Saving Rusty the Mud Truck

  • This is a story about a rusted out, beat up and abused mud truck, that gets a second chance at life.

    My name is Andy and I have always been a square body suburban diesel fan. I have been around them my entire life and the truck dubbed ‘Rusty’ is my third diesel suburban.

    I’ll admit, I have been somewhat intimidated and embarrassed to start this build thread 1) because of the quality of craftsmanship that’s represented on this site (to which I cannot hold a candle) and 2) because this story starts off with a slew of mistakes. But, thanks to the inspiration of AgDieseler’s build and his personal encouragement, here I am. And so the story begins:

    Mistake #1: Selling my dad’s truck.


    My dad bought a brand new C10 6.2L Diesel Suburban in 1985 when I was just 6 months old. I loved that truck. My dad taught me and all of my siblings to drive in it (of which there are 6). He did not do too many modifications to it: vinyl flooring, manual bypass switch or the GP, and a fire engine red paint job. He gave it to me when I was in my early twenties but, not knowing the gem that I had, foolishly sold it shortly thereafter. I swear, if I ever find that truck, I will buy it back.

    Mistake #2: Selling my truck and my jeep.

    Shortly after selling my dad’s truck, I also sold my jeep. It was a 2001 TJ with the 2.5, Dana 30 and 35, 4.88 gears, Ox Locker in the front, Detroit out back, 5 speed manual, 4” of lift, and 33” BFG MTs. It was probably the most fun vehicle I had ever owned. Long story short, I sold it too.


    As I am sure most people do, I realized I made a big mistake by selling my dad’s truck and my jeep. So I bought another one. This time, a 1989 K10 Suburban with a CUCV 6.2 diesel. This thing was in fantastic shape and I made a lot of memories in it. But, like its predecessors, after I moved to Jacksonville, I convinced myself I needed the money more than I needed the truck, and I sold it too.


    Mistake #3 (or is it?): Buying Rusty the Mud Truck

    Fast forward a few years. Now I am married and once again ever-longing for another truck. It took some discussion, but I convinced my wife we needed a “work truck” to support my budding wood-working hobby. I started out by searching for any of my 3 past trucks, hoping to buy them back, with no luck. I never did find my dad’s truck, though I believe it is still in the Tallahassee area somewhere. I found out through a series of unfortunate events that my jeep ended up in the junkyard, parted out, and went to the crusher. My 1989 Suburban is still alive and in the Midwest somewhere, still owned by the same guy I sold it to. I actually negotiated an agreement with him to buy it back, but negotiations fell through. So the search for a ‘new’ truck began.

    In comes Rusty the Mud Truck.

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    I say, at first, that it was a mistake to buy Rusty because Rusty was one of those trucks that you should walk away from as soon as you see the advertisement. But I didn’t. I did my best to make sure I was making a good purchase, but I was suffering from a pretty severe case of the “wants”. I asked all the right questions. Discussed everything I could think of to make sure this would be a good truck, but at the end of the day, I was misled, and I overlooked some things. Nonetheless, the deal was made, and I once again was an owner of a diesel suburban. Here were Rusty’s specs as of purchase: 1988 K10 Suburban, 6.5L NA Goodwrench Diesel (506 block cast on August 12, 1996), 14B FF rear, 8 Lug 10bolt front, 4.10 gears, 700R4 Transmission, NP208 Tcase, and tons of rust.

    2 years later, looking back, I recant my statement that buying Rusty was a mistake because of all the knowledge I have gained from working on the truck. I have done things on this truck that I never in my life imagined I would do. So the knowledge gained is worth the cost and invaluable and Rusty is now a worthwhile truck, though there is still significant work to be done.

    I have thought a lot about how to go about detailing this build/resurrection, and because of the amount of work that has been done in just the last 2 years I think it would be too difficult to try to do a timeline, so instead I will give you categorized projects to get us caught up to present and then move forward. So that my first post is not excessively long, I will do each project in its own post.

    This is how Rusty sits now.

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  • Year:
    6.5L NA Goodwrench Diesel (506 block cast on August 12, 1996)
    Transfer Case:
    4" lift
    14Bolt FF, 10Bolt
    16x8 Procomp
    305/75R16 Procomp AT Sport
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