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Old 01-09-2021, 03:03 PM   #1
ThreeQuarter
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ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

I've been on the board for 20 years now and haven't ever started a build thread. It just seemed like it wouldn’t be time well spent for me when I have a project I could be working on. I got my project in 2013 and it’s almost finished now, so this will be a retrospective build thread. I'll go through my old pics and do my best to step through it.

My objective has always been to restore it back into usable condition and replicate the experience of having a brand new 1968 Chevy pickup. Regardless of all the advances made in automotive technology since 1968, I want know what it was like to have one back then. That's where I want to start with this project, and maybe after I drive it awhile I will upgrade some things to make for a better driving experience. That being said, it won't be a concours show vehicle and I will be making some upgrades, especially ones that can be out-of-sight. And radials.
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'68 Chevy C10 Custom LWB 327/TH400 2nd owner
'16 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Dblcab 4wd 5.3
'72 GMC C2500 longstep bed trailer

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Old 01-09-2021, 03:09 PM   #2
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

First, the back story:
When I was in college in the nineties at Texas A&M (WHOOP!) I got to know an already-retired animal science professor after I did some odd jobs around his house. I ended up checking on him periodically and helping him maintain his house and his old 1968 Chevy pickup that he bought new from a local dealer. I also got to listen to his stories about growing up in Kentucky, moving to Idaho and back to Kentucky, WWII, and college student (Corps of Cadets) pranks over the years.

The '68 was his daily driver and everyone in town knew him by that pickup. Even though it never did much hauling or towing, this C10 did not have the easiest life. Its parking spot was under a tree. The owner's office was less than a mile away from his house, so I imagine there were not a lot of miles put on it at full operating temp. By the time I started working on the pickup, it was on its third engine and the firewall and roof gutter were swiss cheese. He had it repainted twice, but there was minimal work done to the rotted areas. Rain would soak the driver's feet, so one of my jobs was to try to stem the flow of water inside the cab. At the time I had no shop, few tools, and even fewer bodywork skills. I cut out the rot in the cowl and used aluminum flashing with body seam sealer to shed water away from the passenger compartment. Fortunately this is an area that isn't visible. He was very appreciative and it did the trick until he reached an the age when he couldn't drive it anymore.

Fast forward a few years and I was living in Iowa. I still checked on my old friend when I visited College Station. His wife passed away in 2010 and he had no surviving children. He told me once that I was in his will for the pickup. I just responded that I hoped he would not make it happen anytime soon. However, time caught up with him and I got a call in 2013 from his caretaker. "We all know you're in the will for that pickup, and he doesn't need to be driving anymore. Come get it." It was a hard day to take that pickup away from him, especially when he no longer recognized who I was. I promised him I would bring it back when I was done "working on it." A year later he passed away.

Fortunately I was at a point where I was able to afford a full resto project. I built a shop addition to our house and started the teardown in 2017. So starts the resto...
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'16 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Dblcab 4wd 5.3
'72 GMC C2500 longstep bed trailer

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Old 01-09-2021, 03:19 PM   #3
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

I'll start with a couple of pics I got from his family after the funeral.

- One from 1969 when he was showing it off to his wife's brother and the BIL's wife.

- The other from the eighties with his niece and her kids.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:22 PM   #4
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

A couple of pics I took when I had it at my house, doing some brake work in 2002. Still looked pretty good, had some new-ish paint at that point.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:30 PM   #5
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

When I picked it up in 2013, I could not store it on my property and so I left it in one of my dad's hay barns for a few years. I brought it to Iowa in 2016 and started the teardown in 2017.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:35 PM   #6
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Here's the glovebox sticker. It was a pretty nice pickup for its day: a Custom with AC, a 327, and a sway bar. I wish I knew the story about how he ended up with this one: Did he order it, or buy it from dealer stock? He drove past one dealer to a different one in a nearby small town to get it, so I'm thinking there's a story in there that I don't know.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:39 PM   #7
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

The teardown...

The bed was covered with some steel plate that was welded in place. I had to grind that out to uncover the original #2 southern yellow pine, or what was left of it.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:41 PM   #8
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

And the rust!
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Here's the aforementioned water shedding job I did in college. Not beautiful, but it held back the tide.

And the third pic is the result of being parked in a hay barn for a few years.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:54 PM   #10
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Mechanically, the pickup was pretty sound. The frame has no cancer to speak of. Looks like he kept it well-greased! Among my regrets is that I did not keep more parts from the engine. The block and heads were far from the original, but I did not appreciate the number of parts bolted to it that were original. I let it go cheap because I thought I would just put a crate motor in and drive it. However, some time after I sold it my nostalgic sense kicked in and I started working to make the engine bay look like 1968. I also sold the trans, thinking I would put in something with an overdrive. All I have now are these pics.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:59 PM   #11
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Here are the final pics from teardown, from May of 2018. The next pics I have after this are the beginning of the reconstruction.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:18 PM   #12
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Powdercoated frame. I guess we'll see as time goes by if that was a good idea or not. I found a 327 for sale that was originally a replacement/parts engine from 1968, and it was built to be a 1963 Corvette motor with around 300hp. I eventually made some changes to make it look and work more like a 1968 pickup engine. It doesn't bother me to leave a little horsepower on the table.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:24 PM   #13
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Meanwhile at the body shop, the rust repair was coming along nicely.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:31 PM   #14
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

1968 was the first year that bed wood was painted body color rather than black, like 1967 and previous. This is #2 southern yellow pine that I bought at a lumberyard in South Dallas.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:37 PM   #15
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

My first time installing fixed auto glass. As with most things, there are enough resources that a person can study up and do a reasonable job of it. The back window went in with no problems. It took three tries for my wife and I to get the windshield right.
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:36 PM   #16
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Yep, I restored the original steering wheel. And kept the hand brake. And the front drums. And the awkward spare tire hanger. And I reinstalled an AM radio.

As I mentioned, I may decide to upgrade some of these things after I drive it for some time, but I just want to experience a "new" '68 for awhile, at least until I get tired of it. I'm betting I'll want to keep the original charm though. As more time passes, I think it will be a more rare experience to find one equipped this way.

Among my compromises to originality, I have upgraded to a Pertronix ignition, installed an aux audio input on my radio, converted to electric oil pressure sender & gauge, and I put in a quicker ratio steering box. I also used an American Autowire complete rewire kit--it is a great product with very good factory support. This brought an upgrade to some of the circuits and to a spade-style fuse box.

I also couldn't help myself and installed a tach, even though it wasn't OE on this pickup. So glad I did.
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:55 PM   #17
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

I got lucky on timing and was just about ready to pull the trigger on a seat cover when SMS Auto Fabrics had a rare sale on their products. I ordered a original-style cover and I love it. In the meantime, I made a bracket to use this Ram passenger seat as a driver seat. The pic with the bench installed is what the interior looks like today. Still to go are the door panels, armrests, dash pad, and carpet. And the heat/AC systems.
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:00 PM   #18
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

And here's what the engine bay looks like today. Some of this will eventually change, most noticeably 1) additions of the heat/AC system and 2) the carb, which will also bring changes to the air cleaner, PCV system, and vac lines.
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:09 PM   #19
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

And last Monday I had a full single exhaust installed. The shop did a great job and let me hang out in the shop while they did the work. I love the way it sounds (factory quiet) and now I can hear all the other squeaks and rattles I need to work on.
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:11 PM   #20
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

And to finish out the retro portion of my build thread, here are a few exterior shots as it looks today. I am very happy that I still have the original dealer bumper. Someday I'll get the stamped lettering painted red to look like these bumpers did when they got installed at the dealer.
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:31 PM   #21
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Great looking truck!
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:41 PM   #22
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Good looking truck Ben. Love that color combo.
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Old 01-10-2021, 03:13 PM   #23
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Cool!
Ben, what type of paint was used? Doesn’t look like base coat/clear coat...

Job very well done on the exhaust, especially where the pass side pipe joins the driver side. Those are usually made into a straight “T” junction, with no angle o the pass side end of pipe.

I worked at an independent auto parts store from1985-1998. Every time I looked up front shoes for a 67-70 C10, there was always an option for heavy duty brakes. I never found anyone with the heavy duty option...until shortly before I quit working there! A friend came in needing front shoes for his 69.....Suburban....the suburbans apparently ALL use the heavier duty front spindles/shoes/drums. Not knowing how available new
Front suburban drums and shoes are these days, it might be worth investigating for your O. E. Pickup vs. some day going disc ( even though 6 lug disc setups are made).

I can tell you that the 11X2 front brake shoes are inadequate for today’s driving. But will work for an occasional drive, here and there. Are you planning use it R12 refrigerant?

I wish I had saved what was left of my 68 hubcaps!

What are those replacement rear coil springs? Your original looked fine.
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:52 PM   #24
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

Thanks and good to hear from you, Gary!

Jeff, it is base/clear. And thatís a good idea about looking into the heavier burb drum brakes. Would have been good to do that when I was doing the resto, as a way to get better brakes and keep the factory wheels. If I change anything now Iíll probably just bite off the whole upgrade to discs.

I havenít answered the refrigerant question yet. Your advice?

I have a stack of 1968 P03 hubcaps but they all look terrible. I think for now these Wheel Vintiques will have to do.

The new rear coils are from Detroit Eaton Spring (as are the fronts). The tight (soft) portion of the old rear coils were collapsed when the bed was sitting on it, so I only got the heavy spring action when I hit a bump. I used to have pics showing the difference in uncompressed height between the old & new, but I canít find it. I only got the heavy rear spring because thatís what this pickup was originally equipped with, but I could see going softer someday.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:11 PM   #25
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Re: ThreeQuarter's 1968 C10 Build Thread

I like the hubcaps you now have, also! The white walls look appropriate, also!!!

Refrigerant??? Some of my thought is what people/equipment do you have available to you, and at what price??? I have certification for R12, R134, and the new R1234whatever it is...If you were near me, the labor would be free, for the machine use...I have a R134 machine at my work, I help out some folks...One of the most importatnt things to making an AC system work properly is having the correct amount of refrigerant in the system.
I have some R12, would like to put it in my 67 and 68, but have no machine to do that with, and those are a ways away, time wise from getting close to doing that...

R134 will work in old systems. Every vehicle is different when it comes to the efficiency of how cool the air can be. A newer R134 condenser helps a lot, I've read...

R134 might be your easiest solution. I've also read that the Vintage Air systems, REALLY do a great job of cooling, compared to O.E. It might be something you want to "break from the mold" of staying original 1968, although.......I'm wanting to try the O.E. AC route on my 67 and 68, at least first...

If/when you change brake stuff, contact me, before. I have lots of ideas about that stuff. I am planning O.E. 71,72 disc on my 67 and 72, and manual master cyl!
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