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izzy_Britton 09-21-2019 11:55 PM

Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100.00 Hoe

Named Charlotte in honor of the 17 Black Widows I killed changing out the rear brakes.

Alrighty then! I am long winded so bear with me while I lay out the plan and try to keep with the plan.

The Story:

I was working on the 2004 Tahoe I am rebuilding for my parents at my little workshop one day (build thread coming for this in the next couple weeks) with some of my many projects in the parking lot and on the street. A random dude stopped by my shop with a story of his own. Apparently he is moving to Missouri, his wife and son have already left and he just need a little money to help with his trip. He thought that I must be a car lot with all the cars I had in the parking lot that day and wondered if I would be interested in buying his Tahoe. I said 'maybe' bring it by and I will take a look, I don't really need another car but if the price is right I might be interested. About an hour later he showed up driving a 2000 Tahoe. He told me that the truck needed rear brake pads and he thought maybe a rotor because it was making a grinding noise. We haggled and struck a deal for $100. Cash in hand, off he went.

I got the truck a couple weeks ago. I work a funny shift, long hours, and sometimes out of town so progress has been slow. Because my job is dictated by the weather I work as much as I can when the sun shines and will end up working only a few days a week come rain season, which is rapidly approaching.

I did not get any photos of the truck when I got it. but I have some photos of it as I have been working on it when I can remember to get photos.

I am building this truck for a couple of old friend who are in need, and I am building it to the specs of what I think they would find most useful and a little extra for fun. You see, they have a small SUV, a kia sportage or some such crap, and they have 4 kids, oldest just turned 16. They live at higher elevations in snow country a little ways from town. Dad is the high school football coach and the 2 oldest play football for the same high school. to get all the kids to school and both adults to work they have to make 2 trips to town each day, and then reverse the process in the afternoons. total PITA from what I would understand. so this will be a purpose built truck.

Build Plan will follow on the next post. gonna break it up a little as I go.

izzy_Britton 09-21-2019 11:56 PM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
The Plan:

I am planning to keep track of every penny I spend on this build (hence the 'Chronicle' moniker) and I would really like to get it done and delivered around Christmas time.

Remove entire interior (sunroof left open thru winter, everything ruined and gross)
Replace sunroof assembly
Replace front seats
Add center console from 2003+ (maybe, need to figure out accessory options for kids in the back)
Replace rear 60/40 bench seat with dual buckets
Add 3rd row seats (missing when bought truck)
Replace all seatbelts
Replace carpet
Replace headliner
Replace front door panels
Replace dash 'pad' (all mount tabs broken)
Replace main dash metal and plastic frame work with 20003+ (broken/butchered when bought truck)
Install speakers in all 4 doors, 2003+ A Pillar speakers and rear D pillar speakers
Install 6. something or 7 inch touch stereo unit with backup camera
Install small amp under center console if I install center console

I want to change out all the interior lights for LED's, I want to add a tailgate/decklid light to shine on the ground when the decklid is open.

Shift lever is sloppy and the TOW/HAUL button and light work intermittently.


3 inch knuckle/spindle lift
3 inch rear coil lift with 2 inch-ish blocks
3/4 ton Torsion Bars
Some kind of 1-2 inch front diff drop to correct the Axle Angles
I would like to install 35 inch tire but I do not know if 3 inches of lift will be enough.
Rear calipers, pads, shoes, rotors, and rubber lines
Rear Axle mounted hard lines
Front calipers pads, rotors, and rubber lines
Upper control arms
Lower control arms
Inner and Outer tie rod ends (both sides)
Shocks all the way around
2007+ front brake upgrade


The body is in okay shape, small dings here and there, a dent in the quarter and one in the roof, nothing major body work wise. It was originally black, some previous owner painted in maroon, it looks to be a factory or close to factory color. The paint job was done about 85% correct as they removed everything to paint it, doors decklid, door panels, and all trim, I didn't even know it was black until i took a door panel off and found the 15% they didn't paint. The paint they used was either poor quality or they didn't get it on thick enough, the clear is peeling everywhere on the outside.

Strip much and repaint current color.
Replace front door pins and bushings (left front door is loose)
Remove badges
Remove door trims
Remove rooftop bumpers (on top of each roof rib is a stick on door bumper like old people put on car doors)
Replace Grill (current one busted)
Replace front bumper (current one has large dent)
Replace all exterior lights

Install large-ish rooftop basket style rack (to hual football gear)
Install Off-Road lights in rack for better visibility in winter months
Install large light bar between windshield and sunroof cavity
Install underbody Off-Road lights (like rock lights)
Install auxiliary Reverse lights under rear bumper
Install Off-Road style lights in place of factory fog lamps

Install Running boards
Install some sort of tuck-away rear bumper step to reach rooftop basket and football gear (these are short people, she is 5'2" he is 5'6" and they have 4 miniature humans)


I will not need to buy much of the parts to complete the planned build. I have a boat load of these trucks in various shapes and forms, as well as parts galore! I have a 1100 square foot shop full of parts for these trucks, some used parts, some newish parts and some parts that have never been out of the package. A lot of this build will be a veritable Franken-hoe as many of the parts will be from my stash and many will be parts I am planning to replace on some of my other projects. I will need to buy the 3rd row seats, Stereo Unit, Off-Road lights, LED interior light bulbs, Sunroof assembly, roof rack, Brakes, Paint (red only, I have clear and other supplies), and a handful of misc bits and bobs.

Next post will be progress updates.

izzy_Britton 09-21-2019 11:56 PM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
Okay, first thing I did was pull this truck into my shop and park it while I went out of town for a few days. I returned home to find that my shop was now infested with Black Widows. When I say infested, you gotta understand that I absolutely hate spiders of any kind, 3 is an infestation in my opinion. So I ran around the shop in search of Black Widows and managed to kill 4 that were hiding in various places that I do not frequent. With these nasties killed (by MAP Gas Torch) I set upon getting the rear end up and tires off to investigate just how bad the rear brakes really were. Well needless to say that the nasties I torched were but a drop in a bucket. I found a couple more when I removed the wheels. Disgusted by the spiders (i torched these as well) I took notes; needs pads and rotors alright, as well as parking shoes, rubber lines, calipers, and one of the rear hard lines on the axle had been cut out and replaced with a section of rubber fuel line. I called the local parts store, ordered parts, they wouldn't be here for a few days, so, I set off enough bug bombs to kill every bug in a 10,000 square foot warehouse, in my wee little 1,100 square foot shop. I was gonna kill 'em dead and make sure they were really DEAD!

Few days later I replaced all the parts listed above and set her on some other wheels I had laying around with better tires. I did this for two reasons, first the tires that came on the truck were showing steel cord on the fronts because the front suspension is just wore out, and second because I was planning to do a 2007+ brake upgrade in the front and the 16 inch wheels will not fit, the wheels I had laying around are 18's.

I still have no pictures to this point.

izzy_Britton 09-21-2019 11:58 PM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
Last weekend I got busy with the interior. I started with the headliner because it needs to come out and go in the trash because of the mold, but mostly because I need to install the sunroof assembly. Of coarse i was not able to install the sunroof because the sunroof i pulled out was installed using bits of plywood and drywall screws. I did not have time to hunt down the proper hardware to install the new assembly before the weekend ended.

With the headliner out of the way I got started on the dash. The truck has a power drain somewhere, the battery will go completely dead after 3 days of not driving it. I noticed that there was an aftermarket stereo installed in the dash but that it did not work. Also there are amp power wires loose under the back seat and wires in the door jambs that just scream TWEAKER! I set upon the wires that were obvious and didn't belong and just started cutting them out wherever I found them. Then I pulled the radio out of the dash hole and found a rats nest of wires that were twisted and duct taped in lieu of solder or crimp joints. Since the dash pad has to come off anyways I yanked it off and found more rats nest and wires going everywhere.

Upon further investigation of the multitude of wire rats nests and stereo junk I found out that the tweak had broken the factory stereo pod mount in the plastic dash framework. He also broke the large plastic dash reinforcement that holds everything together. He also broke the metal framing on the bottom edge of the plastic dash reinforcement. He also tried to fix all the broken bits with duct tape and drywall screws, epic FAIL.

At every turn trying to undo the most fantastic custom stereo install I have ever been witness to in person, I found more broken parts and more of a mess. When I finished pulling out broken plastic and bits of wires going seemingly nowhere, this is what I ended up with:

izzy_Britton 09-21-2019 11:59 PM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
It is a high mileage truck, 240k or so on it. Believe it or not, it runs and drives pretty good considering the front end is wore out. Good power, shifts good, t-case seems to work well also.

The vast majorities of the issues are the dash wiring and the fact that the sun roof was left open all winter and caused mold issues.

The body is mostly straight and it doesn't have the tell-tale gm lifter tick. So either the engine was replaced at some point or it was well maintained by one of the previous owners.

There is an oil leak that I believe is the rear main seal. It leaks considerably less today than a week ago and less a week ago than the day I bought it. Might get lucky and the seal just dried up a bit from sitting for almost a year. MIGHT.

I think again that the majority of the current issues are because the 'wife' just drove it until she moved, doing as most of our wives do and not mentioning the deficiencies until it was too late or not at all. I think the radio was the result of a previous previous owner who was either a tweak or a kid with no proper knowledge of how to install a stereo. I was there once, it's not a far stretch.

izzy_Britton 09-22-2019 12:01 AM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
The interior is molded and gross, because of the sunroof issue.

And the fact that the interior is absolutely disgusting doesnt help

Palf70Step 09-22-2019 07:49 AM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
Never understood peoples fascination with sun/moon roofs. Everyone I have ever know ends up with leaks and issues like yours. Seems like a good ride to work with though.

OldCreek 10-13-2019 12:30 AM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
What? No pictures of your $100 hoe?

kev2809 12-29-2019 03:00 PM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe
ya wheres the pics? hell of a deal no matter the condition if its running and driving.

good thing your doing there tho...interested in the outcome!

hatzie 02-17-2020 11:31 AM

Re: Charlotte: Chronicles of a $100 Hoe

Originally Posted by Palf70Step (Post 8597107)
Never understood peoples fascination with sun/moon roofs. Everyone I have ever know ends up with leaks and issues like yours. Seems like a good ride to work with though.

That's the factory unit. They tend to leak like a sieve if you don't keep the drains clear of crud.

I had two rigs with aftermarket popup sunroofs in the 80's... a 1984 Subaru Brat and a 1983 VW Rabbit GTI. Neither of them ever leaked. Just don't open them in the winter and use talc on the gasket in the summer.
I miss the Brat. It was an underpowered 1.8L gear drive OHV boxer with a 4speed stick and dual range 4wd but she went everywhere I asked her to (including places I never should've driven her), started every time I whacked the key, and ran over 340,000 miles when she wasn't much more than fine brown powder. Like ZZ Top says... When the rust sets in, she'll be good as gone.

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