Posts Tagged ‘GMC Square-body pickups’

I have been stressing about whether I ‘ll have the Spartan done for this summer,  feeling frustrated that I can’t seem to get anything done.  Then, it occurred to me, as I drove the GMC to the hardware store, that I DO get things done, it’s just that some of the things I do are silly and and take up too much time, and that I may underestimate the time and expense a project will gobble up.

A case in point, and one of the reasons the Thunderbird  and Rivera aren’t  done, and that my Hot Rod Fund is now empty, is my ’76 GMC dually.  This thing has eaten up spare time, project money, more time, and more money, than I care to think about.

It started 4 years ago when I sold my rusty ’00 Silverado, and decided to unearth the GMC from the barn at my dad’s where I’d abandoned it 20 years ago.  We bought the truck, with a 23’ Diamond REO camper on the extended frame when I was selling cars in ’83.  Some guy traded it in on an Escort, and I bought it.  We camped in it, my folks drove it to Florida, but we stopped using it in the mid 90’s, and it had been driven in the barn and forgotten about.  I needed a pickup, to haul stuff in, pull things with, and here was one, all I had to do was dust it off and go

Easy, right?

When I got it out, it started on 20 year old gas, although it ran pretty poorly and smelled awful.  The camper came off, the frame was shortened, I bought a box from Texas, a new hood, patched up the cab corners and shot a unifying coat of Arctic White enamel.

This summer,  after three years of abuse, it got 6 new 16″ tires, new wheels, stainless hubcaps, a new stainless exhaust, and a 3.75:1 rear end to replace the 4.56’s (in a futile attempt to help the abysmal fuel consumption).  The 454, with 22,000 miles runs like a watch, the transmission (after a new governor gear) shifts crisply, I’ve got a plow for winter and camper for summer, so I should be all set for a hauling needs for another 2 or 3 decades.

Maybe now I’m done spending money, and it’ll last another 2 or three decades…

The mighty "Del-Ray" Imperial 90.

The mighty “Del-Ray” Imperial 90.

 

Since the Del-Ray is setting in the driveway, and I didn’t really feel like working on the T’Bird today, I decided I’d ought to finish up one thing completely.  I’d gotten some of the trim up on the campers new ceiling last week, but on looking at it, I wasn’t really happy with some of it.  So, back to Home Depot to get some 1 1/4″ wide vinyl lattice slats to make some new trim from.

This worked out very well around the curved, panoramic front windows, much better then the 1″ expanded foam trim I’d used first.  It had actually cracked just setting in the curve, so it had to go.

When I got that done, I repaired the booth frame in the front, where I ‘d had to take a brace out to get the old water tank out.  I pulled the old pressure pump, repaired the booth frame, and got the new water tank mounted.  I have a 12V demand pump to put in, but it’s over at the shop, so I didn’t get that part done, but it’s almost ready.

Replaced the light fixture over the sink, which has 120 and 12v bulbs, and then cleaned the counters, washed the walls and cabinets with Murphy’s Oil Soap.  It looks nice, but will need a coat of lemon oil, Liquid Gold, Panel Magic, or similar product to keep the wood looking nice.  The backsplash had what looked like adhesive from duct tape on it, and some “Goof-Off” got rid of that.

The original vinyl floor seems to have a thin coat of adhesive on it, from the green shag carpet I pulled out last fall.  It scrapes of with a putty knife, but I decided to forgo that for a later time.

It cleaned up pretty nicely, and I’m happy now with the trim.  We bought some cool ’60’s style fabric to do the booth cushions in, so the brown vinyl will go away for a brighter fabric, more appropriate for the camper.

Now, some butyl sealer on the roof seams, a coat of roof seal over all, a Lava lamp and sunburst clock, and it’ll be done!

 

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Faithful readers will remember that for reasons known only to myself and an excess of disposable income, last summer I bought a mid 60’s “Del-Ray” truck camper.  Why, I have  hard time explaining, but it certainly looks neat in the back of my GMC dually, and it might actually get used someday.

We had it stored for winter in my Dad’s shop, whose roof a couple of weeks ago partially collapsed from snow load.  In order to clean up and rebuild, I had to get the camper out, and it’s now setting in the back of the GMC,  with the plow on the front and chains on the rear tires for plowing.  As it’s setting in my driveway, and the weather was decent today, I made a trip to Home Depot, spent my Christmas gift card money, and got some vinyl trim to finish up the new ceiling I’d put in last fall.

I’m happy with the results, and while I need to figure out how to finish up the front windows and get a couple more sticks of trim, it looks really nice now.   Still on the “to do list” is the center cushion for the booth, mount and plumb the new water tank and demand pump, and some “Panel Magic” or “Liquid Gold” on the cabinetry and paneling, but it’s useable and looks pretty cool now.

What will we do with it?  Well, a trip up north would be fun towing the Chris Craft, and we certainly could use it for camping and some short trips, but I really haven’t figured out what we’ll do with it once it’s finished.

I’m sure we’ll think of something.

The mighty "Del-Ray" Imperial 90.

The mighty “Del-Ray” Imperial 90.

From the bunk, looking rearward.

From the bunk, looking rearward.

Ceiling trim.

Ceiling trim.

Looking up from the door forward.

Looking up from the door forward.

Galley.

Galley.

The dinette.

The dinette.

The set up for this is that a couple of days ago, while plowing pushing snowbanks back along the driveway (I’d run out of room to push snow), it was obvious that the plow blade was swinging to the right every time a little pressure was put on that side of the blade. The plow has a relief valve that allows it to swing to prevent damage when LOTS of pressure is put on one side or the other, as in hitting a curb. I didn’t think I was pushing hard enough to trip that safety valve, but it had to be, right?

I pushed pretty hard on a bank out by the road, the blade again swung hard right, and when I backed up, it disappeared from view with a “clunk”. That couldn’t be good…

I got of the truck and the problem was obvious. The plow blade pivots at the bottom had rusted out, and the blade had fallen off the A-frame. It had been swinging right because the left hand bracket had broken first, and had been bending the pivot pin on the right hand side.

Damn.

So today, instead of going the Kalamazoo swap meet, I went to ALRO steel for supplies, and spent the afternoon fixing the plow. Got it all done in time to sweep the new 6″ of snow from the drive, and we’re ready for more!

Rusted plow.

Wait, this is supposed to be on the front of the truck!

Wait, this is supposed to be on the front of the truck!

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New bracket and pivot pin.

Cool McCool himself, almost ready to plow.

The plow is back together, the drive is plowed, and it’s still snowing. We’re ready now, and didn’t’ need any old car parts anyway!

Cold? No, it’s not cold, it’s just a bit chilly.

I got stuck beside the shop in 3 feet of drifted snow trying to open path to the temporary garage the Tini-Home was in. And had about 50 feet of drift to go. Spent about half an hour digging out the truck and out from under the plow, and with a little more careful approach, opened it up.

There’s no more room to push snow though, so I got the trailer out, and parked in the turn around in front of the shop. Now, I can get it out when we go to Auto-Rama Extreme in at Cobo Hall in a month without hiring somebody with a loader to dig it out.

Cheers!

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Ready for the next storm.

Ready for the next storm.

Aw
Got that tightened up and resumed the action, so we’re ready for the next blizzard.

Actually, I’m ready for winter to go away, but I have to admit it was kind of fun to go out in the cold and do something!

We’ll have big snowbanks until the middle of April, but for now, it’s pretty, and we can get in and out with no trouble. Last week I had gone and gotten a ton of wood pellets at Tractor Supply, so we’re keeping the GMC busy and putting it to good use. It’s not just another pretty face!

It's so cold the snow looks blue.

It’s so cold the snow looks blue.

I haven't backed into the garage once this year!

I haven’t backed into the garage once this year!

Big banks at the end of the drive.

Big banks at the end of the drive.

It's a LONG WAY back to the Tini-Home's garage!

It’s a LONG WAY back to the Tini-Home’s garage!

Gotta keep this open so we can get the Tini-Home to Auto-Rama in March!

Gotta keep this open so we can get the Tini-Home to Auto-Rama in March!

Oh, the humanity. New Years eve, or rather, early New Years morning we were stricken with the dreaded Noro-virus, the 24 hour bug, or in the common vernacular, the pukes. We’ll spare you the details, but the acute misery lasted from about 3 am until 3 in the afternoon. After that, some clear liquids finally stayed put, and late in the evening, a cup of soup tasted pretty good.

Called in to work the next day as well and kept a pretty low profile, and even today, we are not completely “normal”, whatever that is. Once the outside temp got above zero though, a fire was stoked up in the Cool McCool’s Garage shop, and the T’bird got some love. The front bumper is now delightfully devoid of any turn signal/park light holes, and looks great.

Look Ma! No holes!

Look Ma! No holes!

Smooth as a baby's bottom now.

Smooth as a baby’s bottom now.

While the shop was warming up, the old GMC started right up and we got the driveway plowed out. By the time that was finished, it was a balmy 50 degrees inside, MUCH better than the outside temp of 13. Brrrr.

Does that puff of white smoke mean we have a new Pope, or is the shop getting warm?

Does that puff of white smoke mean we have a new Pope, or is the shop getting warm?

Path to the Tini-Home garage.

Path to the Tini-Home garage.

Cool McCool's World Headquarters.

Cool McCool’s World Headquarters.

Down the driveway to Milo Road.

Down the driveway to Milo Road.

The might '76 GMC.  Just rolled over 20K miles.  Nicely broken in.  2wd with chains.  Who needs 4wd?

The might ’76 GMC. Just rolled over 20K miles. Nicely broken in. 2wd with chains. Who needs 4wd?

Tomorrow we’re supposed to get a little break in the weather with a high near 30, then back into the deep freeze next week with single digit temps for highs. We may have to open a southern branch office…