , sanding here and there. after a while when it no longer resembles a truck cab they get discouraged/overwelmed and sell. and dont forget if you get in a jam there is plenty of knowledge here to help you out.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:49 PM   #20
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

If you can find a better cab that would be cool,but speaking from experiance living on the east coast,Ive fixed a LOT worse. If it comes to it just take your time. When it comes to putting in floors and rockers Ive found that a little rotten or a lot you wind up cutting just as much out to fit in the new stuff anyway. If the doors still swing and latch good that half the battle. Good luck and keep posting your progress.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:30 AM   #21
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

at some point and time we all have been there.There is a lot of info on this site.You can always look for another cab and play and learn with the one you have. You can can find a used welder and have your friend come and teach you.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:13 PM   #22
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Talking Re: 71 C10 Project - moving along slowly...

I thought I would post an update. After hiring someone to help with welding and realizing he was not as knowledgeable about these trucks as I would like, I told him to quit after a 1/2 day to cut my losses while it was still low. A friend of mine then gave me some welding lessons, and I practiced on on of the doors. We cut out the bottom of the inner door panel and replaced it with a piece of the lower door patch panel from classic parts. Also patched the speaker hole that was made in the door previously.

Next I am going to practice some more on scrap metal (picked up a welder at a Harbor Freight sale) and then (with the guidance of my friend) work on the rocker panels. I might even take a welding class at one of those adult education evening courses.

Of course now it's too damn cold to work on the truck right now, but I am looking for a nice heater for my super un-insulated garage.

Here are some pics of the door progress.

I have also learned that this board is probably one of the best places to go for used parts, better than Craigslist or Ebay it seems. It took a little while before I found the Classified section. Now I am having some buyers remorse on crap I got from the aforementioned site.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:53 PM   #23
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Welcome aboard! Looks like you are pretty well underway with repairs. What I was going to suggest is to do the mechanical/frame stuff this winter then check out the spring Carlisle PA meet. There's usually several left coast vendors there, and if you catch them towards the end they'd rather sell then cart their parts back west. Just a thought........
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:11 PM   #24
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

Thanks for the tip. slomotion. That sounds like a good plan.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:54 PM   #25
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Re: 71 C10 Project - kinda stuck

You will be pro in no time looks good.
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