Building my first Chevy....aka..."Brute"

Old Bear

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2000 K2500
5.7L, auto, 14 bolt 8600 GRVW
just under 200k on the clock
Pretty decent body with very little rust
Paid $2000 for it

Here is where this project started
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Old Bear

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So far I have-

Changed the oil.
Beat out the dented part of the tailgate and replaced the handle and bezel so that works now.
I replaced the hood release latch so I can open the hood.
I replaced the blower resistor and the entire HVAC switch panel so now I have complete control of the temperature.
Cleaned the heck out of it since it hasn't been done in many many years.

Immediate plans before winter (in no particular order)-

Complete tune up.
repair/replace/upgrade brake system and front suspension.
Replace tailgate and rear bumper.
Fix rust spots and repaint.
Clean, prime and paint the undercarriage.
Add 3"BL for tire clearance (will start on this weekend)
Add plow mount and wiring.

I have a tendency to move into project creep right away:Big Laugh:. So far I have enjoyed bringing it back to what it should be.
 

Old Bear

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So far, I have found a nickel size rust bubble in each cab corner and a couple of pinholes in the DS rocker. I can't feel anything bad under the wheel well lip, but we will see. To be honest....for a 21 yr old Chevy, this is unheard of. There are very very few of them around here that aren't eaten away by years of road salt.

I bought it to be my beater truck and plow my long driveway with it, but I realize it's too nice to not spend the effort making it nice again. I only paid $2k for it, so I have a little wiggle room before the wifey starts balking at my spending habits:)

I have been keeping a running list of service type work that is needed. Transmission fluid/filter change, coolant flush, tune up, etc. A rebuilt front suspension is also on my list before I hang an 8' plow on it. I am changing out a bad idler pulley and dry rotted belt tonight.
 

Old Bear

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Friday night I replaced the idler pulley and belt. It is quiet as a mouse now!

Spent the weekend installing a 3" BL....or I should say tried to install it. The cab went pretty good except the E brake. That thing fought me for 2 hours. All the time I kept eyeballing the bolt cutters hanging on the wall. But, I finally got it unhooked without resorting to cutting. Got the cab bolted down and reinstalled everything. Found out that the grill and filler panel are bust up pretty good. I fabed up some sheet metal brackets and epoxied the tabs back on. I'll get a new grill, lights and filler panel later on.

The bed however was a different animal altogether. started out snapping off 4 of the 8 mounting bolts. Two of them directly above the forward spring hangers!!! So I decided to pull the bed off, which created a whole different set of issues, but I got it off.

Here it is after a couple of hours of using the wire brush on the angle grinder. Surprisingly, under all the rust, mud and crud, the frame had a layer if undercoating on it. most of it was worn off, but it did its job and protected the frame.
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Next up, filled up the garden sprayer with Metal Prep and sprayed it down pretty good. Following the directions, I let it set for a bit then rinsed it off and pressure washed everything down real good. After everything was dry, set about fixing and raising the cobbled up exhaust. It was broken in a couple places and what wasn't broken, hung down way to low to look right with the BL.
I set about taking the rear wheels so I could spray prime the frame. The wheels hadn't been off in YEARS resulting in them corroding themselves to the rear drums....grrrrr! Finally got them off.

I started the process of spraying a thin coat of Rustoleum rusty metal primer. A few hours later, I sprayed a final thicker coat. I primed everything from the forward cab mounts back. In between coats of primer, I cleaned up the back of the wheels and coated them with Fluid Film.

Here is where we are as of this afternoon. I'll let the primer cure for a few days before I paint everything black. Tomorrow, I'll tackle drilling out the broken bed bolts and see what else I find to spend time and money on.
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Old Bear

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Started to tackle the broken bed bolts last night. Three out of the four were simply drilling out the bolts and chasing the holes with a clean-out tap. The fourth one wasn't so simple. That bolt didn't snap off, but the weld nut inside of the bed channel broke loose. There was no way to unthread the bolt, so it had to be cut off and fished out of the channel. I cleaned up the channel plate and ordered a new weld nut from McMaster-Carr.
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I drilled some holes through the channel plate thinking that I could position the weld nut standoffs in the holes and plug weld it in place. After a lot of screwing around trying to feed the mig wire up into the little holes I came the to conclusion that My 58 year old eyes couldn't see good enough to play this game of "Operation" with any degree of success. I ended up drilling a few more larger holes and plowed the wire in that way.
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Yeah...it's real ugly, but its solid and will hold the required 55 lbs torque to secure the bed.

While I was under there, I used the angle grinder and wire wheel to clean up all of the bed channels and hit them with primer.
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I'll slap a coat of satin black on them before I but the bed back on.
 

Old Bear

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This morning between knocking out chores on my "Honey Do" list, I mounted the new bed supports and put two coats of paint on the chassie. Everything from the front cab mounts back has now been cleaned, primed and painted. I'll do the same to the front section when I do the front brake and suspension upgrades.

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I'll put a real good coat of Fluid Film on everything topside before the bed goes back on. That should keep everything sealed up for now.

The smart move here would be to replace the brakes, brake lines, shocks and exhaust before the bed goes back on. But that will take time and money and both are running tight right now. I need to get this buttoned back up, upgrade the front end and get the plow setup figured out before the snow flies.
 

Old Bear

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I sprayed Fluid Film all over the rear chassie and got the bed put back on this afternoon. I still need to put bed supports and rear bumper on it, but the hard part is over. I don't like the way the fuel filler hose turned out, so I'm going to do something different there.

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The cab and bed are not aligned very well. I have the bed shifted around as far as it will go, but still not good enough for me. I'm pretty OCD about crap like that. I need to replace the rear cab mounts because they are shot. I'll more than likely have to shift the cab around to get the body lines where they need to be. Most people would not even notice or care about this, but it's going to nag at me until I get it right.
 
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