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  #1  
Old September 20th, 2019, 06:19 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Default "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

19 years old, new to the forums, new to restoring classic vehicles. We'll see how this goes. Let's start with how I obtained this truck and what it all has.

While looking for a used pickup on Facebook Marketplace, I stumbled across an old 1966 GMC 1500 Custom; Fleetside Longbed. Ignoring the advice from my parents to buy "a useful truck", I decided to jump on the offer. I love my dads 74 GMC K2500, so this was my chance to get a truck like his.

The gentleman I bought this truck from had been using it as a work truck for several years (can't blame him...it's a GMC). It has a cargo rack, 8 lug wheels, painted bumper with ball hitch, 3 gas tanks (two in the bed, one in the cab), it has power assist brakes, it has A/C (John E. Mitchell underdash), ram-style power steering, NP435 manual transmission, bigger mirrors, Dana 60 rear diff, it's a 2WD, and the 351e V6 was swapped for a 350 V8. Basically, this truck was the "heavy duty" model of the 1500.

It was running and driving until I touched it. Engine sounds great. Couldn't get a feel for how it drives because I only drove it on and off a trailer.

The body is in decent shape. The rust isn't too bad. Two rust-holes in the front fender. The driver's side rear fender is in rough shape though. It looks to me like it was in an accident. The inner fender in the bed is dented inward, and the outer fender has a solid inch-thick layer of Bondo on it. Besides that, good condition. Only one piece of chrome is missing; one of the "Custom" badges is gone.

An oddity about the truck: the engine crossmember was swapped out at some point. To my knowledge, the 66 should use tubular control arms. Underneath my truck was the straight bolt-up arms. That and the fact that my upper control arm bracket wasn't even bolted to the frame leads me to believe that the crossmember was swapped at some point.

I bought this truck in May. It is now September at the time of writing this post. I've done some work to it...only some. Stay tuned for updates.
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  #2  
Old September 20th, 2019, 06:38 AM
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Quote:
19 years old, new to the forums, new to restoring classic vehicles. We'll see how this goes. Let's start with how I obtained this truck and what it all has.

While looking for a used pickup on Facebook Marketplace, I stumbled across an old 1966 GMC 1500 Custom; Fleetside Longbed. Ignoring the advice from my parents to buy "a useful truck", I decided to jump on the offer. I love my dads 74 GMC K2500, so this was my chance to get a truck like his.

it has power assist brakes, it has A/C (John E. Mitchell underdash), ram-style power steering, NP435 manual transmission, bigger mirrors, Dana 60 rear diff, it's a 2WD, and the 351e V6 was swapped for a 350 V8.
Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on finding a very well optioned truck. Looks like it even has the rare "Buddy Bucket" seat option. Keep us posted on your progress. Hopefully someday you can even put a V6 back in it.
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Medford, Oregon
1962 K1000 Suburban 401M & SM420
1965 2500 Suburban 351C & SM420 with Watson overdrive
1967 CM1500 pickup 351E & NP435
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  #3  
Old September 20th, 2019, 06:51 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

The first thing I did was clean the engine and address all the leaks.

The heater core was removed. I have to order a new core from LMC. The box was sanded and painted.

Valve cover gasket were changed, as well as the thermostat housing and gasket. A crack in the radiator was filled with lead.

Next, I bought a new steering gear and PS pump for a 1974 GMC C2500. To replace my drag link, I obtained a drag link from a 1979 GMC C3500 in the junkyard. If anyone is curious, 63-87 GMC/Chevy trucks have very similar drag links. They are somewhat interchangeable. Pitman arms are all the same to my knowledge, but the tie rods require some sort of conversion sleeve to work. Also, the idler arm will need to be relocated.

I completely gutted the power steering system. The pump was dead, the steering gear is extremely worn, the regulator on the drag link leaked, and the ram and all the hoses leaked. Instead of trying to rebuild this, I decided to do a power steering conversion. I bought the brackets and drilled the holes, but I haven't mounted the box yet because I ran into a problem. I tried to remove my steering shaft to cut and shorten it. In the removal process, all the bearings disintegrated. I'll buy a new tilt column later. Steering assembly is on the backburner until then.

In order to avoid the conversion sleeve/tierod problem, I decided to upgrade my front suspension....every...single...component.

I bought a "new" crossmember from AspenAutoAZ. I am currently in the process of cleaning it. It'll replace my current crossmember and allow me to use tubular control arms.

Next, I ordered 1979 GMC C2500 control arms (upper and lower), spindles, disc rotors and calipers, wheel bearings, etc. I plan on using my 66 shocks and coil springs. I have not installed any of these components yet. I believe that the brake hoses I have (1979 disc) should attach straight to the original brakes lines, but I have not had anyone confirm that yet. I still need to order a new master cylinder with a proportioning valve.

I'm debating replacing my brake lines with 1979 lines. But I think I'd have to replace my rear wheel cylinder with a similar year too. If anyone knows about brake line/hose compatibility, please let me know.
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  #4  
Old September 20th, 2019, 06:54 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Quote:
Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on finding a very well optioned truck. Looks like it even has the rare "Buddy Bucket" seat option. Keep us posted on your progress. Hopefully someday you can even put a V6 back in it.
I hope to put the 351e back in. My only concern is hearing about how difficult it is to find parts for it.

And yes, my truck has the buddy bucket seats. Foam is destroyed, but the frames are still solid. I just need to fix the sliding mechanism on the passenger seat. The bolts look chewed up.
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  #5  
Old September 21st, 2019, 03:03 PM
James James is online now
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Quote:

Next, I ordered 1979 GMC C2500 control arms (upper and lower), spindles, disc rotors and calipers, wheel bearings, etc. I plan on using my 66 shocks and coil springs. I have not installed any of these components yet. I believe that the brake hoses I have (1979 disc) should attach straight to the original brakes lines, but I have not had anyone confirm that yet. I still need to order a new master cylinder with a proportioning valve.

I'm debating replacing my brake lines with 1979 lines. But I think I'd have to replace my rear wheel cylinder with a similar year too. If anyone knows about brake line/hose compatibility, please let me know.
I would also replace the master cylinder (convert from a single cylinder to a dual cylinders) and all of the brake lines/hoses. With front disc brake and rear drum brake you will also need a proportioning valve. Master cylinder will need to match (disc-drum) as well.
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  #6  
Old September 21st, 2019, 04:22 PM
POWERSTROKE POWERSTROKE is offline
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Ha-Ha.... week or two before I left for college in August 1972, I repaired rust holes exactly where the holes are on your truck on Dad's '67 F250. Only took 5 years in the Rust Belt in the midwest to rust holes behind the frt wheels.
I agree with PAPA SMURF, more current vintage brake components you can use the better. I had several really rusty brake lines on my '96 F250 about 4 years ago. I had already replaced a rusted out power steering line and had replaced two rusted out fuel lines plus both braided stainless flex lines between the frame and engine. Replaced all the rubber hoses on top of the diesel engine in the "Valley of Death". Just replaced those hoses a second time last spring. Anyhow, I bought ALL brand new 304 stainless steel pre-bent brake lines from Classic Tube in Lancaster, New York. I hired a local one man shop with a lift to install them along with a new master cylinder, both frt calipers and both rear wheel cylinders. Anything touching brake fluid was new. Search on Classic Tube and they should come up 1st thing. Replacement vintage brake lines are their thing!
Good luck with your truck! You will like it even more with the Big V-6 in it!
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  #7  
Old September 21st, 2019, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Looks to be the rare Sport truck option one year only. Congratulations.
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  #8  
Old September 21st, 2019, 08:06 PM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

Quote:
Looks to be the rare Sport truck option one year only. Congratulations.
Wow...no pressure or anything. Lol. Hopefully the mods I'm doing are "acceptable" on such a rare truck.

I appreciate everyone's help. I've never touched brakes before on any vehicle. For obvious safety reasons, I'm trying to get everything figured out before I start.
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  #9  
Old September 24th, 2019, 01:24 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

"I'd get it one piece at a time,
And it wouldn't cost me a dime"

Finally finished cleaning the engine crossmember. Again, this is a 63-66 crossmember that I bought from AspenAutoAZ. It was in great condition when it came, but it was dirty. Now it's clean and getting a good coating of rust inhibitor.

Once the paint cures, I can start assembling my brakes and suspension. After that, I'll rip the old crossmember out and roll this one under with all the new parts.

Brake system will be getting worked on in the near future. Place an order today for a new brake booster, dual reservoir, and proportioning valve.
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  #10  
Old October 13th, 2019, 06:51 AM
LordNatedawg LordNatedawg is offline
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Default Re: "Papa Smurf" - 1966 GMC 1500 Custom

It has been a while, but I've made a slight bit of progress. Mostly gathering parts. Fairly certain I have everything I need for my crossmember swap and front suspension rebuild. I haven't assembled anything yet; I don't want to assemble my crossmember and end up having my new brake rotors rusting away. I don't have room in my garage to store the crossmember.

Some progress I have made: Got all new Grade 8 hardware for my crossmember. I could've reused my the original hardware. But $30 for all new seemed like a good idea to me. If anyone is curious, here are the bolts I needed. Most were obtained at ACE Hardware, unless otherwise noted. All are Grade 8:
6 1/2"-13 x 1-1/4" bolts
6 1/2"-13 nuts
6 1/2" lock washers and flat washers
8 7/16"-14 x 1-1/2" bolts with flat washers and lock washers (ordered from FMWFasteners)
4 7/16"-14 nuts (4 of the bolts screw into nuts welded into the crossmember and therefore do not need nuts)
4 9/16"-18 nut and lock washers and flat washers (FMWFasteners)
4 9/16" u-bolts for the control arms (mine came with nuts. I believe they are 9/16"-12)

I may have more washers than I need. I figured it was better to have them and not need them. Some areas may not need flat washers. The 1/2" bolts are vertical, bolting the crossmember to the frame. The 7/16" bolts are horizontal, bolting the upper control arm brackets to the frame. The 9/16" nuts will hold the upper control arms on. The varying lengths were just me doing some "testing". I originally had 7/16"x1" but they were too short for my liking. Stepped it up half an inch. They might be longer than needed, but they don't interfere with anything. I think 1-1/4" would probably be sufficient.

My CPP brake booster kit came, I bought some copper-nickel brake line as well as the necessary tools to bend and flare it. I will be running 1/4 inch line to the rear and 3/16 line to the front. That is what my proportioning valve requires. I'll figure out what my rear wheel cylinders require and step it down if needed. Also bought new coil springs and shock absorbers.

I did manage to get a new steering column. Right now it's only in for a test fit. All the bolts line up. I'm going to remove it, prime it, wire it properly, then install it again. Old column is....old. Bearings have worn a groove into the steering shaft, all the bearings have disintegrated, and the horn didn't work for some reason. The new column is an Ididit column. Little bit pricey, but fits well and doesn't hurt the truck aesthetically. I bought the paintable version so I can paint it to match the interior later on.
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