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1986 K30 - Rapid Learning

Get 'er cleaned up and solid.


LAST UPDATED: 11/10/22

Well, nearly all of the background information behind my acquisition of this truck can be found in this thread:

Big thanks to @Bowtiek10 for posting the truck. I wouldn't have it if it weren't for him. Big thanks to the rest of CK5 for pushing me toward buying it. :D

I already have a K5, so why did I choose to buy this K30?

There are a few reasons:
  1. I bought my K5 for snowboarding trips and to learn more about wrenching on vehicles... it works fine for snowboarding but it never needed anything major done to it. It's plenty capable and reliable as is. This K30 has real problems that must be addressed, so I'm excited to tackle those and grow my skills.
  2. The K30 can carry a large camper, which goes back to snowboarding. Once it is solid I should be able to drive up to the mountain after work on a Friday and sleep in the truck. Miss all that Denver Saturday-morning mountain traffic.
  3. This transaction more or less forces me to sell my first car, a Mitsubishi 3000GT. I have known that I should let that thing go for a while now, but I have been clinging to it because of sentimental value. It will be hard, but I think selling it will force me to grow a little bit as a person.
  4. This K30 is just so cool to me. I kept thinking about it and checking to see if it was sold about once a week. It was still up for sale, week after week. I eventually decided to just go for it.
The truck is stock. The config is 454 / SM465 / NP205 / D60 / 14B FF. I can't believe I own a truck like this - a stupid grin comes up on my face just thinking about it.

It has a whole laundry list of issues. I have mentally divided the required work into five phases:
  • Phase 1: Address Death Wobble [10/14/21: Complete.]
    • New front axle kingpin parts.
    • New tires.
  • Phase 2: Address Denver Emissions [10/14/21: No longer applicable.]
    • New exhaust setup.
    • Air/smog pump.
  • Phase 3: Address Transmission [11/10/22: Not yet addressed. Not bad to live with as-is.]
  • Phase 4: Address Random Maintenance [11/10/22: Not yet addressed.]
  • Phase 5: Address Body and Interior [11/10/22: Not yet addressed.]
Below are rough notes I compiled from talking with the seller. My plan is just to address every issue one at a time. Cross your fingers for me.

To Do
oil pressure gauge doesn't work
voltage gauge doesn't work
gas gauge doesn't work
hard to start - carb is new, hasn't been tuned
steering is loose as hell
starter is new-ish, but sometimes it will grind when starting the engine
-he got starter shims for it, but there is damage to flywheel​
-f***ed up the ring gear​
-sometimes it won't start, gotta pull back and start it again​
-another shim may help? maybe not​
squeal in front brakes
-nothing urgent there​
-probably should bleed​
-replaced hydroboost recently​
rear main seal starting to leak
transmission should be good other than popping out of second consistently
-new bearings are in it​
-new clutch is in it​
watch the heater core, may have a leak. fixed itself?
buy a new dash pad for it - no dash pad right now
floor pan hole driver's side
passenger window won't roll up or down
vents just blow air everywhere, there is no air flow control
driver's side gas tank has a hole in it

needs new tires [DONE]
should do wheel bearings [DONE]
front axle kingpins may need work [DONE]
tie rod ends seem to be good, but haven't been changed or greased [DONE - Greased.]
needs air pump for emissions [DONE - No longer applicable.]
seat is worn out, cover is good [DONE - Mexican blanket seat cover installed.]
needs cats for emissions [INCORRECT - Did not come with cats from factory.]
driver's window needs replaced [DONE]
front passenger marker light doesn't work - not the bulb it's the socket [DONE]
blinkers work sometimes but other times just stay on [DONE]
one of the tailgate arms broken [DONE]

Miscellaneous Notes
has new front shocks
has new front steering stabilizer
axle/diff fluid changed recently
drive shaft u-joints are new
transfer case is good. difficult to get into / out of 4wd sometimes.
steering box is good
steering column is non-factory
water pump and hoses and radiator and fan clutch replaced recently
passenger door panel is in the truck bed
bed not rusted out, decent shape
engine oil is pretty fresh
tailgate is not factory - it is pre1980
lights are okay, headlights are okay. rear lights are good


Trim Level
Transfer Case
D60 / 14B FF

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First 4x4 - learning basic maintenance / upkeep and maybe some small mods.

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