NightRunner's 1991 C1500 Build (Off-Road Edition)

Discussion in 'Offroad Build Threads' started by NightRunner, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    So, I definitely took a drastic turn with the truck. It started out as being a little lowered ECSB with a mild 350 in it and ended up getting lifted somehow in the process, couldn't tell you how that happened ;). So, I figured it was time to basically re-assemble my build thread in the proper location and trim out some of the unnecessary and irrelevant information. Here's a lowdown of the progress so far:

    OLD INFORMATION:
    "I wanted to make a build thread to document my progress on my newest build, a "totaled" 1991 Chevrolet C1500. I scooped it up for a smooth $900 from an insurance auction and should be taking delivery within the next couple of days. Here's a quick picture of it:

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    This is going to be a bit of a slow build, which not much progress happening over the months. However, I'll update the thread with small bits and pieces of information when it happens. However, I'm really excited to get back into the full size game and have another 350 truck to mess with again. My old 93 didn't get the love it deserved due to medical issues, so this is my second chance at it. Can't wait to share my progress, thoughts and ideas with you guys in the coming months/years!"
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    "So! Big day today. Got the front end worked on but still waiting on all the parts to arrive. Once headlights arrive I'll mount the new grille and lights. Then after inspections and sorting out odds and ends that I'm sure will pop up when I start driving it more I'll buy a new front bumper, gap filler and air valence. The hood was salvagable after all, still have to bolt it down after getting the front end worked on. Here's some pics:

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    Here's a picture of me test fitting the grille. I'll put the new grille back on when the headlights are here.
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    So stay tuned for next week when I get it inspected and re-registered!"
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    "Update: The radiator core support is definitely bent beyond repair, so I'm gonna have to get a replacement one soon. The bumper brackets are also pretty screwed as well, so new ones will be ordered at the same time. And, well, the only thing left is the hood. Since Summit messed up my order and my cowl hood didn't get shipped, I'll be reordering one and hoping for the best. Maybe it'll be better the second time around, they were on time and on point with my other parts so here's to hoping. But the new grille, headlights, front bumper and air valence are fitted on the truck. Ready to get these running boards and rear bumper sold and have my new front end stuff installed so we can do the drop kit and have it looking the part.

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    Stay tuned!"
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    "Hey! 4" cowl hood is on and it looks so much better than I expected. I kinda worried about doing a 4" over a 2" but I'm very happy with the results. Bumper brackets and core support are scheduled to be delivered between next Monday-Wednesday so here's to hoping for more posts showing the before/after of the damages. "

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    "Wow. Long Tube headers were a PITA to install. First off, the stockers didn't want to come off for anything. It took a lot of coercion and some impact tools to get the job done. Then the PS/Alternator bracket became a factor. After some creative cut off wheel work (and knicking my PS Reservoir) we got it cut but still functioning. Then came the LT install. Driver's side was easy, drop it in, throw in gasket, bolt it up, good to go. The passenger side however, was the biggest PITA I think I've had to work with in a long time. First off, props to Chevy for making some terribly designed heat shields for the spark plug wires. They do their job but uninstall is a pain. The next challenge was fitment, even after uninstalling everything the instructions called for, the header was still hitting frame and cab. So after a little bit of handy mallet work on the end of the header and the front of the cab's heat shield underneath, it finally slid in. Bolting it in was another challenge, glad I had access to a lift or else this would not have happened.

    Summit's system was down yesterday due to a cut fiber optic cable down the road taking out all their network and communications so I wasn't able to get my H-Pipe just yet, so we temporarily fabbed up the mufflers behind the headers after about a foot of exhaust piping. Eventually, we're gonna take that off, install the H-pipe at the flanges and dump the exhausts with a turndown pipe. Still thinking about throwing a resonator on each side too. No pictures today since we were playing beat the clock last night. Working until 3am and coming into work at 7am since my shop guy's weekend was full and we wouldn't be able to get it on the lift for another week if we didn't do it last night. I need coffee. :Pshyco:"
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    "So, today was tiring and a bit of a let down. Bad news, frame damage. Looks like the collision knocked one of the body mounts out of spec, which means this truck will never be 100 percent again. Good news, this isn’t the end. My old 454 square had a cracked/broken frame and I still daily’d it. So, I went ahead and put the replacement parts in and got the front end as straight as possible. The front bumper brackets might not work since the frame damage is in the way, so it looks like a full custom weld in bumper is happening sometime in 2019 for the front if I can't get this set up the way I want but anyways, here’s a pic of the disassembly."

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    "So after taking a bit to cool off from the truck, I hit it again with the appropriate tools and the spindle came out with ease. The next problem I ran into was my rotors which were ground down extremely. No big deal, $100 on RockAuto for a replacement set and we're on the road again. So now, I'm waiting on my rotors to come in so I can finish the front end install and focus on the rear. Here's a picture of the truck before it broke down to tide you over. "

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    "Progress!

    The 4/2 RC lift is in! New spindles up front and blocks in the rear. The spindles pushed the front wheels out about 1.5" so I'm getting a spacer from EZ Accessories to match in the rear. 32s will be put on and alignment will be done in the same day. Also got a chance to fix my radio issue, so now my single DIN sits flush with the dash kit (shoutout to BOSS for sending me a replacement cage for my radio to make this work, definitely earned a lifelong customer), and got around to replacing the rear speakers but not before breaking a few fragile plastic clip holders:(:(

    So looks like a piece of trim is going to have to be held on with adhesive from now on, but that's okay. Definitely not going to be a show truck when it's finished. With that in mind, my buddy recently purchased a 1992 C1500 (350 and all, he's in love), and he's going for a completely black look. Since I like the look of white and chrome together, we reached a deal. I sold him my drop kit from CMS (review incoming) and black front and rear bumpers and he's going to give me his front and rear chrome bumpers to install in place. His bumpers need a good polishing but they're smooth front and rears, which means this Silverado trim will probably come off sometime in the summer when the truck is nice and baked. Next steps (aside from the ones listed) include fixing the front bumper brackets to fit the bumper correctly, installing the 4 High Beam headlight mod, replacing my driver's side mirror and getting the A/C working correctly again. After investigating the A/C issue, I found that the previous owner drove a self tapping screw into the side of the condenser to hold the transmission cooler in place. Why he did that is beyond me. The A/C compressor could be out, or maybe he just didn't care about the A/C. The vents blow air out strong, so I'll just start with replacing the condenser and see where it goes. Worst case scenario, I'll just replace the entire A/C system and call it done. Lol

    Anyways, here's some pictures:"
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    Oh man what a weekend it has been, and not for the best until tonight. If you haven't seen it already, go watch my meltdown of a discountined part HERE.

    The proportioning valve was such a PITA to try and solve but thankfully GM was lazy and just flipped the prop valve for the S10 trucks. Now my truck no longer has the troublesome ABS system and brakes properly.

    Not much other stuff got done this weekend. Rear seats were uninstalled in lieu of using the back area for a place for my dog to sit/lay in when she goes with me places since I don't like leaving dogs in truck beds driving. New speakers all around were installed and the radio situation was fixed (shout out to BOSS for sending me a replacement cage), so now the interior is mint. New dash cover is in (red velour carpet looks so sexy IMO) as well. Plan to tackle the gauges and side view mirror tomorrow as well. Here's the interior after a nice cleaning took place today in between breaks on the prop valve situation."
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    "Replacement side view mirror is installed and A-Pillar gauges are in! I'm currently looking into the possibilities of sensor wiring for my oil pressure, water temperature and trans temp. Transmission temperature will have a dedicated wire to the transmission but I may be able to use the stock wires for my oil and water. If not, I can run dedicated wires for the sensor themselves as well. I still need to attach the transmission temperature gauge to the delete pocket since it's just kinda pressed in place. All of which will be done next weekend along with securing the dash cover so it doesn't look as loose as it does now. "
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    So four major steps forward this weekend and one minor inconvenience. So let's talk about what happened:

    - Shop mounted and balanced tires, alignment was done as well. Need new ball joints and pitman arm. No problem, easily doable.
    - Took the exhaust to a shop and they were appalled by the temp setup, as I was as well. We scrapped everything from the header back and replaced it with a true dual H-pipe setup. I'm in love, and at $120 for a full header back exhaust I was not upset by any means. Plus it just sounds so amazing at WOT and so quiet at idle. I'm blown away.
    - Wheel spacers are installed, currently running the 100 miles to retorque to 110-120 ft/lbs
    - Dash cover is secured with velcro and looks mint.

    The issue I ran into was that the sensor provided for me was a universal one and it doesn't function correctly. It relies on an adapter that seats the sensor inside the adapter and not into the engine, which causes a false reading (I'm definitely not running 300 degree coolant 24/7 in my truck). The oil pressure location is behind the intake and under the distributor which I really don't feel like squeezing behind right now since the intake and disti are coming out within the coming months for the cam swap, I'll probably just nail it then. So in the meantime I'm trying to find a coolant temp sensor that will fit in my engine and work with my gauge, and finding an alternate spot to mount the oil pressure sender in the meantime (I've heard the oil pan might have a spot?)

    Also bought the front bumper bolts so brackets should go on soon, and new chrome bumpers should be on by next weekend. Stay tuned.

    Here's a pic dump:"
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    "So just a couple of small updates:

    - The water temperature sending unit turned out to be functioning, but reads a few degrees higher than normal. This isn't a major problem for me as it still responds to the slightest degree change. The gauge itself turned out to be faulty. Prosport has offered to have it sent in and checked, and if they deem it non functioning then they're gonna replace it. But if they find out it does work by some miracle they'll charge me for it. Since I don't feel like taking a gamble, I'm going to just buy a new set of gauges somewhere down the line.

    - My transmission oil cooler bit the dust this morning. A line seemed loose earlier this week and after tightening it I had no issues. But finally a massive split erupted on my way to work and destroyed it. I went ahead and upgraded to a plate/fin cooler setup so temps should be nice and cool from here on out."
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    "So new updates:

    Finished the final round of re-torquing required on my rear wheel spacers. Loving it so far.

    Ended up swapping out the black stepside rear bumper for a chrome fleetside rear bumper. My buddy got this bumper for free with his truck. It's a little tweaked but it's secure so I'm happy about it. Chrome won't get you home but it sure looks good.

    Front bumper is completely out of the equation right now as I gauge out possible frame damage. I'm a bit worried that one of the frame ends might be a little out of spec after the wreck. One bumper bracket sits noticably higher than the other, but one is a new one and the other is the OEM one so it could just be the OEM bracket itself that's messed up. Either way, I just got new bumper bracket bolts so I can throw it all together and see how it looks, but for now I ended up removing the black bumper since it sat so weird on the truck and zip tied the license plate to the grille. I'll get a picture of it and post it up on the next update (hopefully with a before and after with the new chrome bumper).

    Ended up shelving the truck for about a week to drive my daily and ended up missing it. There's just something about an old truck that really gets me. Even if it doesn't have a functioning AC in the Texas summer, it's still fun. "

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    "Here's a quick picture of the front with no bumper. Can't wait to get the chrome one on, unless the brackets just won't work. Then it's baja bumper all the way. What a change from original plans, isn't it? Definitely liking the new outcome however. "

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    And that's it for current progress! I'm really excited about how far this little thing's come from the start but now I can re-focus and get my priorities straight to make the little off-road 2WD truck I've come to accept.
     
  2. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    So a little progress. Since the last update, my aftermarket stereo (which has been swapped out to three different vehicles) finally started dying which triggered a bit of retail therapy for myself:

    - New radio from Kenwood
    - Proclip USA mount for my iPhone on the side of the dash to connect my phone to radio via USB
    - New headlights and corner markers that are year specific to my vehicle (Had 95+ corner markers on which bulged out a bit)
    - JEGS TBI Air Flow Enhancer (pairing it with my TBI lid flip for that 1000 wheel horsepower boost;))

    Also going to be installing my new chrome front bumper as well with the new bumper brackets and bolts. Would also be a good time to run the wires for my trans temp gauge and clean up some wiring (and also clean up the rest of the truck as well). Definitely going to be an interesting weekend so stay tuned for pictures!
     
  3. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    Finally got the smoothie front bumper on. The cheap chinese bumper brackets work okay, nothing to write home about. Fitment is subpar but it'll hold. ProClip was also installed, but holding off on anything else as I have someone interested trading their 4WD GMT400 for my 2WD so they can go fast and I can go mudding :D:D:D

    [​IMG]
     
  4. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    Well, homedude ended up backing out of the deal and I've decided that I'll just make this my damn "mudder" after I get a Detroit locker or something of the like in the rear. In the meantime, here's a few pictures to tide the build over. I have about six different parts inbound for the truck, so hopefully next weekend we'll have some more interesting content.
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    Dubs likes this.
  5. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    Some progress! Bed rails, 4WD air valence, 4WD tow hooks, and cupholders were installed! Ended up uninstalling the cup holders however, as they clashed with my stereo so they're essentially useless. I also readjusted the headlights and swapped out the AC condenser for a solid one, although my AC issue is still persistent. I had to bypass my Pressure Cycle Switch as well, so I'm not sure what's going on with the HVAC now. Going to swap out the Receiver Dryer and Compressor and see how things go after that. Also, had to trim my valence to stop rubbing and need to drill extra holes to secure it better. Plus with my side bumper sag, something's gotta give with new bumper brackets. Going to see what I can do custom, shouldn't be difficult. Anyways, here's some pics!

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  6. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    Nothing much to update with, other than the new wheels. Currently hit a snag with the fronts, looks like they rub the caliper a bit. Gonna try to find a way around that. Stay tuned.
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    Another future project I wanted to make note of was fixing the slack in my tilt wheel. I've been told that I can fix this by doing the following:

     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  7. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    So update:

    The fronts weren't catching on the caliper. Turns out the tire shop that I've known and trust for the past five years outright lied to me about it in an effort to squeeze a little more money out of me for a set of eBay spacers they had lying around. Not sure if they're going out of business and just trying to squeeze as much out of their customers or what, so needless to say they lost a customer. They also completely jacked up the balancing of the wheels, so I ended up taking it to a shop that fixed me up for a very cheap price. Wheels are now balanced correctly, but one of my ball joints is completely shot resulting in a ton of wheel hop and misalignment. So truck is now down until I can resolve this issue. Going to replace the control arms instead of messing with replacing ball joints.

    Another small issue that appeared is that since my corner bumper brackets don't seem to work, the truck's bumper is now sagging severely. This was expected, and can definitely be fixed by modifying the brackets themselves and hammering the mount tabs back to a flush setup. It's just more work to do but hey, one step forward two steps back right?

    Speaking of two steps back, the A-Pillar gauge is coming out and being replaced with stock sensors and replacement harnesses now that I know the cluster is fully functioning.

    Anyways, here's a quick picture:
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  8. NightRunner

    NightRunner Supporting Member

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    Another small update without a picture, the A-Pillar gauge pod is now gone! Got the stock oil pressure and water temp sensors saved in my bookmarks along with their respective harnesses. Hopefully GM doesn't let me down with their stock gauges as I've had bad luck before :/
     

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