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Back to basics:Building cheap/functional '78 Jimmy

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by KevinsK5, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. KevinsK5

    KevinsK5 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I just picked up a 78 Jimmy for $100 and I'm planning on building a cheap and reliable trail rig out of it. Nothing hardcore, just something to have fun with on the weekend. The engine runs good but the truck won't move in D or R, in any range of the T-case. The trans has plenty of nice looking un-burned fluid, so maybe its the T-case?? With the truck idling in gear, niether the front or rear driveshaft is turning. Any ideas? What I was planning on for drivetrain is using the stock 10/12 bolts, welding the spiders in the rear, and putting a mini spool in the front with lockouts. The truck has 2.76 gears in it right now (yikes!!) and I'd like to put 4.10's in it and run a 33" tire. I plan on putting a 4" rough country lift on it w/blocks in the rear. When you put a 4" on, do you create driveshaft length/pinion angle issues? Will blocks be OK for my intended use? I am fairly new to 4 wheelin and this will be the first rig I've ever built. I am a GM diehard though and thats why I bought this Jimmy as a project. Thanks for the help, Kevin
     
  2. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    Cheap is fine , but make it safe too . Some of the things you need are going to nickel and dime ya , like brake lines etc .

    I would just get 35's from the get go , trust me , the 33's seem so tiny now I can't wait to wear mine out and go bigger already .

    4 inch front , and shackle flip rear seems to be the norm for cheap .

    Definitely need lower gears , and try lockrights in the axles .
     
  3. bajaviking

    bajaviking 1/2 ton status

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    Why not just weld the front also, it will give you the same result and I don't see any point in spending money on a spool.
    Instead of regearing maybe you should look into finding a set of 3/4 ton differentials with 3.73 or 4.10 gears, it is probably just as cheap as buying gears and have them installed and a lot stronger.
    Blocks in the back is OK, not the best but it is OK. Later when you have more money you can look into the ever popular rear shackle flip.
    The drive shaft angle should not be a problem, the lenght I am not really sure, I think I added a couple of inches to my reardrive shaft after I lifted mine 4 inches but it might not be needed in your case. Put the lift on a see how it works, for street driving it should be OK but if you get it flexed out it might not be long enough.
     
  4. resurrected_jimmy

    resurrected_jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    my cheap recipie

    buy a set of 4" front springs, you can cut a whole in the rear shackle hangers to flip the rear shackles down and get the lift you need, if its not quite enough use an add-a-leaf, if you are planning on using the stock wheels for your tires (go with 35x12.50's), stay with the six lug stuff and get a full replacement locking rear diff (detriot locker, tru-trac, anything you have to bolt the ring gear to) I have never broken an axle shaft but always managed to break the carriers on 1/2 ton stuff, leave the front end open for now and add another locker later if you need it, go with 4.10 or 4.33's if you plan on driving it on road, if not go with for 4.56's


    I'm guessing your problem is probably in the tranny so plan for a rebuild and add an external cooler. Like someone else said its the nickle and dime stuff that adds up, brake lines, drop pitman arm, shocks that will add up
     
  5. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    With that kind of thinking he should start with 49s :rolleyes: :rolleyes: My 35s are so tiny now, buddies running 38s, 42s, and 44s

    j/k But I would start with at least 35s
     
  6. thedrip

    thedrip 1/2 ton status

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    Cheap & quick.. like my build, 4" front springs, shackle flip. crossover. 4.10's. LSD up front, welded rear. 3/4 ton axles, rebuilt tcase, rebuilt tranny, probably replacing the motor next week, gutted interior, new seats, new windshield, have to rewire sooner or later...

    wait, did I say quick and cheap? I'm $3k in, its been 18 months, and I *might* be able to drive it around the block tonight.
     
  7. KevinsK5

    KevinsK5 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I was looking at shackle flip threads and pics, I don't want to mess with cutting old hangers off and re-attaching them. Is there any other reason to flip the rear shackles other than to lift the back end? Is a shackle flip better than the blocks provided in the lift kit? This truck is not going to be driven on the street, so I can put up with welded spiders in the rear. I can't afford a locker anyway. For the front I was planning on using a mini spool as they're cheap, about $70. I've been told that if you run a spool in the front, you can lock one hub and run the other free when you're doing trails, but lock both in when you get into a mud bog or deep snow. Obviously you'd never lock both hubs in on pavement with a spool, but can you steer a truck OK with a spool in the front, provided there is some slippage allowed for the tires? Also any clearance issues with 35's and a 4", even with the truck flexed out? Thanks for the help guys. Kevin
     
  8. shaun89

    shaun89 1/2 ton status

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    from the sounds of it, your like me... ur just looking for some fun on some decent trails/mud right? i went with a 4" rough country lift for like 400bucks.. got some 33" mud tires at a swap meet for another 400 and called it a day.. those gears u definitly will have to swap out.. but if u do go 4", u wont have any driveshaft issues, and if you dont mind trimming the fenders a lil bit you could fit in some 35s.. have fun!
     
  9. chevyin

    chevyin 1/2 ton status

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    Not a expert here, but from all of my research and the great advice I get here at ck5 the lift blockes are junk. :rolleyes: But we have A set that could be bought. :crazy:
     
  10. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Tranny...

    It might be very low on tranny fluid??..or the filter could be clogged in it--or if it sat a long time,its possible the valve body in the tranny has a stuck valve due to water and rust in the pan (condensation)..it could also be somthing simple like the little linkage fell off inside that shifts the valve body into the gears..or more likely its toast,and the clutches are in the bottom of the pan--pulling the pan off the tranny is the first thing to do..after seeing if its full(which I think you said you already did,and it didn't stink--thats a hopefull sign!).maybe change the filter and add some Lucas tranny treatment and see if that helps...good luck.. :crazy:
     
  11. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    My build on the cheap:

    75 K5 350(blown up)/465/205/D44/12b.......$500
    Used 350 with Serpentine Accesories.........$100
    Rough country lift (JC whitney).................$290, on sale Free shipping! Included shocks and steering arm
    Used Echobit rear shackle flip...................$50 (no cutting required)
    New 35x12.50 15" Dunlop Mud Rovers........$540 (Sams club!)
    Longer brake lines from a 97 3500hd..........$10 (local boneyard, just need reamed to fit the 7/16" banjo bolt)
    Swapped in 02 Silverado buckets.........$free ($20 in hardware to bolt them in)

    Grand total......$1510 Not withstanding some little bits and pieces.

    Keep in mind I went with a New lift kit and New tires as those two were more than the cost of the truck itself. I had looked for a while for some used 4" springs but could not find any at the time. I did find that JC Whitney did have all the other mail order shops beat on the price of the rough country kit and as I looked at it, I would need new shocks anyway and a steering arm. Adding those costs to a used set of springs and the JC whitney price looked a lot better. Add in Free shipping and I went for it. No it's not the best, softest riding spring out there, but it fit my budget and at least in mine, not nearly as bad as what others have found. The shackle flip might have something to do with that....

    Key is working on the cheap can be done, but sometimes you can't always go with used. That is unless you know the used parts are not thrashed (springs and shocks come to mind) Still sometimes one has to buy new. Use the net to your advantage, shop all of them, use thier price matching deal if they have one. You can find stuff for a reasonable cost. Tires were another deal I considered used on and had run a set of used 33" kellys for over a year. They were old, dry rotted and was only good at holding in air and driving on pavement, everywhere else they sucked. I was greatful to get them from a buddy for free if only to fill the wheel wells better than the little 31's that came with the truck....New tires made sense to me. I first considered Swamper LTB's (34x10.50's), but the only place I could get a decent price was 4Wheel parts and the local store said they had a 3week wait to install tires....WTF? Not wanting to wait and hearing the horror stories I started shopping locally. It's crazy where you can find the deals. Sam's club had the best price by far for a nationaly known brand tire in the 35" size. Did a little reasearch online for the Mud rovers and most found they were a quite capable tire. Sure its no Swamper, but it's an inch taller than the same price for a LTB, it was within $1 of 4WP's price of the LTB and I could get it installed that day. Sold again....

    Bottom line, nobody said these toys were cheap. They all are money sucking pigs in one way or another. Do your homework, reaserch all options and spend your money wisely. You can get the Jimmy built up at a reasonable cost without breaking your budget.....

    Most of all, do it a little bit at a time, spread your purchases over a longer period of time so you don't have a giant hit to your wallet. This keeps the truck usable and you can drive it now. Wheel it and gain some experience, do another mod, wheel, save, repeat....

    Have fun!
     
  12. muddyblzr

    muddyblzr 1/2 ton status

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    if you want cheap your going to have to do some work. cutting off hangars is not hard just takes some time.
    prices from ORD
    (new) 4'' tuff country front springs, bushings and u-bolts- 225$
    (new) steering arm- 72$
    (new) shocks- 37.5$ each 150$ (4)
    front spring hangar off a pickup- 40$ at a junkyard
    36X12.5X16.5 hummer tires (used)- 90$ each 360$ (4)
    (new) 16.5X9.75 steel wheels- 65$ each 260$ (4)
    junkyard brake lines - 10$ (like said by zoomad76)
    grand total- 1117$ (without shipping and some nuts and bolts)

    you still need to get gears and cut your fenders to fit the tires. that set up will work very well offroad and is still dirt cheap. yes you have to cut off some rivets but its not hard. the price on the hummer tires included the h1 rims which you could sell to someone so that is some money back into your pocket.
    if i built one on a super tight budget thats how i would do it. good luck :thumb:
     
  13. rodney chambers

    rodney chambers Registered Member

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    i have got approx. $5,000.00 in the bluggy and i would say that in the grand scheme of things that is relatively cheap.4" front ,flipped rear is the way to go. and go with the 35's. as for welded diffs, i did and didntlike the fact that i was always afraid of breakage. detroit rear,lockright front should work. pay close attention to small details. keep it dependable. :wink1:
     
  14. jays68yak

    jays68yak 1/2 ton status

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    My cheap build up.
    79 blazer shell -$100
    Sold crap that was in the back +$150
    79 truck to part out for motor -$200
    Sold off of truck +$100
    Tranny and tcase off of buddy,
    loaned trailer for partial payment -$200
    D44 and 14bff PNP half off weekend -$180
    Did some work for a buddy and traded him my stock axles to roll his truck to the scrap yard, got 8 lug 10bolt, d60 rear. Parted the 10 bolt, used the 8 lug stuff on the 44. Sold the 60. +$180
    Again did some work for semi bald 36 swampers on rock crawler rims, ext brake lines, shocks, 6" front lift springs. $0
    Home made shack flip, plus bolts $10




    With this Im coming up with $250 total. I think there was more like $500 with all the little stuff. You just got to find the deals. It didnt last long before I started adding stuff to make it better.
    [​IMG]
    Add h1 rims -$350
    Recenter myself -$200 for parts
    38.5s -$200
    8274 winch, free for towing buddy so many times. -$0

    $500 orginally plus this $750, total of $1250.
    [​IMG]

    Now....add 60, 454, cross over, high steer, hydro assist. Im sitting somewhere around 3k and its not running right now cuz Im in the middle of these mods.
     
  15. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    cheap eh? Well, it'd be cheaper to swap in 3/4 ton axles than it would be to buy new gears and pay someone to regear your stock ones. Lots of 3/4 ton stuff came with 4.10s stock... thats what you need to look for.

    Other stuff you can do cheap: buy your front 4" springs used.. lots of guys going to coils or 52s or whatever will dump 'em cheap ($50 or less). Homebrew shackle flip in the rear.. doesn't get much cheaper and its way better than blocks. Steering correction parts like drop pitmans/draglinks are easy to find used/cheap, just find a guy going crossover or full hydro, he'll be glad to sell to ya. The list goes on... basically you need to mine the online forums, nickle ads and craigslist for good used parts and install them all yourself. In the end you'll have a dirt cheap rig that ought to work really well.

    j
     
  16. KevinsK5

    KevinsK5 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    A gear idea for the Jimmy

    Heres what I have to use on my Jimmy. I have a used set of 8.5 10-bolt 3.73's and a box of case/pinion shims for a 10 bolt. I have a '65 chevy 1/2 ton pickup that has a 12 bolt with 3.73's in it. My uncle has a dial indicator to set up a rearend, so could I use his indicator and mix and match the pinion shims and case shims that I have and set up both axles. All I'd have to buy are crush sleeves, pinion seals, and maybe a couple bearings. Sound like a plan? The only thing is, I was planning on at least a 33" tire, and I wonder if the truck would be a dog to four wheel with 33's and 3.73's. What do you guys think about that setup? I could do that for under $100, and that will give me more money for a shackle flip, or rebuild the trans or whatever. Thanks, Kevin
     
  17. The Butcher

    The Butcher 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Price-wise, that sounds like a good deal. Especially if the gears aren't going to cost you anything, and all you have to do is put your time into getting it done. However, going with 35s and getting the 4.10 geared 3/4ton axles is probably the better way to do things in the long run. If you don't mind doing everything twice, then start with the free gears and the 33s. Otherwise, learn to like 33" tires. The quick/cheap fix is not always the best long-term option. Just depends on what your current monetary constraints are, and how long you think you can be happy with 33s and 3.73s.

    33s and 3.73s shouldn't be too bad for wheeling. It's not going to be a hotrod, but it will probably get you where you want to go.
     

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