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After mulling it over for several days now of barely being able to work on it, I've come to one conclusion that reflects a few points my grandfather used to make quite often:

You cannot make chicken salad out of chicken ****.

Now, (sorry to eulogize) he did this just about every day, whether it came to his wacky inventions, his building projects, or even his own vehicles: he was working with what he had. Lots of bird turds being stirred with Miracle Whip, for sure. But it was always a consideration, quickly brought up for every project, especially big and hopeless ones he didn't have materials for somewhere already. Me, I'm very different. I do things all the way until they are right. If I care about it, I have immense patience and drive and belief that this is the way it should be done. If I can't see it through: I don't do it.

The next one was:

Good enough for a town this size.

Where, if it works, and its easy or ingenious, gets the job done, who cares what it looks like. This was kind of scary when it came to AC wiring and plumbing work he did... But things he really cared about, this statement never applied. In fact, bringing it up on something he put some detail into would definitely get him fired up. To some extent, I LOVED this statement. It meant we were done working, and I could go play or lay around or whatever I was going to do as a kid.

I love this truck and I hate it. Its done a LOT of work and its taken a LOT of work. I've been proud of its capability for what it is, and cursed it because it wasn't enough. Its gone fast enough to scare me and slow enough to get creamed by an old woman in a Nissan Leaf in the stoplights.

jdla140 mentioned its even illegal to haul what the 2500 is rated for with the registration reading as a 1500. The cab and bed aren't that nice, which will beg me to repair it as I move it. Easily a many-month project. The end? STILL not enough truck for what I'd like to do with it. So, screw it.:confuzeld

You can't make chicken salad out of chicken ****, so I'm going to fix it up good enough for a town this size.:helmet:
Awesome post :thumb: :hehe:

I've a saying... "Effort / Reward". Everything in our life will require a level of effort and comes with a level of reward. Weigh those and all becomes clear. Although I like your family saying's colorfulness more than simply saying "effort versus reward". lol

I had a 1990 K1500 Stepside Z71 I purchased new for just over $16,000. It spent many years in salt country. Moving it to the desert stopped the rust's progression, but every time I had to work on it the rust was like a pit in my stomach - disheartening. I LOVED that truck and took care of it far too well for a "thing", even having driving shoes so the muddy work boots wouldn't mess up the cab. I always said I'd keep it forever. I seriously considered completely restoring it. Besides the underbody rust, it was in perfect shape. Then in 2012, while parked in the drive, someone knocked on my door and offered to buy it. $4500 dollars later and a few tears as it drove away and I have never regretted it. She was good to me and now she can be good to another. Ironically, sold to a kid, again ;-)

I now have had a 2006 LBZ since new and vow to keep it forever... maybe. Big difference is ZERO rust as she's been in the desert her entire life. The effort it'll take to keep her makes a lot more sense than my first ever new vehicle, that ole Z71. I think I woulda grown to hate that Z71 if I had attempted to try and undo what nature had done. Nature of the beast for vehicles driven in salt country.
 

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MP,

I knew a fella that had a 96 stepside and did exactly that the love of his life, restored it, souped it up. I don't know how much he spent, but he sold it for $20k. Built a Vortec 5.7 for close to 500hp on pump gas, body off resto, paint, full gauges even like, power steering and rear diff temp! People love these trucks. We had a 91 stepside and it was an amazing truck even with the 4.3!

Love the driving shoes detail. That really says something about how much you cared. Wonder how many times you changed your shoes to keep it nice?

I bought this truck in spirit of those, but so far its the ashes of my hard earned dollars that make this more like a funeral urn on a mantlepiece than a beloved truck.

I'm shopping hard for a heavier one, but seem to be striking out. For years actually. I even bought a 2500 Dodge and resold it to pay for parts on this! Stupid.
Love makes us do crazy things. :thumb:

On the driving shoes, used until.... The heater core o-rings gave out and flooded the pristine carpet with antifreeze. Was gonna clean it up real nice until while reinstalling that heater core I spilled my bottle of tack adhesive on the carpet. What a gooey mess! So I ordered and installed the molded rubber flooring, doubling up the insulation under it. I actually wanted rubber flooring from new, but the truck was loaded and as such, carpet. 5.7 TBI. I can still tell you if a 5.7 from that era drives by just from the sound.

More.... Get this, my southern wife who was almost never allowed to drive it (I had it before I had her), drove it one rare occasion and managed to dent the entire driver's side cab when she hit the gas station bollards... and scared, kept going. From bumper to bed! I told her to go back to KY, we're through. Luckily she ignored me and I still have her today. But THAT is how much I loved that truck. ...makes ya do crazy things.

Edit: I siliconed the edges of that rubber flooring where it ends under the door sills and 4x4 floor shifter and filled any trim screw holes with silicone. That allowed me to hose out the cab floor when she got dusty.
 

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^^WOW^^

Man that rust is something else. My mom living in Michigan keeps complaining to me about her 2012 turning to rust. She lives on a dirt road so she gets the rust making 365. And she keeps asking me how my 2006 doesn't have a spec of rust.

That '90 K1500 I told ya about was not as bad as your pics. Wow!
 

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Thanks, I spent every spare moment for about 2 months working on it, still needs huge amounts of work, but it goes down the road.

Actually, I firmly disagree that all older vehicles ride better. A 2019 Ram 1500 Limited with 22" wheels and air ride is one of the best riding vehicles I've ever driven. My Legacy I picked because it was a excellent riding car. Yeah, the older cars rode comfty because they were heavy and comfort sold back then. And a big yes to many modern cars not riding as well as they might...

I also drive on some VERY crappy roads. No gravel, but almost 1/2 hour on buckled sealcoat full of tight esses, one lane bridges and rail crossings... Now with gravel filled washouts, and worse buckling from the flooding. Plus, going about as fast as she'll go. So my assessment of "If a vehicle rides well" is maybe excessive. The suspension has to be tight, but supple enough to corner over violent uneven terrain (er, road?), and to deal with tiny bumps from potholes and cracks and huge rolling swells. Ride quality is coupled with not only softness, but performance. A buttery soft ride alone is not going to support the kind of driving I do.

The ride IS improved on the truck even with 2500 springs over the old 1500 springs and the bags. With some work to quiet some of the rattling over the sharp bumps, it will be an enjoyable daily driver.

Hopefully this explains my "anal retentiveness" concerning ride quality: it stares me in the face pretty hard every day going to work.
I thank you for chronicling your adventure so that we may enjoy the ride with you, even if it doesn't ride like the boats of the 70s :thumb:

Your fortitude (or insanity :)) to stick with this is something else. If you lived in my neighborhood I woulda loved to have helped. As crazy as it seems at times (all that rust) it also sounds like fun..... so long as someone else is paying for it - lol.

REALLY enjoy the pics! :thumb:
 

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First...if you're truck shopping don't look ANYWHERE near where you live! YIKES - find something that was out west or down south!!...
I strongly suggest anybody looking for a rust free vehicle look in the SW desert.

I'm from Michigan (rust central) and when my Michigan mom comes to visit me in Vegas she comments all the time on how nice the cars are. It's not that people here take care of them better. It's that there is no salt ever and hardly any rain. My 2006 has zero rust. Where its parked, I get a build up of leaves in the fender well between the well and the fender. And when I clean them out about once or twice a year they are bone dry and no rust. Besides people hammering on their 4x4s in the desert and rubber rotting like tires, batteries and windshield trim and paint fade, vehicles are solid here. Mine (never garaged, never seen salt):

https://www.dieselplace.com/forum/1...what-your-ride-looks-like-93.html#post9811512

:thumb:

:2cents:
 

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Rambo's Ride. I do have 6 years of experience as a heavy equipment repair manual author and have some experience at a hydraulic shop. If there's something I can help with, let me know. Looking at the parts breakdown for what your working on can give you some perspective. Hope you can get that bolt out of there.

MP, that is a gorgeous truck. The millennial in me however feels that the bumpers should be black instead of chrome, perhaps with teddy bears strapped to it so that we don't damage bicyclists or wildlife. Im jealous for sure!

Ahh truck shopping. Its more than just red rust, its red balance sheets!

Essentially, I have no savings to use on a vehicle purchase unless we are talking sub $1000. So whatever I buy has to be financed totally. Once the car is gone i can afford sub $400 a month payments. The truck's market value (maybe $3000 if they didn't see this thread) is whatever downpayment I could afford. Credit is already tapped out and taking a hit from excessive debt to income. Was tough to get a loan for the car, and I bought the car for under book with prime credit and no negative equity.

Probably the smartest thing to do would be get rid of the car and redirect to pay off my student loans, which would take two years with more free monthly capital so I can then overfinance myself on a tangible asset... Which should be my house, because I am paying interest only on 50% of the loan because I can't afford to live if paying on a full mortgage.

I'll just teleport to work it will be fine.
First, love your writing style. Funny without being overdone. Ya make this reader feel your pain :thumb:

Second, those bumpers of mine are stainless steel 100%. The "chrome" sections are highly polished to look like chrome. And the other sections painted to match truck. All from the maker. And that back bumper has a higher towing capacity than the truck itself. Front one, behind the plate, is made to fit the 16.5 Warn top dog winch of 2006. Idk what they have now.

https://reunel.com/ Beware of the price shocker.
 

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Wow. Spendy is right. They look good. Lots of bumpers exert some severe micro***** aggression vibes, yours are definitely tasteful and work oriented. And in today's money cost more than my truck did when I bought it.

Thanks for the compliments. Its not a horrible situation all in all, just frustrating. Need to make a decision if I want to keep struggling with this and potentially save money, or translate that effort into side work to pay for a different truck.

When I put the oil cooler on years ago, I put the grill in wrong. Popped the plastic lip above the rad support and tightened everything down, added some washers. That reduced front end noise some over bumps. I have a shock bolt I need to shim up and tighten to reduce that noise in the back. Fuel door bumper is gone, there's a rattle there.

Tightened the leaf spring ubolts a final time.

Braking seems normal now, noise gone, but pulling to the drivers side, hopefully goes back to normal or I'll need to replace the pads. I discovered an oil leak under there, which needs to be addressed before I put thin winter oil in there.
Yea, those bumpers were over $6,000 iirc. I got those in a different life. Truck too. One where / when money was flowing....

On "if ya should", Idk. I mean, if you can't afford to buy something new, then you are buying another person's problems. Simply meaning, you won't be buying "problem free." Ya won't actually know what problems you are buying. So it's really about what you can afford and what your abilities are. In every situation I have been in with nature, that mother always wins. You are fighting mother nature with all that rust - the inevitable. But if you can't afford to buy one not rusty, not full of its own issues... :confuzeld

My Michigan mom comments on her 2011 that is rusting away, saying she maybe is gonna buy a new one because she hates seeing all that rust. Which I remind her, you'll see it on that new one too in a few years. Other than the rust, her 2011 is a solid vehicle. But of course mother nature is working on that.

My m.o. has been to buy new and keep for 15+ years. But I moved from the salt states and so I can do that. Anything used there is gonna be rusty underneath. If you do decide to buy new, consider Vegas. We are better than the coastal states for used cars because not even salt air. Also, depending on your own state laws, NV used cars carry sales tax ONLY if purchased thru a dealer. So if you buy from here private party, NV won't ask to remit the sales tax for your state.

If you do stop all this work, I'll understand.... and miss the daily chuckle. :)
 

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Roller coaster ride.

Went on a big vacation to California and burned a bigger hole in my credit card. Much needed break but fell way behind on about everything. Burnt out from weeks of 1am nights. Car is broken with a phantom draw and a bad battery. GFs car broke too.

I had a fella that wanted my white parts truck. It went from parts and cash trade to parts trade, then he can't do it because he's getting tickets at his house for unlicensed vehicles. So I made a thread about possibly trying to use used injectors and updated my 6.2 Big Valve engine project thinking about big valve heads he had to trade...and then now nothing.

I'm working on ripping the transmission and front diff out of the white truck.

Trucks been racking up issues left and right and sounds horrible. Belt squeal pretty much never goes away, starts awful and needs an oil change.Time to pull it back in the shop!!!!
Sorry to hear that.

If and when you're in the market for used, do seriously consider a one way ticket to Vegas. Can often be had for cheap with enough lead time.

I was under the truck the other day checking things over as my OCD dictates. I snapped this pic for ya to show you why the desert is the place to grab used vehicles. This is looking at the underside of the bed, over the original muffler of an exactly 14 year old truck never garaged, but it's entire life in the west except for a few trips cross country to MI in the fall before the snow :thumb:
 

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Nah... I just hosed down the open block with it. That's where it got set down.

Current state of affairs:

Paleyjim lent me his battery load tester. My Z71 batteries failed a load test, both of them.

I put them in the Dragon and tried to start it to verify the engine was good. I've named the wrecker "the Dragon" because its draggin' on the ground (no tires), its large, strong, scaly (rust haha). It has 8 bad glow plugs in it, it bumps with 1 glow plug from my truck, the one I pulled out was a 10G so hopefully they've been gone through at least once. Time to dig up some used ones, too bad I threw away most of them probably. Forgot to check if it had a block heater.

Thinking very hard about going to mechanical injection or building a truck with mechanical injection. Researching the performance of the trans controller that's in the Dragon to see if its something I want in my Z71, how much performance or driveability I'll lose going to that setup.

The Z71 needs batteries, injectors, an air filter, CDR changed, oil change and chassis lube, the fuel tank replaced, the block heater replaced. I think I either have a bad oil pan gasket or a leaking crank seal that's making a huge mess as well. I'm tempted to pull the whole front clip to redo these things, possibly place the second GM8 turbocharger at this time as well.

Just have to see how the money and time shakes down as to what I can really manage to do.
I was joking, but not now about this.....

Maybe.... just maybe..... cut and paste your comments here into a mechanic's coffee table book form and self publish on Amazon. It really is that entertaining and I don't even like wrenching. Maybe that's why it is ):h
 

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Frames fine, with an asterisk. The airbags I had on it forever had a "box" channel in between the leaves. It rust jacked and spread the frame channels a bit. I was able to bend them back straight with a crescent wrench.. I have sanded and painted on the frame on about 5 separate occasions. I think it's pretty solid myself for a 1/2 ton and I have a lot experience with vehicles with junk frames having at least 3 vehicles succumb to that death. Rigidity and structural integrity are questions I can't answer exactly.

It does seem to have a "shudder" or a resonance to it when you close the door, hop on it. etc. Usually accompanied by mystery zones of squeaking or rattling. My little brother works at a company installing truck beds and he says this "death" shake is present on worn out/overloaded trucks. For what it's worth. I've done the cab mounts in poly and fixed all the collapsed frame eyelets for the mounts. Need to do the radiator support mounts (again) yet. I replaced the rad support mounts on the frame and replaced the bushings with Dorman ones in 2013, they split right away but still seem to exist down there, Going to add that to the "list of NVH reducing activities"

Pop rivet the bed together
Adjust and tighten front and rear bumpers
Find a rubber bumper for the fuel door
Replace the rad support mounts
Find a way to secure the grill due to broken tabs on bottom
Dash rattle stops
Felt washers for the cluster trim
Door pins
FWIW, I read several posts / articles around the web about poly cab mounts completely destroying the ride. Making the NVH unbearable. I think there's a use for poly over rubber in some places - those of performance. But body mounts I would not consider in poly for an old truck. Given all I read on it, I think it would rattle my bones too much for no real benefit.
 

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I read that too, but with no clear alternatives besides hunting down good used mounts, I had to try them. I believe the OEM mounts are discontinued and everything else is Chinese maypop besides the poly.

I noticed no real difference from before/after and I'm definitely a Princess/pea kina guy on this stuff. I also changed to 2500 rear springs. It got a little punchier from those while empty, if anything. Otherwise, no change. In the winter the truck shakes more from the poly motor and trans mounts while it's cold. I don't believe poly are the best solution, but definitely holding the cab/engine/trans up and didn't make it worse than it already was imo.
Maybe not.

I was a bit surprised on a recent cross country road trip when after a couple of thousand miles I decided to add a bit more air to my tires, noticing they were wearing on the edges, and how badly it harshened the ride when I did. Just going from like 55 to 68 pounds up front. I can't believe how much these old bones can feel. So while not telling you your business, maybe keep all that poly in mind as you're hunting down those vibrations and noises. As I tell the wife, we don't bounce back when we fall anymore. We crack ;-)

Keep up the detailing. It's always an enjoyable read.
 
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