K5 Activity Blog


Well, I've been driving it around for a little while, here and there. I've had lots of little bugs to work out. I had to swap the 20oz coolant expansion tank for a 56oz one, it kept leaking on the ground some with that small one. I've had to swap the door strikers because the LMC ones came with an improper bushing that wore out after only a few door cycles. I got all the weatherstrip in, got a speedo correction gear box. I had a fuel sending unit issue, and had to drop the tank and get a new unit under warranty. (Something that was still under warranty!!). I had fuel tank venting issues, so I had to run a hard line all the way up front to vent the line. I had a short little stubby on there like everyone told me to use, but it kept spitting gas every now and again on inclines and under hard braking. The new vent line solved that issue. Overall, it's a great running and driving truck. It's probably, dare I say, the tightest most responsive steering and handling 73-87/91 style I've ever driven. The hydroboost brakes great, the bilsteins keep it under control on the corners. All the new bearings,ball joints, TRE's, steering column shaft, steering column, steering gear, it's super tight steering. I havn't yet ventured off-road, but very soon, just want to get all these little kinks worked out first. . I'm about to put the soft-top on. A brand new Kayline (Specialty Top Co.) fasttrac top I bought 5 or 6 years ago, new in the box. That will make the driving much more enjoyable in warmer weather.

Well, she's finally running and driving. It's been a long time coming. I finished the engine wiring, finally got a belt that fit right for the serp setup with the York. Got the gas tank all plumbed, finally. That was a major accomplishment. I started thinking I didn't want to modify my vintage Hickey 40gallon tank, which I already had Renu'd. So I rigged up all the plumbing on a single bracket I was to mount, it went from tank pickup to low pressure filter to swirl pot (buffer) to high pressure pump to the rail back to the swirl pot and back to the tank. WHen I had it all rigged up, I looked at it and said, umm..this looks like an accident waiting to happen, with all the fittings and BS in there, lots of chances for problem. And people still report with this setup they have fuel starvation. So I bit the bullet and pulled the tank, bought an in-tank setup with a little sump at the bottom of it, I had to extend it to go the height of my tank. Much simplier setup and after driving it around for a month under various conditions, I have yet to report a fuel starvation issue. I finally got a windshield mounted. They tried using the OEM gasket first, but the opening was too small and he said he was going to have to cut down the windshield both on each side and off the top. Was gonna take him several days to get back or he said, there was enough flange to just glue it down like a modern car. I said, go ahead and glue it. He put some nice rubber edging on it to cover the ragged flange and glued it in. Works perfect, looks like it was made to fit that way I also procured some 82-91 laminated deep tint rear windows for the topper. They look great! The only other issue I've had with it were the hoses I used, stainless with the couplers. One blew out on first startup after it got ot temp. I promptley replaced them with flexible stainless braid, so only one connection at the joints now. Far more reliable. I guess they stopped selling that other type for a reason. Those couplers they use are unreliable. I took it for alignment (toe), and she's driving great. With the borgeson steering shaft, all new front end parts, and rebuilt steering column, this is probably the best driving 73-87/91 chevy truck I've ever driven. Super tight. The brakes are also outstanding. I had added the hydroboost to it and ditched the vacuum stuff. Of course, the rear disk brake kit helps as well. I had all stainless 409 exhaust run on it with dynomax ultraflow all stainless mufflers, strap hangers..etc. Exhaust is really nice, not loud (I hate loud) but a nice rumble to it when you get on the gas. I got the door seals and gate seals installed. I fabricated the legally required washer fluid tank. One thing about the tilt front clip is is pimps you for all the good places to put things like washer fluid bottles and such. I ended up after tyring a myriad of tanks out of various vehicles, none of which I could really get to work, I used a lenght of 3" pvc pipe with some fittings and and cap on top which I drilled vent holes into. Works great and stuffed into a location I had free. All in all, she's driving nice, everything is working for the most part, no major issues. A few more tweaks to work out, like the drivers door not closing quite right, the windows don't roll down quite right (they did when I put them together, 8 years ago, I guess just sitting is bad...) Then I'll mount the softtop and plumb the OBA system, and, ekk, will I be done??!?!?! After 14 years....done is rather subjective.

It's Been a long while since I updated.  So I procured the RamJet 350 crate engine, installed that. Installed the serpentine kit. The wiring is complete. Installed the starter, alternator and various other engine components.Throttle cable installed, need to do exhaust yet, and driveshafts. I really hope to have it done by this fall, she's close!

Wiring is still underway. It's alot of work. 1 circuit at a time. Lots of little details to work out. Relay seal numbers, bases, differnent packard connectors. My Electrical engineering buddy accused me of  starting a packard museum, I have a whole 24 bin organizer with different packard connectors. I think I bough the rest of the countrys avails stock on a couple of them, like the "PC Bow" connector that mates to the Printed Circuit on the back of the Gauge Pod. Anyhow, I've got about half the circuits completed. Alot of them depend on others, so I estimate by CHristmas I should have this wiring done. I've got my bumpers coming, so I can complete the wiring in the back of course. It's slow, but going. I've got a nice new OEM type mirror with compass, Homelink, outside temp and maplights, that took me 3 days to wire into the plan. Stereo is mostly wired. I've got to do the alarm functions on it still. (Stereo sounds sweeeeet!) Slow....but sure....

The budget is completely blown away. Everything little piece I install is brand new, GM if I can get it.
I'm in the middle of wiring. I chosen to wire from scrach as opposed to using a stock kit, or a Painless kit, as these kits just don't allow for the kind of extras that I have planned and don't include alot extra harneses anyway, like the AC clutch, heater, some of the engine sensors..etc. Anyhow, for this job I've been consulting with a good friend of mine who's an Electrical Engineer. For the wiring task we choose to use switchable circuit breakers in place of fuses. I've purchased all SXL grade automotive wire, rated to 125C.  SXL wire is what's called a crosslink wire.  Also available in crosslink, is GXL and TXL, just a little thinner wall, the OEMS use these for stuffing many wires in the same place, like say a 50pin computer connector. Anyhow, alot of people don't realize that there's a huge difference in qualities of various wire. The stuff you find at the auto parts store, frankly, is crap. It is not even GPT rated. Look at the difference here.  For that test I placed a length of SXL (the yellow) and a length of some "Primary wire" I purchased at Napa a few years ago right  in front of my 55,000BTU reddy heater. The primary wire was in flames within 3 seconds and the insulation gone within 5. The SXL wire I removed after 30seconds, a little discoloration, but still flexible and  the insulation remained in tact and did not reveal any of the wire it was protecting.  Also purchased, were high quality terminals and connectors. Butt connectors, ring terminals and such. I choose solder ring heat shrink terminals. These have a pre-measured amount of solder already encased in the heat schrink, place your wire in it, put in front of a heat gun, the heat shrink tubing shrinks to seal around the connector and the wire and the solder inside melts. A perfect sealed connection. I purcahsed all this stuff at DelCity, there's other places you can buy too, but DelCity had the most reasonable prices the an individual could buy and in smaller amounts. (ie DelCity lets you buy minimum 100' of wire, some other places were minimum 250' ofr wire)  So the wiring has commenced.

Update: 19May2005:

Well it seems I'm getting out of control. Every single part I put on this thing during assembly is GM new if I can help it, otherwise it's new from a 3rd party, or if it's not offered anywhere, I take my sweet old time and carefully and painstakingly refurbish it myself (sandblast, tap, re-thread, clean,prime,paint etc).  I starting pulling my old crap off the shelf for installation and just coulnd't bear to bolt on rusty old 250K mi stuff. Cost is going high because of all the new GM parts I never really orginally planned on putting on. Back in 1998 when I started I had little means to do such things, the plan really was put a glass body on and a new engine. Well, during  the project, I found that after at least 250K mi (could be more, I think it may have been 350k), everything was showing signs of wear. Stupid things like clutch cross shaft seals, armrests, turn signal cancel cam, door panel seals, rear window tracks, even just fasteners. Well I was smart enough there, before I started I went to Quality Farm & Fleet and bought $300 worth of grade 8 & 5 bolts/nuts/washers, every size, and a nice organizer bin thingy. That was one of the smartest things I've done, it's very nice having every length bolt in 8 different diameters and thier proper washers and nuts, no more hunting, tapping, cleaning, etc. Just pick and install. Anyway, sometimes I sit back and think I spend way to much on stupid crap like $38 for clutch rod boots, and $8 for GM window regulator rollers. No one part is ever that expensive, but it adds up, quick. But the way I see it, when finished, every single part/fastner will be brand spaking new or like new, so in theory, everything should be perfect and operate perfectly, be sealed perfectly, look decent, etc, etc. In theory, anyway........

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