Wood beds were an option until 1980, but they rotted away in humid conditions unless prope
As much as we like these pickups, they suffer from certain problems. All old trucks do, but it seems like the '73-'87 Chevys are most problematic--we're probably just aware of more problems because these trucks are so common. The biggest safety concern is the steering box mounting area which fatigues and cracks, causing the steering box to loosen and fall off. The rear of the frame cracks near the shock mounts and crossmembers when subjected to severe service. Door hinges wear out with regularity, especially on the driver side, and, in wet climates, rust forms easily at the rear of the front fenders. Unless the hood hinges are frequently lubed, they seize up and invariably bend the hood in the middle. And, of course, the wooden beds fall apart if not taken care of; they were discontinued in 1980.
The Best Years
Every 'wheeler will have an opinion on the best factory-equipped Chevy pickup. We talked to Mike Boyd at Four Wheelers Supply and asked what he would chose. Boyd has been in the aftermarket industry for many years and also has an extensive background in 4x4 truck recycling. He chose three different pickups according to the weight ratings and mechanical accouterments, since that's what most 'wheelers consider rather than the style of the grille or shape of the lug nuts when buying a 4x4.
Frame cracks are usually fixed by welding and plating the side and bottom, as in this stee
Like the other truck producers, this was the high point in Chevy quality, style, and componentry. Trucks were available with a 350 engine, a four-barrel carb, and a part-time 205 transfer case with the SM465 four-speed. The front axle wasn't a Dana 44, but the Corporate 10-bolt is nearly as strong, and the rear axle was nearly the last of the beefy Corporate 12-bolt units produced.
Once again, this was the last of its kind. The 350 engine was devoid of catalytic converters and easily passed federal emissions standards without lots of emissions junk hanging from the motor. The super-strong TH400 automatic was hooked to the NP208 transfer case with the low range of 2.61:1. While the front axle was a regular Corporate 10-bolt, the available rear axle was the large 10 ½-inch-ring-gear 14-bolt.
Dana 44 front axles lasted into the late-'70s before they were replaced by Corporate 10-bo
For all-out heavy-duty use, this pickup is a clear winner. The massive 454 engine was available with a Quadrajet carb or fuel injection and was offered with the TH400 auto and NP205 transfer case. The front axle was a Dana 60, and the rear was the much-adored Dana 70 in the dual rear wheel configuration. Add all that to the fact that a four-door cab and an 8-foot bed were available, and, except for a lot of size and weight, this is one fine factory truck.
Four Wheelers Supply