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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is the buildup thread I promised in my intro...

A little over a year or so ago, I came across an 88-98 cab on Ebay. Only it wasn't just any cab, it was a brand new cab with doors in a crate with factory GM stampings and paperwork. I had always wanted to have a crew cab of this body style, so I went ahead and threw the cash down (and the gas money to go to Wisconsin to get it).

I had located a 2wd frame that was hit in the front and grafted on a 4x4 front, joining them the same way the factory did it. Once the cab was sitting on the frame, I began to add the other body parts, such as the bed, fenders, etc.

And that's when disaster struck-

It turns out that the body mounting locations are higher on the frame for a 4x4, so the front cab mounts were about 1-1/2 inches taller than all the ones behind them. To add insult to injury, when we joined the frames, we somehow had the front kicked up a few degrees. I decided to try to make it all work out by varying the thicknesses of the body lift pucks, and figured the slight kickup wouldn't matter much when I went with the SAS conversion- so I marched on. Then came the front bumper, which sat nowhere where it needed to be. Right about this time, I came across a good, unwrecked 4x4 frame and decided to end the never-ending headache once and for all.

I'll include a couple pictures of where I had gotten before, but for all intents and purposes, I've pretty much started the build over, so I'll just let the thread follow the current build as it happens....



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Like I said, I've pretty much started this project over from the above picture with a new frame. So instead of posting all the pics from the original build, I'll just follow along with the current build.

The frame is an original 4x4 frame, never been in a wreck. After I got it home, I went to work removing all the old paint and road grime. I also removed all the old IFS bracketry, the original front crossmember, and the rear crossmember that held the spare tire carrier.




I could have left alot of the IFS brackets in place, but I didn't want it to look like a hack job. I was also hitting the frame with etching primer as I went along.


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The next step was to build the front crossmember for the SAS conversion. A buddy supplied me with the box steel and I bought a couple of spring mounts from DIY4X. The reinforcing gussets aren't fully welded yet, because we decided we wanted to redo them.



Here are the axles that are being used- they are from an 83. Rear is a 14-bolt full floater and the front is (I think) a corporate. When I bought the 83, they told me it was a Dana 60, but it isn't marked like any Dana according to the research I've done online. At any rate, the pair has 4.10 gears.




Here is a front shot with the new crossmember in place. The pic still shows the original front crossmember in place, but is has since been removed. Front springs are from the rear of the 83.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
To mount the rear of the front springs, I used the rear shackle hangers from the rear suspension of the 83 and laid them sideways. I had to clearance them a little to prevent spring contact, but it put the springs right about where they needed to be. However, now that it's done, I'm worried about the strength, so I'll probably end up changing to a rear mount from Sky Mfg. instead. As you can see, the paint is starting to go on the frame now...



In the rear, after a whole day of measuring and comparing brackets, I came up with a plan to let me use the 83's rear end without having to move the perches. To start off, I removed all four of the hangers from the frame. I then took the front hangers and moved them to the rear, lining up the top rear-most hole in the hanger with the top rear-most hole in the frame, and then drilling the remainder to match. What this does is give you a shackle flip. Instead of using the original supports that go behind the hanger (which are now too short), I used the comparative pieces from the 83, which are longer (they aren't shown in the pic). For the front mounts, I'll be using the same spring hangers from DIY4X that I used on the front suspension- I just haven't done that yet. Those get mounted under the frame rail, instead of off to the side like original.



This set-up not only gives you a shackle flip for more lift, but it also inboards the springs for more clearance and allows you to use the 73-87 axle without moving the perches on the axle. I forgot to mention, this setup uses the factory 88-98 rear springs.

The spring pack I have at the moment is massive- it has 9 leaves PLUS an add-a-leaf PLUS a top-mounted overload. I'll be losing the overload though since I need a new center pin, and everyone stocks a 6 inch pin, but not a seven. With that many leafs in the pack, I doubt I'll need the overload anyway. I don't really need that many leafs, to be honest, but it sets everything level with the SAS front, and I don't want to buy lift springs right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And now we're caught up to current. I just got the engine freshened up and put in last night. The engine is an early 94 350 that was rebuilt 3 years ago and has served me well. It originally came to me in a 94 chevy truck, and when a deer totaled it, the engine was rebuilt and put in a Nova that saw limited driving. Then, it spent a year in a 71 chevy pickup, before spending the summer in the rusty 83 that gave it's life for this project. Not alot of miles were put on this engine since I rebuilt it, but I decided to give it a fresh coat of Chevy Orange for her faithful service. It has a mild cam and and Edelbrock carb, still sitting on the aluminum Monte Carlo intake (with an adapter plate between them- I've been saying that I'm going to change that intake, but just never have). Behind it is a 700R4 tranny, but it has the wrong transfer adapter on it. I need to find the one with 6 mounting bolts so I can use my 208 case.

If Indiana ever goes to inspections, I'm screwed.




With the engine and tranny in place, the lowest part of the frame (under the cab) is a full 21 inches from the ground- and thats sitting on the junk 30 inch tires.

On the agenda now is finding the right transfer adapter and getting the transfer cleaned up and installed. Then it's on to the driveshafts. I also need to get the suspension finished up and install Energy Suspension bushings. I also have to run fuel and brake lines, find a suitable rear tank (which is why I removed the spare tire carrier stuff), and paint the axles.

Then I have to figure out how to get the cab off the old frame and get it on this one... fun fun.
 

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OBS Trucks FTW!
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Awesome build, OBS crews are some of the best looking trucks.
 

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Looking great man, Always wish i could do a frame off project
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
TEASER PIC ALERT!!!

Here is a pic with the cab on the frame- sitting on 3" body lift blocks. I threw a fender on just for visual effect. I hadn't planned on using the body lift, but put it in place to give me extra room to finish undercoating, and to do the rest of the drivetrain work. Current tires are 33".

I still have to find the right transfer case adapter to bolt my 208 up to the 700r4- I've found the part number I need (#15629188), but it really needs to quit raining before I go scrounging the salvage yards.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nooo... It's a longbed. A hillbilly limo. The angle of the pic does make it look like a shortie though. I was under the porch when I took that pic- it was raining it's ass off.

I just got the engine accessory bracket painted up and installed yesterday and thought I had the right alternator for it (with the ears at 6 and 10 o'clock). I went to dig an alternator out of my collection and didn't have the right one. Mine were all 6 & 12's except one that is 6&2. Oh well, you can't win them all I guess. Today will be mostly boring stuff- finish the undercoating, cleaning the starter, painting and installing the water pump... stuff like that that needs done but doesn't warrant a picture. I still need to decide if I'm gonna keep the body lift or not. It looks cool, but I'm the one who has to climb up in it all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I finally finished the undercoating and got the firewall painted. I also decided not to use the body lift and took it out and got the body bolted back up to the frame. Today I got the Hydroboost mounted in place and the lines between it, the pump and the steering box hooked up.

I started going through my stuff to get the serpentine pullies all ironed out and found out that I don't have the one for the water pump, and I have the wrong tensioner. Goodie, more stuff to scrounge I guess.

I'm still trying to decide if I wnt to go with the Escalade/Denali front end. I like the look of that style front, but I want to run those fender flares in the LMC catalog that look like stock ones, but are like 3 inches wider. I'm not sure if they will go on the Eskie/Denali fender or not. I would assume the wheel opening would be the same, but who knows? I'll have to run with a wider flare than stock due to the tires I want to run.
 

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Wanna B Jack o all Trades
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this is really cool. An Esky front on a CC SAS longbed would be different!
 
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