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Old 09-01-2021, 06:23 PM   #1
dagnabbitt
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1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

I found this truck for sale online, it was listed as "72 Chevy", which I think is partly why it had not sold by the time I saw it (it was on for 14 days)... most people would search "1972"; "Chev"; "Chevrolet"; or "GMC", which is what the truck actually is. In Canada we have a buy and sell site called kijiji which is surprisingly cumbersome to use and only a maniac like me would search for 67-72 trucks using 99 separate search combinations just so I could see everything.

Anyway I found it, and I was immediately struck by how ugly it is, and just recently I was complaining about how the younger generation wanted to stick these godawful wheels on everything. But it looked very interesting, and I missed owning a diesel.

As I wrote in this thread I did end up making a trip to look at it, and I bought it. The driveability of the truck surprised me, it handles and shifts and stops like a somewhat modern truck and probably would do even better with more appropriate tires. The engine is supposedly recently rebuilt - I am going to research that with the shop that did it - and it has a tilt column that looks "factory". I have never had a 6.2 before, and I have to say: I like it. It is mated to a 700r4 trans and boy is it nice to drive on the highway with the low revs, my other trucks scream at 70 miles an hour. I have yet to fill the fuel tank so I cannot guess at mileage but it is pretty great.

When the money changed hands the young man who sold it to me looked a little distraught. He watched me load it and waited for me to drive away with it before he himself left where we met. I could tell he really loved the truck, and it was special to him. That's when I started to look at it a little differently. I now can see what he liked about the look of this truck, it certainly has character, and whoever built it really tried to do a good job: I could fool most people (not you, reading this, of course) that the diesel came with the truck in 1972.

As to the wheels and the overall paint scheme... on the way back home one kid almost ran me off the road leaning over his girlfriend with a thumbs up to make sure I knew he liked it.

I have written to the Canadian GM Heritage site for more info on the truck since the original emblems are removed and there is no SPID. The build sheet is on the way, should have it this week. In the meantime I am driving it and will soon get it on a hoist to take a closer look at it. For now, the wheels stay!
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Edmonton, Alberta

1959 Apache
1968 C20
1970 C10
1972 GMC 2500
1981 C10

Last edited by dagnabbitt; 09-03-2021 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:36 PM   #2
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

Been driving this all week on the previous owner's last tank of diesel, it sure gets great mileage. I spent about $30 at the car wash mostly to clean the engine bay, and vacuumed a lot of dog hair and cigarette butts out of the interior. Windexed the glass on the inside and fixed the jammed up seatbelts, it's quite a bit more enjoyable now.

Having got it on the hoist it seems to need a pinion seal, front brake shoes, and a front engine seal. Oil is... thin looking, I don't like the look of it. I bought a pail of Rotella 15/40, going to change the oil, oil filter - of course - and fuel filter. Rear chamber of master cylinder is low on brake fluid but no evidence of leaks, yet.

The box is barely held on the truck by three bolts, maybe. I expect I will do a little work to the box so there are more points for it to secure to the frame, the crossbraces are rusted out but I think I have something that will work. I have a rear dock bumper that I may put on, I think it will suit the truck more than the chrome sport one I have in my parts pile.

For the wheels, although I get a kick out of them because they are so inappropriate, I think they might have to go: they ride terribly and track all over the place, and I can probably sell them for enough money to get some extra parts for this project. Although I usually go for stock in terms of appearance I think that a diesel conversion can just pay homage to stock: I am thinking I will go with the below look that I have admired for a while, except I will go with a gloss black wheel instead of white.
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1959 Apache
1968 C20
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1972 GMC 2500
1981 C10
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Old 09-06-2021, 08:27 PM   #3
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

I bought a dock bumper from someone locally a few months ago even before i bought this truck: I like these bumpers because they tell a story - corny, I know - and because they are absolutely original: no one is repopping something like this so it is automatically authentic. I really like the look of this one, it shows how a person's tastes change over time... I thought these things were the ugliest things going when I was younger and I would have left this one in a ditch without another thought back then.

I particularly appreciate these on a three quarter ton truck, I think it looks good one this one especially.

I call it a dock bumper because you can lay the tailgate all the way down and back right up to a dock with them, perhaps they go by another name. The corners protect your quarter panels quite nicely, and this bumper already had done so for the last truck it was on, it had been tweaked a bit on the passenger side. I gave it some bangs with a sledge to straighten it somewhat.

During the installation process I found that I would have to remove the hitch from below, so I did so. I will get some new grade 8 bolts and reinstall when I have access to a hoist and air tools again.
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1959 Apache
1968 C20
1970 C10
1972 GMC 2500
1981 C10

Last edited by dagnabbitt; 09-06-2021 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:48 PM   #4
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

I realized I have not posted any interior pictures of the truck, and I really should because it is a treat. It's not totally my style but I am going to leave it alone for now... because elements of it really are my style. I do like the unpretentious gearhead aspects of a truck that looks like this and doesn't try to impress you.

The glovebox hides a pretty good sound system - just looked behind the seats and found an amp and a woofer I never knew were there - with NAV, as well as three switches: one for the heater fan (main switch is broken); one for a light "for rolling"; and one to fool the DVD player into thinking you are in park, apparently. The cab has a 60/40 bench out of an 88-89, along with shoulder harnesses which are honestly pretty nice to have since my wife will now ride in it. On the left side the builder frenched in the GLOWPLUG/WATER IN OIL reader which sure enough works well and I refer to it often, as well as a high idle switch. Under the ignition is the switch for the electric fans, which I discovered when I was stuck in traffic the other day.

According the the build sheet the tilt steering is not original to the truck, but it really appears to be an original tilt from one of these trucks. Engine and trans temp as well as a voltmeter have been added to where the original radio was.

Truck is really a blast to drive, I finally filled it up yesterday but I have been driving it everywhere.
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1959 Apache
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1972 GMC 2500
1981 C10

Last edited by dagnabbitt; 09-06-2021 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 09-07-2021, 01:43 PM   #5
68Gold/white
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

I wonder why the PO sold it??? Man, it has some things about it that are home made, but do work!!!
I like it!!!
I don't care for the wheels, but would likely leave them on, if tires are usable...not that big of a deal to me...
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:17 PM   #6
dagnabbitt
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by 68Gold/white View Post
I wonder why the PO sold it??? Man, it has some things about it that are home made, but do work!!!
I like it!!!
I don't care for the wheels, but would likely leave them on, if tires are usable...not that big of a deal to me...
I love the truck, I am driving it everywhere. I looked under the dash expecting to see a rats nest of wires and just found... really clean color coded wires with proper connectors. I am pretty impressed. A lot of this diesel conversion is very custom and I want to take my time understanding how they did it before I make any changes.

But: this week it is getting some attention mechanically, and I have a set of steelies that I hope to get powdercoated soon so those others can go... I kind of like them to be honest, but they just aren't me. I feel like I am going through a mid life crisis driving on them, haha. I figure I can get some good money for them and buy some new rubber though.

I am still hoping to make it my daily driver, more or less, during this winter. Need to do something about those cab corners though.
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1959 Apache
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:20 PM   #7
68Gold/white
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

I missed a chance to buy a one ton school bus. It was a 93 model, was not turbo'd, don't know if it was a 6.2 or a 6.5. Wanted to put it in my 67 C10, for a driver. Someone Waaay out bid me when the bus sold. Would have taken LOT of work, but would have been cool like yours IS!!!
Keep us updated! It will look very innocent with stock wheels. You will turn a lot of heads when folks hear that diesel...LOL
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:49 AM   #8
dagnabbitt
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by 68Gold/white View Post
I missed a chance to buy a one ton school bus. It was a 93 model, was not turbo'd, don't know if it was a 6.2 or a 6.5. Wanted to put it in my 67 C10, for a driver. Someone Waaay out bid me when the bus sold. Would have taken LOT of work, but would have been cool like yours IS!!!
Keep us updated! It will look very innocent with stock wheels. You will turn a lot of heads when folks hear that diesel...LOL
I found a guy to blast and powdercoat my steelies, I am hoping he can get the color I want, sometimes they just have the basics. But anything will be an improvement.
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1959 Apache
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1972 GMC 2500
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:55 AM   #9
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

One of the previous owners was really keen on just being different. It took me a couple days of wondering why the sidemarker lights didn't look right before I gave them a closer look. They appear to be off a van, if I had to guess.

GM helpfully provides dates for all of these little parts and these read "1985". I guess I am going to have to find some stock replacements because I really do not like them. I understand that when on a budget you use what you have on hand, but that really cannot be the case here.
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:21 AM   #10
dagnabbitt
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Re: 1972 GMC 2500 6.2 Diesel

The guy I bought this truck from was certain that it was a body swap, ie that they just put a 72 body on top of a 1989 diesel chassis. I doubted that immensely - which is why I did not mention it earlier in this thread - having been under the truck I could see no evidence that the body and chassis were not meant for each other. There were no bolt holes that didn't belong and no others that seemed added. There were no weird body shims, everything lined up. I have a 1959 Apache on a 1997 Tahoe chassis so I know what to look for, I think. To add to my certainty, the bumper I put on last week literally needed just four bolts: the perfect holes were already there and it needed none of the adjustment that every other bumper install I have ever done had required. It fit like a glove.

I think that he just couldn't fathom any other way that the truck could have a diesel in it. But when ordering brake shoes and a pinion seals I did wonder for a moment. I needn't have worried, the 1972 shoes were the right ones. The rotors were in excellent condition and I left them alone.

The brake shoes were an easy install, sort of, except that when turning the wheel to get at everything I found that I am not crazy, the truck really does not turn right as well as it turns left. Turning left I can get 1 and 7/8 turns out of the wheel; turning right only 1 and 1/4. The tilt steering which I have figured out from the build sheet was not original was installed a bit hastily, the steering box is off center. I will be removing it and reinstalling that I guess.

As to the pinion seal there are a few different ones you can get for a 1972 2500: I ordered the one for the Dana 60, which is what I figured I had. When the box arrived it looked familiar. That's when I realized that I already had one: it was behind the seat in the truck, still in the box. Then when we got under the truck I noted that the u joint had been changed recently... why did they not put the pinion seal in at the same time? Looked like it had been leaking since the 90's. I got my answer when I tried to take off the nut (pinon nut?) and found I could not, even with a half inch socket and a snipe. Then a 3/4 inch impact wrench was used: the entire truck was shaking, dust and mud from 40 years ago was flying everywhere. Nothing, the nut not budge one bit. It was incredible. Finally my friend got out his torch and bbq'd it for a few minutes. At that point the 3/4 inch impact got it off. Clearly the PO had bought the seal, tried to remove the nut, could not manage to do it... and said the hell with it and threw it behind the seat. The diff was down a quart and since it only holds about two quarts, so quite a bit.

While I waited for the nut to cool off enough to reinstall I fixed a corroded wire for the interior light, that was pretty satisfying.

Next week is the crankcase or timing chain seal, this truck is making a mess of the street I park it on and I want to be able to put it in my driveway this winter. Also ordering rear parking brake cables, these are seized. At that point I will find out about the rear shoes and if I need a wheel cylinder, I am losing brake fluid from somewhere.
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1959 Apache
1968 C20
1970 C10
1972 GMC 2500
1981 C10

Last edited by dagnabbitt; 09-13-2021 at 02:48 AM.
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