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Catbox's 1979 Camper Special

Discussion in '2wd Pick-Ups C/R 20 2500 C/R 30 3500' started by Catbox, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    This will be where I put all the ramblings of what I have done to my truck into one place.
    I just realized that all my chronicalings are all done all over the place.
    Doesn't make it easy to find things...

    Here we go.

    This is on the day I brought it home back on July 3rd, 2018.
    Bought it from a horse farm that didn't use it much.
    They wanted $2250 and I wasn't going to pay that much for it.
    It sat much of the time so it was reported to need a battery and some other stuff as it was....iffy.
    So I argued them down quite a bit as I gave it a good look over.
    Lots more rust than advertised.
    Missing one tail pipe completely and both mufflers blown out.
    Told it needed a battery as well.

    So after ohh and ahhh-ing for a while I paid $1500 total, they kept trying to get another hundred out of me but I was not having it.

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    This truck has been ridiculously reliable.
    The battery just needed to be used a few times as it has been just fine.
    We have put a semi-permanent exhaust on it until we are ready to make it a real one.
    My 17 year old son Max drives it as his daily driver even though that was not what I bought it for.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  2. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    I was at the Powell's Book store that is just up the street from my work office and found this gem.
    It is the GM Service manual for the 1978 Light Truck line up.
    Mine is a 1979, so most of it will be close enough for me to be able to use.
    I also found and bought one for my sons buddy that has a 1974 C-10.
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    A cool thing that came with the manual was the little photo envelope that was taped inside the front cover. Turns out that it has 4 photos in as well as the negative strips for the photos.
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    The photos show a 1978 truck way back in 1979.
    The trucks plate frame shows that it was purchased in the city in which I live.
    Just fun stuff.
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  3. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    I was never a fan of the towing mirrors on the truck.
    They are hard to see out of for normal daily driving of the truck.
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    So I purchased a set of the stainless mirrors to replace them with.
    Junior did the install.
    He measured about 5 times for each one as I tend to be a quite picky about doing it right.
    And he knows he I will never let him live it down if he cuts corners and does a sloppy job.
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    They look and function pretty well on there.
     
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  4. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    I bought it a couple of years ago.
    This truck has more sets of tires and wheels than any other car we own.
    It came to us on a set of black Ford wheels.

    Then goober found a set of chrome wagon wheels in the junkyard that came home with him. I had a set of 285/75/16 tires that would work on them, maybe.
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    Do to my aversion to wagon wheels and that the tires were to big and rubbed a bunch. We traded them off for a set of chrome modular wheels with a smaller set of 31" tires.
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    Then one of his buddies sent him a link to a set of American Racing Centerline looking wheels.
    Those are what we settled on to run.
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    Just need some fresh tires before the summer is over.
    For this truck I want to run a slightly shorter tire to lower it ever so slightly.
    They will be 255/65/16's in the proper load range for the capacity of the truck.
    With the white letters out of course...

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    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  5. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    I am an avid thrift store shopper.
    I love the thrill of the hunt.
    One day whilst out looking I found a set of boxes for Bosch headlights.
    Skeptically I opened the box as I fully expected to find a set of halogen lights in the boxes.
    But low and behold they were much better as what was in the box was a set of 7" H-4 Jeep Wrangler takeoffs.
    They came home with me for the sum of $16 for the set and hung out in the garage until needed.
    I figured they would go in my Bug as it is my daily driver.

    But the truck needed a new light sooner than the bug, so we ordered the adapters for them and in they went.
    I like they way they look.
    Still a nice looking headlight with the upgraded bulbs for better vision.
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    Along with the headlights, Max updated all the dash lights in the truck with little LED's he found on Amazon. It was a bag of 30 of them for something like $20.
    Big improvement.
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  6. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    When I bought the truck it had a rotten exhaust on it.
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    So I kept my eyes peeled for a set of Flowmasters to turn up on Craigslist.
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    I found a set not terribly far away and jumped on them.
    They are specific to a Fox body Mustang but they are the right size and price.

    We threw them into the pile of stuff to do later.
    One day the kid and my wife were driving it and one of the mufflers just fell off.
    So....
    Time for some temporary-permanent repairs.
    We went to the local crappy parts house and picked up some cheap-o exhaust flex tube that will bridge the gap from the current exhaust to the new Flowmaster tailpipes.
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    I forgot he is on this forum... @Maxwellvis did this while I was at work and just stuffed them in there however they worked. I came home and looked at them.
    I proceeded to tell him they were on the wrong sides but it didn't matter as they were already hung in place.
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    One of these days soon, we will put a proper exhaust under the truck with headers.
    But for now these work just fine.
     
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  7. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    The 454 was rebuilt in the early 90's some time.
    I have a very generic receipt that came in the paperwork that does not tell me much about it.
    We did find this tag on the block and the paperwork states "RV Cam"...
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    We had the valve covers off yesterday and decoded the head casting numbers to be '85-'90 peanut port heads.
    Nothing spiffy, but they work.
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  8. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    Mack was mounted to the hood when it came home with us.
    However, being nit picky it was poorly mounted.
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    So not long ago when all the tools were out, I pulled him down and enlarged the holes.
    Now he sits flush with the hood and is bolted in with lock tight.
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  9. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    Cool stickers that are on the machine.
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    List of goodies it was ordered with.
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    List of goodies defined after much googling.
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  10. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    Here is the ace mechanic @Maxwellvis with the beloved truck.
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    The dual fan set up he recently installed in place of the big 7 blade clutch fan.
    These fans came from the junkyard and a truck that was loaded with speed parts.
    We took them all off of it and have been working this week to install them on the truck.

    Here is where we started, a very congested engine bay that houses the big block with broken air conditioning.
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    Then junior found some real estate for the control gizmos for the new fans.
    We learned that the Ford starter relay is not rated for continuous duty.
    I was in his head.
    He made sure they all fit and were accessible and clear for the wiring.
    Battery to circuit breaker to relay to fan control.
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    All wired up with the proper $10 continuous duty relay.
    He drew it all out after I described what I wanted and how it should be done to work.
    We matched the wire that gauge that originally came on the fans.
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    Here we have the fans installed and waiting for the engine to get up to temp.
    Takes forever as these things run cold blooded.
    We followed the instructions and placed the temp sensor bulb next to the water inlet hose on the radiator.
    Let the engine warm up and watch the temp gauge to see when it gets to its normal position and adjust the temp switch to turn on at that temp.
    You can also see that we moved the negative ground wire from the alternator bracket to the chassis ground. The ground strap we put in last week will take the voltage from there to the alternator.
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    Removing the A/C hoses and moving that wire cleaned stuff up pretty well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  11. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
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    In the last installment, he has upgraded us to dual electric fans for cooling.
    They work damn skippy now.
    He has never had to deal with a relay until now and I thought I explained it well enough.
    He went out and did the work to get it all wired up and it ran.
    Seemed a bit slow at first, but maybe that was because it was just idling.
    He took it for a test drive and all of a sudden, the dash gauges went dead and the fans shut off.
    When he called, I told him to hot wire the fans to just be on and get home.

    Silly goose mis-wired the relay to pull the fan power from the fuse box.
    So, the fuse popped in the box due to the amp draw of the fans.
    I then rewired it and they roared to life with all the voltage from the battery.
    Runs like a champ!

    Junior also installed the newer style windshield washer tank with built in pump.
    Our stock one doesn't work right and has been unplugged since we bought the truck 3 years ago.

    He picked out a tank from a newer truck and mounted in place of the stocker.
    The wires were as simple as just connecting them to existing plug wires and routing them.
    After he got it all installed, we just had to aim the nozzles to get the stream to where it needed to be for best coverage.

    You can see it mounted to the fender over there...
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    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  12. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    Whelp, junior has been a busy feller this week.

    We made the executive decision to remove the A/C lines and condenser. If we decide to fix the A/C down the road, more than likely we will be putting in all new stuff as originality has no place on this truck anymore.

    He also finished installing the new radiator puke tank from a 90's truck.
    One that catches and returns the coolant will be much better than the tank that came on the truck.
    He will be moving the window washer tank closer to the cab and then putting the new puke tank where the washer tank was.

    You can also see that Max has moved the second charcoal canister to the core support.
    We might look into a newer charcoal canister from a Suburban that came with a 40 gallon tank. It should be able to deal with our dual 20 gallon tanks.

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  13. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    Time to look at the ignition.
    He took the cap and rotor off to install the MSD module and the rotor fell apart.

    Hmmm...
    Perhaps that will help it run happier with a new set.
    The module was also from the truck in the junkyard that gave up so much of its speed parts for our trucks use. While he was in there, he also had installed the coil that was with the module from the donor truck. Must not forget the fresh dielectric grease to keep things cool.

    After the stuff was all installed it fired right up and runs like a champ.
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    Next up for today, @Maxwellvis is building a used set of MSD plug wires to be the new spark wires on the truck.
    At the swapmeet back in February I picked up a couple incomplete sets of used ones from the racers. The current set of wires are a mismatched bunch of what ever he had. A few of them are from the MSD set I have for my VW bug...
    They need new ends on both sides to work on the truck and we have all of them at the house.
     
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  14. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    Yesterday was fresh valve cover day.
    These ones just do nothing to look fun.
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    Hmmmm late model aluminum ones...
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    Nope.

    What he settled on, a set of Moroso covers I picked up at the swap meet last year.
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  15. Catbox

    Catbox Full Access Member

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    Just Outside of Portland Oregon
    First Name:
    Peter
    Truck Year:
    1979
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    461
    So we glued the new gaskets to the valve covers and waited a hour like the tube says to do.
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    Much better.
    It will be even better when all the wires match and we have installed the Edelbrock Performer intake on it.
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    Headers and exhaust will not be far behind.
     
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