Some idiot destroyed my truck - help me rebuild it better than ever?

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FrankieD61

The Stooge Called Slappy: Slappy'sAutoService
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Hi, I don't post here much (or at all) but I lurk several times a week to learn about my truck, a '99 W/T C2500 I inherited from a close uncle who passed a few years ago. They were a carpenter by trade and this was their work truck. Frankly, it was a total POS when I received it, but I've put a lot of time and love (and money, ugh) into it over the years I have owned it as it was my first vehicle and it has sentimental value to me, and, well, I also just love it for what it is, objectively.

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They really don't make trucks like this any more, ever since (in my opinion) car design aesthetically peaked in the 80's and then has been mostly terrible for the last 30 years. It's also just fun to be able to stomp on the gas on a highway onramp and feel the power of a big engine that isn't nannied to death like some other, newer cars I've driven, especially with the Black Bear Performance ECM tune people here helped me get in the past :)

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Anyways, one day, about six months ago, I was driving to work and out of nowhere, a clearly galaxy brained specimen of humanity decided to stop full tilt at an intersection without a stop sign or traffic light and I slammed into them, destroying the front end of the truck.

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Thankfully, I had dashcam footage of the incident and I got a pretty decent payout from the insurance company, but now I'm left with the task of rebuilding it, and I am out of my league when it comes to how to do this to the high standards I would like to achieve, even with a professional doing the work. I don't really understand how to differentiate good parts and manufacturers from bad ones, especially given what I've heard is an epidemic of cheap Chinesium garbage and outright knockoffs flooding the market to the point where even experienced mechanics can get screwed on parts.

Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity, given that I have to now replace a bunch of stuff one way or another, customize the truck a bit more to my liking (namely, installing an 88-89 style grille and lamp assembly with HIDs/LEDs, because they're just so cool!).

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I have a lot of stuff planned out to the best of my ability to reduce the burden of my request, but there are gaps in my plans that I need outside help from smarter people than me to solve, and that's where this post comes in - I would greatly appreciate it if this community could look over my work and either fill in some blanks or point out if I've made any bad choices.

- - - - - - - - - -

Replacement front grille (going with the 88-93 special edition because I want those super cool quad beams!)

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/custom/cd-1988-98-all-chrome-special-edition-grille

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/stock/cd-1994-98-chrome-lower-grille-panel-set
(this lower panel set is allegedly only for the 94-98 grille, but I don't see why it would be different?)

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/stock/cd-1988-98-grille-mounting-components

Headlamps (I've read these are decent if you can't get the Bosch assemblies?)

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/headlight/cd-1988-89-headlight-dual

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/headlight/cd-1988-98-custom-headlights-150mm

Running lights (x4, switchback - super bright, about 1600 lumen apiece)

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/parklight/cd-1988-89-custom-parklight-sets

- https://www.headlightrevolution.com...rbide-bulbs-LED.BUL.1157.CAR2_2?quantity=1GTR

High beams (x4) (my chosen running lights are so bright, with a proper replacement housing, I suspect I won't actually need low beams and will instead be able to simply use four high beams, assuming there's any ability, if needed, to aim the lower assembly)

- https://www.headlightrevolution.com/9005-gtr-lighting-ultra-led-bulbs-hr?quantity=19005/HB3:

Sidemarkers (my state doesn't do inspections, so no need for amber - I'm going for a colorless look where all the front lights are 6000K)

- https://www.headlightrevolution.com/t10-194-gtr-lighting-5-led-bulbs-LED.BUL.T105_3?quantity=1Dodge

- https://klearz.com/88-93_obs_clear_corners1988-93

Hi-Low Wiring Kit

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/headlight/cd-1988-98-high-beam-headlight-relay-kit

Heavy duty headlight wiring harness (how does this work with the Hi-Low wiring kit? Are they mutually compatible?)

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-chevy-gmc/headlight/cd-heavy-duty-headlight-harness

Taillights (clear, to match the front lighting - gotta replace em while I'm at this, because I'm tired of LED hyperflash)

-
https://aftparts.com/product/tail-light-pair-1988-1998-chevy-k1500-silverado-suburban-c1500/Tail

Hood (stock or a mild cowl, but I have zero clue how to pick a part. I heard I want something steel?)

Replacement front bumper (I can't order the premium non-license plate version because it seems to be out of stock for far into the foreseeable future, I need a quality alternative option that won't rust in five seconds in northeast salt)

- https://www.lmctruck.com/1988-98-ch...cd-1988-98-front-bumper-without-impact-strips

Radiator (mine was trashed in the accident, I have even less of a clue on how to pick this than the hood - I would like to do some value performance mods in the future, if that helps)

- ?????????

- - - - - - - - - -

Also, some nice to haves…

U-joint / steering shaft (current rag joint is completely trashed, want to swap to u-joint for reliability and improved steering feel - is this in particular actually a viable mod worth my time, or should I just buy an aftermarket joint and shaft?)

- https://www.gmt400.com/threads/xj-s...ks-95-instructions-on-page-31.12087/page-14XJ

Steering rack (higher ratio because I find driving the truck in the city is like piloting a yacht sometimes)

- https://redheadsteeringgears.com/product/1997-1999-gm-suv-12-71-ratio

Pittman arm (no idea what separates good from garbage components, or who makes the quality parts)

Braking assembly (my brakes are pretty bad and mushy despite having mostly new hardware all around, so if any of these mods are worth doing, or if there are possible issues I could troubleshoot, I'd like to know)

- https://www.gmt400.com/threads/1990-c1500-abs-rwal-removal.11427

- https://www.gmt400.com/threads/gmt-400-hydroboost-swap.13105

- https://www.gmt400.com/threads/stainless-steel-rear-disk-brake-conversion-problem.49629

Undercoating (my truck, given that my uncle only drove it in the three "construction" seasons, and not the winter, so it is almost entirely rust-free, and I'd like to keep it that way if possible - I have someone who does undercoating, but they typically use POR-15 and my impression is that this is an obsolete product)

- black cosmoline / CRC 6026 HD corrosion inhibitor / fluid film

- fluid film corrosion inhibiting black paint / rust bullet / eastwood internal frame coating?

- https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-black-rust-encapsulator-paint-over-rust.html

- I've heard 3M has some really good anti-corrosion products, too?

Finally, I got a new to me, very clean 88-94 60/40 seat, but unfortunately, my current seat is a full bench, and for some reason, the replacement seat didn't come with the necessary mounting parts. What do I need and where can I get it (I assume Car-Part.com or a Pick-N-Pull…). Also, if there are any other general greebles, feelies or miscellaneous bits and bobbins I'll likely need to acquire, please let me know :)

Thanks for everything!
The curse of the white truck…
 

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Erik the Awful

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Funny thing, twice this last weekend I saw a squarebody Suburban bent in half like that driving around Del City. He had to slow to a crawl to make a right turn.
 
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