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Old 04-01-2020, 02:14 AM   #1
mikentosh
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Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

I'm a little late starting a thread on my latest square project, Greenie...

Summer of 2018 I found this clean '77 shorty posted on Craigslist. The previous owner couldn't get it to pass smog, so, surprisingly, they donated it to Pick 'n Pull. It was way too clean for them to put out in the yard, so it ended up in their "builder" lot.

There were a few choice...mods...like the steering wheel, plus a few dings and dents, but minimal rust. Its missing a glovebox SPID, but was pretty minimally optioned. I'm guessing it was an original column shift manual paired to the 250 I-6, but was converted to an auto at some point. The owner's manual and maintenance schedule were still in the glovebox after all these years.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:18 AM   #2
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

First order of business was to give it a good scrub down, before bringing it to the shop where we could get it running and figure out any smog issues. We found the main issue was a misadjusted carb; however finding parts locally for a one barrel rochester isn't easy.

Getting a donated vehicle re-registered in California requires a brake and lamp inspection, smog check, and, for trucks/commercial vehicles, weighed in. It took us about a month to get all the paperwork submitted to Sacramento. Another bonus was the recent expansion of the "year of manufacture" plates to cover up to 1980 for trucks, which allowed me to put on original California blue plates.

In these photos its parked next to "Old Blue", our '74 Sierra Grande that I've got another build thread going...it will be time to update that soon, as we've recently done an overhaul on it too.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:20 AM   #3
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

I'm personally not a fan of silver on Squarebody trucks, and I had a color in mind since before starting the Cannonball project. I've really wanted to do the early 70's lime green, as it brings me back to my grandpa's longbox '75 I rode around in as a kid. We settled on code 517 lime poly (WA5229) from the '74 truck line.

Since my plan has been to make this a fun driver, we didn't want to go overboard on the paint job. Rather than stripping down to metal, we scuffed and sprayed all the visible areas of the cab. We also had to patch a speaker hole in one door, and grafted an original shaft-mount radio plate in place of the cutout DIN hole.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:22 AM   #4
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

Now that we had a color locked in, it was time to focus on the interior. I wanted to keep it very stock but still fresh, and since we were starting from scratch, might as well option it out to silverado specs. We went with a custom SEM blend to match the stock chocolate brown dashpad that came in the saddle interiors. I also wrapped the door panel and dash inserts with 3M woodgrain vinyl. The seat was reupholstered with orange/red tartan in a stock style. I also rebuilt the vent windows, and found fresh glass for it.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:24 AM   #5
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

At this point we had the truck stripped down and major repair work done, including a replacement passenger door and new door skins. It was time to head to the bodyshop, where it sat in paint jail through the winter of 2018 and spring of 2019.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:27 AM   #6
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

I finally got the truck back from paint in April 2019, just in time for show season! I spent a couple of weeks putting it back together and was finally able to get it back on the road. At this point it was about a year since I first brought it home, and I'd only put less than 100 miles on the odometer.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:29 AM   #7
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

I had a local pinstriper go through the bundles of NOS trim I'd been collecting over the years from my other square projects and change it all to '77-specific yellow striping. New tires on freshly painted steelies, and we were ready to show it off at the Brothers show in all of its stock glory.

Around that time I also adopted a nice patina '86 shortbox, which shared garage space with greenie for a few months, while I did an LS swap into it.
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Old 04-01-2020, 08:18 AM   #8
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

Looks really nice! I think your truck was originally the same color as my 77, color code 17. Those door panels look great, where did you get them? I put some like that on mine from a junkyard years ago. Unfortunately, the sun has disintegrated the plastic. I see you added the rear cab trim also, must have been fun putting in all those little studs.
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:23 AM   #9
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

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Looks really nice! I think your truck was originally the same color as my 77, color code 17. Those door panels look great, where did you get them? I put some like that on mine from a junkyard years ago. Unfortunately, the sun has disintegrated the plastic. I see you added the rear cab trim also, must have been fun putting in all those little studs.
I found the door panels on eBay, which had some sun fade and chalky tops. After cleaning them like 5 times, we sprayed with SEM interior paint. Same thing we did to the rest of the interior trim.

Cab trim is really not fun to put on...took about 3 hours. Worst part in my opinion is the corner pieces...getting the stud holes to line up with the factory cutouts on the inside of the cab was such a pain.
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:54 AM   #10
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

Absolutely beautiful! Great work. That interior is perfect.
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Old 04-02-2020, 09:14 PM   #11
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

Well it only took a couple of months driving around as a stock truck before I got the urge to adjust the altitude. Followed the Yezzi approach with a flip in the back on stock 3-pack leafs without a C-notch, and in front I used CPP spindles with western chassis 2.5" springs.
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Old 04-02-2020, 09:16 PM   #12
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

I borrowed the truck rallye look off of our "Old Blue" project truck for a month to convince myself about wheel and tire size.
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Old 04-02-2020, 09:18 PM   #13
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

I love the look of c10doctor's truck Yams, so I placed an order to The Wheelsmith for their OEM steelies in 15"x8" w/ 4" BS and 15"x10" w/ 5" BS done in "triple chrome". Tires are 245/60 front and 295/50 rear.

Got this all together just in time to make the 2019 C10 Intervention in Auburn, CA.
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Old 04-02-2020, 10:17 PM   #14
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

love the C O L O R
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:48 AM   #15
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

What a great little sled that is. That custom steering wheel is one of the craziest things I've ever seen in a vehicle. It had to have been awkward to use but at least it was ugly... That interior now though? You have very good taste in colors and combinations. The fact that the 3M wood grain ties into the burnt orange in the tartan fabric -- just right. Any info or pictures of the motorvation?
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Old 04-03-2020, 01:01 PM   #16
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

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What a great little sled that is. That custom steering wheel is one of the craziest things I've ever seen in a vehicle. It had to have been awkward to use but at least it was ugly... That interior now though? You have very good taste in colors and combinations. The fact that the 3M wood grain ties into the burnt orange in the tartan fabric -- just right. Any info or pictures of the motorvation?
Ha, we were unable to drive it off the lot with that crazy steering wheel!

I'll definitely be positing motor pictures soon, as there is a lot more progress since this

Spoiler Alert: The truck is currently in pieces in my garage LOL
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:50 PM   #17
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

Gorgeous truck, love that color. Did you measure before and after the drop? Curious about how many inches you dropped front and back and if you like the rake right now.
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:29 AM   #18
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

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Gorgeous truck, love that color. Did you measure before and after the drop? Curious about how many inches you dropped front and back and if you like the rake right now.
Unfortunately I didnít grab any measurements, but I can say this did not come down in the front as much as our shop truck, in which we used a different brand of front springs. The upside is I have not bottomed out this one on any speedbump or driveway, whereas Old Blue rubs tire-to-inner fender and/or crossmember-to-road on even modest dips in the freeway. Iíd say the front height difference between them is about 3/4Ē...both are running same front tire size and brand.

Now with that said, I liked Greenieís rake but the front tire to fender gap wasnít to my liking...which has started me on the next phase of this build...
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:42 AM   #19
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

After putting another couple of hundred miles on the 250 I-6, I came to learn that this is a 55mph truck. The I-6 is just not happy spinning at the RPM required for modern highway speed, and the different tire diameter made it even worse.

I also wanted to bring the front end down a little bit to tighten up the front fender to tire gap, but had fears of this truck bottoming out like our shop truck suffers from.

The plan started simple enough: Pancake the crossmember to get some more clearance...but to pull the crossmember the motor has to come up, so we might as well swap that too...you know how it goes with one thing leading to another and then you find the truck is off the road for a year or more; well I didn't want that to happen.

Fortunately we had an extra shortbox frame hanging around that we were using for measurements on some other builds, so I could build this one out while keeping the truck drivable as long as possible.
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Old 04-05-2020, 03:02 AM   #20
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

With the way the truck has turned out so far I decided that I wanted to keep it very much a resto-mod build, with a vintage street machine look.

I want it aggressively low, but I don't want to cut the bed and would like to retain a factory look to the front inner fenders. With this in mind, I browsed around at the various front and rear crossmembers available, as well as full chassis offerings. I settled on a Choppin Block coilover front crossmember paired to a RideTech rear 4-link setup, all with RideTech single adjustable coilovers.

I ordered this up through Travis at AZ Pro Performance, and he cautioned me that the CB front setup is designed for a 7" drop(!) whereas the RideTech rear is only around 6", so it might not be balanced. To help with this, I planned on substituting a stock front spindle in place of the standard 2" drop one.

For the rear end, I called up Bill at Vintage Chevy in Fremont, CA to see what he might have for 12 bolts. These things are popular and all he had left was a very well used non-posi unit from a '73, so I snapped it up.

I spent a few weeks cutting, notching, and test fitting everything on the chassis before sending it out for powder coating, and then the build was on!
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Old 04-05-2020, 06:39 AM   #21
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

Greenie looks really GOOD. Nice work!
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Old 04-05-2020, 12:30 PM   #22
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

It came time to decide on an engine for this build. I've only done LS swaps in all previous Square builds so its comfortable territory. But for the resto-mod theme of this build I want to keep the engine compartment looking stock; also, this being a '77 in California, I do have to keep smog regulations in mind. I looked into backdating the LS motors (like a DelS3), and though they give a period vibe, it wasn't close enough for me.

So the decision came back to putting in a traditional gen 1 small block. This truck is going to be a cruiser so I'm not looking for a high horsepower performance setup, and since I'm using cast exhaust manifolds and a factory air intake for the look, I won't be able to support that anyway.

So I settled on a GM Performance Parts "Fast Burn 385" (now called the much more boring SP350/385). This uses the vortec-style aluminum fast burn heads, and is a fresh 4 bolt main block. I had considered a ZZ6, but I'm dumping the intake and valve covers, so it wasn't worth the extra cost to me.
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Old 04-05-2020, 12:47 PM   #23
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

To get the period correct look I'm going for I needed to backdate a few things, and put together a v-belt style accessory drive.

Fortunately I had a 305 out of the '86 that I had just LS swapped, so I robbed that of its from accessories...I believe this is the last year GM used a v-belt setup. In fact they had already moved over to a modern ribbed belt for the 12SI alternator at this point. I debated moving to a 10SI alternator to get the open blade fan look, but having the parts in front of me encouraged me to stick with the better 12SI

As you know by '86 GM had moved to the R4 A/C compressor, so I found a set of A6 compressor brackets from a '75 suburban to use instead. The remaining missing bracketry came from an early 80s Buick I found in the local pick-n-pull. I sent all of the bracketry off to the powder coater to have blasted and coated. I know GM typically used gloss black in the engine bay, but I felt a slightly more matte finish would look better here.

The fast burn heads support both center bolt and edge bolt valve covers, which let me use the period-correct 70's stamped steel covers that I snagged off eBay. The intake that comes on the SP350/385 is a high-rise style without EGR provisions, so I swapped to a GMPP 12496820 low-rise manifold, which has the EGR boss and vortec-style passthrough.

For exhaust, a buddy had some freshly powdercoated replica cast manifolds for an early OBS truck, which are a better (but not perfect) fit for the large exhaust openings on the fast burn heads. He also had an extra late 70s truck air cleaner that I snagged, which got coated along with the brackets.
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Old 04-05-2020, 12:58 PM   #24
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

From my research it looks like 1977 was a transitional year for GM in engine color, going from Chevy Orange to Corporate Blue. Since the I-6 in the truck now was blue, I decided to keep that theme. I ended up using Duplicolor DE1608, known as "GM Blue", on top of a few coats of rust-oleum engine primer. It was a little bit tough scuffing down brand new polished aluminum parts, but the end effect was worth it
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Old 04-05-2020, 01:14 PM   #25
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Re: Mikey's 77 shortbox - Greenie

For a transmission I went with a Gearstar-built 700R4...I really wanted an overdrive gear for highway cruising. This trans is built out to their "Stage 2" specifications, for which they showed a bit of concern with the power level of the motor, but there are absolutely no plans to race this truck, and I kinda drive like a little old lady.

With everything dressed up I dumped the motor into the chassis. The CB engine plates weren't stamped with direction, so it could set the motor forwards or back by 3"...well we thought we had it correct (in the forward position) until a few weeks later when I put the core support on and noticed how tight it was. Fortunately it wasn't too much difficulty to raise the motor and reverse the plates, but I had to run the trans crossmember backwards to avoid redrilling holes

I'm happy with the end effect of backdating the motor...I think it will keep up the "stock" 1977 vibe, and only enthusiasts will notice angled plugs, passenger side dipstick, or the GMPP flags logo cast into the intake
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