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Old 07-06-2015, 11:21 PM   #1
hgs_notes
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HG's Bigass Farm Truck

I have been using my C-10 for hauling everything and I'm not afraid to dirty it up a little, but it's limited on how much it can haul and I don't want to tow with it. A few months ago I bought a 79 C-30 crewcab to use as a regular old truck.




I really like it but would have preferred a 4x4.

Which I found available about 6 weeks later...








That's what it looked like when me and a friend of mine took a look at it. I knew about the truck before because it belongs to a friend of my sister. I just didn't know he was willing to sell it. This was originally an 82 C-30 dually truck. He converted it to 4wd using an 80 or 82 K-20. It has a 454, 4 spd, NP205, Dana 44 (8 lug) front axle and GM 14 bolt FF rear axle. Had a 6" suspension lift and 3" body lift. Swapped on a 78 front end. Custom rear bumper. Riding on 38" bias ply tires on 16.5" wheels.

I could barely get up in it for a test drive. Not quite the farm truck I envisioned. I didn't care for the tires, weather checked and waaaaay out of balance and 16.5". He really wanted to keep them for the wheels mainly so I worked out a deal. He had a pair of rust free doors, a pretty good bed (this one had rusted sills) and I didn't need the body lift for what I was planning. Since he was going to swap the bed anyway I had him remove the body lift.

The steering was scary bad, he replaced the warn part that was responsible for most of the slop.

Right now it's riding on some stock size pizza cutters but I have a set of 35x12.5x16 BFG's to put on it once I find wheels. I'll post more current pics later, I don't have them available for upload right now. It has a different bed with a pretty straight tailgate.

This past weekend a buddy and me got started on some of the maintenance items. The seller gave me a new hanger bearing and rear axle seals. We figured the rear wheel bearings were likely toast also (they were) so I bought those. We ran into problems right away though when the passenger side hub was froze on the spindle tube. It took a lot of heat, a gear puller and a really REALLY big hammer to knock it off. The bearing got hot and seized onto it. Managed to get it off without breaking the drum.

Then found that the brakes were toast also and the wheel cylinders were in need of replacement. But the biggest PITA was that the heated bearings also affected the snap rings that hold the outer bearings in place and they came out in pieces. None of the auto parts stores carry that ring, don't even have a part number for it. I found some online but that means we couldn't get it back together completely.

We got the brake job done, got the outer bearings installed and the race for the new inner bearings and that's how that sits until the new snap rings are delivered.

The hanger bearing was replaced but I found a bad U joint, so that is sitting and waiting for a new part.

Another problem I found was the rear leaf packs have some broken leafs. There are many little issues yet to take care of.

BTW, the 79 C-30 is for sale.
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:48 PM   #2
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

The parts eventually got delivered, and I eventually had time to install them. So I got it back on the road, but not without some issues. The front output yoke I ordered wasn't the right part. So still no front driveshaft. The brakes need to be bled some more I think cuz the rear ones just won't grab. There is pedal pressure and flow through the lines but there must be more air in there.

But it's driveable. How it looks today.


I have a set of 35" tires for it, still looking for wheels though...


I spent some time at the local junkyard and found a truck with a 4 speed and NP205 still in it. Unfortunately it has the flange type yoke for the front output. A new one costs somewhere around $100. Fortunately I got the entire transfer case and front driveshaft for $150. Seems tight. And since I think there is plenty of wear in the 4 speed, I just got that too for another $150. I figure it's great spare parts regardless.




It was filthy. Spent about an hour scraping it. Will clean up much easier now at the car wash.




Much better...


I also picked up a new gauge cluster and bezel. I really liked the texture on this bezel.


And I found the correct front bumper. It had the newer style GMC bumper on it.


And here are the new doors. Rust free and they have power locks and windows. I just need to find a wire harness and rear doors with the same options.
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:51 PM   #3
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Here are the picks from when I first went to look at it and take it for a test drive.


















Pics of the bed that was swapped onto it. Less rust...


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Old 07-23-2015, 06:56 PM   #4
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

The priority hit list is to swap the gauges so I have a working speedo again, replace the clutch, get the front driveshaft installed, get the rear brakes working, install e-brake system (it's all missing), find wheels I like and swap tires.

While I'm doing the clutch is when I'll figure out what to do about the transmission. I could replace gaskets and seals on the spares and just swap all that in together. But maybe some of the slop is just wear in the clutch. They all leak though and will need the routine repairs done regardless.
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Old 07-24-2015, 09:49 AM   #5
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Sweet truck dude! Cant wait to see it come together.
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Old 07-24-2015, 06:21 PM   #6
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Look at that beautiful truck. I know most people prefer short beds, but I have a soft spot for giant trucks, and it doesn't get much more giant than a lifted, long bed crew cab!

Forget the "dime", I bet it turns on a circle 40 yards wide. I love it.
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:47 AM   #7
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

A lot has happened since my last post on this thread. The brown truck was for sale to help get me down payment money for a farm place I was buying. Turns out I didn't need to cash for that and got the farm anyway.

Just before I was gonna start moving the engine in the brown truck died. Back fired a couple times and wouldn't restart. I checked things out, has oil pressure, has spark, its getting gas, but won't run. Turned the dizzy and it back fired. We think the timing chain slipped. So it's been sitting since late August.

I used my 71 during the move. Also the 82 4wd crew, but that one is a bit less convenient to load and unload, so mostly the 71. All during the move, over the past month or so, I've been thinking about my options with the brown truck. I really like it and didn't really want to sell it. I could just fix the timing chain issue (if that's the problem) and move on with it as is. I could rebuild the 454 keeping it stock. I could build it for more performance but that is pretty damn expensive. I could swap in a motor, but which one?

If I was going to take the time to rebuild the engine it would have to be a performance upgrade. That's just how I roll. The problem is cost. Power costs money. A few bolt ons were not going to satisfy my thirst. Heads are where power is really made. Heads are around $900 each for a basic performance head. Piston kits are around $400 or more. A few hundred more will get you a stroker rotating assembly with forged pistons. Add more for intake, machine work, cam, lifters, etc and you quickly are looking at a $4000 bill.

Swap options were not great. Another good stock big block is a minimum of $500 (core charges are about $300) and anything better than an RV engine is $1000 or more. If it had any performance parts it was at least $3000 for anything I was finding available. I could switch it to a small block and save a bunch and have performance but that is still upwards of $1500.

Of course the LS swap is almost everyones automatic response, so I checked around. Prices on those have been going up recently. I checked with a few yards and the best deal on a 6.0 was $1150 for one with over 300k miles. Lower mileage ones were around $2000 with accessories and possibly having to pay a $300 - 600 core charge. So I looked at 5.3s and at 2 of the biggest yards in the area it was about $1200 for the engine.

I was driving home yesterday and went by a yard I've stopped at a couple times and I inspect their air tank. They didn't have any 6.0s and if they did they wanted $2500-3000 for it. But they had a 5.3 at their other yard. Has about 200k miles but they said it was a good runner. $500 for the engine without accessories, another $50 for those. No core charge. I said I'll take it.

So Monday I will pick it up and the brown crew will get a transplant.

They driving force, the motivation, is coming from the idea of the next road trip. For any of you that know me and my 71 build thread, its all about the next trip. I am living with my girlfriend now and she has a kid at home yet and I have a son that takes my trips with me. I need more seating capacity but don't have a reliable classic vehicle to use, which means I have to build one.

The brown crew got the nod. It rides pretty nice, the cab is fairly solid, has AC and will make a great cruiser. I talked to my boy about the body work. I'm sending him to school for it I should see some immediate benefit from that. The major rust repair is just rockers. I have good front doors. If I get the newer style front sheetmetal for the 82 I can use the front off that on the brown truck. A buddy of mine has a suburban with some decent rear doors and other parts to have power windows and locks and it has a very nice tan interior. He has a couple good tailgates also. The bed is solid but has some dents. Basically the body isn't a disaster.

I'm shooting for finishing this up by next June, but a lot depends on selling my old house ($$$$$$) and how many other projects and work eat up my time. Next June is the best I think I can do. And it could turn into June 2017.

Wish me luck.
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Old 10-05-2015, 11:03 PM   #8
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Picked up the engine today. When I got to the yard I asked to look at the truck it was pulled from to get as much as I could for my swap. They said no problem. So I got the gas tank, fuel pump, the entire fuel line from tank to engine, wire harnesses, throttle cable, fuse block and the brackets and covers for that plus a few more I found. Got all the engine accessories and ECU, harness, etc.


The engine


Still looking for a tranny. I don't really have a preference. I think any of the over drive automatics would be fine. Not really planning to go big on HP but maybe a few add ons. The truck weighs about the same as a newer suburban. The problem around here is that 2wd trucks are rare. I can get 4x4 transmissions by the truck load but there is added cost to get it converted to a 2wd version.

I'm still reading other threads and have a bunch of links to follow for other info. Really want to try and keep it as simple as possible, keep costs down, keep frustration away and make it a driver again soon so it's mobile for going to the body shop etc.
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Old 10-05-2015, 11:30 PM   #9
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

The 4x4 is UGLY! I love it!!! IMO the only thing it really needs is mismatched doors, then it would be about perfect.
How many projects do you have? Jimmy, C10, C30, K30, new farm place, and probably a few more projects hiding over there? I hope you never post on here that you are bored.
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:02 AM   #10
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

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The 4x4 is UGLY! I love it!!! IMO the only thing it really needs is mismatched doors, then it would be about perfect.
How many projects do you have? Jimmy, C10, C30, K30, new farm place, and probably a few more projects hiding over there? I hope you never post on here that you are bored.
The mismatched doors will go on the brown truck. C10 isn't a project at this time. I have a 47 olds for a future project also. I don't have enough time to get bored. I don't call my down time boring. It's recovery time. My body and mind need the rest.
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Old 11-25-2015, 01:04 PM   #11
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

A few days after my last post here I was laid off from work. Reduction in force, as they like to call it. Not great timing but is there ever a time when it is? I got a good severance and honestly the time off has been a huge benefit to me. I've been working my ass off on house projects both here at the farm place and my old place in town getting it ready to sell. I've had a full plate getting this place ready for winter and I'm still not done.

For a couple days there was a bit of a panic but things settled down. I had just bought the 5.3 for this truck and I asked them about the possibility of returning it. I could have but I chose to wait it out.

With the job gone, so went my main mode of transportation, my company car. The weather has been decent so for a month or so I used my 71 as a DD. Prospects for a new job were great as long as I was willing to move. I'm not. But I did get a gig as an independent contractor doing boiler inspections. It pays time and miles but no benefits. And no company car.

Which means I needed to find another option as a DD. I didn't want to buy a car that I wouldn't have a use for once I get another company car (hopefully not a long wait). The crewcabs are not good options. So I bought a 2003 yukon XL denali, because it gets great gas mileage.


Actually I got it because I liked the one I had before, it has a 6.0, AWD and 4 wheel disc breaks. It rides great and can haul or tow. And once I'm done using it as a DD it will make a great chassis for the 47 oldsmobile I have.


The pay for mileage from the job will more than cover the fuel costs and maintenance, etc. And I got it for just $3000, about half the going rate. This was mainly due to the several fault codes it had. But it ran and drove well.

So far I replaced an O2 sensor (cleared the engine check light) a flasher (fixed a blinker issue) both impact sensors (cleared the air bag light). Next is the compressor for the rear suspension to clear that code. After that I need to get the abs checked out and it should be good to go. My miles should pay off my purchase in a couple months.

Next priority was to find a snow plow. A snow blower and shovels wasn't gonna cut it with a 1/4 mile long driveway. I found that it was about the same price to buy a truck with a plow as just buying a plow. My neighbor offered to sell me his old plow truck for $2000. Its a 1956 FWD with a big ass gas engine and side wing. It's a fkn beast. A bit more than I need.


Turns out the guy buying the girlfriends place was leaving a farm place and had one to sell, so I got that. A 76 chevy K10 that runs and drives good but is rusty. The prototypical plow truck.


So lets review, I had the 71 C-10, the 79 2wd crewcab and the 82 4wd crewcab...


Plus my jimmy and then the denali...


And I bought the plow truck. I have 6 trucks.

Oh and I had just ordered new wheels for the 4wd crewcab so I could finally mount up the 35s on it. That's getting done today. Then I think I'll be putting it up for sale.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:56 PM   #12
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Came across a good deal on a 4L80e from a 2002 a couple weeks ago. My boy and I started taking some of the front end apart on the brown truck. We did a compression test on the 454, which was pretty good. We'll continue stripping off the front sheetmetal and pull the engine/tranny when we have time on a good weather day. He wants to use the engine in his own future truck project. He's pretty much a broke college student right now, but he's dreaming and I don't discourage that. He wants a 67-68 step side.

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Old 03-13-2016, 02:20 PM   #13
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Glad to hear that you're going 4L80E rather than a 60, not sure how well a 60 would do in a crew cab.

Looking forward to seeing more of the build.
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:33 PM   #14
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

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Glad to hear that you're going 4L80E rather than a 60, not sure how well a 60 would do in a crew cab.

Looking forward to seeing more of the build.
I think the 60 would be fine actually. If you compare the weight of the vehicles they are surprisingly equal. Like within 100-200 lbs compared to a newer suburban. But I'm glad I found the better tranny for it.
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:02 PM   #15
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Nice Crewcab. You mentioned you need back doors..... I wonder if the back doors from a Suburban are the same? Probably more common than crewcab doors...
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:14 PM   #16
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Nice Crewcab. You mentioned you need back doors..... I wonder if the back doors from a Suburban are the same? Probably more common than crewcab doors...
They are, which is why I'm getting it. He says the doors are good, but I haven't seen them yet. And since it was already EFI and newer tranny I may be able to use other things off it, like the speedo. I think it might be electronically driven rather than cable.
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:14 PM   #17
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

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I think the 60 would be fine actually. If you compare the weight of the vehicles they are surprisingly equal. Like within 100-200 lbs compared to a newer suburban. But I'm glad I found the better tranny for it.
60s aren't even known for their longevity in F bodies, but I'm sure it'd be fine if you drive like a granny
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Old 03-13-2016, 10:16 PM   #18
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Cool..... Suburban's are great parts vehicles..... I have three ripped apart at my farm. Too bad you are so far away..... I have one with mint rear doors,complete with the electric windows & locks. A case of beer would getem....
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:03 PM   #19
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

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60s aren't even known for their longevity in F bodies, but I'm sure it'd be fine if you drive like a granny
My 2003 Yukon Denali has over 215,000 miles on the 4L60 in it. Seems alright. It's awd and weighs a lot more than any F body so has a little more strain on it than a car. I'm not planning to race the farm truck.
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:05 PM   #20
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Cool..... Suburban's are great parts vehicles..... I have three ripped apart at my farm. Too bad you are so far away..... I have one with mint rear doors,complete with the electric windows & locks. A case of beer would getem....
Yeah, too bad. Move closer.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:38 AM   #21
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

I haven't been able to do a lot of truck work, or home repairs, or a lot of things over the last 6 weeks or so. I was having a great time drifting the ATV around the driveway until it caught an edge and threw me off. I was able to scramble away before it rolled over on me but I still ended up with a broken collar bone and 3 broke ribs. It's healing, but I'm getting older and the healing gets slower each year. So I'm still in a sling.

And I started a new job a couple weeks ago. I had been working as a part time inspector (full time hours) but they made me the western region manager now so I get benefits, a car, etc and a bunch of new responsibility. Wasn't looking for that but I tend to take opportunities when they come along.

I also found a 69 GMC shortbed in a friends backyard for my son to have as a project. He (my friend) got it because he wanted the bed for another project. So we struck a deal for the truck without the bed. It had been sitting for about 3 years or more but he drove it to it's parking spot. He managed to get it running and delivered it to us a few weeks ago.




The carb was clogged, so we swapped another one in. Runs and drives and stops. Wanders the road like a drunk clown, has rust in the usual spots, has no options beyond the heater, but it's fixable. We found a step side bed for it.




And I have been accumulating 67/68 chevy front sheetmetal for it. That's what he wants. He just graduated from auto body school and has a job working at a hot rod shop.
He was replacing the door glass in that 55 the other day...


He assembled that rolling chassis the week before...


Part of his graduation gift from me is a cab repair kit to fix the rust, and I will try to find some good tires for it. He's paying for the truck himself.

Now as for the 79, we got the sheetmetal off the front and the engine/tranny pulled out. That's a 90 suburban parts truck by it. Donor doors with power windows and locks.


Got it on the engine stand and taught him how to disassemble it and inspect for damage. Other than a worn crank timing gear, most of the bearings and worn piston skirts it looked ok. No idea why it wouldn't start but I think it was the distributor. The cam timing marks were still alignment. I'm a little worried about the crank. The engine had been rebuilt before and the crank has been ground already to .010 and .020. The journals need a little work so I hope there is enough meat there to clean it up and still have proper bearing clearances.






Yesterday we stripped most of the accesories and stuff off the 5.3. It needs a good cleaning. I'm still deciding whether or not to crack the engine open for a quickie rebuild and head swap. But for now I'm just trying get the tranny mated to the engine and see how it'll fit. I bought a new flexplate with the spacer needed to mate the torque convertor to the flexplate and a set of engine mount adaptor plates. The boy had some where to be so being partially disabled, I had to stop at this point. Also, I don't have the torque convertor bolts or the bolts for the bell housing to engine.


I'd like to get these wheels from detroit speed but they don't list an 8 lug option. I emailed them to see if they would make some, so we'll see. There are a couple other wheel builders out there to check with also.


I wanted to keep the brown and cream 2 tone, but the boy is pushing to go family truckster on it. Green with wood grain vinyl wrap...


I have a set of rebuilt 241 heads. They are slightly better for flow than the truck heads, bigger valves and as mentioned, rebuilt. They also have a larger combustion chamber which will drop compression a bit. I figure if I go with the new heads I'll put a new cam in. And if I do that I might as well do rings and bearings, which is why I'm debating this. Do I want the added work and cost or just drop it in, get it running and move forward?

I will need exhaust manifolds or headers and either a new harness or modify the original, get the computer reprogrammed, etc. Still a lot of work to do.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:53 PM   #22
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Honestly, I'd stick with the heads you already have. Those stock heads flow so well anyway. Plus, if you do decide to get a cam, the compression will be more beneficial to you than the negligible increase in flow, especially considering what you intend to use this engine for.
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Old 06-06-2016, 06:35 PM   #23
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

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Originally Posted by Nick_R_23 View Post
Honestly, I'd stick with the heads you already have. Those stock heads flow so well anyway. Plus, if you do decide to get a cam, the compression will be more beneficial to you than the negligible increase in flow, especially considering what you intend to use this engine for.
I hear ya, but the the heads that are on it have over 200k miles on them while the others are rebuilt and ready to go. If the change in performance is negligible then the choice is based on fresh vs worn and cost of gaskets.
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:20 PM   #24
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

Well, I'd still consider using what you have. With what you intend to use the engine for, you wouldn't notice the marginal gain in flow. But you will notice the drop in compression, that's what you'll want to keep for low end power.
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Old 06-11-2016, 06:31 PM   #25
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Re: HG's Bigass Farm Truck

I got some bell housing bolts from the junkyard, Cost me $5. He gave me a couple torque converter bolts to try out. They fit, so I'll stop back there and get a few more. We got the tranny and engine mated together and I think the torque converter is in correctly.


Not a ton of progress, but it's a steamy day out. I need some new engine mounts. And I think I have the exhaust situation settled. I ordered some stock trailblazer SS exhaust manifolds. Only $130 delivered from GMpartsonline.net.

Swap headers are expensive, Hooker makes some cast swap manifolds and they are about $350 or so, about the same as bare steel swap headers. The GM manifolds should be fine for this cruiser.

I think my next worry is the oil pan. I'm not sure the stock truck one will fit.
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