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Bring My Old Drag Truck Back To Life

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So I have a 1979 Silverado short bed.   Dad bought it in 1980 with 5k miles on it.   I took my drivers license test in it.  First thing I drove on the road by myself.  Got my first 2 speeding tickets in it, lol. 

He started racing it in 1983 and it's never been on the street since.  He passed in 94 and had given it to me a year or so earlier.  I raced a lot in the 90's, last went in about 2002.  Been sitting in my driveway...hasn't had a cover in several years now, and it shows. 

 

So my kids and I have been watching Street Outlaws No Prep and they want to go racing.  Well, you don't have to twist MY arm to make me want to do that.    Daughter and I dragged it out of its resting spot yesterday. 

 

Got some rust on the left side of the bed.  A bit on the outside, and at the front left corner of the bed floor.  Rest of it is pretty decent.   Our first move is probably going to be to remove the bed and fix those spots, then move on to whatever else we find.   
Not looking for a total restoration here, just want to make it look decent again so it's not embarrassing to show up at the track. 

 

It is a factory 454 truck.  Still has the original tranny, although it has an ATI 8" stall converter and a reverse manual shift valve body.   Currently has a 427 that is a weird oversize: .072" over.   Previous owner of that motor didn't want to go .090 I guess, but the cylinders were wallowed out so they honed the biggest one until it was perfect and custom ordered JE pistons to that size.  Doesn't make sense to me, but whatever.  He spent a grand on custom pistons.  He could have gotten a new block and had it machined for less than that.    It ran strong.  

14:1-ish compression.  Closed chamber rectangle port heads.  .714" lift roller cam.   Old school horsepower.    

Ran just about 7.00 in the 1/8 mile at 99 mph.    Just over 4,000 lbs with me in it.  

Ladder bar suspension with coil overs, Dana 60 with 5.57 gears.  

 

Here is my old friend yesterday as we pulled it out into the sunlight, with the next generation at the wheel:

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Edited by Pacfanweb
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Keep us updated.  Love to see that thing fire up!

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So a minor miracle happened with this truck's paint.   That paint job is 32 years old.   Dupont Imron, 1986 at my Dad's body shop. 

 

Just for the hell of it, I decided to take a buffer to it to see if it would still shine.   

 

Well, it does.   So now I get to do rust repair on the bed, and I can just sand/buff the cab.   

 

 

Polished.jpg

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32 year old paint. Still can hardly believe it.  The next day I went and sanded/buffed a place on the fender and it looks even better than this now.  

 

XXN4ayO.jpg

Edited by Pacfanweb
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Dupont Imron is great paint. And that is a great looking truck. I'm looking forward to following this one.

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Wow, the paint really did hold up well! I really like these body style trucks. My dad had one when I was growing up. It always looked so mean. 

 

 

This is going to be an amazing family project! 

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Oh, also, a factory 454 short bed 1/2 ton?? Wish they did things like that these days.. A 6.2 K2 single cab short bed would be a monster. 

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Very nice. Especially being able to share with next generation.:thumbs:

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Get that thing running again and have a blast with it and your kids.Looks really good for being uncovered and outside all that time.

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13 hours ago, mjm-1957 said:

Get that thing running again and have a blast with it and your kids.Looks really good for being uncovered and outside all that time.

Yeah, I still keep looking at it and shaking my head over how good it looks. 

 

Daughter and I started removing the bed yesterday evening.  Ran out of daylight.  Front 2 bed bolts are all that's left, and the fuel line that goes to the cell mounted in the bed.   Then we'll see just how bad it is.   Might take it and get the whole bed sand blasted.  Waiting on a local place to call me back and tell me how much. 

 

It also has no brakes.  Calipers locked up for sure.  I assume the wheel cylinders are as well.   Guess I'll just replace everything....it's all old, and I don't need brake failure at 100 mph, and that stuff is cheap. 

Side story about the brakes:   When I had the ladder bar/coil overs/tubs done in 97, I got it back, lowered the front and went racing.  Never had any issues stopping.  I didn't have a line lock on it back then, so I just always power braked it and did great burnouts....and I DID notice that they seemed a bit easier to accomplish after it was tubbed, but never paid it much mind.   But sometimes it did want to push the front wheels instead of sit there and spin. 

 

So then I decided to put a line lock on it for burnouts.   During the installation, I noticed that the reservoir for the rear brakes was EMPTY.  And it didn't have a leak.  They had removed the rear end to narrow it, evidently taking the brake lines loose and losing all the fluid....and never filled it back up.  

 

I had been racing and stopping with only front brakes all summer.  :freak:

But it stopped fine.  Never had any issues.  

Stopped a lot better when the rear brakes were working again, that's for sure.  

Edited by Pacfanweb

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Okay, so the bed has a decent amount of rust, so we removed it this past weekend.    That was fun, with me, 2 kids and the wife.   But we got it. 

Power washed the rear suspension and frame, etc, and then the top panels of the bed.   Will have to get some help to stand it up so I can get the bottom. 

 

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On 5/5/2018 at 10:25 AM, Pacfanweb said:

Yeah, I still keep looking at it and shaking my head over how good it looks. 

 

Daughter and I started removing the bed yesterday evening.  Ran out of daylight.  Front 2 bed bolts are all that's left, and the fuel line that goes to the cell mounted in the bed.   Then we'll see just how bad it is.   Might take it and get the whole bed sand blasted.  Waiting on a local place to call me back and tell me how much. 

 

It also has no brakes.  Calipers locked up for sure.  I assume the wheel cylinders are as well.   Guess I'll just replace everything....it's all old, and I don't need brake failure at 100 mph, and that stuff is cheap. 

Side story about the brakes:   When I had the ladder bar/coil overs/tubs done in 97, I got it back, lowered the front and went racing.  Never had any issues stopping.  I didn't have a line lock on it back then, so I just always power braked it and did great burnouts....and I DID notice that they seemed a bit easier to accomplish after it was tubbed, but never paid it much mind.   But sometimes it did want to push the front wheels instead of sit there and spin. 

 

So then I decided to put a line lock on it for burnouts.   During the installation, I noticed that the reservoir for the rear brakes was EMPTY.  And it didn't have a leak.  They had removed the rear end to narrow it, evidently taking the brake lines loose and losing all the fluid....and never filled it back up.  

 

I had been racing and stopping with only front brakes all summer.  :freak:

But it stopped fine.  Never had any issues.  

Stopped a lot better when the rear brakes were working again, that's for sure.  

Bah, front brakes do most of the braking anyway.  Be happy you lost the rears and not the front!

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Got the bed off and stripped down.  Just need to coordinate with my neighbor to help me get it on the trailer and over to the sand blaster's place. 

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awesome!

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I get more excited seeing a rust old truck pull up to race than a shiny new one. someday mine will be the next farm truck haha

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