Time Flies

Wow, been about 6 months since I’ve updated this thing. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!  Not a whole lot of changes in the past months, but I’ve been thinking about getting back on here for a while. Looks like I left off last summer, just after becoming involved with the C/10 Club. Well that has been continuing to grow and I now head up the San Diego group. Been a blast, we’ve had lots of meets and events, and I’ve made some great friends. Check out c10clubsandiego.com for more info on that.

About the truck, I’ve just been enjoying the heck out of it. I take it out pretty much every weekend, even if it’s just to the store. Haven’t done a whole lot to it lately, but I did get a new classic-style radio for it, painted the door panels, and made some other minor improvements (rerouted fuel line and plugged the heater hose holes).

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Finally ditched the 90’s tape deck. Thank goodness nobody ever hacked up the dash. That sea-foam green around the radio is the original color of the truck! Also installed a stereo speaker in the original mono speaker location.

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I used a spray paint made for painting vinyl interior and it turned out awesome! Also got some new black trim rings around the handles, and new screws.

Next up, I am very excited about some work I have planned to complete in the next few weeks. I will be installing an airbag system, and I’ve already started buying the parts. The goal is to have the work completed by the Goodguys show, April 1st. Here comes the Del Mar crunch!

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This is a photo-shopped image of what the truck will hopefully look like with air bags aired-out. This is about as low as it will get without some major work.

Speaking of Goodguys Del Mar, I am super excited that the C/10 Club will be a featured club this year! I contacted Goodguys a couple months back about seeing if we could get some reserved spots for the club and they were totally on board. They said they were interested in going a step further and making our club a featured club, with 30 reserved spots Friday and Saturday, and wanted to include us in their promotions and media blasts. I think we will have over 30 trucks this year, but at least we will have some dedicated spots. Going to be an awesome time!

More to come… I intend to document the process of installing the air bag setup.

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Back in action.

Wow, it’s been a while. Last time I posted I was trying to fix my transmission before the Goodguys show in Del Mar. Well, I did accomplish that and had a fantastic time at the show, with my awesome wife. Kids were gone that weekend, so it was a pretty easy day and we just cruised at our own pace. What a great time.

However, before I could make it, the truck did throw a couple more curve balls at me. As I was putting the transmission back in, I noticed the center drive shaft support was snapped off and laying on the cross member. Not sure how long it had been that way, or it that somehow contributed to the transmission issues, but one more thing that needs fixing. Ordered up a new one and had it installed a couple days later, with about a week to spare before the show. It was a little tricky, having to take the u-joint apart to replace the support, but was able to do it with basic tool – no press!

So, transmission is back in, drive shaft back in, all is good, time to take it for a test drive. Well, I made it about 5 miles before I heard some clunking and something flopping around under the truck. Broke the center support again! Already! Stupid mounting plate was just spot welded in about 10 places. I limped it home and back into the garage without too much difficulty.

In my research, I found that there are not many options for these center supports. You have the choice between an $8 model (which is apparently what my first replacement was), a $16 model, or a $200 billet aluminum model. On the message boards, a lot of people recommend just upgrading to a 1-piece drive shaft, but with my limited budget, I was hoping to find a less expensive solution. So, I had an idea – Get the $16 model (which at least had a full weld on the mounting plate), and wrap a hose clamp around it for extra support. I think I got it done the night before the show, just in time. Well, it’s been about 5 months and still holding strong so I guess it worked, or at least helps.

Here's the extra cheap version with only spot welds.

Here’s the extra cheap version with only spot welds.

This one is still cheap but at least there are full welds on the mounting plate.

This one is still cheap but at least there are full welds on the mounting plate.

My "custom" modification - a hose clamp for extra support. So far, so good!

My “custom” modification – a hose clamp for extra support. So far, so good!

Made it to the Goodguys show. Can't wait for next year!

Made it to the Goodguys show. Can’t wait for next year!

Since then, the truck has been running pretty good. But there’s always something; the posi rear end has been chattering when hot, so I changed the oil and put in the additive. It helped, but still chatters sometimes. Now the power steering is leaking at the steering box and the pump is starting to whine on occasion. It’s always something, but that’s OK.

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to hit a couple Wednesday nights at the El Cajon cruise (something the city puts on every Wednesday night in the summer), and Friday nights at Cruisin’ Grand in Escondido (similar to El Cajon, but I like it better). The highlight was going to the Brothers truck show in Yorba Linda in June. All Chevy trucks, 1947 – 1987. I was in Chevy truck heaven. We made a family weekend of it and trailered the truck up there and stayed in a hotel with all the kids. The morning of the show there was a big meet-up a few miles away, and me and my son, and about 50 other trucks, all cruised down the freeway to the show, as the sun was coming up. What an absolute blast! Luckily, my family is really supportive and enjoys car shows and events, so they come whenever possible and a good time is had by all.

My son with the Tootsie's truck at the meet-up before the Brothers show.

My son with the Tootsie’s truck at the meet-up before the Brothers show.

Cruising to the Brother's show with my son. Photo by Classic Scene.

Cruising to the Brother’s show with my son. Photo by Classic Scene.

At the Brothers show.

At the Brothers show.

Through all of this, and inspired by the folks I met at the Brothers show, and follow on Instagram, I have become more and more involved with the C/10 Club and am now contributing to the @c10clubsandiego Instagram page, and Facebook page, and have created a website, to help get the local C/10 scene pulled together to meet, cruise, and hang out. I put together a meet on August 15th at Ski Beach and we had 11 trucks show up! So that’s where I’m currently at, and lovin’ it. More to come!

More low is good. Stuck in 4th is bad.

Been a while since I’ve posted an update and there’s certainly some things worth sharing. Presently, the truck is out of commission, with transmission issues. More on that later. But first, I’m happy to report that dropping the truck an additional 2 inches in the back was a pretty simple task, and definitely had the noticeable effect I was looking for. However, it’s somewhat like getting a tattoo, because now I already want more. Need more low! I really want to get an airbag setup, but unfortunately it is not in the foreseeable future as I just can’t justify spending the funds on that right now. Especially when I need to spend money just to get back to driving.

Had to use a ratchet strap to pull the trailing arm into alignment when installing the new u-bolt.

Had to use a ratchet strap to pull the trailing arm into alignment when installing the new u-bolts.

Completion.

Completion.

Before & after.

Before & after. Really need to tuck those wheels now – need more low!

So then it was time for my first 500 mile oil change on the new engine after break in. Got the oil all changed, installed some new plugs, and even some new wires. Lookin’ good and cruising solid…

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So, everything’s good, out for a cruise with my wife on a Saturday morning a couple weeks ago, and out of the blue the transmission gets stuck in 4th gear. What the heck? I figure it must just be the shifter linkage or something. Luckily, I have AAA and I was only about a mile and a half from home. On the flat bed it goes and the guy was able to roll it off right into my garage.

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Finally, back home, I put the truck up on jack stands and start messing with the shifter linkage, and quickly realize it’s not the linkage. After pulling the side cover off of the transmission, I see right away what the problem is: a synchro key had popped out of place, although at the time I didn’t really understand what I was looking at, having never opened up a manual transmission. Regardless, I realized that the transmission had to come out to tackle this issue.

This is the first thing I saw after pulling off the side cover.

This is the first thing I saw after pulling off the side cover. This misaligned key would not let the slider come out of 4th.

Prior to this, all I knew was that this truck had a Muncie 4 speed, and I was told it had been rebuilt a couple years ago because it was popping out of second. I have since learned that it is an early ’64-’65 M20, with a later style tail housing (which is why the speedometer never worked; more on that later). In the last couple weeks I have learned a tremendous amount about Muncie transmissions, much thanks to Paul Cangialosi, his book “Muncie 4-Speed Transmissions”, and a couple phone conversations. This guy is the Muncie master, and it’s awesome that you can get him on the phone and personally ask him questions.

So, in addition to the popped-out synchro key, after I took it apart, I realized another key had broken and fallen out. Probably the cause of this one coming partially out. It would be cheap enough to just replace the keys, but I have a feeling that the wear on the engagement teeth of the gears and slider contributed to the problem in the first place. There is enough wear on the engagement teeth of all the gears that I’d like to replace them all, but just can’t afford that right now. I never had any shifting issues before this anyway. I do see evidence that the transmission was rebuilt a couple years ago, as the synchro rings don’t appear as worn as everything else. Also, second gear looks a little different than the others and doesn’t have quite as much wear as the others, indicating it might have been replaced. For these reasons, I decided to just replace the 3-4 synchro assembly, which I purchased from Paul, along with a gasket set.

Now, I could stop here, and be back on the road for just about $75, but it would be really stupid not to address the speedometer issue while I have the transmission open. The speedometer has never worked, and I remember it baffling my Dad. What I found out in learning about these transmissions is that, because mine is an early M20, it originally had a driver-side speedometer gear, but the tail housing currently installed has a passenger side gear. GM switched sides because of interference with shifter linkages, which would also be a problem with mine, and the reason why somebody switched it in the past. Seems like no big deal, but it also turns out that, in addition to switching sides, the gear also sits about an inch further back in the newer tail housing. Unfortunately, my early style main shaft does not have enough room for the pressed-fit speedometer drive gear to slide back into the position it needs to be in to drive the speedometer driven gear. Basically, what this means is that I’ll have to replace my main shaft with a newer style, in order to get my speedometer working. And that’s where I’m at now; trying to find a used one in decent shape, for a decent price. On top of that, I really want to get it back on the road by April 12th, so I can make it to the Goodguys car show in Del Mar. The clock is ticking!

It's nice having a truck! The bed doubles as a makeshift work bench, since I don't have a proper workbench in my garage.

It’s nice having a truck! The bed doubles as a makeshift work bench, since I don’t have a proper workbench in my garage.

Need more low.

I’ve been thinking that I’d like to drop the back end a little bit to level out the truck. Now, of course, what I’d love to do is drop spindles up front, c-notch out back, and bags all the way around, but that’s a little out of my price range at this point. So, what I’m settling on is
some 2″ drop blocks for the back. I’d love to switch out these springs that were torched to produce the current stance, but hey, they function and don’t ride too bad, so I’ll leave it alone for now.

My kit arrived from Classic Performance Products today. Will have to wait until this weekend to bolt it up. I’ll be sure to take some good before and after photos.

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Show Time!

Finally accomplished a goal and milestone I had been looking forward to since bringing this truck home. I took the truck to its first show – the Annual Street Masters’ Christmas Cruise for Kids at Torrey Pines high on December 14th. The truck got a few looks and I had a blast, with my family right there with me. I love the culture at these shows and can’t wait for more.

My son Dawson, and Dad's old truck.

My son Dawson, and Dad’s old truck.

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Flat Black.

Well, I went ahead with the flat black paint job since the last post. I have done the spray can thing a few times before, so I knew it could come out decent with the right paint and technique. I already selected the paint I wanted to use when I had the hood and grille off. Back in the day I used “Fresh & Easy” flat black enamel, 99 cents a can at Kmart, and that stuff was actually pretty awesome. I guess it’s been a few years (about 15) and that paint is no longer around. I tried 4 different kinds and settled on “Krylon Dual Superbond Paint & Primer”. It covered the best and came out the smoothest but I actually didn’t care for the spray tip. Another one of the paints had a nozzle that put out a flat spray, instead of circular. I ended up putting that nozzle on every single can (17 total) of paint I used.

I think the hardest part was finding that many cans to buy. I could not find that many cans in stock anywhere, and finally had to order them from Orielly Auto Parts. Cool thing was, I ordered them in the morning and they had them by 2pm that afternoon. Orielly’s saves the day again.

In order to create a makeshift paint booth, I taped painter’s plastic to the ceiling and floor around the inside of my garage, which worked out great. Note to self: Next time put plastic on the floor as well. I ended up with a ton of paint dust that was a real hassle to clean up. Other than that, everything came out really well!

All taped up and ready for paint.

All taped up and ready for paint.

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Cruising.

Been cruising around the last couple weekends. It’s running well, and sounds great! Been messing around with the timing, trying to dial it in, and I think I got it just about where it needs to be. I also had some oil leakage at one of the valve covers, but I think I got that fixed. The next thing I want to do is spray it with a cheap flat black paint job. The old gray primer is wearing out and it’s time for a new look. I went ahead and did the hood and grille while they were off the truck, but they need another coat. I think I’m going to turn my garage into a make shift paint booth sometime in the next couple weeks and get it painted before the Annual Street Master’s Christmas Cruise for Kids, a local car show that will be held at Torrey Pines High School in December. I’m going to enter for fun and see how it goes!

I think I will be forever tinkering and improving this truck, and will continue documenting my journey on this blog. Next up, should strap seat belts, a carpet kit, and upgraded suspension! Someday…

Went cruising with my wife last weekend and found a photo op.

Went cruising with my wife last weekend and found a photo op.

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