1985 Truck Build

April 14, 2020

After selling my JEEP and being idle for a couple of years I realized I am missing dirt and sweat, busted knuckles, empty beer cans and spent gun shells rolling on the cab floor...missing the adventure. So I decided to build another adventure vehicle to run around the mountains, deserts, canyons and the local mud pits.

I always wanted to have an American truck... and a Square Body Chevy represents that truck to me. So this time as good as ever to get one. I patiently searched for almost a year and finally picked up just a right truck for me.


February 1, 2019

So many plans and ideas... I just need some money, time and a lot patience...


The guy who sold me this truck, told me it has a bad 305 motor...and bad steering pump. Other than that still in pretty good shape.


December 22, 2019


Started by removing old worn out motor. When I finally got to the block casting number (what a pain the ass that was) I find out its' actually 350.


Here comes out the old smoky beast...Stood there with a cold beer in my hand and scratched my head for many hours...all the random parts, wiring and hoses...I hope I will be able to put all the things back together. Well, we will worry about it later...right now everything is coming off and going straight to the box...


The random things I had no idea that exist:

     * Truck has a TV Cable

     * VGR Valve and Solenoid

     * Mechanical Fuel Pump

     *Air Pump and bunch of other Emissions Crap...that is still a mystery to me

     * Rochester Quadrajet Carburetor


January 31, 2020


I spend so many days cleaning random parts...spraying them with Easy- Off, soaking, scrubbing, washing...repeat again and again, day after day...


It seems there are no end to all those dirty parts... I keep pulling them out of the box...and they do not end...parts, hoses, brackets, bolts...


Instead rebuilding the old 350 I found myself another, already rebuild 350 small block...so after parting with some cash...I was home with a new block. 


Back to cleaning again...day after day, can after can of Easy-Off and lots of cleaning, drying, painting...


 ...day after day...


One part at the time...it was all coming together... 


Her is a slide-show of several pictures to illustrate how well Easy-Off Oven Cleaners really works...This thing is fantastic ! (Use rubber gloves...or it will eat the skin off the hands).


February 22, 2020


Borrowed friends Dad's shop and set out to install motor today... After laying on the wet tarp for a month, flat and dry surface was a pleasure to work on.


Surprisingly it was pretty straight forward and with a help from a friend to lift the transfer case in place I was done in couple of hours. Ok....that was way too easy...am I missing something?


Next couple of days I spend installing the wiring harness, radiator for the engine and transmission...adding water and oil...


It takes Dodge...and apparently SAE and Metric wrenches and sockets to build a Chevy...


March 7, 2020


Well, the motor is running... oil pressure is stable at 35-40 psi, water temp is steady...

I did had couple of snags along the way... first was my timing was 180 Out...so it took me a day of talking to friends to figure this out.... Then oil pressure was maxed out on the gauge... changed sanding unit, gauge...same problem +100 psi. Ordered mechanical gauge...installed...no problems....pressure at 40-45 cold, 30-35 hot.


March 11, 2020


In the next couple of weeks I Installed Oil pressure gauge, tachometer...replaced break master cylinder, flushed breaks lines, replaced transfer case oil, installed drive shaft...fenders, hood and bed back... 


March 23, 2020


Ended up removing power steering gear box and replacing input shaft seal...it was a gusher. Found couple of loose bolts on the top of the gear box making another leakage... all working and no more leaks. 


April 11, 2020


Washed the truck today and took it for a first drive... Drove around the town, got some gas, visited some friends... Motor and transmission works good...have couple of minor oil leaks nothing serious. 


May 19, 2020


New headlights and turn signals came in today....replaced and fixed wiring. All lights working except the drivers side turn signal. Some fishy things happening there....light is ether ON all the time or none...no blinking whatsoever...All other turn signals working fine, front and back... Will leave this for later... It's 106 F outside...and I just don't want to deal with this crap right now.


The entire month of May I was preoccupied with vacuum hoses, connectors...PCV valves and such...but on one evening as the sun was going down...the vacuum system and all emissions stuff was complete...


Installed missing gear selector indicator and fired up.... runs great. 


April 27, 2020


Fabricated OBD-1 scanning tool from some old paper clip...and checked the codes... Flash, Flash.... Flash, Flash, Flash....GM code -13. Oxygen sensor circuit... Quick trip to the AutoZone, new O2 sensor...reset....same problem. 


Pulled ECM out...check the circuit...


Wasted couple of evenings until found pin 14 (O2 ground) brown wire not connected to anything inside the engine compartment... quick fix, reset..start...no codes or "Check Engine" light...done. 


 June 8, 2020


Fixed friends lift today and got under the truck to fix the leaking oil pan seal... it was so much easier to work on my feet vs on the back...

Couple hours of afternoon heat and sun and I was done...new gasket, oil filter and 5 quarts of fresh oil... done for today.



On the good note I find out that my motor is a four bolt...so I guess that is a good thing. 


June 9, 2020


Day off today...so I added some fresh air to the tires and took a long way to the smog shop... couple of hours later I was home...FAILED: 

      Fuel cap seals cracked on both tanks = Fail.

      Vacuum hose blue color = Fail.

      Snap Test producing black smoke = Fail.

Everything else as good as new... I have 30 days to get back for a free retest.


Ordered gas tank caps, black vacuum hose...easy fix. As for the black smoke have to find someone who can tune my Quadrajet 17085508 carburetor...the truck is running too rich.


While checking on the carburetor model I found an old air filter ...all caked up and gross .... Dumb me, I got all excited and forgot to change the air filter... It's very plausible that motor was starving on air all the time...burning too much of fuel and trowing black smoke... So I got a new air filter and going to test again tonigh....


Later That Day: Nope, that was not the case...still trowing black smoke on Snap Test.... spoke with someone I know, who specializes in Quadrajet carburetors... he advised me to buy rebuild kit and he will help me to rebuild the carburetor... 


June 12, 2020


Bought a carburetor rebuild kit from quadrajetpower.com dropped off carburetor to my friend and took off camping...


June 30, 2020


Today I got the carburetor back... so I took a day off and got to work. Replaced all vacuum lines, installed new gas caps and carburetor. Warmed up truck and headed back to the SMOG place...


An hour later - PASS. headed straight to the AAA office and got my registration sticker... 


And so on the last day of June of year 2020...the truck once again become a street legal machine... Off we go cruising down the country roads...



To Be Continued....

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