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the_blaze

Nightmare / Plan B
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the_blaze submitted a new Build:

Building "Nightmare" (78 GMC Jimmy)

I figured I'd hop on here and make a build thread for my current project like so many of you guys have. I think after attending my first blazer bash my inspiration and desire to dig back into my truck was renewed.

This is my 1978 GMC JIMMY that has gained the nickname Nightmare due to it fighting me every step of the way, if it could go wrong it did, some of my other threads read like a bad comedy, this truck did not want to be driven. Looking back over the years it was a huge pain but I have learned a lot and the truck is rock solid now so it was worth it. Here's a current pic from right before BB16.

View attachment 229941

Read more about this build here...
 
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the_blaze

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Let's talk about my inspiration for this build.
I have always loved old square body trucks, when I was 14 I purchased a 1973 Chevy Cheyenne, it was a wreck but I had a goal to restore it by the time I was 16. Here is the before and after
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it turned out pretty well, I loved it clear up until it got totaled.

I went out searching for a blazer and found this 1989 Chevy blazer (hands down my favorite truck I have ever owned) here's a before and after
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I was dumb and sold this one and purchased an economic car for college. I drove the car for a year before I found my current jimmy. As soon as I saw it in knew I had to sell my eco car and get back in a square body.
 

the_blaze

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Here is what my jimmy looked like the day I purchased it.
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Man I can almost smell that desert rot looking at the pics of the interior pictures. I wish I could find pics of the passenger side. It was pretty smashed,
 

K85 Octane

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I saw your rig at the BBQ after the mishap with the other rig on Hell's. Did all of you make it to dinner? What ended up happening with the blue truck? I also didn't see either of you Saturday or Sunday? :(
 

the_blaze

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I saw your rig at the BBQ after the mishap with the other rig on Hell's. Did all of you make it to dinner? What ended up happening with the blue truck? I also didn't see either of you Saturday or Sunday? :(

Yeah I towed the blue truck off hells. My friend @72gmck5 and I made it to the BBQ but spent the rest of the weekend trying to fix it and hanging out. His transmission died so we ended up trailering it back to slc on Sunday
 

the_blaze

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First things first. I wanted more power so I pulled out the 350 and put in a 454 with a mild cam. Since I had it torn apart I decided to ditch the turbo 350 trans for a 700r4.
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Since I needed new drivelines to match my new t-case I decided now was the time to lift it.
8" In the rear (6" tuff country Springs 1"leveler 1"block ) and 6" tuff country Springs upfront
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I went with 37" super swamper irocs (probably not my first choice)
After wheeling it a few times I knew I needed stronger axles and I wanted to fix the body and paint.
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the_blaze

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I got to work on repairs and started the body work.
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I got lucky, one of my best friends is a really good Painter and he hooked me up. We bed lined the entire interior and tore the truck down to paint it. More than a mask and spray job.
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After the body and paint were finished it won 4 wheel parts best looking right of the month :)
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the_blaze

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Next step was axles. My buddy @72gmck5 found me a sick donor vehicle. It was an ex-military search and rescue ambulance. Dana 60 front corporate 14 rear. 456 gears locker in the rear.
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This thing ran and drove just fine. We swapped the axles and I sold it for more than I paid for it and everything to do the swap :) score!
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the_blaze

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I wanted to do the interior of this truck because the blue rotted interior wasn't working for me. I went with new black carpet and custom side pannels for the bed that hides most my stereo equipment (I'll have to get some pictures) and as a birthday present my ex mother-in-law reupholster to my seats
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the_blaze

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Well all that back story seemed easy, now I'll get into how it earned the nickname Nightmare. (The last 3 years have been a nightmare kinda personally and with this truck.) I'll leave this pic here as a placeholder until I have more time to post.
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RubberFloorMat

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whoa..thats crazy, somebody pour sand in the oil fill?

beautiful rig. im partial to your 89 cause its the exact same color combo as a my buddy's in HS that got me into Blazers. i grew up around the c/k trucks on ranches but hardly ever saw a nice blazer before his. love that color combo
 

the_blaze

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Ok so here's a start to all the problems. There is this old saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it" well I didn't listen.... my transmission pump seal went out and my engine had a couple small leaks, so rather than pull the trans and fix the leaks on the engine I decided to pull out everything to brighten it up.
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Well if you know me you know that I like to get as much done when my projects are torn apart as possible. This lead to me thinking hey wouldn't it be great to add some easy power mods to this 454? I started a thread on here called "how to get more power out of a 454" or something like that?? Anyways I got lots of good feedback and found a sweet cam. Then I did some research and decided I really wanted better pistons also. This lead to a total rebuild.
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I was way pumped and got straight to work.
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I built this thing exactly to specs I was OCD with everything. It was going to last forever and I wanted it to be perfect
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After the engine was built and the transmission came back from the shop I decided to rewire under the hood. And clean it up a bit

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Then I got this engine installed. I was sooooo pumped

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Well after the install was complete I tried to start it..... and tried... and tried.... had an expert come help me, we got it fired up but it just ran awful. We followed cam break in procedures to a T...... but wouldn't you guess I killed the new cam on startup..... f my life.. . The engine had to come back outo. Little did I know this would be one of 4 times I was going to pull the engine in the next year....
 

the_blaze

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Engine #2

I pulled engine rebuild #1 out and tore it down 100% to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I took my heads and the crank to a machine shop he rebuilt the heads cleaned everything and polished the crank. I then ordered a new 100% rebuild kit again with new bearings and a new cam really the works.

I put this pig back together again…. Started it and wouldn’t you know it ran! Kinda…. It didn’t feel quite right… but it drove and nothing was painfully wrong with it. I drove it for about a month and kept taking it in to a couple shops saying it doesn’t feel/ sound right. Turns out compression on #6 was low but “ it may just be that your rings aren’t broken in yet” and “ maybe you need a valve adjustment” I had two shops adjust the valves both said they were off but not that bad… I drove it from salt lake to moab and attended easter jeep safari. It had what sounded like an exhaust leak the whole time that drove me nuts but hey it was moving so what did I care. When I was sitting waiting for the safari to start the truck started to smoke a little out of the exhaust like it was burning oil. I was pissed but figured there wasn’t much I could do about it right then. When I got it back to slc the clicking that I thought was an exhaust leak and the smoking was worse.

I took the truck up to my buddies shop he ran some testes and determined I had a valve issue…. On the heads I JUST HAD REBUILT.

He pulled the heads and took them back to the machine shop for me. The guy felt awful and hooked me up, he bored out the heads and threw in bigger valves, all new guides and did everything on his penny. I was thrilled

I’d call this rebuild #2 even though it was just a top end rebuild. ( pics of heads coming as soon as I can find them)
 

the_blaze

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Engine # 3

Well the new heads are on at this point this thing sounds amazing has a lot more power and generally runs like it should…. I picked it up and drove it home ( 10 miles) then drove it to my friends shop ( 5 miles) then on my way home it started making a weird noise…. That’s when I noticed the oil gauge was reading ZERO…..

My head was about to explode. I had to have this thing towed back to my friends shop because clearly something was broken with the repair he just did 20 miles ago…

He dropped the pan and wouldn’t you know ALL the bearings are wiped out… no one has a clue what the hell happened… so the engine came back out 100% and delivered to the machine shop to investigate what went wrong. To this day we have no clue what wiped out the bearings
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Clearly the crank was killed along with the bearings… some metal even made its way up to the cam and did a little damage there also… so needless to say all I had left was a block, sweet heads and pistons.

This started a big debate on if I should do a full blown stroker or not. Also a huge debate on a roller cam setup or the standard flat style…

I got pretty lucky here again.. the machine shop agreed to do the rebuild 100% in his shop by the owner on his penny if I paid for parts.

Since my friends shop that did the heads couldn’t say for sure if they had something to do with it they offered to pull the engine ( which was already done) Install it and do the tune and break in for $500 basically covering gaskets, fluids, random parts and a little labor. For me it was worth it so I jumped on it.
 
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