Thursday, May 14, 2009

Time for another update

I'm tired and struggling with motivation, but I have been putting one foot in front of the other every single day working on eating this elephant.

Since I last posted, I have worked about 30 hours or so on the front suspension of the truck.

I posted last time that I was converting the front end to later model stuff to get the advantages of better ride, brakes, and handling.

Even though the late model donor front suspension I chose to use is 20 years newer than the truck is, it was still beat up and worn out. I took it completely apart and degreased everything first. Then, into the oven at 500 degrees for an hour to cook any remaining grease or oil off of the parts. After the oven, I bead blasted every single part to bare metal and powdercoated the whole mess.

All parts that could be worn or damaged, I replaced. I wound up ordering everything through mail order because I wanted absolute top of the line stuff and everyone around here locally only stocks the cheap Chinese stuff. I want this truck to last me through retirement and I darn sure don't want to have to redo this job again.

So, with freshly powdercoated parts in one pile and new parts in another pile, I assembled everything as carefully as humanly possible.

After that, I removed the old front suspension

And installed the new stuff

I know it doesn't look too inspiring, but this kind of stuff makes all the difference in these old trucks. There are plenty of old trucks out there that look great with the fresh paint job and new radial tires, but very few of them have the new stuff underneath.

I hate to sound self serving here, but I feel this stage of the game is what separates the enthusiast from the truly sick bastards. A sick bastard puts as much time into the stuff that doesn't show as an enthusiast puts into his whole truck.

The reason a new Silverado drives so good is that every single part is new. The reason old trucks typically drive so..well...old is because stuff is worn. I remember one of the best compliments I ever recieved. I had just finished a complete rebuild of an old 69 pickup I had. It's the orange one pictured in my first post. My then wife at the time was driving it for the first time. She said " I cannot believe how well this thing drives. It feels just like a new truck. It even has the new truck smell.". That was a feather in my cap for sure.

Anyway, back on topic, next step is to finish the front end. I still have the front spindles and brakes and steering stuff to refurbish. I figure another 30 hours for that stuff.

As a side note, Sunday I am going to Weatherford to buy an engine and transmission for this truck. It's a 350 V8 out of a later model truck. It is worn and needs overhaul, but the price reflects that. Plus, it's not like I am going to put a used engine in my truck without going through every nook and cranny of it anyway. Might as well start out with a worn out engine when you're going to throw half of it away for new stuff.

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