Well hey there my crazy cats and kittens -
I figured it was time to actually post up a build thread so everyone can point and laugh at the NOOB.
I picked up my donor truck about a year ago. She was not a cherry survivor, nor was she a pile of rust. It ran, I could dive it, and there really wasn't much rust or damage to deal with. All in all, a pretty solid truck:
I knew what I wanted for this truck. I had a vision ever since I had an '86 back in high school. I'm planning this build in 3 phases:
right now I'm about 80 % complete with phase 1.
- Steering and suspension
- Drive train
- creature comforts and body work
I knew I wanted one ton axles under the truck, so it sat for a while as I saved money to pick up the venerable Dana 60 front axle, and Corporate 14 Bolt full float rear.
I drove it now and then, dreaming of what it would one day become. when I bought the blazer, the previous owner had purchased a vinyl floor kit from LMC, and he gave it to me. So my son and I spent a day and got it installed.
After a few months, I had a little scratch saved up, so I bought my Axles for $400. Hell yeah!! but when they came, I found out they were not one tons. Dana 44 and a 12 bolt. Shit. Did I mention I was new to this?
Expensive lesson learned. Don't trust Bubba from Craigslist. Do your research so you know what you're looking for.
SO... after a little more research, I figured out how to properly Identify the axles I was looking for, and found another set. But this time I payed $1300.
Around the same time, I found a guy selling 40" tires, and 17" beadlock wheels for $1200. I had to jump on it. I know they're Chinese knock off tires. But they will do the job for a while until they fail, and I have to spend money on a real set of wheels and tires.
I couldn't wait to get started, so I ordered a whole pile of parts from ORD after a bunch of research here, and other sites. But me being the impatient guy that I am, I just had to start getting those axles mocked up under the truck. So I did:
Then I had to leave for work. I work in offshore oil, so I was gone for about 3 weeks. and in that time, all the parts from ORD showed up:
Wahoo! now to get to work. Since I already had the rear axle out, I started there. The guy I got the axles from had welded on some rather heinous brackets. I think he was trying to get a 4 link setup going, but he just made them from whatever steel he had laying around. So all that had to go. Then, after grinding everything smooth, and painting the bare metal spots, I removed the fuel tank, since I knew that would have to come out in order the install the shackle flip brackets. While it was out, I took the opportunity to knock off all the surface rust, and treat the frame with some OSPHO rust converter, and epoxy paint. Everything from ORD went together pretty easily.New spring pads, 2.5" Shackle flip, super shackles, Kevlar greasable bushings and custom 5" lift springs from ORD.
Now It was time for the front.
I started by installing the 2wd Steering gearbox from rock auto, and installed the steering gearbox brace from ORD.
Then I installed the crossover steering bracket, draglink, and HD tierod onto the new Dana 60 front axle:
Next it was time to rip out the tired 10 bolt front axle:
I got the Dana 60 axle mocked up under the truck, and realized that I hadn't ordered a new spring perch for the drivers side. OOPS! hence the wooden block in its place for the time being:
While installing the spring plates, I noticed a problem:
I think it was you guys that helped me figure out that in fact; what I had was a dodge front axle. small difference in hole size and spacing on the stud side of the spring near the gear housing. So I ordered the right parts from ORD, and sent the other ones back. While I was at it, I went ahead and ordered that damned spring perch. I got all that installed along with the drop pitman arm, and tossed the wheels on. Now its under its own weight again. Hell yeah!
Next on the "to-do list" is to rebuild both axles. I have an ARB air locker for the rear, and a posi for the front (eventually this will be an air locker too, but I gotta save money where I can for now.). I need to rebuild the brakes on all 4 corners, and figure out driveshafts. I plan to gear to 5.38 to be able to turn those monstrous tires. oh, and I still need to mount my shock tabs, and get the Bilstein 5100's installed
Well, now were all dealing with the 'rona. And, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be laid off soon. So, this project has to hit the brakes for a while. Unless you guys know where I can work for parts. LOL.
But seriously. I would do that.
But that didn't stop me from doing a few free mods. I went ahead and cleaned out the gas tank, and cut the access door for the fuel sending unit before mounting the gas tank back in its home.
and just yesterday, I went ahead and de-fanged the front fenders so I can turn the wheels without munching sheet metal. and that's pretty much where I stand today.
thanks for reading. And as I said, if you see any mistakes, or something I can do better, please let me know. I leave you with a little before/after pic, and Ill update this thread as I make more progress.