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Old 05-08-2009, 02:54 PM   #1
Keith Seymore
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Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Gentlemen -

I thought I'd give a brief introduction since I'm going to be posting here.

I started my GM career at Chevrolet Flint Assembly, the plant that produced C/K pickups, Blazers and Suburbans, back in June of 1979 (pickups were built on Line 1; Blazer/Suburban were build on Line 2). As a GMI student (ie, "General Motors Institute" - GM's own college) we worked in every area of the plant, including Engineering, Specifications, Material, Production, Inspection, Maintenance, etc in order to provide a well rounded, cooperative work experience.

After I graduated with my Engineering degree my first "real" job was as a Production Supervisor, Line 1 (pickups) Fender Set area, second shift. My area started just after body drop and extended down to "hood set". We installed the fenders, batteries, manual shift levers and spare tires, and tightened down the box bolts (plus any body mount bolts the previous area missed!). I had 27 production operations on the line, plus a couple absentee replacements, a couple "Utility men", one repair man on each side of the line plus one Quality Man (which is your "right hand" man), for a total of about 39 hourly employees.

After doing that for a couple years, in 1986 I was able to move over into an Engineering/Assembly liaison position. In this role, the engineer travels from plant to plant, assisting in new product launches and resolving start up build issues. During this time I was able to travel to the other C/K plants, like Oshawa, St Louis, and Pontiac, becoming familiar with their build processes and the similarities/differences to the Flint plant.

Next, I moved to the GM Milford Proving Ground as a full vehicle Development Engineer, still associated with the C/K/R/V vehicle. One of the issues I worked on was the old "brake pull" issue, which some of you might remember (particularly bad on the straight axle Blazer). I used to bring customer vehicles on property to work on or travel to various dealerships around the country to fix trucks that they could not.

After three years at Milford I was fortunate enough to weasel my way to the GM Desert Proving Ground. During my four years at the Desert I was first a driveline development engineer for light truck and then a brake development engineer, still for truck.

My first Design/Release position was back here in Michigan in January of 1994. I was the Engine Air Induction DRE for the GMT800 program. The airbox I designed is still in use today. By this time the organization had restructured from its previous "platform" organization into a "matrix structure". Most of the engineers became subject matter experts (ie, the tire/wheel guy would release tires across all GM model lines, as would the interior guy or the body guy) but a few of us became "Platform Engineers", staying with the respective models. During this time I was the vehicle engineer on the 2001 GMT820D and 2002 GMT820C (the Denali and Escalade), the 2003 pickup, wrote the original engineering plan for what would become the Hummer H2, the 2007 GMT900 SUVs and back to the 2008 H2 program. During this time I worked in every Full Size Truck assembly plant in North America, including the aforementioned Flint, Oshawa, St Louis and Pontiac plants, as well as Arlington, Janesville, Silao and Mishawaka. Finally, after 29 years and 7 months, I left the truck group and have moved over to the Chevy Volt program, which is where I am today.

Wow. I didn't mean for this to be so long, or to sound like bragging - but - I just wanted to mention it in case any of you have any questions about how these trucks were built or GM assembly processes in general.

I say all of this by way of introduction to my specific truck, which I will post about next.

K

Chevrolet Flint Assembly Line supervisor
1979-1986
GM Full Size Truck Engineering
1986 - 2009

My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524

Last edited by Keith Seymore; 02-16-2015 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:56 PM   #2
Keith Seymore
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

We've owned about a half dozen of these little trucks, including a '69 GMC stepside, a '75 fleetside, an '80, an '82 and this one (all 2wd shortboxes).

As I mentioned, here is my latest project:

(New):





This is my '87 Chevy pickup, of which I am the original owner. In fact, I ordered this truck and followed it down the assembly line as it was being built. It was coming down out of paint and into the trim area at the beginning of second shift. I picked it up there and followed the body through trim with no issues. When the cab and box were complete, I hopped downstairs to the engine line and followed it through the process (we changed out the oil filter and fixed a cross threaded dust cover bolt). By then the chassis had started on the rivet line; I followed the chassis, then the engine/chassis assembly down to body drop. Once the cab and box were set it's a straight shot down the final line to the end. During roll test the inspector wrote up an A/C charge (which I bought off on) and that the backup lights were not working. The lights were repaired on the "short line" repair line, after which I drove the truck myself off the line and over to the shipping building. I told "Lloyd" that this was my personal truck, left the plant at 1 am and by 5 pm that same day it was at Hank Graff Chevrolet in Davison, Michigan.

I owned this truck for two years in Michigan and then two years in Arizona. By then I had been promoted to a GM Company Vehicle driver and, not having need of this truck, sold it to my father - in - law. He owned the truck, in Arizona and Montana, until his passing last August (of 2008). Having bequeathed it to me, it's now back, cosmetically a little worse for wear but in great shape mechanically.

So that makes me both the original and third owner of this truck (lol).

Here it is today:














I've already got some of the parts on order to fix it back up, starting with the interior (the seat's already been redone). I hope to get it repainted over the GM shutdown period in July and then I intend to drive it.

K

Last edited by Keith Seymore; 12-03-2009 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:58 PM   #3
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Few more "now" pics:
















Last edited by Keith Seymore; 02-09-2010 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Funny story about ordering and building this truck:

I ordered it just like the other trucks that my family drove: manual windows and locks, no air, etc. Sometime between the time I ordered the truck and before it was built I got the word that I was going to the Desert Proving Ground. In a panic, I tracked the order down and was able to get air conditioning added to the truck before it was built.

That was only the first hold up. I ordered the truck with the MY0 (aka MY6) manual overdrive trans (3rd gear is 1:1 and 4th gear is an overdrive, with a floor mounted Hurst shifter). This was about the time when Mr Gasket was buying out Hurst and, because GM was not sure they could get the shifters, they placed this transmission combination on "Stop Order". I received word that my truck would not be built and so I started fretting about what I might be able to do for "Plan B" (...order the three on the tree Saginaw trans and then replace it with my own Saginaw four speed with a floor shift, etc).

During this time I was walking through the plant, past the motor line, and I noticed a bunch of these transmissions on pallets: stacked up, dozens and dozens of them. I called the Material Control supervisor over and asked him "...how many of those transmissions do you think you have?".

"Probably a hunnert" he said.

"Don't you think we oughta' build 'em, rather than leaving them sit there?" I suggested

He thought that was a pretty good idea, so when I got back to the office I mentioned it to my boss.

We ended up building one hundred of those trucks under a temporary deviation (one of which, naturally, was mine).

K

Chevrolet Flint Assembly Line supervisor
1979-1986
GM Full Size Truck Engineering
1986 - 2009

My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524

Last edited by Keith Seymore; 02-16-2015 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:16 PM   #5
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Wow! Thank you for all the amazing info. And, welcome to the board. You have surely got some info & knowledge that we will all benefit from.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:25 PM   #6
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Thank you; I hope so.

Here's a pic of the "father" of the little red truck: this was my '80 stepside, also ordered new and followed through the assembly plant.

You might notice some tricks here, like lowered about 6" in back, 4" in front, spare tire mounted in the box, etc. Some of the tricks you can't see are a 292 cu in straight six with dual exhausts, a 4 speed saginaw with floor mounted shifter, and a platform hitch that comes out from behind the license plate.



I sold this one in about 1985/86 when I became a company vehicle driver the first time...
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

...and here's the "grandpa".

At the left of the photo you can just barely see the rear of our '69 GMC (this is the only photo I have, I think).

This one was also a straight six, bored and stroked to 305 cu in (dual exhaust), with a homemade tripower intake and 3 Rochester 2 bbl carbs installed, actuated by a Pontiac tripower progessive linkage. A 3.11:1 low gear Saginaw fed back to a 3.73 axle, which made for some pretty exciting launches.



This photo is circa 1969; for the purposes of this discussion you may disregard the '65 GTO (which I also still have - see link below).

K

Chevrolet Flint Assembly Line supervisor
1979-1986
GM Full Size Truck Engineering
1986 - 2009

My Pontiac story: http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/...d.php?t=560524

Last edited by Keith Seymore; 02-16-2015 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:37 PM   #8
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Talking Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Hey Keith, Thats a very Kool story about your truck and a neat career you'v had and still do.

I too ordered my truck new in jan of '87 and picked it up in Homestead Fl. in june of '87.

It's kinda kool to talk to a guy that may have seen her being built or maybe even built a part of my truck.

I think you are gonna be bombbarded by everyone here for info on these trucks.

BTW do you have and plant pic's of these trucks on the line and finished units sitting in the GM lot ? if so it would be really kool to see 'em.

Tnkx.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:45 PM   #9
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

I smiled the whole way through your posts sir, it's AWESOME to have you here! Welcome!!!!

Walking down the assembly line with your truck as it's being built must be the coolest thing ever. EVER.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:52 PM   #10
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

I too would like to see production line pictures! You may have seen mine built too. I got one of the lovely mint green Forest Service units.
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Last edited by Driveway Dreams; 05-08-2009 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:17 PM   #11
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Amazing story Keith, thanks for sharing it and thank you very much for your years of service to GM and creating these great trucks. We're all passionate about these trucks and it's an honor to have you on the board!

That truck, with that history is deserving of more than just a new paint job! Time to restore it and keep it in the family
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:00 PM   #12
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

cool story, cool truck! Welcome from the southwest corner of the state!
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:21 PM   #13
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Awsome story, Welcome!!!
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:25 PM   #14
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Yo! Keith!
What can ANY of us say,...WOW!! We are SO glad to have you join us here on the forum!
I truly envy your automotive experience,...I would have LOVED to have been an automotive engineer. Good thing I changed my engineering goal, though,...it took me three years to get to calculus!
The very best of luck with the Volt!
Again, welcome to the forum!
Todd.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:53 PM   #15
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Keith!

Wow!!

I nominate your post as the "Best Post Ever"!

Awesome story and welcome to the forum!

First question, why did you guys allow the rust monsters into the plant? LOL!
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:35 PM   #16
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Keith, welcome to the forum. You will find all levels of truck enthusiasts here. The guys that use them for their one and only piece of transportation all the way to the restored and custom guys (and gals) that keep them covered in a garage.

Regardless of who we are, you are the guy that we would all love to be. As much as some of us think we know about these trucks, you can pretty much trump any of us at will.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:19 PM   #17
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Keith,
Outstanding posts and welcome from the state of Texas. What else can you say, but that you are the man! We look forward to more information posts and photos. You will no doubt be a wealth of knowledge for us. Keep 'em coming!
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:36 PM   #18
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

wow keith, what a post.. welcome from australia, you probly seen my truck get built and now its on the other side of the planet...
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:43 PM   #19
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Keith: Welcome from smoky SoCal. Very impressive resume. You'll be an asset to us all.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:43 PM   #20
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

wow what a job!....=]
do you have any pics of the line of trucks being built?
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:15 PM   #21
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Keith, welcome to the board. Loved reading your introduction, the photos are cool too!

You may have seen these...heck, you may even be in one of the pics..but here are some pics GM sent me a couple years ago. Might bring back memories!

http://www.73-87.com/7387info/Assembly%20Line.htm
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:52 PM   #22
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

That is a great story man. Welcome.

I think it would be nothing better than watching your own truck on the assembly line.

I see your truck has some unusual options. I have never heard of that trans option. I knew ford had a trans like that, because I have one, but not Chevrolet. (notice Chevy is capitalized). I have never seen one in a truck.
Also your truck has the tachometer. It is only the second truck that model I have seen with a tach. Nice. I love those 87's with the fuel injection. I am looking at one now to fix up.

We like all of those assembly plant stories.

Would love to hear about some of the more unusual options you saw go by while you were working on the 79-87 trucks.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:55 PM   #23
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

welcome aboard keith.i look forward to your insight on these trucks.i own one that i always wondered "what the heck were they thinking?"...a 2wd,short box diesel with a two piece driveline.somebody thought it was going to sell.but,as we know it didn't.good luck with your 87.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:56 PM   #24
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Wecome to the board from Tx . I read every word and I am a model for ADD. Great read and a neat story . Your trucks are definitely unique with the combos you ordered them with . Being an insider and knowing what was available sure helps . I would love to be able to watch a vehicle I ordered being built on the line . You had the opportunity to go a step farther by having a hand in on the build itself .
It sounds like you have a respect and admiration for the job and the employer . Lets hope that the company can pull through the times ahead and you can add to the story of your career with a hand in more GM vehicles .

Thanks for being a part of the thing that we here on this board all admire.
Frank
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:45 AM   #25
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Re: Intro from an old Assembly Plant guy

Welcome to the boards! That is definitely a cool story and unique experiences. I would love to have met someone who built my 77. I have met Boeing Super Hornet builders and it has made the jets I work on more interesting.
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