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Old 12-13-2015, 03:36 PM   #1
mingoman
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97 3500 454 4x4 project

I just picked up this 97 gmc 3500 454 4x4 yesterday. It's dirty, the bed is trash, but everything works except the air as far as I can tell and it's rust free. The front end will need a complete rebuild I'm certain. I'm planning on making this my daily driver, I live 3 miles from work thankfully, and use it when I go up to the farm. My ideas now are to go through it over the winter so I can depend on it. It's a dually now, but I want to change over to a fleetside bed when I'm finished. I only gave 1200 for it so as of now I'm happy with it. Anyone with ideas feel free to throw em at me. this will be a work truck, but I plan on it being a nice one.
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Old 12-13-2015, 03:40 PM   #2
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

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Old 12-13-2015, 03:42 PM   #3
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

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Old 12-13-2015, 03:45 PM   #4
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

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Old 12-13-2015, 03:48 PM   #5
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

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Old 12-13-2015, 03:51 PM   #6
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Last one till after Christmas and I start working on it.
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:02 PM   #7
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Looks like a good starting point! I love the srw crew cabs the best!
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Old 12-26-2015, 02:58 PM   #8
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Quick update. Started tearing down the front-end today and the pitman, idler arm, ball joints, and bushings are shot. The tie rods look ok, but there may be so much slop in the rest of the components it's hard to tell. Going to go back with moon everything.
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Pictures can't do justice to how bad this ball joint was shot.
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:08 PM   #10
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

This is the first time I've ran into forged lower control arms and solid rubber bushings.
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:13 PM   #11
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

My ball joint kit wasn't big enough to install the longer bushing so I had to use all thread to pull the bushings in. It worked. Hopefully I'll get the front end back together in the next few weeks then move to the interior.
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Old 02-15-2016, 02:53 PM   #12
83GMCK2500
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Good looking project. I drive a 3500 w/454 for a daily as well, but 80+ miles a day. While you've got the front end torn apart, I would recommend a brake upgrade, it takes some parts scrounging, but it's sooooo worth it. My 7,400# truck stops WAY better. I've got it in my thread if you're curious, see signature.

When I did bushings & ball joints I had to get creative with the bench vise and the press to get everything seated/installed properly. The struggle is real when you work on fullsize stuff.
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1983 GMC High Sierra 2500, 4x4, RC/LB, 400 S.B., SM-465, NP-208, Corporate 10 bolt & 9.5" 14 bolt
1996 GMC Sierra SLE 3500 DRW, 4x4, EC/LB, Vortec 454, NV-4500, BW-4401, AAM 925 & AAM 1050

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Old 02-15-2016, 05:05 PM   #13
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

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Originally Posted by 83GMCK2500 View Post
Good looking project. I drive a 3500 w/454 for a daily as well, but 80+ miles a day. While you've got the front end torn apart, I would recommend a brake upgrade, it takes some parts scrounging, but it's sooooo worth it. My 7,400# truck stops WAY better. I've got it in my thread if you're curious, see signature.

When I did bushings & ball joints I had to get creative with the bench vise and the press to get everything seated/installed properly. The struggle is real when you work on fullsize stuff.
Just read your thread and loved what you did with your truck, though I hate it got wrecked. You almost make me want to keep this a dually. I like the standard trans too. My work truck now is a 93 k2500 454 with a manual trans. We'll see how I do with the auto lol.
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Old 04-01-2016, 09:52 AM   #14
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Here's before pic. I ended up changing everything except the drive axles and hub bearings though I gave the later a good shot of grease. Went with new rotors as well since the old ones are shot too.
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Old 04-02-2016, 01:12 PM   #15
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Here's a pic with it together again. Took about two seconds to find my oil leak, I need new oil cooler lines, and I drained the front gear box today, going with synthetic.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:23 AM   #16
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

looking good, i just replaced the front balljoints, tierods, wheel bearings, and suspension bushings in the front of my k3500... i feel your pain lol
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:01 PM   #17
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Got the oil cooler lines changed out, oil changed, and stated on the doors. None of them opened from the inside and one wouldn't open at all. Got them all open and started cleaning year's of dirt off the panels. I picked up a bed that's behind them and a set of rims. I plan on getting those powder coated semi gloss black.
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:03 PM   #18
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Here's an after shot of one I used a ton of soap water and elbow grease.
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:52 PM   #19
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

I'm on nights, but woke up and wanted to make sure of the lights I needed to change this over to led. I brought parts in to clean up in the house. Looked to have years of maybe tobacco spit covering everything.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:41 PM   #20
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

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Here's an after shot of one I used a ton of soap water and elbow grease.
well done amazing what hard work can do..
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Old 04-13-2016, 03:06 PM   #21
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Looking good, slowly getting it cleaned up and presentable.

I've gone so far as to strip everything seat/fixture/trim necessary to get the carpet out of a 1999 Suburban to hang up and pressure wash. Pressure washing worked great on the carpet too.
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1983 GMC High Sierra 2500, 4x4, RC/LB, 400 S.B., SM-465, NP-208, Corporate 10 bolt & 9.5" 14 bolt
1996 GMC Sierra SLE 3500 DRW, 4x4, EC/LB, Vortec 454, NV-4500, BW-4401, AAM 925 & AAM 1050

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Old 04-24-2016, 12:02 PM   #22
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Still doing tons of cleaning. Found my dash had a crack under the grime so I went on a hunt for a replacement. Finally found one not cracked and my color though I'll most likely have to dye everything to match anyway.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:11 PM   #23
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Got the seats out and the old underwear that was stuffed behind them out as well today. Pulled it out for the first time since I brought it home too. The air should help!
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:14 PM   #24
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Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

Classic country is awesome! Classic speakers suck! The Hag will never sing me back home through this, they'll have to be upgraded.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:17 PM   #25
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Talking Re: 97 3500 454 4x4 project

The price tag on this baby just keeps going down!
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