New owner of a Frankenstein K10

Disclaimer: Links on this page pointing to Amazon, eBay and other sites may include affiliate code. If you click them and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission.

Dryriver1

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2023
Posts
766
Reaction score
2,259
Location
Texas
First Name
Robert
Truck Year
1984, 1999,
Truck Model
1984 Chevy Silverado K10, 1999 Chevy 2 door Tahoe 4x4
Engine Size
350 cid, 5.7
Welcome from far west Texas!
 

CheemsK1500

Full Access Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2022
Posts
754
Reaction score
1,293
Location
Texas
First Name
Paul
Truck Year
1984
Truck Model
K1500
Engine Size
305
Welcome. Frankensquares and mix-masters are pretty abundant these days. Nearly 2 decades of square body production combined with countless junkyard driveline swap options makes these trucks extremely modular.

My '85 C10 has an interior out of an '82 and 91 Suburban, and the driveline is from a mid '70s truck.

My '84 K1500 seems to have had every thing swapped over from a 3/4ton truck underneath except for the engine and front axle.
 

JBswth

Full Access Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2022
Posts
147
Reaction score
115
Location
Vallejo, California
First Name
James
Truck Year
1973
Truck Model
C25
Engine Size
292 cubic inches
Hey everybody. I'm new to the forum, and sort of new to square bodies. I just purchased a late 70s 4wd to use as my play truck at my cabin in North Georgia. I'm looking forward to digging into, getting it running and looking a little better and making a few upgrades here and there. (I'll be going full-on late-70s/early-80s with the look--- roll bar with KC lights, mud flaps, big ol' 102" CB whip blowing in the wind...)

The truck was advertised as a 1979 K10 with a 400 SBC. It's not a show truck, by any means, but it seemed worth the price so I snatched it up. The seller had the old title, but I didn't really pay much attention to it since it was a Tennessee title and Georgia only requires a Bill of Sale anyway.

I trailered it from Tennessee to my company's shop about 45 minutes away from home, and I haven't messed with it since (gotta get rid of my '73 F100 before I bring another vehicle home). As I've been kind of sort of educating myself on 70s K10s over the last couple of weeks, I've run across a few things that don't make sense.

The truck definitely has a 400 SBC. I verified the casting #. It has a TH350, a 12-bolt rear and 6-lug wheels. As I understand it, all of those make sense for a K10. But... I happened to look at the title, and it says 1978 C10. So I'm thinking the guy gave me the wrong title. Again, I don't really care because I'm in Georgia and it's a pre-1985. Then I had a coworker send a pic of the VIN plate in the door jamb, and it indicates a 2wd C10 with a 305. So then I start to wonder what's going on.

Now I'm reading that all automatic K10s in 1978 had full-time 4wd, but this truck has manual hubs and a floor shifter. I would imagine converting from full-time to part-time 4wd with manual hubs would be a pretty common thing, though.

So what are the thoughts from all of y'all that know way more about square bodies than I do? Were all of these options available via special order (400 SBC, TH350, 12-bolt, 6-lug wheels, part-time 4wd)? That still wouldn't explain the VIN indicating a 2wd 305. Did full-time 4wd trucks still have a floor shifter to change between high and low? Could it be that somebody did a full body swap and put a C10 body on a K10 chassis? Or did somebody just start with a C10 with a 305 and go through all the trouble of converting to 4x4 and a 400 SBC? Did K10s have a different trans tunnel than C10s or something like that for me to check?

Obviously I know that none of you are going to know the definitive answers at to what is going on, I'm mostly just interesting in feedback on what the available options were back then and how common it is for people to do things like swap a 2wd to 4wd, swap full-time to part-time 4wd, etc. I know Chevrolets tended to be a whole lot easier to make changes to than the Fords that I'm used to messing with. Making those kinds of changes on an F-150 would cost more than just buying a different truck.

Anyway... thanks for the feedback. I'm sure I'll be on here over the next few months asking questions that any square-body owner should already know and getting made fun of by some of you, but that's fine. I can take it.
The fact that it originally had a 305 explains the Turbo 350. With that 400, you should have a Turbo 400 trans. The Turbo 350 is for engines under 400 cubes. Carefully inspect the front spring hangers, as this truck originally had independent front suspension, so a previous owner converted it. Done right, no problem, but you need to make sure everything is properly riveted or bolted in place. If bolted, should be Grade 8 bolts. If riveted, can't be any looseness at all. If you find any loose ones, they must be replaced, as there is no way to make them tighter. Be ready for that Turbo 350 to start slipping eventually, especially if you use this truck in hilly country.

J. B.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
42,087
Posts
908,640
Members
33,560
Latest member
bgeise
Top