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Time for a body off rebuild

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by 2COR517, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    This summer I am going to overhaul the 1981 Chevy. Frame is decent, motor runs great. The truck drives excellent. Body, not so much. The cab is badly rusted, particularly the rocker, cab corners, and floor boards/front cab mounts. Drivers window barely works, big dents in pass door and bed. Non matching fenders, on and on. So I bought an 85 1/2 ton 2wd for the body. Unfortunately I looked at it in the dark, and had someone else go pick it up. The body isn't terrible, but needs some work before swapping. Drivers side rocker, cab corner, maybe front cab mount. Pass side floor. Fenders and bed are fair. My priorities for this summer are to get the frame and cab in very good shape, and never have to work on them again. I want the job to look decent, but don't intend to go to any shows.

    Questions:
    Do I need a mig welder for the body work, or would a non-gas wire feed be okay? Or even pop rivets.
    What should I treat the frame with? I see several POR products on the net. And are there any places that should be gusseted?
    Will the 2wd cab clear the transmission and transfer case? TH350 and NP205. I'm thinking about a 2" body lift while i've got it apart.
    Any other suggestions out there? I will probably replace all the steel lines - brakes, fuel, tranny cooler.

    Thanks for any input, Palmer.
     
  2. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Hopefully you have a flame wrench ( cutting torch ). It's the best tool for taking it apart at times. Keep the garden hose close and charged ready to put out the fire. If Chevy is anything like Ford,, there will be some little changes, mounts or positions in stuff from year to year. At least that's what I have found transplanting stuff into a different year vehicle. Mating the wire harnesses may be a problem or not. Might try a welding forum for sheet metal welding. There are books, available at the local library. Rust Reformer and Black Rustlium can be your friend.
     
  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Pulled the body off the 85 yesterday. Pretty simple job. Going to need to do some bodywork on the cab floor, but everything else looks decent. I'll keep you posted as the job progresses.
     
  4. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    How about some pics !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    yeh this definitly needs some photo updates as the job progresses. I bet we'd all like to see somebefore and afters. Good luck and have fun
     
  6. SKYNYRD

    SKYNYRD Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    hey feel free to pm me if you want and look at the pics in my album. i've been threw this plenty of times! you're gonna run into small issues more than likely but, nothing you wont be able to fix. best of luck to ya:)
     
  7. BigDave12768

    BigDave12768 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,446


    Are you practicing so some day you can buy an 08 Powerstroke?
     
  8. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Had some other things going on lately, so this project has been on the back burner. My neighbor swapped me an 84 Sierra Classic for some plowing I did last winter that I didn't plan to charge him for. Going to start tearing it down tonight. I think it's actually in better shape than truck I bought. Don't tell my wife. :eek: It has the nice 4 headlight grill and a nice interior. I will post some pics of the fleet soon. I have plenty of "before" pics.
     
  9. SKYNYRD

    SKYNYRD Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    i just realized ur in maine. anywhere enar lebanon? when you're done don't throw anything out without seeing if justchevytrucks.com will take the stuff off your hands or, if you need anything you aint got try given them a call:)
     
  10. dellwas

    dellwas Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    Well, I've got a Lincoln migpak, but I've been using flux-core (I know I should break down and get gas). I'm not a great welder, but the sheet metal I've been putting on is going pretty good. Key is to turn down the voltage and hit it in different spots with a quick blast. I stitch it about every three inches, let it cool, make more stitches closer together, let it cool, and so on, till it is joined. Haven't blasted many holes through yet....

     
  11. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    SKYNYRD - Thanks for the link. I need to look their sight over. I have a friend with a true MIG, so I am all set with that now.
     
  12. SKYNYRD

    SKYNYRD Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    you are very welcome! kurt is absolutely awesome to deal with. i'm in an area of ny where people don't want to give you the time of day. i first dealt with just chevy trucks on ebay and took the time to personaly visit them 2 summers ago. it was over a 4 hour drive but well worth it! if you deal with them at all i hope you find them every bit as helpful as i did:salute:
     
  13. adksnowo

    adksnowo Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    2x & 4x cabs are sort of the same. Floor tunnel in middle of cab is "high tunnel" for 4x driveline, x-case, etc. 2x's had "low tunnel", so floors are slightly different.

    BTW you might need to use a mig welder, so you can use .023 wire & shielding gas, nice clean welds that way. Remember you don't have to be a good welder, just a good grinder and bondo artist to make it look good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
  14. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Going to put a 2 or 3 inch body lift on, just to be sure I don't have any issues. TH350 should be the same height either way, but the NP205 is going to be tight.

    Got a friend with one. I did a swap with a motor I had for a plow he needed.

    Excellent advice:nod:

    Some pics going up tonight.
     
  15. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Here's the beast. Not pretty, but does the job.
    SnotsFront.jpg
    SnotsRear.jpg

    Some of the reasons I bought the truck
    The main reason, TBI
    SnotsTBI.jpg
    Tilt column is nice. The wheel is from a Cavalier, I think
    SnotsTilt.jpg
    NP205
    SnotsNP205.jpg

    SnotsFront.jpg

    SnotsRear.jpg

    SnotsTBI.jpg

    SnotsTilt.jpg

    SnotsNP205.jpg
     
  16. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Unless it's an '84 or newer. By '84 both 2 and 4WD used the taller tunnel.

    You should be fine since your donor cab is an '85 it should have the tall tunnel. It's easy enough to look. As long as it really is an '85. :D
     
  17. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    A few more pics

    14 bolt semi floater rear, open, 4.10, 1 ton spring pack.
    SnotsRearX.jpg

    If I scratch +16, does that make it a Dana 60?
    SnotsFrontX.jpg

    New front driveshaft, 4 leaf one ton springs up front, bummer of a crimp in the Wye pipe
    SnotsFrontShaft.jpg

    One of the donor trucks. Gonna use radiator core support, grill, lights, etc. Might use cab, good doors.
    Black84.jpg

    B&B - I'll get some pics of the tunnels. The 84 & 85 seem small, but there is a little extra hump just under the seat, where I presume the transfer case would be. The one on the 81 now, which was supposedly an 85 cab, is huge.

    SnotsFrontX.jpg

    SnotsRearX.jpg

    Black84.jpg

    SnotsFrontShaft.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
  18. SKYNYRD

    SKYNYRD Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    that donor truck looks real decent. not positive what year they started it but you should find (for lack of better terms) "dotted lines" on the center of the floor hump for the 4wd shifter and the standard tranny shifter. i know the 88 cab we used on ours had them. took the guessing out of where to make the hole.
     
  19. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Did a little dubbing around tonight. Any suggestions getting the cab mounting bolts out? I have one that is spinning free inside the channel. It doesn't seem there is any value heating the bolt since the bushing is almost two inches thick. Should I play it safe on the rest of them, and cut the heads off so I can heat the bolt and get penetrant on the threads? What about drilling a small hole in the channel and lubricating the threads that way?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  20. SKYNYRD

    SKYNYRD Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    we got lucky with the bolts on our donor cab. they all came out. on our old cabe i used the sawzall and a heavy duty blade to cut them off. i would try to cut the heads off the bolts on the donor cab then soak them real good after you roll the cab off. at that point you can soak em then heat em up real good and turn them with vise grips. now, the one that is spinning... is it one of the back bolts i hope? if so you can cut a hole from the inside and get to the nut. putting a new one on will require a regular nut and bolt but it's no big deal