Desert Turtle - M1010 Build

ExpoMike

Well-known member
Busted out the tools of destruction and got the heater and passenger rear bench removed. Lots of rivets, some not easy to find. One more step closer to start a box build out.

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ExpoMike

Well-known member
Well, today I got the measurements for the inside of the box and did some scale 3D drawings of what I think the layout is going to be. Definitely trying to pack 5 lbs of crap into a 3 lbs bag. I think this will allow me to get all the items I am looking to install in. Here are some different views.


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ExpoMike

Well-known member
Well this past Friday was interesting. I have been thinking about doing something to upgrade the power for this rig. I have looked adding a turbo to the 6.2, swapping in a 6.5 turbo engine, even 6.0l LS and Big Block engines. They all have the pros and cons. Adding a turbo to the 6.2 helps but it really doesn't address some of the short comings of this engine. They are prone to head gasket failures, cracked heads, cracked blocks,etc. It seems to be totally hit and miss. It doesn't help that the whole 6.2/6.5 engine series has some aftermarket support but parts are getting harder to find. I kept rolling back to a gas conversion. As it happened, I found a 7.4L (454ci) Gen VI engine for a good price. Very clean, low hours and all the latest benefits of BBC development. The Gen VI comes with roller cam/lifter, one piece rear main seal and L29 Vortec heads. They also improved cooling and oiling systems from previous generations. Since the Squarebody trucks had a 454 option, getting one to fit is easy. I picked up this engine and loaded it into the back of the M1010. Well I guess the diesel got jealous with the idea of being swapped out and a mile from picking it up, it died. It seemed like a fueling system issue but I could not resolve it on the side of the road and had to get it towed home.

Doing some troubleshooting Saturday I found I was not getting power to the fuel cutoff solenoid. Found a bad fuse and replaced it and have power to that wire again. Since I was going to have to bleed the system I decided to put a new fuel filter on and purge that, which would verify if the lift pump was working. I was able to get that purged and then worked to get the injectors purged. Almost had it start and work the air out but it died and I have not been able to restart it. Likely going to need to crack all of the injector lines to purge the air. Downside is, you get about 5-6, 15-20 second cranks before the batteries get low enough you have to charge them up again. Hope to get it running this week. If the injector pump has failed, not likely I am going to spend the $500-$600 to replace since I am swapping engine.

Waiting for a tow truck....
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BBC goodness
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zoomad75

Observer
You can't go wrong with a gen 6 454. It should bolt in place of the oil burner with no modifications. Going with a carb or fuel injection?
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
You can't go wrong with a gen 6 454. It should bolt in place of the oil burner with no modifications. Going with a carb or fuel injection?
Yeah, should be a fairly easy swap but as you know, what should be easy can sometime be a pain in the butt. I am looking forward to being able to accelerate and not use a sundial to time myself. LOL

Definitely going EFI of some sort. I am thinking of going old school and use a TBI setup. Not the most power compared to multiport but fairly simple, reliable and easy to get parts. Being able to get parts and easily fix on the road is a big thing for me. I was to use mostly factory GM type stuff. If I could find the factory '96-'00 L29 EFI setup that was complete and reasonable on price, I wouldn't mind that but those seem hard to find.
 

zoomad75

Observer
Yeah, should be a fairly easy swap but as you know, what should be easy can sometime be a pain in the butt. I am looking forward to being able to accelerate and not use a sundial to time myself. LOL

Definitely going EFI of some sort. I am thinking of going old school and use a TBI setup. Not the most power compared to multiport but fairly simple, reliable and easy to get parts. Being able to get parts and easily fix on the road is a big thing for me. I was to use mostly factory GM type stuff. If I could find the factory '96-'00 L29 EFI setup that was complete and reasonable on price, I wouldn't mind that but those seem hard to find.
I totally get the logic looking at stock TBI setup. The parts aren't as easy to get anymore. The sensors are, but the actual throttle body unit is no longer supported by GM. The 454 unit is not the same as the much more common 350/305 unit either. Holley was making replacement TBI units at one time and I'm not sure they are anymore. I used one on one of the employee's trucks at work and I'm fighting a driveability issue with it and the standard GM TBI IAC and TPS sensor don't fit the Holley unit. There are some good rebuilders out there that I'm probably going to have to get a rebuilt OEM unit to address the problem. The point I'm getting to is even the newest TBI system GM put out is 25 years old. You might want to look at a new harness and controller set up to your specs by somebody like Howell. Or research some of the aftermarket EFI systems that have come a very long way in a few years. Holley Sniper, MSD Atomic and Edelbrock Pro-flo are some of the options. I've got a couple of buddies from CK5 that have put the Pro-flo setups on their squarebodies with excellent results. Simple to set up, self learning and don't require an engineering degree to run.

It's worth looking into and comparing pricing on refurbishing an OEM TBI system with new harness to a new aftermarket system.
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
I totally get the logic looking at stock TBI setup. The parts aren't as easy to get anymore. The sensors are, but the actual throttle body unit is no longer supported by GM. The 454 unit is not the same as the much more common 350/305 unit either. Holley was making replacement TBI units at one time and I'm not sure they are anymore. I used one on one of the employee's trucks at work and I'm fighting a driveability issue with it and the standard GM TBI IAC and TPS sensor don't fit the Holley unit. There are some good rebuilders out there that I'm probably going to have to get a rebuilt OEM unit to address the problem. The point I'm getting to is even the newest TBI system GM put out is 25 years old. You might want to look at a new harness and controller set up to your specs by somebody like Howell. Or research some of the aftermarket EFI systems that have come a very long way in a few years. Holley Sniper, MSD Atomic and Edelbrock Pro-flo are some of the options. I've got a couple of buddies from CK5 that have put the Pro-flo setups on their squarebodies with excellent results. Simple to set up, self learning and don't require an engineering degree to run.

It's worth looking into and comparing pricing on refurbishing an OEM TBI system with new harness to a new aftermarket system.
Oh, when I said old school TBI, I was meaning I was going to be looking at a Howell setup, not try to piece one together as you are right, 454 ones are hard to find and likely will need to be rebuilt anyways. What I was after is being a stock type TBI, sensors, injectors, etc. are stuff I can buy off the shelf in most parts stores around the country. They are also fairly simple to troubleshoot in the field.

As for aftermarket setups, I have a FiTech EFI (though not installed on anything) and have been on forums since these "all in one" EFI systems hit the market. Sadly they have been totally hit and miss on reliability and trying to figure out what part you need when you walk into a store is difficult. Also hard to troubleshoot. For my hot rods/classic cars which are likely to stay more local and always on a paved road, they could be worth the risk of failure but for something that is going well off the beaten path, a basically stock type TBI is likely going to be much more reliable. Plus the GM type TBI systems have a limp home mode, which I have not seen with the aftermarket ones.

That all said, nothing has been decided. Heck, I might throw on the FiTech since I already have it. LOL What I am thinking of doing is, using a standard squarebore intake manifold, using an adapter plate for a TBI. In worst case, I could yank that off and throw on a standard carb in a parking lot and likely get me on the road again. That could be a worst case scenario.
 

zoomad75

Observer
I totally get the reliability of OEM setups. Nothing wrong with that. Some of the aftermarket systems are getting better reliability and I think if you bring a couple key spares like a MAP, TPS and IAC you could get by pretty easy. A couple of my buddies have taken the Pro-flow equipped trucks from Colorado, wheel for a week in Moab and back again, without an issue on the FI system.

Your plan to stick with a standard carb intake isn't a bad one for the ultimate fall back maneuver.
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
So last Friday I did some more troubleshooting. Pulled the glow plugs out so it could crank easily. When cranking I was not getting any fuel spray from the glow plug holes which was interesting. I started with checking the return valve to make sure it was not plugged. Cleaned it and was getting good flow through it. Took my air line with about 2-3psi and tried to blow into the return line to from the engine to the tank. First few times it seems like it was not allowing air to the tank. Finally I started hearing air bubbling in the tank so I knew that was clear. I picked up some clear hose and started with re-bleeding the new fuel filter. It had some air but seemed to get that out quickly and was getting good fuel. Then I checked the return line from the housing with hear hose and got just a bit of air then good, clean fuel with good flow. This seemed to indicate the lift pump is working fine.

Since it seems like it was getting no fuel to the injectors, I went back to check the fuel cutoff solenoid. Using my Power Probe to energize the solenoid, I really wasn't getting a solid click to it. After a few tries, I decided to order a new solenoid. Got a German made one (versus the low quality China ones) which was only a few bucks more and came with a new o-ring and sealing washers. Swapped that into the cover and took a couple tries to get it on right. Verified it was activating and was getting a good, solid clunk when energized. I went to button up the cover and managed to drop one of the screws (near the battery area, not over the engine) and it disappeared. After 30 minutes of looking, I just decided to snug up the two other ones and give it a try. Worse thing is it would leak some.

Fingers crossed, I started doing some cranking cycles of about 15-20 seconds with a couple minute cool down between. On the 3rd or 4th one it seemed like it was trying to come to life. On the 6th or 7th, it finally fired up, a little rough at first and then smoothed out. It would rev fine so I let it idle for a few minutes and then ran out of daylight and called it quits for the day. Need to hunt down a new bolt tomorrow and finish buttoning things up. Given the possible problems it could have been, this was a fairly easy and cheap fix ($60 part).

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ExpoMike

Well-known member
Well had a little time to start removing the wall panels so I can replace the insulation, re-wire and close up any holes I find (which I am finding from the Sheriff installing/removing items). Two walls done. The roof and one wall to go.

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ExpoMike

Well-known member
More progress today. Got almost all of the box stripped of panels and insulation. Lots of rivets to drill out but just have a little panel at the back of the box to remove.

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ExpoMike

Well-known member
Next on the list was to install the intake manifold I picked up off FB marketplace. It had been installed but never ran so basically new for less than half price. Spent too much time scrapping off the old intake gasket but got everything cleaned up. Then I used a Jaz Products port sealing kit to close up things while it is being stored. Then I mocked up the serpentine belt bracket kit I picked up off of EBay. This is a factory '96-'00 BBC setup. Need to clean and paint it but it will be nice to have a modern belt system.

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zoomad75

Observer
That's a great setup. I despise v-belts. It should cleanup well with a little elbow grease and paint. Get a fresh tensioner and idler pulley when you go to install it. A CS144 alternator is what usually got used in that setup. You can get them in 125 or 140 amp variety.
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
That's a great setup. I despise v-belts. It should cleanup well with a little elbow grease and paint. Get a fresh tensioner and idler pulley when you go to install it. A CS144 alternator is what usually got used in that setup. You can get them in 125 or 140 amp variety.
Yep, that's the plan. I have been looking at aftermarket high output alts (likely 175-200 amps) because my solar controller for my lithium house batteries will draw 50 amps (it won't taper off like a FLA or AMG battery) so I want to make sure I am not over taxing the alt, especially at low/idle RPM's.
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
@zoomad75 actually I do have a question you might be able to answer. Since I only got the part you see and never seen one of these fully assembled on a truck, can you tell me what the black bracket at the back of the alt mount (pass. side bracket) is used for?
 
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