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Builds and Journals This is where the magic happens. Photograph & document your GMC build progress for posterity.
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  #71  
Old January 28th, 2022, 10:38 PM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Sparks, Nevada
Truck: 1966 GMC 1500 Custom
Age: 22
Posts: 52
Rep Power: 42
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Quote:
Man, just read through your entire thread, ungrateful work it seems like. Fixing the crap produced by the previous owners take a heck of a lot of work. Will be following your thread with interest and I commend you on your ability to just carry on (when you aren't out fixing family vehicles!)

Good luck.

David (also a young guy at 22)
It's only a matter of time before the grandkids grow up and buy their own project vehicle! Lol. And honestly, in a 50+ year old truck, some of this should have been expected. This truck has been someone's beater-with-a-heater for a long time. Only makes sense that several "goodnuff" fixes have been made.

I've been slowly working on Papa Smurf. Winter and work has made progress extremely slow, but here is where I'm at:

I bought a Painless Wiring kit (PN #10112). I've already removed most of the wiring from my truck. I just need to remove the headlight and taillight harnesses. Everything is getting carefully removed and labelled because some parts of the original harness may need to be reused. Obviously the melted parts can't be reused. That would be my ignition connector and passenger side bulkhead connector.

While working on wiring, I decided that now was the best time to solve my overheating issue. I'm going to be removing the current cooling fan and replacing it with some electric fans. I nabbed some cheap fans from a C5 Corvette, a BMW 325I dual temperature switch and wiring harness (91c/99c), a dual fan two speed LS relay kit, a new thermostat housing with a 1/2" port for temperature switches, and a 185F thermostat. All of this will be cobbled together to improve cooling. In theory, my thermostat should open at 185F, my cooling fans should kick on low speed at 195F, and high speed at 210F.

In addition to all of the cooling fan supplies, I had to upgrade my alternator again. The 70 amp alternator wasn't going to be sufficient for the fans. On startup, both fans can draw up to 60A (30A each). Once they are up to speed, that draw will decrease to 30A or less (about 15A each). That is still a significant portion of my current alternators charging capacity. To prevent any issues, I went with a 140A alternator. That will provide more than enough capacity for the fans, and any other accessories I decide to install later such as AC or a new radio.

So far all I have done is test fit the fans. They fit almost as if they were made for this truck. I bought them because the fan measurements were very close to the radiator dimensions. I also found that fans from a Saturn Vue are rather close, but the C5 is even closer. All of the cooling fan supplies cost me about $500. Honestly not bad.

Hoping for some warmer weather soon so I can actually start installation of everything.
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  #72  
Old February 4th, 2022, 08:54 AM
Prowbar Prowbar is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Friesland, the Netherlands
Truck: 1965 GMC 1500, 305E, SM420
Posts: 207
Rep Power: 75
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

That's a big ol' alternator! Probably robs a lot of hp as well...

To view some links or images in this forum your post count must be 1 or greater. You currently have 0 posts. Maybe you should introduce yourself with a new topic?



Kind of wondering why it overheats? My 305 never goes above thermostat temperature. Is the radiator plugged?
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  #73  
Old February 5th, 2022, 03:04 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Sparks, Nevada
Truck: 1966 GMC 1500 Custom
Age: 22
Posts: 52
Rep Power: 42
LordNatedawg will become famous soon enoughLordNatedawg will become famous soon enough
Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Quote:
That's a big ol' alternator! Probably robs a lot of hp as well...

To view some links or images in this forum your post count must be 1 or greater. You currently have 0 posts. Maybe you should introduce yourself with a new topic?



Kind of wondering why it overheats? My 305 never goes above thermostat temperature. Is the radiator plugged?
Radiator isn't plugged to my knowledge. I believe the overheating issue is due to lack of airflow through the radiator. My truck has a SBC 350 in it. The SBC is way smaller than the 305 V6 so it sits further back in the engine bay. The PO put a fan spacer in, but the fan still sits pretty far away from the radiator. There is no shroud to help direct airflow, and there is a giant gap in the engine bay.

Basically, the cooling fan wasn't doing much besides stirring up dust. The truck did cool down a bit if I drove it, but not by much.
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  #74  
Old March 22nd, 2022, 02:32 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Sparks, Nevada
Truck: 1966 GMC 1500 Custom
Age: 22
Posts: 52
Rep Power: 42
LordNatedawg will become famous soon enoughLordNatedawg will become famous soon enough
Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Progress update. Fans, alternator, and cooling neck/sensor have been installed. Wiring is going in and I am also upgrading the headlights, marker lights, tail lights, and reverse lights.

Installing the fans was super simple. I just used some aluminum L brackets that I had lying around. Drilled some holes in the radiator shroud and the fan shroud, then bolted them in. The HVAC tape is to seal the gaps. I want the fans to pull air through the radiator, not around it. The fans and coolant sensor have all been wired in to the relay kit. All that is left to do is to hook it up to the Painless wiring harness.

Speaking of wiring, the mess of wires that you see is surprisingly organized. Painless does a great job of labeling and binding everything together. Right now I'm working on getting the wires routed the way I want. Then I will wrap them in split tube and secure them before I start making connections. I am also working on a few upgrades to lighting first.

The headlights I'm installing are the Colorshift lights from Oracle. You can see the difference between stock lights and the Oracle lights. There is an LED ring around the edge that I can control with my phone. I can make it almost any color/pattern that I want. Should help my truck stand out even more. In addition to that, the bulbs are being upgraded to LED. They still use the same H4 connectors though. The only mods needed to make these headlights fit are some mods to the buckets. Little bit of cutting and drilling (as shown in the last photo). So far I have two buckets done. They're taking me about an hour a piece. I'm trying to go slow so I don't ruin them entirely. In the even that I do mess up, a lot of these parts are available aftermarket. Even the headlight adjusters are easy to get (most of mine are broken. 56 year old plastic is very easy to break).

Besides that, I have some sequential LED tail lights. No mods needed for that. It plugs right into the original harness. Same with my LED reverse lights.

Lastly, I am installing clear lenses on my marker lights. The bulbs are being replaced with LED switchbacks. If you don't know, a switchback bulb is solid white when the power is constant. When power is "pulsed" (when a blinker is turned on) the bulb will change to orange and will flash. My marker lights will function as both an amber blinker, and a white DRL. No mods needed for this except a no-load flasher and the switchback bulb.

Lots of things going on. I cannot wait to get all of this installed. Hopefully the junkyard fans actually work. I didn't think to test them before installing them.
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  #75  
Old April 5th, 2022, 06:40 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Sparks, Nevada
Truck: 1966 GMC 1500 Custom
Age: 22
Posts: 52
Rep Power: 42
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

I've been hard at work getting all the wiring put together. So far I have everything except my interior and my taillights wired up and ready to go. I even got my truck started today. I never got to hear it run when I installed the HEI last July because it caught fire before it ever cranked. Thankfully, the only smoke and fire that occurred today was from the backfiring in my carb (last time I installed the distributor, I put it in 180 out...woops). I couldn't let my truck run for long though. My brand new thermostat housing is cracked and leaking.

As far as wiring goes, the Painless kit really is simple to install. I swapped around a few wires to suit my needs then slapped it in some split tubing and ran it where it needed to go. After that it all fell into place. Keep in mind that the kit is made for Ch*vy and GMC. So some wires are missing, and some aren't used. Keep your original harness as reference and be ready to reuse/rebuild some parts of the original harness. Just as an example, I have to rebuild my heater and blower motor harness to reuse. I also have to splice my original gauge cluster harness into the Painless harness.

No pictures this time around. I don't really have anything interesting to show. Just wires and such. If you decide to do the Painless rewire and have questions, feel free to ask.

Last thing. I'm looking at replacing my coolant reservoir. Did our trucks even come with an overflow tank? My service manual mentions them but I don't recall that it showed what they looked like or where they were mounted under the hood.
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  #76  
Old June 2nd, 2022, 04:08 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Sparks, Nevada
Truck: 1966 GMC 1500 Custom
Age: 22
Posts: 52
Rep Power: 42
LordNatedawg will become famous soon enoughLordNatedawg will become famous soon enough
Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Things are coming together nicely. My cooling fans work beautifully. They keep my truck running with the needle right in the center of the gauge. On cooler nights they only stay on for a minute or two. Hotter days, they sit on low speed at idle for a long time. But they haven't kicked on to high speed so I know they're at least maintaining temperature. I also solved my coolant reservoir issue. Summit had on that was fairly easy to install. Should serve the purpose nicely.

My headlights works. The LED bulbs are super bright. I have to aim them still, but that'll be easy. The LED halos also work. They were a bit tedious to wire up. Each halo has 4 wires that needed to be connected with butt connectors to the Bluetooth module. 16 butt connectors later, everything works.

My taillights and reverse lights are installed. I need a new reverse switch for the lights to work, but my taillights work. The sequential blinker and brakes look awesome.

My front blinkers also work, but I need to figure out how to attach the new lenses to the housings. The lenses I bought came with rivets that were way too big to fit. I found some screws that fit tight, but they stick out too far in the back and hit the hood when I try to install the housing.

And lastly, I've actually started driving my truck regularly. I got it tuned perfectly. It starts on the first turn of the key and is ready to roll after less than a minute of warming up. It's not registered or insured yet so I have to keep it off the main highway, but it handles nice while cruising around the neighborhood. I even had a chance to do some light towing with it. Had to pull my 1938 Buick out of the backyard. I hardly felt it. My truck powered right through it.

All in all, I'm starting to see 3 years of hard work paying off. I only need the front blinkers installed to make my truck legal. Then I can invest in new tires and an alignment. I'm excited for the future of this project once it's on the road.
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