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Old 09-11-2014, 09:32 PM   #1
Dads79GMC
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Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

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Well, thought I'd start a build thread after nearly eight years!!

First off, my Dad purchased this truck in 79 and I've always loved it. I never quite liked that it was a LWB, However, loved everything else about it, even the oyster/cream interior. Dad was a Korean and Vietnam War veteran who finally retired in 1990. He gave me the truck in 2001 after being diagnosed with cancer, which got the best of him later that year. At the time, I had no room for it in town so I sent the truck into hibernation out at my cousins farm where it sat until November 2006.

Upon my return from Operation Iraqi Freedom in November 2006, I traveled back to South Dakota to rescue the truck, which had been sitting in the elements for six years. It was so infested with mice dropping etc, that I had to drive with the windows down all the way home, yes, in November. Couldn't believe it made it, but it did. I immediately took it down to the frame, began to collect parts, and there it sat.......fast forward.

Upon my return from Afghanistan in 2011, I kind of started in again. I continued to collect parts, had a few things blasted and powder coated (rear end, front end components, cross member etc) and also found a 1979 heavy half SWB rolling chassis on craigslist for $100........Again, the project sat on and off since then.

I figured the only way that I was going to get serious about this project, is if I start a build thread so that I can get the old...."any updates"....."any pictures"...etc. I'm depending on all of you to keep me on my toes. This site is truly outstanding and an inspiration. Be patient, I'm in my 30th year in the Army Nat'l Guard, the last 20 years on active duty, which keeps me very busy.....but I'll find the time and make progress.

I'm missing most of the earlier pics from 2006. I'll slowly bring you up-to-speed over the next few posts.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:41 PM   #2
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Back in 2007, I replaced the corners, inner corners, inner rockers, outer rockers, floor sections on both sides. I wish I had those pictures, just can't find them. I got an estimate to do the mentioned work back in the day, and at that time a few shops wanted well above 2K, so I decided to buy a MIG welder and have at it. I figured it out and save a couple thousand.

That's enough for now.

Mike
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:58 PM   #3
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Most recently, I've been working on the frame and changing ratios in the rear. Installed the 2.5/4" drop, installed new leaf springs. LSx swap will begin in about a month.

Mike
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:08 PM   #4
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

More pics of current work and originals I just came across from 2006. I know how you all love pics.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:37 PM   #5
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Cool truck and story. Looking forward to the build.
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:11 PM   #6
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Finally put the rear end together. Swapped the 3.08 for 3.73. Removed the overload and one leaf on the HD springs in order to gain another inch of drop. It's finally rolling on an extra set of rallies and scab tires. Don't mind all the footprints on the frame, the kid was enjoying bouncing on the rear.

OK, so I go to the front of the frame, climb up on the frame and give it a bounce.........nothing happens? The only bounce I get is from the under inflated tires???? I know there should be at least a little give in the springs, but nothing, nothing at all!! Today I call the local spring company "Husky Springs" to ask a few questions. Yes, I understand that it's just a bare frame minus engine etc. Anyway, after taking some measurements, we determined that the springs I put in are rated at 1060 pounds each, verses the second coils springs they sell rated at 843 pounds!!!!! I guess my 170 pound body isn't going to put a bounce into these springs! Still, even 843 pounds springs seem excessive?

Needs thoughts from the experts. The springs are standard height. Thanks Mike
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:01 PM   #7
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Subscribed
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:27 PM   #8
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Nice truck and progress. THANK YOU for your service to this great country!
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:44 PM   #9
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Is that per each spring or the pair? That does seem a bit high. Just for comparison tuff country's (leaf) HD 4" lift springs are 495 lbs / in. If your front axle weight is ~2,500 lbs and you have two springs at 1060 lbs / in. you won't even have 1.25" of compression.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:02 PM   #10
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

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Nice truck and progress. THANK YOU for your service to this great country!
Thanks
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:03 PM   #11
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

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Is that per each spring or the pair? That does seem a bit high. Just for comparison tuff country's (leaf) HD 4" lift springs are 495 lbs / in. If your front axle weight is ~2,500 lbs and you have two springs at 1060 lbs / in. you won't even have 1.25" of compression.
Per the vendor, that's per spring. I find it hard to believe. Mike
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Old 10-10-2014, 02:43 PM   #12
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

You can't compare leaf spring rates to coil springs. A manufacturer's coil spring rates are from direct downward pressure. The a-arm has leverage on the spring, which will change the amount of compression for a given amount of weight when they're actually installed in a vehicle.

Your truck is pretty cool, I'd imagine a Heavy Half longbed with bucket seats and a white interior are fairly unique. It should be pretty nice when you're done, I'm sure your father would be proud.
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:45 PM   #13
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

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The a-arm has leverage on the spring
That makes sense. It'd be easy to figure the ratio measuring from the a-arm pivot to the spring and from the a-arm pivot to the wheel mounting surface.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:24 PM   #14
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Picked up my engine today! Harness and ECM re-worked, includes pedal etc. Need to find a 4L60E.
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Old 10-15-2014, 10:13 PM   #15
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Sweet truck! Cant wait to see its progress
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:19 PM   #16
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

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Sweet truck! Cant wait to see its progress
Thanks my friend, be patient, I think It'll be a slow build. Mike
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Old 10-17-2014, 08:51 AM   #17
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Nice! If I see some work on that engine, it may motivate me to do my 5.3 swap in the future! Are you doing anything to the engine before it goes in? Cam swap in those engines are big horsepower, but so is boost... I can't wait until I retire so that I can have time for all of my hobbies. LOL!
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:08 AM   #18
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

I wish I was retired too. Work keeps me to busy. No cam. Thanks Mike
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Old 10-18-2014, 12:23 PM   #19
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Watching this one!
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Old 12-23-2014, 09:56 AM   #20
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Quote:
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...
I'm pretty sure ... means "WE WANT UPDATES!" LOL!
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:22 AM   #21
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

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I'm pretty sure ... means "WE WANT UPDATES!" LOL!
Yep...that's right!
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:25 PM   #22
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Gents, the Army is killing me. Got the message!!
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:52 PM   #23
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

I'm subscribed. My son and I have a '79 that we work on together so your story is very special. Keep up the good work. Thank you and your father for your service.
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Old 02-03-2015, 05:35 PM   #24
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Sweet! Subscribed!
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:20 AM   #25
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Re: Dad's 1979 GMC Heavy Half Transformation

Very cool!
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