86 chevy squarebody restore

catfishrus

Twelve Pointer
I found this truck setting in a back yard last Nov. I have a young man that helps me from time to time. All he has talked about is a squarebody chevy truck. So long story short I traded for the truck and was going to give it to him at Christmas for a bonus. Well come to find out it was missing the transfer case. Somebody had taken it out turned the truck into a 2WD. Next time I look before I trade...LOL. I asked him if he was interested at that point and he said he rather have the money so I kept the truck.

I then decided to do a frame off restore on it for some reason. Heck I kind of like them too now. I never restored anything like this but I love a challenge to keep my mind busy. I found a fellow to build a new engine for it. Going with a 383. Picked up a 700R4 tranny and transfer case like came in the truck but later found a turbo 400 to rebuild from a fellow who was suppose to come up with a transfer case for it....never happened. I found a transfer case in SC and bought it. Come to find out my turbo 400 wouldn't work..tail shaft too short, so back to SC to buy the turbo 400 that was a factory match to the transfer case. My engine builder was suppose to take it off the frame for me but he just keeps taking on more and more work. Two weeks back I got up one Saturday morning and started tearing it down myself. Following Monday after work pulled the motor and tranny out and set the bed off. Tuesday the cab came off. By Wednesday we was down to a frame and headed to the powder coaters. Should have the frame back in 3 weeks. I'm getting the inner fenders and radiator support along with some other small pieces coated along with the original wheels.

I been stock piling parts since Dec. new interior kit, carpet, door panels, headliner, and dash. Putting a 3" lift on the truck. Every piece of trim on the outside and inside will be new from bumper to bumper. I even bought a new steering wheel because I keeping saying to myself if it don't feel restored it wont be restored. All new weatherstripping. Rotors, drums, brake lines, gas lines, and tanks. I picked up two doors because mine had dents in them..passenger side was caved in.

This morning I'm going to talk to a painter. He is a high end painter but he only does one at a time. Currently working on a 69 Camaro with a 30 thousand dollar engine. He said he was 6 months out on it then he could start my truck. Going back two tone same color.
 

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JoeR

Eight Pointer
Ive got an 86 myself. 2WD though. It started out pretty beat up but not much rust. I swapped a 6.0/4L80 for the 4.3/TH400 setup. I love driving it. Put 1500+ miles on it this week. Averaged 16 MPG. The old squares are great.
You might want to keep that TH700. The extra low first gear and overdrive will sure come in handy.
Joe

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catfishrus

Twelve Pointer
If you ever built one, that "want" would dissolve...
I've seen you post your dislike for the 383 before. Just curious as to what issue you have seen with them. Mechanic said he could build me a 350 but he said the 383 was better for torque. Others have said they are great engines. This will be my first one.

Meeting with my painter went well this morning. He said get the bed blasted and bring it on up. Said he would work on it in his spare time off the camaro.
 

bigten

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I've seen you post your dislike for the 383 before. Just curious as to what issue you have seen with them. Mechanic said he could build me a 350 but he said the 383 was better for torque. Others have said they are great engines. This will be my first one.

Meeting with my painter went well this morning. He said get the bed blasted and bring it on up. Said he would work on it in his spare time off the camaro.

Well, in a nutshell without getting too long winded, the tolerances are too close for my liking. Material has to be removed from areas that I'd rather not be grinding on.
You can get all the torque you would need with the 350 by installing the proper camshaft, intake and carburetor. Could gain a bit more with some head work and have a much more reliable engine in my opinion. Ommv..
 

catfishrus

Twelve Pointer
Are you hell bent on a 350 or 383? Personally I'd put a 6.0 LS or 6.2 LS in it for performance, ease and economy.
No, I'm just committed since I already paid for the motor at this point. Its not going to be a daily driver and to be honest the mechanic told me up front if you looking for gas mileage we need to find you another car. I'm going to run her until she blows and then maybe go LS.
 

JoeR

Eight Pointer
I support a bunch of what bigten is saying. The 383 is not my favorite setup., but there is no shortage of people that love them. Seeing as how you're this deep in it, have fun with it. It will be fine.
Sounds like that thing is going to be great when you get it back together.
Joe
 

catfishrus

Twelve Pointer
Not much progress lately. 3 weeks has turned into 6 going on 7 with my powder coater. I stopped by the body shop yesterday. He is slow but man...that dude is good! Really happy he is doing my truck. I ordered new ring and pinion gears 3.73 plus a limited slip carrier for the back. Here is a Chevelle the painter just done. This is prior to any buffing.
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pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
My Dads has 3.08s, came with a 305 but thats been swapped, but it has the g80 code and everytime ive ever seen it pulling something, both sides would lock and spin.

i had a rear end practically blow up in my truck. Went back with a limited slip and kick myself for that. It wont touch what that Eaton would do.
 

bigten

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
My Dads has 3.08s, came with a 305 but thats been swapped, but it has the g80 code and everytime ive ever seen it pulling something, both sides would lock and spin.

i had a rear end practically blow up in my truck. Went back with a limited slip and kick myself for that. It wont touch what that Eaton would do.

I'm the opposite, as I've seen the problems that plagued the lockers. Give me a limited slip any day over those.
 

catfishrus

Twelve Pointer
I never understood why they even built a 4wd truck without some type of posi- traction in the rear to start with but there is a bunch of them that have the one wheel peel. I will never take this truck off road. Too much invested.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I never understood why they even built a 4wd truck without some type of posi- traction in the rear to start with but there is a bunch of them that have the one wheel peel. I will never take this truck off road. Too much invested.

unless Im badly mistaken, I believe gm was the only one to put a locker in them widescale until recently.

people have terrible stories about the factory eatons....but id bet for every 1 that went boom normally from abuse, there are many that have not missed a beat. It was/is a heck of a design. Could use a bit of strengthening, but the mechanics of it are brilliant.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Nissan and Yota had electric lockers for years. Totally unreliable, not bad for catastrophic failures but the actuator was just plain unreliable unless you used them on a regular basis.
 

bigten

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
unless Im badly mistaken, I believe gm was the only one to put a locker in them widescale until recently.

people have terrible stories about the factory eatons....but id bet for every 1 that went boom normally from abuse, there are many that have not missed a beat. It was/is a heck of a design. Could use a bit of strengthening, but the mechanics of it are brilliant.

Tell ne how long they stayed with the lockers.. and why it is no longer available. As I said earlier, I saw the problems. Maybe you didn't.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
Tell ne how long they stayed with the lockers.. and why it is no longer available. As I said earlier, I saw the problems. Maybe you didn't.

um.....havent heard anything about them no longer being available. As far as how long....40-50 years?

i dont know if I understood what you were asking. Gm has had locking rears for a long time as a popular option. Locking fronts on a couple models. If this is over, i guess i missed that.

What is the weakness? Id say power. The problems I know of started in the later 90s and have stayed steady. More torque led to more kabooms.
 

bigten

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
um.....havent heard anything about them no longer being available. As far as how long....40-50 years?

i dont know if I understood what you were asking. Gm has had locking rears for a long time as a popular option. Locking fronts on a couple models. If this is over, i guess i missed that.

What is the weakness? Id say power. The problems I know of started in the later 90s and have stayed steady. More torque led to more kabooms.
I've not seen one in quite a while. I honestly did not think they were available from the manufacturer any longer. The weakness was always the abusive engagement, bad enough with a stock engine but even moreso if horsepower was added. I guess it boils down simply; you like them, I don't. I prefer limited slip, you don't. Ford vs Chevy type scenario.....
 
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