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Old 06-30-2016, 03:08 PM   #1
DieselRat
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87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Starting a new project, 2nd one I will have on this forum and since the general crowd here is supportive and helpful I figured I would share again!

My first project on here was this 54 GMC diesel
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827

A little story and reasoning behind this current build.
My daily driver/truck is an 00 dodge diesel. While I love it, my family is out growing it, kids are getting bigger and the suicide doors and small backseat leaves a lot to be desired. I can't afford/don't want the payments of a nice new truck with 4 doors, I started searching for older trucks that I could possibly turn into what I wanted. Even longer story short, a friend had a MINT first gen crew cab dodge short bed that I wanted in the worst way, but he just wont sell, and ended up having this squarebody fall into my lap. At first glance it was everything I DIDN'T want. 2 wd, gasser, dually, longbed. But at the same time because it was all of the above, it was about as clean as I've ever seen one since it probably never saw much winter driving.

So I drug home a crew cab dually, with a busted trans. 454/400.





It has newer paint, matching cap. NO rot what so ever. Some minor scale on the frame but floors are solid, cab corners solid, bed etc etc I couldn't say no.

So the plans were to make it 4x4, 6bt with a 5 speed, newer seats and drive it!
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54 GMC OM617 diesel swap
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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Old 06-30-2016, 03:19 PM   #2
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Pretty overwhelmed with my intended plans I just read around a drooled a lot while gathering a game plan. First order of business was to sell the 454 as I wanted to be able to show it running (and it ran very well) and get top dollar for it, I was gonna need it! Then tear the front end apart and get an axle under it.

I've read over and over again all the advise about just swapping the cab, its easier yada yada. I just don't feel like it is! Maybe if I had a gigantic garage or barn with a lift and a full band of helpers, MAYBE. But to do it solo, I just didn't see how tearing apart a perfectly good truck was going to be quicker than changing the suspension components, and now that I have it all but done....I was right...well get to that part...

I want to compile this up not only as a build of my truck, but also a little more in depth of the 4x4 swap, because I'm sure I am not the only one who gets sick of searching for posts only to have everyone say, 'find a frame and swap it over' I will admit if you are trying to keep your stock engine/trans etc then YES it may just be easier to swap, but since my engine mounts, crossmember, trans etc all needed changed anyways, it simplified some of that stuff..

My 4x4 shopping list. Necessities:
front axle
Springs
Front spring hangers/body mount
rear shackle mount or FUSH kit from offroad design
rear shackles.

rear axle:
front and rear spring hangers from a 4x4
At minimum you need the forward spring hangers, the rear you can use a shackle flip kit from Offroad design or similar.

Your build specifics may require. 4x4 engine mounts, engine crossmember, steering, trans tunnel/floor pan fron 4x4 truck, pedals and other misc interior parts.

What I actually used was: 4x4 truck front and rear spring hangers and 3" HD tuff country springs. 2wd steering box and eventually going crossover steering with a chevy passenger drop dana 60

Rear spring hangers and Offroad design 2" shackle flip.
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=711157
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Old 06-30-2016, 03:47 PM   #3
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Clean truck, I like it. Staying dually or going SRW?
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:42 PM   #4
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

I ended up scoring a whole frame with both axles under it. I tossed around the idea of swapping the cab and decided I am just going to convert my frame to 4x4 and at worst if it doesn't work I will just bolt the brackets back on the 4x4 frame and swap the cab. Foolproof!

Starting out I marked the center line of the forward most body mount on the 2x frame. Make a score on the frame and then drilled out all the rivets holding the bracket on.


After it was off I welded up all the holes and grind them smooth.(make sure you marked your center line first!)
The 4x front bracket is the same (different bolt pattern) with the spring hanger attached to the bottom of it. So I found center on that and tacked it in place on the frame before drilling all the holes and installing 7/16 hardware.


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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:50 PM   #5
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

For the rear on the FRONT you could use the stock cast spring hangers or go with an FUSH kit from offroad design. Same thing but their kit uses larger bushings and you have to use their shackles. I ended up just buying new bushings and making my own shackles for that part.

There is no direct science for figuring out where they go aside from a lot of measuring and comparing frames. I will go back and remeasure to get the correct spacing for future reference in case someone doesn't have a spare frame to measure from, but what i ended up doing was measuring from the backside of the front mount, to the front of the rear mount. Then using a hole saw to cut out the center bushing part and then bolted the bracket in to place. I will note that on the 4x4 frame the rails sweep up just ahead of these brackets and allows the spring and shackle more travel room and its mounted higher up in the frame rail on 4x4. I ended up buying shims to correct my pinion angle which I have not installed yet.
front axle pulled from the donor chassis


The old stuff comes out as a unit thankfully.

front axle jacked in to place with the stock 4x4 springs

simple shackles I made. Not finished in this pic obviously


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Old 06-30-2016, 04:59 PM   #6
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Time to move to the back. In an effort to save work I left the bed on, it would have gone a HECK of a lot easier if I had just removed it. Again I used the stock 4x4 mounts for the front of the rear springs, they drop down further than 2x4 mounts and of course the holes are different.

I have to add pics but basically the front mounts are centered on a bed brace/crossmember. They bolt through the sides and from the bottom. The 4x4 brackets are offset by about 3/4" but ALL of the bottom holes lined up, so I just bolted them in from the bottom and drilled new holes in the sides. If I hadnt done that, it would have been a lot more work to close up the holes in the frame, and that crossmember and keep everything square. We will see how much difference that 3/4" makes in shackle angle tonight when I bolt the rear back in.

For the back of the rear springs (shackle side) I decided to use offroad designs shackle flip. I went with 2" just to give it a little height and for simplicity sake of not having to remove the 4x4 mounts. NONE of the holes line up for a 2x4 frame, so welded the holes up and carefully measure from the front hanger and again from the rear of the frame to get everything symmetrical and in the right spot. Super heavy duty part and quality fabrication on Offroad designs part.

getting the rear end secured up higher than normal on some railroad ties to give myself plenty of room to work

I had a nice set of springs without the overloads in the pack that I used in the rear with the stock shackles flipped around

I dont have many pictures of the rear, I just got U bolts today that will let me finish that tonight so I will update with new pics and thoughts once thats back together.
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=711157
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:14 PM   #7
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

In the meantime while all that was going down I've been collecting parts.

Found a 6BT cummins with the VE pump for a steal, so I picked that up and got it all cleaned up, regasketed and painted. Fired it up for the first time last week and seems to run excellent with no blowby or initial problems!






Then a week later I came across an NV4500 that came with a brand new south bend clutch and flywheel


Then I found a complete intercooler setup with an HX35 as well as bellhousing adapter for the nv4500


Thats about up to date for now. On the short list of things to do is Brakes on both axles, brake lines. Change the fuel setup for the diesel pickup. Put the lift springs in the front after I mock the engine up.
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:16 AM   #8
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Nice project you got going there. Looks really clean.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:55 AM   #9
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

You did an excellent job. I have a crew cab 4x4 conversion going on as well. Trying to use 6.5 TD w/ Nv4500 Dana 60 4.10 gears NP208 tcase. I also shortened frame for short bed. It is the Lets Build a 1 Ton crew cab 4x4 thread.

How did you do the rear shackle mounts up front? I would like some more info on those. Also plans for front sway bar mount if you plan to use it. Thanks.
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2006 ECSB Silverado W/T Swap onto V8 4x4 Frame: Done - TRADED for 2001 Trans Am
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:21 AM   #10
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

I will take some pictures of the rear/front tonight. Basically I used the stock cast piece that holes the bushing. A lot of measuring and checking and drilled pilot holes. I measures from bolt hole on the front hanger, to a bolt hole in the rear bracket and just clamped it in place while I drilled the holes. It sits almost right along side that first cab mount bracket. If you don't have that frame piece from a 4x4, offroad design sells that FUSH kit which is the same thing.
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:25 AM   #11
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselRat View Post
I will take some pictures of the rear/front tonight. Basically I used the stock cast piece that holes the bushing. A lot of measuring and checking and drilled pilot holes. I measures from bolt hole on the front hanger, to a bolt hole in the rear bracket and just clamped it in place while I drilled the holes. It sits almost right along side that first cab mount bracket. If you don't have that frame piece from a 4x4, offroad design sells that FUSH kit which is the same thing.
I had a 4x4 crew cab frame to go off of, just the frames were different. The area where that part mounts was a lot taller than the 4x4, if I put it where exact measured on 4x4 on my 2wd frame the spring eye would have to be sitting almost inside the frame. So I moved it an inch down from the stock location. Now my shackle angle isn't right and I think I may need to move the front mount down an inch as well.
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1987 C20 CCSB Project-Going on 2001 Z71 Frame/ In Limbo
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:22 PM   #12
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Just browsed your thread, were in the same boat and I did the same thing. I got shims for the front axle to correct the pinion angle. I dont see it being any kind of a major issue really.
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Old 07-01-2016, 02:18 PM   #13
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

That is a really clean truck to start out with. I will be following this build. I'm still kicking around the 6BT idea for mine, but keep talking myself out of it.
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:36 PM   #14
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Any idea where about to put Trans xmember or just going to bolt engine/Trans together and put it in to see?
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1987 C20 CCSB Project-Going on 2001 Z71 Frame/ In Limbo
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:05 AM   #15
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

This is my dream truck setup. one day hopefully.

Nice build!
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:52 AM   #16
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by NastyBuzzard View Post
Any idea where about to put Trans xmember or just going to bolt engine/Trans together and put it in to see?
I had pretty much planned to just unbolt the factory one and after everything is set in just move it back to the appropriate spot and drill and mount it. I saw on another forum somewhere that the guy was able to use the stock mount (for a chevy I think) and just move the xmember back and bolt it up like normal.

Got the truck back on the ground last night and snapped some pics of my spring mounts.



front of the rear springs


rear of the rear, this is the 2" shackle flip by Offroad Design


Got all my mess cleaned up and this weekend hope to get my engine at very least mocked up and mounts and crossmember done, if not getting it in and running completely. I initially bought the conversion mount kit from TN diesel but now that I have it, its not going to work without a lot of mods in the 2wd frame. The mounts for the block on the cummins are find, but the frame rails are taller and I have the factory 4x4 engine stands modified to fit the frame, just not sure about position and using the crossmember with the kit, I may have to make my own. More on that later.
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:54 AM   #17
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by daddyjeep View Post
That is a really clean truck to start out with. I will be following this build. I'm still kicking around the 6BT idea for mine, but keep talking myself out of it.
So far the worst part of it is the cost! I think getting it in and running is going to be extremely simple. Right now my biggest obstacle is finding a damn transfer case that will work. Basically for a bolt in deal I need to find an NP205 from a first gen cummins WITH a 5 speed tranny (thats the kicker) to use the Dodge NV4500 thats the only passenger drop case with 29spline input. So if you do decide to do the swap, get yourself a chevy NV4500 with the 32spline output and finding a transfer case may be a little easier.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:10 AM   #18
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Thank you for pics! So your rear shackles for the front do look like my set up. I see you didn't use stock links that attach the leaf spring to the shackle. Are they longer than stock?
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2006 ECSB Silverado W/T Swap onto V8 4x4 Frame: Done - TRADED for 2001 Trans Am
1987 C20 CCSB Project-Going on 2001 Z71 Frame/ In Limbo
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:08 AM   #19
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

They are longer by maybe 1/2" or so. I didn't like how wimpy the stock shackles looked, and also the bolts with that funky carriage style head was not in the best shape.
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:00 AM   #20
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

I just asked because with the stock 4" length ones the eyelet was almost touching the frame. I made some temporary ones at 5" length from hole to hole and didn't have problems anymore with the eyelet being close. Still trying to work it all out and get it right.
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2004 GMC Sierra Crew Cab SB - 5.3/Auto Family Hauler
2006 ECSB Silverado W/T Swap onto V8 4x4 Frame: Done - TRADED for 2001 Trans Am
1987 C20 CCSB Project-Going on 2001 Z71 Frame/ In Limbo
1979 Trans Am - Eventually getting 6.0/T56 swap with boost
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:25 PM   #21
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Let me know if there are any more pics you wanna see, don't mind comparing notes on that stuff!

Last night I managed to put my lift springs under the front. Figured I'd rather do that without the weight of the engine on top to have to worry about. Also got my crossmember and engine mounts done. I ended up buying TN diesel conversion mounts and crossmember, only to find out they don't really work in a 2wd, and theres no real easy way to make it work as it comes. So out comes the grinder and welder.

I pulled the 4x4 mounts off of my donor frame and cut the bottom a little so they would fit inside the frame rails (instead of slitting them like I see a lot of people do) well see if that helps or hurts in the long run. The crossmember just wasn't going to work at all how he designed it so I cut the ends off and added some plate to it so I could bolt it to the mounts and to the frame itself. Unfortunately I don't have pics to share just yet. Almost guarantee I am going to have to drill new holes for the motor mounts themselves but thats no big deal. Right now debating whether or not I want to stress my hoist with the trans bolted to the engine, or do the engine by itself then try to muscle the trans into place..
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:01 AM   #22
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Some new pics! Here is the crossmember and engine stand setup. Hoping it all goes together smooth with the engine, which I hope to sit in there before the weekend is over. Also a side shot after I put the new 3" springs up front. This thing went from dragging on the ground to HUGE. Hoping it settles down some after the engine weight and springs settle some.

and yes it looks retarded with only one wheel on the back! Gotta do brakes yet so just threw them on to roll it around in the meantime.


Last night I got all the old brake lines and fuel lines pulled off. Gona clean up and paint the inside of the frame and run new lines tonight.
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=711157
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:14 AM   #23
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

That looks freaking awesome! I love your engine xmember too! Make me one!
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1987 GMC V1500- LS Swap In Progress: Full Harness Integration
2006 Cobalt LS- 2.2/5 speed 38mpg summer/36 winter
2004 GMC Sierra Crew Cab SB - 5.3/Auto Family Hauler
2006 ECSB Silverado W/T Swap onto V8 4x4 Frame: Done - TRADED for 2001 Trans Am
1987 C20 CCSB Project-Going on 2001 Z71 Frame/ In Limbo
1979 Trans Am - Eventually getting 6.0/T56 swap with boost
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:26 AM   #24
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Its actually part me and part TN diesel mount. They had it so on a 4x4 frame it would bolt into the frame and bolt to the mounts, Nothing lined up since it was a 2x4 frame so i just went at it with a saw and welder and thats what came out!
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54 GMC OM617 diesel swap
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=588827
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=711157
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:45 AM   #25
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Re: 87 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 Converion/Cummins swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselRat View Post
Its actually part me and part TN diesel mount. They had it so on a 4x4 frame it would bolt into the frame and bolt to the mounts, Nothing lined up since it was a 2x4 frame so i just went at it with a saw and welder and thats what came out!
It looks amazing! I don't have a way to weld and I am not a good welder. My friend will come help me if I beg enough but it definitely limits what I can get done. Wish mine looked like that for sure. Ugh... Now I will have to find something else besides what I have.
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1987 GMC V1500- LS Swap In Progress: Full Harness Integration
2006 Cobalt LS- 2.2/5 speed 38mpg summer/36 winter
2004 GMC Sierra Crew Cab SB - 5.3/Auto Family Hauler
2006 ECSB Silverado W/T Swap onto V8 4x4 Frame: Done - TRADED for 2001 Trans Am
1987 C20 CCSB Project-Going on 2001 Z71 Frame/ In Limbo
1979 Trans Am - Eventually getting 6.0/T56 swap with boost
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