80's Chevy Grill swap???????


LawnSite Senior Member
Just got a '80 1/2 ton 4x4 shortbed!!!!!!
Been searching for a reasonable one for 7-8 months!
Now that the wheels are already turning, was wondering as I peruse the JC Whitney catalog.
It has the round headlights, & I would like to put the 4 squares on it like my '87 so they look alike. My question is: Can you change headlights without changing the grill, or do you have to swap it too?
Also, do you just unbolt/cut the round bezel housings out of the frame & bolt/weld in the housings for square headlights? How involved of a process is this? What about wiring also?


LawnSite Member
Central Illinois
Don't know for sure about this, but it may involve more that just headlight housings. I saw an article (can't remember where) where a guy put a 90 or 91 Suburban grille on a mid 80's Blazer. He put on all the front fenders, hood, radiator support and all. Go to chuckschevytruckpages.com. He has a link on there to show you part interchangeability between years. He even has a link for a picture showing headlight configuration differences between two years. Hope this helps and that's it not more work than ya thought. Good luck!!


LawnSite Bronze Member
Frames and cabs were the same from 73-77, and then again from 78-87 in pick ups and up as late as 89 in cab chassis, and 91 in the blazer suburbans. The noses were the same from 73-80, 81 and 82 were the same. Then 83-87 were the same as far as trim items go. In your case you will need the radiator support fenders and inner fenders as well as a hood and cowel to make the swap. The 4 head ligh system from your 87 was a silverador set, with the turn signal in back of the grill, and the head lights were stacked on top of each other.
Many years will interchange, but you will have to check as to the exact details you want.


LawnSite Member
Cabs from 73-87 are the same, with only minor changes. Windshield weep holes, galvanized floor pans, and the hinge hole for the 81-87 hood hinges.
Frames were the same from 73-87. The only difference being the crossmembers/cross braces were lightened up with "holes" in them. The transmission crossmember mounting also changed in 79.
Fenders 73-80 were the same. 81-91 are the same.
Grille trim was 73-79, 79-80, 81-82, 83-84, and 85-87.

To change and '80 to an '87, you need the 4 headlight core support, 81-91 fenders, inner fenders, hood support, latch assem. 81-up hood, 81-up lower valence, 81-up cowl plate, 81-up cab hinge and fender spring hinge, Grille, headlight bezels, turn signal lamps, windshield wiper assemlby and post. You will also have to cut a hole in the cab so the cab hinges will mount, and you will have to cut the frame horns so the 83-up bumper will mount.

Basically you need the COMPLETE frontend from the frontend you are wanting to convert to. This includes the pigtails for the new light setup.

A good tech article is found here http://www.off-road.com/chevy/tech/grill/ It has alot of the part numbers you will need.
Here is what the frame horns look like on your truck currently:

Here is what your frame needs to look like for the bumper to mount.

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