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Tub splicing - diffs between 88 and 77 tubs.

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BadDog, Nov 2, 2003.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    My son is building a 77 K5 from out of state that is a bit of a rust bucket. Most of the rust was in the rockers and was removed with a "boat side" project. The only remaining rust of any consequence is around the rear fender lips. These we had planned on cutting out and grafting in a new "lip" made from 1.75" roll bar material. However, the rust damager extended well beyond where this tube would fit so some sheet metal work was on the docket...

    Today my son was given an 88 rolling chassis with a fairly clean SW tub having NO rust and in very good condition. Only bad parts are a chopped up dash frame, some holes chopped in inner bed sides for speakers, and some minor holes chopped into the fire wall. I was told their is a stress crack in the front floor boards but have not verified it.

    I know the two tubs have different transitions between the cab and bed, and different mounts at that location. The 88 has the rear foot well and mounts outside the frame, the 77 has no foot well and tall mounts inside the frame.

    Now I'm left trying to figure out what to do. There are lots of pros/cons to the various options.

    1) Cut loose and graft on the bed side skins. This fixes most of the cosmetic problems, and eliminates the cut speaker holes on the 88 bed sides. Still leaves some minor rust on the inner fenders and the inner med sides. Probably the easiest solution though.

    2) Graft on the complete bed sides. This can be a pain due to the multi-layer b-pillar in the half cabs. It’s difficult to maintain the structural integrity of the pseudo-rollbar. More work than skins, but gets rid of some non-perforating inner surface rust, but leaves us patching the speaker holes and dealing with floor differences.

    3) Replace the entire top-n-tail clip. Cut at the a-pillars (windshield post) and at the back of the cab area (behind seats, saves most of our boat-side work). Graft in the 88 tail clip. Keeps the boat-sides and the 77 VIN for smog purposes. Also gets the rear foot well, but it would need to be channeled around the frame. Lots of work, but probably the single best solution. This 88 tub is SO clean! Also requires modifying/fabing outboard body mounts for the frame rails. Up side is it lets me reinforce the internal structure of the floor to better support the cage b-pillar at the same time I’m grafting in the top-n-tail.

    Than again, top notch quality in the body is not what we are after. If it were, we would not have started with a rust bucket. What we are ultimately after is something that looks “cool” for him to drive to school/work/dates but also have fun playing with and not worry if he slips into a rock wall. So I’m reluctant to put that much into it…

    Anyone who has combined these different tubs have any insight to offer that might aid my decision?

    FWIW, I do have the skill/knowledge/experience to do any of these three, I ran a frame machine and rebuilt totals for several years. It’s the *time* that is questionable.
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I like option 3 with an exception. I'd retain the 88 frame as well, graft the dash/firewall onto the 88 tub and add the drivetrain. The 77 VIN is on the door frame, I'd probably cut it and a the surrounding area out and graft it into the 88 door frame to keep the 77 title-ability.

    The extra wrenching to swap drivetrain would be easily offset by the time saved channeling and fabbing new body mounts. When I spliced the rear half of a 73 onto the front half of my 81 the most time/biggest PITA was the new body mount fab. I easily blew 18 hours getting it right.

    Keeping the half cab and roof and box as one section is an excellent idea. My splice is stress cracked on the passenger side where the half cab meets the box. Tough area to splice nicely...

    I'll be removing the half cab though so it's not a huge concern at this point.

    Rene
     
  3. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    That was considered. Unfortunately, the frame is damaged. Front right frame rail is buckled and driven back. The whole frame is likely shifted into a diamond by the looiks of it, and I no longer have equipement to straighten it. It's a shame too, that frame looks brand new (really, absolutely brand new).
     
  4. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    That sucks...but that's probably how you came to get this 88 cheap I guess./forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    I would have used the entire 73 body from the firewall back...but it was in a bad head on collison and the firewall was pretty fuxored /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif so I used all that I could and just played the hand I was dealt. Ironically enough I've owned two southern trucks since I did the splice...and used neither one. /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

    So are you gonna have a spare set of wheel tubs left over after all this? /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    Rene
     
  5. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Maybe, I'm rethinking cutting this thing up at all. You know me, I'm not afraid to cut up anything. But this tub is in phenomenal shape even for AZ. If I put it on James' K5, it will have boat sides and the rear trimmed up to match the boat sides/rocker. That's a lot of work grafting it in, and then cutting the lower portions off such a nice tub. I'm starting to think I don't have it in me to cut it up.

    Basically, if I cut it up and use it for James' K5, I won't need the pieces I saved from my bed. If I don't cut up the tub, I'll need those pieces to eliminate the last of the rust perforations from his truck. I'll keep you updated as this works out. If I don't use my tubs, you can have them for shipping charges. If I can find some others (likely free) I'll let you know at the same deal... Maybe that will make up for the driveshaft… /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

    JK! /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif Really just to say thanks for all your helpful advice.
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Keep me posted Russ...I can understand the hesitance to cut up a perfect tub, they're hard to find and not getting any easier.

    The only tubs I have are from a pick-up and are pretty banged up. I'll use them if nothing else comes available...but I prefer my dents on the outside. /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif

    Rene
     

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