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An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5... [Long]

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by NerdBoy, Sep 6, 2003.

  1. NerdBoy

    NerdBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Ok, I just bashed this out, and it rambles a bit, but I wonder how many of you have felt this way before. I figured that I needed to get this little rant off my chest, and that the fellow forumites here might appreciate it.

    A little history:

    Last year, I bought my first K5. I have been into chevys from many years, and I figured it was time to give the 4x4 crowd a try.
    I bought a very nice looking truck, with a nice custom paint job, that was on the downhill slope of it's life. A little rust, and some older drivetrain parts, but, all in all, pretty solid, so I thought.

    Keep in mind that the immediate previous owner, who did most of the things that I learned my lessons from, was trying to make it a nice offroader and a possible daily driver.


    An open letter to the previous owner of my K5.

    Dear sir,

    After working on this thing for a year now, I thought I would share with you a few things that you might want to know, in case you ever get your hands on a truck with as much potential as the one you sold me. Bear in mind that these are just suggestions, but I highly reccommend taking heed of these minor issues before you sell some hapless soul another truck.

    1) Just because someone is known to be good at fixing things, that isn't a good resason to believe that they use anything more that Duct tape and baling wire. While these products have their place for emergency fixes, they are not meant to be permanent. DO NOT USE DUCT TAPE TO KEEP THE ENGINE MOUNT RUBBER TOGETHER.

    2) "BOOGER WELDS." No matter how cool the name may sound, don't use them to hold anything important together. If you are fixing a crack in a frame, or part of the suspension, it might be wise to get someone who knows about welding to get in there and a) do it for you, or b) show you how to do it properly. There are Community Colleges all around the US that, for a small fee, will teach you this stuff. See also number 4.

    3) Washers have their place. A flat washer is good for spreading the load of a fastener out a little, to keep said fastener from pulling through the hole it is in. A split washer is useful to keep the fastener from loosening. It is not recommended to STACK 20 OF EITHER OF THESE WASHERS TO MAKE UP FOR A BOLT BEING TOO LONG. Especially if said bolt is holding something important, like a tralier hitch or a gas tank.

    4) A good exhaust sound is nice. However, if you are going to spend the money to have a professional put a stainless dual exhaust, with a couple hundred dollars in mufflers, it might be a good idea to make sure the shop knows enough about exhaust systems to KEEP THE EXHAUST PIPES AWAY FROM THE REAR LEAF SPRINGS. Yeah, those holes in the tubes and the funky rattle you hear when you drive are all from the leaf springs hitting the pipes. Oh, and make sure the shop knows how to weld. Those "booger welds" around the pipe tips are *ugly*. Ome more thing, make sure the exhaust tips that were put on aren't so cheap that they rust off in a year, okay?

    5) If you don't understand Holly Double-Pumpers, don't go out and throw a Holly Truck Avenger 770 on a 350 with a semi-wild cam, and expect it to work right out of the box. That "stiff brake pedal thing" that you mentioned to me when I bought the truck is a product of low vacuum in the engine from the cam you put in there. See, with low vacuum, you might want to think about tweaking the carb a bit. Oh, and "tweaking" doesn't mean that you crank on the accelerator pump adjustment. The hesitation isn't from a lack of fuel shot. And all that does is make getting the damned thing to run right is more of a pain.

    6) If you are building a street truck for daily use, a Mallory distribuor without any built in vacuum or mechanical advance is A BAD IDEA. That advance makes the engine run better as the driving conditions change from in-town to highway.

    7) While we are on the subject of ignitions, please keep in mind the following: Electriciy likes to travel in a circuit. A good ground wire on your hi-performance ignition box (preferrably, right to the engine or frame ground) really helps thing run smoother. It really does. Honest. This brings me to:

    8) Electric circuits really aren't that difficult to understand. Everything here runs on 12v, and, as long as you keep that idea of a "RETURN PATH", AKA "GROUND" in mind, everything works better. If you have an in-tank fuel pump, and you would rather use a hi-flow mechanical pump, unhooking the fuel tank ground isn't the best way to stop that motor in the tank from spinning. When the fuel guage stopped working at the same time you unhooked the pump, did you think that there was a correlation? For more on the fuel pump, see number 10.

    9) If you are going to hook up a "pumping" stereo with a huge amp driving a huge bassbox, it might be a good idea to check, once again, the GROUND. It makes the system sound better. Oh, and, um, maybe check to see if the alternator rremember that stock one you left in there?) is strong enough to push that stereo, and the extra lights, and all the other electrical accessories you put on there. It isn't normal for a vehicle's headlights to not shine when said vehicle is at idle. The police don't look kindly to people at stoplights at 1:00 AM who appear to have their headlights off. Good GROUNDS can help fix this too.

    10) If you decide to put a mechanical hi-flow fuel pump on the engine, take the old, electric one out of the tank. When it isn't spinning, it tends to be a restriction. Ever have your sink clog? Did you just think that the sewer wasn't sucking hard enough?

    11) Roller rockers really aren't that different from standard rockers when setting the valve lash. See, years ago, the auto manufacturers decided to invent these things called "HYDRAULIC LIFTERS." When you set lash on these things, you shouldn't need a set of feeler guages to SET A GAP. There is no gap. In fact, they are supposed to have something called preload. But I digress.

    12) Also on the subject of valvetrain and rockers: Those studs you put in the heads, you remember those studs. You put them in there for the roller rockers you so ingeniously installed. They aren't supposed to be loose. They have a place to put a wrench on them, and that nut-like thing is supposed to be flush against the head. If the stud seems a little tight, it might mean that YOU ARE CROSS-THREADING THEM. Stop, back it out and don't RUIN THE EXPENSIVE AFTERMARKET HEADS, YOU IDIOT!

    13) More on roller rockers: That little thing, inside the nut for the rockers, you know, that thing that seems to be blocking the nut from going on any further, it has a hex-key shaped hole in it for a reason. You see, IT IS A SET SCREW. You put a little allen key in there and loosen it a little before you put the nut on. Why is it there, you ask? It's there to KEEP THE NUTS FROM LOOSENING. Don't be afraid to tighten that thing a bit after you set your STUPID EXCUSE FOR VALVE LASH.

    14) Torque specs, while they can be a pain to follow, are generally important. That wander that the truck you sold me has, yeah, you rmember that one. You told me about it when you sold it to me. You were puzzled about the cause. Well, lemme tell you about the importance of tightening down those big U-bolts on the axle when you put the lift blocks on. If you had followed the torque specs, that rear axle might not be trying to wander out from under the blocks. In fact, those blocks might not be turning sideways, either.

    15) One last thing. You know that 700R4 transmission that you just replaced? Yeah, that little wire is on there for a reason. If you had done any reseach before putting a grand into that tranny, you would have found out that it is there to lock up the torque converter, which helps keep the transmission cool, which, in turn, HELPS KEEP THE TRANSMISSION FROM SPIILING IT'S GUTS ALL OVER THE ROAD.

    I guess what I am saying is this: If you have a nice K5, and you call it "your baby", try to take care of it like it was your baby. I know that you told me that it "needed a little work", but I didn't figure that 90% of the work would be fixing your mistakes.


    I'm sure the rest of you have had stuff like this happen...
    Share! Make me feel better about this!

    On a side note: I'm still learning all this stuff, myself. I don't claim to know everything, and I understand that we all need to start somewhere. What this is about is a truck with *great* potential that has been mistreated by a guy that called it his "baby", and had many years of experience with mechanics. It pains me to think that he didn't do this to a beater, but to something that that could have been (and hopefully, with the help of some great resources, like this forum, will be) an awesome truck.
     
  2. Shaggy

    Shaggy 3/4 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    [ QUOTE ]
    Ever have your sink clog? Did you just think that the sewer wasn't sucking hard enough?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
    <font color="green">
    There was a thread about this a while back, and the general consensus was that just about every PO is a forkin idiot. Highlights on my truck included duct tape holding everything down, and every PO's folly - rat's nest wiring. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif</font>
     
  3. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    I remember that thread, my thing was silicone. He used like steel mesh and probably 20 tubes of like roofing grade silicone to plug all the rust holes. And I mean like the entire rear from side to side at the tailgate was rusted out and done in this manner.
     
  4. NerdBoy

    NerdBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    Roofing grade silicone?
    I'll have to remember that if I ever decide to sell this thing. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  5. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    oh yeah it was a treat when I realized what it was. The rust right by the angle of the rear seat was just covered with flashing that was screwed on then covered with ziploc bags. I guess to insulate??? still haven't figured that one out... or fixed it. I loved the tattoo parlor sticker over the rust hole in the tailgate too. I actually wish I hadn't removed that now that I'm starting my tattoo collectin.
     
  6. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    I guess I've been lucky in the respect. My K5 was owned by an older person for 20 of it's 23 years and it was garage kept. I don't think it was ever off roaded. ]Now my first car, the one given to me by my dad is another story. I looked under the dash and stood up in shock. Looked like a wiring nightmare. I think that is why to this day I REALLY hate wiring
     
  7. NerdBoy

    NerdBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    The ziplocks were to keep the flashing fresh in the fridge. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  8. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    for a bit I thought it aws to keep the carpet from getting wet but how would the water get through the metal??
     
  9. 75-K5

    75-K5 3/4 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    My tip: Don't use race car doors for rear quarters.
     
  10. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    Where in S. Illionois do you live? I grew up in
    E.St. Louis, Il /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif
     
  11. NerdBoy

    NerdBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    Down by Carbondale.
    I was actually raised in a small town about 35 mi. east of St. Louis. Moved down here to go to school (Southern Illinois University) and ended up staying.
    You wouldn't think that it would be difficult to find 4x4 clubs around here, what with the Shawnee Forest and all the rural land, but I haven't found one yet that isn't affiliated with the college.
     
  12. SUBFAN

    SUBFAN 1/2 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    Sorry, but this is funny /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  13. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    Sounds like you grew up near Carlisle, Highland or Okawville maybe
     
  14. NerdBoy

    NerdBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    I gotta admit, you're good.
    It was Highland, actually.
     
  15. Sandman

    Sandman 3/4 ton status Author

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    Mine was removing all of the computer sensors, replacing the carb to a non electric, but leaving the computer controlled distributer in there hooked to the computer and then chopping off the rest of the harness. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

    It did run though. barely and it backfired all the time.
     
  16. NerdBoy

    NerdBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: An Open Letter to the Previous Owner of My K5...

    Hmpf. Looks like I have a new addition to my original post...

    16) Timing is all about, well, timing. Remember that knocking noise that you said was 'nothing'? Yeah, well, if you use the wrong gear drive, and the teeth don't mesh properly, you should kinda expect some strange noises. That was the sound of that used camshaft that you put in there eating itself to nubs, and the gears of the gear drive slamming themselves to filings. Yeah. If it doesn't fit right, that could be a sign that you have the wrong part. Maybe next time, you should think twice about buying performance parts from a junkyard, eh?

    Grrrrrr. PO's SUCK
     

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