The guy I was dealing with to do my paint and body work
finally called in November and agreed to take on the job as a winter
project. He (I'll call him AL) said he
would be ready to start in 2 to 3 weeks. I said that was fine
because I wanted to remove as much of the outside trim as I could
before taking it to him. There were several reasons I wanted to
remove the trim myself. It would be less work for Al, which
meant less cost to me. I also wanted to keep the parts at
the house so I could work on restoring them while he was doing the
paint and body work. And, I wanted to know how they came off, so
I could put them back on. But most importantly, I figured I
would be more careful removing the items than would someone
else. I had seen the cost of some of the trim items and I didn't
want to have to replace any unless absolutely necessary. NOTE --
If I had known then what I know now about AL, that last reason
wouldn't have been a concern.
The first items I removed were the
front and rear chrome bumpers. I thought this would be an easy
job. After all, there are only a
few bolts holding them on, right? I hadn't taken into account
that rust could be almost as effective as welding to keep nuts on
bolts. I couldn't budge any of the nuts on the front
bumper by hand, even after repeated spraying with WD-40. I
finally resorted to laying on my back and pushing on a 1/2"
breaker bar with my foot. This technique worked, but I twisted
off two of the bolts in the process.
Now that I had the technique down,
I thought the rear bumper would come off much faster. NOT!
The previous owner had
install a trailer hitch that would have to be
removed before the bumper would come off. The trailer hitch was
one of those types that bolts to
the frame cross member. To get to the bolts, the spare tire has to
be removed. I was glad I had recently bought a floor jack at a
swap meet. When I was restoring the wheels,
I borrowed my neighbor's floor jack, but he was out of town the day I
removed the bumpers. I could have gotten the spare out without the
floor jack, but it sure made it a lot easier. Fortunately, the
bolts holding the trailer hitch on were not severely rusted, so they
came of fairly easy. To remove the bolts on the rear bumper, I used the same "lay on back and
push with foot" routine I used on the front bumper. Only
twisted off one bolt this time.
After I got the bumpers off (about
2 hours), I removed the headlight bezels. No problems
here. Only four screws in each bezel and they screwed out
easy. I originally planned to remove the grill also, but I
discovered that the hood latch was held in by the top of the
grill. If I removed the grill I wouldn't be able to latch the
hood. Because I had to drive 30 miles to deliver the truck
to Al, I decided it was best to leave the grill
on. I also didn't remove the fender eyebrows. These
are sort of chrome extension of the grill and the speed nuts that hold
them on are not accessible without removing the fender.
The emblems were the next to come
off. The G-M-C letters on the front of the hood are held on with
1/4" speed nuts that are easily accessible from the inside of the
hood. I did discover that one of the studs on the letter G was broken off, so that would have to be repaired.
Grande emblems at the back of the bed sides were a little more
difficult. The emblems have bolt-in studs like the hood emblems,
they are also stuck on with some kind of
adhesive tape. To get the studs out of the holes, you simple pry
them out from the outside.
You'd think after 30 years the adhesive would not
hold very well, but it was still very much stuck. I used a putty
knife to gently pry behind the emblem. I was very careful
to avoid breaking the emblem. Replacements are $50.00
EACH! Unfortunately, like the hood emblems, one of
the studs was broken off the passenger side emblem.
The emblems on the front fenders will have to wait until the fenders come
off because they are attached with speed nuts that are inaccessible
with the fenders installed.
After removing the emblems, I
removed the tailgate woodgrain trim panel, the upper tailgate trim,
the tailgate handle trim cover, and the tail light bezels. The
woodgrain trim panel is held
on with screws only so it was easily removed. The upper trim is
attached with compression retainers on studs, so it is simply pried
off with the help of a putty knife. I wasn't too careful
removing this trim because it was damaged beyond repair and would have
to be replaced. The tailgate handle trim is a stainless steel
piece that slides over the tailgate handle. I understand that
this is a rather rare item because it is not mechanically attached and
so was easily lost over the years. The tail light bezels are
held on with a combination of screws and clips, but are not hard to
remove. Both of these bezels would have to be replaced also.
I don't remember why now, but I
decided to leave the four side marker light lenses on until I took the
Maych to the body shop. Maybe I thought
I'd be driving it down in the dark.
The next exterior trim to remove
was the aluminum side molding. GM must have had a contest among
its engineers to see who could come up with the best method to attach
the side molding and then decided that all of the ideas were so good
they would use all of them. There are no less than 6 different
type of fasteners used to attach the side molding:
Of the 6 types, only the snap-in
type puzzled me. These snap-in clips are designed to be
permanent once they're "snapped-in" and I wasn't sure how
best to remove them without damaging the molding . I didn't want
to just start prying on them so I decided to ask my fellow truckers on
the The 1967-1972 Chevrolet & GMC Pickups Message Board. The "tip" I got from one of the members was to
"push down on the top of the trim while pulling out on the bottom".
Sounded wacky enough to work, so I gave it a shot.
My first attempt to use the
"push-pull" method was less than successful. I simply
could not push hard enough with my fingers to get the trim to
budge. I decided I needed a tool of some sort to help
push. Something that would exert pressure over a wide area of
the trim, but would not damage the trim or the sheet metal if it
slipped off while I was pushing. That meant it had to be softer
than the aluminum and have no sharp edges. It suddenly dawned on
me that I had the perfect material from which to fabricate such a
tool. In fact I had an abundant supply of this material -- pine
2x4's. I got a 6" length of scrape 2x4 from my wood
shop. I placed the 4" side of the 2x4 on the top of a
section of trim, pushed down with the palm of my hand and gently
pulled up on the bottom of the trim with the fingers of my other
hand. Worked like a charm!
I'll have to admit that several
(actually most) of the snap-in clips broke while removing the
trim. My "tipster" had warned me that would likely
happen, so I wasn't surprised, and I knew I would likely have to
replace all the clips anyway. But, I didn't damage any of the
trim using this method and that was my main objective. My plans
were to salvage and restore as much of the original trim as I could.
After much prying with a putty
knife (stick-on fasteners),
unscrewing (sheet metal screws), unbolting (bolt-on clips), and
pushing/pulling (snap-on clips) I had all of the side molding removed
from the bed and the doors. I decided to leave the side
molding on the front fenders for now. The fenders would be
removed in preparation for painting and it would be much easier to
remove the trim once the fender were
The last remaining exterior trim
piece was the chrome paint divider molding. This chrome molding separates
the two paint colors on the rear of the cab. It is attached with
yet a different kind of fastener. I don't have a clue what this
fastener is called. It's a plastic clip that fits in the molding
and is held to the cab by means of a stud attached to the cab.
This stud looks sort of like a small headed nail. Anyway, I
messed around with the molding and discovered it could be removed by
first sliding it toward the cab corner. This created enough
slack at the corner to slide the end of the piece that was closest to
the window off of the nail stud. With the end of the molding
free of nail stud, it was possible to slide the molding off the
remaining studs on the back of the cap. This has to be done for
the left and the right sides, as the molding is a two-piece unit with
a union piece in the middle.
So, I now had all the exterior trim
removed (at least all I was going to remove prior to going to the body
shop). A week or so later, me and Al removed the remaining trim
-- grill, fender eyebrows, fender side molding, fender emblems, and
side marker lights. Now I could spend the next few months
restoring the trim while Maych was getting a new set
of clothes. The next episode will detail the restoration
of the various emblems on Maych.