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Old 11-03-2012, 03:06 PM   #1
Vic1947
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68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish



Hello all, my name is Vic Cook and I live in Kansas City, MO. I joined this forum about a year and a half ago and have lurked on it ever since. During the course of this build, it became my most valuable resource whenever I faced a tough problem. I could alway count on finding several posts where other members had resolved the same issues I was dealing with. Thanks!

After narrowing my choices for a build to a '67 or '68 short bed stepside, I began looking for a suitable starter. I was leaning toward a basket case since I knew I would end up going thru it from top to bottom anyway. My wife, Kathy, instead convinced me to look for a running truck in which someone had already invested some time and $$$. That way, we could attend some of the area cruise-in's right away and not have to wait while I struggled to get into some kind of driveable condition.

I finally located a decent looking truck on eBay and after it failed to sell, I contacted the seller and negotiated a deal. It was in Little Rock, AR about 350 miles from us. On March 23, 2011 we drove down to see it. It was a father/son project and the young man was very proud of it. I have to give them a lot of credit for bringing it back from the dead. They had a lot of build photos in an album they shared with me. Made me a bit wistful thinking how nice it must be to share that experience with your dad.

But reality intruded and after a careful examination and a test drive, I could see it would take a considerable amount of additional work to really clean it up. In short, it was a nice 15 footer. I was about ready to pass on the deal when they offered to include some of the original parts I would need for my vision of what I wanted. So we closed the deal, signed the paperwork and we headed out.

Little Rock is fairly hilly and going down the third or fourth long incline, I wasn't sure the brakes would get it stopped. Radio'ed my wife and we pulled over to see what the problem was. Front discs were red hot and rear drums were ice cold. We had planned to stay at a motel outside town anyway, so we crept on down the road and parked the truck for the night. We took the car to a local restaurant and discussed our plan to get the truck back to KC without totaling it out. We decided to keep it between 55/60 mph with Kathy leading the way in the car and me following at a safe(?) distance. Made it back to KC without incident. Here are some pics of the truck in its "as purchased" condition. Take a good look as it didn't stay this way for long. We embarked on a one year plus frame off restoration that led to its current iteration. I don't have as many photos as some of the members, but I will share what I have in upcoming posts.

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Old 11-03-2012, 09:02 PM   #2
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

Man that is a really nice truck. I like it way to much. Maybe cause its right up my alley of dreams for my truck

Anways, nice truck. And glad you made it home safetly
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:16 PM   #3
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

March 2012 is not a year and a half ago!....LOL.......very nice truck there sir!
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:52 PM   #4
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

Welcome to the board.
Nice truck.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

You talked about brake issues.
Whats going on with all the brake lines aroung the master cylinder?
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:00 PM   #6
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


I knew all along that forum members were a sharp-eyed bunch. Good catch Hotrod C10, I should have pointed out I lurked as a guest for nearly a year before actually joining the group. Time flies when you're having fun!

As for the brake lines, I'm not sure what the previous owner was thinking with the plumbing. My guess is that they were experiencing the same problem with the brakes that I did ...only front brakes working. This led them to replace the m/c and booster with a new unit which likely didn't help. At that point, they may have thought they could increase line pressure and/or flow by routing lines from both sides of the m/c and running them into a tee. This is just speculation on my part.

During the course of troubleshooting the problem, I installed a new proportioning valve and removed the redundant lines. In the end, I actually traced the brake problem to the flexible line that connects to the tee on the rear axle. It was either collapsed or plugged to the extent that no fluid was moving thru it. As you will see later, I moved the proportioning valve to the other side of the m/c during the frame off resto.

After getting the brakes in working order and bringing some other safety items up to spec, it passed inspection. The starter was also dragging on hot starts. The header on the starter side was wrapped with a woven heat tape, but the real culprit wasn't the heat, but rather the battery cable. An interesting splice was preventing full current from reaching the starter motor.

With these problems fixed, we were on the road and attended several cruise in's around the KC area in the spring of 2011. We met some nice folks along the way but I kept feeling the need to improve the underhood and interior appearance. So toward the end of July, we decided to take it apart and clean up the grunge. My goal was to have it back together by the middle of September for the Midwest All Truck Nationals in nearby Riverside. Looking back, I can't believe how crazy that notion was.

Below are some shots as it is coming apart. I've got a lot more, but I need to figure out how guys are getting more than 5 pictures to upload at a time. My guess is they're embedding links to the photos from a hosting site like Photobucket, but I need to research how to do that. More to come!

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Old 11-04-2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

Nice truck! Where are you in the Metro? Faaaaar east Indep here. Judging from your avatar, you've been a busy boy! Did you go to the 2012 Nats? That truck looks kinda familiar!
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:31 PM   #8
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


Yes, we participated this year and won Best of Show. Last year, when the event relocated due to the floods, we went as spectators. We were knocked out by all the nice hardware and would have loved to be there with ours, but it was in a million pieces at the time. We live up near Liberty off 435 and 152.

When we bought the truck, the young man that owned it wasn't sure of the engine CID. Said the numbers indicated it could be either a 305 or 350. When I got it out of the truck, casting numbers and measurements confirmed it was a 305. When I pulled the rods and pistons, I found the rings cracked on three cylinders with some resultant scoring. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it forced me to source a new block. Bobby Morton, who had done some nice work for me before on a 460 Ford engine, found a nice 350 truck block that would clean up at .030" over.

You can see from some of the photos the accumulation of gunk. The truck was slightly lowered in the front using 2" drop springs which fell out of the buckets every time you jacked it up in the front. During reassembly, I used 2.5" drop spindles and a 1" drop spring and a taller tire than was on it.

The rear appeared to have been converted from a coil over to a leaf spring sometime in the distant past. All the brackets for the trailing arms were there and the retrofitted spring perches had been welded in instead of riveted. The rear was lowered using a re-arched two leaf setup. As it was insufficient to keep the rear from sagging, Air Ride bags were added to bring it up an inch or two to avoid looking like a tail dragger.

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Old 11-04-2012, 07:25 PM   #9
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

I hope you put a front bumper on it, that front roll pan look totally kills the front ends of these trucks. Just my opinion...
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

Ha, that's my old neighborhood! We were at the Nats, the bright yellow 71 off to the way left near the guy with the boat. Your truck is niiiice!
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:53 PM   #11
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


Thanks, Low Elco. We stopped to look at your truck a couple of times during the show, it's very nice! I like your build thread too. The guy pulling the boat put on quite an exhibition during the blindfold competition, didn't he?

Regarding the roll pans, I retained them as much due to economics as anything. After disassembling the truck, media blasting and cleaning everything, it became apparent that most parts were slap wore out and the tinworm had taken a toll on the sheet metal. In hindsight, I paid too much for what I got but sometimes that happens. As I progressed thru the build, I developed a real aversion to buying new parts, so the roll pans stayed on it. Maybe when my bank account gets off life support, I can change up a few things.

After blowing the truck completely apart, we ferried all the sheetmetal and frame parts to Eagle Stripping. They media blasted the sheetmetal and sandblasted the frame and suspension pieces. You know it's never good when your metal blaster calls you and says, "Do you want us to blast all the fiberglass off of the firewall, 'cause if we do, there won't be anything left."

I advised them to just get the worst of it and I'd take care of the rest. You can see from the photos that someone had attempted to repair the rusted out cowl drip gutter by cramming it full of fiberglass and then hiding it with undercoat. This area was bad, but not necessarily the worst.

Meanwhile, in an effort to control cost, I bought a front suspension rebuild kit off of eBay. It arrived with parts that were machined incorrectly and had to be exchanged. The vendor was easy enough to deal with, but the experience marked the beginning of a protracted ordeal with the front end.

I'd bought CPP dropped spindles and springs, but once the truck was running, I was unable to get enough caster during alignment and it wandered around more than it should. Consequently, all the work and expense in the front end was lost when, much later, I ponied up for the CPP tubular a-arms that have an additional 5 degrees of caster built into them.

At the same time, even small things were cropping up that had to be fixed. The heater control had a broken lever which must be fairly common because Classic, LMC and a host of others carried rebuild kits. The good news is that the aftermarket for these trucks is very robust. Bad news is the expense.

It was becoming more apparent with each passing day that my projected completion date was not going to happen - no way, no how.

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Old 11-05-2012, 11:42 PM   #12
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

Thanks for the compliments! I was driving the boat, as it were. Brad has a bit of a reputation to uphold, ya do what ya gotta do! Keep an eye out for Yeller, if I ever get it to roll smooth, it lives at 98th and North Oak. Boppa's name is Vern, if you see him, say HI! Hopefully it'll be back there soon! Your truck came out great. Did these suspension parts come from Performance Suspension in Phoenix? You're lucky, the blaster killed our first hood.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:06 PM   #13
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

looking good, cant wait to see more !
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:55 PM   #14
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


So, after getting the parts back from the metal blaster, first thing I worked on was getting the chassis back to a roller. I took the frame and suspension components to Jonathon Cornell at Sure Coat in Sedalia, MO and had him powdercoat everything in either anthracite w/clearcoat or semi-gloss black. Besides being a great WOW sprint car driver, Jonathon is an outstanding refinisher. Less than two weeks later, I went down and picked everything up.

Meanwhile, I had all the bearings and seals in the rear axle assembly replaced. I also cleaned off all the gunk and painted the housing flat black. Then began the task of reassembling it all. Goes a lot nicer when everything is clean. I had ordered a stainless brake and fuel line kit from Inline Tube which took some figuring out. The 12 bolt came out of a '78 truck and the front was a 5 lug disc conversion, so the lines didn't run quite where the originals had. Took some creative bending, and the connection for the flex lines on the front ended up on the back of the crossmember instead of the front, but it all worked out.

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Old 11-06-2012, 02:04 PM   #15
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


With 17" American Racing wheels and Goodyear tires in place we were rolling again. I chose 17's mainly because I could get tires with a bit more sidewall using that size. Seems like when you get into 18's and up there are less choices if you want a taller sidewall. And if I found tires that would work, the rim widths and offsets I needed weren't readily available. I've seen some nice builds on the forum where the member bought a custom package, but my budget didn't allow for that.

Here are some shots of the assembled suspension front and rear.

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:59 PM   #16
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


August, 2011 rolled around and I was finally ready to address the rusted out cab I'd been avoiding. It needed cab corners, inner and outer rockers, front and rear door pillars, front floorboards, kickpanels, firewall, cowl repair and more. Someone had previously scabbed on a pair of outer rockers, cab corners and homemade floor patches that had to come off.

Rust repair is a major task and was compounded by the fact that, as I was about to discover, not one aftermarket piece of sheetmetal fit properly. I had to slice, dice, shrink, stretch, hammer and weld every single Chinese made piece of steel I bought. And I bought a lot. Didn't seem to matter who I bought it from, it was all stamped using worn out dies. But I doubt my experience is any different than others on the forum. I reckon it's better to start with something close to what you need than with thin air.

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Old 11-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #17
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

In to follow the build...love these sped up builds
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:21 PM   #18
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


Starting on the passenger side, I began the process of cutting out the rusty sections and prepping what was left to accept the new panels. The inner rockers I bought weren't quite long enough to replace the rusted areas I removed, so I had to add material to both ends to extend them. Once the inner panel was tacked in place, I could mock up the outer rocker.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:47 PM   #19
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


Fortunately, when the cab corners were replaced during a prior repaint, they had overlapped the repair panels on top of the existing sheetmetal then hid the resulting step with a load of bondo. I was able to carefully cut them loose, leaving enough good metal to attach the new panels I'd gotten. I used flanging dies in my bead roller to offset the edge of the panel and cleco's and clamps to mock up the cab corner. This moved the step to the inside where it was much easier to hide. It's kind of hard to see in the photo, but I had to pie slice the front edge of the cab corner and re-weld it to correct the door gap. Like many of the panels I bought, they seemed better suited to being laid over the old metal rather than being an exact fit replacement.

With the corner in place, I moved back to the front and installed a new front lower door pillar. After welding it in place, and with the rotted section of floorboard removed, I exposed the floor brace. The bottom of it had rotted out, so I cut the spotwelds and replaced it with an aftermarket brace. Doing it in this order, I was able to maintain some reference points.

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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:47 PM   #20
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


Replaced the lower rear door pillar and began welding out the cab corner. Back up front, I trimmed the floorboard patch panel and broke the leading edge in the box and pan brake to mate up to the firewall lip. This was another panel that was meant to scab onto existing sheetmetal rather than being an exact fit. I had plenty of material, as the area on my truck that was rotted was much smaller than the patch panel.

The downside to leaving the firewall in place is that I was unable to use the spotwelder to fuse the floorboard and brace together. Instead, I used clecos to hold everything together, then used the TIG to form the spots. I don't care for this method very much because the metal sometimes expands before the weld puddle forms, leaving a small gap. But I was able to minimize this and, in the end, the fit between the front edge of the floorpanel and the firewall was more important to me.

During the process of replacing the floor panel, I also installed a new lower kick panel. There was a very small amount of rust up closer to the vents, but I was able to fix it using small metal patches and, in some cases, by filling pinholes using a copper strap as a backup. My goal was to make the finished truck 99.99% rust free.

At this point, I prepped the inner rockers with primer, leaving bare the the places I would be spotwelding. I then finished installing the outer rocker.

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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:22 PM   #21
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


All that was left to do on the passenger side was to spotweld and finish welding and grinding the edge of the cab corner patch. I had one small area right in the middle of the rear window that had some pinholes in it, so I cut it out and built a little patch panel that I spotwelded to the existing pinch weld flange. I then welded the rest of it in. This should insure a leak-free repair when the rear window goes back in.

I moved on to the driver side, where I had a much larger area to patch. In the end, it too would get front and rear lower door pillars, inner and outer rocker, cab corner, lower kick panel and a floorboard patch. The floor brace was in great shape on the driver side, so I was able to retain it. Process was much the same as the passenger side, except that I had to spotweld the backing plate for the accelerator pedal to the patch panel. The area was not all that similar to the stock panel, so I measured as carefully as possible and tacked it in place in case I needed to move it later.

Now that the floor, rockers and etc. were in place, I removed the firewall. This gave me better access to the cowl. As you will see from upcoming photos, there was a significant amount of rust in the cowl. I was faced with a dilemma at this point. Some of the vendors offer an aftermarket cowl that replaces the outer shell completely. My problem was that I had no way to fixture and spotweld it in like they did at the factory. I'd have to come up with a way to hold and weld it but any mistake might possibly lead to fitment issues later with the firewall. Plus, I was painfully aware of how poorly the patch panels I'd used up to this point fit. Did I really want to pop for $300 for a cowl assembly I'd have to overhaul anyway. Nope, decided to patch what I had.
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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
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Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:31 PM   #22
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


While mulling over the magnitude of the cowl repair and subconsciously working on a plan of attack, I welded and ground the patched up floor pan from the underside.

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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:39 PM   #23
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

beautiful work on your patch panels !
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:39 PM   #24
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish

Man that looks so familiar. Exactly the same repair I had to do on Jezebel. Good luck with your build!

Steve
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:42 PM   #25
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Re: 68 C10 SBSS build - start to finish


Holy guacamole, Steve. Looked at your build thread on Jezebel and realized I've been whining way too much! If I'd faced that much with mine, I'd still be sitting in a corner with my head in my hands. Great job so far!

After deciding to repair my cowl, I started by sectioning off the passenger side where the fan blower sits. This gave me the access I needed to repair or replace the internal rainwater diverters and fix the rusted areas on the inner cowl. I had that outer cowl piece on and off so often I could almost do it with my eyes closed.

With the firewall out of the way, I also repaired the dash where the radio fit. The PO had hacked it out to fit a DIN-1 stereo. I wanted to go back with a stock appearing radio so I grafted in pieces from a donor. Also, since I didn't need the ashtray, I removed its guts to make way for an eBay sourced, retracting cupholder from a Geo Prizm.

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Crusty Rusty Leaky Squeaky 67 Consigned for sale
Silver Streaker "Mecum'd" 4/2013 Gone to Texas
Maybelline - my '57 Ford 2dr Sedan "Mecum'd" 3/2016 Gone Somewhere
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