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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, Im starting a build thread. I have converted from Ford (Sold '83 and '88 f150's both with 300 L6 engines) to Chevy. My first time owning a Chevy or a V8. I have a 1978 Scottsdale, 3/4 ton regular cab, long bed with 4 on the floor and a 350 topped by a 4 barrel. It's only two wheel drive, but Im new to offroading and It's what I have. So I'll see how far I can go/learn, before spending more on a 4x4 squarebody. I bought it about a year ago, but I've been house sitting, so its been left untouched for 8 months. The work it needed has only gotten worse. Im working on a list of what it needs, and what I want. More posts to follow. If this post is in the wrong place, feel free to move or delete and tell me where to go.
 

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Depending on where you are and whats around for offroading, don't spend a dime on "building" the 2wd for offroading, lower in for cheap and sell it in the spring for someone looking to cruise.

Or break out the torches and chop the 2wd shit out of the front and put an axle up there, but you're miles ahead starting with a 4x4
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Im in Southern AZ, and not doing anything serious, Im not wheeling for the sake of wheeling, Trying to get to spots to shoot/camp/hike/crawl in caves. Every one has always told me that converting a two wheel drive to 4x4 was to much effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I've broken the List into three parts, Stuff I know it needs, Stuff to inspect, and stuff I want.

In no particular order, my truck needs. 5 Tires, a new fan shroud (maybe electric fans?), an oil change, new spark plugs, the starter tumbler is worn out and needs rekeyed, window cranks (the shafts are rounded off). New floor pans welded in, a new battery. The left gas tank drained of old fuel, the seat reapolstered (I'm thinking hounds tooth) It has a head light out, and some of the dash back lighting out too, those all need replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I want to inspect the condition of the front bearings, maybe repack them with mew grease. The level and quality of tranny and differential fluids. The state of fuel and air filters and since it has dual gas tanks... I've only drove it once to get home, I have no idea if the second tank works or not, that needs tested. Wouldn't hurt to check/replace ruber fuel lines while I'm down there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Lasty, the Things I would like to have...

It already has a 4 barrel carb, but still has factory exhaust. I want some headers, and dual exhaust with throaty glass packs, becuase v8.

The radiator hoses are ok, but the lower one is kinda squishy. I'd like to get braided high pressure coolant hoses.

I have a radio, speakers, 250 watt amp and a CB radio left over from a previous project, and would Like them in this truck. I do long range rifle shooting and we use CB radios to signal the range is hot/cold because we're at 1000-2000 yards.


I work funny hours and like having auxilary lights. I had some gnarly fog lights on my motorcycle, and would like a second set to put on the truck.


I have a different shifter knob, because the Skatt T handle currently on the stick doesnt feel comy to me, too fat for my girly little hands. Maybe put a coat of paint on it. Also, This is arizona, Air conditioning is mandatory for 60% of the year, It had factory air, but it all got torn out, So I want to rebuild the A/C system.


Lastly, maybe most ambitious, I want onboard air, and an airlocker for the rear diff. The rear bumper has already been converted to an air tank, I think it would be cool to have more onboard air power, and being two wheel drive, I want all the traction I can get.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I have already started By removing the factory Smog pump that had lost its bearings and replacing the water pump.

When I was replacing the Water pump, i dropped it, and the old plastic fan shoud fell apart.

So my First question of the build is, do I get a new fan shroud? Or do I convert it to electric cooling fans?
 

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More like a TUNE-UP thread, but have fun. If you want real advice, get a truck with a transfer case.

Putting a locker in the rear and a winch on the front is all about you can do / need / want / should be doing.

Look at some other build threads on here, posting a question for each repair isn't going to get you anywhere for your 2wd.
 

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I personally like electric fans if you can get one that pulls enough air. My personal favorite is one off something like a 92ish ford Taurus since they are 2 speed and pull a good bit of air.

On the 4x4 swap deal it all depends on what condition your truck is in now. If the truck is in good shape and runs good I'm going to be the "other camp guy" here and say just get the truck reliable and start getting parts together for a 4x4 conversion. Now obviously if the truck is a POS or you can get a 4x4 in same condition cheap go for it but there is no reason to sell it off for a 4x4 model just to have to do more work to the 4x4 to get it back to same condition the 2wd was.

I'll also throw my 2 cents in here about the air locker. If truck is just going to be a general use 4x4 for hunting\exploring I wouldnt waste the money on an arb for the rear. Detroit locked 14bolt will basically live forever and give 30+ years of reliable traction with normal gear oil changes, no air lines,switches,solenoids etc.

Now having on board air in itself isnt a bad idea if truck already has air tank like your saying, good for filling up tires and maybe run air tool here and there for repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Scrap the air locker, get a posi, I understand. The engine runs great, only real problem is tires and rusted floor boards.

It is more of a tune up then a build. Thats why im doing it instead of buying another truck. Plus I have little pratical XP.

Ive always been told to stay away from trying to convert to 4x4. So maybe ill get a second trick later that is 4x4 if I really need it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
"I'll also throw my 2 cents in here about the air locker. If truck is just going to be a general use 4x4 for hunting\exploring I wouldnt waste the money on an arb for the rear. Detroit locked 14bolt will basically live forever and give 30+ years of reliable traction with normal gear oil changes, no air lines,switches,solenoids etc."

Can you tell me more? Does that mean a whole axle swap? Is that always locked or will it still be drivable on the street? or is that just changng the guts inside the pumpkin?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got a new fan shroud and radiator hose. Why was it so hard to find a fan shroud? Anyway, it's all back together now. I got it started for the first time in months yesterday. Was pleased with how easily it cranked over. Next is to get it into the garage so I can remove the seat and cut out the rusted floor boards.

I realise its not 4x4 and will only get me so far, I've got a lead on a 4x4 square body to suppliment it. I'll probably park this '78 until my compact car croaks, then Ill make it my daily. Because it will get better mpg then a 4x4.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Ok, I've got two used tires on the back now. They at least hold air. Saving up to buy two new ones for the front. My room mates jeep project is almost done, so I can start working on my own project again. I got the seat ripped out, hope to cut and weld the floor boards soon. My next big problem is air conditioning. Everything has been ripped out except the condenser and blowers in the dash. Whats the best way to go about getting cold air moving again? By best I mean most cost effective. I have a salvaged compressor, can I still get a rebuild kit for it?
 
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