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Thread: The tank, an earth roamer on a budget

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Anchorage AK
    Posts
    187

    Default The tank, an earth roamer on a budget

    Well guys here my truck, I named it the tank cause it's well....a tank.

    I PCS'd to Anchorage AK in June, soon after buying a clean (ish) 1988 crewcab chevy ($3200). It was a 454/th400/205 with 4.10 gears. I drove it for awhile getting 8mpg before I lost it over the gas mileage and parked it. I bought it to build a AK camper hauler, sled hauler, do it all rig.
    20120716_132746.jpg
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    Soon after I bought this ole girl ($3400).
    20120812_110926.jpg

    And my prize
    20120819_162805.jpg

    After I pulled the engine from the donor I sold the roller for $1500 so I was into the swap for $1900 at this point. I soon put $200 in gaskets into the engine along with a bunch of small stuff, PS pump, piece of exhaust etc that added up to another $200. So $5500 invested at this point. Along the way I bought a set of nearly new tires, $300 on CL. So about $5800 in her at this point.

    I built new crossmembers and modded the stock dodge mounts. $600 for engine mounts? HAHAHA ya right.
    20120901_111302.jpg
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    20120922_173104_zps6b7e27d8.jpg
    20120922_173110_zps99ae58e0.jpg

    This is about the point I stopped messing with it because winter set in and I bought this:
    20120826_153708.jpg
    Got it for $200 of CL. Did I mention I love CL lol!!!!!

    The other thing that stopped forward progress on the ole girl was a knocking noise I couldn't get rid of. A couple of "experts" said it had a rod knock. So out came the engine, had to build a custom stand to hang the engine on, it would have killed a parts store one. Actually it nearly did. I hung it on one and you could watch the damn thing flex. So I pulled the rods and mains, mains were good, rods were worn. Nothing had "spun" so no reason for the noise. I mic'd the crank and replaced the rod bearings, Yup, another $150 in gaskets, grrrrr.

    So reassembled the truck, installed an oil pressure gauge. Yup knock still there, 60 psi oil pressure. Did I say Grrrr? So the websperts said I must have an injector knock. Pulled them and had them tested, yup they were all good. Another $60 down the drain in test fees and new copper washers.
    Last edited by Ponyracer; 11-30-2012 at 04:40 AM.
    1988 Chevy CC 5.9 12v swap, baby "earth roamer" SOLD
    1989 Chevy CC 6.2, baby "earth roamer" 2.0

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Anchorage AK
    Posts
    187
    In the first crossmember picks you can see the first generation of stock chevy engine mounts. I built brackets on the engine but they didn't work worth a damn so I cut them out and reused the stock dodge ones. I also built a custom 3/8 plate tranny Xmember that uses the stock dodge mounts. I tried to reuse as much stock stuff as possible. Also I used the stock dodge a518 tranny and 205 transfer case. I was lucky that the chevy used hydroboost and the hoses had the correct ends for the dodge pump. Speaking of dodge pump, I said earlier I bought a new one. I did this because I didn't want to monkey with "T's" and flow so I bought a 97 cummins pump. The stock resevoir bolts to the gear driven pump and has a 3 outlets like the stock chevy one.

    So, still had the "noise". Neutral, nice and quiet, put it in gear and it starts rapping and knocking. I adjusted the valves, unbolted the torque convertor, pulled the serp belt, etc, etc, etc. Noise still there.

    I went out yesterday and was messing with it. Got to looking at the placement between the engine and firewall. It was close as I intended it on the pass side around the exhaust manifold. I pushed it as far back as possible to give me fan/intercooler clearance. So anyway, as I was looking things over I saw a strange mark on the drivers side firewall. Turns out the drivers side rear of the engine was kissing the firewall under a load. After I finished running in circles around the truck screaming I got a prybar and pushed the firewall back a touch. With fingers crossed I fired it, sounds like a sewing maching in and out of gear. SO $300 and 40+ hrs invested in this noise it was something as stupid as the engines noises being magnified through the firewall. Did I mention I pulled thee carpet out? Ya NO sound deadening at all, it was like being in a metal drum that a team of monkeys were beating on with a hammer.
    1988 Chevy CC 5.9 12v swap, baby "earth roamer" SOLD
    1989 Chevy CC 6.2, baby "earth roamer" 2.0

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Anchorage AK
    Posts
    187
    So during all this I was shopping my favorite site CL!!! Found an old USAF "blue van", ya know van front with a 10' FRP box on the back. It needed an engine and the owner was in trouble with the city for having a junk vehicle in his yard. SO, $250 later it was mine. I was pulling the FRP box off, decided to get the fuel tank out of the way. Guess what? It was full of fresh diesel. SCORE!!!!!! Got 28 gallons out, $4.19 a gallon, $117 in diesel went into my other truck. I pulled the box, then hauled the truck to scrap and got $165 for it!! So I actually made $ on the deal!!!! And got the box for free. SCORE!!!!

    The "camper" is stored behind my shop, will start a build on that in the hardside section when I get that far.

    So how am I going to carry a 10' long, 7' wide camper on a dually? Well build a 10' aluminum flatbed of course! And that brings me current. I bought $900 worth of ally off a local 4x4 board member and put a flatbed together. 4" channel crossbraces with 6" channel around the outside. I got it sort of bolted on and realized I don't like the rear overhang. SO, this weekend I'm going to pull the tank into my shop and cut it in half. I'm going to add 2' to the center under the rear doors. The benefit of this will be better balance, better looks, and more load carrying capacity towards the rear of the camper, and this FRP camper isn't exactly going to be light. Another benefit is I can fab up some 1/8 ally saddle tanks that are 2' longer than stock. Should give me a good addition in range. I also kept the 40ish gallon boxvan fueltank that looks like it will go in between the framerails in the rear if needed.
    1988 Chevy CC 5.9 12v swap, baby "earth roamer" SOLD
    1989 Chevy CC 6.2, baby "earth roamer" 2.0

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    366
    Awesomeness! subed
    2002 cc sb build. Sold.

    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...-DuraMax-build

    2008, FJ, 6m/t, brick, with all the important buttons.. build thread coming soon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Whistler BC
    Posts
    2,723
    Looks like some cool projects. I'm curious why you didn't just dial in the Dodge? You need the four doors? It looks like it was a fairly clean 1st gen.
    '98 Dodge 3500 4x4 12v NV4500 complete with a crap load of goodies.
    '94 Santa Monica Airlines 39" longboard, Indy 159s, Powell AT wheels
    '11 Rubicon Unlimited OME heavies, 285/75-17 Toyos
    '07 Adventurer 10T with surfboard racks!
    '75 Argosy (Airstream) 26'

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Anchorage AK
    Posts
    187
    Ya I'm 6'4 and have 3 teenagers that are all going to be as big or bigger than me. I wish I could have kept it, it was clean.
    1988 Chevy CC 5.9 12v swap, baby "earth roamer" SOLD
    1989 Chevy CC 6.2, baby "earth roamer" 2.0

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    92
    Love it, keep going!
    Chevy CCLB Duramax 4x4, just getting started
    Jeep XJ, 5" lift, 32" bfg m/ts, custom bumpers, welded rear, Lock Right front

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    175
    Can't beat a $200 fastback

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Anchorage AK
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally Posted by 4BT View Post
    Can't beat a $200 fastback
    HAHA SURE CAN'T!!!!!

    Well I pulled the flatbed off tonight, prepping for the cut tomorrow. Going to head in and drop the fuel tanks AGAIN, snip the exhaust, brake line, fuel line and pull the Dshaft. Not sure, I may pull the cab mounts so I can jack it up a touch to give me some more working room. Should have it rolling again tomorrow if all goes well. I'll snap some pics of the progress!
    1988 Chevy CC 5.9 12v swap, baby "earth roamer" SOLD
    1989 Chevy CC 6.2, baby "earth roamer" 2.0

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Copenhagen and B.C.
    Posts
    1,924
    I really like your truck Ponyracer and I am looking forward to more pics of your build. Ow, did I say welcome to the site?! Well welcome, cheers Chilli.

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