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Project Penny - Going wheeling


Took my K5 wheeling today -- got myself totally stuck 4 times, ripped off both front tow hooks, destroyed my winch solenoid pack, bunch of new dents / scrapes, and popped a bogger off the bead. Had a blast, but at the same time, it was a sad day because that was the last time I am ever gonna take my K5 out :frown1:

I've decided that my K5 is just finished. The body doesn't look too bad from the outside, but the thing is held together with hopes and dreams these days... Back window is all that holds the tailgate up, can't take the top off or my box sides sag so much that I can't get it back on again, neither door opens or closes properly anymore, and it has so many shakes and rattles, any time you take it over 10 mph you're afraid it'll blow up at any moment. Not to mention how friggin huge of a cop magnet the thing is :doah:

Either way, I am planning to go wheeling in Moab for BB `11, and I need a rig that I can take across the border without any trouble (diesel VIN etc) so I've decided that I am going to switch to a GMT400 platform.

I bought myself a 95 2 door Tahoe to build up instead. The truck is in great shape, has a 6.5L TD, 4L80e automatic, NP241 floor shift transfer case. 3" exhaust from the turbo back, barks when you get on it, but isn't so bloody loud as my K5 was with a 4 foot straight pipe off the turbo dumping just infront of the rear wheel. At idle, you can hear the engine, but it doesn't make young children cry, or attract the fuzz like a fly to poop.

I have made arrangements with a fella to trade my Chevy D60 + some labour to install an NV4500 into his K5 for a cherry Ford Kingpin / High Pinion D60 from a late 70s F350. All it needs is an arb, 5.13 gears and crossover / highsteer / hydraulic assist installed. For the rear, I have built a 14BSF with an ARB, gears and a disk brake conversion. I plan to update the NP241 with an SYE + driveline brake, and install high angle / high slip CV driveshafts front and rear.

For my suspension, I am going to run the stock Tahoe springs out back with a shackle flip and a shock inboarding kit, 52" springs up front with a SAS and shock hooks. Tires will be a set of 37" Kevlar MTRs on 17" bead locks. Of course, I'll be swapping the York OBA setup over from the K5 to the Tahoe.

I think that it'll be a much more solid platform to work with, tons more parts available around here for the GMT400s vs the old square bodies. The DS4 injection will be nice for major elevation changes too, won't be smoking my poor buddies out on the trail up on the top of mountain ridges etc :haha:

Plus, who doesn't want heated leather seats in a wheeling rig? :whistle:

I've got the Tahoe on jack stands right now with the transmission at my trans guy's shop. The PO had destroyed the flex plate and when it broke, it cracked the transmission's housing. He is upgrading the aluminum pressure pistons to steel pistons from a TH400 and putting in new bands / frictions etc. This will be my first time running an automatic offroad, other than the one time I took my old K10 for a run and split it clean in half (doh!). I am going to be sure my engine mounts and transmission mount are solid to prevent any major movement that might break it...

I'll take a few pictures when I get it back down on all 4 and outside in the light :)


More from Russell

As some of ya'll know, I daily drive a 2003 Chevy Tahoe Z71. I picked this truck up off my folks a couple years ago because my old 2012 Duramax was constantly at the dealership getting fixed and I needed something to drive while it was there. Despite having a new 2014 to replace that truck after it burnt to the ground which far more reliable than it's predecessor I've come to really like the little Z71 and actually drive it far more often than the truck. It's a very comfortable luxury...

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