Hagerty Video: ‘68 Chevy Truck Parked 30 Years Ago in Barn: Will It Run?

Reading Time: 13 minutes
Posted: 2023-01-22 16:00:10
Author: Hagerty
This 1968 Chevy C20 pickup truck was parked OVER 30 YEARS AGO in a dusty horse barn. Can we revive this classic Chevrolet 307 V8 engine and get it to run for the first time in three decades? Armed with a new battery, new spark plugs, fresh fuel, and some basic hand tools, Hagerty mechanic Davin Reckow aims to find out!

#WillItRun #NeverStopDriving #RanWhenParked

0:00-0:48 – Intro, Chevy C20. Will It Run?
0:49-1:18 – Tire inflation
1:19-1:49 – What motor is this?
1:50-2:38 – What’s the plan?
2:39-3:37 – Spark plug removal
3:38-4:28 – Are these the right plugs?
4:29-5:09 – Checking oil
5:10-6:01 – It’s a 307 V8
6:02-7:12 – Penetrating oil in the cylinders
7:13-8:32 – Hooking up the battery
8:33-9:37 – Trying the starter
9:38-11:17 – Assessing the distributer
11:18-12:19 – Cleaning points
12:20-13:58 – Checking power and connections
13:59-19:50 – Carb assessment and cleaning
19:51-20:48 – New spark plugs
20:49-22:09 – Broken plug wire?
22:10-23:34 – Hooking up fuel
23:35-24:48 – First start
24:49-25:45 – Second attempt and some spilling fuel
25:46-26:55 – Third attempt and success
26:56-28:49 – But will it move?
28:50-30:49 – Wrap up

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Like what you see? Watch our other series including:
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Hagerty Video Transcript

– Hey, this is Davin with Hagerty in our “Will It Run” series. I’m in a cool setting here of a kind of a pole-barn horse area. And here’s our next project. So our first thing, obviously I need to be able to get to the front end of this, so we’re gonna hook onto it, put some air in the tires, and roll it back. And then we’ll get after seeing if we can make this run. Ooh, whew, too much Taco Bell going that way.

This has all been here for a long time. Whew. – You’re dragging the front right tire. – I guess the moment of truth. First, I don’t even know what’s in this for a motor. I have speculation being the 20 or a three-quarter ton that it’s either a small block or a big block,

But they did put some six cylinders in them. So let’s see. Let’s see what we got here. Ooh, a little, like, 283, 350? Whoa, (chuckles) that’s a good sign. She turns. It turns. So let’s pull the, I’ll pull the spark plugs out. May or may not put fresh plugs on it.

Plug wires don’t look, look pretty good. And we’ll squirt a little oil again so when we roll it over, it rolls over pretty free or freer. And then we’ll see if the starter will manage it on its own, and if not, we’ll have to find a starter for it.

But that’s a bridge to cross later. It’s a good thing I don’t have a barn this big, I’ll tell you what. Spark plug wrench out of here. We forgot to empty out our trash from the other day. I gotta bring a longer ratchet. Whew. A little oily,

But I think we’ll throw some fresh plugs at it. Well, we know what part touches first. That’s better. – How many threads are in that thing? – Whew. Well, I got like an eighth of a turn here, so. Why the hell does it have… It’s got a little bit of a mismatch of plugs, do you think? That’s interesting.

I happen to have grabbed a fresh set of plugs for this, and let’s see. Let’s see which one is which. Pretty sure I know which one’s right, but, I’m pretty sure this is the correct plug, a 43, R43. That would make this short reach and that long reach bad. Now what’s really interesting

Is obviously a longer-reach plug, that goes in a whole lot further and could really have a problem with hitting the piston. Luckily it doesn’t appear that that’s the case, but, boy, you’re really risking it in putting that long plug in there. All right, well,

I’m gonna pull this dip stick out of the way and check the oil at the same time. What the heck? Wow, that is pretty clean. And I don’t see any witness of any water either, so that’s good. I don’t have a clean spot to put it. – Now there’s evidence of water.

– Mm-hm. Plugs are out. Squirt a little oil in there. I’m definitely glad I pulled the plugs, not that it wasn’t running with these, but I don’t like the long-reach plug in that head. And a little investigation, this is most likely a 307 because it’s a two barrel.

350s didn’t really come out heavy until ’69, and being a ’68, so it’s just before the 350s. And then you have, it’s not a four barrel, which would’ve been most likely a 327. So, 307, three on the tree, three-quarter ton truck. Probably not a whizzbang on the freeway, just saying,

But obviously it can pull a load. And they said 307s were gutless. Oh yeah, nice. Spark plug hole by itself is kind of a pain, but, all right, we’ll just put that in there. We’ll count to five. One, two, three, four, five. That way we know we got plenty in there.

Okay, there we go. That’s good. Plenty, plenty, plenty. I’ll spin it by hand, but I’ll put the battery in and then see if the starter will kick over by the key. That’ll tell me where I’m headed next. All right. And by doing this, you’re also, of course, opening and closing the valves,

Which is another spot they could be sticking, other than just the rings in the cylinder walls. But we seem to be doing good here. Well, we wanna make sure that we get a good connection to our batteries, like any other time. So, let’s… We’ll just clean the gook off of these.

I hope we don’t have to do anything real fine ’cause I don’t think I brought my glasses today. Dang it. And this is your positive, not only because it runs down and to the starter, but you can see it also runs up to your main block. And this is a junction block for headlights and all that power. And this certainly runs dead to the alternator bracket for the ground.

Let’s set that up there for now. And let’s put our battery in there. Okay. Positive first. Then our negative. Something’s clicking. Something’s clicking inside. All right, let’s see if we get any start action. I’m not gonna be able to see anything with the dust, so we are… Ah, it’ll have to be a new… Ah, I’ll have to have the clutch in when I

I guess I could’ve got in from the other side. There’s key on. (click tongue) Sounds good from here. Is the fan turning? (laughs) – Yes, there’s dust. – It is. – All right. – It is dusty. Looking good? (engine whirring) Sounds pretty good. Okay, cool. I think when we go to fire this, we’ll have Anna turn it over. I’d like to have that shut.

– You haven’t actually introduced Anna yet. – Oh, she’s a ghost. – What’s the word, something that… – Ah, it’s good and clean. Actually, I’m just gonna lay it off to the side. That’s interesting it’s got this riser to it, huh. All right, so air cleaner up. I’ll slide it out of the way mainly so I can get back to the distributor.

I’m gonna pop the cap off, clean up the points, and then we’ll roll it over and check it for spark. That’ll tell us, well, what kind of condition the ignition is in. I can also verify the coil being good or bad just by checking that. But I think we’ll just turn it

Since this turns over on its own. I’ll just clean up the points right off the bat, and I’ll climb up in here, the beauty of these trucks. Let’s see. I’m gonna use this as a wedge and see. Right here looks good. Don’t wanna crush anything or slip and fall here.

Do enough of that on my own. Ah, who am I fooling? Yeah, that’s what I wanna do. There we go, look at that. This is why I’m not six-foot-two. Okay, let’s pop that off there. Tip this over. Ah, look at that. She looking good. Get this old cap out of the way, or the rotor out of the way. Well, buried underneath that. Yuck. Can I get to that? That’s connected to all the points. Well, I don’t wanna pull the points out if I don’t have to. Could pull the points, but, well, that works. I can’t quite… When I roll it, I’m not quite as far as I need to be.

Yeah, let’s pull it back with this. Yeah, we’ll run the sandpaper through ’em a couple times, and I think that’s good. Okay, so we had to move the condenser here to get access to the points, but got that covered. Let’s get this snapped back in there. With plenty of luck,

We won’t have any issues with that stuff ’cause if I don’t have to pull the points and reset ’em and all that jazz, even better. Yeah, that’s what I like seeing. Look at that. So we got power to the coil. Good there.

Oh yeah, we got power there ’cause I just got a sparky. Sparky, sparky. We got power to the ignition. Yes! Sweet. That makes life a whole lot easier. Okay, let’s get our cap back on. I’m sorry, let’s get our rotor back on. That’s not a cap, you dummy.

Okay, let’s put our cap back on. I’ll see if I can see inside on here a little bit. Ooh. It’s not the best, but I don’t see any cracks. You know what? – Hm, you’re here. – Yeah. Put that back on, get this locked in. – You’re definitely gonna get made fun of

For that screwdriver. – Yeah, as I should. That’s what we get when we rely on the kit. I’ll say my fault there. I’m like, “Eh, it’ll be all right,” And it probably is. It’s still working. Okay, I’m wondering if while I’m here, if I should pull the top of this out and just spray some carb cleaner in it. What do you think? If I can get it apart fairly easy. I’m gonna need the Phillips screwdriver, though.

And it can either be the actual screwdriver or the bit function. I like that better. This is the flame version. You don’t have to stand so close. Ooh, how about a… What am I saying? Half or 9/16 to go on that fuel line. And that’s the next question we’ll have to answer,

Is how we want to get fuel to it. Yeah, yeah, about 9/16. Keep going. At my house, we call this a Polish trailer. How long will you follow me around the yard? It will go on there. It’s just that had some vise-grip action at some point. Well. Oh, now I need a pair of vise, or a Channellock, crescent wrench, sorry. Ooh.

I’m not gonna do it that way. Well. I know that’s not lube, but it does the same thing for an instant. Nope. Wants to round it. – Hm, hence why vise-grip marks around there? – Yep, exactly. I don’t have any tube wrenches. That would be perfect. Well, I hate to say it,

But I’ll have to grab some vise-grips out of there for the same reason. Not the preferred method. This is not the preferred method, folks, but that’s what I have in the tool bag today. I might not be able to move. Yowza. It works every time. Now we’ll see.

This fender’s gonna have butt prints on it now. We’re here in the dirt. As much as I’d like to put it down in the fuel right in the tank, I think I’m gonna run a rubber line to it and use the factory pump. – Mm-hm.

– I bet the factory pump will be fine. I mean, if that one that sat for 50-something years is good, this one should be. This is a youngster. There. Now I can finish with this. And I just wanna pull this off and clean it if it needs to be clean.

It’d be great if this fired up right on the carburetor. Let’s get this out of the way. Let’s do this. If nothing else, the carb cleaner will at least loosen up anything laying there, which I suppose could be a bad thing. You know, I bet you this thing got 18 miles a gallon

With this two-barrel carburetor on it. – Easy. – I’m not really getting it where I want it to go, but it’s better if nothing else. Is it squirting in there? Both sides. Ideally, I would’ve pulled us completely off, cleaned out the bowl, but I don’t have a gasket with me. And on this one, I really don’t want any fuel to,

I’ll say spill out of it too bad. So I just sprayed some carb cleaner in there. It’ll kind of work itself a little bit. And the fact that the traffic pump still works, and it’s squirting in here, or accelerator pump, depending on who you talk to, but any rate, since that’s still squirting,

That means that at least that passage is clean. It doesn’t have anything to do with the idle circuit, but we’re going with it. And at that point, I’m gonna get out of here ’cause, well, my feet are numb. – Fresh butt print on the- – Yeah, fresh shiny spot on the fender well.

Where’d it go? Did it go there? Let me limp over here, as my feet are numb. They fell asleep. Let’s get this out of the way. We don’t want that dropping anywhere. Like, no blood flow for a while. – Let’s see you walk there, Davin. – I can’t. Ugh. This one here, little end came off. Oh, she broke. Here, let’s just take one of these out of here, put our cap in on. These are a little long, but that’s okay. That’s what we’re here for. Ooh. – It’s gonna mess up your timing. It’ll take longer for the electricity.

– It will, yeah. (person chuckles) Six will be a little, or I guess this is even set or odd side. So five will be a little slow because, well, it’s gotta travel that long instead of like this long. It’ll have that lope effect. Here we go. See that? Look at that. That’s great.

So what you wanna do is stick that in there like that, then in here like this. And then simply squeeze it, and done. Voila. Fresh three-foot long hard wire. All right, well I’m gonna roll in underneath the truck to, well, try to hook up some fuel line. We’re gonna use the factory pump.

If I can leave that about here… – You need a clipper? – Here, let me pull some of this out of the way. I wonder how much fuel will just leak ’cause you know that’s sitting higher. Gotta soften it up someway. It works every time. Look at that. It’s on all the way. Good deal. Okay, I’m going to just stick this

Into our gas can, but I will probably pre-charge it with the electric fuel pump that we have. Might as well. Like so. Fumes and sparks I have no issue with. I hear it going in the carburetor. I don’t see it boiling over. All right, we are ready, ready, electrically. We have ignition.

We should be all good there. I just hooked up the fuel pump going to a can, so I’m not dragging any fuel out of the tank ’cause it is green-smelling. It’s nasty. And with that, we got Anna in the seat. She is going to have the clutch in for us

And spin over the starter. And I am going to run the throttle and use a little bit of primer off a bottle to, well, make spark. Boom-bang. Okay. – Ready? – Yep. Give her a shot. (engine turns over) Heck yeah. I told you. Fired up immediately. Awesome. – Yeah, yeah! – Awesome. – And you stopped it purposefully? – Nope, it ran out of fuel somewhere along the lines. I never turned on the fuel pump. (laughs) The electric fuel pump, I’ve never turned on. – Give her another shot here? – Yeah, well, what we do is…

Yeah, actually Anna, go head, hop back in there. I’ll turn the pump on just in case that mechanical’s not doing what it needs to do. This can keep up with it. Boy, it was blowing some dust, eh? – Yeah. – All right, here, let me fill. I shouldn’t have to fill that at all. What am I thinking? All right. – Nothing’s burning, is it? – Nope, I don’t think so. – All right, again? – Just exhaust. – Ready? – Yep, go right ahead. The float’s not, Floats sticking. You wanna shut that off. – Yeah. – The needle, the float that stops the fuel from coming into the carburetor when it’s full- – Yeah. – It’s sticking. So- – Oh. – It was just pouring fuel off the top. Well, eh. (Anna laughs) Actually,

Okay, yeah, let’s fire it up again. Hit her. – Do it again? – Yep. – Oh! (laughs) Hey. – The mechanical pump decided to start working now. Sweet, but it runs. – All right. – We got it running. I mean, there’s no argument with her, so that’s good. – That’s the name of the video. – That’s the name of it, name of the game right there. – Ah! – Carburetor needs rebuilt.

That’s not surprising after so many years sitting here. – What is a carburetor? – This piece here. – Okay. – This is your carburetor. So your fuel pump brings fuel to the carburetor, and then the carburetor does all the metering of the fuel relative to throttle opening and air and all that jazz,

Basically what makes it go down the road at the end of the day. But yeah, it runs. – Very cool. – I can’t believe it fired on- – And it sounded good. – The third crank. – Sounding strong. – Heck yeah. It’s ready to haul this camper again, right? – Absolutely. – Sweet.

(Anna sighs) – This is the bonus. – Yep, here’s the bonus, bonus footage. We’re gonna see, this is a three on the tree, so it’s a manual transmission. And the clutch seems to be fine. I’m going to start it back up. We only have, Because of the fuel bowl, the needle is sticking.

And so what I’m gonna do is I’m just gonna fill up the bowl with the squirt bottle here. It’ll take a little bit, but it’ll fill up. And then what I’ll do is I’ll put it in gear and see if I can get it to roll forward or backwards here. Second. First.

Don’t remember how to get these in reverse, but that should be first. We’re either gonna go forward, or we’re gonna go back, hm, one of the two. All right, here we go. Let’s try this. Let’s see if it’ll move. – Whoa. – Good? Ugh, come on. – Did it backfire? – Yeah, it- – Backfired? – Backfired, yep. – Whoa. – I knew we’d get one. I wasn’t there this time. – Uh-uh. (engine sputters and stops) Oh, I probably gotta put more fuel in it. – All right, one more try? – Yep.

– Go for it. – It’s trying to. It just does not like that, It doesn’t like that wheel that’s locked up. – But it moved. – It moves. It’ll move. It’ll move. Okay, Anna, we got it to fire up. It runs. – Great. – It needs a little work on the carburetor, and it roll,

It will move. That tire’s locked up. But really, in the meantime, you were telling me a little story about taking this. Okay, so you guys bought, your dad bought this as the package we see today? – Yep, for $600 in the early ’70s. – Right. And so the camper’s never been off

As far as you have ever seen. But I gotta see the image you painted of, and I’ll let you go, the story of driving this. – The Cedar Point trip. – Yep. – Five of us teenagers drove down to Cedar Point, and we spent the night in the camper.

And of course, the shift stuck every once in a while, so we had one trucker that had to help us move on and continue on, but it was a lot of fun. – I can only imagine five teenagers in the ’70s, I’m guessing, right? – Yes.

– In a camper going down a road (laughs). – In a state that might have had a drinking age- – A lower drinking age. – Less than this one. – Yes, that’s awesome. That’s fun. – Lots of fun. – Fun times. Fun time. And I love that, I have to point this out,

That this purposely matches the truck. – It does. (laughs) – So dragging this truck, dragging two horses- – Yep. – To horse shows, that’s cool. – Yep, lots of fun memories. – That’s really awesome. – And thanks for bringing it back to life. – My pleasure, my pleasure.

So, hey, that’s another, “Will It Run,” and yes it does. So, check. Now you know the drill. In all my videos at the end of it, there’s projects laying around like this. You may drive past one. You may have one. If you don’t have one, find a classified ad and find one,

But see if it will run by getting out in the shop and going and get your work done. See ya. That’s pretty cool. – Yeah. Yay! – I love it.