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Old 05-13-2012, 05:37 PM   #51
dug224
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Learned that to use a 5.3 out of a truck, I will need to change the oil pan to a front sump style. As can be seen in the second photo, the oil pan hits the cross member/steering rack. Based on the "car-part.com", there are plenty of the front sump 5.3's available. Will change direction and go after one with the the correct pan. Also, maybe due to lack of demand, they appear to be slightly cheaper than the normal and more common 5.3's. The front sump aluminum block 5.3's come in the '04 or newer Envoy, Trailblazer, Ranier (Buick) and Ascender (Isuzu). There are eight of them within 100 miles of me at this time. Most are low mileage. I am still optimistic I will be able to use factory motor mounts and drop the engine right in. It also looks like I will be lowering the suspension an inch or two based on the fact that the body will have to be raised to get the engine under the hood and the trans under the firewall/floor.

...also learned that you can't stuff the engine in with the exhaust manifolds still on. Those shock towers are really tall. Ended up sliding the body way back on the frame and dropping the unit in vertically.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:55 PM   #52
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

live and learn, at least you didn't have a lot of money tied up in that motor

glad you liked the molded bed and spear idea
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:12 AM   #53
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

I think you should revisit the wheel choice and do something like this...way cool!!

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Old 05-16-2012, 06:36 AM   #54
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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I think you should revisit the wheel choice and do something like this...way cool!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJPTSaARlvs
Nice....but I think I am over the clear wheel thing. Back to real OEM aluminum. Dug
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:01 AM   #55
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Moving slowly but sill moving....Ended up getting a bargain on a 2004 Aluminum Block 5.3LS and the matching 4L60E transimssion with 66k miles out of a 2004 Envoy XL. They had it on the shelf for about 2 years. I also got all of the accessories that came with this engine except for the alternator.

Learning about what wiring stays and what wiring goes and trying to decide if I should modify the wiring or buy a wiring set completed. I was relieved that the transmission consumed about half of the open electrical plugs on the wiring harness. Pretty good source on the internet from a hands on guy who is selling his programming services.

http://lt1swap.com/programming.htm

Searching for a set of factory lower engine brackets that mount to the frame and have yet to find any cheap. The brackets I have are cast iron and are for the in-line 6 and will not work. Remember, I am basically putting an old body on a Trailblazer/Envoy frame and installing an engine that would have come in that vehicle so not a lot of heaving lifting like many of you are doing. May end up fabricating the engine brackets to take advantage of lowering the engine as low as possible in the frame. It also gives me an excuse to use my new Lincoln toy.......

.....I bought a new-in-the-box 110V Lincoln Plasma 20. Could not pass up the deal at $450. Retail at Lowes is $999 plus tax. It should be able to handle the light stuff I wil be cutting. Supposed to cut up to 1/4" hard stuff including SS and up to 3/8" mild steel.
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:32 AM   #56
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Nice score on the engine/trans.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:48 AM   #57
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Agreed...good score on the engine & trans. Are you planning to run it stock? The programmer guy looks like he has all the bases covered and $75 sounds reasonable.
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:06 PM   #58
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

DeeGee: Sticking with the stock approach for now. Went on a boat ride the other day and came home with a water front lot in Orange Beach, AL which I am sure will become a major distraction from the truck. This is what hapens when you see a for sale sign and make the mistake of asking "what's the deal with this lot?". My buddies response was the "you wont believe how cheap it is". He was right. Will need a dependable daily driver to get the new house (at least one year away) built so that is what I will focus on. The good news is that house is on piers 12 feet in the air and all he space under the house will be my new air conditioned garage. Maybe after the house build, I can squeeze some more horsepower out of it.

Got the brackets for the engine yesterday and got the engine and transmission installed this morning. Looks like the transmission does not quite reach the cross member in my 6 cylinder frame and the trans opening in the cab may need to be trimmed. May have to make a bracket for the tailpiece. Otherwise, the thing fits perfectly with the exception of having to shorten two of the bolts for the frame motor mounts that touch the 5.3 motor mounts. Would have done it with my new Plasma Cutter but somebody swiped it from the guy I was buying it from fortunately before I paid him.

Will have to mount the fender and hood to determine once and for all if I can go with the location of the cab (vertically) that resulted from the earlier stance study. If so, no suspension lowering will be required. Should be able to get this done by the end of this coming weekend. There appears to be plenty of room between the firewall and the engine.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:50 PM   #59
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Your truck looks great and good luck with the house project. In the earlier pictures (where you had it loaded with sand to get to your projected final stance), did you happen to measure from the ground to the Rockers? I like the stance, and am evaluating ideas for a 1955 stepside that I have. I too have a friend in the salvage business. He has a 2004 Envoy that had an interior fire that would be a great platform to begin. My wife has an Envoy Denali that rides like a caddie, so the more I think about it, the better your plan looks.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:55 AM   #60
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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Your truck looks great and good luck with the house project. In the earlier pictures (where you had it loaded with sand to get to your projected final stance), did you happen to measure from the ground to the Rockers? I like the stance, and am evaluating ideas for a 1955 stepside that I have. I too have a friend in the salvage business. He has a 2004 Envoy that had an interior fire that would be a great platform to begin. My wife has an Envoy Denali that rides like a caddie, so the more I think about it, the better your plan looks.
Ricott: Thanks. The only thing more fun than building a house is building this truck.

Let me start by saying that the credit for the plan goes to Dynacorn & Lingenfelter. It stopped me in my tracks immediately and headed me off into this direction.

The measurement that keeps showing up that looks right to my eye is the dimension from the front of the rocker panel (at the rear of the front fender) nearest to the ground and it is 9"+/-. The lip of the front fender is 27" off of the ground at the center of the wheel and the back one is 24-3/8" which will be meaningless to you since you have a stepside. Once I get the fenders and hood on today, I will give you some new dimensions for the front. Not in the mood to reload the back suspension this weekend with sand so those dimensions will have to wait.

Other things to remember if you head down the T.B./Envoy path is...
- The wheel offset is not old school looking. You don't get the deep dish look which took some getting used to for me.
- Although I have tentatively chosen not to do so, the frame is strechable by merely grinding a few welds and pulling the frames halves apart. I intend to shorten my bed and/or tighten cap between cab and frame to get the wheels located properly in the wheel openings.
- Based on my research and what I have seen at car auctions, GM did not make a ton of 5.3 powerer T.B.'s/Envoy's. Ideally, had I waited on a wrecked 5.3 powered frame, I would mostly into body work rather than figuring out what I am missing and trying to adapt the 5.3 stuff to the 6 cyl frame. Still having more fun than should be allowed.
- My attempt to keep all the stock suspension travel may make locating the radiator a challenge. Based on the last time I mocked up the body, the frame rails were very high into the area where the radiator belongs. I will take some photos today on what I will have to do to notch the frame to get the radiator under the hood.

Assume you have a thread going...if not, get busy and get some photos up there so we all can enjoy.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:56 PM   #61
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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Your truck looks great and good luck with the house project. In the earlier pictures (where you had it loaded with sand to get to your projected final stance), did you happen to measure from the ground to the Rockers? I like the stance, and am evaluating ideas for a 1955 stepside that I have. I too have a friend in the salvage business. He has a 2004 Envoy that had an interior fire that would be a great platform to begin. My wife has an Envoy Denali that rides like a caddie, so the more I think about it, the better your plan looks.
ricott: I may not be right on the 9" dimension I mentioned. Fenders and hood are on and I am at 11.5" which is slightly higher looking than I remember liking. Once I get the radiator, engine accessories, bumper, etc. installed, it may compress another inch or so.
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:07 PM   #62
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Hood and fenders on. Looked at the photos just before the last teardown and realized the cab was 1.5" short of where I had decided it needed to be so I raised it. Hood cross member resting on intake so I will modify it to miss the engine. The photo is taken just behind the passenger headlight bucket. Will reload the frame with sand this weekend to see where the stance lands. Without the full sand load, the leading edge of the rocker is 11.5" off the ground which is slightly too high for my eye. We are getting close.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:45 PM   #63
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

This is looking awesome. I don't regret the C4 suspension swap I did on mine but if I had known this about the TB frame swap 3.5 years ago I may have done that instead. Just seems like less work. Can't wait to see it done!
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Old 06-09-2012, 05:31 AM   #64
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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This is looking awesome. I don't regret the C4 suspension swap I did on mine but if I had known this about the TB frame swap 3.5 years ago I may have done that instead. Just seems like less work. Can't wait to see it done!
OKGMC4: Thanks. The C4 is an incredible swap and has somewhat of a more desirable ring to it. I would rather say I was sitting on a C4 than a Trailblazer. As cheap as I can get a running C4 here in the South, it was tempting. The reality of my experience set in which sent me to in the T.B. direction.

I have been studying your LS install (..and dash...and paint...etc...) for months. May need some advice as I proceed especially on the wiring. Early in your build I noticed zero wiring on your engine. Maybe I should take more pictures and make some sketches and remove my wiring since everytime I see the bundle, it kind of freaks me out. The good news is that I have accounted for what most of the plugs go to so the wiring stress is lessening. I am trying not to get too far ahead of the matter at hand in order to keep motivated.

Plan on clipping the front frame rails off to see if the sheetmetal between the fenders fits. It's going to be close since there is a giant sway bar right in the area that I need to cut.
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:36 AM   #65
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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I intend to shorten my bed and/or tighten cap between cab and frame to get the wheels located properly in the wheel openings.
For small changes you can build an offset spring pad to weld on the axle. Combine it with a very large bottom leaf like the "helper" in an early 90's GM 1/2 ton and you'll have no problems.

Wiring scares people and I'm not sure why. I see people cutting and welding frames, playing with brakes, putting together suspension components that were never meant to be together and they seem to have no worries about the parts failing or not working as expected in an emergency. Yet they're scared to death of working on a part that, if it fails, is more likely to strand you than injure you. There are a lot of wires in a TB but it's possible to get diagrams for every circuit in that vehicle. And most of what you're doing is going to center around removing unwanted circuits which isn't a complicated process. If you decide to DIY there is help available.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:06 AM   #66
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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For small changes you can build an offset spring pad to weld on the axle. Combine it with a very large bottom leaf like the "helper" in an early 90's GM 1/2 ton and you'll have no problems.

Wiring scares people and I'm not sure why. I see people cutting and welding frames, playing with brakes, putting together suspension components that were never meant to be together and they seem to have no worries about the parts failing or not working as expected in an emergency. Yet they're scared to death of working on a part that, if it fails, is more likely to strand you than injure you. There are a lot of wires in a TB but it's possible to get diagrams for every circuit in that vehicle. And most of what you're doing is going to center around removing unwanted circuits which isn't a complicated process. If you decide to DIY there is help available.
Good idea. I will definitely study the offset spring pad before diving into the body work. As for the wiring, I will take the DIY approach. Not freaked out about the technical aspects, just the tediousness of reducing the number of circuits. The guy I mentioned in an earlier thread provides all I need to get it done plus the reprogramming of the computer for a small fee. Thanks Dug.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:30 AM   #67
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

I cut the frame ends and got the front sheet metal between the fenders mounted in order to see where I am going with the core support. After looking long and hard at modifying the stock core support, decided to fab one out of angle iron and a pair of the body mounts I cut off the frame. Will use the factory isolators as well. This will allow me to maximize the radiator square footage over modifying the stock core support. I won't be using the stock style radiator. The factory radiator lower hose connection point hits the front cross member and it is too tall for the final vertical body location.

Turns out, the T.B. setup is asymmetric with the engine moved slightly to the right by a couple of inches. Can be seen with the transmission location in the trans cab floor cutout and through the grill (4th picture below). With all the adjustments made setting up the cab, looks like I ended up having plenty of clearance between the transmission and cab.
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:00 PM   #68
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Outstanding job really like your truck!
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:08 PM   #69
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Looks like you're going to get it to fit just fine.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:56 PM   #70
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Thanks for the update on the body height. I don't have a build blog on this vehicle at this time as my son and I are finishing up a frame off restomod of a 1966 GTO for him. The car has a 6 Liter Escalade engine with a T56 six speed from a 2000 Camaro. We are completing the wiring of the car right now, and will be installing the glass this weekend. When I bought the 55 pickup earlier this spring I thought we would be finished with the GTO by now - but we all know how deadlines slip!!! I went to my friend's salvage yard today and discussed my plan to use a Trail Blazer/Envoy frame on my 55 pickup. He has 13 of these vehicles on his yard. One was a 2005 with 27,000 miles, and another was a 2005 extended cab that had a cab fire. I will continue to follow your build, and I'm sure this is the way I will be going.

The build of the GTO is at Hotrodders.com - Projects and builds section - under 1966GTO.

Last edited by ricott; 06-09-2012 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:04 AM   #71
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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Originally Posted by ricott View Post
Thanks for the update on the body height. I don't have a build blog on this vehicle at this time as my son and I are finishing up a frame off restomod of a 1966 GTO for him. The car has a 6 Liter Escalade engine with a T56 six speed from a 2000 Camaro. We are completing the wiring of the car right now, and will be installing the glass this weekend. When I bought the 55 pickup earlier this spring I thought we would be finished with the GTO by now - but we all know how deadlines slip!!! I went to my friend's salvage yard today and discussed my plan to use a Trail Blazer/Envoy frame on my 55 pickup. He has 13 of these vehicles on his yard. One was a 2005 with 27,000 miles, and another was a 2005 extended cab that had a cab fire. I will continue to follow your build, and I'm sure this is the way I will be going.

The build of the GTO is at Hotrodders.com - Projects and builds section - under 1966GTO.
Man..you are busy. I visited the 1966GTO build. Surprised the hood closes over all that engine. Great project. The '58 Corvette is one of my all time favorites. May have to touch base with you when I get to the wiring.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:55 AM   #72
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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As for the wiring, I will take the DIY approach. Not freaked out about the technical aspects, just the tediousness of reducing the number of circuits.
Try dragging the harness into the living room so you can work with it while watching TV. Your wife's reaction will make the job seem much less tedious.

Actually, I reworked a Toyota truck engine harness in my kitchen over about a month so it would fit a GM computer. I did the work while watching my newborn son in the evenings. I find that part of the project goes better if combined with other tasks to break up the monotony.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:59 PM   #73
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Got busy again today and spent a couple of hours measuring and measuring and measuring so I can start attaching the body to the frame. As I mentioned, nothing is symetrical about this frame and, as a result, the cab actually sits about 0.5" off center to the right. Got the rear cab mounts fabricated and sitting on top of the frame ready to be welded. Used the ones I cut off the new frame including the rubber. You can see where they were cut off the frame just to the right and down in the closeup. Once I pin down the rear, I will be able to take all the front sheet metal back off and get the front cab mounts in place.

Trimmed the core support mounting points off and slid it down between the front sheet metal and frame ends. Almost looks like I did it on purpose. Will require more fitting and some fresh mounting points. Will proabably use the core support mounts that came off the new frame for this as well.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:05 PM   #74
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

Subscribed, very interesting build, keep up the good work!
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:27 PM   #75
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Re: Dug's 1959 Fleetside

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Outstanding job really like your truck!
Thanks...had a four day flurry of activity. Tends to grind to a halt during the week. Love your steering wheel. What is it out of?
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