1997 RCSB Z71 K1500

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Paddywiggle

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About a year ago, I had to put my honda civic commuter to rest after 294,000 miles. At this time I had no car to get to school in, so my grandma loaned me her truck. At first, I didn't know what the truck was. Obviously, I knew it had the Z71 offroad package, but other than that I did not really know how special the truck was.

It's a 1997 Chevrolet K1500. It has the Z71 package, solid rear end, G80 posi, and push button 4WD. At this moment I don't have an entire list of the options that it has, but I'm pretty sure it's close to fully optioned out.

The engine, of course, is the Vortec 350 that they put in these trucks from 96-98. It has the 4L60E transmission.

My grandma got a hold of it when her brother passed away. This was his truck. My grandma is 85 and can't even get in and out of the truck, so it just sits in the driveway. Every so often, even when I was driving the civic, she would have me drive it to home depot to pick something up. That's all the action it got.

So, my grandma lent it to me.

Fast forward a few months, and my grandma had already started to notice that I was in love with the truck. She told me, "once you've graduated and got a job, you can have the truck". A few weeks ago, I graduated school with my B.S. in EE and am currently on the job search. In the meantime, I've had a lot of alone time with my truck, so I've started to fix it up and upgrade it.

We'll start the journey from here. Currently I have a fully functioning vehicle with no issues other than burning oil. It has 184,000 miles on the clock.

I'm pretty sure the exhaust is not stock, but I'm not sure what it is. It's a dual exhaust all the way, with fully functioning cats. The tips are a nice touch and really make the car look sporty. I was able to pass smog with no problems a few months ago.

Here is what the car looked like stock, but with the plastic panel under the front bumper removed.
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The wheels were in terrible condition, and the tires looked a little small on the truck. Here's what the wheels looked like (this might even be the best condition one).
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So, I went on FB marketplace and found some newer wheels (with some used 285/75r16 BFG KO2 on them) for the truck. I also wanted to level it out, so before buying the wheels I went ahead and leveled it out by cranking the torsion bar. I raised it 1.5", so it was still 0.5" lower than the rear, but you can't really tell.
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As you can see, the wheels have no shine to them whatsoever.





Wheel balancing, alignment, and 2 new KO2s for the rear later. We had a transformed truck!
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The above picture is it's most recent form. It sits 37.5" off the ground (top of the fender) in the front and 38" in the back. It has on 33" tires and does not rub at all in the front. I suspect you would rub in the wheel well somewhere if you went to 35s. I am obsessed with the stance and will probably not lift it any further, or put bigger tires on it.

Here are my current plans in order:

1. Fix the dent on the driver side bed. (this is how I got it)
2. Better brakes in the front.
3. New grill (it's cracked), headlights, and tail lights.
4. Change the gearing to better suit the bigger tires (4.10).
5. New hood (it has a couple dents and terrible paint).

Once all that is done, it'll pretty much be in an OEM+ configuration. My future plans with the truck, once I have another vehicle to commute in, is:

1. Full paint job on the truck.
2. Full steering upgrade
3. Full suspension upgrade. (trying to keep the same ride height)
4. Bigger cam and supporting upgrades. (tune)
5. Take the bed off, restore, and paint the frame.

If anyone has any suggestions on the above plans I have for the truck before I get to them, please leave them below. I plan to keep this truck forever and use it as my offroad adventure and utility truck, so no, I am not selling it.

Thanks for reading!
 
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David G

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Hopefully--with a little grit and determination, yours will look like this. Congrats. Love the green color
 

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David G

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A few more photos for your viewing pleasure as well of details of my frame/body cosmetic restoration
 

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