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1988 Chevrolet R30 questions

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by The Good Earth, May 2, 2002.

  1. The Good Earth

    The Good Earth Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I am in a bit of a pinch and have some questions for you experts!! When it comes to trucks I am dumb as dumb gets so please bear with me!! :D

    Ok, here is my situation. I have a 1988 Chevrolet R30 stakebed. I bought it last year and ran it a little. I was all set to sell it and my partner decided to leave the company. The settlement I gave him was cash and a 1998 K-3500 4x4. I figured no big deal, I still have the '88.

    So I start to run the truck this spring and the engine cuts loose. Spun the bearings on the crank. No big deal. It is a 350 and parts are dime a dozen. But I figured if I am gonna keep the truck, I may as well do it right. The engine is due back from the machine shop tomorrow. Bored out 20 over, new cam, double roller timig chain, the whole nine yards. The truck is really mechanically solid now that the engine is redone. All that is left to do is little stuff.

    I have searched high and low and can't find the answers to these questions.

    First off, it only has a 17 gallon fuel tank. I can't seem to find an aftermarket or OEM tank larger than this for the truck. Is it possible to get a bigger tank or is it better to go with dual tanks.

    Secondly the body and interior is pretty dinged up. This is gonna sound stupid but the first thing I really need are sun visors for the interior!!! Sun will flat kill me without them. I can't find these thing anywhere, either. And the body panels. Whenever I call anywhere about new body parts the assume that I am meaning the new design that Chevy came out with in '88. Will '87 panels work on this truck?

    Thanks for any input that y'all can help me with. It is sincerly appreciated!!
  2. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Can't offer any input on the fuel tank question, I do know that adding a second tank can get complicated in a hurry, especially on "newer" (as in fuel injected) trucks.

    Since the "R" designation is simply a new tag applied to the older (81 to 87) sheet metal - done to differentiate from the "jellybean" trucks that took over the C/K moniker - the panels from any 81 to 87 truck should fit. I'm not 100% sure about the radiator support and grille, but I believe they are the same as the 87's also.

    Same goes for the sunvisors (and much of the interior trim) not much changed over the years and the interior stuff is the same from 1/2 ton right up to 1-ton so any "donor" truck 81 to 87 should yield usable parts. Not sure about buying those parts new, although LMC truck and JC Whitney may be worth checking out.
  3. The Good Earth

    The Good Earth Junior Member
    Messages: 6


    Thanks for the info. It is greatly appreciated. I do have one more question to ask.

    We have decided to throw headers on the truck. What is the best and most economical way to go at this. The stock exhaust manifolds were pretty hosed after the guys helping me let me have a crack at 'em!! Can we stay with the '81-'87 parts or do we have to go up to the '88-'95?

    Thanks in advance!!
  4. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Since as far as I know the '88 R-series truck is basically a "leftover" '87, parts listed for an '87 truck should be the right ones.

    Now, I don't have any experience with headers on something that new - I did have them on my '75 for about 3 years but gave up on the idea after they rusted out. Are you going with headers because they are cheaper (or easier to find) than replacement manifolds, or for the performance gain?

    As far as best or most economical way to go about it, all I can really suggest is compare prices and remember that headers are available in "basic (rustable) black", up to the next level: with aluminized or ceramic coatings, and finally at the top: stainless. Price goes up exponentially ( :eek: ) with each level, but so does the header's life expectancy. The amount of road salt you have to deal with makes a big difference in how long they last too.

    Actually installing them isn't too big a deal on a truck since there is plenty of room. Shouldn't be a problem to install them yourself. Good chance at least some of the plug wires may have to be changed to longer ones and/or with a different style spark plug boot to stay clear of the pipes. You may also find a couple of the spark plugs more awkward to get at with headers.

    In any event, you'll need to make sure that whichever headers you buy are compatible with any pollution equipment on your truck. You'll also need to have a dual exhaust system fabbed up, although I'm assuming you have already factored those $$$ into the truck's overhaul.
  5. The Good Earth

    The Good Earth Junior Member
    Messages: 6


    It is a little of both. I don't think the performance gain is gonna be all that much but it is worth a shot. Also they are much cheaper than stock manifolds.

    I did some price shopping this evening and I figure it is gonna cost me around $110. Not really all that bad. I am going with the bare minimum on the headers. Whatever I can get by with for now. The truck is put in the barn for the winter so I am not really concerned about salt. I am just getting in a pinch having this truck down and would like to have it up and running.

    The longterm goal for this truck is to pull the 350 and drop a 454 crate in it. The truck is used only to pull a 900 gallon hydroseeder and the bed is loaded with mulch, seed and fertilizer. I'm gonna have the cab redone in bits and pieces over the summer. Then over the winter I am gonna mount a dump stakebed on it.

    It probably sounds silly to do all this to a 14 year old truck but I love the truck!! :D And it is paid for so that has to count for something!!
  6. mulchmonkey2000

    mulchmonkey2000 Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    the body panels and parts for your r30 will be the same as the 87. Chevy kept the older body style for the 1 ton trucks in 88. I have the same truck and just replaced the left fender, radiator support and inner wheel well due to an accident. All the parts were off a 85 blazer and matched up perfectly. Good luck with the "new" engine.