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Chevy K30 truck...?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by mkwl, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362


    I'm looking at buying a 1986 Chevy K30 truck another member on this site has for sale. The truck has 150K on it, with the 350 engine and auto trans. The engine is a carb- I have never used/owned a carburated vehicle before. How much of a PITA are the carbs on these trucks?

    What are some good/bad points to these trucks? What are commonly failing items to keep an eye on?

  2. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,414

    as for carburated 350's i have some experience. i had a 1987 iroc camaro that would start no matter what, 20 below and it would fire right up without even being givin gas, it was a great engine. then i had a 1986 K5 blazer wit a carb that had a gummed up choke or something and it would not idle when it was cold, had to keep givin it gas til it warmed up. carburated engines are fine in the winter, just make sure the carb is nice and clean with a working choke and you'll be fine. people managed for many many years without fuel injection.
  3. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    The old 73-87 GM trucks are very strong work trucks and simple & cheap to fix.

    The K30's are a little hard to come by these day's and would be my first choice for a plow truck over the GM IFS trucks from 88 & up, if you are not familier with these trucks, they have a solid front axle and the K30 had a Dana 60 up front.

    The truck you are looking at is it a dually or a single rear wheel?
  4. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    Okay thanks for the input. Truck is a SRW K30. What is the GVWR of a K30? How hard are these engines to tune?
  5. BigDave12768

    BigDave12768 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,446

    Should be an HEI ignition. 8 plugs wires,PCV valve, new air cleaner, gas filter and a timimg light and you are good to go. Maybe adjust the carb a bit. Tons of room under hood. Only issue you will have is if youre vertically challenged then you need a milk crate to reach things. Any back yard mechanic can tune this
  6. old skool

    old skool Senior Member
    from NW IL
    Messages: 167

    I just sold my 1980 K30. It was a dually with a 454/400 TH trans and a 9 foot Meyer.Great plow truck! BTW, the chassis had over 400,000 miles on it! (I did a complete re-build on the truck in 91)

    Does the 86 still have the factory carb on the truck? I had rebuilt the original carb, but in the long run, ended up installing an Edelbrock carb on my truck.

    Generally, once you get everything working, they are pretty fool-proof. Also parts are pretty reasonable for the small block.

    Do you know what gear ratio is in it? These trucks are workhorses.. Another thing to watch is, they are noted to be rust-prone. Besides the obvious sheetmetal,check the floors/cab mounts from underneath the truck.

    Good luck!
  7. Dubliner

    Dubliner Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    One of my trucks, the one that I drive, is a K3500 dually with a flatbed, Great plowing truck and a real workhorse, the thing about these trucks is that they kept the same basic style for years so sheet metal is cheap for them, I have an 86 K3500 DRW I am getting ready to add to the fleet next year.
  8. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    Okay, thanks for the input guys- any more thoughts/advice?
  9. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    Is this truck a good deal at $2600 with typical GM rust, some interior damage, and some other "minor" things?
  10. welj31

    welj31 Member
    Messages: 58

    We run a 86 350ci and t400 a real work horse. We have used them for years. This one had the carb changed over to a holly carb. Starts at -35 below. You can change it to efi with a holy projection kit. Ride is a bit hard,but this too can be fixed with aftermarket parts all for cheap. Out of the 20 or so we have had about 1/2 needed a cam and timing set at 160,000,but again a cheap fix. Chevy used a softer metal for cams in 86's.Some 80's chevys get a frame crack by the steering box.GM makes a part to fix this. We are building a bb454 tall deck for it right now for ours in hopes of getting 10 more years out of the old girl. good luck
  11. mayhem

    mayhem PlowSite.com Addict
    from Peru MA
    Messages: 1,016

    Those trucks are damn near indestructable...but rust will return it to the earth. Keep the rust at bay and you're good.
  12. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    Okay- I'll look out for these few things. How can I be sure of what trans the truck has? I'm a little concerned about it passing inspection- any insight into this? My biggest concern is the emissions inspection because it's a carb and has gotta be dumping all kinds of nasty shyt into the air compared to today's engines. Thoughts?
  13. BigDave12768

    BigDave12768 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,446

    Too old they wont test emmisions
  14. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    Is there a plow on the truck?

    Rust is an issue with the 73-87 GM trucks, but new body panels are cheap threw the aftermarket. I put new front fenders, inner fenders and rad support on my 85 K10 for about $350 CDN, also make sure the cab & frame are solid.
  15. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    Like others have said, make sure you have a good carb and it should start right up. Though I have never owned a truck of this vintage, I have owned a 1970 Monte Carlo with a carb for almost 22 years so I've had a lot of experience with carbs. They don't make them anymore, but I'm running an Edelbrock Quadrajet on it and its been the best carb I've ever had on this car. I've tried the Edelbrock Performers on this car and could never get them to run right. I've also run a 650 holley on it with fair results.

    Most of the trucks I've seen of this vintage have some rust issues. Some worse than others. It is one of my favorite body styles though.

  16. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    Can anyone in NJ verify this- I thought it was only vehicles 25 years and older they didn't test for emissions.
  17. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    The body rust isn't too, too bad- it's got some rot behind the rear wheel "flares" but the rest id pretty solid (little bit on the lower parts of the cab but not horrible. The frame is pretty clean- no obvious rust I was with just a quick look at it. How's the powertrain on these trucks? Does anyone know how to positively identify that it is a K30 (I didn't see any decal on the inner door)?

    Yes, it comes with an older conventional mount Western with a Meyer poly blade.

    My biggest concern is it passing inspection in NJ...
  18. welj31

    welj31 Member
    Messages: 58

    Check vin to ID truck ....as for the testing I have seen a BB hot rod pass the test. Most testing places are diff and how they test will vary by area. Also same car can be tested by 2 diff places or twice by same place and come up with differant results. Your best bet is a good tune up before (plugs,wires, filters, pvc ect...) oil change . Tune the carb (you can get a tool at napa to do this) maybe even high oct gas and a can of booster. Remember most autos that fail are out of tune , unmaintained, and not prepared for a test. Hope this helps..we dont have that crap up here.lol:D
  19. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    The powertrain in that truck will be one of the best setups GM ever had during the solid axle years.

    It'll have the T400 if it's an auto, or an SM465 Muncie if it's a manual trans.
    T-case will be the tough as nails NP205.
    Rear axle with be GM's own corporate 14 bolt full floater
    Front axle with be the highly sought after Dana 60.
    Both axles will be either 3.73, 4.10, or 4.56 ratio.

    All this is of course if it actually is a 1 ton and hasn't been butchered. The 6th digit in the VIN will tell you. If it's a "3" then your good to go, it's a one ton.
  20. Dubliner

    Dubliner Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    In NH vehicles over 8800 lbs gross don't need emissions testing or vehicles manufactured before 1996 I believe or whenever the OBD II came out.