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Old 09-19-2011, 04:41 AM   #1
Blake_H
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'86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

I started my project on Friday evening. I am swapping an 8.1l into my '86 crew cab. There is a long story that goes with it, so if you have some place to be you might want to go do it and come back later.

I grew up on a drag strip and various construction sites. My dad was a contractor and owned a drag strip in Southern Idaho. He used to take us on a family vacation every year to the world finals, first at Ontario then Orange County and then to Pomona. I grew up around all these racers using Chevy crew cabs and Chapparel trailers. I knew someday I would have one of those, I just didn't know it would take me until my mid 30's to start to put it together.

Anyway, in 2007 I started looking for a crew cab to use. After looking for months, my dad called and told me about a crew cab a friend of his had for sale. It supposedly had a newer motor, a rebuilt trans, it was what I wanted and we didn't have to drive anywhere to get it. Bonuses all the way around. At the same time I brokered a deal for a Chapparel trailer that was in Kentucky. So, the trailer sat in Kentucky and the truck sat parked until May of 2008. The stars aligned, and we could finally plan to get the trailer picked up. I started driving the truck around after I sold my F**d diesel truck. I did the normal stuff, plugs, wires, etc. and had it smogged. It flunked because the gas caps had cracked and broken seals on them. I replaced them and it passed. I hate smog checks! Otherwise it seemed to be a good truck. The 2 weeks before we left it had been to the radiator shop, to be checked out. They replaced the power steering pump and repaired the leaking radiator. Then to the drive line shop to get it balanced and then to the tranny shop for a service and inspection. We were ready.

We finally left for Kansas in July. The plan was for us to meet my brother in Kansas City to get the trailer and attend our cousin's wedding. He would leave Charlotte and pick up the trailer in Kentucky and meet us. Because he lives in Charlotte we don't get to see him, or his family often and the rest of the family was going to the wedding so it was a win-win for all of us. My dad and I left for what should have been a 2 day drive just as gas hit $4.00 a gallon. By Salt Lake City I knew this was going to be an expensive trip. We were only getting about 6 mpg and around 75 mph it would stumble occasionally. We spent the night in Rock Springs and when we got up the next morning it wouldn't start. I had a spare coil in the back seat, so we swapped it out, and voila! we were running again. We stopped the next night in Kearney, Nebraska. Got up and went to breakfast and then the no start problem again. Replaced the coil, and bought a spare. I was starting to question my logic of purchasing this truck. It was still stumbling at high speed in the heat of the day and seemed to be running hot. We made it to Baldwin City, KS. where we were staying with a friend of mine.

We arrived a day before my brother and got the gooseneck hitch installed at a friends race shop. We met my brother in K.C. for dinner. When I pulled in the parking lot and saw my trailer I almost hit a parked car. It was huge. I was excited beyond belief. We ate dinner and the excitement started to wear off. When we got on the freeway, my friend was in the lead and driving like a mad man. My brother, in his F-350 diesel, with the trailer was behind him and we were bringing up the rear. They left us in the dust, and my brother nearly ran over the mad man. I told my dad that maybe a gas powered truck might not be the smartest idea. We shrugged it off and caught up.

Had a great time at the wedding with all the family and started out the next morning. We stopped at the Home Depot in Topeka to get padlocks for the trailer doors. Things were going well.
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Normally it is a 2 day drive from Baldwin City, KS, where we stayed to home. It was not going to go that well this time. With the trailer on it stumbled bad, like it was starving for fuel at anything above 50 mph. It was a warm Kansas summer day and it was running really hot. We would go down the road and then pull over. Not to mention I realized at this point that I was only getting 4 mpg with the trailer. We finally gave up at Goodland, KS and spent the night. In the hotel parking lot we flushed the radiator and put mostly water in. We changed the t-stat. We also were having to bang on the starter to get it to turn over. So dad rebuilt that in the room. At 10 that night I disconnected the trailer and went for a test drive. Everything was great. It ran smooth, ran cool and everything seemed good. We hooked the trailer back up and went to bed.

The next day was just as bad. I was on the phone constantly with a friend of mine who owned the radiator shop trying to diagnose the problem. We worked like crazy the whole way. My dad, who has a crew cab and had a fleet of 73-84 Chevy trucks for his company, was stumped. The radiator guy was stumped. I was pissed. In the parking lot of the Napa parts store in Limon, CO we had the coil tested, it was nearly fried again. We bought a mechanical temp gauge and installed that. Refilled the cooling system and checked the oil, again, and no coolant in it. 2 hours out of Denver I started calling F**d dealerships to see if I could get another F-350. I was ready to pull the trigger, but the hitch, and of course the big fat payment were standing in my way.

Once we got through Denver and the sun started to go down, it started to cool off and quit stumbling so bad we could drive at 65 mph. All the while trying to figure out just what the hell was going on. We pretty much decided the only thing it could be was a head gasket. So, as we were headed into Cheyenne, we decided we would pull the heads in the morning and check. When we checked in to the hotel in Cheyenne, I asked for a phone book and started calling machine shops to find one to deck the heads for us. The first one I called answered the phone at 8 o'clock at night. I explained the situation and he said bring down in the morning. We did just that.

The machinist looked the truck over and sent us to a mechanic who was old school in every sense of the phrase. The machinist didn't want us to do all that work only to have it not be a head gasket. He suggested the mechanic first. The mechanic spent 2 hours going over it and all he could come up with was timing. So he adjusted it and sent us on our way. It ran good until 5 miles out of town as were climbing Sherman Hill and then it started stumbling again. It wasn't over heating to bad, but was still at 230.

It really got bad in the middle of nowhere Wyoming and we had to pull over. My dad is one of those cool customer types that I have only seen mad 3-4 times in my life. Most of those were because of me, but not all. This was the most frustration I've ever seen out of the man, and it was right there on the side of the highway in Wyoming. All the smog junk on the truck made it worse for him and he was about to give up. Then he had my put the parking brake on, stand on the brakes and the throttle at the same time while standing in front of it. After revving it up, it's stumbling and trying to move, he told me to stop, and wanted to know which tank we were on, I said right, and slammed the hood and walked back to the passenger side by the fuel inlet and did something. Got in and said stand on it. I didn't ask any questions, put the blinker on and I took off down the freeway. Lo and behold, hallelujah no stumble. I then asked and he all he did was loosen the gas cap. Remember the failed smog test? We made it into Rawlins and spent the night.

By now, I was overdue at work by a day. Dad was missing work as well and we were both thankful that my wife and my mother had not been able to make the trip with us. It would have been that much worse.

We were close to home now. Only 12 hours away. We were tired and the frustration was wearing on both of us. The lone bright spot through the whole thing was the trailer towed beautiful. It was such an improvement over the Featherlite tag we had sold earlier.

Anyway, overheating was our enemy on this day. After we got through Salt Lake City, we hit the Great Basin desert that is western Utah and Northern Nevada. There are 3 decent size mountain passes on I-80 and we hit the first one outside of Wells, NV and the temp skyrocketed. We had to drive in the afternoon heat with the windows down and the heater on. It was miserable. By the time we hit Winnemucca, the sun was going down and it was running cooler. We stopped for gas (a frequent occurrence on this trip) and we were both checking under the hood when I notice a huge bubble in the upper radiator hose. It was 8:30 at night and parts stores are not plentiful in beautiful downtown Winnemucca. Luckily we found an Auto Zone, but to continue our good luck, no hose. The guy did tell us there was one in Reno and he could have it for us in 2 days. I thought my dad was going to kill him on the spot. But, he was ready to call the Napa guy at home and ask him to open there store for us, when another parts guy said they had one for a truck without A/C. I said sold and we made it work. Did our now routine coolant system maintenance and we were off.

I got home and slept for a day and a half. Went back to work for a few days and noticed I had lost 15 lbs. That's important because I have made that trip plenty of times and normally gain 8-10 lbs. A few more days of non eventful things go by and I get really sick. I end up sitting at home for 2 months while the doctors try to figure out what was wrong. Short part of the story. Heart problems due to stress and had to change jobs.

Anyway, give a guy who works 10-12 hours a day and has projects up the wazzu an order to park on the couch for 2 months and a laptop and look out!
I used that time to research a more powerful/economical option for this crew cab. That's when I found out about the 8.1l Vortec engine from GM. I researched the motor and trans combos. I bought an 8.1l off eBay and had it sitting at my dad's. It was then that I researched everything I could and tried to find anything I could about swapping one in. I joined Capt. Kaos' forum to look for info and ultimately ended up here looking for info.

I had to have something to drive, so I bought my '87 and really used this forum to learn how to work on these trucks. Now I have 3 of them and can say it is an addiction.

So that brings us to this thread. I started prepping for this swap this past spring. Gathering parts, talking to DirtyLarry, getting a trans, getting a harness, tracking down accessory brackets and getting the harness worked over and ecm tuned. I have a few misc. things to left to get, but I had to start this weekend in order to get the truck into the exhaust shop in the morning.

We got the truck moved from my house to my dad's on Friday.
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Then out with the old.
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And in with the new.
[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

That's where is at tonight. Motor is in and trans is in. Ready to be towed to the exhaust shop. From there tomorrow night it goes to the drive line shop and then back home to be wired and put back together.

Hope I didn't kill anyone with the long winded story, but I get asked all the time how and why did I end up wanting to do an 8.1l instead of a Cummins or other diesel swap. While I was sitting on the couch for 2 months, I looked into those. At that time no one had done a Duramax, that I could find. And no one had done a Cummins with an automatic transmission which is critical for us and what we are doing. My brother is a diesel mechanic by trade so I have really had to hear from him the last 3 years. I did find an automatic that would live behind a Cummins, but it is $7,500.00 which is too much for me.

So, that's how I ended up with 8.1l. I am trying to have this done by the end of the month, so I will try and update it every evening.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:38 PM   #2
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Oh god. I had the same thing happen to me with the gas cap. I an issue with my truck randomly stalling out and not wanting to start back up. When I'd pop the cap off to the fill the tank, I'd get the "hissss" but since all new cars do it I was used to it and I never thought much of it.

Then I realized, my truck was non emissions and the tanks should vent the atmosphere, meaning there should be no pressure at all. I drop the tank and the 5/16 vent tube was clogged SOLID. Turns out that "hissss" was air entering the tank, from the vacuum the fuel pump had pulled on it. That electric fuel pump died not too long after.

Nice truck though and I think you will love that modern drivetrain.

Since you are going to be doing a lot of pulling, I'd recommend installing a spin on filter somewhere on the transmission cooler lines. You just use a oil filter relocation bracket that takes a common 3/4-16 oil filter. The filter in the pan doesn't catch the really fine stuff, but the oil filter will. I believe the Allison and other big automatics use an external filter to increase the transmission life. It's a $30-$40 dollar modification that will make that transmission last a lot longer.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:03 PM   #3
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

I'll be watching this build, if you don't mind.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:16 AM   #4
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

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Originally Posted by Pyrotechnic View Post
Since you are going to be doing a lot of pulling, I'd recommend installing a spin on filter somewhere on the transmission cooler lines. You just use a oil filter relocation bracket that takes a common 3/4-16 oil filter. The filter in the pan doesn't catch the really fine stuff, but the oil filter will. I believe the Allison and other big automatics use an external filter to increase the transmission life. It's a $30-$40 dollar modification that will make that transmission last a lot longer.

I was looking at those, I'm just not sure yet of where to put it. The trans and engine oil coolers should be here in the next day or two. That's why I wanted the exhaust done first, so I can plumb all this stuff in and keep it away from it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:17 AM   #5
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

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I'll be watching this build, if you don't mind.

Not at all! After all the build threads I have read and followed, I wanted to pay it back a little bit.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:45 AM   #6
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

So, my exhaust guy called this morning and pushed me back to tomorrow. I wasn't to bummed out as I still needed to put the headers on. According to my research, I didn't want to use the stock 8.1l manifolds as I would have to hack the hell out of my frame. Dirty Larry had given me the golden info of using standard big block headers and leave the frame alone. He also warned me about cross member clearance, but said he had only worked with a 4wd so that was a big unknown. I picked up a nice set of coated Hedman Headers from Summit during Hot August Nights.

I was so enamored with the clearance I had between the motor and the firewall, the motor and the cross member that I was really flying high last night.
[IMG][/IMG]

This morning we put the driver's side header on this morning and it was smooth as silk.
[IMG][/IMG]

Went to do the passenger side and all the air left the balloon. Had to grind on the upper and lower frame rail to get it to fit. That's dad getting dirty.
[IMG][/IMG]

I never seem to get old enough to get out of doing the underneath work when he's around.

Spent a couple of hours cleaning 25 years of caked on dirt and oil off the trans cross member and got it installed under the trans. So, she is ready to go on her cross town journey to the exhaust, drive line and tranny shop. I got a GM reman 4l80e from a guy in Carson City that had never been installed. But the trans shop couldn't swap out the torque converter and put a shift kit in until Thursday, so I muscled the thing into the truck. I can tell you that I will not be doing that again. That's why it is now going to the trans shop and they can pull it and put it back. It'll be the best $100.00 I've ever spent.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:22 PM   #7
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

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I was looking at those, I'm just not sure yet of where to put it. The trans and engine oil coolers should be here in the next day or two. That's why I wanted the exhaust done first, so I can plumb all this stuff in and keep it away from it.
Mine is bolted to the core support right next to the radiator where the transmission cooler lines go into the radiator. I just put it on one of the lines going to my external cooler. Makes the plumbing easy and no crawling under the truck for filter changes.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:59 PM   #8
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Looking great Blake! Got to love 8.1L’s!

What harness supplier did you end up going with?
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:47 PM   #9
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

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Looking great Blake! Got to love 8.1L’s!

What harness supplier did you end up going with?
I used Jim's Performance in Maryland. By the time I talked to you, I already had a factory harness sitting in the shop. He had been answering all my questions over the years and I really peppered him with questions in May and June. Plus, the one thing I did use from that article by the guy at Wyotech was the throttle pedal. Jim made that work. At first he was unsure about it, but he was able to make it work. I got everything back from him about a month ago.



I was really pleased with the input Jim had and the price was reasonable. Plus, he was able to save me a lot of headache. He made sure I had all the right stuff before I sent it out to him. I didn't know about the 2 different TAC modules and I had no idea that there was a major change between the 2002 & 2003 model years as far as harness and ecm's go.

If I had it to do over again with the knowledge I have now, I wouldn't do anything older than a 2003 8.1l. Finding a TAC module was a treat and by a really decent stroke of luck I had a 2002 harness and ecm. Because when I bought them I had no idea what I was buying.

If any one asked me now what I would advise, I would tell them the same thing you told me. Buy a Howell for $600.00 and be done with it. I'm happy with what Jim did and if I had sourced mine from a different yard, for less money, I would be even happier.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:51 PM   #10
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

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Mine is bolted to the core support right next to the radiator where the transmission cooler lines go into the radiator. I just put it on one of the lines going to my external cooler. Makes the plumbing easy and no crawling under the truck for filter changes.
I like that idea! I'm picking one up from Summit tomorrow. The coolers should be here tomorrow so I can get all the set up and mounted. My front clip is sitting whole on the driveway, minus the grill.

Thanks for idea!
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:11 AM   #11
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Minus a week due to illness, I have been working on this thing every night and weekend, but not to much to report. Got the harness out of the box and started routing it.


Ran into some minor issues. When you do an 8.1l and you don't want to cut the frame for a/c, you need to use the Workhorse brackets. But when you do that, and use a factory harness the pigtail for the alternator is too short. If I would have been thinking I would have mentioned that to Jim before he did the harness. Oh well, maybe next time. Which brings me to the first of many questions. Does anyone know where to get the tape that holds harnesses together?



I also got the brackets for bucket seats out of my parts Suburban.



And got them cleaned up and ready to be welded in.



That's not all. I have learned that I am not talented enough to bend steel fuel lines and have them turn out the way I wanted them. I spent a week and more money than I care to admit on steel lines before I gave up. Now my exhaust guy is going to do them for me.

And I have been trying to trim down the factory under hood harness and figure out what I need to keep and what I can get rid of. Not to mention degreasing 25 years of crud off of them so I can see what I have. I was a little surprised when I got them cleaned off. Several wires have no insulation on them. I guess the grease and dirt was keeping them from shorting out.



That's it for now.

.
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:38 AM   #12
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Things are progressing nicely. I got my seats mocked up and installed. Just need to weld the brackets to the floor, and then put down the sound deadener.

I started with cleaning the old carpet and padding out of the front of the truck.



I started with a pair of buckets out of a Suburban that I bought 3 years ago when I was new to all of this. I have since learned that Suburban seats differ just enough that the '90-'91 Suburban seats worked better for me when I did this swap in my '87. Which leaves me with 2 pairs of '81-'88 Suburban seats. The first pair that I was using for mock up were the first pair I bought 3 years ago. They are pretty beat up and were sitting in my dad's shop collecting dust.



I couldn't get the passenger side to line up the way I thought it should. It just didn't seem right, and without the other one in to compare it with, I wasn't sure.





I then went to get the driver's side seat and turned it upside to down to inspect the brackets and they were bent. I stopped until I could retrieve the buckets from my house that came out of my parts Suburban. They are in much better shape and the brackets were not bent. I retrieved those and started over.





I was able to measure off the back of the cab and the dash to each seat to make sure they were where they needed to be and even.



Once I got both of them in and happy with the placement, I marked the floor where the brackets need to be welded down. I'm not going to drill the hole for the back, inner mount on each seat until the brackets are welded in and I have 3 points solidly mounted. But, I was happy with the way they were sitting.



Now the real work begins. I have always liked the bucket seats in the '92-'94 Suburbans and Blazers. I got a pair off Craigslist for $70.00 to put in. The only bummer is they are blue, so I will have to put covers on them for now. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the seat tracks from the original seats that fit our floors will mount up to the '92-'94 seats with minimal modification.



I didn't take any photos of the mounting of the tracks to the new seats, but they will have to come out to weld the brackets, so I'll snap some then. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with these seats. The front of the seats are the same distance off of the dash, so leg room on both sides stays the same. And in my opinion, these seats are so much more comfortable. The best part was the brackets didn't have to move from the placement with the older seats to the newer seats.

I then moved on to the console mounting. I wasn't happy with the console that came in the '81-'91 Suburbans that I had mounted in my '87 and wanted something different. I had only seen photos of the consoles out of newer trucks and suv's and really liked them. But, I had no idea if they would work in our trucks or not. So, I went to the local yard and poked around and bought 2 consoles. 1 from a Suburban and 1 from a Yukon. The Yukon console is fancier, and will be a long term project to make it work. But the back half of the Suburban console will work in the short term.





It's sitting a little high, but with a little massaging, it will be good. Not only was I pretty happy with this part of the project, but the Finance Director, i.e. my wife, was impressed as well. You can't beat that.


.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:10 AM   #13
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

I got the harness installed on the motor and trans. I had to extend my alternator harness due to the Workhorse brackets and my failure to tell the guy doing my harness. The Avalanche trans cooler lines fit and cleared the headers. Got my battery trays back from Al's Rod & Custom in Sparks. He's an old family friend and I took them over to him to have him blast off 25 years of leaky battery gunk and rust off of them. I got those primed and painted.

I did discover some trouble when I took the battery trays out to have them cleaned. The core support and inner fenders were pretty gummed up as well. With this truck heading back east I figured I better have clean, non-rusted parts to begin with. I have better inner fenders and core support off my parts Suburban, so I started cleaning them up and painting them.



Because of the temperature drop at night, I have had to turn the kitchen into a drying room. The family loves this.

I also found out that when you use a Hughes deep transmission pan, it makes using the Lokar 4l80e shifter linkage kit a tad more difficult. If you have any insights, the details are located here.

I also have had to read up on hydro boost systems and decided to replace all the lines that came on the truck. But with my factory pump, which is still connected to the truck, I barely understand the system.



With the new pump, other than swapping the fitting off of my original pump, and the corresponding line, I have no idea which ones go where. Does it matter where you put the hoses without the fittings on the new pump? Any help with that would be appreciated.

.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:56 AM   #14
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Well it's been a little over a month and I have gotten quite a bit done. The fuel system is done. I had a ton of questions about it, and bending steel lines is a talent I don't posses. So, I swapped fuel rails for a newer 8.1 that was return less and went with Dorman nylon fuel lines.


I asked a few questions in this thread and posted plenty of photos.

I gave up on painting my inner fenders and core support and took them in to get powder coated. They are now installed and I got all my cooler plumbing done.


I took Pyrotechnic's idea and put a Trans-Dapt filter housing in on the core support and got that all plumbed in.




The exhaust is done. I had to use a different shop than I had planned, but it worked out. It saved me some time and cash.


I did run into a small issue with the driver's side knock sensor rubbing on the header.



Thanks to DirtyLarry, that got fixed by getting an ACDelco 213-298 and moving it down by the pan rail in the hole next to the brass plug in the picture.

I broke the plug that GM put in the driver's side cylinder head and had to dig that out to put a temp sender in. I also got all the wiring figured out on the truck side of things. In the beginning, I was scared to death of it and was really struggling with it. But, again thanks to DirtyLarry that got figured out and completed. The truck now turns over!!

I got my throttle pedal installed and wired.


But, I still have a fair amount of wiring to do.


That's all for now. I'll get some more posted up this weekend.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:06 AM   #15
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Nice job!
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:23 AM   #16
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Looks Good
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:50 PM   #17
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Looking great Blake. Nice attention to details! That radiator support really looks sharp with those coolers and all.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:16 AM   #18
Devillusion
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

very nice, will be taking notes.
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:29 AM   #19
Blake_H
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Thanks, guys, I appreciate the compliments. Good news, she lives and breathes. I got everything wired up on the engine side and lit her up. Man, oh man does it sound healthy. No leaks after I tightened up the oil cooler lines. Best part is the nylon fuel lines aren't leaking. Still have the some minor issues to deal with. It threw a code for the mass airflow sensor and I'm not sure if that means it's defective or if something else is going on. It says it has low voltage.

Apparently, bending steel fuel lines isn't the only thing I don't have talent for. Repinning the cluster has turned into a slight mess. When I turn my headlights on, the left turn signal lights up. My fuel gauge is pegged passed full. The ground for the fuel sender is solid on the frame. Sanded the mounting point down to bare metal and made sure it was tight because I wanted to avoid this very problem.

On the bright side, the voltage gauge works and temp gauge works, just not correctly. It's reading about 30 degrees higher than my IR temp gun is showing and the ecm says it's running at 194 once it's warmed up. All the lights are working in the cluster, but nothing else is working correctly.

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:52 AM   #20
DirtyLarry
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Funny, my 8.1L tosses a code for a MAF every now and then again as well. I don’t recall if it was a high or low voltage code though but it does it a couple times a year. It always runs great even with the light comes on so that has me thinking I over oiled my K&N filter. You might want to check that if you used a K&N. Also make sure you have the MAF going the right way, as they are easy to install backasswards with the airflow going the wrong way.

That is a bummer about the dash electrical. Is the gauge pegged at 3 o’clock? If so, I believe that is a ground issue, which may be upstream instead of at the frame.

Not sure what to say on the other stuff but knowing you have the temp gauge set up exactly how it was on the old 454 leads one to think there is sometangwong with the wiring between the sending unit and temp gauge in the cluster. Probably where ever that issue is found will fix the other stuff too.

Working out the bugs is the funnest part, well….so they say. Working out the bugs on mine was actually quite frustrating!
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:59 AM   #21
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Great build, cant wait to see this thing done! Gonna need some video of it for sure!
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:34 AM   #22
Blake_H
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

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Great build, cant wait to see this thing done! Gonna need some video of it for sure!
Thanks! Yes, I will get some video as soon as I figure out this new phone. I broke my other phone when it fell off the core support and it hit the driveway screen first last week. I haven't told the finance officer yet, but I did the same thing to the camera the next day. You'd think I'd learn after the first one, but I have now.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:57 AM   #23
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

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Originally Posted by DirtyLarry View Post
Funny, my 8.1L tosses a code for a MAF every now and then again as well. I don’t recall if it was a high or low voltage code though but it does it a couple times a year. It always runs great even with the light comes on so that has me thinking I over oiled my K&N filter. You might want to check that if you used a K&N.
No K&N and mine doesn't run smooth with it in there. When I fired it up the first time it was smooth and idling about 700. I remembered I didn't have MAF hooked up so I did that after I fixed the oil leak and then it ran rough with it hooked up. Not terrible, but noticeable. The rpms were dancing around pretty good and wouldn't stay consistent.

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Also make sure you have the MAF going the right way, as they are easy to install backasswards with the airflow going the wrong way.
That was the first thing I checked. I figured if there was a way to put it in wrong I would find it. Hoped was more like it, but it was in correctly. Since this is such a Frankenstein with accumulating the parts over 3 years, I'm wondering if I have the wrong MAF sensor. Is that possible?

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That is a bummer about the dash electrical. Is the gauge pegged at 3 o’clock? If so, I believe that is a ground issue, which may be upstream instead of at the frame.
Yes, it is currently pointing due west toward the heater controls. In my genius repinning, I did have two grounds left hanging so I'll have to play with those and see if it makes a difference.

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Originally Posted by DirtyLarry View Post
Not sure what to say on the other stuff but knowing you have the temp gauge set up exactly how it was on the old 454 leads one to think there is sometangwong with the wiring between the sending unit and temp gauge in the cluster. Probably where ever that issue is found will fix the other stuff too.
I'm wondering what could be wrong with the wiring. I did use the meter to do a continuity test on it. Mainly to be sure I had the right wire. But it did show good continuity. I really am questioning the senders due to the fact that my '87 read a full 50 degrees higher until I changed the sender to one from an '84. Plus with all the fun we had with this truck overheating, this is the one that is the most important to me that it reads correctly. I don't suppose anyone knows what the ohms should be on that wire at the cluster?

Quote:
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Working out the bugs is the funnest part, well….so they say. Working out the bugs on mine was actually quite frustrating!
It is? I would like to meet 'they' and ask them some questions. I was pretty excited at first, then all the bugs and little things that still need to be done tempered that enthusiasm. But, I'm making progress and that counts for a lot right now. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:18 PM   #24
Gordonr1973
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

This is seriously a ton of work you have done, very interesting build!! Keep up the great work!
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:32 AM   #25
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Re: '86 Crew Cab - The Race Car Hauler

Thanks Gordon!

Today was an interesting day. Did you know that if you don't have your intake tube tightened up and your MAF sensor at the end of it flailing in the breeze, that you will throw a code? I certainly didn't until this morning when I put the elbow to the air cleaner on and started it up and ran super smooth. Who knew?

Needless to say, my intake is now done.


I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use the original hole in the core support that the factory air cleaner attached to. I just didn't know how I was going to do it. Thanks to the Spectre guys that were in Reno for Hot August Nights, I found my solution.



It's a little tighter than I imagined it would be, but it works, and even if I do say so myself, I think it's pretty damn cool.



I was waiting on the elbow that attached to the air cleaner when I fired it up. That's why the MAF was hanging in the breeze and not working right. Once everything was tightened up and the elbow in place it ran great.

It also turns out you can't use the oil pressure switch that was original to the 8.1l engine like my tuner thought. So I had to switch it out to one from a 454. An ACDelco D8050, a 1/4 to 1/8 brass bushing and a oil pressure sender socket is all you need. Ha, ha, ha. Then you need someone with really small hands, a 12" wobble extension and a pad to lay on and then your good to go.



When I felt the snap, I cringed. I pulled the socket and extension out and there was nothing in it. I started to feel better. I managed somehow to break the plastic piece off the nut. I was thanking everyone I could think of for not letting me break off the switch at the block. I reloaded and tried again. It was not the easiest thing to change, but I got it done. Getting the new one in was almost as difficult, but it is done and I now have a functioning gauge. It would have been much easier to change this when the engine was out. Kind of an FYI for anyone doing this in the future.

Here is a photo of all that was left of the plug in the driver's side head that I broke off the other day. I was more than surprised to see GM use what looks like a cast iron plug in a water jacket.



I got a few more of the wires tied up and loomed. But the temp was dropping fast, so I called it for tonight and came in. Someday, I will have a garage to do all this in. Working on the driveway in the winter stinks. At least it hasn't snowed yet. I'm hoping I can get this finished up this weekend, because I can't believe it hasn't snowed yet. We are overdue and I probably just jinxed myself.
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