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Old 02-17-2018, 07:28 PM   #1
dusterbd13
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: albemarle, nc
Posts: 20
project drivabeater: GMT400

this is a little odd way of doing things, but I want to add this forum to my build/adventure threads. I truly appreciate getting feedback from completely different segments of the hobby, and like to learn from new people. additionally, since I'm going for something different than my normal autocross/race car on the street style, I figure its time to branch back out on my forums.

this started as a fly and drive/adventure thread over on Grassrootsmotorsports.com (also where I bought the truck), that has evolved into the build thread as well. I'm going to link to the thread over there, but today is the first full 24 hours that I have owned the truck. so if you want to read the adventure/precursor stuff, click the link. if not, just go through below.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/fo.../136993/page1/


Alright. I've slept, eaten, and spent a bit of time with the truck.




Budget first:

previously was 35.99

add in 48.99 fpr the starter I ordered.




Now: 84.98




We already discussed the starter. Mailman will have it here at some point. After its failure this morning, its continued to work without hammer beating it. I also started on the general cleaning this morning. Superclean and a garden hose. This truck is NASTY. But, we can make it better. In the process of cleaning and diagnosing the no start, I cleaned and tightened the battery terminals. Now that gauge reads a solid 14 volts, unlike the 10-12 I saw the whole trip home. I also found the batter hold down and bolt, laying in the tray. Battery wasn't actually fastened. But battery is a duralast gold with 10/16 manufacture date, so good and recent. This led me to hunt and see what all new parts this thing has received recently. (new is determined by eyeball, not by receipts or records.)

the list so far:

drivers door and cabcorner

bed

flip kit

c-notch kit

front and rear shocks

front spindles and springs

both front calipers and pads

both front outer tie rods

plugs and wires

oil and filter

radiator

emergency brake cables

battery

ac compressor, dryer, and switches. Possibly condenser, but not certain

front bumper

master cylinder and booster

stereo (me)




pictures:

20180217_091913 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_091924 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_091853 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_091831 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_091836 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_122238 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_121550 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_121153 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180216_172304 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr




I dind't find rear shock re-locators, so that will need to be fabricated. I also confirmed Jeremy diagnosis of worn pitman and idler arms. The box also has not insignificant play, as does the rag joint. So new parts are in order in the near future.




I also found out why the exhaust got progressively louder and more drone-ey throughout the trip:

20180217_121447 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr




got a call out to the my friends to see what they have laying around in 2.5-3 inch mufflers. Bound to be something handy taking up space. Worst case I have to buy one. Id just rather not.




I then went, with dad and his lifts help, to see about making the brakes not scary as ****. We started with trying to adjust the drums. Which apparently, you cant do with the wheels on, and the drum on. There is no access hole to the adjuster. Serious party foul on GM's part. But at lease we found no surprises. Shoes are plenty thick, no ridge in the drum, and no leaks. Jeremy never had the drums apart, so they were a total unknown.

20180217_131907 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

after significant bleeding and adjustments, I can conclusively say that the brakes on this are scary as ****. And they're better than when I drove it back from Florida last night. There's at least 3 inches of pedal travel before the truck starts slowing down, no feel, and I cant get the ABS to kick on. Something is very wrong here. Ideas? My only thought is a different master (GMT800 swap is popular per research), new hoses, and make sure all the calipers/wheel cylenders are correct brake system bores.




After brakes, I moved onto lighting. Yesterday, I tried to install the LED bulbs. Backstory in bulbs: drivabeater 2.0 used 1989 bmw 525 projector headlights. Low beam was a 9006. after having far too many HID issues, I ordered all 4 bulbs in LED. The low beam LEDs did not play well with the hella projectors. For whatever reason, the patterns didn't line up and there was very minimal output. However, the high beams were awesome. So I put standard bulbs back in the low beams, and threw the LED 9006 in a box. I grabbed them from the box when packing for Florida, figuring that they would probably be better than whatever was in there. When stampie, asa and I tried to put them in in the parking lot in the hood, they wouldn't light off. Not wanting to waste time, I put the supplied bulbs back in and drove home. Today I figured out that the connectors have the polarity backwards of the GM harness. Dunno why, but they do. So I put them in. shop wall testing says they're a hell of a lot better than what I drove home with.




20180217_155237 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_155111 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180217_155056 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr




last couple if things (no pictures) I did was get the tailgate functional, start scrubbing some corrosion on electrical connectors, and ditch the bed rails. The bed has a full diamond plate liner (except the tailgate) that is pop riveted in. im thinking of trimming the bed rail caps off for when I got with a tonneau cover. It also needs some d-rings installed for hook points. Don't think I have any left from the elky though.







tomorrows goal will be to build a sub box for the downfiring under seat 8 inch polk sub, and figure out what I want to do about the brakes.

Also, start figuring out how to get the plastidip off. My mom said it looks like a fat and irritated salmon due to the color. Cant have that. Maybe clean the interior, or go to the junkyard if the weather clears.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:25 PM   #2
dusterbd13
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

somehow I missed a couple of updates here. sorry guys.....

Budget first:
previously was 276.96
new money:

rockauto order: all brake flex lines. Pitman, idler, idler bracket. Upper and lower radiator hoses. Plugs, cap rotor. Trans filter. Power steering pressure and return hoses, inner tie rod ends: 170.36

pair of new upper control arms: ebay 53.98

used kenwood hd/bluetooth stereo, ebay: 44.77

gallon kit viper red paint: paintforcars.com 109
soft tonneau cover, ebay seller gtracers: 113

gallon of valspar rust tough paint: lowes, 32

plug wires: had

k&n filer setup: had

plug wire looms: had

195 thermostat and gasket: had

amp wiring: had

underdrive pullies: had

Now: 700.07

still to add: LCAs from Patrick, calipers and wheel cylinders, new 3 rd brake light (mines broke)

lots of parts came in, lots are in the mail. I got pretty much an entirely new suspension here, some speed parts, some cosmetic parts, etc. lots of stuff. Lots of work to do coming up, as I like this truck enough to give it a good hold on a second life. After all, who wouldn't like this?

20180228_182419 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

next, the pile of parts that is RAPIDLY drowing. Im running out of workbench space pretty quickly. Need to start getting parts on the truck.
20180228_210841 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180228_210853 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180228_210902 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180226_165549 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180228_210847 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

last night I got started with painting and doing the basic tune up. Truck had developed a slight miss at certain loads and operating conditions. Jeremy had put new NGK plugs in it, but couldn't remember if he had done wires, cap, or rotor. I found some Accell 8.8 cut to fit wires in a box, so I had those. Ordered some AC Delco R43TS plugs as that's what I have found to run best in the TBI engines. Good cap and rotor with brass contacts. Had some yellow wire looms in a box as well. So I threw a tune up at it. This was my first time with Accell cut to fit wires, and I must say that working with them was much more difficult than the MSD sets I usually use. However, I was willing to deal with them for the price. Modified the Mr. Gasket looms a bit to fit the bigger wires, and bolt to the factory wire loom spots. Put some never seize on the plug threads (all plugs looked exceptionally good for a 50k motor, let alone one with 200k!), and got it done.
20180302_220233 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr


found carbon tracing and some broken plug wire insulation as I was inspecting the old parts. Haven't driven it yet to confirm the miss being gone, as today was my parents 50 wedding anniversary and we needed the minivan. But, idles much smoother in the shop. I also opened plug gap from .035 to .044. I have found power and fuel economy gains with a wider gap on other TBI engines, so well hope that streak holds here.
20180302_164430 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180302_164440 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I picked up a gallon of valspar rust tough paint at lowes. This is a rustoleum equivalent, though I have found that it covers far better, resists fading better, applies smoother, and is more durable than rustoleum. Not quite POR15 quality, but good enough for what its for. And at 32 a gallon, far cheaper. I actually started painting frame rails as well, but no pictures, as I didnt get very far before my shoulder started killing me. Did get the steering box painted, and part of the 3 / 4 ton leaves.
20180302_075237 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180303_084955 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180303_085001 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

lastly: im good at violating my own rules. My rule of “safe, reliable, and cool. In that order) is pretty well shot at this point. Ive hooked up the sub temporarily (and then the old JVC from the box of stereo stuff died, hence the new to me kenwood. Same one I have in the daily driven miata), started painting the frame that still has serious play in the steering, and not even tried to figure out which pulley on the accessories is noisy as hell. In my defense, its because I was presented with a golden opportunity.

My buddy art paints cheap cars and builds salvage title cars for local car lots. Hes a good, cheap bodyman. Not show car quality, but better than standard 10 footers. He is the guy that came and helped me shoot the plastidip off with razor blades and a pressure washer. Hes the guy that taught me to paint cars and do bodywork (which I still suck at). His local paint supplier had gone up in price dramatically after changing ownership. We got to talking about Patrick's recommendation of paintforcars.com, and art thought they were great prices for a similar grade of materials to what he typically uses. They have a very limited color palette though. He offered to shoot the truck if id order an experimental supply kit from them.

Freaking SOLD!!!!!

first I ordered the color chip chart. They only offer one non metallic red, and I was hoping it was close to the victory red on this thing. They called theirs viper red.
20180228_171330 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

close enough for me. So we orderd the acrylic urethane kit of viper red. Kind of interested to see how it turns out. Art has been spraying ****ty materials with decent results for so many years that im not too worried about the end results of the paint is actually usable. And Patrick swears by it. But hes from Ohio, so I dunno how it will hold up and spray down here in the hot and humid and sun baked south.

anyway, after doing some side work next Friday and Saturday, my wife and I are going to do some disassembly. Sunday after church, we will be dropping the front and rear bumpers, hood, grille, and bed at arts place. He will paint them and do whatever it is he does while I rebuild the suspension, paint the frame, and clean up the rest of the truck thoroughly. Then, when the parts at home are reassembled, I will take the cab/front clip over for him to paint and reassemble the body. Wet sand and buff, and drive it some more. He also was able to work a trade for the chrome bumper to a painted bumper.

Im excited to see how this turns out. Hoping that it doesn't suck, as they have some neat colors on that chart and I like neat colors on beaters.

I do need some pictures and details on the door weatherstripping though. Mine is all out of place, and im pretty sure there's either more pieces or less than there is supposed to be. Since im pulling it all for paint anyway, id like to get it back together properly with correct stuff. NPD has the main door surround weatherstripping for 10 a side, but there's more pieces attached to the door and a-pillar on mine. Anyone have details? I also need to figure out if I can leave the door glass in while removing the window run channel weatherstripping and the belt molding on the outside.
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:37 PM   #3
dusterbd13
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Budget first:
previously was 1278.61
new money:

coil spacers from belltech: 42.32
bumpstops: 9.99
rear axle: 266.68 from city salvage
drum turning: 21.56
new total: 1619.16

well, that did not go according to plan.

I guess where things went pear shaped was when I found this:
20180321_135249 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I had suspected the axle wasn't square in the chassis, but this made me question weather it was bent. After some thorough measuring, I found that it was. Severely. So, a call to my local salvage yard had another open 3.42 rear dropped off on my doorstep the next day before I got home from work. This was a very unexpected expense. Im also certain I could have done it cheaper, but the convenience of delivery and having it removed for me, with the added benefit of a warranty, made it worth the money. After all, I would have had to give up a day, and borrowed a truck, to hopefully find a rear with the same ratio that was good, pull it, bring it home, etc. to save about $100. money well spent.
20180322_204724 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

whats even better is that the emergency brake cables on this rear are in good shape. Mine were not, and I had to cut them anyway to get the rear out. So, there's the hundred bucks right there.

Anyway, while I was waiting on the rear to come in, I made the executive decision to redo the notch. I knew it would bug me forever if I didn't redo it. So, I pulled the bolts, ground through all the welds, and ripped the notches free. They are now in the scrap pile. Pulled the exhaust, etc from the back end as well. Stripped it all.
20180321_190505 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

took the time to remove the overload leafs, pain and re-grease the leaf packs as well as make new centering pins, clean and paint the back of the frame, clean and paint the new axle, and clean and paint the front of the frame after I ripped all of the front suspension out.
20180322_204701 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180325_141238 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180323_224551 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180324_000515 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180324_104047 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I went ahead at this point and drained the power steering system and tried the jeep grand Cherokee box. The mounting pattern is different, as well as the hardware size, it would work if I was willing to modify the frame, but I am not. So, the stock 200k box is staying for now. Im not super happy about it, but such is experimentation. I will go ahead and replace the lines that are still stamped with gm part numbers, as they stay damp. I also already have replacements, and the system is already drained. No better time.

So I went on to put new parts back in. first, a couple points of housekeeping. DJM specifically states that the drop LCA CANNOT be used with drop spindles. This is due to scrub line. On stock wheels, the pocket for the spring hangs well below the rim. Therefore, if you get a flat, the control arm hits the ground, and **** gets BAD. With that being said, this truck is on 18s, and will probably get 20s at some point. The 2 inch drop arms are a 3 / 4 inch above the wheel lip at the lowest point, and I know the consequences if things get really bad. I feel comfortable here. i probably wouldn't on 17s. The other note is about ride height. According to spindle height measurements, this truck really was 4-6 when I bough it. 2 inch springs, 2 inch spindles. Adding the 2 inch arms would make a 6 inch front drop, which would be just too damned low for a daily. But 5 wouldn't. So I picked up some belltech 1 inch coil spacers. I've used these before and like their design better than anyone but daystar lift spacers. But the daystar cant be found that short for this cheap (by me this past week at least). I used some duct tape to hold them to the coil to make install easier, as they can slip while you're trying to maneuver everything.
20180324_000508 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

so then I went ahead and got the front end put back together. New upper and lower arms, spindles, springs, spacers, idler arm and bracket, brake hoses, cotter keys, cleaned up hardware, etc.
20180325_095025 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180325_141313 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

since the front sway bar was out of the way and the steering linkage is still not doing anything but hanging off the pitman, I went ahead and put the under-drive pullies on. Never have more clearance than now.
20180325_141250 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180325_163723 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

picked the drums up from being turned, and got my rear air bags in from Firestone.
20180325_164104 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180325_141318 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

this is about where I had to call it quits. Doing this I re-injured my shoulder that hasn't been right since the elky was totaled. In addition, I have eaten something that didn't agree with me, so im on the couch with ice water, peptol bismol, and Tylenol. Watching kids movies with the family.

As a parting note, Art sent me a picture of the straightened and painted tailgate out in the sunlight. Im excited.
PART_1522002511968_PART_1522002510997_Image15220025109751 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

The tailgate turned out really well! Take care of the shoulder and back at it!
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:01 PM   #5
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Thanks! Im starting to get anxious about seeing it all in one color.
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Old 04-01-2018, 08:21 PM   #6
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Budget first:
previously was 1619.16
new money:

rear shoes: 19.99
drum hardware: 9.99
returned wheel cylinders: -17.66
serpentine belt: 39.99
power steering gearbox: 95.99
rear bumpstops: 9.99
heater hoses: had
Heater hose adapter 7.99
remove grand cherokee box from budget -40

new total: 1745.44

non picture heavy update. It was a LOT of work, but doesn't photograph well.

We finished up getting the rear suspension put together except for the notches. The DJM spring plates requires some machining for clearance of the new spring centering bolts. I went ahead and cut down the u bolts as well, as there was a good 5 inches extra hanging below the spring. Got the shock extenders bolted on, got my ass kicked by rebuilding the drums, and bolted it all back together except for the notches. Even went ahead and re-lubed the spare tire carrier and hung a donut spare from the elky up there, as I believe something (that fits) is better than nothing. And this is sure something....
20180331_193237 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180331_152334 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

everything is finger tight right now, except the brakes, which are completely bled, and the driveshaft. I still need to positively locate the DJM notches and fit them, and need to squat the back end as much as possible to do so. Ill tighten when I get there.

Up front, lots of work. I shortened every tie rod inch per DJM instructions, re packed the wheel bearings, installed the new hoses and calipers and rotors and tie rod ends, went to put the pitman on the steering box and found that the output shaft had LOTS of play. The grand cherokee box didn't work out, as the mounting pattern is different. I found that oriellys sells the 454SS box that its quicker ratio with a lifetime warranty for 105. they knocked it down to 95 with my commercial discount. Put new lines on it, and ran it home. Went and put the drop shocks that came with the truck back on it, as I struck out on junkyard bilsteins for now. Same with the delivered front sway bar. Didn't find anything bigger on my last run. I did learn, the hard way, that the DJM LCAs need something to limit down travel with lowering springs. I had one pop out, and it cost me two hours. I also learned that the camaro wheels barely fit on the old front rotors, and the new ones had a hub that was a few thousandths larger so I had to bore all 4 wheels (tire rotation will happen sometime). Regardless, the front end is together, with the control arm to frame bolts finger tight, and no steering shaft. Had to see how it sits, and needed to bring it down to be able to reach the engine bay to put some of the engine bay back together.

20180331_152355 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180331_152349 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I NAILED my stance I was wanting. I wanted, on 245/55/18 tires, to have a fender lip height in the front of 28 inches. Im at 28 1/8 up front, and expect another half inch or so with all the weight on it and a properly settled suspension. Rear end is unknown, but looks right. Frame height is at 7 inches under the center of the cab, as judged with a 1x6 you can see in a couple of the pictures. The DJM LCA don't hang below the rim, and I feel comfortable with the scrub line. Additionally, I tried that “selfie” thing all the teenagers are doing. Purely as a reference point. Im 5'9, and the roof is at my nose. I freaking LOVE it. Im also uglier than homemade sin, so be warned.
20180331_192410 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180331_192521 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180331_192441 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180331_192449 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180331_192753 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180331_192605 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

lastly, today after Easter festivities, I got the new belt on, lower radiator hose, and lower shroud in. also got the new thermostat and gasket in. old one was stuck open, so that should help. New belt wound up being 4 inches shorter than the old.
20180401_175619 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180401_175631 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

until next time, y'all.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:24 AM   #7
Palf70Step
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Nice build you are doing. Love the idea you are going with! Looking forward to future updates.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:11 PM   #8
dusterbd13
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Thanks! Got the cooling system buttoned up tonight. Bodyman said he should have the bed done by Sunday im getting excited!
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Old 04-08-2018, 07:40 PM   #9
dusterbd13
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Budget first:
previously was 1745.44
new money:

new trailer hitch: 20
console: 17.50 (pull-a-part)
door: 57.50
gallon high build primer: 95 (oriellys)
welding: 40
alpine components: had
sound deadening from mcmaster carr: 120 for 5 sheets
insulation: had
backup camera: had
autometers (had the trans temp, paid for narrowband) 13
relay and wiring, as well as flood lights: had
new floodlight bulbs: 9.97 from amazon
m14x1.5 studs (20) 24.00 amazon


new total: 2142.41

so, last real update we had a roller with a kick ass stance. Since then, it seems like I haven't gotten much done, but its that last 10 percent that takes 90 percent of the time....
20180404_195856 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

we had an issue with the un-reinforced frame getting bent. Got that straightened out, and the notched welded in by a pro. My 110v welder wouldn't touch this stuff....
20180403_212756 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180406_085153 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr


we got the front end aligned (VERY rough), everything torqued and greased, wheel bearings set, cat converter gutted (catalyst was broken and turned sideways. NFG), exhaust rehung. Etc. so we got all that sorted. I then went on to get the airbags installed. Had to modify the lower mount, as the kit isnt supposed to work with a flip kit. But we got it done. Essentially I just added another leaf clamp on the lower plate. Had to move the whole setup forward about 5 inches for clearance. Anyway, got them in, the welded frame painted, bumpstops in, etc.

20180408_171749 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

whnile I was back there, I also got the relay for the auxiliry backup lights and backp camer wired in, as well as (temporarily and in the wrong place) one of the 100 watt floods. Holy crap we have backup lights. I need to tidy the wirig up, and when the hitch gest installed, the floods wil be mounted to it. Fill valves for the air bags wil be mounted to either side of the liscence plate on the bumper.

20180408_171756 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I also went ahead and added sound deadening and insulation to the drivers door, as I was in there to put oe of the alpine components in. (factory speaker died some time back) no pictures of the insulation, but will do a full writeup on sound deadening and insulation when I do the rest of the interior.
20180405_145340 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180405_145330 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I love overhead consoles. So I got one. Locating my backup camera monitor in the old garage door spot, and a pair of autometers in where the rear HVAC controls would be.

20180408_172130 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

lastly for this update, ive been prepping the cab for paint. That entails removing the baked on plasti dip that the pressure washer didnt remove. Lacquer thinner and a paper towel is doing the trick though. And the paint under the plastidip is in shockingly good shape. However, I found the passengers door is loaded with bondo, and bent a fair bet. Hard to get a picture of. But I bought another door. Made more sense than trying to fix this one.
20180406_164748 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180406_175302 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

art is shooting the bed tomorrow. But here's a couple of pictures of the tailgate, just because im incredibly happy with how it tuned out.
20180404_171828 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180404_171309 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:45 PM   #10
dusterbd13
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

since last update, ive been busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.

First, I got the new fuel sending unit and pump assembly swapped in. the new pump died after about 3 seconds, so I hung the old pump on the new sender. Didn't fix the gas gauge issue. And I didn't take any pictures.

Then I moved on to the overhead console. I did a little bandsaw work to the camera monitor to give it more of a flat back. The way it was delivered was with a stand and knob attached, which wouldn't allow it to lay properly. Five seconds with the bandsaw, and....
20180410_082902 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

went ahead and used my hot glue gun to attach it to the console. Used the nubs and screws as the locations to glue.
20180410_082910 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180410_083340 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

then went on to cut up an old mud flap as a piece to fill in the hole left by the HVAC controls, and to mount my gauges in.

20180410_084232 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

we also got the rear cab wall painted. I scrubbed all the plastidip off, feathered out all the chips and gouges, primed the bare metal with etching primer...
20180409_184316 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

pulled it out in the driveway, ran 50 foot worth of air hose, wiped it down, masked it off, and had art shoot it.
20180410_173752 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180410_175952 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

color variation between viper red and victory red. Its a LOT more different in person.

20180410_182235 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

in the meantime, art had fixed all the rivet holes and damage on the bed, as well as sprayed it in high build and blocked it.
20180411_193026 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

he then painted it, I cut and clearanced the center bed support, and we put it on.
20180412_184323 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

when I got it home, I refinished the step pads with sem bumper and trim paint, installed the stake pocket plugs, cut down the bedliner, and reinstalled it all.
20180413_085947 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180413_085954 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I then went on to install the tonneau cover and tie down hooks. The tie down hooks are from harbor freight. I first used them in the el camino, and find them incredibly useful, especially since there's no place to hook a ratchet strap in this bed just like there wasn't in the elky. Im adding 8: front/back floors of the bed, and then on the side walls in plane with the floor ones. Gives so many attachment options that I haven't ever wished for anything else. I also Modified every single piece of attachment hardware on the tonneau cover to make it work. I believe this is due to the bedliner and the way it makes the cover clamps fit. But its done now.
20180414_191708 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180414_191717 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180414_184120 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180414_195245 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I also got the wheel from the elky installed. I couldn't get comfortable with the idea of a 23 year old explosive device manufactured by the lowest bidder staring me in the face. And the leather was trashed. I still need to work on it some, as it drags on the column plastic enough to make wheel return annual effort. Thinking there needs to be some trimming done.
20180414_194824 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

lastly, I need to give a huge THANK YOU to the staff at grassroots motorsports. See, I have a thing. I like decals on my back glass. The GRM Dork sticker is my favorite ive ever had. I got my original when we stopped at the GRM world headquarters on the way to taking my daughter to Disney. It was on the passengers bottom corner of the elky, and died with the truck. I was actually heartbroken over that sticker more than the truck. Also the memorial sticker to Walter B. Jones. I had reached out to the magazine about getting a new challenge specific windshield banner, as the windshield in this truck is cracked and pitted. While talking to them, I asked for permission to have the dork sticker cloned. Instead they sent me the whole registration packet of stickers/lanyard, as well as a new dork sticker. That may be the most awesome thing a company has ever done for me. Wouldn't even accept shipping charges. Hopefully this set of stickers stays for many, many years. I don't want to lose another set. Im also talking to mazduece about the stickers he made at the challenge of the names that were on the hood, as well as the super slow team logo as replacements for the glass of this truck. I may be radically changing what I bought, but don't want to lose its history. The goal for this truck is really to make what jeremy had intended, only nicer. Low, comfortable, capable, and awesome. A good drivabeater.

I will eave you with pictures of the decals provided by the most awesome company I have ever been involved with.
20180414_194849 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
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Old 04-28-2018, 05:16 PM   #11
LT7A
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Hey duster, glad that you decided to do a build thread here. I went back and read your whole thread at grm. Sounds like a great group of folks over there as well. There is not a ton of 88 to 98 traffic here so don't be bummed. There are several of us who check in periodically and I suspect over time, more people will be building these trucks. Your little red stepper is coming along nicely. A great combination of thoroughness and practicality. Your paint on a budget is turning out beautifully. I appreciate the references you make to the TBI performance tweaks. You have mentioned a couple things I haven't run across yet and will need to try.
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Old 04-28-2018, 08:41 PM   #12
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Great progress!!
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:24 PM   #13
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Thanks guys! Im stoked about how its turning out. Still deliberating on what to do about the dash. Mines craked, discolored, and generally junk. What i decide about it dictates the rest of the interior....

I thought all my tbi mods were pretty common. Which ones are new to you?

Also, theres stuff to update, but that will probably wait until after we get back from vacation at the end of next week. Far too much to do between now and when we leave.
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:35 AM   #14
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Love the red! I really don't know why we don't have more traffic on here. I grew up with square bodies, still get that nostalgic feeling around them, but I feel the gmt 400 trucks are some of the best trucks gm ever made.
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:57 PM   #15
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Budget first:
previously was 2142.41
new money:

100 for stud install and fender rolling
50 for gallon of clear
200 for used michelin tires
42 for side mirrors


new total: 2534.41

ok, long story short: truck is painted. And abso-****ing-lutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

long version:
test fit ebay billet grilles, ebay clear lights, junkyard painted bumper
20180514_174502 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

mud work on dents, primer where needed (highbuild/etch/epoxy as necessary) and new door swapped in

20180524_173856 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

wiped, scuffed, taped, ready to spray
20180526_202432 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

4 coats of color, 3 coats clear
IMG_20180527_0910030011 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
IMG_20180527_0909577461 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

paint quality after it flashed and cured
IMG_20180527_0909514781 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

untaped, and halfway reassembled (enough to get home)
20180527_191757 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

backing out of the shop to come home, with the new lights
20180527_202853 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

paint reflection in the lower part of the door (worst spot of orange peel)
20180528_193836 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

fully assembled back end. Refinished step plates, refinished license plate lights, installed bumper, etc.
20180530_071556 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

air dam on, shot bowtie black, reassembled the rest of the truck. Im in love.
20180530_075316 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180530_075237 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

lastly, we did a quick cut and buff on a quarter. Didn't even really try, as the paint is still a little soft according to art. So well do the whole truck in a week or so. Then a full detail.
20180529_191301 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

friday I go to wilmington to grab race car parts. Sunday it gets tint. Soon it will get cut and biff and interior work.
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:16 AM   #16
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Nice!
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:09 PM   #17
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

nice job.well done
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:15 AM   #18
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Thanks guys!
Taking a break for a little while while i work on tge race car and duster.

Hut interior is next
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:25 PM   #19
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Budget first:
previously was 2534.41
new money:

headliner material: 19.59
spyder headlights: 76.99
dash cap: 210

new total: 2840.99

my test driving and tint revieled a flaw with the cheap ebay headlights I ordered. They sucked at night. Horrible beam pattern, and useless. Couldnt have that. So I ordered what I should have in the first place, the spyder glass headlights. The lens is glass, the reflectors metal. The backers fiber reinforced plastic, etc. much. Much higher quality pieces. The benefit is the fit better too. At the same time, I tossed in some cree switchback LED bulbs, and the clear corners that I used krylon stained glass paint on to turn orange. Came out nice!

20180608_135433 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

20180608_140648 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180608_152120 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

lights need some more aiming, but far better already.
Also finally got my new hitch mounted.

20180610_143443 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

getting ready to do interior and call it done!
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:11 PM   #20
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Love watching this build. Have you got some pics of the overhead console with the screen mounted? Did it work as well as you thought?
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:37 PM   #21
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrick down Under View Post
Love watching this build. Have you got some pics of the overhead console with the screen mounted? Did it work as well as you thought?
Unfortunately it fails on multiple counts.
First, the angle and screen combination make it very difficult to see anything useful in a normal driving position. Then the hot glue failed.

Im thinking of bending some scrap. 030 aluminium into a 15-20 degree angle. Attach with screws to the bosses in the garage door opener lid. Then attach with Velcro or similar the monitor. Should change the angle enough, and be virtually heat proof.
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:34 AM   #22
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Cool, i’ll keep putting the roof on my house. Can’t wait to see how you go.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:47 PM   #23
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

Budget first
previously was 2840.99
new money:
blower motor and resistor and epoxy: 69.99
4 cans SEM medium grey: 59.97
mode door actuator: 40

new total: 3110.95

so, the AC took a dump. Blower motor quit being reliable. And it barely blew through the vents.

Step one was remove broken dash.
20180618_192335 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

step 2 was remove blower motor and resistor, vacuum box out, spray coil cleaner a few times and flush with water hose.
20180620_081228 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180620_081223 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I swapped to a 99 escalade blower motor in the process, as well as pulled part of a wal-mart bag out of the HVAC box.

I then took a while cleaneing, prepping, and epoxying the seperate pieces of dash into one structure again.
20180619_082309 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I then prepped, fit, tweaked, refit, tweaked, refit, reprepped, glued, and clamped the accu form dash cap down.
20180619_163329 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180619_163339 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
without every clamp I own (after adhesive cured)
20180620_071913 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180620_071924 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

a few light coats of sem medium grey later
20180620_145040 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180620_145030 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

I recolored the rest of the dash pieces prior to re installation. Also, this picture doesn't show the rest of the interior out. The greys don't match, and I needed to redo the headliner and add sound deadening and insulation. It also doesn't show the mode door actuator that died in the making of this post.
20180620_211052 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr
20180624_173546 by Michael Crawford, on Flickr

still need to figure out why the bottom piece doesn't fit anymore, and why the ashtray wont stay closed.

Remember: we are privileged to have our problems today.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:53 PM   #24
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Re: project drivabeater: GMT400

That looks very nice, good job!!
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