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Old 10-23-2017, 01:10 AM   #1
izzy_Britton
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Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

In typical Izzy style, I bought another one! Another 99-07 GM truck of some sort that is. As the title of this thread indicates, I purchased a 2003 Avalanche for my 18 year old son. This truck met all the criteria to my son; It is a truck (sort of) and the main part is, it is RED, his favorite color. This truck also met my basic criteria (sort of), it was CHEAP but only because it was wrecked.



At a glance it was not hit too hard, but the insurance company called it a total loss. Why? Who knows? Doesnt look bad at all, does it?

$500 took it home, but the PO wanted his tires back. just the tires becasue he apparently just bought them and thought that he would be able to return them. yeah right, good luck with that.

Last edited by izzy_Britton; 10-23-2017 at 01:45 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:44 AM   #2
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

So once I got the machine towed home, i finally got a chance to a assess the damage.








I was able to start taking the damaged parts off of the truck and suddenly:



There was not a whole lot left of the front end of the truck. The list of parts necessary to put it all back together was starting to get longer and longer than the list i thought i had compiled in my head.

Radiator support
Radiator
AC condensor
Right fender
Hood
Wiper Cowl vent cover
Right fender splash liner
Air cleaner box
Air intake tube
Grille mounting panel (behind grill and headlights)
Grille
Both Headlights
Both turn signal/marker lights
Left Fog/Driving light
Front Bumper cover
Bumper reinforcement bar (behind bumper cover)
Radiator overflow bottle
Right side door mirror
Dash Top (The hard plastic cover that IS the top of the dash board)
Anteanna
Transmission cooler (the one in front of the radiator)
Transmission cooler lines (the hard lines from the transmission to the radiator and cooler)
The master driver side door switch (windows and locks, he/she smashed it during wreck, which also broke the...)
Driver side interior door panel
Power steering cooler (got a little twisted up but is otherwise intact)
Misc cut/sliced/pinched wires for the front lamps
Upper fan shroud
Tires (the wheels and tires in the photo are a spare set i purchased for my wifes truck - still under construction)

So far this is the list of parts that I will need. I am sure that there will be other parts that i find as i go about rebuilding this thing. There is also a growing list of parts that just need to be replaced due to the age and maintenance of the truck. some of those items are:

Back window (the encapsulated seal is broken causing a leak)

AC compressor - the belt was not installed leading me to believe there is an issue, the thing is rusted but spins, and i wont know if it will need to be replaced until i get everything else put back together and the AC system recharged, so why not just replace it now?

Driver Seat - the truck has grey leather interior with a funky diamond plate pattern wear patch in the seats. The driver seat is worn as they all seem to do, but locating a good non-worn matching seat will be next to impossible, so I brought home a complete set of 80% cloth seats with matching wear patches. The only problem is that i bought the seats from a crew cab truck. The difference at a glance is that the seats LOOK the same shape and configuration but that the mounting hardware is all different. The added conundrum of the rear seats folding all the way flush to the floor is that the avalanche seats have a hard plastic seat back where as the truck seats only have cloth. I think i can get all the hardware to change over but i simply haven't looked at them close enough to know for sure.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:42 PM   #3
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

Because the PO had financed the truck thru his bank and still owed some $$ on it, he didn't actually have the title in hand. SO while waiting for the title to show up I was reluctant to buy parts or invest any money in the truck. I ordered the two parts I knew I couldn't live without if I expected to move forward on this build. I bought a new aftermarket hood and fender. The fender was one of only two that were available on the west coast. The first fender I ordered arrived a week late and was damaged, so i returned it and ordered the other one. The second fender was somehow lost in shipping and arrived 2 weeks later than the expected date of delivery, thankfully it was not damaged. The hood was good to go.

The weekend following the arrival of the title, I sprayed the undersides and insides of both the hood and fender in preparation for installation. The underside of the hood and the inside of the fender are the only parts that need to be painted before installation since the insides are clearly visible when the hood is open. Everything else is black or is only painted on the exterior. Because I work many hours I am really able to work on the truck from friday evening around 7pm thru sunday about 5pm, it is difficult to get a lot done in any sort of a hurry. Saturday I prepped the hood and fender to paint the jambs and sunday morning I sprayed them.




The paint is Axalta Metalux base/clear. While painting the red base I thought everything was looking good, it was not until I sprayed the clear that every single bug in the whole damn county decided to descend upon my little shop and attempt to get stuck in the clear coat. Between coats while the clear was tacky and not oozing wet, I was able to pick 98% of the bugs out with the edge of a razor blade. After the third and final coat there were only a few small bugs and a little bit of dirt that I was not able to get out. The good thing is that most of the bugs landed in the center of the hood, which will be covered up by the under hood liner, no one should see them unless they go looking. The kid is 18 years old and if he complains that his free to him truck is less than perfect then I may just decide to keep it
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:08 AM   #4
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

Two weekends ago I went to install the hood and fender and couldnt for the life of me figure out why the fender didnt fit the radiator support. Turns out that the radiator support that I was using, new on the shelf, was for another project, a 2500HD. As it turned out I actually had another radiator support that was only slightly being used. The other radiator support that I had was a bolted to the frame horns of the WHO DCTR truck I have been slowly building for my wife.

With the correct radiator support in place the fender and hood were able to be bolted on, however there was still a problem with fitment. The right front body mount on the frame was bent rearward preventing the radiator support from bolting up properly. I made a little tool to bend the mount forward, it is a piece of 3 inch wide 3/8 inch thick 2 feet long flat bar stock with some sections of chain welded to it for misc attachment points so that I could pull from different angles to keep the mount straight. It is almost exactly the right width to weld it centered on the body mount with a foot and a half hanging off the end of the mount to use as leverage. I used some old tow chain for the attachment points and some more tow chain with a hook to connect between my trucks trailer hitch and this mad max weapon looking thing.



Crappy pic, but it is the only one that I took of the tool or the operation of bending the mount. I was able to use my daily driver, a 2001 1500 4x4 in 4 HI at an idle to just slowly move the body mount back to where it needed to go. I put the truck in drive and took up the slack and then got out of the truck, using my body to just bounce my butt against the bumper like i was nudging my truck forward, the body mount moved slowly. the funny thing is, when the mount was at where I was thinking was straight inline with the left side mount, my tack welds broke and the tool came free of the body mount leaving me chasing after my truck while it drove across the parking lot without me. Lucky for me 4HI is very high geared and i was able to catch it after only a few parking spaces. Was a comic act to say the least.

After grinding what was left of my tack welds clean i used some 3M spray on rubberized undercoating over the paint free frame for an almost OEM look.

I was then able to mount the fender and hood again. I did learn my lesson using an aftermarket fender tho, this thing fits like pure $#!T. I had to grind out bolt holes in the fender as well as in the body and i had to beat on the body mounts with a mini sledge hammer to get it to fit ALMOST properly. the fender to door gap looks like crap in my opinion but my wife said leave it, its a salvage title truck going to an 18 year old, He wont notice.

The hood gap left a little to be desired but after it is painted and I can begin to install the grill, head lamps and marker lamps there is still room for adjustment, unlike the fender, the hood hinge bolts allow for some movement and tweaking.

However, while mounting the fender, and swinging said mini sledge I missed my 2x4 nudge stick and nailed the right front door 4 inches aft of the upper door hinge leaving a good sized dent.

Bondo, primer and block sanding made it look pretty okay. I am not a body and paint guy but I was pleased with the outcome.



enough for now. more to come later
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Old 10-24-2017, 11:55 PM   #5
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

Because this is going to my 18 year old who has never before had a drivers license I did not see a whole lot of sense in making the body perfect. The truck was hit in the right front and there are multiple shopping kart dings here and there. I chose to do what I call a collision repair, not a restoration. Having replaced the panels that needed it and then fixing my miss laid sledge hammer blow, I really didnt want to paint any more than was necessary. RED is expensive. I knew that replacing the fender meant that a blend of the passenger front door was necessary, so I planned on that. I also planned on blending the driver fender, but I had no intention of painting, blending, or clearing the driver front door. I figured if the paint was not an exact match, the only place it would show would be at the top of the driver fender where it meets the door. Again, an 18 year olds truck, there WILL be flaws. However as my luck would have it, while prepping the driver side fender i burned thru the paint, primer/e-coat, right down to the bare metal. Now i had to prime and fix the edge of the fender to cover the bare metal and as Murphy seems to have had a hand in my prep work, in the process of fixing the fender i also burned thru the paint, primer/e-coat of the drivers door meaning that NOW I get to paint and blend the drivers door to match, resulting in both fenders, both doors and the hood being painted to match.

After squirting a little more red than I would have thought was necessary and a lot more clear than I would have ever imagined was necessary, the poor truck is at the very least all the same color (kinda).





As mentioned, Murphy had a hand in the prep and paint work of this truck over this past weekend. I primed the truck and blocked it all out, everything looked good. I masked it all off and wax and grease remover'd it, and everything looked good. I mixed up my Red base dumped it in my brand spanking new gun and it just as quickly ran on to the ground, one of the seals in the needle failed and cause a huge leak. After cleaning up my mess and cleaning up a new disposable harbor freight gun, I sprayed the first coat of red and noticed right away that there was a good sized noticeable dent in the top of the driver side fender that either was new or that i have completely overlooked since I didn't block out that fender (scuff and shoot after fixing small bare metal spot) . Oh well too late now, red went all over the place including the dent. Everything looked pretty good. I started mixing up my clear and noticed right away that I had considerably less Clear Activator than I should have had. Upon investigation I realized that I had accidentally used the clear activator in place of the primer hardener. WOOPS! Well the primer hardened and I was able to block sand it ok, and then there was no adverse reaction when I sprayed the Red base coat down so I have my fingers crossed that one day the boy isn't driving along and a gust of wind just blow all my fresh paint completely off of the truck. Pretty sure that wont happen, but Murphy is involved.

While spraying clear, I had a compete duplication of the weekend when i painted the insides of the fender and hood. Once again every bug in the county had a suicide mission to get stuck in my clear. Between each coat I had to dig the bugs out with a razor blade and then douche the void created by said digging with more clear. Since I only have a small shop and do not have a paint booth, i was also plagued with an excess of dirt in the clear. This week will be spend nibbing and sanding bugs and dirt that i couldnt remove with a razor blade on paint day and saturday or sunday if the weather holds i will spend the day buffing the entire truck, and starting reassembly shortly after that.

more to come next week, unless Murphy rears his evil head and I have a major malfunction that is worthy of photographing and commenting upon. with 3 fairly heavy coats of clear I do not expect that wet sanding this whore will be much of a problem.
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Old 11-03-2017, 01:35 AM   #6
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

I CHEATED!

I work the most crap-tastic schedule of anyone I know. I work some days 2am to 7pm, other days 4am to 6pm and some days 6am to 7/8/9pm. Working this schedule has made getting to the shop to work on any of my trucks very difficult. So I cheated and 'hired' an old high school buddy of mine to polish up my dirt and bug infested paint job. He cut and buffed the fenders two front doors and the hood for me. He did a fantastic job and didn't charge me much considering the amount of time he has invested.

One other problem that I had on paint day was that my water separator and desiccant dryer failed due to the enormous amount of water my compressor decided to vomit all over the place. As a result there are numerous fish-eyes in the clear that DO show up quite clearly while inside the shop under florescent lamps. however under the sunshine outside the fish-eyes, bug divots, and dirt spots are nearly invisible. Overall i am quite pleased. This is after all the first time I have painted the outside of ANY vehicle using a base/clear system in almost 20 years. I will do better next time.

I will probably spend this weekend giving the back half of the truck a light polish, the front is extremely shiny while the rear is a bit faded and dull. I will try to get more pics this weekend as well.
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Old 11-03-2017, 11:22 PM   #7
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

Because I work for a living and therefore I am poor, I will only be able to order a few parts each payday. while I wait for payday to arrive, I havent much to do to the truck. I put the insides of the doors back together, I need only to finish polishing the outside of the truck to install the cladding to the bottoms of the front doors and the bottom rear portions of the front fenders and then I can start installing all the parts I still need to buy as they arrive.

While not working on the truck I have been coming home after work and tonight I spent a few minutes stealing someone elses work for a new Z71 avalanche sticker for the rear quarter panels.

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Old 11-05-2017, 12:51 AM   #8
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

Looks like it came a long way....but I couldn't find any explanation (unless I'm a bit too buzzed) of what "delongdium" is?
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Old 11-05-2017, 03:25 AM   #9
izzy_Britton
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Re: Project: Delongdium - The Plastic Clad 03 Avalanch

Delongdium is the screen name my son uses for everything from email to xbox. I don't recall the exact story of where he came up with the name but he is quite proud of it. As mentioned, he turned 18 this year and has never had a license. He never did get his license because he didn't have anything to drive. He is a senior in high school and NOW that he is 18, he has signed up for the ARMY. A couple of weeks after he graduates in June he will be whisked away to basic training.

Since the boy does not know that this truck is being 'built' for him, we are planning to give it to him for christmas. When the truck is done it will be given to him immediately after, just because he will have a short amount of time to enjoy it before he goes to basic. Because there are still a tone of parts to buy and install, it will be cutting it close to finish it by christmas. Then when he graduates basic training we will be driving the truck to his graduation so he has wheels.
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