1998 3500 crew/longbed build

themeec

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Wanted to post up a build thread in a channel where ya'll could chime in. Picked up a 1998 Chevy 3500 crew cab longbed SRW with 4x4 recently, in the goal of it becoming my primary highway rig/car hauler.

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My friends and I have a long tradition of buying and building sketchy old JDM vehicles that are either not pleasant, or downright unsafe to drive long distances, so it became necessary to get a rig that could haul our cars (and the idiots that built them) effectively long distance!

It's got the 6.5 turbo diesel in it, but seems to be pretty well sorted, and came with a 2-inch thick stack of records.
Notable work includes:
- PMD isolate mod
- Brand new upgraded cooling system (radiator, water pump, reservoir, hoses, etc)
- Recently rebuilt frontend (all rods, joints)
- New upgraded AC compressor and system
- Engine appears to have been almost completely rebuilt about 100k ago

Runs and drives great currently, so planning to add an EGT sensor, do some work to the brakes, and look into an alignment.

Ultimate goal for this is to lower it, dually swap it, and get it sorted as a proper road warrior. From looking at everyone else's builds here, looks like I'll be after a 5/7 drop, which will need to notch the frame. From what I've gathered so far, sounds like since I plan on towing, I'll be wanting a reinforced step notch to avoid losing too much frame strength (would love some confirmation on this one).

Also, since I have a buddy that works at Summit Racing who can hook me up with some discounts, sounds like a McGaughys lowering kit would be the ticket. I have a couple questions on the following though:
- Any other odd "nice to have" pieces from Summit I should plan to pick up while I'm at it?
- Given this is a 4x4 (I wasn't able to find a lot of info on this here so far) are there any special considerations I'll need to make for lowering it? I've seen some short convos about upgraded u-joints, but not much else (would the new ones in it currently suffice?)

As for the rear end, on the junkyard hunt for a donor DRW axle. For those of you towing, given at some point down the road I do plan to put a fifth wheel hitch on it for a multi-car trailer* (it's already got the mounting plates installed), will the 1-tons suffice, or should I hold out for a 1.5? Additional note, I also have 4:10 w/Limited Slip in the rear end.

Looking forward to hearing everyone's input, and happy to check out anything I didn't cover here already!
[Mods note - happy to repost this in a more appropriate section if you prefer as well, this seemed like a good spot to start]

*note on the lowering, when it comes time to put the hitch on it, I plan to add helper bags in the rear. Skipping it for now, since it will only be pulling a single car on the hitch for the next year or two.
 

Dropped88

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Welcome. And interested in seeing how well the lowered 4x4 is going to be.

Also pic of my 3500 with a 5/7 drop like your planning on. And yes its put to work with no issues.
 

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themeec

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Buying a 6.5td to be the reliable vehicle for hauling sketchy vehicles around on a trailer.. is kinda like asking the fox to guard the hen house.

The #1 thing you can rely on a 6.5td for is to exhaust your wallet, patience, and walking shoes.

Richard
Oh man you should see my other stuff :Big Laugh:

Picked this one up since it was maintained well, should last long enough to Cummins swap it.
 

themeec

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Welcome. And interested in seeing how well the lowered 4x4 is going to be.

Also pic of my 3500 with a 5/7 drop like your planning on. And yes its put to work with no issues.
Very nice! Promising as you're towing much heavier vehicles than I plan to. What drop kit did you go for?
 

Erik the Awful

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The previous owner of my '88 SRW used it with a gooseneck hitch for years. DRW gets really expensive when you buy gas and tires. I'm sticking with SRW for budget reasons. Are you really planning on that much tongue weight with a gooseneck?
 

themeec

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The previous owner of my '88 SRW used it with a gooseneck hitch for years. DRW gets really expensive when you buy gas and tires. I'm sticking with SRW for budget reasons. Are you really planning on that much tongue weight with a gooseneck?

After shoveling fuel into an 80-series Landcruiser, M1078 LMTV and an old 2LTE Hilux I guess I'm kind of numb to fuel costs at this point. I'd mostly just like the extra stability when hauling a gooseneck if possible, and as Stumpy accurately pointed out, they do look great!
 
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