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Old 01-14-2018, 12:57 PM   #1
BlueChev72
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72 C20 Project

After several months of work, I've decided that it's time to document my progress on my 72 C20. I bought it in August of 2017 for $900, plus another $200 to get it delivered. It's got an eight foot bed, a standard cab, coil spring rear suspension, 2 wheel drive, and a granny low 4 speed. It was originally a chassis cab with the 292 six, but one of the previous owners added a bed and put in a V8. It has the block for a 302, 327, or 350, so I've just been guessing it has a 350. It's set up with an Edelbrock aluminum intake, a Holley Rebuilt Quadrajet, long tube headers, and a GM HEI unit. It has power steering, but no factory A/C. Anyway, here's some pictures from the Craigslist ad when I bought it:
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72 C20 Custom, Long Bed, 350 / 4 Speed Manual. "Trash Truck"

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Old 01-14-2018, 01:10 PM   #2
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Re: 72 C20 Project

And here's some from when I got it home:
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:21 PM   #3
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Welcome to the Chevy Truck forums. Nice truck
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:29 PM   #4
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Re: 72 C20 Project

The first real work I did was some basic cleanup and trying to get the motor to run. The engine bay had been invaded by rodents- the truck was sitting in the woods for about eight years before I bought it- so I got a leaf blower and a shop vac, and got most of the mess out of the engine. I replaced the air cleaner, checked out and repaired the wiring, changed the fluids, including the gas you can see below in the bucket, and repaired the chewed up wires in the HEI distributor. I oiled the cylinders with clean 10w-40, then put everything back together. After putting in a new battery and filling the carb fuel bowl with fresh gas, the truck started very easily, although it was smoking from the oil in the cylinders and on the headers.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:45 PM   #5
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Re: 72 C20 Project

This probably wasn't the greatest idea, but after I had it running, I decided to take the truck for a "test drive". This was with no brakes, tires that only hold air for 15 minutes (and later came off the bead), and the engine hotwired, as the ignition switch shorted out. Anyway, it was fun, and it proved to me that the motor was at least strong enough to move the truck, albeit in granny gear. Here's a link to a video of the first drive:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56uAI...ature=youtu.be
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:55 PM   #6
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Re: 72 C20 Project

After replacing the front brake pads, I attempted to bleed the brakes. After running a whole quart of fluid through the system without any coming out of the front bleeder screw, I went around to the back of the truck and realized that my rear brake line had ruptured. In order to make the repair easier, I went ahead and took of the bed, since I would need to do that anyway for paint and bodywork.
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:02 PM   #7
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Re: 72 C20 Project

To remove the bed, I lifted it with an electric hoist and a come along, then drove out from underneath it. In doing so, I unseated the bead on a couple of the tires. After I limped it out from under the bed, I went ahead and bought five used tires for $75 and put them on at school. They're BF Goodrich all-terrains, LT285/75r16. These tires are very worn out, but they hold air, and they should hold up fine until I get the truck on the road and get some nicer ones.
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:08 PM   #8
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Re: 72 C20 Project

After a couple of weekends spent replacing the brake lines and hoses, I finally had the truck where it would stop, or at least I thought that I did. The parking brake still did nothing, and as I was moving the truck into a carport to do some work on the electrical system, I saw that the passenger side rear brake drum had been sticking. After ordering some parts, I started to rebuild the brakes, but I wasn't able to get the drum off. Eventually I gave up and cut the drum off, deciding instead that I would just get the brakes off of a 14 bolt at the local Pick-n-Pull.
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:34 PM   #9
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Re: 72 C20 Project

I ended up buying a complete set of drum brakes from a 1996 Chevy G30 Van. I got the backing plates, the wheel hubs, the drums, and all of the components off and into a wheelbarrow. The parts should have cost me at least $70, but the lady who checked me out only charged me for a brake disc with hub. I didn't care though, because it meant I got the bulk of the conversion parts for the low, low price of $20.99. Besides those parts, I ordered a set of parking brake cables and new wheel cylinders from RockAuto for about $40, and spent about $5 for adapters to connect my existing 7/16 brake line fittings to the 3/8 fitting on the new brakes. All in all, I think that I got a pretty good deal, considering how much bigger the new brakes are (13 inches instead of 11), and how much easier it will be to get parts. Right now, I am just waiting on my new wheel cylinders, then I can finally install my new brakes, and get my truck to stop and have a parking brake.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:12 PM   #10
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Re: 72 C20 Project

sHE LOOKS LIKE A GREAT START, NICE AND STRAIGHT, oops caplocks
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:34 PM   #11
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuke1 View Post
sHE LOOKS LIKE A GREAT START, NICE AND STRAIGHT, oops caplocks
Thanks. As far as I know this truck has spent its whole life in the South, so besides the bottoms of the door skins, the cab corners, and the bed floor, it really only has surface rust. Pretty good for what used to be a work truck.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:28 PM   #12
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Re: 72 C20 Project

There were a couple of snow days this week, so I had a lot of time to work on the truck this week. The first thing I did was to install a manual choke. The carburetor was set up for the intake mounted choke, but all of that stuff was missing, so I went ahead and bought a manual conversion kit for about $13 at Bumper to Bumper. I drilled a hole down the center of the choke shaft, mounted the s-shaped piece from the kit with a self-tapping screw, and attached the included bracket to the intake manifold bolt. Then I drilled a hole through a firewall for the cable to pass through, and a hole in the dash right next to the door to mount the choke handle. I tested it, and I was able to start the motor in 15 degree weather, so I'm satisfied with how it works. Here's some pictures of the setup:
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:33 PM   #13
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Re: 72 C20 Project

After getting the choke in, I went ahead and put my bench seat back. There had been a phone book under the seat, and rodents had gotten in, so the whole cab floor was a complete mess. I had removed the seat to get the area cleaned up, and now that I had everything taken out, I was ready to put it back in. Before I did though, I went ahead and installed a pair of gun racks that I had around in the back window.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:39 PM   #14
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Today I got the new drum brakes installed. They're 13 by 3.5 inch brakes from a 1 ton van, with new springs and wheel cylinders. I went ahead and re-used the old brake pads, as new ones were pretty expensive, and the old ones still had plenty of friction material left. My guess is the van they came off of had a fresh brake drum before the owner gave up and sold it to the junkyard. I also got new parking brake cables. I'll need to fabricate some sort of adapter to connect them to the existing system, but it looks pretty simple. These should provide a good increase in stopping power though, and parts for 14 bolt brakes are a lot easier to find than parts for Eaton brakes.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:40 PM   #15
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Here's pictures for the last post:
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:52 PM   #16
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Re: 72 C20 Project

So it's been a few weeks... The clutch went out on my daily driver Subaru, so I had to take three Saturdays or so to fix that, and didn't have the opportunity to work on the C20. I got it done though- except now it has an exhaust leak and it sounds like it has a fart can. Not good. Anyway, I ended up doing a little on the C20 this week. The first thing I did was to wire up my tachometer, hooking it up to the dash light circuit as well. I also cleaned all of the windows (I haven't even pressure washed it since I bought it), and installed new windshield wipers. I also put in a new headlight switch ($8 from Rock Auto) and added in a set of Harbor Freight gauges- Water temperature and Oil Pressure. The set came with an ammeter, but I decided to pass on that in case it were to short out. I think that I'm going to order a vacuum gauge off Ebay too, and try to use that to set my ignition timing. Sorry I don't have any pictures, but it was dark by the time I finished (working outside). I'll try and get some pictures next time I get the chance.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:41 PM   #17
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Here's the pictures for the last post:
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:51 PM   #18
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Re: 72 C20 Project

This weekend, I managed to make a massive amount of progress on the truck. The most important was rebuilding the front brake calipers and replacing the hoses. The calipers themselves were pretty straightforward, but the hoses were a challenge. I had bought a set at NAPA, but they were barely long enough, so I found a set off of a 73 or so Pontiac that fit and were the right length. After being bled, all of the brakes work great. I fixed my turn signals, the problem being that I had removed the fuse earlier. A simple replacement was all I needed. I also replaced most of my light bulbs in the process. In addition to the turn signal fuse, I replaced the wiper fuse, so those work now too. Finally, dropped the bed back onto the truck. It was a little sketchy using an electric hoist and a come along to lift it, but I got it on safely, and bolted it down with new hardware. Now all I need to do to get it more or less roadworthy is to fix the brake lights and tune the engine a little bit (Work my manual choke out, set the timing, and get the idle nice and even).
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:59 AM   #19
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Good progress
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:04 PM   #20
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Re: 72 C20 Project

At this point, I have managed to work the engine out with a vacuum gauge, and I permanently mounted said gauge in the cabin. I also discovered my brake light issue- there was a loose connection under the dashboard. I also painted my mirrors and put them back together and on the truck. One of the studs had broken off of the passenger side mirror, but i managed to fix it by welding a bolt where the stud had been. Finally, I got started adapting my parking brake cable. I tried to bolt one of my brackets on, but I discovered that you can't drill through the rear suspension arms with my setup, so instead I plan to weld it on later.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:07 PM   #21
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Vacuum Gauge:
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:08 PM   #22
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Mirrors:
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:15 PM   #23
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Re: 72 C20 Project

I also have some pictures of the truck itself. The first is it parked next to my grandfather's 1973 F100. It really shows how nice and compact the 67-72 Chevies are compared to other trucks around that time. The second pic is the truck pulling an empty utility trailer. I was curious as to how well the hitch geometry worked with my tires, and it seemed to do fine. The other three pictures are from a high tension power line easement.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:21 PM   #24
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Re: 72 C20 Project

On the way to take the power line pictures from the last post, I managed to get the truck up to 40 MPH for about a minute. That's the fastest the truck has gone for eight years, and it was an interesting experience. The brakes worked wonderfully, although I could hear the front discs dragging where the new pads haven't been broken in yet. My main concern, however, was just how little power the truck seemed to have. My theory is that the throttle linkage is mis-adjusted, and that having the pedal to the floor only gave me about 1/2 or less throttle. I intend to adjust the linkage and re-evaluate, but if that doesn't work, I'll probably end up buying another quadrajet on Craigslist and rebuilding it. Besides that, however, the truck seemed to do very well on the road, although admittedly at a rather low speed.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:21 PM   #25
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Re: 72 C20 Project

Also, here's another power line pic:
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