I finally realized why I like working on my '81 C10 so much

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bigcountry78

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Hey hey hey... you HAD A/C, lol.

But yeah, the trim level makes a difference. Our '88 is a Silverado trim and had working front and rear A/C when it was our daily hauler. I drove my '78 everyday for 3 years and it wasn't nearly as comfortable. Rubber floor, no insulation, plastic door panels and Inop A/C. It has cloth seats though, but the bench is not as comfy as the 88's buckets. Really though, it was dead nuts reliable too. Other than that pesky $2 fuel filter and the cam sprocket incident in south Georgia a few years ago, which is why I didn't include it in my first post in this thread lol.
Well, having ac present, and having ac WORKING is two different things lol. It was in there but it was just taking up space because it didn’t work. So there’s that.
 

WFarm

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Yep--it's gorgeous. Well done. Question: Does your air cleaner use a THERMAC or is it electronic? I ask because I'm thinking of going back to my factory unit and I've been wondering what others are doing. Don't mean to hijack the thread--just had one quick question.
My truck has the Thermac system, however it does not use any vacuum. Instead per the manual it utilizes a “self contained wax pellet actuated assembly”. Have no idea if it works at all but it does start and drive fine in cold weather.
 

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Trucksareforwork

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Other than that pesky $2 fuel filter and the cam sprocket incident in south Georgia a few years ago, which is why I didn't include it in my first post in this thread lol.

Yeah, the part I left out of my 2 hour round trip last weekend was that the heater core started leaking. I'm actually pretty OK with "something to fix" vs. "truck left me stranded." I always have something to fix, and haven't yet been left stranded. Granted I don't daily drive my truck.


Yep--it's gorgeous. Well done. Question: Does your air cleaner use a THERMAC or is it electronic? I ask because I'm thinking of going back to my factory unit and I've been wondering what others are doing. Don't mean to hijack the thread--just had one quick question.

My 85 is a quadrajet on top of a 305. I use the stock air cleaner and have the thermac vent wired to one of the headers (don't ask about why I have headers on a 305...I just liked the look I guess). My truck starts great even when below freezing. One pump on the accelerator and turn the key.

This is me: Cold Start Video - "Rusty"

I suspect it also has a lot to do with setting up the carb tuning and high idle correctly. I can start and drive off with no problem and do so almost every weekend when I drive the truck.
 

justhorns

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My 81 6 cylinder is my daily driver. Its simple to repair and parts are available cheap. I'm an ex Certified Quality Engineer. Reliablility is proportional to the number of parts. More parts, less reliable PERIOD. Thats where new cars lose. Too many parts to fail, and now probably more than half are not needed (what was wrong with glass mirrors?).
 

GTX63

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100% true. I love my square, but I’ll say this. How many of you have taken a road trip in one? I drove mine about 7 hours round trip a few years ago to pick up my wheels that I have now. Had to take it because it was the only truck I had. They are not pleasant to ride in on the interstate for hours on end, just being honest. Newer trucks are much better in that respect. I will say though, it’s funny to see the looks on people’s faces when you blow past their luxury car in a rusted out 4x4 with a 350 screaming at 3500 rpm through a pair of flowmasters. They can’t process what just happened.


My 2019 2500 Silverado can be driven on the interstate with one thumb in the 6 o'clock position. Every SB I have owned required two hands. My 2500 is quiet to the point that I feel isolated in the cabin . I have driven then 8 hours back when they were still in production as well as today. Other than a little more road and air noise from leaks they are about the same. But to put things into context, the average Squarebody in the late 70s/early 80s might get driven 15k a year, and at 55-60mph tops. Today a used late model with 120k is considered low mileage.
 

ChuckN

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There’s a couple of things I want to accomplish before taking long road trips, but I do enjoy the simplicity and general comfort of my square. I’m even considering a modern set of aluminum heads with accessory holes so I can reinstall the A/C. But most everything but the most mortal issues I could have roadside could be remedied at least temporarily with a basic set of hand tools.
 

SquareRoot

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My 85 Custom Deluxe K20 is a joy on short trips. long trips or acid trips. All I had to change was fuel injection, bucket seats, 1000 watt sound system, Nv4500 transmission, exhaust system, suspension, headlights, Dakota Digital gauges, Vintage Air A/C and a few other items. Only thing that still sucks is the gas mileage (15) and the ****** OEM wipers. Just kidding about the acid comment, the rest is true.
 

CheemsK1500

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Squares are actually pretty advanced for what they are. They had HEI, ESC, and even TBI in the later years. The earlier 67-72 trucks have them beat in the "simplicity" department. With that said, the fact the square has several modern creature comforts and technologies and is still simple to work on, is one of the things that makes them fun. The GMT400 is more refined in the electronics department, but lacks the charm that comes with glass headlights and vent windows.
 

bucket

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My 85 Custom Deluxe K20 is a joy on short trips. long trips or acid trips. All I had to change was fuel injection, bucket seats, 1000 watt sound system, Nv4500 transmission, exhaust system, suspension, headlights, Dakota Digital gauges, Vintage Air A/C and a few other items. Only thing that still sucks is the gas mileage (15) and the ****** OEM wipers. Just kidding about the acid comment, the rest is true.

I don't know why people have trouble with the wipers. When everything is in good shape and you run 18" blades, they are just as effective as any newer truck.

Well, except for snow and slush buildup near the driver's A-pillar, but raising that wiper's park position takes care of that.
 

gmbellew

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I don't know why people have trouble with the wipers. When everything is in good shape and you run 18" blades, they are just as effective as any newer truck.

Well, except for snow and slush buildup near the driver's A-pillar, but raising that wiper's park position takes care of that.

Agreed. I run 17in and they are fine. Although mine is a 90 with intermittent wipers.

I didn't jump all the way to 18in just to keep the over stress on the linkage and motor down a little bit from going bigger than OEM size. Sort of a compromise on improving the view during rain and the extra stress on components.
 

bucket

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Agreed. I run 17in and they are fine. Although mine is a 90 with intermittent wipers.

I didn't jump all the way to 18in just to keep the over stress on the linkage and motor down a little bit from going bigger than OEM size. Sort of a compromise on improving the view during rain and the extra stress on components.

I've been running 18" on mine since '06, haven't killed a wiper motor yet. The way I look at it, it's within the design limits since GM used the same wiper motors on cars with 18" blades.
 

gmbellew

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I've been running 18" on mine since '06, haven't killed a wiper motor yet. The way I look at it, it's within the design limits since GM used the same wiper motors on cars with 18" blades.

good to know!
 

CheemsK1500

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Enhanced Aftermarket wiper systems exist, though they seem to be set up for the dash mounted pre-84 wiper switch. You can put them on the post '84 trucks too, but you will end up with two wiper switches in two different places. With that said, the OE system has worked good enough for me so far.
 

1980 Big Ten

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Getting back to the title of this thread. I learned to drive in a squarebody suburban, and my family owned two while I was growing up. I bought my C10 a few years ago because I remembered fondly those years with the suburban--the sound of the transmission, the smell of the cabin, the feel of the steering wheel--and I wanted to experience those again. The C10 has not disappointed. I'm a novice DIY mechanic, so the thought of working on the C10 myself was intimidating at first. After a few years of trial and error, forums like this, and YouTube, I now love working on the truck. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Mine is a stock daily driver and I intend to keep it that way.
 

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