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!

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…