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Tip of the Month
We didn't want to delete our radio-delete '68 Camaro or install a hidden sound system, so we designed our own solution to help us cruise with some quality tunes. And besides, you can't use a hidden system for an armrest! The idea started with building a speaker box with enough room to mount a radio and speakers with total portability. Mount a handle on the top and you can take it anywhere you find a 12-volt cigarette lighter or power port. The radio has 200 watts with AM, FM, CD changer, and satellite radio. The speakers are high-quality 51/4-inch Jensen units. We mounted a strip of thin metal under the box covering to hold the magnetic satellite antenna. The 30-foot antenna cord can be unwound from the hooks in the rear, along with the 15-foot power cord. So the radio delete plate stays in the Camaro and our portable sound system can be played just about anywhere, even the hood!
I'm currently building a '69 C-10. It has drum brakes all the way around but a nasty 350 with a radical cam (specs unknown due to the previous owner having the motor built). I have a pretty good idea it has 0.500-0.520-inch lift, if not more. My dad wants me to go to discs in front—if not all the way around—but with the vacuum, a brake booster would be difficult. In the future, I plan on building another 350 bored with another 0.500-plus-inch lift cam. With the disc brake and brake booster conversion, I'd have to install a vacuum hose, which If I'm correct, the conversion would render useless with the cam. I saw a '72 Nova and it had a disc setup with a manual brake booster setup (Wilwood). The article explains it was very effective with the six-piston calipers up front. I was wondering if I could go with that setup minus the six-piston calipers. I only need a single piston—or a dual piston would be cool. Would I have to change the rear brakes? I have also looked into putting my '69 C-10 body on a newer frame because it already has disc brakes up front, and find a booster from a '72 Chevy pickup. The truck I'm looking into for this conversion is lowered a little, but has a 10-bolt rear. I currently have a Posi 12-bolt, and I'm trying not to part with that. The '69 has the coil spring rear, and I like the setup, but my dad says the newer suspension is better. I wanted to know what y'all think about the old-school C-10 with springs versus the leaf spring.
Ken from Virginia
At least you have a plan, no matter which way you go. Let's stop here and consider a brake upgrade for either your current '69 C-10 or the '85 you are considering. Either way you go, your options for brakes are almost unlimited. You can either go with a compact dual-diaphragm vacuum booster or a manual master cylinder without the booster. The trick to the manual cylinder is the piston size. The smaller the diameter, the better the pressure. One-inch and smaller are preferred. They work fine with either system, including the disc/drum setup or four-wheel disc setups. I would suggest you contact the people at MPP Brakes and see what they suggest for either your '69 or the later '85 you are considering. Also, the good people at Wilwood will give you a product rundown. Both companies have engineered systems to make the conversion in your Chevy truck a snap, You can find MPP Brakes at mpbrakes.com or call them at 888-249-9332 for any questions. Wilwood can be found at wilwood.com or 805-388-1188.
As for the rear suspension, the choices are unlimited for everything from all-out mild-handling kits to full-on competition. My personal preference, if you're asking, is the '69 C-10 you currently have. For instance, Hotchkis has a great rear suspension system, PN SKU18390 that turns the truck into a real performer, along with the company's front kits. Hotchkis is at hotchkis.net or 877-466-7655. Remember, once you move up to the '85 model, you bump up against smog laws in most states, along with more sophisticated technology that your '69 lacks. Keeping up with just the electronics on the '85 can be quite a chore. You just can't drop in a stout carbureted engine, and expect to pass either a state safety or smog inspection (if your state tests for that).