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Discussion Starter #41
Monday morning update:

Over the weekend I got the truck up on jack-stands and stripped all the old brackets etc off the frame rails. I temporarily placed the bed on the frame to locate the center of the wheel well and give me an idea of how far the axle needed up move up. After lots of drilling, sweating ,and burns from hot metal filings the truck is back on its own weight.

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The first thing I noticed is the body lines don't line up as well as the other beds do. Second is if I make a 5.5" subframe for this bed to sit on it will make the truck nearly 100% unusable for a 5th wheel and I will be forced to carry a rope ladder just to get in and out of the bed. I'm not to the point where I have to make a decision yet but I'm very temped to let the bed sit on the frame rails. By doing so it actually makes the front step equal with the steps for the cab.

I came to a stopping point yesterday while getting the fuel tank bolted back up. I have to modify the rear tank crossmeber in order for it to fit under the bed and leave enough room for suspension travel so It will never hit.

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Discussion Starter #42
Things still on my to do list are:
-Finish fuel tank cross members and mounting
-Cut, flare, and bleed brakes
-Reconnect engine fuel lines
-Plumb fuel filler neck
-Drill and bolt upper shock mounts
-Drill and bolt sway bar mounts
-Cut and reconnect parking brake cable (Was not functioning prior)
-Remove two overload leafs from leaf pack
-Measure for rear driveshaft at desired ride height
-Patiently wait for rear tail gate/ light harness so I can wire the lights
-Make rear bumper brackets
-Make/mount rear hitch/ receiver
-Make bed mounts

.... and the list goes on.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
This is one of the only forward facing pictures I have right now. The bed isn't sitting flat on the frame and there is a blue towel taped to the front bed corner to protect it while horsing it around.

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I wonder if you can set it up so the bed can travel vertically. When you're hauling your 5er drop it down to its resting height, and then when you're running unloaded cranker pop it up so that the body lines all match. Set the mount base for the hitch to the frame rails and Cut a hole in the bed of the truck where 5th wheel mounts and hinge it so when you're not using the hitch you can drop the cover back into place.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
I wonder if you can set it up so the bed can travel vertically. When you're hauling your 5er drop it down to its resting height, and then when you're running unloaded cranker pop it up so that the body lines all match. Set the mount base for the hitch to the frame rails and Cut a hole in the bed of the truck where 5th wheel mounts and hinge it so when you're not using the hitch you can drop the cover back into place.
That would be quite the engineering feat. I eventually want to add an auxillary fuel tank in the bed which would complicate things.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Wednesday night update:

I have the fuel tank crossmember drilled and bolted in. It looks like the rear of the differential will just barely clear.

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The brake lines cut, double flared, and reconnected. I opened the bleeders and let them gravity bleed while doing other things but didn't actually finish the bleeding process. The shock mounts are drilled and mounted. I measured and ordered fuel line today but It never showed up (I'll check on that tomorrow). Also the taillight and tailgate harnesses arrived from Michigan.

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It seems like everything I do takes 2x as long as it really should.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Last night I installed the fuel feed and return lines. I was able to pour some diesel into the tank and after a quick prime the truck fired right up. I mocked up the fuel filler neck and came up about 13-14" short of making the distance so I ordered more 1-3/4" fuel filler neck this morning.

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Discussion Starter #50
Tuesday morning update:

Over the weekend I worked on getting the overloads removed. I was able to get the u-bolts broke loose after getting out the oxy acetylene torch torch; the little yellow mapp gas torch wasn't cutting it. After getting the nuts heated red hot I was able to hit them with the impact gun until the nut cooled and I ran low on air pressure. I went through several cycles of heat, impact, heat, impact etc.

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All said and done, I ended up removing the two bottom overloads and a single leaf spring (4th from the bottom in the picture). It lowered the rear ~2" and the bed rails are now only 4-1/2" taller than my old mans 2012 2500HD so a 5th wheel shouldn't be out of the question.

I also moved the carrier bearing support to the cross member under the back of the cab and finally measured for the rear driveshaft. I came up with 21" from the Transfer-case flange to the carrier center and 44-3/4" from the carrier center to the center of the differential yoke u-joint.

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Sunday night I pulled the TCM out and shipped it to PCMPerformance to have it reprogrammed for 6 speed. I sent him a courtesy email to let him know its on its way but I haven't heard anything back yet. I hope I can get it turned in a timely manner.

Last night I took a ~32" section out of the parking brake and reconnected the cable using the factory barrels. Previously they had the cable clamped together with some hodgepodge conncectors which is why It looks kinked. The drivers side stops but the passenger side can still be turned by hand when the parking brake is applied. I don't know if is an adjustment issue or the parking brake shoes/ drum may be shot.

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I have been procrastinating attaching the bed to the frame because I couldn't decide on the best method. I think I may go with some angle iron brackets of some sort...
 
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Nothing's ever easy, eh?!

Thanks for updating and sharing your progress! You're moving right along!

Are you going to have your old driveshafts cut and re welded or are you going a different route?

Is that height difference with the bed straight on the rails or with the lines matched up?

I bet that puppy is gonna ride much better than it does now lol! What do you think your new capacity is after removing those 3 springs?
 

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Discussion Starter #52
Nothing's ever easy, eh?!

Thanks for updating and sharing your progress! You're moving right along!

Are you going to have your old driveshafts cut and re welded or are you going a different route?

Is that height difference with the bed straight on the rails or with the lines matched up?

I bet that puppy is gonna ride much better than it does now lol! What do you think your new capacity is after removing those 3 springs?
I was truly hoping to go to a one piece shaft but due to critical speed, the calculator says its not safe to do so. The driveshaft shop I previously used closed due to Covid so I'm trying Precision Driveline, I hope to pick up the shaft today on my lunch hour.

I looked at the bed raised ~5.5" and also siting on the frame rails and the body lines aren't perfect either way. So I decided to go with the more practical/ usable approach and sit the bed on the frame. By doing so the top of the fenders actually almost match the height of the front fenders when you look down the truck.

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I also finally got the rear shocks in, thats one more thing I can check off my list. I used Bilstein 24-186667

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Discussion Starter #53
I started working on the brackets yesterday and use a piece of 3-1/2" tall by 1/4" angle iron. The bed cross members are 2" wide so that's what I cut them at.

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I decided to use Nutserts because I can't obviously get a nut or wrench inside the crossmember. The factory bolt is m12 but my nutsert tool only goes up to m10 so I chose to use two because they are slightly smaller. (Also not all nutserts are created equal, Mcmastercarr nutserts on the left. Amazon nutserts on the right.)

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I held up a bracket and carefully marked and drilled the two holes in the bed cross member.

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Then I tapped the nutsert flush with a hammer and used the tool to install them. A trick I learned is use some antisieze or grease on the threads because they tend to get tight after crimping when you try and remove the tool.

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Then after bolting the brackets up to the bed, I marked and drilled the holes in the frame.

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In-case your wondering I am getting sick and tired of drilling. Hot metal filings falling down your shirt and burning your hands and arms gets old real fast.
It took me approx 30 minutes to do a single bracket and I only got 3 done last night before calling it a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Quick update:

I picked up the driveshaft from Precision Driveline in Phx yesterday and everything looks good. Apparently the driveshaft was way out of balance and needed quite a few weights to make it right. I test fit it for length last night and it fit perfect. I'm going to pull the rear section back off to give me more room to work under the truck. I'm really looking forward to driving this truck to see if it made any difference in vibrations etc.

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Also the Allison TCM was delivered to PCMPerformance yesterday and I already have a tracking number for it. I hope it can make it back through USPS quickly.
 

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Been following along, but didn't have go enough internet to post. I bet you're super tired of the shavings by now lol. Drive shafts look real nice set up in place! You're so close!
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Been following along, but didn't have go enough internet to post. I bet you're super tired of the shavings by now lol. Drive shafts look real nice set up in place! You're so close!
Thanks. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it feels for every step forward I take, I move two steps back.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
So Saturday I spent most of the morning figuring out what It takes to make the 3500HD hitch fit the C4500. The bumper doesn't use its own brackets, which is a good thing because all I have to do is make the hitch work and the bumper will bolt on afterwords. I used a small hydraulic lift/ atv jack to hoist the bumper assembly up to get a good idea of where it needs to mount. (Its not bolted down in the picture, I know the bumper isn't level and the body gaps aren't even)

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After adjusting the body gaps, I used some of the frame cutoff pieces to make some brackets which I tack welded with the 110v millermatic. (I later took the hitch to work and used the 220v welder to burn them in). I also re-drilled and moved the bumper up ~2" which is the white line you see drawn on the bumper plate.




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I got smart and wore my welding sleeves from work to keep the metal filings off my arms. I have been using a Milwaukee Super Hawg which is nice because it has the torque to drill through the frame but It's very unforgiving when drill bits catch and grab. I had a drill bit catch the rear fuel tank cross member after drilling through the bottom of the frame and explode.

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I had to call it quits about 3pm to load up the flatbed a gentleman drove all the way from CA to AZ to buy. Hats off to my neighbor Charlie!


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Discussion Starter #60
Last night my TCM arrived back from PCM Performance and I was able to reinstall it in the TCM/ ECM bracket on the firewall. After that I stayed up late mocking up the hitch brackets so It would be ready to burn in today.

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After some rattle can paint, I think it turned out alright. I wish the donor pieces of frame rail I used didn't look like swiss cheese with all the holes but I'll get over that.

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