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Custom touches

        January 16, 2018

        Bumpers? We don’t need no stinkin’ bumpers! The rear already had no bumper and I added a new roll pan so I am going to add a front one as well. I think it will make the truck look cleaner. Of course the pan came with no instructions. There is some modification needed to install a roll pan. I already knew I had to cut 2” on an angle off the frame where the stock bumper mounts. After I got the bumper off the first thing I noticed when attempting to position the pan was the bolts that hold the radiator deflector on are in the way. Then I had to decide if the pan should sit above or below the deflector, I went with above basically sandwiching the pan between the deflector and the grille frame. I still had to massage the ends of the pan a little. The pan is mounted as good as I can get it. I still need to add a couple supports from the pan ends to the fenders.

        January 23, 2018

        The radiator deflector was put on wrong by the PO. One of the mounting nuts is broken off inside the radiator support and I can’t fix that. The hood latch assembly hangs down below the deflector preventing it from sitting even with the frame where is should be. I ended up cutting a slot in the defector for the hood latch assembly and making a patch to cover over it. I added some brackets to the deflector to attach it to the radiator support. At this point I am ready to paint the roll pan as soon as the weather warms up.

        January 25, 2018

        Back to painting! I got the primer laid on today. At least this part is small, it took longer to clean the gun than it did to paint the roll pan! Tomorrow will sand the primer with 600 and apply the silver and clear.

        January 26, 2018

        This is the last day of decent weather for a while, rain and cold returns to Georgia tomorrow. So I need to get the painting on this roll pan done today. I fired but the heater and by noon it was a little over 65 degrees, perfect. I put on two coats of silver, waited a couple hours and put on three coats of clear. Time for assembly!

        January 31, 2018

        I finally got the roll pan painted and installed. Pretty happy with the results. No clue how this is supposed to be installed but I sandwiched it between the grill and the radiator deflector and used the tabs on the ends to bolt it to the fenders. I am thinking about getting new stainless grille surrounds and headlights bezels but they are crazy expensive. The PO painted all that body color and it was not done well.

        September 16, 2018

        The Stealth Tailgate Latches was even tougher to get the courage to do. First you have to drill a 5/8” hole in each end of the top rail and 3/16” holes in the front of the rail to secure the latch assembly. The hardest part was the 3/16” x 1” slots for the latch knobs to operate. The stainless knobs that attach to the latch assemblies through these slots allow the spring loaded assemblies to engage the bedsides. You close the tailgate, release the assemblies which leave marks in the bedsides for the 7/16” holes where the latches will engage. All in all this system is pretty cool. All that cutting and drilling made a bit of a mess on the tailgate. I cleaned up all the bare metal and shot it with POR-15.

        September 23, 2018

        Too much time on my hands, too much time on my hands!!!! I bought some halogen headlights with H4 Bulbs and built in LED turn signals. The plan is to eliminate the grille mounted turn signals and give the front a new look. After I got the grille out I realized the sheet metal insert on the bottom is different than the top. The bottom has a lowered areas where the turn signals mount. So I need to add some metal to those areas to make the opening smooth. If someone made these inserts I would just buy another top one but nobody does. The other thing I want to change is remove that huge Chevy emblem on the center bar, it is just too big and I think it looks like a brand after thought. Of course it will take some body work to smooth the mounting area since Chevy made it with some bumps, I assume to hold the emblem straight.

        September 25, 2018

        Rust, why is it always rust that slows down a project? Back in the day if an area didn’t show GM did not paint it, I suppose that is true of all manufacturers. It took a lot of time to sand the entire back of the grille body and the associated parts to get to clean surfaces and then paint it all with POR-15. But I am now ready for body work on the pitted areas of the grille body. It isn’t that bad except for a few pinholes that were rusted through.

        September 27, 2018

        After a couple days of sanding off three layers of paint, looks like the truck was originally red. I got the pinholes fixed and am ready to paint. So once again the garage needs a good cleaning. First I will shoot some etching primer and fix any low and high spots I find. My original plan was to paint all this the way it was, black for the grille inserts and silver for the grille body. But while talking to my gearhead neighbor he asked if it was all going to be silver. I had never ever thought about that, but after looking on-line and seeing many trucks painted one color I decided to go that way. Plus it will certainly be easier.

        September 30, 2018

        The headlight conversion as always with aftermarket products was not simply plug and play. The headlight buckets had to be modified for the LED harness and the H4 bulb leak proof shield. There was a little rust starting too, so out came the POR-15. The headlights work fine but I need to get a relay harness for better performance and reliability. I took me a while to remember how the original turn signals and parking lights were wired. Even though the vendor claims these lights have parking and turn signals there are only two wires for the LEDs, signal and ground. So I wired them up so the turn signals work, never run the truck with just the parking lights on anyway. The body work on the grille inserts is done so I will move on to the grille itself and hopefully get all its imperfections taken care of.

        October 2, 2018

        The main grille body had numerous defects due to the PO’s lack of skills or maybe he just didn’t care. There were a lot of pock marks I assume from rust that the PO at least had removed but didn’t finish the body work. I sanded a lot, filled them with Rage Gold, and then applied my new best friend glazing putty. After this dries overnight I will spray the body and the inserts with urethane primer and follow that with the silver and clear.

        October 4, 2018

        I hit the grille body and inserts with urethane primer. I will let that dry overnight before putting on the silver and clear.

        October 5, 2018

        This morning I once again laid on some silver paint, this time on all the grille components. I put on three coats of base, let that setup and then applied the tougher part, four coats of clear. All in all it came out pretty nice. There is one place however on one of the edges that looks pretty rough. I thought I had all those spots fixed, apparently not. I will allow this to totally cure before putting it back together and installing it back on the truck.

        October 6, 2018

        I riveted the grille inserts back on the grille. Then I installed the surrounds so the grille in now finished except for color sanding which I will wait a few weeks for the clear to harden fully.

        Now that I have the grille finished it is time to get back to the tailgate. As with most of this truck the paint and bodywork while fairly new was not done very well. After drilling and cutting on the tailgate to install the hinges and latches I decided I would fix some of the flaws in the bodywork and paint. I am keeping the inside part I painted black and getting new vinyl lettering on the back. I will repaint the entire frame work fixing some of the poor welds and paint runs the PO did. I had trimmed off the stock chain bosses when I installed the latches but now I want to completely remove all traces of those bosses. Not an easy job with my limited tools, these things are ¼” and are welded on both sides of the tailgate frame. But using a cut-off wheel, my air hammer and mini-grinder I finally got them off. To fill the holes left I made some patch plates and used 3M 08116 to bond them to the outside of the tailgate frame. I used my mini-grinder to knock down the obnoxious welds at the top of the inner frame, must have been a poorly done rust repair. The plan is to smooth out any other infections I find and contour some areas like where the top meets the inside frame and the spot welds. Then I will repaint the complete frame.

        October 9, 2018

        I received the relay harness for the H4 headlights today. There is only minor wiring need to install this. A +12v to the battery for the headlight power, hook one of the existing headlight connectors to the harness and plug in the new harness headlight connectors. The other existing headlight connector is not used. But of course there was a problem. This harness is not long enough to connect the driver side headlight mainly because of the way I have to run the harness. I was able to find a 20” extension harness to solved this.

        October 12, 2018

        Next project on the tailgate is bodywork. Lots of sanding ahead…YUK! In hindsight I probably would have been ahead if I had just bought a new tailgate. But I made a lot of modifications to this one with the hinges, latches and removing the chain bosses and don’t really want to tackle that again. There were a lot of dents and poorly ground welds I had to address. But this isn’t a show truck and I have done the best I can. It is finally ready for paint. I have to figure out how I am going to hang this beast in order to get paint on all six sides!

        October 16, 2018

        I used six feet of ½” threaded rod pushed through the new latch holes at each end of the tailgate with nuts to tighten it to the tailgate. I made a frame from a bunch of 2x4s and hung the excess of the treaded rod to the top of the frame. This gave me lots of room to get the paint gun to all six sides of the tailgate. The 1/2'” bars does bend a little under the weight but it worked great. I got two coats of primer sprayed. I will let that setup and clean up the garage again before I put on the silver and clear.

        October 18, 2018

        I painted three coats of silver and three coats of clear on the tailgate today so the hard part of refurbing it is finished. I still want to paint the inside recess black like the rest of the bed and add black letters to the Chevrolet embossed letters on the back but that will have to wait until the clear has fully cured. Of course this leads me to another issue. I removed the stock chain bosses from the tailgate so it is only logical that I also remove them from the bedside. But since the bedsides are already painted I need to be very careful and figure out how to repaint that area after I get them off.

        October 19, 2018

        I felt courageous this morning so I attacked the secondary chain bosses on the bedsides. I could not get my angle cutoff in there so I switched to the air hammer. That worked, noisy and not real pretty but they came off. I have some body work to do to get the areas smooth and then attempt to paint and somehow blend it into the already painted areas.

        October 21, 2018

        Bodywork is always a relative thing. At best it is simply filling some scratches or a little rust repair. Then there is bodywork needed because of modifications. This bodywork falls into the latter. The way the bedsides are made there are fairly large cutouts for those chain bosses to lineup. I could have just left them alone but now that the bosses have been removed even with the tailgate closed they are very noticeable. I made sheet metal plates to cover the cutouts and used 3M panel adhesive to bond them to the outside of bedsides. This still leaves a recess on the inside which I filled with dura-glass. I sure wish I had the physical ability to weld!

        October 24, 2018

        As far as painting all this I have decided I can paint the entire rear stake pockets stopping at the outside corners behind the rear fenders and the flares that support the tailgate. This way the transitions on the bedsides will be mostly hidden by the fenders and tail lights. I have finished the bodywork and shot some primer. I am totally out of silver paint and clear so I am off to PPG AGAIN!!

        October 26, 2018

        Damn weather, it got colder, temp was in the 50’s at 3:00. I had to heat the garage for a few hours to get it to 65 degrees this afternoon. But I got three coats of silver base and three of clear done. Now all I have to do is reassemble this truck again.

        October 27, 2018

        I got the rear of the truck assembly done….more or less. The tailgate still does not fit right, never did. There is some sort of alignment issue I can’t figure out. The Mar-K tailgate support on the passenger side will not drop down completely when I am closing the tailgate which prevents it from closing. Until I can figure this out I took that support off. I temporarily put the rear roll pan back on. It still needs painting but I will wait until the exhaust is done before I paint. I also got the grille and the front roll pan put back on. At last the truck is back together.