No announcement yet.

76 C10 short box

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 76 C10 short box

    Have had this thing since about 1996 or so, traded a 400 Pontiac engine for it, and the guy brought me another 400 in pieces, so it was a wash. Had a 305 in it when I got it, drove it like that until the piston slap was bad enough it sounded like the rods were going to come flying out, and it had a ton of blow by so it was parked in 1999. In 2001 while I was home on leave, I stuffed a Pontiac 400 in it, and couldn't get the Th350 to find reverse or 3rd, but man did it ever pull. It was the separator plate above the VB that was wrong. Ended up buying an F150 to get back to base, and the truck sat for a while. In 08 I dragged it to Michigan, sanded off teh flat black, pulled the 400 to put in the 65 GTO and dropped a 454 in it. What a slug.. less power than the 305 and three times as much gas as the 400. So it sat until this summer..

  • #2
    Painted it sunset orange metallic, a cool color in base clear, looks like something rather unappealing in an oxidized single stage.


    • #3
      I think these are the best pics I have of it after the paint.


      • #4
        A couple weeks ago it got a lumpectomy.. out with the filthy gutless thirsty rat... and in with the new hotness. A 6.0 I got from a high school friend who runs a junkyard, now has a 205/217/112 cam, 706 heads from a 5.3 rather than the stock 317s, and will get some long tube headers.

        If you notice it sits kinda low in all these pics. Well, that was because someone blue wrenched the springs so it sat on the snubbers. Now there are 2.5" drop spindles, and 2" drop springs. So its still going to sit low, but will have some suspension travel, and the plan is to flip the rear end and replace the springs with some from a later truck that donated its 5.3 for science.

        Turns out those 15" wheels will not clear the spindles, and I am not gong to grind them far enough to fit. I figured I could go with rally wheels, but damn they are pricey and still might not fit. So a set of 16x8 and 17x9 aluminum wheels were ordered up, the 17s got here today. 16s tomorrow.. Ordered some tires, but the Coopers are on back order for at least a month. So a set of BFGs were ordered last night, because the thing is on my lift and the GTO needs a trans swap. I hate the look of tiny little wheels and tires under a truck, so its getting some 10.5x30" tall rear rubber and 9x27" front. Shiny wheels, rather than black steelies, there is a reason for that.

        The plan is to go back to black paint, fix the rust and dents, put the leather seats from a later truck in it, and pull the trailer around when its not chasing parts. Summer only truck, and it will probably get fixed then painted over the winter. Want to have it running this month, which means today I have to build a Th400 for it. Can't find a 4L80 for less than $900 even in a core. So forget the OD for now. I could put a 700R4 in it, but I want to put my spare in the GTO so that 455 can break it too.

        Been making some short videos of this, might post them if anyone is interested in this thing.


        • #5
          how was the 400 pontiac install as far as mounts, exhaust, etc?
          i got a K5 with a 350 and a code YC 455 pontiac sitting in the corner...


          • #6
            A guy I worked with did a Chevy ramp truck with a Pontiac 455 and he said it was a bolt-in. There were alternative sets of pre-drilled holes in the frame and all he had to do was use them. I had the same experience with my BB/C10 - I mounted the trans first and found a set of holes that bolted the mounts right up. I don't remember which mounts he used (or that I used for that matter) but I bet Todd can fill in that data.



            • #7
              I made the mounts to put the 400 in it. Used the chevy frame side and made the engine side from 1/8" plate. A friend of mine put a 455 with small valve heads in a mid 90s 4x4, it was a beast of a truck. Not sure what he did for mounts. I would put a Pontiac back in it, except all of my engines have homes at this point. So it gets an LS, which is turning out to not be very cheap. The wheels and tires are kinda pricey, but I could get by with something else. The engine though, man its a bunch of extra stuff even using other engines and trucks for parts to do this swap. I hope that 6.0 makes some power and lives a long time. The engine mounts won't be here until Monday, who knows on the tires. I am trying to cancel the backorderd ones and Summit has been flaky to say the least. Can't call them and get a human, can't text and get a reply, can't chat real time... and almost nothing is in stock there now.


              • #8
                By the time I looked at them, the 6.0 was making 377 hp (2005 ish) in a 3/4 ton and would go 17 mpg pulling a 4000-5000 pound loaded car trailer down here in the flat lands. 11-13 with somebody impatient. Most of them, even used hard, still have very good bones. You're dealing with an EFI mill... and they came with decent computers. The tuner stuff is there, if pricey... it has a good audience and a lot of help. If you're into replacing or getting the right sensor land money, yeah, it starts to suck. If you got all the harness and sensors and the 4L80e, you're golden. That's not a 700r4, pretty good stuff from the starting line. From a dollar to dollar for a robust setup, the EFI makes sense. If you're farting around, and just enjoying getting some old junk running again, it's not a comparison. Old junk wins for cheap, and it doesn't have to be slow. But you know that. As long as you don't have to replace any of the old stuff that used to be cheap - holy crap! Things have changed.

                Summit is going insane right now, I've never seen their parking lot so full... they won't be the only ones. These are some of the strangest days of my life and I don't think I'm alone.
                Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


                • #9
                  Getting parts and assistance from Summit for the last four months has sucked. The front wheels and tires are supposed to be here today, if they show up I can at least move the truck and fix the GTO over the weekend.

                  I can't find a 2wd 4L80 core to rebuild, all the 4x4 units are more than $600 for a core, and I still need to find the tailshaft and housing if I rebuild one. I can get the whole truck for less than $2k around here. They have the 6.0, 4L80, but they are all 4x4 and rusted to death. Doesn't fix the problem of putting it in a 2wd truck. I suppose I could just throw the T case under it and not use the forward shaft for anything.. More weight and it takes up space. Might do that for a while, but for now I have a Th400 that came in a C20 that gave me the 454, so thats getting good internals and put in with a stock converter.

                  LS engines are a lot like Pontiac engines, you can mix and match stuff between the sizes and years real easily. So getting more power out of one is not very difficult when you can get the whole truck dirt cheap to free, and take what you need. Aftermarket stuff like headers, mounts, intakes, cams, etc. that gets pricey damn fast. Pretty sure I have to get HP Tuners or LS1Edit. I have a Jet Tuner but it needs a laptop and mine is quite dead, easy enough to use the Jet one to turn off vats, the rear O2s, and make it run decent. Shouldn't need much tuning with the mild cam and just headers. 706 heads make more power between 2000 and 4500 than the 317s do, and people are giving away 5.3 parts these days..Mild cam is the same price as the bigger ones, they all run $220 and up.

                  I won't be pulling my 455s or 400s to put LS engines in the cars, but the trucks can get a good engine now and leave my favorite engines for all the cars. I'll be doing the 88 C1500 short box after this, its getting a 5.3, drop springs/flip kit, and a flashy bright red paint job. If someone wants it after that, I will sell it and I would rather turn it into cash as I am not attached to it. It was my ex wife's truck, bought it from her dad for $500 when he was going to scrap a rust free truck. So if nobody wants to buy it, I will use it to take trash to the dumpster, because I have to drive past her house to do that.. rub it in for fun.. lol. Lots of cool stuff to throw at it, like heated leather seats from the later trucks taking up space in my yard. It can be made very nice with a bit of effort but not much cash. Not sure if I will use spindles or not, I'd rather not have to buy more wheels and tires to fit it. 15" stuff is still less expensive than 17" especially when you go with a wider tire.

                  Then I have the C20 long box mentioned earlier. There is a Denali sitting here that I get everything but the 6.0 and 4L80, so the C20 could go on that, turn it into a 4x4, shorten the bed, make a cool stomper out of it. Might be able to make some cash on that thing too. Its the blue one in the first pic, behind the C10. Looks like hell, but its quite solid for a northern truck. Squares are hot these days, so I might be able to come out ahead for a change on this one.

                  I'll have a video up later, and it will get posted here. Have to edit it and put the pieces together, I do that at night after I can't work anymore. Getting old sucks, it hurts when I get up and when I go to bed.. lol


                  • #10
                    I think the computer is already there, and just needs the tuner based on what I read? Honestly not sure how far you're heading from stock, but GM left a lot on the table for tune in consideration of crappy gas and people who can't hear ping or see a transmission thermometer on their display go boiling. It will put up with some foolishness though, some of the factory cams were pretty okay.

                    Alternatively, Microsquirt for the 4L80e ... 300 bucks, few more for the dedicated harness. Few less if you build a MS 2 and wire it up yourself. The harness is where the money starts piling up a lot of times. They both have CAN bus so you can piggyback another one for EFI if you want to, but why? The factory junk is pretty good and there are a lot of people doing it right now, not ten years ago. It's not like a Ford.

                    I'm having a time with the software cost / licensing personally. At one point in this game, I was thinking of using an LS computer for EFI and COP ignition because the parts were cheap - LS1 and stroked 302 SBF are very close... I had a plan concocted to put a 347 / Tremec in an S10 going for a very short while many years back. The HP Tuners gig (at the time) was the big game in town, and I do not really handle bullshit licensing "Tokens" at all. If you buy the hardware from them, they should eat the token. I guess everyone is afraid somebody else might get their almighty dollar - and that's from a guy who worked for the devil (MSFT) of licensing.

                    I noticed a conspicuous absence of Matt Cramer recently, has anyone heard from him? He's an absolute wealth of information and great guy from all I can tell.
                    Last edited by Beagle; August 28, 2020, 01:41 PM.
                    Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


                    • #11
                      Considering I build transmissions, and know what the E versions need, yeah I have it covered already. Remember, I can do all the work even if I build from scratch with a pile of tubing. So far I am into the engine for about $1300, cam, gaskets, bolts, headers, mounts, and $350 to buy it with a broken lifter. I'm not looking for 600hp, I am looking for as close to 500ftlbs as I can get from 2000-3500 while not getting 8mpg downhill with a tail wind. By the time its done, using parts from trucks like fuel tanks, and making my own fuel lines, it will probably be about $2500 to swap it in there. I can build a 400 and stuff it in for about that, but I want them for other vehicles.

                      That is about one decent head for a BBC, still need intake, cam, lifters, pushrods,rockers, and all the other stuff. If was less expensive to get bbc parts that would make this thing run decent and get better mileage, it would have gotten it. The 454 needs an entire top end, do that and now I am into real cash I don't have. Just swapping a cam in it was going to be too damn much money, heavy ass valve train, weak springs, rotators, and then all the issues you get with the orange lumps like leaks, gaskets, burnt wires, and cracked parts. Plus they are stupid heavy.

                      The front drive is easy, I have several parts trucks sitting here, and making the 76 steering box work with the 99-whatever pump isn't that hard to do. All it will have is an alternator, power steering, and water pump. Its all the truck ever had so getting creative with what is already here is kinda my thing. Its not like I don't know factory EFI, what is new to me is making it work on my old engines that never had it, and doing the fuel system. Got all that figured out with the GTO four years ago. Compared to building MPFI for a 455, this is cake.

                      I can use the stock harness and ECM, no problem there, cut out the wires that aren't needed, get good grounds, and plug it into 12v. At that point just need to shut off vats and the rear O2 sensors. Having an E trans or at least a later 700R4/4L60 with a VSS would make it easier to do some things, like putting cruise on it, and then I could go with an electric speedo, the stock gauge panel was trashed when I got the truck 25 years ago. Its not too hard to get an LS running while sitting on the ground, four wires and a fuel tank, you're there. I have several ECMs, two for a 6.0, one auto, one manual and the manual one will work great with a Th400 that is going in for now. Then I have multiple harnesses, one with the drive by wire, the rest have cable throttle bodies. For the most part this is like pulling the drive train from a donor and plugging it into the 76.

                      Been planning to get HPT because I have more than one LS powered vehicle right now, and the 98 Formula is begging me to stuff an aluminum 6.0 block with a 4" crank in it, and make it look stock with headers. If I didn't all of a sudden have six LS powered trucks sitting here, and only one is drivable, I probably would not be doing the swap at this point. Gotta use the parts so I can scrap the rest and get it out of my yard. the two in the yard pic are both LS parts trucks, the red one I could fix if I can ever get the damn exhaust bolt out, but it was developing other problems too. Might not scrap it, but probably will.

                      Using stock stuff works, because I am not going too far from stock regarding the engine, the main reason I put a cam in it was the broken lifter. Didn't know how bad it was hurt until i pulled it apart. I could have reused the stock one, but whats the fun in that? Really I could put some cats on it and run the rear O2s if I have to. There are ways around vats, a couple vehicles I have are like that now due to poor people losing keys. No shortage of LS parts around here now. The hold up is the mounts and until today, the damn tires. The fronts are a bit smaller than I would like, but its going to look much better when I get it repainted back to its original black. So its not as much power as cheap as I can do it with a Pontiac, but its more power than an sbc, and a lot less pricey than a bbc.

                      Its a simple matter of I have a ton of junk sitting here that is LS powered now. I only have two 454s, one is in pieces in Nebraska and this one I can trade for something I actually want. Neither are worth my money to rebuild. So the LS stuff is going in things, because those engines are orders of magnitude better than the sbc/bbc for this sort of thing.

                      Thats a 16x8 wheel with a 225 60 16 BFG on it. The rears are 17x9 with 265 60 17s coming Monday with any luck.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Beagle View Post
                        At one point in this game, I was thinking of using an LS computer for EFI and COP ignition because the parts were cheap - LS1 and stroked 302 SBF are very close... I had a plan concocted to put a 347 / Tremec in an S10 going for a very short while many years back.
                        I have a late 80s early 90s Dakota sitting here now, broken 4 in it. Have been eyeing it for an engine swap, nobody would ever expect it with the way it looks. I kinda have enough stuff to do, but I want to put something in it and sell it. A 5.3 would be hilarious in it. That is if one of the pans I have will work.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SuperBuickGuy

                          just expressing options, good luck
                          Yeah, options are good. I like these LS engines, but not because of what I have read online or videos I watched, its from owning them. Have a few friends who have done swaps in C10s, and we all work on them in our drivers.

                          One thing that super annoys me about the LS engine, other than the balancer needing a just right sized puller, is the stupid exhaust bolts. They like to break off in the head. I spent an hour and a half getting broken bolts out of both heads I put on this thing. Had to do the bolts on the 2500 and the 1500 4x4s I use in winter. They could have done something better, different material or larger bolt, anything.

                          Wasn't a problem on the LS1 but it is on every damn truck I see. Another cool thing about them is the reusable gaskets.That makes them leak free, but I found if you leave the valve cover gaskets out of the covers, they expand and don't fit anymore. I just remembered, I didn't put the knock sensors back in it.. that placement is super stupid.


                          • #14
                            They are good points SBG, except an Elgin cam is 253.79 with free shipping, and Microsquirts have gone up since then and apparently went up this week too. It was 300 for the module, and now it is 314.00 ... it's 499 with the 4L80e harness. Damn, I should have bought it last week.
                            /more edit - still 300.00 for just the module at EFISource, the prices above are DIYAutotune's

                            In the Ford camp, 2500.00 would be much more real world with EFI than the 1500 I figured to spend for a carbed 460 / c6... if I had a 5.3 laying around I would already have that Dakota on the rack!
                            Last edited by Beagle; August 29, 2020, 06:09 AM.
                            Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SuperBuickGuy

                              welding a nut to the broken stud worked wonders for me. they came right out. fun side note I got the bolts out of my 317 heads, then ended up getting a smoking deal on some fresh-rebuilt-ones so it was wasted time. I learned that 'trick' on my H3 Hummer... truly saved my bacon.

                              the hardest part of assembling my 6.0 was getting the bolt tight enough - I don't have a torque wrench that does 300 ft lbs (or whatever ridiculous number they want).... I put it in the car because trying to twist it on the engine stand was beyond sketchy.
                              Thats how I get them out, or I weld a bead on the bolt down in the hole, and build it up until I can grip it with something. Lucky for me the iron heads on the 2500 didn't have any broken in the holes, they all had something protruding.

                              The red 1500 extended cab has the bolt broken off deep in the hole, can't get to it with the welder, the cab is in the way, can't get the wire down in there and make it stick either because the angle is all wrong. I took half the front end apart trying to get to it, so its either pull the head or engine, neither of which I want to do on a 200k mile rusty truck, so now its parts.

                              My torque wrench goes up to 200ftlbs, Pontiac balancer bolts are torqued to 160 so I am rather adept at hitting that. Its a bonus of having lots of lead in my ass that makes it easy to lift 200lbs and carry it if I want to.You find cool stuff on farm sales, thats where I got this Snap On TW for $40. Farmers working on high dollar equipment end up needing tools with a wide range like that.

                              Since I am waiting on parts I pulled the 68 LeMans in the shop, ran the valves, fixed the pushrod for the brakes, and welded an LS head bolt to the throttle because it kept bending. Now I can get about 3/4 throttle on it.. and it seems like an aluminum headed solid cam 461 now, not a mild 326 or something. Fun with cars, but next week I have to get on the house work too, its going to be cold soon.