Chevrolet Cruze Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,
I apologize in advance for the wall of text, I have a habit of using 1000 words when 100 will do. Also, Mods this is the most appropriate part of the forum I could find for this, if it is in the wrong place please move it or delete it and let me know. Since this is the only forum I visit on a regular basis and the fact that there seems to be a broad spectrum of gear heads and enthusiasts, I thought I'd share my restore project here. I figure I'll go ahead and share my experience, successes, and mistakes. Maybe you'll be entertained, and maybe you'll learn what not to do....

I'd like to introduce my 1979 Chevrolet K-10 pickup.


Lets start with a little history.
My father purchased this truck brand new in 1979 for $3500. As soon as I got my drivers license I bugged my father to give or sell me this truck. About 10 years ago (after 15 years of waiting) my father decided to sell it to me for fair value. As luck would have it for him, fair value was $3500. There was a catch though. I have to offer it to my him first if I ever decide to sell it. There isn't anything different than the tens of thousands of other 73-87 Chevy pickups out there. However, this truck holds a lot of value to me because of the great memories associated with it. Kind of a family heirloom if you will.. Now, that's enough of the sappy stuff, lets get onto the specifics.

The truck currently has 76,000 miles and does run. In fact, I think it's in fair shape considering that it lived it's entire life out in the weather (Wyoming also salts the roads in the winter). The fact that it's over 30 years old is catching up with it's health. The trans leaks a bit of fluid, it's got cancer that's starting to run rampant, needs new shocks, one of the cross members under the bed is broke, the suspension bushings are shot, the interior succumbed to the sun a good long time ago, the trim is faded and falling off, etc. I could go on, but it's depressing. Lets just say that fixing little things 1 at a time is no longer keeping up with deterioration. The truck is all stock with the exception of a minor engine rebuild I did a couple years ago. This unfortunately is also part of what pushed me to do the restore. The rebuild included replacing the piston rings, crank bearings, rod bearings, intake manifold, carburetor, cam, and exhaust. When it came to replacing the piston rings I referred to my repair manual. The manual said if the factory cross hatching was still visible there was no need to re-hone the cylinders. Instead of re-honing the cylinders I went ahead and trusted the manual and installed everything. Maybe I was impatient, or excited, or something. Doesn't matter. The piston rings never set correctly, and the engine continued to burn oil (blow-by)and foul plugs. Last spring I changed the oil and found a small piece of piston skirt in the drip pan. I don't know how long it was like that as the engine was running great other than the oil burning issue. Regardless, I finished changing the oil moved it out behind my garage and that's where it's been until a few days ago. I'm sure I could throw in a new battery and some fresh plugs and gas and it'd run great, but I'm not taking that chance.

So here I am, starting a project that I'm most likely hugely unprepared for. I'll be doing all of the work that doesn't require a specific skill set. I'll start with removing the body, working from the front to the back. Removing everything and storing the body until it's time to take it to the body shop. The engine I'll be stripping to a bare block and giving to the local machine shop for cylinder work, clean up, new cam bearings, and over all health check. This is of course assuming that there is not catastrophic damage. The trans and transfer case will be pulled and sent to the trans shop to be gone through and all seals replaced. I have no problem working on all of the other mechanical parts in the truck, and if it was a manual, I'd dive right in. However, auto transmissions are magic to me, and I have no desire to screw this one up. That leaves me a rolling chassis. I will then work from 1 end to the other removing all bolts and fasteners, cleaning up all parts, replacing bushings/bolts/etc, and painting all of the parts. There will be parts that I may or may not reuse depending on condition, but cheap parts and safety parts will be replaced regardless (brake lines, hoses, etc). I'll be replacing all of the wiring also, after 30+ years I don't trust it, and it's another of those "Since you're there, do it right" situations.

The timeline for this project is wide open. The major limiting factors are going to be time and money. My job keeps me very busy, and my disposable income isn't what I'd like it to be so I won't be finishing this in a month or 2. I expect it'll be this time next year before I take the body to the body shop, but it could be longer. My first purchase for this project will be some dolleys so I can move the truck to the side when not working on it. My Cruze also lives in the garage, and space is at a premium.

As of today, my truck has taken up residence in my garage.


I also took some other pictures before moving the truck into the garage. They aren't anything special, but may (or may not) give a better idea of what I'm working with. You can find them here (I did clean it out). 79 Chevy Truck Photos by Beachenraut | Photobucket

So that's it for today, I hope to start the tear down tomorrow after work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks guys.

I worked a little on the truck tonight. Spent most of the time looking for my service manual, and all of my tools that seem to have scattered themselves around my garage. I got the hood off, and most of the bolts out of the grill.



I would have got farther, but my helper isn't much good for this kind of work.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Got a bit more done tonight. I've gone about as far as I can until I remove the radiator. Draining it now, but it's taking forever using the drain on the radiator. May have to build a makeshift funnel and pull the bottom radiator hose. I've got tomorrow and Monday off for vacation, so hopefully I'll get the front stripped. I've been pleasantly surprised with the bolts so far. After 30+ years, a bit of penetrating oil and they're coming off nicely. It's taking a little longer because I'm bagging and labeling all of the small parts and bolts. The last thing I need is to confuse myself when I'm putting everything back together. Already building a pretty good pile of parts. There's going to be quite a lot of time spent cleaning and painting parts.



Here's how it sits now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Penetrating oil is my friend.....
Got a bit of work done today. Ready to start on the interior and other stuff in the cab. There's still plenty of time left today, but I don't feel like diving into the interior yet.

Here's a pic that shows some of what I'm going to need to do. Each part has to be removed, stripped, cleaned and painted before going back on. The nuts/bolts will be replaced also.



Here's the obligatory progress pic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Getting a bit more done. The cab has been stripped bare and unbolted from the frame. The interior has been by far the most work up to this point. The biggest pain was all of the sharp edges of the metal dash. Removing everything behind and under the dash required a bit of extra care to keep from gashing myself open. Otherwise everything was pretty strait forward. After removing the under-dash wiring harness, I was surprised how little there actually was. All that's left now is to remove the rear bumper, tail lights/wiring, and unbolt the bed. Then it's ready to remove the bed and cab so I have access to the rest of the chassis.



This is my first project of this type, and yesterday my inexperience was pointed out to me. I was asked where I'd drilled my alignment holes. My response was ??????? By drilling small alignment holes, I'd allow myself a quick reference when putting the body back on, and simplifying the alignment and gaps for the body panels. Since I didn't do this, it's going to take extra time to get everything strait and true when I put the body on. Live and learn.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, so I finally have an update. Haven't had much time to work on the truck, just a bit here and there. Anyway, here's the latest.

Removed the body and set the chassis up on wheel dolly's so I could move it around the garage. Here's a pic my wife snapped just after we took the body off. Don't worry, the cab is now sitting on a frame that keeps it off the ground, and is also tarped to keep the water out.


Here is how the project sits now. All of the wiring, fuel tanks, exhaust, drivelines, and various other things have been removed. Now it is just a rolling chassis with the engine and trans bolted in. Hopefully I'll have the engine pulled some time this week, and I can start cleaning off the trans before I pull it. The fun part is about to be over, and the tedium is about to start. I'm not looking forward to dirt/grease/rust removal and prep for painting the chassis.
http://s152.photobucket.com/user/Beachenraut/media/79 Chevy truck/100_0792_zpsbbbca67c.jpg.html


This is what happens when you have leaky head cover gaskets for 30 years.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top