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Old 09-07-2012, 03:21 PM   #1
blue1969camaro
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'80 C10 drag truck project

So I thought I would share my new project with you guys. I'm a student at Alfred State College taking motorsports technology. In this class each student has to have their own high performance project to work on throughout the year so I am turning my '80 C10 into a drag truck. My plans are ladder bars and coil over rear suspension, ford 9 inch with prob 31 or so by 10.5 tires. In the front I am fabbing my own k-member out of 2x3 steel tube and will use tubular control arms and coil overs and I will try to use a manual rack and pinion to shave as much weight as possible. For a motor I'm building a mild 350 until money allows and that will be backed by a TH400 i built last year in transmission class. I will be making my own roll cage probably 10 or 12 point. Now here are a few pics of my progress so far.



This is what it looked like when I brought it home. Frame is solid but cab needs rockers and cab corners.



Cab is off and headed to the autobody shop for the autobody students to fix the rust. Can't beat free labor!





Frame is boxed where the new k-member will be welded on and the truck is on the plate to ensure everything is perfectly level.


This is where i got the 2x3 k-member idea. Its a paved oval ACT late model similar to a NASCAR cup car.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:06 AM   #2
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Alwqays cool to see a project starting from the ground up..

BTW,, welcome a-BOARD!
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:24 PM   #3
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Welcome to the board! Sounds like a neat career path. Good luck with the truck.
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10.39 1/4 @ 125.83

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Old 09-12-2012, 06:07 PM   #4
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Made some progress the last couple days. I got the cross member welded up and ground all the welds so it looks smooth and then tacked it in place. My teacher is really into dirt racing and thinks that with this cross member i can easily put on late model dirt car front suspension to lose a ton of weight and hopefully save $$$$$. We are taking a class trip to Close's Racing Supply in Pa on Friday. The build late model chassis there so ill check out what this front suspension is all about. Until then I'll start doing some motor work. Here are a few pics of my progress.


Not my best weld I definitely need to practice before i get to the cage. How strict are the NHRA officials on cage certifications?

Cross member tacked in place.

Have to love the glass bead blaster make easy work of that carbon buildup.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:37 PM   #5
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Made some more progress today. My teacher helped me magnaflux the crank and we didn't find any cracks thankfully. It is a really cool process if you have never seen it done. Then i polished all the journals and rear main seal area. I also got my block prepped: cylinders honed, lifters bores honed, all sealing surfaces cleaned up, then painted the rest of it orange and installed the cam bearings. Hopefully the safety clean guy will show up tomorrow to fix our parts washer so I can wash my crank and begin plastigaeing it and assembling the lower end.

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Old 09-19-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Welcome to the board and awesome looking project!
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:36 AM   #7
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

I picked up most of my front suspension parts Tuesday. I am adapting a dirt late-model type system with tubular control arms, pinto spindles and coil overs. These are some sweet looking parts but I'm thinking its going to ride rough when it does see road use due to the use of heims rather than rubber bushings but I'll just deal with it. I have the spindles mounted on the mill now so I can ream the lower ball joint taper, to accept the Chrysler screw in ball joint, then I will carefully start to layout all the mounting points. Also i would like to order a rack and pinion now but it looks like I have to wait to see what length I need to get the least bump steer possible. Ill take some pictures today in class throw them up tonight.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:55 PM   #8
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Ok here are those pictures.

http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...ps46524f7c.jpg
Upper control arm

http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...ps04dc5b12.jpg
Lower control arm

http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...ps323c7a44.jpg
http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...ps16a62acd.jpg
Pinto spindle designed for a IMCA dirt late model and uses a Granada rotor and special bracket for a GM metric caliper

http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...ps5762217f.jpg
Granada rotor with 5/8 studs and either 5x4.5 or 5x4.75 pattern

http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...psd57d4d87.jpg
Metric GM caliper bracket

http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...psae66f440.jpg
Spindle mounted in the mill to ream the lower taper to except a Chrysler style screw in ball joint

http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...ps5495cd45.jpg
And what i accomplished today. The upper control arm mounts. They are 1/2" plate with 6" on center 1/2" holes and are set parallel to each other rather than aimed in like the frame so any alignment adjustments can be done with various shims. I forgot to buy the mounts that Allstar sells and the shop is an hour away so a few minutes with the band saw and the mill and a lot of oil I had some made.

Tomorrow I will try to get the lower control arms mounted but i only have class till noon so it may not happen but definitely by early next week. Then I'll post some pics. Then i can measure up for a rack and pinion and some coil overs.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:29 PM   #9
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Looks like a cool project.

And welcome to the board!!
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:39 PM   #10
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

I`m in for the ride, Welcome to the board!
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #11
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Time for an update its been too long. I got my frame notched and boxed for rack and pinion clearance and the cross member I'm going to make for it. I also got all the mounts and stuff on the the rear frame and axle I no longer need removed. I also got some more parts on and got some more parts so now the short block assembled. I decided to ditch the stock pistons and use a set of flat tops from summmit racing to bump compression a little and i mated those to a set of eagle rods.

A few picks of the notch and plating.








The manual pinto rack with the mounting block and tie rod end. I bought a bumpsteer kit from Afco to mount he heim on the steering arm without drilling it out.




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Old 11-05-2012, 06:02 PM   #12
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Here are the pics I posted before I don't know why they didn't show up.













I have a lot of parts coming like the ladder bars and mounts so hopefully I will be able to post up some good progress soon. Also my cab is supposedly coming along nicely, I am going to stop in a see it tomorrow. I will post some pics.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:22 PM   #13
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Well I didn't get a chance to stop and see my cab, maybe next week. I did get my front cross member for the rack and pinion mounted though. The rack is leveled and thanks to an Afco bump steer kit the tie rods are parallel to the lower control arms so i shouldn't get any bump steer. The Afco kit is pretty cool, it has a tapered stud on the top so it bolts to the steering arm without drilling then using an assortment of aluminum spacers adjusts the heim on the lower stud.





Hopefully my rear suspension parts come soon so I can start assembling that but in the mean while I will make some solid motor mounts and start working on the top end of my motor.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:07 AM   #14
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Do yourself a favor a put a 9 inch under the truck. You are putting too much work into the truck to have rear end troubles.
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My Pass Time Show http://s129.photobucket.com/albums/p...Chapter1-0.mp4

So Far my best Times are:

Motor only:
6.44 1/8 @ 104.13
10.39 1/4 @ 125.83

Nitrous Times:
5.785 1/8 @ 118.65 with a 1.336 60ft
9.168 1/4 @ 142.58 with a 250 shot dead out of the hole!
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:27 PM   #15
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Definitely going 9 inch. I have a housing out of a 60's truck that i will need to shorten one side of to center the pinion. Then strange nodular case with 35 spline spool and strange axles. I am building this to take some power even though I don't have much yet. I figured that once I'm out of school and in a good job a motor and tranny swap is easy if I don't have to worry about everything else holding up. I'm using a th400 what gear do you think I should run? 4.11? This will see some street time but not much if I need to go far it will be trailered especially to the track.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:58 PM   #16
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

Very cool build, any updates?
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:52 AM   #17
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

If you guys have a surface plate to do the chassis on put it on it and set it at ride height and lock it down. As you do the chassis this will allow you to ensure the suspension is at the right height in the truck based on the tire heights and the chassis height. This will be really important on the rear to get the geometry right. If this is going to be a street driven truck you may want to consider a four link with urathane bushed rod ends. A ladder bar has a very low ability to twist. That is allow one tire to raise and the other to lower like what happens when entering lots of parking lots and driveways. Nice work so far and keep us posted.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:28 PM   #18
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

More updates I know its been a while. We finally got our prep booth finished after our class decided to take over for the college maintenance guys.


I got my cab back from auto body and at first I was pleased with the results but upon closer inspection the work was awful and I'm extremely pissed at the teacher for not paying attention to what the students were doing they obviously received very little instruction and I will be visiting the teacher shortly. Here are a few pics of that.



I made some solid engine mounts out of 2x3 steel then sleeved each hole for a 1/2" bolt and I am using these cool aluminum mounts from AFCO. The mounts are only welded on three sides because I will make some sort of gusseting for the bottom (although its probably not needed, they seem pretty solid) I have an idea for the trans mount but need to get some tubing. I will need to bend the tube somehow to clear the exhaust so I will prob wait until the body is mounted.


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Old 12-03-2012, 07:57 PM   #19
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

I also shortened my rearend housing. I read A LOT of articles online and after discussion with my teacher we decided, if I took my time and measured everything several times and used my digital level correctly, that I could do it my self without the special bar and pucks to line up the new end. I only shortened the long side to equal the short side. I know probably not the best method but hey you don't know until you try it. I did and I took my time (three class days) to level the housing perfectly, use my pinion measuring tool (see pic) and I was able to make the new end exactly parallel to the end that I didn't cut off, it was 90 degrees with the housing level. The digital level I used I bought at Home Depot and it reads to the tenth of a degree. Man has that digital level been useful no estimating the bubble close to the middle. I took my time, almost three hours to weld two spots about an inch long directly opposite each other, then let the housing cool completely and repeat. I can see inside and I had great penetration and all the welds look good. I am very confident in my work. Now my pinion is centered and I will order my Strange axles and spool this week.




I also got my ladder bars from Chris Alston's Chasisworks which are their battle cruiser 36" double adjustable units and all the brackets and crossmember I need to install them. My lower coilover mounts are adjustable Competition Engineering units. I also got a Fas2 watts link kit. I know that the watts link is not needed for drag racing but I discussed it with my teacher and we decided that it would provide the best lateral rearend control. My shocks are AFCO 9" double adjustable units.





That's it for now I have just over two weeks left before the end of the semester and a month break for the holidays. I am hoping to get the rear suspension all mounted before then. I was also hoping to get the cab mounted but I'll have to see what the deal is with the body shop first. I will try to update sooner so they are not so long.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:09 PM   #20
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

The truck is already set on the surface plate at ride height, not locked down, but I measure and remeasure everything several times before anything is welded. I know that the ride on the road will suffer from rod ends and solid mounting everything but I can deal with it. I drove an '86 CJ7 for almost two years, yes even in some of this crappy NY winter, it was cold, loud (blown out cherry bomb right under my floor board filled with holes,) and a handful to control. This truck will see way less street time than the jeep so I will just deal with it. I thought about going four link for quite a while but decided against it because of all the adjustment, yes I know the advantage, but for my very first drag vehicle I will be trying to tune the suspension and the four link has so many adjustments it's a little intimidating so until I learn what I am doing I'll use the ladder bars.
Speaking of learning, this project is teaching me a ton. Every weld I do looks better and better (my class mates have actually commented on my welds and some are having me weld their stuff!) I'm getting way more patient with everything and most of all this is an absolute BLAST I love seeing everything coming together so nicely (knock on wood).
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:48 PM   #21
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

So I have a quick question. I am beginning to plan my roll cage so that I can hopefully pick up the material while I am home over break. I understand basically everything in my NHRA rule book except the rear down (B) bars, they list A, B-1, B-2, and B-3 but do not list a size for any of them. I was thinking about doing the normal two parallel bars down from the main hoop with an X between then, then a cross brace to mount my shocks off of. My question is do all the bars have to be 1 5/8" or can the X be 1 1/4" or all the rear bars 1 1/4". I am also putting some front strut bars in to mount my front shock. What size do they need to be, NHRA has nothing about these in their full-bodied car section. I will probably make them 1 5/8" anyway for the strength, and maybe make a removable bar between them over the front of the motor.

Thanks any input is always appreciated.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:28 PM   #22
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

If you have the rule book, then you know the NHRA bastages just TRY to make you mess up. First,, are you doing a 'BAR' or a 'CAGE'

If it's a bar, main hoop, 2 rear down bars and 1 or 2 forward side bars,, they all MUST BE 1-3/4", with the only exception being the back bar which is 1-1/4" no variation, no exceptions and it MUST attach to the stock frame

If it's a true 'cage',, all the main cage has to be 1-5/8", the thing with B1, B2, B3 is the # of bars.
If B1, two bars, 30" or less; must attach within 5 inches from top of
main hoop.
If B2, minimum 4 bars. At least 2 bars must attach to horizontal
portion of main hoop.
If B3, minimum 6 bars.


A is 1-5/8" .083 wall m.s.
B-1 is 1-1/2" .058 wall m.s
B-2 is 1 3/8" .049 wall m.s
B-3 is 1-1/4" .049 wall m.s.
C is 1-1/4" .065 wall m.s.
D is 1-1/4" .058 wall m.s

If your using chromoly tubing, the wall thickness changes, but that's about it. Be cautious,,, it's a slippery slope of 'if you have this, then you must have that......
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #23
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

I'm doing a Cage. I don't need it now but I hope to go faster in the future and don't want to have to tear everything up so I am over building everything. My plan was to run the two down bars parallel from the top of the main hoop to the rear frame, then put an X between them. Also maybe some sort of crossbar to mount the shocks off of, this may be separate and further back I don't know yet. So I can use 1 3/8. This will be a mild steel cage, I can TIG but I am not confident enough to do a cage yet so I will stick to the MIG which I am getting very good with and definitely confident in my ability.

Also I believe your thicknesses are for moly, my book calls for everything mild to be .118 min wall thickness. Correct me if I am wrong, my book is in the shop.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:52 PM   #24
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

For sure your 100% right,, GOOD CATCH! The 0.083 is absolutely for chromoly. I did a cut and paste from some e-book and then tried to clean it up,, obviously I deleted the m.s. wall and left the c.m.

Be carefull and read the book and the 2 pages following schematic, ESPECIALLY the area covering the cage for full frame car. I remember something about the placement of the additional 2 bars being what allows the 1-3/8" ,, take this with a grain of salt because I cant get into the web site from here, but I seem to remember the additional 2 bars had to attach to the UPRIGHTS, not the horizontal member of the cage. I'm not sure a "X" brace between the two main rear bars will qualify...

Your in Division 1 right, Call the head tech director Rych Cambel at 315-335-8295 (7-9 eastern)

I don't know how good Div1 tech is,,, but here in Div7 you get a call back in less than an hour usually, and an email back that evening (sometimes)

rcampbell@nhra.com

If you email keep it simple,, I know tech for Div7 would answer the first paragraph,, and that's it.

One last thing,,, your building the cage to protect a pretty valuable occupant. I wouldn't scrimp on tube size over a few pounds. The weight difference between four 1-3/8 and two 1-5/8 I bet a loosing proposition. I'd build everything but the door bars out of 1-5/8 ... but that's just me
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:29 PM   #25
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Re: '80 C10 drag truck project

I was pretty much planning on 1 5/8 for almost everything anyway. Weight isn't a huge concern, if it was I would building a car not a truck and use cm tubing. Thanks for the response. The rearend and ladder bars are tacked in and after some more measurements and a few cycles of the travel I will weld it all up. Tomorrow I will post some more pics.
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