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'83 K10 SB "L1TSBFIBBC" build (...Dirt Drags)

folkenheath

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So the next project in 2006 was to put some gauges in the truck and ditch the crap under the ashtray the PO installed. I decided to mount some autometer gauges behind the factory bezel, by modifying the factory cluster. I got a nice shape black bezel from my uncle from a truck he was parting out, and bought an older cluster at a swap meet for $20 that had the metal trim ring around the gauges.
Here is a teaser pic, and I will have more detailed pics later, because I just took it apart a week ago to upgrade one of the gauges and install a tranny temp sender, I’ll get to that.

Also, my brother gave me a the steering wheel out of his newer truck he was going to part out, thanks Wes!

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In 2007 I decided to make the window vents work (cobbled welded junk from PO), so I bought some used ones, and ALL new door and window seals. Tore the doors all apart, and got all of that installed and working, and fixed the passenger side door lock solenoid and wiring. Much quieter in the interior now, can hear yourself!

I also put on a new rear bumper that matched my body style since the other one I got from my father was getting rusty, got that from LMC. Got the brackets from a parts truck my uncle had. It’s actually hard to find 80 – 87 regular bumper brackets (not step bumper) for a fleetside truck. If I remember correctly they are different for blazers, but I am not positive. Also got a new windshield and trim molding since the old one window was cracked.

I installed new poly motor and trans mounts, since my old ones were so shot the engine was wobbling around and changing the tranny gear when off road! I had already done the entire suspension, and all body mounts back in 2003, so at this point every bushing or mount I know of I had replaced. Suspension, body, steering, engine, trans, etc.

Sorry, no pics of that stuff. But rubber seals and mounts are kind of boring anyway.

At the same time I added stainless twin sticks, but I’ll add the pictures of that later with the OBA.
 
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folkenheath

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In 2008 one weekend, my wife was gone with her mother and my brothers wife was away for the weekend. So he came up to visit, and we went mountain biking, rock climbing, wheelin’, and target shooting all in one weekend. It was fun, and managed to get some good stuck pictures that day at The Mounds…

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folkenheath

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I also decided I wanted more acceleration, so I decided to learn to rebuild my TH400. I bought Ron sessions book for $30, and read the whole thing, and thought, yeah, I can do that. But I also decided I wanted a stall converter, but still wanted to tow. So I decided to try a switch pitch converter that used to come in the Buicks and Caddis in the late 60s. I can use low stall for towing and street driving, and high stall for offroading for better acceleration. So I already had an extra TH400 4WD case I bought from my Dad for $50 since he was parting the truck out. So I rebuilt that and left the truck functional while I did it. These pictures are actually from last weekend, but you don’t know that. (I’ll get to that later)
I took my time and replaced EVERYTHING, including all frictions, steels, seals, seal rings, gaskets, bearings, bushings, thrust washers, etc. Everything was tore completely apart and washed, replaced, and/or rebuilt, pump, valve body, all drums, governor, servos, etc. I also modified it some so when I decided to put a big block in it, it would take the abuse.
I modified the valve body for full manual control (it will never shift out of first if I put it in 1st) and quicker shifting, (spacer plate mods), but kept automatic shifting. I replaced the rear thrust washer with a torrington bearing and set the end play tighter. I dual fed the direct clutch to double the apply area, and therefore double 3rd gear holding capacity. I put the HD snap ring (to save the case lugs) and 4 clutches in the intermediate clutch. I used alto red eagle clutches everywhere, including the front band (rear band I used Kevlar). I also put in a smooth race direct drum with the 34 element sprag and the spiral retaining ring. So this puppy should be good up to 700 hp. I got all the parts from a local trans suppy shop.

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Well, I got the trans in the same morning I was supposed to be gone to silver lake, so I put it in and left, everything worked exactly the way it should. But man did I not like the switch pitch converter. It was more like high slip than high stall mode. And low stall was so tight it would want to creep at lights and would shift really harsh.


About that time I drove this once or twice…
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My Dads 48 or 52 willies (not sure which) truck on an 84 Chevy frame. D60 in the back with 4.88 gears and a spool(and yes it has different gear ratios to offset the 44s in the back and the 35s in the front), TH400/NP208 with a 502 BB and a dominator, it weighs 3700 lbs, and man was that thing fast. Enough of this piddly widdly small block stuff, after driving that, I needed a big block! That winter I saved up and bought some parts….
 
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jekquistk5

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I also decided I wanted more acceleration, so I decided to learn to rebuild my TH400. I bought Ron sessions book for $30, and read the whole thing, and thought, yeah, I can do that. But I also decided I wanted a stall converter, but still wanted to tow. So I decided to try a switch pitch converter that used to come in the Buicks and Caddis in the late 60s. I can use low stall for towing and street driving, and high stall for offroading for better acceleration. So I already had an extra TH400 4WD case I bought from my Dad for $50 since he was parting the truck out. So I rebuilt that and left the truck functional while I did it. These pictures are actually from last weekend, but you don’t know that. (I’ll get to that later)
I took my time and replaced EVERYTHING, including all frictions, steels, seals, seal rings, gaskets, bearings, bushings, thrust washers, etc. Everything was tore completely apart and washed, replaced, and/or rebuilt, pump, valve body, all drums, governor, servos, etc. I also modified it some so when I decided to put a big block in it, it would take the abuse.
I modified the valve body for full manual control (it will never shift out of first if I put it in 1st) and quicker shifting, (spacer plate mods), but kept automatic shifting. I replaced the rear thrust washer with a torrington bearing and set the end play tighter. I dual fed the direct clutch to double the apply area, and therefore double 3rd gear holding capacity. I put the HD snap ring (to save the case lugs) and 4 clutches in the intermediate clutch. I used alto red eagle clutches everywhere, including the front band (rear band I used Kevlar). I also put in a smooth race direct drum with the 34 element sprag and the spiral retaining ring. So this puppy should be good up to 700 hp. I got all the parts from a local trans suppy shop.

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Well, I got the trans in the same morning I was supposed to be gone to silver lake, so I put it in and left, everything worked exactly the way it should. But man did I not like the switch pitch converter. It was more like high slip than high stall mode. And low stall was so tight it would want to creep at lights and would shift really harsh.


About that time I drove this once or twice…
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My Dads 48 or 52 willies (not sure which) truck on an 84 Chevy frame. D60 in the back with 4.88 gears and a spool(and yes it has different gear ratios to offset the 44s in the back and the 35s in the front), TH400/NP208 with a 502 BB and a dominator, it weighs 3700 lbs, and man was that thing fast. Enough of this piddly widdly small block stuff, after driving that, I needed a big block! That winter I saved up and bought some parts….


Man I had those style Kellys on my k5.. Great tire! Wish you could still find them.
 

folkenheath

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Man I had those style Kellys on my k5.. Great tire! Wish you could still find them.

Yeah the Kelly springfield plant is about 20 mins from where I grew up, you could get them pretty cheap if you knew someone who worked there, employees could buy so many tires per year. Anyway, don't know the status of the plant now, it's been bought and sold so many times in the past 15 years. I had 4 of those exact tires on my Dad's 77 GMC I would drive in the winters in high school.
 

folkenheath

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Since I already had a 4 bolt main 454 block I bought back in 2004(yes, just the block), I started gathering parts. This is when it got interesting because I spent a good majority of all the money I had spent on the whole truck up to that point, on just the engine and install parts. It took me about 5 years to save up for this engine, but I finally got to build the engine I had been waiting for.

So I had the block boiled and magnafluxed, then bored, honed, align honed, and decked to .005” quench (plus gasket will be .044”) with the right finish for moly rings on the street. I don’t know what that is, I just know my engine machinist asks, and he’s a perfectionist, he even lines up the part numbers on the freeze plugs before installationand writes the clearance for every main bearing right on the cap to the ten thousands of an inch. I know I get quality work from him.

Since this block was still in IL, I had all parts of the rotating assembly shipped to him instead of me for machining, and balancing. Bought some GM 7/16” boron full floating rods from my father, actually he traded me for some other parts, I think I got the better deal though, thank you Dad. Had those reconditioned, and put some KB “premium forged” pistons in there. The crank is a Scat 9000 series, 4.25” stroke, the pistons were .030” over for a total of 489 cubic inches.

My family was coming to MI to visit, so they hauled the block and parts up for me after machining. I started assembly the day they left...
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If you look close here you can see where the block was clearanced for the stroker crank (to clear the rods) right by the oil pan rail.
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The timing chain is a “ProGear” billet sprocket, double roller with Torrington bearing between the block and sprocket. Also have the front rollerized cam button. Camshaft endplay needs to be set by "tweaking" the timing chain cover when using a retro fit roller cam. Very nice piece. (don’t worry, I bent the lock tabs over before final assembly)
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The pistons have a small dome for 10.2:1 static compression. You can also see where I ground the tops of the cylinders to unshroud the valves a little, but you have to be careful not to get into the top ring land, or outside the gasket area, and be consistant.
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I used a melling HV pump, with a Milodon windage tray and Moroso pickup.
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Heads are GMPP aluminum oval ports, got them on Ebay for $1400 to my door, brand new! Some guy bought them to build a big block and then changed his mine. I had to call him to make sure it sounded legit before I sent the money it seemed like such a good deal. Then a I did a very mild port job just to blend some stuff near the ports and the valve bowl area. Oil pan is a Moroso 7 qt. Piston to valve clearance was checked with clay before the heads were installed.
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Stock GM 502 balancer I got from my Dad in part of the parts trade. Also, you can see the deep "V" I cut in the timing tab, while degreeing the cam in I also find TRUE TDC using a piston stop (usually before the heads are on but can be done after) and then I modify the timing tab to show true TDC.
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The cam is a Lunati VooDoo hydraulic roller, 230 @ .050 with .600” lift. 110 LSA. This puts my dynamic compression ratio at 7.8:1, perfect for use with pump gas. The thing I love about the Lunati VooDoo cams is they have a fast ramp rate for higher lift without the longer duration for more power without having to rev the engine real high RPM. Peak power is about 5200 RPM, I have the rev lmiter set at 5800.

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Rocker arms are Comp Cams pro magnum steel rockers for long life. Pushrods are comp magnum custom length (off the shelf size though) for my retro fit hydraulic roller cam. I sized them for perfect valvetrain geometry.

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Dart adjustable guideplates, these things work awesome for making sure your valvetrain geometry is correct.
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You can see here where I made a tool and use my drill and a grinder to grind the top of the poly locks on all the exhaust valves down to clear the factory cast aluminum valve covers. Easier to get on and off, and no leaks! Plus, no one suspects I have a .600 lift cam and roller rockers under there.

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Intake is an Edelbrock Performer RPM airgap, best all around intake you can buy in my opinion. I ported this intake to gasket match it to the GMPP "semi-oval" intake port shape. Turned out perfect.
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Here it is in the truck, awaiting getting hooked up….
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And all installed...Hooker comp headers, MSD super conductor wires…
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Holley 870 street avenger, MSD 6AL box (under dash), serpentine setup, half from a 94 Chevy PU, half home made by me. I’ll get to that next with the OBA.
I got it all tuned up great after that, modified the vacuum advance to give me 52 degrees total advance at cruise with mechanical all in ASAP (light springs), also flipped the mechanical center piece so I have about 22 degrees initial advance, and 36 all in by 3k RPM. So with the 16 additional vacuum at idle, it has about 38 degrees advance, and it loves it, unless you punch it, then vacuum drops to zero and it takes off!
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y5mgisi

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I love your build so far!!! I mean alot!Great job and thank you for taking the time to show everything you did!
 

76zimmer

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I love your build so far!!! I mean alot!Great job and thank you for taking the time to show everything you did!

Ditto Heath, very cool stuff man!

I need you to set up my dist.
 

max 02

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This thread is getting real interesting really fast!!

You got me hooked.. lov`n this man!:waytogo:

Oh ya about that willys...SWEET:bow:
 
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folkenheath

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Thanks guys, knowing others are enjoying it makes it worthwhile taking the time to write and document this stuff. I usually just work and play and don't have many pictures in between.

Anyway, I forgot to mention while I had the trans out in 2008 I also rebuilt the NP205 t-case with all new bearings and seals, and ground the shift rails for front wheel drive only with the twin sticks. Picks of that next.

Also, since I didn't like the switch pitch converter setup, while I was swapping the motor I pulled the front pump and forward clutch drum out of the trans and switched it back to standard converter and put this Hughes XTM converter in, should handle the power of the BB and has barely above stock stall so I can still tow with it when needed (ski boat).

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I then sold the switch pitch setup, and sold my aluminum headed 355 on craiglist too.

Also, I was tired of trying to borrow friends welders, so I went out and bought this... (Millermatic 211)

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...and once I had a welder, all sorts of ideas starting popping into my head, I am not limited to bolt on parts anymore! The welder is the beginning of a new era when you realize what you now have the potential to do, I mean, it melts metal together, how awesome is that!
Just to be clear, my uncle has owned a drag chassis shop for years, and my father has been building stuff and welding since he was younger, so it wasn't the first time I welded or was around it. But once you have your own, your build plans change drastically.
 
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nvrenuf

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I'm really diggin the motor, any chance you might have some video of it? Very nice build! :pimp:
 

folkenheath

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Oh ya about that willys...SWEET:bow:

FYI, my Dad is in the process of putting a 6-71 blower on that thing with two 650 double pumpers, it already has a solid roller blower cam in it and rectangular port heads. Should be pushing about 800 hp next time I meet him at the dunes, loooking forward to that!

Also, the hood was off because he was having overheating issues with the rear mounted radiator, but he got that fixed with better fans and more airflow cutouts. The hood will still fit over the blower, but barely.

I'm really diggin the motor, any chance you might have some video of it? Very nice build! :pimp:

Not really, the only video I have is an emarassing one where I was trying to adjust my rear shocks (with unsatisfactory results), and figure out why the trans wasn't shifting into 2nd when I wanted it too, using full throttle sand runs of course! Anyway, it was right after my friend Dave left and I forgot I had the cooler and parts bin in the back now(it was in his tow rig before that). Anyway, my wife was just using her camera, and I punched it and then right after it should of shifted to 2nd it hit the rev limiter, which made it fall on its face as it went over the dip in hte sand and sent the back end into a some bad bouncing and out the back goes the cooler with subs and pepsis flying everywhere, and my parts bin broke open and about 140 holley jets go flying all over the back of the bed, it was a mess, but funny. The video isn't very clear though, which is why I haven't really done anything with it. And all I got was a full throttle run through 1st gear and then comedy!

I should get some good videos this season hopefully.

Which leads me to what's coming right after the OBA, I busted my 34 element sprag in my TH400, because of a faulty direct drum I was sold for my trans rebuild. Which is why it wasn't shifting into 2nd gear, it was in 2nd, it was just busted! (That didn't even cross my mind since it had less than 2000 miles on it, I was concentrating on how to lower the shift point below my rev limiter). I found out later the direct drum OD of the inner race is supposed to be 3.159 or more (not even .0005 under), the one I broke measured at 3.155-3.157, way under, and .002 out of round. I got a new one, and it measured 3.161, 4 - 6 thousands more, which is a lot considering it can't be even a half a though less. It was fine with the SB, but the big block ate it for lunch. I guess when you buy trans parts from shop you assume they are good, I mean it looked freshly machined and perfect, but I know now not to trust it.
 
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max 02

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Good stuff to read,I was going to ask if your dad still had the willys.:thumb:
Keep us up dated on it aswell as your truck.

This is great!!!
 

folkenheath

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I am reposting this since it was lost in the server fire...:eek1:

The on board air and serpentine system I am very happy with. When I started I knew I wanted a serpentine system, and so I found this system from a 1994 Chevy PU with a big block in it. So I got all the parts in a box in the mail from eBay. The guy sent pictures of it on his truck for me to figure out how it went. I was a little puzzled at first until I realized he accidentally sent some extra pieces from something else, because they didn’t exist in an pictures I could even find, they all looked exactly like his.

So shortly after I realized all I really needed was the entire drivers side, and the passenger side was just A/C, idler pulley (could have been smog), and an extra idler pulley. Also, the entire drivers side was stamped steel, with a few steel bars for braces. Pretty light. The passenger side was all cast iron, very heavy. So I decided to ditch the entire passenger side and just use an idler pulley over there I would make an aluminum bracket for.

So after thinking a little more, I thought, well, if I am going to take the time to make a bracket for an idler pulley, maybe that idler pulley should be attached to a clutch that runs a York compressor!

So I did some more research, wasn’t aware of many junk yards around here, so I started looking on websites like Advance auto parts where they have pictures of stuff, and started searching for AC compressors in old Fords and Volvos. Bingo, a 1983 Volvo 245 GLT 2.1L I4 Turbo has a York in it. So I went to the store and ordered one, two days later it showed up, a reman York compressor, looked like brand new, $140. Was even the 10 CID version. I told them my old one didn’t look like that, and they said as long as they get an AC compressor back, they don’t care what it looks like, so I took the old AC compressor that came with my serpentine brackets in there for a core return.
Then I did a lot of measuring and mocking up, and looking up specs in the “Truck Air Parts” catalog. If I wanted to keep the compressor in front of the head, I would need the 8 groove pulley, so I could use the inner 6 grooves. Otherwise I would have to move the compressor way outward of the head and have a super long belt and it would be in the way for maintenance. So I went and bought a “5128” compressor clutch from the local truck parts shop for $113. Brand new pulley and clutch, spins like a dream, now that’s an idler pulley!
I also bought a few parts from the low rider truck crowd, including a 3 gallon aluminum tank, and a 90 – 125 psi pressure switch, and some ½ DOT plastic air line (probably from semi trucks). Then I bought some hardware from Grainger, including a “Load Genie” unloader, some T fittings, reducers, adaptors, etc. The unloader is like a one way check valve that keeps the pressure from bleeding back through the compressor, while at the same time relieving the pressure in the compressor, works slick and it’s small.

So here is how the system ended up…
The aluminum bracket I made from some scrap metal, cut it out with the sawzall, a drill, holesaws, angle grinder, die grinder, some files, etc. Took forever. It’s all cut out in the back for the compressor rear bearing housing to sit within 1/16” of the cylinder head. If I had to do it over I would of used 3/8” material for the back, but ½ was what I had to work with. The sides are ¼ 6061 aluminum. The bottom bracket is hard to see, but was made from a piece of C channel aluminum I cut up. Holds the York perfectly, and doesn’t weigh a ton. Also, the factory cross bar brace bolts to it as well. I don’t have a tig welder, so I had a friend TIG weld the pieces together for me, he did a beautiful job. And I bought an aluminum Edelbrock water pump for a little more weight savings, I needed the reverse rotation one. I already had the aluminum radiator, and the electric fans are from an LS1 Camaro, got them on eBay for $65.

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You can see here the fittings I hand made from 3/16” steel plate and NPT steel pipe. $55 for two fittings is ridiculous, let alone $350 for a York, or $1200 for an OBA system. The larger one I welded from underneath and belt sanded and filed it flat. Then I put a breather on top as a mini air cleaner. I put it up high like that to keep it out of water from rain and splashing. The smaller one was welded top AND bottom, and belt sanded and filed flat too, they seal to an o-ring. After everything was bolted up I bought 3 different length good year gatorback belts and returned the two that didn’t fit and bought an extra one of the one that did for a spare.

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Here you can see the braided stainless outlet line form the York go into the splitter/controller. That fitting immediately after the braided line IS the unloader. Right above that is a quick connect for air in the engine compartment. Right below that is the outlet line to rear tank, and gauge. Many of the fittings, and the pressure switch are hidden right inside the core support rail connected to the bulkhead fitting.

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Here is the 3 gallon aluminum tank mounted in the back under the bed. You can also see the rear quick connect for air in the back for airing up tires, etc.

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This is the switch I mounted where the ashtray used to be, it also has the gauge that monitors the pressure. The switch arms the pressure switch and turns on the gauge light. The pressure switch controls the clutch which turns the compressor on and off to maintain 90 – 125 psi. I also have safety blowoff valve in the tank at 150 psi. That York will fill that 3 gallon tank from 0 – 125 psi in about 20 second at IDLE, it will maintain 70 psi until you are out of gas at full blast (wide open air nozzle), a high idle would be even better, which is in the plans. Although my Dad said I was crazy for building a 550 hp air compressor.
You can also see the twin sticks I put in here too. I bought the nice billet AL knobs, but it was still hard to read them (I don’t need to see them, but sometimes my brother or Dad will drive it). So I took a very expensive hit in my wallet and used a sharpie to blacken the letters---it’s only temporary…unless it works.
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folkenheath

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This post was lost in the server crash too. :doah:


So after I built the new big block and replaced all accessories in the seprentine kit (reman alt, reman power steering pump, new water pump, new tensioner, new belt, etc). Anyway, I took it to the dunes and found my weekpoints. First time out I shattered the plastic internal fan in the alternator, didn't hit anthing it just flew apart. Luckily I caught it and was able to recharge my battery with a friend using jumper cables and drive back to the rental cabin. Got a ride to town from my Dad and a friend and pieced together an alternator at Napa by swapping the housing since they didn't have the right one in stock. Anyway, the new one had a metal internal fan, no problems since. The old one was like a heavy rattle with all the plastic pieces bouncing around inside!

Also, the 770 Truck avenger carb sucked. I had already had it on the 355 for a year or so. I had tuned out the flat spot as much as possible. Changed jets, squirters (40s), cams (up to the biggest one for 30 cc), etc. But just assumed it wouldn’t go away until I had my big block. Well, even with the 489 BB, you could not tune the flat spot out, and the engine just didn’t run crisp, would be lean at low RPM and rich at high RPM, didn’t want to rev like it should. I knew having no high speed air bleeds would throw off the curve, but didn’t realize how bad. Now the good thing was, it would idle sitting on an incline, but I was sacrificing everywhere else just to have that. So I called Holley. They transferred me to their TA specialist. He said, the 770TA is a carb he wished they didn’t make. He said my engine wasn’t big enough to give it the signal it needs off idle. I said, “it’s a 550 hp 489 big block”, he said yep, and the engine that would make all those carbs run right would be an engine that no one would ever build for rock crawling. And if you are not a rock crawler, you don’t want the TA. We should call it the crawler avenger, not the truck avenger, it’s miss leading” he said. I then asked about the air bleeds, he confirmed my thinking was right on track. They had to remove them for the check valve to work so it would idle on a steep hill. But I would probably be happier with a street avenger. Anyway, even though I had the carb for two years, I faxed him my receipt and they sent me a reman 870 Street Avenger in exchange for the 770 TA, NO CHARGE! It was like brand new (So was my TA). Anyway, that woke it right up, ran much more crisp, no flat spots, still could use a little tuning, but I fixed that. Also, even though it ran fine, I could tell the engine wanted more gas off the line, so I put a 50 cc accelerator pump on there. (It already had a 40 squirter from the factory, but no hollow screw, so I put the hollow screw in too). The 50 cc pump with the brown 50 cc cam made a big difference again! Now when you nailed it , you went somewhere fast.

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Also, busted my front driveshaft again! I think the engine torque was enough more to add more axle wrap in the front and bind the CV shaft yet again, I thought I had fixed it with the extra angle grinding and longer slip, I guess not. So, that started something.

I thought, well, I really need to fix this front d-shaft angle problem. I could shim the pinion up a little bit, but not much until I run into caster issues, so that’s only a band aid, not a solution. The real way to fix this is to rotate the inner Cs to I can have the proper caster and the proper pinion angle. But if I am going to do that, then I am not going to waste my time doing it to this Dana 44. So I need to get a Dana 60. So then what about the spring pad, I can machine it but then the 2 leaf spring studs are going to be crooked. Also, if I go to the trouble of fixing that I am still going to have axle wrap/wheel hop issues. Wait, I have a welder now, why should I be limited to bolt on leaf springs any more!

So my initial plan was to cut the front coil spring and control arm brackets from the front of a Dodge, and make my own brackets to install it in my truck on the cheap. I was thinking about coil springs, or air bags. Well, the more measuring I did, at the ride height I wanted (to maintain 6” lift height), air bags were going to be too big. So I decided it was going to be coil springs and shocks. But where was I going to mount the shocks, in the coil spring, outside, room is kind of limited with all the stuff going on in the front. Then I found out about FOA shocks from my friend Jer (dunejump), holy crap I didn’t know coilovers could be affordable! Made in the USA, solid, rebuildable coilovers, I liked that option. But then I would need to bend some shock hoops or something, so that’s kind of tricky since I don’t have a tubing bender near me. But Jer offered to help me bend those few pieces, so I went for it. Did a bunch of measuring and ordered some 14” travel coilovers! And the process begun…all because I broke my front driveshaft again!
 
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stockk5

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wow i just read all the pages of this thread and damn good build! SUCH a clean truck looks like a blast!
 
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