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1978 Chevy G10

Filtering by Category: Garage Updates

Work Duty

Classic Velocity

The G10 has been earning its keep over the last few months hauling a variety of cargo. Most recently, it transported the R75/5 back to base in an extended highway run. I flushed the radiator and put in new anti-freeze. It was very cold, and the battery was suspect a few times, so I opted to replace it. It now has 800 cold cranking amps rather than 700 warm ones. Speaking of warmth, the heat is surprisingly good, and needs to be turned down when on the highway. It also blew a low beam headlight and a marker bulb, and needed wiper blades, all of which were easily replaced. It is an amazing to know that anything you need for this vehicle is available at any auto parts place for very reasonable cost, despite its age. 

Small Improvements

Classic Velocity

Sometimes when you make improvements to a vintage vehicle, the results become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And sometimes you actually have evidence that there has been an improvement. So it was with two small things that were done to make the van a little more fuel-efficient and quieter at higher speeds. The first change was the air filter mentioned in a previous post. However I also added some seafoam to the next fill up of gas. Between those two changes the next full tank of gas resulted in mileage of 13.6 miles per gallon. This is up over a full mile per gallon over the last tankful with similar driving. This is not a big enough difference to declare a full cause-and-effect, and it was not a scientific experiment, but I'll take it.

The second change was the replacement of both belts in the engine compartment. Both of the belts looked like they were in fairly good condition, but I was chasing a squealing sound that occurred once underway for about an hour and at speeds over 75 mph. The replacement of the belts is fairly straightforward with moving the alternator and the steering fluid pump in order to remove the belts and put the new ones on. The result on a test drive was no squealing at higher speeds. A full honest test of this will be a lengthy trip with speeds in that region to determine that it is truly solved when the belts and the engine are hot for some time. But for now, I'll take it.

Breathing Easy

Classic Velocity

Don't ask how I know this, but the van felt like it was suffering from asthma at higher speeds. Nothing dramatic, just a sense that the motor was not getting all of the air that it needed. The common solution would be to just take off the stock air cleaner, and put on a chromed filter. However, I had pledged not to start turning this into a hot rod. An email coupon for K&N products solved the problem. Unfortunately, you cannot change the air filter without getting to the back of the motor, but it was a quick job. I got 12.5 mpg on the last run with the van, so I will see if either mileage or feel improves....


Sound Investment

Classic Velocity

The Chevy G 10 does not have the kind of engine that makes you want to forego having music in the vehicle. It is not a sonorous V12 or a raspy flat six. It also has roughly the same aerodynamic profile as a detached two car garage, which makes it rather noisy. So it will come as no surprise that's an investment in the stereo system was inevitable. The good news is that even the lowliest and cheapest of the options for changing the speakers in the van would be a marked improvement. It is hard not to improve upon dried-up paper-based speakers from the 1970s. This was a simple case of out with the old and in with the new as the same size speakers fit into the door cutouts. The result was a dramatic improvement in sound for very little money. This is the kind of upgrade that is pretty rare to achieve on any vintage vehicle.

The Shagwagon

Classic Velocity

I happen to like the 1970s. Mostly the very early part, but there was some good stuff later on as well. The spirit of the 1960s continued well into the seventies and early eighties with respect to van culture. Custom vans with wild exteriors and wilder interiors ruled this time period. Although my G10 had survived in almost bone stock fashion on the outside, the same was not true on the inside. In true late 1970s fashion, the van's interior had been completely covered in powder blue shag carpeting.

The original owner had also insulated the shell, and put up composite board to attach the carpeting to. Further, he had built a seating/bedding platform from 2X4 and plywood. Lastly, he had installed a Craig amplifier and speakers in the platform. Yeah Baby !! For the parts where there was flooring, a thin floor had been installed which was covered with faux brick linoleum, and then a powder blue rug. The parts with a raised platform had vinyl clad padding like a child's mattress. It was all custom fit. Lastly, there was a Craig AM/FM Cassette ready for my Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Marley tapes. Lastly, there was a bubble sunroof installed, which was the only change visible from the exterior. If there was any doubt that this was an original 1978 van, the interior removed all trace of it.

As much as this was a fun time machine, almost all of the carpet, and much of the platform had to come out for my needs. It will have to live on in pictures.....