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Old 04-18-2019, 11:54 AM   #1
cashforclunkers
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"Big Red" 70'/04' GMC crew cab duramax build

As the title states. I'm working on a long-term dream build 'big red' 70'/04' GMC. This will definitely take me several years to complete.

Plans/specs:
70' GMC suburban custom donor truck
4 door mega crew cab conversion
04' gmc 3500 2wd dually 16k lb. c&c frame/running gear
LLY duramax 6.6 Diesel
ZF6 2wd manual 6 speed transmission
CUCV 35 spline dana 60 solid front axle leaf sprung
divorced np205d transfercase
Steel 8x8 flatbed/utility bed
~36" tires

The 04' I picked up a few years ago from a heavy equipment lot in northern NH. it was a tree service truck and had a 12' utility bed on it and 300k miles. The truck needed a throw-out bearing and the dual-mass flywheel was falling apart. I drove it home 250 miles with no clutch. I paid $2500 and sold the bed for $600

Since then i have put a srw bed on it and converted it to 4x4 with a dana 60 front axle and divorced transfercase. Big red has been a great truck and works hard.

The problem is the cab is getting quite rotten and rather than fix a boring 04' truck, why not just go crazy

I had known of a GMC suburban for a while that belonged to a friend's neighbor. Well recently he posted it for sale so I couldn't wait any longer as I didn't want to miss it. I drove my 71 down to look at it last week and I am headed over with the 04' and trailer tonight to get it.

Build thread for my 71 K10: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s....php?p=8509461

The GMC burb is a cool truck and probably very rare, but it is severely rusted and there was 0 other interest in it. I can't have another vehicle in my fleet with reg and insurance so it will be a donor and parted out.

There is probably 1000lbs of 67-72 and burb specific stuff in the back that will be posted up once I upgrade my membership.

I did some measuring and the 04' from the front axle center-line to back of cab is 113"
My 71 K10 is ~73" center-line to back of cab
A truck door is 39.5" plus the gaps so 40"
71 K10 (73") + another full truck door (40") = 113"!!!

I plan to either use full truck doors for rears or add the difference in behind the burb size doors for that dodge mega cab look.

I also measured inner rocker to inner rocker on both trucks. Both about 67" So I'm wondering if I can use a nice 99-07' crew floor grafted in my 69' cab since it needs one anyways? That way it would bolt right on and have mounts for modern seats. Its up in the air.

I plan to keep using the 04' while I build the 69' cab.

I'm am still kicking around paint schemes. It will be red in some form obviously. I have an idea of using a maroon/red two tone with full upper and lower trim.

I will keep this thread updated as the build progress' with time.

I also need your input and experience! I have been researching and reading all the crew cab builds and diesel chassis swap builds I've come across and saving lots of photos from other builds. This is by far the biggest project I have attempted yet and I know its a lot of work.

Thanks! -Joel
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Last edited by cashforclunkers; 05-31-2019 at 09:10 AM. Reason: wrong year
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:18 PM   #2
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Looks ambitious! That should be a really sweet truck!
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:23 PM   #3
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

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Originally Posted by Barnfind46 View Post
Looks ambitious! That should be a really sweet truck!
Thanks yes it is a huge project. Doesn't even fit in the garage! Nothing I need to have done overnight. Big red has been a project with a lot of work done already, just taking it to the "next level" with my love for 67-72s.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Eventful night last night! Big Red brought part of its new cab home

Could not have done it without my friend Zach it was a real struggle. The trailer hitch on the burb was too low to get it backed onto trailer easily. We persevered at the cost of his front bumper..

Suburban lovers it is time to look away!!

Some areas of the burb are pretty good. Like the A pillar area and firewall down to the pinch weld. Others not so much. Like pretty much everywhere B pillars and back. The floor actually gave away in one corner when it was used to lift the cab from the frame.

Sorting through all the parts now. Thinking about mounting the cab on a 4x8 trailer so I can roll it around and have a sturdy brace system.

I also have to go back to get the c10 truck cab and two more sacrificial doors. I'll be taking my bobcat next time so we don't bend any more bumpers. Stay tuned.
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Old 04-19-2019, 12:17 PM   #5
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Looks like a cool project- will be following along. I installed a 72 body on a 02 dodge with a cummins back in 03
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Old 04-19-2019, 03:56 PM   #6
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Could someone please move this to the build sub forum? I just noticed it. Sorry. Thanks.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:40 AM   #7
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Good luck with the build, should be a one of a kind. Every crew build is.
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Quote:
Originally Posted by 71blksuper4x4 View Post
Good luck with the build, should be a one of a kind. Every crew build is.
Hey thanks for coming over and checking out the setup for my build.

I have been staring at your work on your build for a while now. Really appreciate all the pics and info on there. I can tell you with 100% certainty that my B pillar will not be as nice as yours!!
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:05 PM   #9
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Very much in the planning stages/collecting parts still. I have some cool ideas am looking for suggestions and so wanted to post.

cab size / configuration

Thanks to Trevor for some measurements. His crew is about 106" front axle to back of cab. That is 7" shy of what I need to match up with my frame and still use a standard 8ft bed. The 04 cab is 113" as previously mentioned. I am tossing around ideas of different configurations to come up with the extra length.

1. The easiest solution would be to use front-sized rear doors. That would land me where I want to be and be the least fabrication, can get trim to fit, etc. Just not sure I like proportions.
2. Next option would be to use burb rear door size and add 7" to the c pillar. That might get complex in the floor/rocker area and I would have to fill the seam at rear of roof or do a really good sectioning. Probably wouldn't look right proportion wise. Struggle to get side cladding correct lengths.
3. The max fab method with probably best result would be custom length rr doors and c pillar, i.e. +3.5" door, +3.5" pillar or any combination of lengths to suit proportion. This is the all out, lifetime sentance to fab school. Might take some pieces of old upper and lower trim and experiment with shortening/modifying
4. I could shorten the frame in the middle 7" and build a traditional burb rear door crew cab and have a shorter wheelbase for better maneuverability. But its BIG Red, not lil' Red. And I would really like all that extra cab space.

Thinking earlier about using a new style floor. I am worried that marrying to a new style floor would prevent me from fine tuning cab location and height and also my donor cabs are so rotten it takes away any reference points. I'm also turned off to the idea of 99-06 seats, really want to get the truck further away from its original self.

Will probably repair the burb floor from b pillars forward because it has the buddy bucket bracing in it and is repairable towards the front, and use the rear portion of a new complete floor unless the truck cab has a repairable floor which is unlikely.

For the roof skin I'm thinking of snipping the a pillars and sectioning in the front of the truck cab in the compound curve area with the remaining truck roof going to the back. And contouring sheet steel or leftover burb roof to fit the middle.

instrumentation

Looking at ideas. Of course I could use the 04 cluster and graft it into the metal dash. But I feel like a lot of the experience of an older vehicle is the original instruments.

I could make all the 69' gauges and senders work. it is a lot of adapting for antiquated and inaccurate equipment. I also seems redundant because the ECM has all of the accurate info in real time.

I could purchase a $600-1300 modern retrofit instrument cluster. Most of these have 8,000 rpm tachs and no wait to start signal. Not budget friendly and anyone could do it (I have issues needing to be unique).

What I think I will do is use an idiot light base model cluster, and modify the dash for a 2 din android headunit and use an app like Torque. I would retain the factory indent by sectioning two dashes and eliminate the ash try so I wouldn't have to move the hvac panel down like rtech does. While trying to leave room for center AC vent.

Big Red already has a NP205D that has a mech. speedo output. I can connect the 67-72 cluster and drive around in Red to check accuracy and make speedo gear changes vs. the electronic cluster in the dash.

The gas gauge would need to work with the newer sending unit. After some research I found this thread https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/elec...ml#post6267569

Red has a 40-250 ohm sender. The 67-72s use a 0-90 ohm range.
1. replace 90 ohm resistor in gauge with 220 ohm (~$1)
2. remove needle and refit so that it indicates 'empty' at 40 ohms.
(the 220 ohm resistor should cause the gauge to overdrive at 250 ohms making up for the 40 ohm initial offset and hopefully read near full)

This is something I can test by tapping into the signal wire on Red and comparing the two clusters at various fuel levels.

Wait to start indicator: Sacrifice the oil press or generator idiot light and modify it for my glow. Whichever is on top? I can't remember. I could get a clear glass section from a 7 hole cluster and just use a vinyl window sticker "wait to start". Or try to remove the white paint from the back of the glass in the lettering and fill the engraved letters with clear epoxy. Then use a vinyl sticker on the outside. Swapping the bulb lens from red to amber would be nice too..

paint scheme
There is no originality concerns here. I'm not even sure what year to call this thing. A real identity crisis. That being said, there is no paint scheme off the table, it just has to have some, you guess er, RED!

At first I was thinking a 71-2 two tone paint scheme red/maroon. That's probably hideous.

Now I am leaning towards solid ruby red body color still using full upper and lower deluxe trim, with the roof being a different accent color. Options that I like are off-white, silver, matte black, and tan.

I will attach some pics of my inspiration. A lot of which is from rtech. Thanks for the inspiration atvpro.
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:30 PM   #10
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

I would definitely want the extra length in the back seat

either thru longer rear doors like the Tundra , the rear doors on a tundra are one inch longer than the front doors, or the C pillar like the dodge megacab

or you could do both and split the difference.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:20 AM   #11
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

A few tiny updates.

I took a picture of the suburban spid and ran the vin against lmc's catalog. Its actually a 1970. So I updated the title of the build.

I found some parts on Ebay. Paid for by selling parts on the forums (thanks everyone). Got a better grill and some 3500 emblems.

Did some maintenance to the big red donor truck. Replaced king pins, bushings and seals. Added a camber shim to the driver side spindle. Replaced wheel bearings (because I dropped the old ones in the dirt). Added a steering stabilizer and a tailpipe. Put my 35's back on and selling the 37's. Changed the oil, replaced a door handle.

My fiancee's dad gave me a little yard trailer that will fit under the suburban cab much better so I can (more easily) work on it and wheel it around than on the current one. The problem with my 4x8 is the width and height of the tires/fenders interferes with the rockers and it has to be blocked way up in the air to fit.

I plan to haul my bobcat back down to the suburban's PO's field and get my free truck cab and return his wagon wheels this week. I will post an update at that time.

I'm thinking it will be better to build the rear doors and then fit the cab around them. So I may start on those if I ever get ahead of my 50 projects this summer which includes finishing our new house and building a new shop.
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:39 AM   #12
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Duramax build was my plan to start as well. I've since built a nice 383 block I need to finish assembly on quick since I just blew my head gasket on the 350.
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Old 05-31-2019, 09:25 AM   #13
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Made a trip back down to get my free cab.

Got to check out the 72' custom deluxe highlander he just bought. Tilt/auto/ac blue plaid seat is still in there. I think he bought this truck for almost nothing just down the street from where he lives, right next door to another friend of mine who is a 67-72 guy and buys everything he sees. He snuck it right by us!

My free cab is a base model 71 and has barely any usable metal. The best part is the firewall and its the only part I don't actually need. And even that isn't great. But I figure with some slide hammering and dolly action I can get the shape of a truck eventually. I feel bad cutting up nice stuff anyways so it works I guess. I really needed the high hump floor panel to be there and the front of the roof is not usable like I hoped. I've located 2 more cabs that are available and would work well. Just not sure how many more trucks i'm going to drag home and part out. I might just buy aftermarket panels or cuts from people as I go.
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:32 PM   #14
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

It may not help you much but my neighbor did a 2500HD with a '68 GMC cab swap project.

He has a short thread on here under the user name Stryker67. I believe it is titled Frankentruck HD.

He also has YouTube videos of many parts of the build under the username JoDaddy's Garage. He has a TON of restoration how-to videos as well but the Frankentruck HD is in there too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWv9rZhpTrU

Anyway, I hope some of that helps!
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:44 PM   #15
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick View Post
It may not help you much but my neighbor did a 2500HD with a '68 GMC cab swap project.

He has a short thread on here under the user name Stryker67. I believe it is titled Frankentruck HD.

He also has YouTube videos of many parts of the build under the username JoDaddy's Garage. He has a TON of restoration how-to videos as well but the Frankentruck HD is in there too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWv9rZhpTrU

Anyway, I hope some of that helps!
Hey thanks yea I will definately check it out. I have been trying to read all the threads on cab swaps and crew cab builds I can find, yt videos as well. Thanks again
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71' K10 stepside build
70'/04' GMC Crew cab project build
Bunch of parts for sale
Burb parts for sale
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:15 PM   #16
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Thought you might like to see this, not sure if you seen from this angle.
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Last edited by Madkidd007; 06-02-2019 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:03 AM   #17
cashforclunkers
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Re: "Big Red" 69'/04' GMC crew cab duramax dually manual solid axle...build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madkidd007 View Post
Thought you might like to see this, not sure if you seen from this angle.
Hey thanks! I have not seen that view. Love that truck. I hope to have the red GMC version someday
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71' K10 stepside build
70'/04' GMC Crew cab project build
Bunch of parts for sale
Burb parts for sale
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