Building a work truck ( slowly)

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
I am not much on expeditions - unless you count work an expedition. I have done lots of looking at the builds here for ideas, and motivation for this truck. Back in 2000 I built another work Suburban but at the time I didn't do much online, so here is the newest one. I am copying the first several posts from another forum, but I figured I could make you fine people suffer along with me too.


(Warning; the following post is most likely rambling and incoherent and you will have a hard time finding a subject at times. Bear with me, it will be a total waste of time.)

I know, I know, 99% of you have no idea who I am. That is ok. My wife has the same problem sometimes. I am not new, I am a long time lurker, and sometimes commenter on things that capture my short attention span. So here is a little intro.

I am 49 years old, have 4 kids, one one the way, and enjoy long drinks of whisky in whatever dark corner happens to be quiet. Back in 2000 I was innocently driving my 82 Subaru GL in Charlotte, when a Chrysler LHS came through the median airborne and landed on the roof. It messed up my back, and whole left side, as you can imagine it was pretty life changing. I can work for 8 days straight, then have to take a week off for pain. Makes it hard to hold a regular job. So I hired myself. I had a truck, so I started hauling junk. And fast forward 19 years, and I am still hauling it.

After using a pickup for many years, I found a neat little loophole in NC DMV regulations. A suv is not considered a property hauling vehicle, and is thus exempt from requiring weighted tags. They are also great at hauling people, tools, and dogs.

So I settled on a Suburban for a work truck. I have had several and they have worked great, As you can imaging scrap hauling is not so easy on a truck. For a little over a year I have had a 97 Suburban that has been no end of trouble.

When it ran it was great


We took it to Tn to get a Yukon to bring back to flip, and this is how the trip ended.


It started knocking, and I thought was a cracked flexplate, with a bad back I wasn't working on it in TN, so I sold the Yukon, bought the F250 , and towed it home, and took it to the shop. When they drained the oil the #4 rod bearing poured out. That is the second engine that truck has had in a year, I am done with it.

So I found a new truck, a 95 K1500 Suburban nicknamed #7 (think Grizzly Adams). And I am making it into a work truck. Follow along. It might be good for a laugh.

Here it is the day I bought it.


Ain't those grandpa steps sexy.

The drivers seat also had a broken base that made it flop around. We stopped at Harbor Freight to get soem stuff to attempt a temporary repair and had no luck with that. I had resigned myself to a 200 mile drive home in a rocking chair, when the 7 year old said, "I'll fix it'" and folded the rear seat down against it. I felt pretty dumb and proud all at once.


Well, the steps didn't last long.


I have also put on a set of 2000 style tow mirrors, changed out the broken front seat for ones out of the dead truck (they are blue and the other interior is tan, but at least I won't get seasick). It also got the nice tail lights off the other truck.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
Next we installed a brake controller. I saw we because my wife helps me with everything. Even though she is pregnant she is a harder worker than most men I know.



While she put on the plug and wired it up.

Yes, she works on cars. Cute as a button too.
I also ran the power wire for the emergency lights so I could seal up the firewall and be done with that.

Better shot of the tow mirrors. I love this style because they are big enough to see what is behind you, and not so big an aircraft carrier can hide behind them.


Finally, the 7 year old, Heath, and I swapped the wheels over.


The old work truck turned donor is looking sad.

__________________
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
Since the wife is preggers, and the 7 year old is not a lot of help, and my back is all out of sorts; going is slow on the building. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Todays bite was fairly small.


We got out and pulled the roof rack off the old truck, and prepped it for lights. Holes got drilled and nutserts installed.


Yes, the Rhino has a new butthole.
Corner lights are going on too.


Cool fact about my Rhino rack. It was actually used in the Australian Outback. I found it for sale locally in Charlotte, NC. The couple that had it were from AU. They used it on camping trips in the Outback, then brought it with them when the moved here, and never used it again.

The bolts that came with the lights were metric, and all the nutzerts I have are standard, so we had to run to Lowe's.

I also needed something to make a switch panel out of, so while I was there I took a look at the plexiglass. The smallest piece they had on the rack was $6. I asked about a scrap piece. I left with this.


And since there is a road nearby that is closed for bridge repair I took the opportunity to take a couple of pics.

 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
And a shocking development.


2 of them actually.

They got pulled off the white truck. They were almost new so no sense in buying more.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
No work on the work truck, but the work truck had to work.


We got the F250 back from the shop Friday where it got a new fuel pump. Saturday we realized it was pouring fuel out of the pump. So this morning



We got back from that and I started to prepare my salad for the week. I make a huge bowl on Mondays and eat it all week long. I am kinda sorta trying (but not too hard) to loose weight. While I was cutting up my sweet onion, my loving, beautiful wife walked in and said, "be careful", and I sliced off the tip of my right index finger.


So further work on #7 is on hold for a bit.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
Repeat my mantra with me. It is a work truck, not a show truck. It is a work truck, not a show truck. It is a work truck, not a show truck....

So I said we would be taking some time off, but I got bored. So we didn't

The wife went out and pulled the emergency lights out of the old truck. I hunted down the backup camera out of a different truck that never got installed in the old truck, and got it all figured out.

Then we installed it.



The mount I made for the camera got put on and the hole drilled to run the wiring through.


It slid and the JB weld made a mess. It's a work truck, not a show truck.

Wiring all hidden, over the rear view mirror you can see the front emergency light.


We also ran the wiring for the roof lights, and all the wires got bundled up and tucked out of the way for later hookup.



I attempted to make a switch plate, but my fumble fingered attempt just turned into a disaster and lots of wasted lexan.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
So I can't resist even with a mangled finger.


After ruining the lexan, I had to find another material. While I was poking around I found an old license plate sticking out of the mud, joys of having a 7 year old mechanic.

After cutting the size I needed, I realized that my buddy has not returned my clamps yet. So I had to come up with a way to hold it while I drilled the holes.

Redneck ingenuity to the rescue.

Then I test fitted it again.


Then tested again with the switches in place.


Then it got painted black and is now drying.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
Today #7 got a new steering box and water pump.

I had it in an alignment shop a while back and they told me I need a new pitman and idler arm. I had checked them before and knew they were good, the shop wanted to charge me $900 to replace them. I declined. About a week later I noticed a thumping in the front end. After a having the wife bump the wheel back and forth I finally found the problem. The shaft coming out of the box was moving. It was a first for me. It got new tie rods, pitman and idler while I was in there - $329 total.

While I was under the truck I found the water pump was leaking out of the weep hole. So I sent the wife off for one while the 7 year old and I worked on the steering.

Once everything was back together I did a dirty tape measure alignment. I will get it to a shop in a few days.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
No pics, but some much needed and overdue maintenance today.


I forgot to post it, but about a week ago the brake master cylinder started leaking. Since the old truck had a brand new one, it got put on, and all the brake fluid was changed out.

While I was doing the drivers rear I found what I thought was brake fluid on the inside of the back tire.We pulled the tire off and found it was gear oil. The axle seal was leaking. I had noticed that when I was not pulling the trailer it took an oddly long time to stop. With the trailer brakes it seemed to stop just fine. I have driven the truck maybe 4 times without the trailer since I bought it.

I ordered seals and needed good weather and time to install them. Today the stars aligned, and we got on it. Since both sides had the same mileage on them I replaced both sides.

The PO had put something really thick and goopy in the rear end to hide the leak. When I wiped the axle shaft off the rag stuck to it. It was like wiping off molasses.

The whole job wasn't bad. it actually took me longer to clean the gasket off the cover than it did to replace the seals.

The rear end had about 3 cups of oil in it, and the fill plug was loose. I guess they just kept filling it rather than fixing the problem.

I took it up the road and it stops so much better now.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
We got all the tune up parts for #7, so we went out to tune it up.


To prove how well these old TBI engines run, this engine has not been tuned up ever. The parts I took off today were all factory installed as far as I can tell. 133.000 miles on factory ignition parts.


When we pulled off the wires I was greeted with something I have not seen since the 90s. Packard spark plug wires.
74328525_10158146117099739_94599094235824128_n.jpg
Then Steph handed me the distributor cap. I think I found the miss.
73513459_10158146075479739_5823589827873865728_n.jpg
75266147_10158146078939739_910358252993118208_n.jpg
The rotor needed a bit of percussive maintenance to remove it.
75204526_10158146120314739_2889358962560335872_n.jpg

Steph swapped out the EGR and managed to break a vacuum fitting. I took a look in the shop and found a TBI off the Titanic that still had the line attached.
75446503_10158146133159739_3940366455215751168_n.jpg
When I attempted to set the timing I looked under the dash to disconnect the timing wire. I found this.
75394798_10158147013739739_882166950950600704_n.jpg
The wire is still wrapped in the factory tape.

Tells me it has never been touched.

I say attempted because when I pulled my 30+ year old Craftsman timing light out of the box, it was broken. Sad. I remember buying it at a salvage store with a set of spark plug sockets, an extension, and a ratchet for $20. Pour one out for my old tools.
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
This one is out of order, but somehow it didn't get posted.

We got all the tune up parts for #7, so we went out to tune it up.


To prove how well these old TBI engines run, this engine has not been tuned up ever. The parts I took off today were all factory installed as far as I can tell. 133.000 miles on factory ignition parts.


When we pulled off the wires I was greeted with something I have not seen since the 90s. Packard spark plug wires.

Then Steph handed me the distributor cap. I think I found the miss.


The rotor needed a bit of percussive maintenance to remove it.


Steph swapped out the EGR and managed to break a vacuum fitting. I took a look in the shop and found a TBI off the Titanic that still had the line attached.

When I attempted to set the timing I looked under the dash to disconnect the timing wire. I found this.

The wire is still wrapped in the factory tape.

Tells me it has never been touched.

I say attempted because when I pulled my 30+ year old Craftsman timing light out of the box, it was broken. Sad. I remember buying it at a salvage store with a set of spark plug sockets, an extension, and a ratchet for $20. Pour one out for my old tools.
 

nitro_rat

Lunchbox Lockers
No pics, but some much needed and overdue maintenance today.


I forgot to post it, but about a week ago the brake master cylinder started leaking. Since the old truck had a brand new one, it got put on, and all the brake fluid was changed out.

While I was doing the drivers rear I found what I thought was brake fluid on the inside of the back tire.We pulled the tire off and found it was gear oil. The axle seal was leaking. I had noticed that when I was not pulling the trailer it took an oddly long time to stop. With the trailer brakes it seemed to stop just fine. I have driven the truck maybe 4 times without the trailer since I bought it.

I ordered seals and needed good weather and time to install them. Today the stars aligned, and we got on it. Since both sides had the same mileage on them I replaced both sides.

The PO had put something really thick and goopy in the rear end to hide the leak. When I wiped the axle shaft off the rag stuck to it. It was like wiping off molasses.

The whole job wasn't bad. it actually took me longer to clean the gasket off the cover than it did to replace the seals.

The rear end had about 3 cups of oil in it, and the fill plug was loose. I guess they just kept filling it rather than fixing the problem.

I took it up the road and it stops so much better now.
Much like pinion leaky pinion seals, leaky axle seals are a SYMPTOM, not the actual problem. The bearings are the problem, NOT the seals. Your new seals will start leaking shortly as the shaft is no longer running concentric with the seal opening, it is "wobbling" in the hole...
 

mybigwarwagon

Rarely serious
Much like pinion leaky pinion seals, leaky axle seals are a SYMPTOM, not the actual problem. The bearings are the problem, NOT the seals. Your new seals will start leaking shortly as the shaft is no longer running concentric with the seal opening, it is "wobbling" in the hole...
For now the new seals will have to suffice. I didnt have time for the bearing. Hopefully the seals will hold til work slowsdown
 

Binksman

Observer
I'm diggin this thread already and am looking forward to more posts from a fellow work truck owner who gets the family involved!
 
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