View Full Version : Let the restoration begin

04-21-2001, 11:10 PM
WEll everyone, i am just dropping a line to let everyone know that the restoration of my 1979 K-20 WILL begin this week. I have already done so much to the truck, replaced the floors, rockers, cab corners, around the rear wheels, new fenders, etc. But, stupid me, i left the truck in primer, saying "ill finish it soon" So two years later, im redoing it all, but itll be great when im done. Im leaving the floors, they were done right. I also did door skins, but im replacing the doors, got brand new ones, new fenders, inners, rockers, and a really mint tailgate. Im psyched, but my wallet is a little nervous. I also have to do the body mounts, and that isnt going to be too much fun. Oh well, thats the price we all must pay to own one of the older chevys. Ill keep you posted.


04-22-2001, 12:03 AM

04-22-2001, 12:35 AM
Yeah, why are you starting the resto of a vehicle with so many problems? These trucks are really cheap. The only reason I started restoring my 73 is because I have 3 other parts trucks. Otherwise I would have bought a good foundation first. How much have you spent so far on parts?

04-22-2001, 08:45 AM
Well, I bought my 79 two years ago for $1,500. The truck is a K-20, with a 350, 4 speed and a 205 t- case. The truck has origional mileage, 90,000 and the motor has 60,000 miles on it. bought it from a friend who got it to tow his race car 6 times a year. He had it for 1 year, and he got it from an old guy who towed his boat with it. He was the origional owner. Wasnt a bad buy for me. I worked in body shops and thats where i did some of the work. The floor pans, cab corners, rockers, door skins, etc. Then, last april, i bought a 78 c-10 from another friend, with a 350, and TH-400. He needed to get rid of it cause he didnt have money to finish the truck, so i got it for 500 bucks. It had BRAND NEW GM PARTS!!! Fenders, inner fenders, Hood, aftermarket door shells, but they fit beautifully. Also, had a great bed and good running motor which i sold and made back more than the 500 i invested in the parts truck. I also kept the rad support and tailgate, which was used, but in great shape. Im restoring the truck cause i love it for some reason, and i am 19, so the bills for other stuff arent really there YET. Im still motavated so im going for it, and its gonna be mint when its all done. All i have to buy is the stuff for the windows in the doors, 1 new regulator and the new rubber and tracks. So altogether in the truck, not including the 500 for the parts truck, cause i made that back, i might have about $2,000. This also includes a new oil pan, pump, valve covers, and some gaskets. Maybe $2,200. Its gonna take a while,but ill get it done, and this time, its getting paint!!! Talk to you guys later.

04-22-2001, 09:20 AM
i bought my 79 k20 silverado for 1500 with a blown engine now 5000 later i have got the truck i want and no payment i would go for it and fix it up .

04-22-2001, 02:09 PM
Good luck to you then.

Jeff's Classics
04-23-2001, 10:21 PM
Hey, go for it if it's what you want.
I bought my '76 from the original owner with 89K on the clock. 454, dual A/C, TH400, and all original. In the last 6 months I've changed ALL the fluids, replaced the radiator, recharged the A/C, rebuilt the carb, rebuilt the PS pump, done a valve job, repainted the engine and brackets, replaced all hoses and belts, resealed the A/C ductwork, installed new hinge pins and bushings, added headers and a Performer intake with new 2-1/2" exhaust, and put in a nice stereo. It is paid for, I take GREAT pride in it, and I have about $6K in it, which a ton less than a new Suburban costs!
Have fun!

04-25-2001, 10:50 PM
Wow, sounds like you have done a bit of work yourself. Im sure it turned out great when you were done. Mine will too I think, because I am going to do things the right way. Thanks for your support.


It will be fun.

04-26-2001, 08:42 PM
Sounds like you have a great project!!! I say go for it!! I thought my project truck was in good shape until I found ALOT of Bondo. Since then, I have replaced both doors and bed sides. Now I am working on replacing the cab, front left fender, and the frame(the frame under it is from a longbed that was cut down). Lots of work but like you, I love the truck for some crazy reason. Good Luck!!

04-26-2001, 08:55 PM
badtoy76 - one of the nice things about having a '73 - '87 Chev/GMC "project truck" is the fact that body parts are readily available & fairly affordable (even here in Canada!) - I don't even worry about repairing doors/fenders/inner fenders if they're badly rusted, just toss 'em & replace 'em.

And repair panels for the cab are also readily available.

As far as what I call "idiot parts" (trim pieces, switches, hood latch etc) there's plenty of availability there too - either in junkyards or specialty companies that deal in Chevy truck components. Now, finding parts for my '78 Capri (built in Europe, imported by Ford in the '70's) is a different story!

Definitely "go" for this project Rich - and do keep us posted on progress!

04-30-2001, 04:39 PM
I was thinking about this thread this am while reading an article in the newspaper regarding the 73-87 GM/Chevy pickups and the recall on them, seems there are fewer fires regarding these trucks because there are fewer of them on the road but the recall didnt apparently go far enough and a group in CA wants to get all those year trucks off the road. Kinda like what happened to the Stanza station wagon of mid-80s, it was made illegal to re-register them and virtually all made were sent back to Japan to be crushed. This is the direction these folks from L.A. would like to see these trucks headed.

04-30-2001, 06:20 PM


04-30-2001, 06:54 PM
OK, I just went and put "flammable" placards on my '75 dually and '79 welding truck. Can't take a chance, you know. Glad those people are here to tell us these things, I've been driving a firebomb since '86 and didn't know it. :( This sounds like a combination of "people with too much time on their hands" and media sensationalism to me. Keep in mind that typically, the media isn't overly well informed about their subject and isn't hesitant about spicing up a story to make it sell better.

The only thing that scares me is, as a result of our litigation-happy society, this may get taken seriously by politicians with votes to buy. These trucks first came out well over 2 decades ago, and have been out of production for at least a dozen years now - where was all the fuss back then?

No doubt in my mind that, if this goes through and all the old Chevy's are gone, those folks from LA will suddenly realize that all the old Ford/Dodge/etc trucks are potential deathtraps and lobby to have them banned too.

cajun 1
04-30-2001, 08:57 PM
They can ban all they want..they'll never get my 73..it will rot first...

05-01-2001, 12:16 PM
I agree with cajun...They can have my truck when they pry my cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel!!!

05-02-2001, 01:10 AM
after all the work I have done on my 73 if they even think about trying something like this, uh, um, their lawns are toast! :) Seriously though, I would drive my truck until they fought through hell to take it from me.

05-04-2001, 07:41 PM
I believe the problem was the gas tank placement/position.
It doesn't have any protection in a collision.
Let me know if I'm wrong on this!

05-04-2001, 07:54 PM
As I understand it DMC, the problem is as you stated: Gas tank position is vulnerable in a side impact situation - for example, a T-bone crash at an intersection. Fuel spillage/fire resulting from either a ruptured tank or failure of the fuel filler hose is the main concern.

Granted, diesel is less volatile than gasoline but it would seem to me those fuel tanks on the "big guys" are just as vulnerable - and believe me, they 'ain't that substantial!

Again I say: this design on the Chev/GMC trucks came out back in 1973 and the last one was built back around the end of the '80's. Where was all the fuss THEN?

05-04-2001, 10:58 PM
I removed the driver's side tank on mine. Since I only needed one I figured there is always going to be somebody driving but not always somebody in the pass seat. 50% chance of living now:) That is of course if I don't get hit in the pass and gas is thrown on me and "poof" I turn into a match.

05-04-2001, 11:00 PM
and you could always secure a tank in the back, or buy one of those high impact racing tanks. I think they are supposed to be much tougher. Course they wouldn't just bolt right in.

05-05-2001, 12:13 AM
<--- isnt very worried about any of the side impact stuff...so many trucks on the road and why dont you hear about it until now? Because it could happen! BUT how often does it happen? Until I start feeling like a driving bomb more so than in any other car on the road its probably gonna stay how it is

05-05-2001, 11:02 PM
i was 4 wheeling when i got hung up on a pile of dirt the truck high- centered when i got home after getting pulled off the hill i noticed fuel leaking out of one tank the bolt that hold the seatbelt on is long it had put a hole in the gas tank i think that this is what is causeing the problems with the fuel tanks it you were in a wreck this bolt could puncture the tank causeing a fire

05-08-2001, 12:57 AM
If you do it right, a tank will bolt into the back of these trucks.
That is a '87 Blazer tank mounted in my frame rails. The only extra piece is an 1" angle for mounting the straps. Everything else came on the truck, I just moved them.

BTW, as for the timebomb reference, I was in my opinion all a crock of bull. And all of the "experiments" showing them explode used ignitors.

05-08-2001, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by 4x4k20
i bought my 79 k20 silverado for 1500 with a blown engine now 5000 later i have got the truck i want and no payment i would go for it and fix it up . here is what my truck looks like now

05-08-2001, 08:35 PM
4x4k20: Picture's worth a thousand words! I like it!

Regarding your words ".......I have got the truck I want and no payment I would go for it and fix it up", I feel the same way:

MY truck is built to MY specs, is paid for and will be around for a long time yet! 'Course, it's not as shiny as yours is right now, nothing some minor bodywork & paint can't fix.................

05-10-2001, 09:54 AM
Gas vapors are what explodes, not the liquid. Its only once the vapors ignite that the liquid burns.

The design engineers need to develop a safer fuel system like a fuel cell, I mean people have developed a gel battery which basically eliminated acid leakage, so it can be done if they put their collective minds to it.

They could also develop a more efficent,yet comparatively powered engine IF THEY WANTED TO !!!

Trouble is THEY DON'T WANT TOO !!

The tank pics in a previous post shows the tank mounted bewteen the rails, simple and relatively easy to do, you just basically have to relocate your spare(who doesn't do this anyway.)

But, This way of mounting WILL NOT eliminate an explosion if your rig is rear ended hard enough.:cool: