We finish up the 1980 Chevrolet truck project…for now!

You know how it goes…It is hard to stop once you get started detailing or cleaning a particular area, in this case the engine compartment.

1980 Chevrolet Truck battery box A battery box that looks like this can not go back. I think you agree!


1980 Chevrolet Truck battery box new

The popularity of these trucks makes for a very healthy aftermarket industry supplying anything you want. For about 50 clams this two part battery box showed up at my door.


1980 Chevrolet Truck Brakes after urunary explosion

I noticed that the brake pedal was a bit low during the drive. Turns out that the rear brake cylinders endured a urinary explosion. Well, it looks like it’s been going on for a while. Funny thing, the braking performance did not really changed much. It tells you how much we rely on the front brakes on a vehicle.

In any event, with the powerful V8 installed we have to have good brakes in all corners. Back to that Very World Wide Wild Web again and within days I have brand name brake shoes, cylinders and hardware kit for pocket change. Working on a domestic truck that that was made by the billions has it’s advantages.

1980 Chevrolet Truck Brakes after repair

There! Mo betta. (yup, technical term)

1980 Chevrolet Truck Brake Drum painted

Small detail but important to any verified sufferer of OCD. I just realized that I can see the rusty drum through the slots in the wheels. That’s a no-no so I added a coat of wrinkle finish black to the drum.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck side

See! Well no see! Now you can’t see the rusty drum beaming out through the slots.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck rear

With the bumper in the right location and the truck all detailed we got our self a decent parts hauler. The 2 1/2 inch stainless dual pipes make sure everybody knows we have V8 power.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck front side

Damn it! Now I have to fix up the interior! No rest for the wicked!

1980 Chevrolet Truck, we finish the exhaust

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust rear bumper height

When I originally installed this chrome bumper it really bugged me that it did not go all the way up to the tailgate and it left this ugly gap. This would be the time to remedy this.

Also, I want to install this Draw-Tite trailer hitch that I picked up at the scrapper for twenty buckaroos. The ball/hitch on the chrome bumper is not heavy duty enough to haul a trailer.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust spare plate

This bracket holds the spare tire in place but it sticks out to far and interfears with the dual exhaust so I plan to “chop” it. Also, the long bolt holding it is using one of the holes that will be occupied by the bolts for the trailer hitch. I have a plan for that too…we get to that later.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck dual spare bracket

“Chopped spare tire holder bracket thingy”


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust plasma

In order to bring the bumper up I had to elongate the mounting holes. I can spend hours drilling or filing or I can engage my FAVORITE tool in the shop. The Plasma cutter. Bought at one of those discount tool houses when it was on sale and they accepted a 20% coupon on top of the sale price. They litterly gave it to me.

Side note: Mmmm…I never look at myself from this angle and why would I? It’s pretty thin up there…well, more like bare! Oh well, who cares! Moving on…


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck rear paint

While I had the bumper removed I took the opportunity to clean up the area behind the bumper and paint it. I used etching primer and then a coat of semi gloss black.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust mc lift

Mo betta!…don’t you think? It’s sometimes the small things that makes the overall look work. Here you can see another favorite tool: My motorcycle lift. Great for…you know…lifting things!


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust hanger

To make sure the shiny tail pipes stay in place I will use these clamps. However, I don’t like when the “shoulder” of the clamp ends up on the bottom and you can see it from behind.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck clamp top

The solution is to weld the shoulder to the hanger. That way you will only see the thin U-bolt wrapping the exhaust.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust stainless tip

Even though it looks like a megaphone at this angle it is actually 2.5 inch of polished stainless tubing. It will serve as tail pipes. Polished stainless and chrome will make the vehicle go faster.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust tip

It just so happens that the bumper had a hole in it right above where the pipes will go. I am pretty particular as to where the pipes end up when finished. I want it to come out one inch and about the same distance to the bumper above the pipe.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust stable

This way I can install the tail pipes exactly where I want them and then then I will build the exhaust to meet them. That way the tail pipes will be at the location I want. The outer clamp will of course be removed when it’s all done. Also, here you can see the benefit of the “upside down” clamp previously mentioned.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust mandrel bent

“Mandrel bent to go”

I jumped on that big WWVWW (World Wide Very Wild Web) and bought a selection of bends in 2.5 inch diameter. 45, 90 or 180 degrees, take you pick. Works great when you build a system.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust X

X-factor: The early crossover connection in the system is suppose to make it quieter and offer more bottom end. I will be the judge of that!


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust pipes

Tail pipes to go

The polished stainless material welds very nice to the mild steel pipes. I like to paint it past the weld with high temp paint so the welds don’t rust.

The long bolt that holds the spare tire bracket was using one of the bolt holes now occupying by the trailer hitch.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck exhaust spare plate holder

This is that long bolt that holds the spare tire carrier. I cut off the top and welded on a coupling nut that will attach to one of the bolts holding the hitch.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck spare tire holder

Like so.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck dual exhaust

Tada! Here we are…I got duals, man! Wroom-Wroom!

Something about duals that make grown men act like children. Anyway, after that social observation I fired up the truck and the V8 sounds great. A little on the loud side but I have to see (well, listen) once I hit the freeway. Wroom-Wroom!…did I say that already?

Wouldn’t you rather have a V8?

No, not some juice in a can, I am talking fire breathing, testosterone laden, tire shredding, rumbling good ‘ol American V-Eight?? Of course you do!

You may remember what we started with: A Mr. Goodwrench 350 engine pulled from a van. The engine did not see many miles before the van itself expired. However, the engine was still ugly and it is not possible to just throw this engine in a vehicle without detailing it or the engine compartment. That would simply be un-American! It would also not be compatible with my OCD.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8 with chrome

All new hoses, belts, water pump, fuel pump, complete distributor, wires and plugs should make for a very dependable truck.  With a healthy dose of chrome and a detailed engine compartment it will also be a pleasure to pop the hood and check oil from time.

I just put the mufflers temporarily on the header collectors so I could go around the block for a quick test drive. It feels very strong and smooth. Oil pressure shows 5 lbs on the gauge. It is a far cry from the gutless straight six for sure. I need to install a complete exhaust system so I can really tune it and put my foot in it.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8 with chrome wheels

Yes, I know, I have too many signs…The good news: I now have a V8 powered truck that I can haul the six cylinder engine to the scrapper with…fast!

So…let’s get exhausted:

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8 dual exhaust

I opted for 2.5 inch system from start to finish. The crossover will quiet down the note somewhat and also help with bottom end torque. “Turbo” mufflers should give it a nice rumble.

Stand by for duals…wroom-wroom!

1980 Chevy truck V8 install progress

You would think that replacing a six cylinder engine and installing a V8 in a vehicle that was originally designed to host such an engine would be easy. Well, it IS easy but there are several items that need attention: Wiring, cables and other fitment issues comes up and have to be dealt with.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck bay

Engine bay all cleaned up and painted. Not show car stuff but stock looking and neat.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck chrome engine

Wroom-Wroom! (automotive technical term) Chromed up Chevy small block ready to go in.


It became quickly clear that the flange on the “stainless” headers were not so…ahem…stainless. The manufacturer just welded the tubes to ferrous metal flanges and called it a day…or night depending what time it was.

With the sharp laser cut edges and total lack of corrosion protection all you have to do is walk in to the garage and mention the word “moisture” and they would start to rust.
Maybe to the Chinese manufacturer or the US importer “stainless” just really mean “partially stainless” Hell, it could be a cultural thing that I should really respect.

Also, based on the location of the flange bolt holes it is also very clear that Chevrolet small blocks are smaller in China. Looks like about 1/8 of an inch or so. Maybe they shrink during ocean transport? You know, just like cereal settles in the bottom during transport.

After several hours of filing and grinding the headers also fits the American small block.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck headers black

I radioused the edges and painted the flanges black. I can’t have shiny stainless tubes attached to rusty flanges.


Since the hood was off I thought I will clean it inside and out.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck hood

I friend said that I am going down a slippery slope by polishing the 33 years old one step GM metallic. You know what…he is right. Short of clear coating the paint it will dull again. However, my OCD takes over and I can’t leave it alone. So after a polish it’s time for a real world challenge: On the passenger side: Meguiars “High Tech” Carnuba wax and on the driver side we have Nu Finish Polish. We will expose this truck to a wet and crappy Washington fall and winter and we will see if there is any difference.


1980 Chevrolet C10 truck hood shinny

After the polish and wax it is almost as shinny as the shiny 1937 Ford in the background.

More later…

Project 1980 Chev Truck: If it is not fast enough…CHROME IT !!

Upgrading to a stock Mr. Goodwrench V8 engine is not much to write home about but it will certainly be more exiting than the completely smogged out 6 cylinder 4.1 liter paper weight that was occupying the engine bay on our shop truck.

1980 Chevrolet Truck old engine

This thing is not only gutless, it is ugly too. Out it goes. It will be recycled and probably melted and made in to an iPhone frame or something high tecky.

I opted for the V8 engine because I need more power when I use the truck for towing. Besides, there are few engine sounds that are more pleasant  than the rumble from the good ‘ol American V8.

One way to get more power out of a stock engine is to add more chrome. The more chrome the faster it will go. I do say on our FAQ page that a tasteful amount of chrome is preferred. This was before I went shopping for SBC chrome. SBC as in Small Block Chevy. I have for the longest time worked with Olds, Buick and foreign engines and just about everything is expensive for them. However, in the SBC world they practically GIVE you the shiny stuff.
I mean, valve covers for ten bucks or an SS-454 air cleaner clone runs twenty bucks.

Because of this I decided to clad said SBC with stupid amounts of chrome. Why? Because I can! Because it’s cheap! Because it’s fun!

Sort of a Small Block Parody!

Here is the current chrome shopping list:

Valve covers
Air Cleaner
Heater hose fitting
Upper and lower alternator brackets
Water pump pulley
Crank pulley
Power steering pulley
Thermostat housing
Timing tab
Fuel pump
Fuel pump plate
Fuel Pump Fitting
Plug wire holders
Polished stainless headers

1980 Chevrolet Truck engine bolts

…and of course a pile chrome bolts to install the chrome with.


1980 Chevrolet Truck engine compartment

Now I have to detail the engine compartment as well but hey…it has to look good now with the new shiny chromed out engine, right?

After pressure washing it looks like this. Some primer and a coat of GM chassis satin black with take care of this.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 engine distributor

I also replaced the water pump and the whole distributor. The A-1 Cardone water pump was twenty bucks and a complete 65K distributor complete with coil was forty nine bucks. Like I said, they give this 350 stuff away.


1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 engine motor mounts

A set of new motor mounts where called in to hold on to the V8 with the torque fest starts.

More later…



Does chrome really make an engine faster?

In the interest of hot rod research we will sacrifice and do this, that’s the kind of folks we are.

While we were cleaning up the V8 engine destined for action in the 1980 Chevrolet shop truck the idea came to do some testing.

We will take one ugly three-fitty Chebby V8 and see if will turn out as a fire breathing Testosterone laden American Vee Eight we hope for by adding stupid amounts of CHROME!  This is what we have amassed so far:

Cheap Chrome

The plan is to see how much Cheap, Chinsey, Crappy, Chinese Chrome we can add to a small block! Maybe we can cover the whole thing!

Cheap Chrome Cost

We have spent a whopping $163.74 for all the chrome above. After time and material it is actually cheaper to buy a chrome altenator bracket that what it would cost to clean, prime and paint the same!
Crazy huh?

1980 Chevrolet Truck headers

$149.00 for stainless headers. I could not even buy the material for that.

This is actually the ANTI chrome project!


Chevrolet shop truck get some attention

The 1980 Chevrolet Plain Jane shop truck has been ignored for too long. It got a set of Buick Road Wheels a while back and that definitely helped the looks but it was still lacking power (and the right sound!)

I like the 70’s and 80’s Chevrolet truck as they are soo simple and cheap to work on. Parts are available everywhere, both new and reproduction.

The tail lights needed attention. Your Humble Editor is plagued by a serious allergy to cracked lenses. Cracked lenses is a sign of ignorance and lack of respect for the vehicle…did I make that clear? Not the lens, the statement!


1980 Chevrolet Truck tail light old

These old lenses aren’t making it. Also, they are the plain version without chrome.

1980 Chevrolet Truck tail light new

Adding the Silverado style light with chrome bezels adds to the look. The fact that I spent six bucks on brand new lenses did not hurt either! Also, as you know, a fair amount of chrome make the vehicle go faster and offers better fuel mileage.

1980 Chevrolet Truck tailgate

Now that’s a nice tail! (Uh, I said tail!) I plan to raise the bumper closer to the tail gate and add a heavy duty trailer hitch.

1980 Chevrolet Truck new windshield front

I also had the cracked front windshield replaced and added the chrome trim that goes around the shield. It really brightened up the rig. The total cost was $190.00…installed. Can’t argue with that.

1980 Chevrolet Truck side

There she is…I think I got a really decent shop truck for not much money. Now I think we need to match the good looks with some power.

1980 Chevrolet Truck engine 6 cyl

This truck is powered by an anemic 4.1 liter six cylinder engine. I have tried to destroy this engine so I have a reason to replace it with a V8 but no go. I have brought it way past it’s rev limit and you can hear the engine and long crank go in to some sort of harmonic (not so harmonic ;-)) convulsions…but no, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking, just like that Timex watch.

Nevertheless, it has no power so out it goes.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8

Mr. Goodwrench to the rescue. I found this three-hundred-and-fifty cubic inch American Power Plant in a van on Whidbey Island. I heard it run before it was pulled and it sounded great.

Interesting Fact: According to the American Journal of Hot Rod Doctors: Nine out of ten doctors say that men have cancelled their boner pills after installing an American V8.

Remember what I said about Chevrolet and cheap? Let’s just use inexpensive instead, it sounds better. Aftermarket chrome for these engines is as common as overpaid athletes on steroids.

So let’s find some…ahem…inexpensive chrome for this fine power plant. As we already discussed, a fair amount of chrome can make any engine develop more power…honest. I think we need some headers as well.

Stand by for shiny stuff!

More later…

Shop truck: 1980 Chevrolet Custom Truck

So why is there a 1980 Chevrolet truck on a web site that caters to hot rods and vintage cars?

Well, first of all: This thing is actually 32 years old. Secondly, it is a fun project to spiff up a great driver with some used parts for very little money. Third: It is as American as apple pie and…you know… Chevrolet! Fourth: I am the Editor so I do whatever I want. So there!

As found…dirty with flat paint, sitting on soggy small whitewall tires.  Oh yeah, and one ugly canopy!

The good news: Rust free, straight and 95000 miles on the clock and the automatic transmission has just been rebuilt.

It has the gutless 4.1 liter six cylinder with an auto transmission with lock up converter. This is the most plain truck I have ever seen. Rubber floor mats, dog dish wheel covers…even has the super rare dome light and lighter delete option !

The truck was rolling on these un-manly too small white wall passenger car tires.

This ugly crooked rear bumper is not much to be proud of. Gotta go!

 Another turn off: The pink? faded door panels. They are in great shape, just damaged from sun.

 First order of business is to bring back the shine to the original paint. I was pleased to find out that it shined up rather well.

Yup, it shined up well. That small passenger car mirror does not meet my specs though.

I added these manly (Ha, there is that word again) mirrors for looks and safety.

Another thing that I like to upgrade on any driver is the lighting system. The old sealed beam are just a poor excuse for lights. These Hella e-codes cranks out twice the light on low beam and three times on high beam. The only way to go.

With a can of SEM saddle color dye the door panels looks like new.

I found this new chrome bumper on Craigslist for $80.00. Works for me.

I found this Draw-Tite heavy duty trailer hitch at the recycling yard for thirty clams. My kinda budget.


I had these laying around in case some rich uncle croaked and willed me a red 1966 Buick Wildcat convertible and these wheels would be perfect for it. Since I don’t have a rich uncle or an uncle at all the chance of this happening are rather small. So…

With the world famous 0000 steel wool treatment and some semi gloss black detailing these Buick road wheels look presentable. They have the same bolt pattern as the Chevrolet: Five on five inch. A set of half inch by twenty crome lug nuts adds to the look. I will have to find some center caps at the swap meet.


With another Craigslist find, a front chrome bumper for twenty bucks we got a pretty nice driver. The Buick road wheels certainly add some looks to this rather plain truck.

Future plans: Install a Mr Goodwrench 350 that just followed me home and the trailer hitch. Also, I will remove the canopy for the summer as they look better without them.

More later…