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Farm Truck Survivor 1971 C20 Longhorn

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  • Farm Truck Survivor 1971 C20 Longhorn

    Thought you guys would get a kick out of my friends farm truck!
    His uncle bought it new in '72 as a left over and it never left the orchard until 2006.
    My buddy Dave's father owned the orchard and now Dave owns it.
    The truck came up for sale and in a total stroke of coolness, Dave's wife bought it back for him!

    The truck has 49,000 miles on it, pretty rust free considering we are in north central PA. It was still wearing split rims with 7.50-16 tires on it!!

    Dave wanted it updated and it looks like I have my work cut out for me....
    On the wish list are....
    New tires 10ply E rated. Super aggressive mud tread in the back, milder tread on the front.
    Power steering conversion/smaller diameter steering wheel.
    New front springs/balljoints/swaybar bushings/rear spring eye bushings
    All new brake stuff.
    HEI conversion recurved.
    Change fluids.
    Rear bumper.
    Fix small odds and ends like the door handle, broken tailgate strap, interior arm rests, Halogen headlights, nonworking tail lights.......

    The timing chain has 8* of slack in it and it needs valve cover gaskets. I have a left over 600 Edelbrock carb so I figure it would be a perfect time for an intake and mild camshaft. (looking at this comp cam)

    The trucks basic combo is 307, unfortunately making it harder to pick a cam, 4speed with 4.10's and locking rear.
    Other weird thing is it looks like it has a factory extended box? I hear its a long horn edition?

    I stuck some craigs list 1980's 3/4 ton 16x6.5's under it with 33" 285's..... Kind of looks tough that way! But the tires are shot and I will be moving to the 265/75/16 10ply's soon.

    The main idea is to get it in really good useable shape....and then continue to use it on the farm! Should be interesting to see how it turns out.

  • #2
    After 5 trips to the junkyard I finally had the correct power steering gear box, pump & bracket. After a new pressure line, fabbed up a return line and a new lower pulley from Summit, I was in buisness! The old gear box took 5 turns lock to lock, the new one only 3.25. Its nice!

    Next was the front suspension tear down...

    While I was waiting for parts I started fixing some stuff in the interior. Busted window crank, door handles. Lo and behold I found all of the parts in the bottom of the door to rebuild the exterior drivers door handle!!

    Parts came in and it was back to the frontend. Ball joints, swaybar bushings, shocks and new springs. Plus new front calipers, and hoses.

    I also found an edelbrock performer intake on CL. Some bastard sprayed it candied pepsi blue.....
    Lucky for me never degreased it so most of it came off..... I ended up spraying it Al later.

    With it back together I actually washed it!!! Probably the first time ever!! Still some weird gunk on the hood, but most of the grille shined back up!

    I found a rear step bumper that was in pretty good shape for 20 bucks. With some cutting it fit pretty well. Step bumper really works better on the farm VS a sport bumper

    With the power steering working I ditched the 17" diameter wheel for this little 13.75 I had laying around. Also added a mini tach and water temp gauge.

    Next step was the motor work.
    I tore it down. I added a left over Edelbrock 600 carb and this Comp Cam.

    I knew the timing chain was sloppy, but check out the cracks in the nylon top gear......yikes!!!

    I also am fighting a hard brake pedal..... So I changed the booster and master cylinder right while I was there. The pedal is still hard.....must be the proportioning valve? With the caliper bleeders cracked you have to stand on them to get fluid return, but they gravity bleed fine. We will see.

    Mostly back together...

    I ran the cam in on Saturday and now am swapping in my Skip White $52 HEI dist.
    From the mixed results I figured I had better start and run in the cam on the points dist that I know works!!


    • #3
      I did get one little test drive and it is still very lame!!! But I think I need to recurve the dist, replace the single 2" exhaust with dual 2.25" and dyno tune it with wideband. If it still sucks after that....I guess the 307 is as lame as everyone says!!

      I hope to have some video after the exhaust is done next week
      Got the new tires on it.
      I liked the 285's better, but ended up with 265-75-16's to get the 10 ply E rating. (he hauls 25-2600lbs)
      I stuck the factory side mirrors back on after the pics.

      Also redid the rear brakes and realized it doesn't have a dana 60..... It has a Eaton HO52. I had never heard of it..... With new brake parts everywhere it stops, as good as a 1971 truck stops anyway.

      I also found the original NoSpin documents in the glove box! Pretty cool, a real detroit locker!

      I also added a new heater core, and found the original blend door cable had been cut from another heater core repair....
      So I used a choke cable and fixed it.

      Just got the dual exhaust on yesterday. Sounds pretty good, 2 1/4" with knockoff Magnaflow mufflers. Its its nice and mild. I got the advance curve close to right and that helped the power. It runs about the same with the duals vs the single exhaust, but I expected that.
      It has a nice mid range torque, but the small bore and displacement means its no rocket! Kind of feels like my 2006 4.8 truck without the topend pull.

      I took it on a nice shake down cruise yesterday and stopped in to show Dave. He was very happy with the results! He said it isn't the same truck he drove all those years. Which is a good thing!

      I did find a really nice bench seat out of a 70 GMC. Someone pulled the seat to get the gas tank, so I didn't even have to pull it myself!!

      I took it over for Dave to check it out and he was very happy! Brakes that work, power steering and enough of an increase in power that you don't have to down shift on small hills makes this thing a lot more fun to drive!
      I was pissed at myself on the way home that I had wimped out and not found a light switched power source for the gauges. So I manned up and got it done before I gave it back....

      One last crappy over exposed pic with the Dumbo mirrors on!
      Form follows function on this truck!!

      I found a late model jump seat cup holder like this one.

      With a couple of extention mount rods and four holes in the bottom of the seat frame it mounted right up! Never thought a cup holder was that big of a deal until you don't have one!


      • #4
        I totally forgot to add.....For the first time ever I kept track of all the costs on a project......because its not mine!

        I even included some of the mistakes....but I also left off a couple of freebee's I had laying around (carb, water temp gauge...)
        Its still quite scary. This was just to get it "straight", everything works, safe to drive and minimum of fun stuff.
        Check out "the list" and see what you think!
        This also doesn't include two and a half months of nothing but working on this thing ever spare moment I had.
        I'm not complaining! I love the truck and that my friends felt confident enough to let me spend their money how I wanted to make this thing right.

        This list is why I HATE the guys that can pull a car out of a creek and have it on the road a week later for a grand........
        But this is a sanity check for guys getting into a project. This truck was pretty solid and still needed a ton of work.

        Rock Auto
        Rear Spring eye bushings $56.10
        Rear spring bolts $30.18
        Front shocks $41.98
        Front springs $91.79
        lower Ball Joints $24.74
        Sway bar bushings $11.44
        Tailgate arm $19.07
        Tailgate arm $18.55
        Pitman arm $30.79
        Upper ball joints $47.58
        Spark Plug wires $14.40
        Shipping from 5 locations $72.94

        LMC Truck
        Door Latch $14.95
        Inside door handle $4.95
        Front brake hoses $49.95
        SCREW-BLACK A/R $5.10
        Delivery & Handling: 27.75

        Advance Auto
        Headlights $31.98
        Front brake calipers $60.00
        Tachometer $32.89
        Brake Fluid $5.49
        Lower Ball Joint $62.63
        Power Steering hose $23.75
        Brake Master Cylinder $34.59
        Brake power booster $122.59
        Harmonic balancer repair sleeve $9.29
        Water Pump $33.99
        Lower Radiator hose $12.99
        Alternator/water pump belt $10.99
        180* Thermostat $5.49
        Thermostat Gasket $1.49
        Spark Plugs 2.29x16 $18.32
        AC delco Oil filters (2) $10.38
        Fuel Pump $24.88
        Fuel Filter $7.99
        Carb mount stud kit $5.99
        Ultra Black RTV $6.49
        Hose clamps fuel $2.49
        Hose clamps radiator $2.49
        3 Gallons Anit freeze $36.00
        Radiator $220.31
        Dual Throttle return springs $9.49
        Heater Core $26.99
        Axle flange gaskets $4.18
        Ignition wire set $24.99
        headlight switch $13.60
        headlight dimmer switch $7.98
        Brake shoes $20.99
        Brake hose rear $22.99
        Brake Adjuster kit right $7.49
        Brake Adjuster kit left $8.49
        Brake hardware kit combo $10.99
        HEI advance curve kit $9.99
        Choke cable for heater door $6.99
        Camper top tape for heater box $11.29
        3/4" heater hose $5.79
        Felpro timing chain gasket $8.89
        Anitifreeze $11.99
        Gear oil $8.98
        More gear oil.... $22.97
        inner axle seals $4.59
        Rear 1/4" brake line 60" $7.39
        Rear 1/4" brake line 20" $5.29
        Rear 1/4" brake line 40" $6.39
        Rear brake cylinder right $15.29
        Rear brake cylinder left $15.29
        1' Fuel injection rubber hose $7.55
        Rear shocks $45.98
        Gas cap $6.19
        Dash mini bulbs $4.99

        Tire-Land USA
        265/75/16 10ply E-rated $675.96

        Car Quest
        10/30 Val Rac Case Oil for Break-in $70.00

        Pick a Part
        Radiator $41.64
        Steering box $32.36
        Power Steering Pump/bracket $26.95
        Bench seat $45.00

        Summit Racing
        Steering wheel $25.95
        Steering install kit $17.95
        Spark plug wire loom $6.25
        Spark plug wire separators $4.99
        Crank shaft pulley power steering $35.95
        Comp Cam shaft $119.95
        Lifters $48.00
        Timing Chain $13.95
        Gasket set $16.95
        Flat base air cleaner $25.95
        HEI pigtail with tach lead $9.75
        Delivery & Handling $9.95

        Skip White Performance
        HEI Distributor $52.00

        Value Home Center
        1" tubing Bed Supports $35.62

        Bumper Mount steel stock $25.08
        White spray paint $5.27
        Radiator mount stock steel $3.96

        Tractor supply
        Grade 8 bolts/nut/washers $10.48
        Outer bumper mount steel $10.25

        Wheels and tires $75.00
        Edelbrock intake $50.00
        Rear Bumper $20.00

        Dandy Mini Mart
        Gas for shake down cruise $54.00

        Steve's American lifetime muffler
        Replacement exhaust $432.00
        Grand total.....-----> 3924.79


        • #5
          Well recently my buddy bought a 12’ stock trailer and wanted a hitch and brake controller installed, so I brought it home and got started.
          While I was messing around with it….I took my DA and “leveled” the globs of fiberglass somebody slapped on in spots. I filled half a shopping bag with the sanding dust! I didn’t take the time to really get it nice, because...who cares?!?!? At the time my thought was to get it level, but not touch any factory paint.
          After trying a couple off the shelf green spray bombs and not finding anything that matched at all, I had our local auto paint place mix up a spray can of touch up paint. It matches pretty good….which got me thinking about the rest of the paint….
          So I bought a cheap, rotary buffer and went to town on 41 year old paint that has rarely been washed and never waxed!
          I think I goofed up when I bought the buffer VS. a Porter Cable DA..... I went through the paint a few times....I don't think I would have with the DA.... Although I hear its takes more effort to get through really nasty crap with a DA, that probably would have been a good thing for a newbie like me!
          In my defense, the paint is so damn thin and single stage, it just doesn't take long to burn though.
          Its interesting that the primer looks to be black on the front clip/box and red on the cab/doors. Which sucks because the black under layer hides much better where the paint is thin. And there are a bunch of thin spots on the cab and doors….

          Its not great, but I think its better than it was.
          It is pretty amazing where the paint was thick, it looks like new again!!
          Like I said, if I had known how nice some of it would turn out, I would have spent more time smoothing out the "spots".
          But I'm out of time and I need it out of the garage. So it is what it is.

          You can sort of see where I started rubbing out the fender by hand vs. the door. That's when I started to realize some of the paint could come back.

          These pics are after compound. (I was washing the wheels and tires, have to shine the tires if I'm doing all this other crap)

          During the paint distraction…. I finally got the brake controller wired up! Just need to hook to a trailer and test it. (E1 means no trailer when you step on the brakes)

          Took a couple of pics after hitting it with the finishing pad and glaze.
          Meh, better than it was, but still pretty rough lookin!
          But I guess it IS a farm truck! Maybe next time I’ll straighten out the filler spots and see if I can get the passenger door straightened out a little.


          Now on to the fun friggin job of changing the driver side manifold studs...
          I broke them all and had to drill and retap the holes….

          I found this reducer/gasket/adapter in the end of the head pipe? Think this restricts flow?!?!?!!? I trimmed it to where it has the maximum flow, still a small 1 3/4", but its better than the tiny 1 1/8" it was.....

          The only answer I could find was the weird donut gasket insert is a "passive heat riser"? That doesn't make sense to me...its basically closed all the time? I guess it didn't matter with a low flow/single exhaust/2 barrel 307.
          Wish had know that sooner I could have saved myself a lot of trouble! Because I yanked the starter Monday and busted two out of three studs only to be greeted by a straight through 1.75" ID donut gasket insert on the passenger side!
          But at least now I know for sure it isn’t restricted and the studs are changed if I ever need to get back in there for some reason.....

          It does seem to run better, and sounds a little louder.
          On a different note, I finally really looked for the build date. I thought from what the owner told me it was a very late 71, but it was actually built on 12/70. Which is a good thing! It should have 9:1 compression rather than 8:1 on the 72 and later 307's.
          That's probably why the torque feels fairly strong, well....for a 307 anyway!!

          I had it down to Dad's to give him a hand with something and he took a quick video of me cranking through the gears.
          I'm actually pulling a long straight hill in front of his house. Its a little bit faster on the flats....but not much!

          I kept track of the expenses again.... Only there wasn't much I could buy used this time!
          Rock Auto
          4 wire trailer adapter $25.99
          7 pin trailer harness $39.79
          Shipping $13.33

          Advance Auto
          Brake controller $79.99
          exhaust clamp X2 $2.99
          Exhaust manifold studs X2 $4.99
          Trailer controller fuses $5.99
          Wiper blade x2 $8.49
          Microfiber Towels $5.99
          Tax @ 8% $9.99

          Dandy Mini Mart
          GAS!! $40.00

          Class III trailer hitch $255.99
          Oil filter $4.19
          Oil x5 $2.59
          Tax @ 8% $21.85

          Radio Shack
          20' 12GA wire x2 $5.29
          Tax @ 8% $0.84

          Elmira Auto Paint
          Touch up paint x2 $18.95
          Cutting creme $8.95
          Polish $7.85
          Velcro cutting pad $13.45
          Velcro polish pad $12.35
          Tax @ 8% $6.44

          Total------------------> $647.35
          Last edited by andy30thz; April 9th, 2012, 07:13 PM.


          • #6
            Longhorn... Chevy's answer to " camper special..."
            Tell-tale sign... That extended piece on the front of the box and it is longer than 8 ft..
            Ours was a 400 with a mile-a-more cam from way back... That was so wore out and the cab floors were full of holes
            Looks much better... I love older trucks


            • #7
              Nice work there. You got a lot of work done.

              That original timing chain looks pretty good. My Monte Carlo's nylon from the original gear was all in the pan and oil pump pickup. The teeth on the aluminum gear wore off on one half and the chain finally just slid acrossed it. I didn't have to unbolt that cam gear to remove the chain.

              Last edited by Scott Liggett; April 9th, 2012, 11:40 PM.
              BS'er formally known as Rebeldryver

              Resident Instigator



              • #8
                Nice truck Andy!

                A 307 probably got the worst heads available at the time. Your cam choice seems like a good one for a truck. Long tube headers would probably pick it up a bit in the midrange and top end, but if it's an orchard truck, does it see that much high speed running? Honestly, I'd bet it takes 2500 rpm or more before you get any real benefit out of them, after that it would be noticeable.

                Limited slip and front sway bar? Highly optioned!! re: cost - have you priced new trucks lately?! That's less than a year of payments, and you won't be bailing wire a new one back together on the back 40 to get home if it busts. She's got charm.
                Last edited by Beagle; April 10th, 2012, 04:41 AM.
                Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Beagle View Post
                  Nice truck Andy!

                  A 307 probably got the worst heads available at the time. Your cam choice seems like a good one for a truck. Long tube headers would probably pick it up a bit in the midrange and top end, but if it's an orchard truck, does it see that much high speed running? Honestly, I'd bet it takes 2500 rpm or more before you get any real benefit out of them, after that it would be noticeable.

                  Limited slip and front sway bar? Highly optioned!! re: cost - have you priced new trucks lately?! That's less than a year of payments, and you won't be bailing wire a new one back together on the back 40 to get home if it busts. She's got charm.
                  No need for headers....this thing rarely sees anything over 3000rpm. Its mostly in granny gear crawling around.
                  I thought if I ever found a solid 350 cheap, I'd swap the cam/carb/intake onto it, home port the heads and then maybe put headers on it. But I don't see that happening anytime soon!

                  Yeah, I hear you on the cost of new trucks!!! A no option reg cab 3/4 ton is pricy!
                  The price list might be just a touch of a dig at our own The $5,000 BangShift Project Car Challenge.... If you keep track of every dime, and I'm sure I forgot some stuff on that list, its pretty tough to build much for five grand....unless you get a car that has already been gone over DIRT cheap.

                  I love this old truck!! What makes it even better is its still being used. This truck is NO show piece. It really is a farm truck first and foremost. I wish I had grabbed a pic of it pulling the stock trailer. It just runs so good and is dirt simple! Its 10mpg kind of sucks...but even the newer chevy 3/4 ton 6.0 gasser trucks only seem to get 13-14.

                  I was glad I could get it whipped back into useable shape. It still has a couple of small issues, but nothing that can't wait for a while.
                  Last edited by andy30thz; April 10th, 2012, 06:20 AM.


                  • #10
                    I think you done good .... I wish I could find that era of truck in that solid of shape.

                    A low $$$ sbc stroker would really work great for it.

                    Nice job!
                    Whiskey for my men ... and beer for their horses!


                    • #11
                      I love these older trucks, too! I had a very similar 71 that I used the heck out of until a barn fire took it, along with my son's 71 chevelle project, 3 tractors, three ATVs, all our tools and a ton of other stuff. Still haven't found a suitable replacement!
                      Hot Rod Power Tour...As much fun as you can have in a car with your clothes on!!
                      Gregg and Deb Miller
                      Verona, Wi.


                      • #12
                        I hate Rock auto shipping fees!

                        Great truck!
                        Gregg68 likes this.
                        There's always something new to learn.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bamfster View Post
                          I think you done good .... I wish I could find that era of truck in that solid of shape.

                          A low $$$ sbc stroker would really work great for it.

                          Nice job!
                          Fly down to LA. We'll fix you up with one ASAP. They are giving away pickups here these days, even 67-72s prices dropped a bunch.
                          BS'er formally known as Rebeldryver

                          Resident Instigator



                          • #14
                            The way I look at it, you took a 40 year old truck and spent almost $5000 to make it good for another 20 years anyway. That works out to $250 a year, damn cheap in my book.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by milner351 View Post
                              I hate Rock auto shipping fees! Great truck!
                              Ditto on both counts...