View Full Version : 1997 GMC c1500 Project

03-18-2014, 03:44 PM
I've been lurking around the site for a while and doing a bunch of reading. There are some absolutely awesome builds going on. Thought I would share my new ride, project. It's a 97 Gmc c1500, short wheel base pickup. My buddy bought it a few years after high school and has owned it since 03. I have had it on my mind to find out if he wanted to sale it since last year this time. Any how the time was right and I called him up and sure enough it was sitting behind the house not being driven. He decided he would turn it loose so we did a full tune up and got it running on all 8. Typical vortec distributor cap problems. Any how it's a 305 truck with a five speed tranny. Great start for a pro-touring build. We had lowered the truck 4" in the front and 6" out back not long after he bought her but he never got around to c notching the frame. That's were I had to start. The ride was horrible. Notched the frame this past weekend and installed shock relocaters and new QA1 single adjustable shocks. Man what a difference. Next up is to address the front. Got tubular arms in the closet and matching QA1 shocks. Also bought a rear anti sway bar kit that will go in place soon. Once the handling is a bit more dialed I'm moving on to brakes. Then much further along motor and a t56 variant!

03-23-2014, 02:35 PM
Installed an Addco rear anti sway bar today to help tighten things up even more out back. I looked at several options but most mounted low under the rear end. I liked that this one mounted higher up out of harms way. It made for a bit of a squeeze getting it and the new 3" exhaust all fitted on the passenger side but it's all in there with no interference so far. The Gibson cat back fits nice and I love the more docile sound in the cab. The muffler shop exhaust was choked down to 2.25" also which was probably like having a potato half stuffed in the tail pipe. More progress to come soon. 9237192372

03-23-2014, 03:46 PM
Here's some more pics of the exhaust and the sway bar install.

03-23-2014, 03:58 PM
One shot from the rear. I've gotta fix the dent in the corner of the bead where it was backed into a trailer tongue by its previous owner. Then the roll pan can be permanently attached. Back and forth about do I want to weld it in for that smooth look or rivet it in place and leave more or less a replacement item??

03-26-2014, 05:52 AM
Lookin good!

03-28-2014, 04:33 PM
Thanks. It's a daily driven work in progress! Gonna do the 411 pcm conversion and start modding the engine soon. I know it's a 305 but if I can reasonably coax 300hp out of it I'll be happy until it's a full on project and not a DD.

Johnny Blaze
04-04-2014, 02:13 PM
I just picked up a 88 swb. Looks like you got a good start for sure. I'll be interested to see what else you do.

04-05-2014, 07:16 AM
Lots of these clean little trucks showing up on here I love it. too bad you werent closer I have a frame thats boxed and set up for a body drop for this truck that im not going to use

04-05-2014, 04:42 PM
Thanks for the compliments. I love these trucks! Definitely got more plans for it. Got some work I'm trying to knock out around the house and then I'm back on it!

04-05-2014, 04:54 PM
I did wash her today. Pollan is falling like crazy around here.

04-10-2014, 04:39 PM
Got bored so I installed my lights yesterday. Wanted to wait till I had time to paint the new grill and bumper but here they are.

04-13-2014, 04:42 PM
Cool Project. keep it up, looking forward to your engine mods.

04-17-2014, 04:29 PM
Thanks to Lextech on the GMtruck forum I have my 411 pcm with a base tune on the way. I'll be doing heads, cam, intake, and headers on the little 305. Along with the engine mods will come a dual electric fan set up.

04-17-2014, 04:46 PM
Thanks to Lextech on the GMtruck forum I have my 411 pcm with a base tune on the way. I'll be doing heads, cam, intake, and headers on the little 305. Along with the engine mods will come a dual electric fan set up.

04-21-2014, 04:17 PM
I got to accomplish a bit more on the truck this weekend. Pulled the front end apart and started on getting it up to snuff. Did some more clean up work and paint work while the a - arms were out. Installed new tubular uca's and cleaned and painted my lowers. Installed new ball joints in the lowers while they were out and installed slightly shorter bump stops. Upper arms came with new ball joints. I cleaned up the springs just so they were shiny again. I installed qa1 single adjustable shocks up front as well. While the springs were out I wanted to "adjust" the front ride hight a bit so I cut half a coil at the top. It dropped about an inch, what I was shooting for but didn't expect but maybe 1/2.

07-03-2015, 05:24 PM
your truck has a 5 spd man. trans? I didnt realize that was an option as i cant recall ever seeing one in a truck .. I am building a 94 for full on auto-x assault looks like i need to find me a 5 spd trans for mind now thanks for info!

07-03-2015, 05:25 PM
any updates yet?

07-07-2015, 11:01 AM
The build is looking great keep up the good work and keep posting updates. I've got my truck all done up for autocross and still working on it. It's cool to see another OBS being built.

12-22-2015, 04:46 PM
So... it's been a while since I've posted on the progress of the truck. Life and work have taken place. Haha! Well, after a long break progress has begun again. My Father bought the truck from me to help me out because I was purchasing a new house. Now that's all calmed down and we did some work on Dads truck this weekend. The ride height was a bit to low in the front end for a static drop. So, we decided to run 3" drop lowers with the factory coil springs and the 2" spindles that were currently installed. This was a chance to clean up and do some chassis paint up front. As well painted the calipers and got them ready for new pads. The most exciting part was sitting the truck back down new US Mags Ramblers. Huge improvement as the truck sits level and steers lock to lock with no kiss as they did with the factory lowers.

12-22-2015, 04:50 PM
your truck has a 5 spd man. trans? I didnt realize that was an option as i cant recall ever seeing one in a truck .. I am building a 94 for full on auto-x assault looks like i need to find me a 5 spd trans for mind now thanks for info!

Yep, my buddy bought the truck in 01. I knew I wanted to own it right away. Haha! The truck was special ordered at Edgewater Motors in Belhaven NC with factory 305, 5 spd, and G80 locking differential in a regular cab 2wd truck. Somebody wanted a hot rod.

12-22-2015, 04:55 PM
Good to know you're still working on it. Any pics of the wheels? I really like those, unfortunately I can't find anything similar with a 6 lug pattern that aren't super expensive.

12-22-2015, 05:05 PM
I do have pics. I'm attempting to up load them on my phone and not having much luck. I'll load them on my desktop and then put them up in the morning. They are awesome though! The only thing I could ask is for slightly more back spacing so they would tuck better. Oh well, you get what you get when your budget want allow you to go full custom.

12-22-2015, 05:11 PM
Next on the agenda is to put the factory leaf springs back in along with flip kit and flip the shackle hangers. Rear disc brake conversion and 3:73 gears. I want to get the chassis a bit more sorted out because we have purchased a 2010 Camaro SS wreck. So yea she's getting an LS3 TR6060 swap. The 305 and 5 spd are then gonna find a home in a 88 s10 I picked up about a month ago. That will be yet another build thread though...

12-23-2015, 12:05 PM
A quick shot of the Front Suspension updates and new wheels mounted up front

12-23-2015, 07:48 PM
Nice! Those wheels look great. What size tire?

12-25-2015, 07:20 PM
245/45-18 up front and a 275/40-18 out back. 8" rims in the front and 9.5" wide rims on the back.

12-26-2015, 05:55 AM
The truck looks great, man! I still haven't seen you rolling around town yet, we may have to get together at some point since I have my truck on the road now. Are you going to LKQ on the 30th they are having a 40% off sale for new years I'm trying to find a 3.42 rear they will only be 60 bucks that day cant beat that.

12-26-2015, 06:19 PM
The truck has been off the road for a few months now. It was time to make some progress. Best part is it is not my daily at this point so it makes bigger jobs such as the brake swap not have to be so rushed. I can't wait to drive her now but I'm waiting on my wheel arch tool to come in. We need to roll the fender lip to ensure the new tires don't make contact. The tires we just pulled were cut up on the outer edge from fender contact. The clearance is much better now but the tires more expensive.

12-26-2015, 06:26 PM
We installed the brake pads today and mounted the tires on the rear wheels that showed up last week. Removed the chin spoiler because road kill busted it up a while back. Also gave her good bath.

12-28-2015, 05:40 AM
man that looks really good!

12-29-2015, 12:56 PM
hey austin97C1500 truck looks great! I see you did control arms upper and lower , who makes those you didnt mention the brand,Ive been looking for some but havnt had any luck finding any for my 94 c1500. do you know where i might locate a set? my truck is under the knife now in the off season. Im currently installing a corvette IRS and a 5 spd from an 87 IROC camaro but really need control arms to complete the package. who makes those control arms? thanks in advance

12-29-2015, 04:44 PM
The Arms are DJM. It's one of the only choices for the C1500. I'm running factory coil springs with the 3" drop lower arm. The uppers have better geometry for the truck at lower ride height. The lowers provide more rim and tire clearance with drop spindles. Total drop up front is 2" spindles and 3" arms for 5". Running a QA1 single adjustable shock.

01-10-2016, 01:38 PM
got a set on the way thanks again 8-)

01-12-2016, 07:37 AM
Hey man not problem.

Skip Fix
01-25-2016, 04:13 PM
Where you able to get better caster out of the front with the new arms and or drop?

01-26-2016, 05:19 PM
DJM claims better geometry for the truck at the lowered ride height.
They however offer no numbers for this. You can see the ball joint angles are corrected for sure. That being said with the back of the truck dropped so that it sits relatively level, pivoting around the front axle that in it self would increase caster.

01-27-2016, 07:25 AM
I'm excited to see how this build continues. i have an '89 SCSB OBS with the 350/5 speed with a beltech 5/7 drop. I wish i had known about the DJM arms since thats a much CHEAPER option haha. are 18's the smallest rim you can run on the DJM arms or could you go 17's?

01-27-2016, 04:20 PM
The only thing that messes you up on wheel size is your drop spindles. Typical drop spindles will put your wheels scrubbing factory A-arms. The DJM A-arms do provide more clearance though. We chose 18" wheels for future brake fitment. 17" wheels would work just fine but I'm thinking that would be a minimum. The other thing factory wheels and tires hit after you clearance your factory arms is the antis way bar. Larger wheels alleviate this problem.

01-28-2016, 08:23 AM
I havent been on the site in a while but after checking out your thread I am going to have to start using it more. I have a 92 rcsb with the same suspension setup as you. I am however in the process of getting everything put together for a 4 link and coilovers front and rear.

01-28-2016, 05:08 PM
Yea man we're ditching the leaf springs as well. We got all the parts collected to 3 link the rear along with single adjustable coil overs. Gonna install the new steering box this weekend. Since it was in need of replacement we decided to go quick ratio.

01-31-2016, 03:29 PM
Well, without any fuss the old steering box came out and the new one went back in along with a new pitman arm. Seems like the slop is 99% gone now. Probably gonna do an idler arm as well. For now though the truck sure is fun to drive again. The box came from car steering wholesale. The website says they have been in the rebuilding game for a long time. There are alot of horror stories when it comes to rebuilt steering boxes, but these guys seem to do it right. Not as cheep as the big box auto stores but about half of the big performance name one. Box was clean and had a nice coat of paint on it, and performed great!! Super happy with it. The fact they offered performance/quick ratio was a big selling g feature for me!!

02-03-2016, 02:08 PM
austin97c1500 i got my djm arms upper and lower man those things are heavy but look like they will take the punishment i going to put them thru. im registered for the optima challenge for the first 2 events and then fontana as well. hopefully ill do ok what steering box are you using? i have one from a 87 gta trans am im going to check to see if it will work for truck i picked it up for a 68 camaro i was building last year but didnt use it . I did rear shock relocation but would like to see how your 3 link setup looks and works. thanks again keep up the great work!

02-04-2016, 06:56 PM
The steering box we ordered was specific fit for the truck but a quick ratio. I don't know if the f body box will work or not? I know they work in S trucks. S10s and g body cars are very similar. The C1500 however is all truck. Seems like every part is much larger and heavier. Yep, the DJM lowers are heavy, but seem tuff. I guess we will find out. If there's any other options I don't know who makes em.

08-16-2016, 07:42 AM
Any updates? got mine cruising again last week hoping to see you around town.

08-21-2016, 08:04 AM
Bump for an update as well :)

09-23-2016, 12:38 PM
any updates?

10-03-2017, 12:53 PM
What kind of tire is that?