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‘86 K30 Crew- From Sierra to Silverado, & a Cummins

K30guy

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Hi all, I’ve got this build on a few forums but I’ve been reading a lot on here lately and I’d like to share my build and hopefully get some invaluable feedback from some of you guys. I’ve always loved the crew cab squares, but I’ve never daily driven one. I’ve had 1st and 2nd gen Dodges with the Cummins for daily drivers all my life. I put a 12 valve into a crew when I was in high school but I didn’t have the money or experience to do it properly, and it was a death trap. So I scrapped it.

Fast forward several years, I’m fortunate enough to own 2 crew cabs. As well as a handful of Dodges and a Landcruiser. This thread will focus on the transformation of my 1986 Sierra Classic K30, although my 1979 base model Chevy K30 will get some attention as well.

I was looking for a 6.2 Diesel engine several months ago for my ‘79, and someone contacted me that their brother was parting out a truck with one. He sent me a picture. It was a 4x4 Sierra Classic crew cab, factory 6.2 4 speed, body was a little rough but it ran and drove. The guy just wanted the axles and he was going to scrap the rest. I asked if he’d pull the axles in my driveway and leave the rest of the truck, thankfully he agreed. We blocked it up and pulled the axles and I had me a truck! Well, most of it

 
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K30guy

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I easily found a 14 bolt rear and had this thing rolling again. However, I didn't realize that the Dana 60 was all piled up and the knuckles wouldn't turn, so I could only drive straight forward and back. I pulled it out and looked to borrow the GM 60 from my other crew cab


Obviously it worked a lot better and I was able to get the thing mobile. Mechanically it was sound, the truck has 220,xxx km on it and it ran and drove just fine

 

K30guy

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So I suppose here would be the proper time to outline my goals for this build. As stated earlier, I want to put a 12 valve into this guy. I realize that's pretty boring and well documented, but I understand them inside and out, and I want simplicity and reliability with reasonable power and fuel economy. And nothing meets those criteria like a 12 valve. I want the truck for a daily driver, mild off road and camping, and it will semi frequently pull a car hauler with 6 to 8000 pounds on it. For heavier towing and dirty work I have a First Gen Cummins dually that's tougher than nails.

This truck has the Sierra Classic trim level so it has power doors and windows, AC, cruise and all that fun stuff. And it all works

I've done a lot of research regarding what transmission I want to use, initially I settled on using a 68Rfe from a third gen Dodge. They have great ratios for the Cummins, they bolt up nicely as it's Dodge to Dodge, and they're good for the power values I want for this truck. However, I've only been able to find one guy who makes aftermarket controllers for the 68, and I haven't seen any reviews on it. Having an electronic auto also goes against my simplicity mandate.

So at this point I think it will get an NV5600. I rebuilt one some years ago for my First Gen, it's been driving great, and I like the ratios and how they shift. I can get one needing a rebuild for a reasonable dollar, and the K30 already has a hydraulic clutch pedal set up, so it seems like the 5600 is in the cards. Plus, I'd hate to give up shifting.

So to sum it all up, goals for the build are;
-12 Valve swap from a 96 donor truck I have (including fitting a charge air cooler, exhaust and everything else that comes with a swap)
-NV5600, rebuild and install
-52" front spring upgrade (I like the height it's at now, just want a bit softer of a ride)
-Rebuild the 14 bolt or replace with an axle with an LSD (I also want 3.73 gears)
-Rebuild and regear the front 60
-Body work (needs rockers, doors or door skins on the drivers side, needs a box side on the drivers, passenger side is pretty nice)
-Paint (Harley Red Iron Denim has captured my attention, maybe textured kind of like a rock guard, with all chrome replaced with flat black)
-Interior (I've found a set of King Ranch leather seats from a Ford, I want to use these with an interior to match)
-Just a general rebuild. Strip and paint the frame, replace all the hoses and lines, new bushings, crossover steering, build a panhard bar
-As for the thread's namesake, I want to replace all the badging and trim to what would be in a silverado. I know it makes absolutely zero difference to the overall truck but I grew up with Chevy, my dad had a square and then a GMT-400 forever, and I have both a bowtie hat and belt buckle, so it just makes sense

Right now I plan for this to be a forever truck for me, so I want to take the time and do it right. I want to do the engine swap and drive it for a bit, then tackle the body work, and so on, in stages. I want to do nice sound in the cab, maybe upgrade the old HVAC with a Vintage Air unit, there's some nice electronic gauge clusters out there I'd like to do more research on, the list could never end! It's also subject to change.
 
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K30guy

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Here are the seats, I found the set in an Excursion in Pick and Pull, payed 100 bucks for the lot, only issue is someone robbed the bottom seat cushions before I could get to them. They're in good shape otherwise:


Several months ago I picked up the truck that was to be the donor for this project. It was a steal of a price, at the time I needed cash and was going to make the necessary repairs on it and flip it, but I realized I would never find another 12 valve engine, much less a whole truck, for the price I paid again. The truck has 400,000 ish km on it, but the engine has less than 100,000. Its incredibly clean and healthy. It will get pulled and resealed in the spring, I want to clean it up and paint it with the Cummins Industrial Tan. I really like that color on these engines and it will make diagnosing future leaks a breeze (as it will most definitely leak in the future)

 

K30guy

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A little side track, I also have a '79 Chevy custom that I bought a few years back that was going to originally be my build project. I was living in Alberta at the time and drove all the way to Langly, BC for it. It's not in great shape but the panels are mostly clean and straight, and I like the round eye look. It has a 305 on propane that doesn't run. This truck has been following me around the last 3 years, getting towed here and there as I moved it around. So the new plan is to give it the 6.2/465 combo from the GMC and then fix it up and make it road worthy. Will likely sell it in the future, but for now it's in my back yard doing a bang up job of storing parts and panels.

Here it is in Golden, BC, hitching a ride through the Rockies on my daily driver of 6 years. The dually has it's own build thread on another forum, it's had quite the journey itself

 

mrk5

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Nice collection of projects you've got going. :waytogo:
 

Bent77

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Lookin good! What part of Berta are you in?
 

Bent77

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Thanks, they all want the contents of my wallet, haha


Just north of Edmonton, everything is frozen up and there's not a lot of progress this week
We gots a few active guys up your way. @tRustyK5 is in Edm, @max 02 is in Clive

@Russell is head to or in Calgary

there’s more up there that aren’t too active

welcome aboard! :waytogo:
 

K30guy

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My work takes me away from home a lot, and I was over in Europe for 4 months most recently. I hired some contractors to build a garage in my backyard, but there were some complications and I was left with a snow covered foundation. This and last week has been so bloody cold up here it's not even worth working outside when you don't have to, so the two crews are sitting side by side in the backyard waiting for attention. I'm off again end of January for another 2 months, so I'll be ordering swap parts from afar and making a stockpile so I can fly at it when I get back

 

K30guy

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We gots a few active guys up your way. @tRustyK5 is in Edm, @max 02 is in Clive

@Russell is head to or in Calgary

there’s more up there that aren’t too active

welcome aboard! :waytogo:

Thanks! I'm glad there's other enthusiasts around, there never seems to be much interest in the older trucks locally anymore
 

Bent77

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Well hopefully the weather gets better and the garage gets moving. @tRustyK5 said it was -40 yesterday, and that’s just bull :poo:
 

tRustyK5

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Thanks, they all want the contents of my wallet, haha


Just north of Edmonton, everything is frozen up and there's not a lot of progress this week

Welcome to CK5 dude!

I'm in E-town and spend my days driving in and around it. Hasn't been super fun the last few days...
 

K30guy

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Welcome to CK5 dude!

I'm in E-town and spend my days driving in and around it. Hasn't been super fun the last few days...

Thank you kindly! I'm just in Morinville, been seeing the exact same numbers. All my stuff is diesel, and its at least an hour with a blow dryer and battery booster to get anything started. The First Gen Dodge doesn't have any issues starting, but it's still BC registered :dunno: Luckily I've got nowhere to be this week
 

tRustyK5

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Nice area IMO. I'm kind of a dick to my 2017 GMC. I've never plugged it in since I bought it new, and it always just starts. :ignore:

My garbage truck however has not been kind to me this week. I need to invent some sort of methyl hydrate injection thing for the air system...
 

K30guy

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Nice area IMO. I'm kind of a dick to my 2017 GMC. I've never plugged it in since I bought it new, and it always just starts. :ignore:

My garbage truck however has not been kind to me this week. I need to invent some sort of methyl hydrate injection thing for the air system...

I’m assuming Duramax? My buddy has an ‘09 that he says will flash up at even at the coldest of temps. He doesn’t like doing it, but he says it will every time
 

sweetk30

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late model duramax will not turn on block heater until specific temp is reached even if its pluged in . if you bypass this some how the computer will see the temp difference on start up and set a code . my buddy told me this on his old 2018 dmax gm truck . he was complaining about the heater didnt work the dealer tech told him this info .
 

tRustyK5

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I’m assuming Duramax? My buddy has an ‘09 that he says will flash up at even at the coldest of temps. He doesn’t like doing it, but he says it will every time

DI 5.3 gas. Just 1/2 ton commuter for me. :waytogo:
 

K30guy

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late model duramax will not turn on block heater until specific temp is reached even if its pluged in . if you bypass this some how the computer will see the temp difference on start up and set a code . my buddy told me this on his old 2018 dmax gm truck . he was complaining about the heater didnt work the dealer tech told him this info .

What on earth would be the reason for that? So the block heater isn’t even plugged right into the block anymore, it’s switched by the ecm? That’s daft

DI 5.3 gas. Just 1/2 ton commuter for me. :waytogo:

That’s probably for the best, everyone in this neck of the woods should have a nice and reliable gas vehicle, I sure don’t, haha. Although the wife’s older Cherokee has been taking it like a champion
 
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