Take my old C10 and make it more usable in modern traffic.
By upgrading, Engine Management, Brakes, Suspension and Driver Amenities to bring it
in line with more modern vehicles... did it work?    
C10 gathering dust
I had sold my old Chevy C10 but it never left my possession, it had sat outside our place for a couple of years getting very little attention.
Even though it had been Sold, it remained parked in front of our place. I still got the typical number of people knocking on the door asking if it was for sale & one freezing Autumn night we even found a homeless old lady sleeping in the back of it, We put a couple of blankets over her and in the morning she got picked up and taken care of.
Then Winter came, still neglected and not driven, it remains parked in pretty much the same spot even in the rarest of all Sacramento weather, a light dusting of Snow.
So I bought it back and hatched a plan to modernize it to make it more fun to drive.

It started with pulling the bumpers off...

& ordering parts to freshen up everything between those bumpers, here's just a couple of items amongst the hundreds that filled up my garage, took hours of scouring the Internet looking for the best option and best deals, plus drained my back account in the process.

The Plates were pulled, they were both in rough shape, peeling away the registration tags I got down to the very last one dated 1971 from the first year of the C10's life. I cleaned them up and gave them a lick of paint.
The front bumper wasn't worth repairing so I ordered a quality reproduction replacement, the rear bumper was in good shape it just needed repainting.
I filed off the rough spots, sanded it down and gave it a black undercoat.

The a top coat was applied, Stainless finish for the Diamond Plate and Chrome for the smooth parts, however the chrome paint looked good initially, it wasn't durable so the whole bumper was painted with the stainless finish.
Next thing to be removed was the AC, it was 50 years old and not working too well, so I planned to upgrade it with a Vintage Air Surefit System.
Turns out the main reason cold air was not making it into the cab and the A/C control levers won't move freely, was the Plenum was totally packed with leaves and pine needles.

It was amazing how much space the old components took up.
I may have jumped the gun, but I already bought rims and tires, not realizing that it would be many months before this would be rolling down the road...

20 Inch Rally Mags by American Racing, Model VN506 20x8" Front & 20x9.5" Rear, Shod with Goodyear Eagle Sports 245/45R20 and 275/40R20 those sizes kept the rolling diameter very close to the stock tires.

The next big hurdle was to remove the Bed, to give easy access to things like the exhaust, rear axle and suspension.
Thanks to my neighbor Robert, I was able to store it on the back of his property, for what I told him would be about 2 months which ended up being more like 2 years (almost, but not quite).

It was a struggle, but I managed to muscle it off the truck and lift it clear of the chassis, with my home made sawhorses, some planks and paving bricks, lifting one corner a bit at a time.

I was strange seeing the Chassis laid bare, but it also makes working on all the components behind the cab much easier.
Giving the Chassis a wash with the water blaster, what appeared to be rust was mostly Red Clay dirt from its previous life, driving on dirt roads in the Sierra Foothills.

Now things are cleaner it is time to start working on the rear end components.

First thing is remove the Bump-Stops.
Then remove the Trailing Arm Pivots.
I took the Trailing Arms and cleaned them up and inspected them for damage, they appeared to be in good shape so I painting them, before pressing in new Polyurethane Bushings by Energy Suspension.

I had to drill the Chassis rails to install the No Limits Lowered Outboard Shock Mounts, following the instructions I could tell the measurements the company sent were wrong, a quick phone call and it turns out they were measurement for a Short Bed, they were surprised I was using them on a Long Bed...
I'm not surprised as everyone else seems to want Short Beds, but I'm not a fan, they don't ride as nice, you can't carry as much and I think the proportions don't look as good on the Short Beds Vs. Long Beds. However most people won't agree with me.

One of the most nerve wracking things I had done so far on this project was to cut the Chassis Rails for the C-Notches.

After the cutting, installing the POL (Performance Online) Heavy Duty C-Notches was straight forward. I chose these because the had both a top and bottom bracket, making them much stronger than the normal 1 piece units that most companies sell.
Now it was time to remove the rear suspension and complete axle.

After pulling the Rear Axle and looking at the old Drum Brakes were totally shot, good thing I had planned on converting to Disc Brakes.

Rear Axle cleaned up and painted, Disc Brake conversion installed.

I also converted the open differential to Limited Slip with a Yukon Dura Grip Positraction, it was now ready to go back under the truck.

The Trailing Arms were fitting to the new Adjustable Trailing Arm Mounts to aid in setting the correct pinion angle while compensating for lowered suspension.
After re-installed the rear suspension components, I also added a Rear Anti-Sway Bar.

I was able to reuse my not so old KYB Gas Adjust shocks after replacing the Rubber bushings with Energy Suspension Poly Shock Bushings, because the mounting bolts were larger diameter on the No Limits Lowered Outboard Shock Mounts. This arrangement triangulates the suspension and puts the shocks at a more effective angle for damping through the suspension's travel when it's lowered, there is also a Extra Long Adjustable Panhard Bar / Track Bar, it keeps the alignment more consistent by having a much bigger radial arc than the stock shorter Panhard Bar / Track Bar, the old pivot point can be seen on top right of the Differential, it now attaches to the inside of the right Trailing Arm.

Now that the Rear was back together it was time tackle the front, John came over and we started to disassemble the front with plans to pull the Motor & Trans. The swept up pile of dirt on the ground, is just what came out of the inside of the front fenders.
We made short work of it and the greasy lump was out in an afternoon.

Of course as part of the process of pulling the motor and trans we removed the radiator support & front fenders, taking note of where all the bolts went and which shims had been used, surprisingly the body was in great condition for its age once a liberal amount of elbow grease was applied.

The Elbow Grease Formula I used was Penetrating Oil and Scrubbing Brush, above you can see the 3 stages.
Center = Untouched, Right = In Process, Left & Upper = Finished.

Also before pulling the Engine & Trans I did test clean with a wire wheel on the Chassis, to see the state of the metal under the dirt, it was in surprisingly good shape, most of it still had paint on it, but it was too hard to save the old paint apart from the really stubborn bits.

The hollow Cross-Member turned out to be full of the same dirt that made everything look rusty. I managed to dig it all out, here is just part of what I managed to remove.

Once again John came over and helped me to clean up the chassis, which was much appreciated because it was a job that truly sucked, even though the end result was worth it.

Yep, working under a dirty Vehicle and trying to get it ready for paint is not easy, fun nor clean.

Anyway, the front 1/2 of the Chassis cleaned and painted to match the back half, and the Firewall scrubbed, it's time to start re-assembly of some of the front end components.

A-Arms received the same treatment as the Chassis, they came up looking like new, here's a before and after shot.

The Front Suspension is installed new Energy Suspension Bushings, ball joints, with CPP Modular Drop Spindles with Disc Brakes.
With the truck back on its wheels, and having discovering the Engine was not worth Refreshing / Upgrading as planned, due to it have just over 90 thousandths of an inch of end play on the crank, when specification is 2 to 6 thousandths of an inch.
I decided to research the best option for the engine and press on with the interior while I figured it out.

With everything removed from the dash and cabin I was able to strip out any unnecessary parts of the old wiring loom and generally clean things up, the metal was in good shape, apart from a few pinhole in one part of the passenger foot well, that I was able to fill using low temperature brazing.

After stripping out everything in the cab the first thing to be installed was the Vintage Air Heater/AC Unit, it required connecting the hard-lines that would pass through to the engine bay, attaching the brackets specifically for the C10 and modifying the C10's old wiring to connect to the new unit where required.
I also took the C10's original Heater/AC Control Panel and rewired and modified it to control the new Electronic Heater/AC Unit, plus installed a Retro Sound "Long Beach" Stereo which has all the modern features included Bluetooth & hands free, but looks almost like the factory AM radio.

I took the Instrument Panel apart, cleaned it, painted the needles which had faded with paint specifically made for the job, and replaced the outer bezel because the original one had some cracks and the chrome finish was starting to fade, I think it came out really well.

Next to get attention the steering column, cleaned, re-greased, Cruise Control Indicator Stork installed & freshly painted.

I bought a Steering Wheel that looked just like the original one but was 15" diameter instead of the factory 17.5", I was able to reuse the original faded horn button by painting it with special plastic paint to match the new wheel.

I have never been a fan of the old skinny steering wheel feel, so I installed my favorite Steering Wheel Cover, in my opinion one of the best and cheapest mods you can do to a classic vehicle to make it nicer to drive.

While the Seats were out I vacuumed and washed them, but the i
nsidious red dust had also taken its toll on the seat fabric, time to freshen them up with some fabric paint, they came almost as good as new.

New underlay for the flooring, I decided to add a radiant barrier, so I tack glued it, I ran it long as the underlay didn't cover the floor all the way under the seats.

For the flooring I decided I liked that my truck came from the factory with the Rubber Floor Mat, so I went with an upgraded Molded PolyVinyl Mat instead of carpet. I was happy with the fit but nervous installing it as you have to trim it down to size... All I could think was the classic line "I don't understand it, I've cut it 3 times and it's still too short ?!"
I also installed new stainless Steel Kick Plates and Weatherstrips, I used Push On Weatherstrips that clip over the sheet metal, no gluing required.
Since I was going to replace the Window Felts and Seals, I pulled the Quarter-lights, cleaned up all mechanisms, sanded frames, painted them, installed the new felts and re-installed the units back in the doors.
Above you can see the difference of the freshly cleaned and painted unit before re-installing compared to the untouched unit still in the door.

Since the door panels had to be removed to work on the door internals, I took the opportunity to repaint them, once painted the were re-installed with radiant barrier on the back, new interior seals, new handle seals & new arm rests.

In between Painting the Door Panels and Re-installing them, I re-installed the Fuel Tank. I had also started to formulate how to add a Fuel Return Line and where to install the Electric Fuel Pump for the Holley Sniper EFI.

Because Holley recommended 3/8" fuel line to feed the Sniper EFI and the C10 had 5/16" fuel lines I decided to use the existing fuel line as the fuel return and build a new 3/8" fuel line. Also because the fuel sender was 5/16" I had to find a unit that had 3/8" pickup and 5/16" return, I soon discoverer there is no such creature but I found that the Sender units for the Big Block C10's were 3/8".
So I ordered one of those and I took the fuel pick-up line from my old sender and used it as a return line, the modification can be seen above.
Installed it look almost factory. I salvaged the old Trans Cooler Lines since I was going to replace them with new lines and bent up new Fuel Lines from the sections that were still in good shape.

The Drive shaft was next to get attention, it was cleaned, disassembled, painted and re-assembled with the new Carrier Bearing and New Spicer Life Series Universal Joints.
The Carrier Bearing was shot, the rubber bushing was just about ready to fall out and the bearing itself was notchy, it was replaced with a Polyurethane Bushed Billet Aluminum unit.
I wanted to take the Drive-shaft to Drive Line Services in West Sacramento to have it balanced, when I called to get a quote & told them I put it together myself, they asked if I had used "part store universals" (I knew exactly what they meant) as normally they won't work on drive-lines without replacing the universals themselves even if the customer had just installed new parts, but because I used good quality universals to rebuild it, there wouldn't be an issue.
Turns out it was bent and out of balance, so I was happy to have had it sorted, and it made a big reduction to the amount of vibration felt in the truck.

Calculating the the final drive ratio when adding slightly lager diameter than stock wheels/tyres and pending Overdrive Transmission Ratio, I felt that the stock 3.08:1 Gears, I felt that they where too high, so I decided to convert the Gears down to 3.73:1.
A new set of Richmond Gears & Install Kit including all new Timken Bearings plus a LubeLocker Gasket are ordered and I started the process of switching the Ring and Pinion.
Setting up the gears was fairly laborious, I had taken the old bearings and and hogged them out slightly so I could get them on and off the pinion without using pullers every time.
After a few attempts to get the backlash right, I got it within specs.

Ring Contact Pattern looks good,

As does the Pinion Pattern... All ready to go back together again.

All back together with the new wheels.
Back to the Cab, I finished installing the Air Conditioning Ducts and Control, Installed the RetroSound Long Beach Stereo with Blaupunkt Sub-woofer and 4 Realistic Minimus 7 Speakers, Before bolting up the Instruments, Steering Wheel, Seat and 3 Point Seatbelts.

On the refurbished Steering Column are bolted the Holley Sniper/Hyperspark touchscreen interface and Dakota Digital Cruise Control.

Switching from Turbo-Hydramatic 350 (3 Speed) to Turbo-Hydramatic 200-4R (4 Speed) Overdrive Transmission, I was unable to find a indicator that would work for the stock non-tilt column so I made one. I drew it up in Illustrator and had Neverboard Graphics cut the vinyl Letters/Number for me, then I polished off the old characters and stuck on the new ones.

Time to get the Power Plant sorted, After finding the old 350 had over 90 Thou of crank end-play, had already had a .30 over bore and was only a 2 bolt main, I decided it was not worth sinking any more money into.
But all the accessories and performance parts etc, I had bought in anticipation were for the stock 350, so I was locked into replacing it with another 1st Generation (2 piece Main) Small Block Chevy , otherwise many of the parts I had wouldn't work.
I found a guy that had a genuine unopened Chevrolet Performance Crate Motor sitting in a storage unit, He delivered it to me all up for $1,700 saving me a substantial sum, and taking the sting out of having to replace the old mill.
First thing was to paint it the correct Chevy Orange.

I already had many upgrade parts, so I started replacing the stock parts which gave me the opportunity to personally inspect the internals of the new crate motor and confirm it was assembled correctly.
First part replaced was the timing sprocket on the crank with the Cloyes Double Roller Timing Gear. .

Because the Camshaft is also going to be changed, I had to re-establish true Top Dead Center, so the cam degree can be confirmed during install.

A little creative grinding was required to clearance the block for the smaller and slightly wider Cloyes Double Roller Timing Gear.

Cam washed, lubed and carefully installed, then Cam Degree confirmed correct according the Spec Sheet that came with it.
Also took the opportunity to replace the Frost Plugs with Brass units while the engine was stripped down.

One piece Oil Pan Gasket, Oil Filter Adapter and High Volume Oil Pump Installed.
Assembly markings on all of the bottom end components confirm it was assembled with matched parts, torque was checked and found to be correct.

Time to reassemble the heads with the upgraded parts to match the Crane Camshaft.

The original Valve Spring Retainers Exhaust (Left) and Intake (Center), Compared the the new Crane Cam Retainers (Right), definitely a more accurate fit to the springs, lighter & supposedly stronger too.

All Springs and Retainers replaced, time to re-install the heads, Some bolts are installed with sealant and other with engine oil, all depends whether the screw into a blind hole or through the water jacket.

PRW Self Aligning Roller Rockers installation shows the difference between the standard Pressed Steel units.
Setting Lash using the Polylocks, also installed reusable valve cover gaskets and studs for the valve cover hold-down bolts.

The Crate Motor comes with a Pilot Bearing in the Crank as standard for use with a Clutch, since I was installing an Automatic I had to remove it, using the trusty "grease and hammering in something that fits in the hole method" I was able to remove it without too much fuss.
The the flex-plate is installed with new ARP Bolts, & I also found another use for a Speed Square.

I already had a THM200-4R Transmission & Torque Converter, after cleaning and inspecting and spec'd out what I had, It turned out the spec was not going to work well with the new engine's performance, so I ordered a fresh built performance matched transmission and torque converter.

The Transmission arrived Months Later Than Promised, fortunately I had plenty of other tasks I could do while I waited.

There parts that needed to be switched from the old to new transmission before sending the old back as a core.
I also installed a TCI Lock Up Kit.

Sending the Old Transmission back in the crate the new one came in.
RANT WARNING: Buying the Transmission was about the only regrettable part of this whole project, it was also one of the most expensive single component I bought for the Pick-Up.
1 The Transmission took over 2 months longer than promised for it to be built and delivered, (about 5 Months total)
2.The Torque Converter looked like a junk-yard pull with a shitty spray can paint job on top of an oily part.
3. On the first drive the front pump seal blew because the seal wasn't installed with loctite and the retainer clip was never installed, dumping over a gallon of trans fluid in just 5 miles (trans fluid on hot exhaust, not good).
4. The company told me the warranty I paid for, could only be applied if I shipped the transmission back to Florida for them to work on the repair.
5. Consequently it cost me over $500 to have a local reputable shop make the repair, without any reimbursement.
6. They took over 2 months after receiving my Core Transmission (according to the tracking information) for them to even acknowledge they got it.
If you look at the pictures of the Transmission you can work out the company I bought it from and I urge you to never buy anything from them, no matter how many of your favorite celebrity mechanics they give transmission to, so they will endorse them... because you won't get the quality of work or level of service they get.
If I had to do it again, I'd find a Reputable Local Transmission Shop that stands behind their work and have them build my Transmission.

The Motor & Transmission are finally together.

Lining it up for install...

Thanks to Kim's (wife) help, the install went without a hitch.

The Radiator Support and Inner Wheel Well on the Right/Passenger were both rusty and damaged by years of Battery Acid,
I decided that I would buy a new Wheel Well and use some of the non-rusted steel to fabricate a Patch Panel for the damage part of the Radiator Support.
The Rust damaged metal from the Radiator Support (Left), The metal salvaged from the old Wheel Wheel (Center), The Patch Panel I Fabricated (Right)

I had the Radiator Support and Exhaust ready to weld, I headed over John's Place where his Son Jacob had his Tig Welder set up and he whipped the jobs for me.

The next target is to Break-In the Camshaft, something that according to Gearhead Lore is a Hit or Miss process, the Gasoline Gods have to be in a good mood and the Moon, Mars or Jupiter has to be Accending, Descending or in the Right House etc... So needless to say having not done it before I was a tad nervous.
Because the old Intake Manifold was a Spread-bore and the new Intake Manifold is a Square-bore for the new Fuel Injection System, I couldn't use my old Rochester Carb, fortunately a friend had given me one of his old Edlebrock Performer Carb years ago, It required a thourough cleaning to bring it back around, but I still had my fingers crossed that the default settings would work right for initial start-up to break the Cam in properly.

With the taller valve covers needed to clear the Roller Rockers, I ran into clearance issues with the Alternator, the solution was a longer bracket, however there wasn't any that would work, I found one that was close but required some heat and persuasion to make a straight bracket curved with an offset bend, and with a 2" longer belt the problem's solved.

Summit Ceramic Coated Headers, No the Cooling Side I went with the Stock Fan with a new Clutch backed up with a FlowKooler Water Pump and Thermostat

Because I decided I was going to do the initial start-up using the old tech, Carburetor, Mechanical Fuel Pump & Regular HEI Ignition rather than the untested Fuel Injection system.
Methodically installing what was needed to get the motor running the Radiator Support was installed so that the new 3 Core Aluminum Radiator and Electrical components could be made operational.
I also installed the Air Conditioner's Compressor to make sure it would fit and determine what length belt would be needed, plus the Battery Ground Wire attached to that bracket and wouldn't reach the engine otherwise.

Before & After, The right showing the cleaned up Electrical Wiring and Solid State Voltage Regulator mounted on the refreshed Radiator Support.
With Break-in Oil in the engine, the cooling system filled, timing statically set, carb set to to default, the electric choke wired directly to the battery and a temporary fuel supply rigged up, it was time to cross fingers and hit the starter.
Kim had the honors of first start and holding the throttle, while I checked the timing and watched for leaks or any other issues while we ran the engine at high revs to break in the cam.
20 minutes later Kim let off the throttle and immediately the motor settled into a perfect idle.

After breaking in the Cam it was time to convert the Carb and HEI to Fuel Injection and CDI using Holley's Sniper EFI and Hyperspark.

I had to find a convenient place to mount the CDI Box, since the updated AC eliminated the huge under-hood housing I used some of the space left behind and fabricated a bracket to blend in with the lines on the firewall.

Once painted and mounted it was time to wire up the rest of the Ignition System, I mounted the Coil on the firewall behind The Distributor which was index at 50ยบ BTDC using the Handy Degree Cap, then fitted a set of Moroso Ultra 40 Sleeved Ignition Wires to eliminate any chance of header burn.

Then it was all wired together and to the Sniper EFI. The Fuel and return lines were hooked up as were the vacuum lines, then the fuel pressure and leaks were tested and the whole system was ready to test.

Running all the Fuel & Vacuum Lines, finishing off the wiring and sorting out the Throttle Linkage.

One twist of the key and the Engine fired and within a few seconds settled into a smooth idle, ready to be fine tuned, which is a bit like playing with an iPad Mini.

Time to start putting the front of the truck back together, The Fender refitted then I installed some Old School Lucas Tri-Bars with H4 LED and LED marker lights.

New Condenser for the upgraded Vintage Air System before installing the grill.
Grill and Bumper finishes off the front.

It took some doing but I was able to get the fenders and Hood to line up better than they ever had the whole time I owned it.

The Hood Emblem was looking a bit shabby, so I took it apart and cleaned it, then used some of Kim's nail polish to re-color the Bow-tie.
Before I fit the Rear Wheels, I needed to install some longer studs so the lug nuts have the correct amount of threads, not wanting to remove the axles to press the studs in and out I improvised and braced the axles and used a large hammer.

Time to re-fit the Bed, John and Robert helped out with the lifting and fitting, while I did the crawling around on the ground.

The improvised Engine Hoist made the task possible but not easy, but all things considered it went on without too much fuss.

Tailgate fitted with new Trunnions, painted hardware and new rubber bumpers, unfortunately months later 2 arseholes stole the tailgate in broad daylight in front of our house, it took them 2 minutes and even though they blocked one of the lanes with their SUV and people had to drive around them while they did it, they totally got away with it, and even though I the details where given to the Police it seems they had no interest in looking into it (no one was shot)

I went with a Tonneau Cover system that has a frame and cover that can be partially removed easily to allow for larger cargo like a motorcycle to go in the back with out having to remove the whole thing.

The company has discontinued the line, but it was Blackmax by Extang.

THE FINISHED PRODUCT, Below are some images of how the truck ended up...

All back together and ready to roll.

Interior finished.

View from the drivers seat.

Under the Hood, AC lines Built and System Charged at Blue Collar Customs to finnish of my install.

From the front.

If you're wondering that black boxy thing is? it's the Cruse Control Module.

Chassis from the rear.
Chassis from the front, replete with spiderwebs...

I hope this inspires someone else to have a go at driveway resto-mod, I'm not going to tell anyone it's easy, the Proof that it's NOT, is the number of unfinished project that can be found for sale. But with a bit of persistence, organization and more money than you budgeted for it can be done.
Also don't forget to budget for the professionals that you'll need to hire to finish off things you don't have specialty tools and/or skills to do yourself.