Mild 1997 Chevy 2500 build


Well, after another stint of getting work done but not posting, I figured I'd better update this build thread. It's finally on the truck! I have the big swing-up door mounted...still need to finish the man door, install the gas lifting struts for the big door, and wrap up the wiring and interior finish work.

I used a come-along to winch it onto my little tilt-bed trailer, then my friend's barn and chainfall to lift it off the trailer onto the truck.

The bed frame is an expanding, intermeshing slat-style that seems to be popular with the van-life crowd, with a 6" memory foam full-sized mattress. No photos of the bed set up yet, although we did get an inaugural camp sesh in a couple weeks ago. Stayed cozy and dry throughout a cold, windy, rainy Kodiak night!

Should have the interior fleshed-out within the next month or so...



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Very nicely done! I am a fan of that truck as well!! That generation of trucks were just built so darn good.
Thanks! Yeah I like these trucks much as I would love a 12 valve, the level of quality truck-per-dollar is hard to beat in those OBS GM's. And they're pretty dang well engineered, with the possible exception of that IFS...but then I have zero intention of making a mud bogger out of it or conquering the Rubicon.

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Expedition Leader
Your canopy is looking awesome Mr Ed. I hope we get to see you out enjoying the trails in that rig. Cheers, Chilli...:cool:


Kapitis Indagatoris
Great build on an excellent truck! I'm also a mid-nineties K truck fan. Got a 97 k2500 and 95 Tiger both with the 5.7. Thanks for your service. I spent a year on Kodiak after high school and before college as my preadult life crisis time. Crazy year.


Well, got it and the kayak rack operational just (barely) in time for us to catch the ferry over to Homer back on June 15th. After 2400 miles around Alaska over 14 days, including plenty of frost heaves and a trip out to McCarthy, I can report that it holds up fine. Zero signs of distress anywhere, and I barely feel it back there. Even doing 70 mph into a headwind one time, there was only somewhat louder wind noise. Certainly none of the swaying and carrying on that I saw with many of the massive truck campers that we saw on the trip. An even better surprise for me was that the truck religiously returned about 11 to 11.5 mpg the entire trip. May not seem all that great but for a 454 with a camper on the back and the aerodynamics of a shoebox, I was expecting worse. Of course I did drive like a grandpa and tried to avoid going north of 65 mph to keep the drag factor down to reasonable levels.

The inside still need to be fully finished off, the wiring completed, the back end sorted out/cleaned up, and the kayak rack latching mechanism finished. And I have decided that, at some point in the next couple years, it is going to become a pop-top...but that's down the road.

Here's a couple shots from the trip:

Just off the ferry in Homer

Camped outside Healy, just north of Denali



My brother-in-law flies for Talkeetna Air Taxi, so we got to go fly into the park with him in one of the ski-equipped Beavers and land on the Ruth Glacier. Super clutch!


Some time later in the trip, approaching Glenallen and the road to McCarthy




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The Kennecott Mine, and some INSANELY huge icefall upstream on the Root Glacier. Seriously, pictures just can't do justice to how huge that vertical wall of ice is!

Parked at a trailhead in Valdez

Stayed with friends in Anchorage and went to the airshow. Got to see a F2F Banshee do a demo, which was cool since the Banshee was the first little plastic display model airplane I ever put together as a kid

Killed a lot of mosquitos, but not nearly enough!


Space Monkey
Mr Ed,

I hope you have a draw bridge of a back door in the works so you can ride your bike into the back like Chilli did with his camper!


I thought about it, but I just use an aluminum ramp if I need to put the bike or the 4 wheeler in the back. The big rear door doubles as an awning. No pics of it in use as such yet as the mosquitoes precluded hanging out outside in the evenings haha.

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Do you have pictures of the interior built out?

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Not yet really. It's still in the process of being finished off...still has exposed insulation and wiring in places, only half carpeted, etc. It's pretty basic though. Just a full-size bed and storage. I haven't done any furnishings or plumbing on this one.

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