Ownership Verified: Polishing a turd. 1973 GMC Sprint, with a side of XJ

73GMCSprint

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
913
Location
Southern UT, USA
Car(s)
1973 GMC Sprint, Buick 455/TH400; 1994 Jeep XJ 4.0
Minor progress has been made!

First though, some of the bad stuff about the car:


Rust! This area is definitely the worst cancer on the car. As far as I can tell everything else is surface rust, but who really knows. I didn't help this by starting some body work a few years ago, but the rust around this fender was already well established.



Shitty body work! Fuck some body shop in Fresno. It was done before I owned the car so there's not much I can do about it, but I actually have the invoices showing what was "done" to the car. Supposedly several dents were removed, trim holes welded, etc. etc. but NONE of it was actually done. Just a shit ton of body filler and then paint. The work I started probably sped up the deterioration, but I started it in the first place because the lousy work was already starting to crack and fall off the car at that point.

It's enough to make me question just how far I want to take this project in the end, but it might end up being a good excuse to buy a welder and learn how to use it. Any excuse to buy a new tool, right?

Now for better stuff. Arachnophobes may want to proceed with caution, however.


Gotta do the important stuff first. Wheels look much better with a little cleaning. They were badly neglected though, and there's a fair bit of pitting from leaving brake dust on them too long. They should be restorable though, if I decide to keep them. I like the old-school fat rubber look of the 15" rims on this kind of car, but there are zero performance tires available any more in the sizes I would need with a 15" rim. BFG Radial T/As and Cooper Cobra GTs are basically the only 2 options in my tire sizes. Going to a 17" or 18" rim opens up some options, and I can even get the same style wheel.


Front brakes disassembled.


Back of one rotor. Spiders/webs/egg sacs Every. Where.


Seriously. Every. Where. I don't reach anywhere I can't see on this thing unless I have gloves.


And that's why! It had a close encounter with the pointy end of a screwdriver.


Yay drum brakes! I realized I've never actually worked on drums myself, so pictures were taken so I know how to put it all back together.


And stripped down.

All rubber brake hoses were removed as well. The master cylinder will also be replaced; it's over 45 years old, so it's only a matter of time before it gives out.

I should now have everything I need to overhaul the brake system. New master cylinder, front calipers and pads, front wheel bearings and seals, wheel cylinders for the rear brakes, and new rubber hoses all the way around. The rear drums and shoes are actually in good condition, so they'll just go back on the car for now. I can always replace them easily if needed.

I'll see how much I can get back together tomorrow. It should actually be fairly easy, but those are famous last words.

Here's the reason for the year-long delay in working on the Sprint:

I picked this up a year ago for next to nothing. It needed some work itself, but I wanted something I could use to explore the many dirt roads and trails around Southern Utah, and put two car seats in. It had some major leaks when I got it, including what I was told was a leaky transmission input seal or pump, but I knew about all of it and the price was right. The transmission leak ended up being only the pan, so that was solved by straightening the flange on the pan and sealing it with the proper auto trans sealant. The engine ended up needing a valve cover gasket, distributor o-ring, oil filter adapter seal, and a new rear main seal. I did all of that myself, and it's now one of the few leak-free 4.0 Jeeps around here (although I may have spoken too soon--the front pinion seal is seeping a little now). The alternator promptly died after I bought it, so it was upgraded with a much higher amp unit from a same-year Grand Cherokee, which required some grinding of the brackets to fit the slightly larger case. The headlights were recently upgraded with housings to replace the old sealed beams, and a new harness which drastically increased the brightness. Now I don't have to drive by Braille at night.
The one major problem I've had so far was the passenger side motor mount shearing off the block, which broke a mounting boss clear off the block and left two bolts sheared off in the block. I thought I was going to be scrapping the engine and doing an LS swap (oh darn!), but I found some awesome aftermarket mounts that take advantage of 5 additional mounting points on the block, so problem solved despite losing a couple of the stock mounting points.
It's actually not as big a shitbox as it looks, though it's not so nice that I feel bad about beating on it. It's pretty sound mechanically. I've got some plans to make a reasonably capable crawler/overlander, but for now it'll stay pretty simple. The general plan is if something breaks, it'll be fixed better.
 

73GMCSprint

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
913
Location
Southern UT, USA
Car(s)
1973 GMC Sprint, Buick 455/TH400; 1994 Jeep XJ 4.0
I didn't get much done on Tuesday as I'd hoped; I decided to wait for a pressure washer to be delivered and give things a good spray-down before doing much more.

But, there was some slight progress yesterday.


New parts! There are a few odds and ends missing from the picture, but it's boring stuff like bearings and seals.


I got the new front rotors prepped with bearings and seals and installed them. The old dust caps were properly mangled, so new ones were procured.

I'll probably do the master cylinder next so I can flush the hard lines, and then get the new calipers and rubber hoses installed.
But, I'll be on the road this weekend so it'll have to wait. Hopefully I can get this done before it gets too hot. We're already up to 100F today.
 
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