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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    Default project drivabeater

    ok, i got to missing a truck in my stable, so i had to get one. the last one i had was a 98 dakota extended cab with a warmed over 5.2, 5 speed, 3.91 posi, and full hotchkis suspension and poly bushings. great truck, until it was hit head on by a truckload of illegals.



    so after a year of not having one, i decided it was time especially now that i bought a house.
    i did some swapping, doing a rehash on a 92 pontiac grand am. my labor in exchange for a 95 chrysler cirrus with a supposedly bad tranny. fixed a leak, and daily drove it for a few weeks. then, i found a guy that was willing to trade the chrysler for a GMC S15.







    so far total investment is 20 hours labor, and 15 bucks. not bad for a running driving truck with a clean title. oh, and the pictures are AFTER i cleaned it up. a lot.

    when i got it, the guy said it wouldnt crank for him, so he parked it. started right up for me after i reconnected the coil wire. he also said the tranny might be going south. after readjusting the TV cable, i found no problem with the tranny. in the process of this, i found that they had pulled the terminals from the ends of a couple of plug wires when they put brand new plugs in it. but they left the wire dangling in there hoping it hit a plug. so add a new set of plug wires, cap, rotor, PCV, Fuel filter, and can of seafoam. total parts now invested: 68 dollars.
    i also put on some wiper blades to get it to pass inspection: 20 bucks.

    lastly, i found why it quit running on me last weekend. the ignition module went bad. so add another 26 bucks in there.

    grand total to this point: 114.

    i am now in the process of finishing the interior swap, blacking out the trim, and getting the suspension not so scary.

    as far as the interior,
    replace the trashed door panels.
    put in carpet.
    install stereo.
    Install buckets.
    Overhead and between seats consoles.

    the goals of this tuck are to have a decent looking beater that i can dive anywhere, through anything, and park anywhere. it also has to handle and stop exceptionally well, and be cheap to build and operate as well as cofortable to drive.
    to that end, the overall plans are to rebuild the front suspension, using 2 inch drop springs, tall upper and lower ball joints, poly bushings, bilstein shocks, and a 33 MM sway bar. the rear is still up in the air. id love to 3 link it, but dont want to cut the bed and still need to be able to carry loads. Truck arms are out due to wanting to retain the stock gas tank. so i dunno. Brakes will eventually be C5 corvette pieces at all 4 corners under 17X9 black wheels wrapped in 275/40/17 or 315/35/17. depends wht will clear.
    body will recieve a 300 dollar paint job, cowl hood, fender flares, 92 grille, 92 tail lights, sport mirrors, roll pan, and filled tailgate. maybe a tanneau cover if the budget allows.

    anyway, im keeping this thread to show others what can be done on an extremely small budget, as well as a running tally of expenses.

    i'll post updates next week when i take some more pictures of the current progress on the interior and body.

    Michael

    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    St Louis, MO
    Posts
    360

    Default

    Nice. I love first gen S-10's. Just keep reading syborg's thread, you'll change your plans real quick. ha.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
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    1,114
    Country Flag: United States

    Default update 5/21

    so i promised an update, and here it is.

    the interior is mostly done, and ive started on the body and suspension.
    I went down to pull-a-part one saturday and raided a few first gen S-series vehicles. unfortunately, i didnt check the interchanges, so i bought some stuff i couldnt use.
    while there i purchsed:
    seatbelts from a 4 door blazer
    front bucket seats from a blazer
    door panels
    inside door handles
    a-pillar trim
    tail lights
    fender flares from a blazer
    this all set me back 112.00

    i also purchased a headliner backer board and carpet from a 92 S10 4WD from city salvage here in albemarle. 25 bucks.

    also purchased weatherstripping from city salvage. 15 bucks.

    lastly on the interior, i purchased a sub box from an audio outlet store in charlotte for 37 dollars, a box of door panel clips from autozone for 2.99 and the other part of my console from parker automotive for 20.

    grand total to this point: $326

    not too bad. the seatbelt retractors dont even come close to fitting, though i was still able to use the latch part for the buckets. only other glitch was the taillights use a different mounting system, so i have to make some reinforcement brackets. the fender flares i was only able to use the front ones. the rears are completely different, so they will have to wait till i find some cheap rear flares.

    i cheated a little bit too. i had some leftover dakota parts that i am reusing, namely the center console, overhead console, autodim mirror, 12 inch JL audio sub, amp wiring, and 800 watt Sony amp. i have no idea what i paid for this stuff over the years, so i am not adding it in. should be able to find the consoles for 60 for the pair, and the amp and sub are so outdated they would be found in an antique store.

    so heres how she looks now on the insoide. i still have to recover the headliner and install it, wire the console (and paint it), install the autodim, revise mu seat mounting points and bolts, and fasten the center console down after i make it fit a bit better. also need to scrub it down a lot.







    im still playing with the idea of dying the interior black, grabbing some e-bay buckets like marty mocked up in his truck, and caging it. maybe later on most of it, but what about the black? or just leave it alone?

    on the body, i already mentioned the taillights and fender flare fiasco, but i scored some sport mirrors. i have no idea who makes them, but theres no GM part number. i was at the parts store, and got to talking with a guy about them as he had them on his truck. he hated them. we traded right there in the parking lot. so they were free.




    and now on to the suspension. i mocked up a 275/40/17 kumho slick on a C4 corvette gran sport wheel. it looked fantastic, and was no taller than the factory 14's. so i now have a size, and if i can find a set of wheels cheap, ill grab them. i also started on tweaking it. i installed a 33MM front sway bar ( i have no idea what thay is in inches) from a late 90's 2 door blazer. got it for 10 dollars at parkers automotive. had to buy end links, they set me back another 12. so how many guys can say they only have 22 bucks in their front sway bar?



    grand total to this point: $348.

    up next, i just purchsed a set of 1.5 front belltech coil springs and 3 inch drop rear leaves for 75 plus shipping. when i get a total, ill add it in there. i have decided on energy suspension for one of their full poly kits including body mounts unless someone talks me out of it. i am also looking at AFCO tall ball joints, and trying to find an alternative for the SC&C upper control arms. after that, its just stock replacement steering linkage unless someone has some better options. also found a set of low milage bilsteins at parkers for around 20 bucks for the set. and ill need to fab a panhard bar and find a rear sway bar too. but thats all in the next phase or 2.

    thanks for letting me keep myself entertained.

    Michael
    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Huntington Beach, CA
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    2,211
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dusterbd13
    so i promised an update, and here it is.

    thanks for letting me keep myself entertained.

    Michael
    Budget builds like this are always entertaining IMO. Keep it up and keep the updates coming

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    North Jersey
    Posts
    983

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad-1stGen
    Budget builds like this are always entertaining IMO. Keep it up and keep the updates coming
    Absolutely!! Nice work so far, looks like it's coming along great!
    Steve Ragusa - North Jersey
    2006 Infiniti G35x
    Former Build - 1988 Monte Carlo SS - ZZ4-cammed TPI 355, F-body serpentine conversion, World-Class 5-speed, Eibachs/Bilsteins, Howe tall LBJs, 34mm hollow front swaybar, 3/4" straight rear bar, 17" Coys C55s, 12" front discs, and more. Sold on 2/28/11.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    CHICAGO SUBURBS
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    761

    Default

    I'm just a bit partial to the 1st gen S10s.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    Default

    can i have more pictures and information on your hilrod? i know it has a hommade V8 swap and has been lowered with a cowl hood, but can i have some details?
    michael
    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    CHICAGO SUBURBS
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    Default

    It's got 4x4 width 9in rear axle, around 10 inch engine setback, Muncie 4 speed with hyd clutch. The front suspension is a hybrid of 4x4 and 4x2 parts. Torsion bars and control arms 4wd, spindles are 2wd. It keeps the wider track width so the C5 Z06 wheels bolt on with no spacers. Anything else you want to know just ask. Also the wheel flares fit from a blazer to a truck, they just need to be forced a little and new holes drilled.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    Default June 15th update

    well, i figure its time for an update.
    not too much has been going on lately, as i have been busy with the house, the lawn, and building a shed. im also putting in a lot of hours at work.

    ok, enough with the excuses.
    got the AC fixed. it cost me 35 for the conversion to 134A kit. doesnt blow that cold, but its better than nothing.
    Got the overhead console wired in, as well as the autodim mirror. they work great.

    And the big thing: thursday, on my way to work, the truck died on me. just cut out in the middle of the street. i figured the fuel pump went out, as it has been surging and starting hard for the last few weeks. so my buddy and i towed it home with his four wheeler (wasnt too far from the house) and pulled it in. After looking at it, we figured it would be easier to do if we pulled the bed. so we did. we wound up replacing the fuel pump, a lot of the wiring to the fuel pump, readjusting the rear drums, fixing the taillight harness, installing the drop leaves, and doing some cleaning and painting. i also put the liscence plate on the bumper finally. grand total for parts: 69 for the fuel pump and sock filter, 6 in spray paint, 100 in the lowering kit.

    i have also taken HILRODs suggestion and tried the fender flares. they dolt line up perfect, but theyll work until i can scrounde some truck ones. and a heat gun made that much easier.

    Before










    total to this point: $585
    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    151

    Default

    Cool little project. Looks good. I really like the budget

  11. #11
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    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    time for an update.

    after lowering the back and painting the rear wheels, i decided to tackle the front end. sort of. i replaced the steering linkage that was kind of scary (83.20), put in the lowering springs, and replaced all 4 shocks with bilsteins off a 2 door 98 blazer. the shocks were 40 for the set. and turned out to be the same compressed and extended heights as the stockers. while doing all this, i also replaced the rag joint with a shaft from a cherokee to get the universals. the shaft was purchased with a blazer rear bumper, brevada grille, trailer hitch, and sunvisors at pull a part for a grand total of 78.00. i dont feel like breaking it down right now, so well add that whole total in it.

    heres that work, as well as the brevada grille installed.








    i also had the fan clutch crap out on me, locking the fan into a fixed position. so i used an electric fan i had left over from another project. after i cut the shroud on it down a little bit, it fit right into the factory shrooud. i also got a 20.00 thermostatic switch for it from advance.




    lastly, i started to finish the interior. i repositioned and reglued the windlace in, cut the headliner backer board and installed it, installed the sunvisors and under dash insulation.




    grand total to this point: 806.20


    up next is to decide wether or not the brevada grille is staying, and if it is i need to relocate the headlights and create a better fastening system for it. also need to install the trailer hitch and blazer bumper on the back, put the weatherstripping in the doors, and install the ZQ8 rear sway bar.

    all this may take a little while, though, as i just found out yesterday that im going to be a father!

    michael
    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Carol Stream, IL
    Posts
    586
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    Default

    Congrats on the (future) little one!

    Nice progress for the budget build, truck coming along nicely. I think it would look cool with Bravada headlights

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
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    457
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    Default

    I ordered a new core support from gmpartsdirect for around 100. If that fits your budget, you don't have to do any work relocating headlights, they just bolt in the right position. This is for 91-93 S10, which I assume is what the bravada grill uses. The grill looks great!

    Did the headliner come from the factory that way? Mine tucked into a little strip before the back of the cab, but yours looks much nicer.

    Don't know if you've found sources for UCA or bought the poly stuff yet, but I would recommend not getting the poly kit. Buying upper control arms means you don't need the poly for those, and poly really has no place in suspension bushings. The UCA's if you really really can't fit the SPC arms into the budget, you can find from UB machine. The SPC ones are very very nice pieces, and I would definitely recommend spending the money on them. For lower bushings I would recommend Del-A-Lums and stock lower arms, but those bushings are pretty pricey. An alternative is the speedway metal-on-metal bushings, but they may need the holes reamed or need to be tacked in place, because they are for G-body. My thinking is that if you're gonna spend the money/effort to replace the bushings (it is a pain in the ass), then put good ones in there.

    Only poly you should have is for body mounts or swaybar bushings or little stuff like bumpstops and boots. I hate my poly swaybar bushings, they are the only thing poly on the truck other than body mounts, and they squeak like crazy.


    I have those same bilsteins on the front, they are supposed to be pretty good units. Let us know how the ride and handle.


    Truck looks great, good luck on the budget, this site is a budget breaker if you know what I mean.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    Jerome:

    i know about the core support, and i also know mines bent. im still trying to figure out wether or not i like the brevada grille enough to keep it. making relocators and brackets and such doesnt bother me, as its just about free.

    as far as the control arms go, ive looked at the UB machine pieces, and what scares me is the metal on metal contact. same with the speedway lower steel bushings. if it wasnt primarily a street car, i would be all for that. but the fact of the matter is that it IS mostly a street car, so ive got to keep some give in the suspension. reason im going with poly is that there is enough compliance to absorb sever impact, but not enough to negatively affect the handling much. with all solid, something will give on a long enough timeline, and it will probably be catastophic.

    as far as the headliner, it is a factory piece out of a 90 S10. somewhere areound 87 or 88 they started going full length, at least from what ive seen in the junkyards. the console is from a durango.

    as far as the bilsteins go, i like them a lot. they ride and handle great. im still not happy with the steering yet, nor am i happy with the back end of the truck. ive got a ZQ8 rear bar, and once my frame miounts come in, we'll see how that does for the back. may wind up going with a different shock in the back.

    as far as the budget goes, im trying to build this one to compete in the GRM 2009 (probably 2010 now that im going to be a dad) challenge. so i HAVE to stay on budget. thanks for the encouragment, though.

    Saturnvueguy: thanks for the congrats. its really quite scary becoming a dad.

    Michael
    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    dayton, oh
    Posts
    965

    Default

    next thing I would consider would be wheels and tires. 16" wheels from an extreme or ZQ8 would look great on there, and completely change the look of the truck.

    nice job so far.
    dave.t
    86 Olds 442 - Project If It Ain't Broke, Take It Apart and Fix It
    74 Javelin AMX - stocker

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    11

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    When doing the rear sway bar, if you are going to use the factory hardware, removing the bed will make it a lot easier to drill the required holes. I've put one on my Syclone using all the factory hardware and it was a pain trying to get the right angles from under the truck.

    Congrats on becoming a Dad. It's a lot of work, but well worth it!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    well, to be honest, i havent made a whole lot of progress. we've figured out that the vibrations are coming frm a pinion thats WAY off, and ive figured out that my drivers side door is junk. between bondo, stripped off regulator teeth, a window that is constantly falling out of track, and a broken latch, it needs replaced. anyone know how glossy Krylon is? and will it hold up at all decent as a paint subsitute?
    as far as progress towards the goals, my goals have realigned since i started the truck. a baby on the way will do that to ya in a skinny minute. so most of my time has been spent getting the attic refloored for storage, getting the yard cleaned up, beginning to do some remodeling, etc. also been working my butt off on corvettes.
    im definately proud of the bathroom remodel i just finished up today. it came out really nice. replaced 90% of the plumbing, redid the subfloor, new vanity, tile, fixtures, molding, paint, etc. first big remodeling project. and go figure, its for the babys bathroom....
    before

    during

    after

    i have also managed to get the old hot rod up and running again, but still need to tear back into the rear axle. shouldve redone it when i restored the car...


    last, but not least, i managed to get my ZQ8 rear sway bar in the truck. after i orderd the brackets through my local chevy dealer ($14 for the pair), i thought i had everything i needed. let me tell you, drilling the holes SUCKED! there is no way that i could find to get any bit bigger than a 1/8 in there to drill the holes, so i wound up finishing them with a dremet tool and a carbide bit. that took forever. then, i went to install the bar, and realized that i had no endlinks or axle mounting hardware. by the way, the bar is off a 4 door blazer, and fit perfect. to mount it to the axle, i pulled some 2 1/2 muffler clamps off a C3 corvette exhaust in the scrap metal pile. on the end links, i had some heim joint end links for a C5 T1 car that had become too noisy, so were replaced. they were in my oh **** bin. unfortunately, they require a 1/2 inch bolt, and the sway bar and brackets are drilled for something a lot smaller. so out came the 1/2 drill thats older than me and my wife combined, and i opened them up. then, i reused the hardware from the old T1 car as well. grand total for the rear sway bar: 24 bucks, , 3 band aids, and 1 carbide bit. was it worth it? not yet. it induced a new level of underteer to the truck that i really dont like. but ill see where it falls after the front end rebuild, and i get somewhere in the negative camber instead of the positive.
    heres pictures:


    grand total: 830.20
    i ordered my lower control arm bushings today, and at 53 total, thionk im getting a good deal. going to try the problem solver moogs.
    and maybe while im at the autofair this weekend, ill find a deal on either soft 8's or a set of nascae wheels.
    michael
    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    first gen blazer rear bumper is installed. and whoever told me that it was a direct bolt on after drilling a couple of holes LIED!!
    also included are pictures of the brackets i threw together. would they work in an accident? no. but then, would the flimsy rear bumper? i can twist it with my hands ever so slightly. so im not thinking the brackets will be a weak point....

    i just cut and cut until it fit right, used 1/4 X 2 plate, and 4 dodge diplomat lug nuts as spacers. reused all the bolts from the step bumper that was on it.

    up next: finish the brevada grille install, and possibly shave that side molding.

    grand total remains the same.






    Michael
    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Albemarle, NC
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    so its been a while since i updated. again.
    my time has slackud up a little, so i had a chance to work on the truck some.
    i tried converting it to round headlights. that was a waste of a saturday. if anyone cares, headlight buckets and trim rings form a 1970-1976 duster/demon/dart sport fit right on the old adjusters and center the round headlights. it just looks like crap. it actually looked so bad i didnt even take a picture. i didnt want actual proof that i tried it.

    so in the process of making the square headlight relocators, i broke a couple of the origonal adjusters. like 3 out of 4. so when i went to the parts store and they had to order the right parts, i changed my design. they sold some "universals" that were supposed to fot in a 3/8 square hole. i will tell you that they'll fit a round one too. so that, and some 1/4 X 1inch aluminup scrap, 8 sheet metal screws, and my adjusters/relocators were done. are they perfect? nope. am i worried too much? nope. i also finished installing, painting and securing the brevada grille. total for paint, tape, and adjusters was 10 bucks. Krylon has gone up lately.

    i then installed the 6 degree pinion shims. 45 from bradley auto parts. i was able to reuse the factory u-bolts, but the locating pin on the leaf spring is too short. i didnt bother to extend it, and the axle hasnt moved or loosed in 400 miles, so i feel pretty safe. lined it up square with a tape measure and a 2X4.

    after that, i had decided that it would be cool to mount the old set of recaros that i have sitting in the shed. that didnt work too well. it would have been functional, but by the time i was done cutting and drilling to mount them to the old seat tracks, i wasnt feeiling cofortable of their structural integrity. so for future reference, the 88 BMW 3 series recaro sport seats will mount to the factory tracks with some modification. just get more creative than me, and reinforce them somehow. for now, im sticking with the blazer buckets. while i was at it, i yanked out the sub and amp. it was taking up too much room, and i figured the 50 LB wight savings was worth it. so we can subtract the 37 from the total.

    lastly, i scored a craigslist deal while i was in richmond, va this weekend. full set of 80's IROC wheels, 170 total, with lugs, and decent tires. they need refinished, but ive got to figure out how first. im debating all black, or doing cast iron colo where the black is currently and brushed spokes.

    so the current total is.......


    1028.20 as it sits.

    heres pictures. yu guys let me know what you think on the wheel options, or suggest others. and i stil have 1000 to play with for the challenge limit. should be able to paint it, redo the front suspension, and small block it for that.





    Michael Crawford

    1970 plymouth Duster back under construction:
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...uring-makeover

    1987 GMC S15 https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ct-drivabeater

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    McKinney, TX
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    1,552
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    How did I miss this? Great thread. I had an 82' S-10 black on grey as my first truck. I put a 2/3 drop and centerlines on it. HAd a small system in it and was doing simular mods to that you are doing until I was cut off in an intersection and the front became an accordion. Fun little trucks aren't they? Keep it up and good luck with the little one.
    66 Mustang "Project: Ballin on a budget"
    89 Mustang "Box Wine"

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