66 Stepside

HOW I SPENT MY SATURDAY MORNING

Last week I walked past the Stepside in the garage and noticed a small puddle of antifreeze underneath it. After investigation, I discovered the water pump was leaking. So, Saturday morning I swapped it out and took a few pix along the way. Kinda boring but I thought I would share anyway.

Here’s the culprit.

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I hate draining antifreeze from a vehicle… it’s such a mess. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

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Old pump off…

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And a brand-spanking-new one!

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It looks better… doesn’t it.

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And finally, everything back together.

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INLINE 230

The trend these days is definitely to go bigger in the engine department of old-school vehicles. Try to find a 67-68 Camaro with a six in it these days. They barely exist, despite the fact that Chevrolet sold a ton of them. It’s the same with the 60-66 C10 pickups. If it had a six in it originally… chances are it probably doesn’t now. All of this finds me once again, where I typically am, on the side of the minority. When I started my search for a truck, one of the things I wanted specifically was an in-line 230. Why you may ask? Well… look at this thing. I can actually crawl under the hood with it. And there’s nothing to it, which means anything that might go wrong can be fairly easily addressed. No, I won’t be racing the guy next to me in the Chevelle Super Sport to the next red light, but I wouldn’t be doing that even if Otis were equipped with a Big Block. Maybe I’m getting old but I’m perfectly content to tool around the city with my simple little in-line 230 pulling me right along at a decent clip.

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IT WAS MY KIND OF WINTER DAY…

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For December 2nd, today was a pretty awesome day. It was overcast, but temps reached the lower 70s and there was no precipitation. It was my kind of winter day… for sure. A perfect day to hang out in the garage/driveway, crank the Titans game up on the radio and get a few things done to Otis. (My ’66 C10 Stepside.)

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First up was replacing the broken drivers-side mirror. In this picture it looks like the new mirror is smaller, but that’s not the case. It was an easy, exact replacement.

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Next, I re-installed the fender badges I painted last week. This was no easy task… There’s not a lot of room on the inside of these fenders so it took longer than I anticipated. Mission accomplished though.

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These tailgate chain covers will eliminate the slapping noise, and save my paint around the tailgate. I opted for the clear ones as opposed to the black ones.

Next, I installed the decal set I got from LMC Truck for the tailgate letters. They were pretty easy to install and anybody with a somewhat steady hand could apply them easily. They aren’t paint but they look great. Hopefully they will last. Here’s a time-lapse video of my installation.

And… here’s a tail-end shot at the end of the day. I’m diggin’ it!

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SOME COOL STUFF ARRIVED YESTERDAY

Some cool stuff for the stepside arrived yesterday. I’ll reveal most of it later this week but here’s a look at the repro owners manual I got. How cool is this thing!

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HOW I SPENT MY EVENING

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FINALLY… SOMEWHERE TO PUT MY GLOVES!

So… today I got the glove compartment I ordered from LMC installed. Oddly enough, it’s made out of fiberboard. I thought this was just a “cheapo” fix but apparently, this is how they really were back in the day. At least that is what I was told by the old guy at the local mom & pop hardware store. At any rate, I got it installed and all I can say is: Finally… somewhere to put my gloves!

Before I sign off… here’s a pic I took today of my two favorite toys. The sun was shining and since the Dark Months* are upon us, I thought I better take advantage of the photo op while I could!

* NOTE: For the uneducated… The Dark Months are what I call the period in Middle Tennessee from November 1 to March 1 — when the days are short, the air is cold, precipitation transforms into solids and good riding days are few-and-far between. They SUCK!

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IT LOOKS BETTER NOW

Sanded and painted the grotee Stepside mirror today. It looks better now.

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4 THUMBS UP AND A PURCHASE INQUIRY FOR OTIS

A beautiful day in Middle Tennessee dictated that I take the Stepside for a lazy afternoon drive. It was quite a treat, and ended up being the longest trek I’ve made since the truck came back from paint. And… it certainly got some attention. While I was out, I got a lot of turned heads, 4 thumbs up… and a purchase inquiry. I stopped in the local grocery store and as I was getting out of the truck a guy approached me and asked if the truck was for sale. When I told him it was not, he explained that his dad had a ’66 and that he really would like to have one. I know the feeling brother!

BTW… the truck now has a name. My wife (and daughter) have had this habit of naming our vehicles over the years. Everything from Raymond to Brownie have been in the family. Well, for whatever reason, the 66 Stepside has been designated as Otis by my beautiful wife. I’m not sure why… but Otis it is!

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SPINNG MY WHEELS

It’s been a crazy weekend here in my world. I’ve felt like I have been spinning my wheels all weekend long but looking back now, I did get some cool things accomplished on the Stepside. First of all, I got the battery box drilled and the new hold-down bracket installed. No more battery flopping around. And dig those new, shiny post screws!

Then there’s the biggie. I found a smokin’ hot deal on a set of Cooper 235/75/15. Finally, the tire search is over and I was able to maintain my tight-wad reputation!

Of course, the lug-nuts I had on the old “bullet hole” wheels would not work with the Rally’s, so I had to spring for a new set of chrome, capped lug-nuts.

And, I love the results! I’m totally diggin’ the white Rally’s and putting the same size tires on all four corners has improved the stance a lot. Now, the question is, do I lower the whole truck or leave it at stock height? Hmmmm, just have to see I guess.

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WHITE PAINT…

We were blessed with some beautiful 80 degree weather today in Middle Tennessee, and it provided the opportunity I have been waiting for to do a little painting. This is what my front bumper and rally wheels looked like at the beginning of the day.

Towards the end of they day, they looked more like this.

Wheels before… and after.

…and the bumper installed!

Here’s how it sits at the end of the day. I can’t wait to get the ’80s “bullet mags” off and the Ralley’s on.

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BACK FROM PAINT… AND NOW ON WITH THE LITTLE THINGS

Now that the ’66 Stepside is back from paint, it’s time to get on with the “little” things. Wheels, tires and bumpers will come later… but today I installed some small parts I had ordered a while back. One of the few problems with this truck when I bought it, was the rattling window glass and metal to metal sound that shook the world when you shut the doors too hard. It sounded like they were coming off their hinges! A quick scan of the LMC catalog revealed the answers to both problems.

These door bumpers were missing on both sides so getting new ones installed made a big difference…

… and these window inserts (also known as a “rattle kit”) resolved the window issue.

You can see by the example below that the ones I took out (on the left) had little to no pad left on them… and obviously were well past the time of replacement.

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THIS THING IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING

My buddy Scooter has been pretty busy this week… workin’ on the ’66 Stepside paint job for me. I helped a little with the sanding , earlier in the week, but he’s done all the real work. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turning out. The red/white color scheme is gonna be way-cool. I can’t wait to get this thing on the road. Once he finishes with the paint, I’ll start on all the small things that a mere layman like myself can do! (Thank God I have good friends with real talent!) Man, this thing is actually happening… I never thought it would… but it’s actually getting to where I envisioned it.

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SUNDAY PROGRESS

On a rainy Sunday in October… a little more got completed on the ’66 Stepside. Thank God I have a buddy that is willing to share his skills while I stand around taking pictures. Ha! The fender patches are looking fantastic. No more holes!

Next… it was time to tackle the roof. This is what it looked like when I got it. I’m thinking the Previous Owner used some sort of bed liner spray. It had a weird texture.

After sanding… it looked like this.

First coat of primer down.

…and that’s when the battery in my Canon died! These last 2 pics were taken with a cheapo camera phone. Hope you get the idea… the Stepside now has a nice, clean, white hairdo! Gonna be a nice accent to the eventually red cab.

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WHAT IS THIS MAN DOING TO MY TRUCK?

Sparks were flying today! If you are wondering why… check out the photo HERE. My bud Scooter cut out the bad parts and welded in the good parts. Here’s a shot after the passenger-side fender-ectomy.

The fender patches from LMC were a little inconsistent but Scooter is a talented dude… and made them fit like a glove. Below is the passenger-side patch tacked into place.

Here’s the drivers-side patch completed. Gonna look great!

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MAYBE YOU ARE GETTING TIRED OF POSTS ABOUT MY TRUCK?

Maybe you are getting tired of posts about my truck? Sorry! I can’t help it This project is in full swing now and I am super-excited! And… I feel really blessed to have good friends who are good at this stuff… and more importantly, willing to help out. Here’s what went down today:

The hood that came on the truck was a mess. Nearly the entire front and right side were nothing but body putty so a replacement was in order. We pulled the old one off and put the replacement on. I never thought this job would be possible with just 2 guys but somehow we managed. Below is an example of why it needed to be swapped out.

Here’s the replacement hood installed. BTW, that is red oxide primer on it… not the “red” the truck will end up as.

And… below is a picture telling the tale of why the rear portions of the front fenders will need replacing. Whoooweee!

Next up… was getting the bed primed.

So… what color is this truck going to be anyway? What? Ford RED!!!! Yep… ‘fraid so. My buddy Scooter “con”vinced me that it was the best red to use. Hmmm… I think he pulled one over on me.

Well… maybe he is right… looks pretty rich.

Too late now…

OK… I have to admit… this is going to look killer… and just how I had hoped. Just don’t tell anyone my Chevy truck has FORD paint on it!

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A GREAT DAY IN THE LIFE OF MY TRUCK!

Today was a great day in the life of my truck! Some good progress was made… and I couldn’t be more excited. This thing is actually starting to transform into what I want it to be. Pretty exciting stuff!

First thing was getting the holes in the floor of the cab patched. They weren’t that bad… but there was a fairly decent hole from a previous transmission, and a couple other minor spots on the passenger side.

Next… and with the help of a couple of cool dudes… the bed was removed and sanding of the entire truck commenced.

The inside of the bed was coated with Rustoleum bed liner… courtesy of my buddy Scooter.

This is how we left it this evening. It may not look like it but a lot was accomplished today!

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THE NEW SEATBELTS ARE IN…

Today I got the new seat belts in the ’66 Stepside. My buddy Scooter donated them to the cause and they look and work mighty fine! I also did some general cleaning and such. There are so many things that I love about this truck. One of those things is the old-school tail-gate chains. I can remember vividly, back when I was about 4 years old, when my dad taught me what these were and how they worked on his late 50s Chevy pickup. I thought it was a pretty cool system and was pretty proud that I knew how they worked. It’s funny what you remember in life.

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UPDATE ON THE ’66 STEPSIDE

Got a little more accomplished on the ’66 Stepside this weekend. A very good thing was that we discovered what was making the brakes grab and pull to the right. The inner axle seal, on the right rear, was leaking onto the brake pads… making a gooey mess. My buddy Dale took care of it by cleaning things up and replacing the seal. Thought I’d grab a pic of the innards while the differential cover was off.

One thing I’m discovering quickly… is that the parts on these old trucks (or at least mine) are sometimes a mystery. Found that out with the carb, the column, speedo cable and now with the gasket for the diff cover. I’m not sure what this rear end is out of, but the gasket that ended up fitting was for a later model Chevelle. It’s a 12-bolt pattern while all the parts houses list a 10-bolt pattern for the 1966 C-10. Go figure.

My buddy Dale also installed a couple of wheel studs to replace a missing one and a broken one. I’m such a rookie at all this stuff and I’m so thankful to have friends that are willing to help me out. I’m learning a lot and having some buddies involved (that know what they are doing) makes not having my dad around to help out a little easier to tolerate… and a little less lonely. Man, I can’t believe how much I miss him!

More to come soon… The truck should be on the road very soon!

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AND HE SCORES THE CENTER CAP!

Last week when I picked up my new (used) column, the vintage steering wheel was missing the center cap. After pricing them at LMC for $55, I decided that my steering wheel would just be missing its center cap. But guess what. While wandering the Redneck Rumble Car Show & Swap Meet this weekend, I found this one staring me in the face. It’s not perfect but I can clean it up pretty nice… and it was only 3 BUCKS! Nice score!

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CHRISTMAS IN SEPTEMBER?

Christmas in September? Well… not quite but I did score some cool stuff tonight. I’ve been searching the country (literally) for a manual steering gear box for the ’66 Stepside and have had little to no luck. As it turns out, a guy that is only about 30 miles from my doorstep had one so a buddy and I ran out there to check it out. It doesn’t look like much but it functions perfectly. A little soap and water, followed by some black rattle can and it will do nicely! While we were there, I also grabbed an original steering column with a super-nice stock steering wheel… another thing I’ve been hoping to find. It was a good night!

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MORE PROGRESS ON THE ’66 STEPSIDE

Progress on the ’66 step-side has been slow but things are moving along. A buddy of mine is doing a lot of the mechanical work… and I’m learning how this thing is put together.

The Rochester 1-barrel now has a re-build kit installed. At first we were just going to replace the gasket between the bottom and upper halves (that was seeping a bit) but since we had it apart, we decided to go ahead and get the rebuild kit and install it. Less to worry about later maybe.

The source of the exhaust leek has been identified and a new intake gasket has been purchased and ready for installation. With the carb and manifold removed, it’s really obvious how simple this little in-line six really is. Love it!

I also purchased a new alternator for the truck since the old one had a nice crack in it, right at the top mount.

Still having a little trouble locating a manual steering gear box. Mine has quite a bit of slack in it… so I really want to replace it. The pic below shows the culprit. I have a few guys on one of my forums that promise to send me one but so far none of them has. Come on guys… help a brutha out! haha.

Yeah… I know, these pics are pretty boring. So just for fun, here’s a shot of the ’66 as it sits now. Still a long way to go… but man I love this truck.

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SOME OF YOU MAY NOT UNDERSTAND…

I’ve wanted a 60-66 Chevy pickup for many years now and since I finally made the move, I’ve been like a kid who finally got that one toy he’s always wanted. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Little things like getting a set of seat belts for it are just a blast. Some of you may not understand… but this picture is WAY-COOL for me!

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I’VE GOT A PICTURE IN MY MIND…

I’ve got a picture in my mind… a picture of what the ’66 stepside will look like one day. Little by little I will get there, and even though it might be a long way down the road, some of the pieces are starting to fall into place. I found a set of 6-lug rally wheels on Craigslist this week for a killer price. And, the replacement hood is about to get a good sanding and will serve as guinea pig for my backyard paint experiment. Might work, might not… we will see. At any rate, I’m lovin’ the truck.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY! – AIN’T SHE A BEAUT!

Today is Independence Day. It’s a celebration of the greatest country on the planet. Is it perfect? No. Are there some idiots in charge of things they shouldn’t be in charge of? Yep. But in the end… I still love my country. And to start the celebration… I went for my first extended drive in the 66 Stepside. Man I love this truck. Transformation will begin for real next week and I can hardly wait. I stopped by the local Non-Ethanol station in town to filler’ up on the way back and had to grab a quick pic. Ain’t she a ‘beaut!

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