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CaprockFabShop New Reader
4/20/18 7:44 a.m.

I've had your same experiences with Bondo-brand filler. I've been messing around with metal glazes recently as a replacement. Mixing too weak means it also spreads to heavy and gunky and won't set at all...


Crackers Dork
4/20/18 5:46 p.m.

I know it's late but, you were probably over working it while mixing. 

I use more hardener than that in 80°+ weather and still have at about 3 minutes working time. 

Once it starts to get chunky you should stop trying to spread it as you can open up voids you'll have to fill back in later. 

It's be nice if you could find cheap trucks like that around here. I'd make a mint flipping them with this sort of finish. 

Run_Away HalfDork
4/21/18 8:51 a.m.

Good to know, thanks. I didn't know that over working it was a thing, but I was definitely trying to mix it well as there wasn't much hardener and I wanted to make sure it all set up.


I think next time I do bodywork like this I'll take time off work and buy my supplies from a real bodyshops supply store instead of what's available from box stores that close at 9pm.

Run_Away HalfDork
5/20/18 12:57 p.m.

4 week update:

Truck has been pretty good, I'm quite enjoying the automatic in traffic. Traffic doesn't upset me as much as in my other cars because it's so slow and relaxed. The bed is nice too, my girlfriend has a job with pretty flexible hours so we've been throwing a bike in the bed so she doesn't have to wait for me to get off work. First tank of fuel was 20.6L/100k (11.4 mpg), second was 18.7L/100k (12.6mpg). It's actually slightly better than that due to the larger tires.


Replaced the rear brake shoes as the lining on one shoe had delaminated. Found the left rear has a seized ebrake cable and was way out of adjustment.


Pedal feel is now about as good as what it would have been when it left the factory. Still musing on the GMT800 brake master cylinder upgrade.

The spec sheets show the stock master on my truck has a 40mm bore and the GMT800 trucks have a 34mm bore. Wouldn't that give it a mushier brake pedal, not firmer like everyone reports? What am I missing here?


The A/C didn't work, I found a huge leak at the low side port so I replaced the valve, added dye, and charged it up only to find the compressor also leaking.

Probably going to find a used one.


Also fixed another issue I was having, the ABS would engage just before coming to a stop on dry pavement. Found a TSB saying rust could creep into the front wheel speed sensors and expand the air gap between the sensor and tone ring, so I serviced both fronts.



After filling the hole with grease and smoothing it down with a flat file

That did the trick, no more ABS when rolling up to a stop sign or parking.


Oh, and I've also totaled up all my receipts for the truck. I'm $2240 CAD into it including taxes and towing, but not including all the spray paint or the old can of Bondo I had lying around. That's also including a pair of heated seat kits I haven't installed yet. Translates to $1735 USD at todays exchange.

Crackers Dork
5/20/18 3:56 p.m.

I know you're in the GWN but Rock Auto has a compressor kit with dryer, orifice tube, and all the seals for only $127. 

I'm probably going to dive into that job on mine later this summer. 

Run_Away HalfDork
6/6/18 10:13 p.m.

Summer is also autox season, and I'd rather spend the money on new tires for the racecar! :p


So I hit the junkyard, and grabbed this hitch, using a chunk of exhaust as a cheater bar.


Also this compressor from a Suburban because it looked like a replacement. Still Delphi brand. And I know it doesn't leak because when I loosened off the lines, it hissed for a good 10 minutes it felt like. Sorry environment! I though the yard was supposed to drain them first.


Found a cool convertible too.


There are tons of GMT400s in the yard and I was hunting for a clean rear bumper. No real luck, this was the cleanest one I could find but couldn't free it because it has a hitch and someone had rounded off a couple bolt heads.


Threw on the hitch with some new hardware, sprayed my bumper down with WD40 and wire-wheel'd off the rust to make it less of an eyesore.


Hitch and compressor were $65 CAD, new bolts to replace the ones I snapped on removal were ~$10. That brings the total to $2315 CAD.


Compressor is in and working well. The mode selection is a bit flakey though, sometimes it doesn't want to blow out the face vents. If you play around with it it eventually goes *thunk* and starts working. I poked my head under the dash and looks like there's just one actuator on the drivers side with a bunch of weird sliders and different stiffness springs to get the stages right. Everything seems to be moving freely, I'll have to take another look when I have more time.


I also noted a slight water leak from the blower box area onto the passenger floor mat when it rained for a couple days straight. I'll have to check the a/c drain, although it seemed to be coming from a seam so maybe the case is cracked or the sealant is shot.


One last issue I need to look into further is the dome light. I've replaced both door switches, one new from rock auto and the other from the junkyard. I've noticed in the morning the dome light won't shut off sometimes, but it always seems to work later in the day. It's got a time out delay and there are no door indicators on the dash so it's a bit tricky to say what's doing it, my hunch is whatever primitive BCM that controls it is flakey in the cold. I think this is what was causing an intermittent battery drain before I started driving it daily. For now I have the dome override button pressed, which doesn't disable it completely as the light still comes on when using keyless entry. Goofy system.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
6/7/18 9:20 a.m.
Run_Away said:

Replaced the rear brake shoes as the lining on one shoe had delaminated. Found the left rear has a seized ebrake cable and was way out of adjustment.


I think you've mis-assembled the rear brake shoes.  the length of lining on the forward aka "primary" shoe should be shorter than the rearward aka "secondary" shoe.  if i had to guess, i'd say the other side of the truck has two short linings on it.

stylngle2003 New Reader
6/7/18 10:17 a.m.

GMT800 MC swap on my '96 tahoe made a nice difference in pedal feel.  The boosters on these are just squishy (they were from the factory...).  I put in the 2500/Suburban front calipers at the same time, with bigger pistons, as well.  I'd recommend both, if you end up servicing the front brakes again. I also know there's some way to use a Tech2 to actuate the ABS pump to bleed it, but never was able to get that done.


There are two motors under the glove box area, one controls the hot/cold, the other controls the blend door.  Mine would grumble constantly, and weren't terribly expensive ($30?) or hard to replace.  


Love this build/resto.  You're a brave (and talented) soul.

Run_Away HalfDork
6/8/18 9:41 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

It's possible. I went back through my phone's pictures and I don't have a pic of the other side to confirm, but I have this pic of the driver's side before. 

Half of that shoe is missing, hence the replacement. I'll take another look next time it's in the air. I still need to get an ebrake cable for the left side.

Run_Away HalfDork
6/8/18 9:44 p.m.

In reply to stylngle2003 :

Good to know. I don't doubt that it's an upgrade, I'm just curious how it accomplishes that with a smaller bore. The suburban/2500 calipers are gmt400 or gmt800?

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
6/8/18 9:49 p.m.

Im loving the gmt800 master with the 2500hd calipers and cylenders on my gmt400 half ton. Pedal is good and firm, and i can activate abs at will. Needs better tires to see just how short it could stop now.

stylngle2003 Reader
6/11/18 12:41 p.m.

GMT400, should be an 81mm single piston (check rock auto)

Run_Away HalfDork
7/11/18 8:24 p.m.

Minor update, swapped out the seized left side parking brake cable.


Also double checked that the brake shoes were installed correctly, which they are. 10" of material on all 4.


I'm at 2000kms driven now and it's used around 1.25L oil. Kinda disappointing, but better than my Sentra and most my Hondas, so.....

Bit of a leak that looks like the front main, but pretty sure it's burning most of that.


Just ordered some 9012 HIR bulbs to upgrade from the stock 9006 low beams.

Still loving the couch-like seat, cold A/C, and automatic trans on my commute.

Run_Away Dork
9/22/18 4:08 p.m.

Trimmed and swapped to the HIR bulbs.


Light output is pretty decent now. Happy for the price. I did find some rodent damage to the drivers side wiring.


I've picked up another 9006 pigtail from the junkyard. I'll probably relay the lights as well and do the quad mod thing where the low beams stay on with the high beams. I noted the headlight switch was pretty hot after a couple hours of driving with the lights on. Probably gain at least half a volt with a relay setup.


Also washed the truck for the first time since I painted the lower bit. Not only was it way overdue, I hadn't washed all the grinding dust off the truck so there was rust embedded into the paint everywhere. You can see it pretty well here


Took a bit of elbow grease but it's pretty much all gone now.

Looks sharp all cleaned up I think!


Dropped the trans pan and changed the filter


Filled it with Dex VI. I found the deep pans are only $21 on RockAuto with a drain plug, definitely wish I had done that instead of sticking with the stock shallow pan.


Also had a moment of weakness and stacked an ebay 15% off coupon with the "make offer" button on a set of ProComp 16x8 wheels. Paid $335 USD shipped to the border for them.


Also bought a set of OEM style fender flares. Going to fix up the bubbling around the fenders and cover it up with the flares. The wheels are so it doesn't look so dorky with sunk stock wheels and help the tires out a bit since they're 285s pinched on a 7" wheel.

You can see the bubbling here a bit


I've got a wheel bearing or CV going out I think, had a rotational noise from that corner that went away after I took everything apart and put it back together. I'll wait until it comes back/gets worse before ordering a fix.


Temps are dropping to almost freezing overnight now so I'm also preparing to install a remote start.

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
9/22/18 4:17 p.m.

What do you think about the hir upgrade? Worth replacing new bulbs for?

Run_Away Dork
9/22/18 4:51 p.m.

I like them, they're noticeably brighter up against a wall. If you already have new bulbs might not be a huge improvement, I don't know how old the ones I took out were.

I live in the city and haven't done any driving outside the city when it's actually dark out though, so I haven't been able to test them out properly yet.

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
9/22/18 5:03 p.m.

Fair enough!

Im pretty rural, so good lights aren't optional. Im using the spyder glass headlight housings and they are already head and shoulders above all the others i tried, even withb noname bulbs.

Run_Away Dork
10/7/18 6:31 p.m.

Ripped the seat covers off.

This was really annoying because the covers are glued on, and not held on with hogrings like most vehicle.
Also, the seat back covers don't have zippers on the backside so removing/installing them you have to squish and cram the bolstering inwards and stress test the stitching on the covers to slip them over.

Stick on the heater pads

Coat both sides in glue, wait 5 minutes for it to tack up, and squish it back together.

The drivers side bottom is the only one I didn't remove completely and run through the washing machine because it's so much bigger than the other parts.
So all the indented design bits on the seat are not sections of cloth joined together, but one continuous peice. The last car I did heated seats on (the 2004 Sentra Spec V6 swap) also had glued seats, and I sewed fabric loops at the seams and cut slits in the seat foam to hold the covers into place. Because the chevy covers are one peice and don't have seams I said screw it and threw it back together with glue.
Here's the finished product. They don't look anywhere as good as they used to, but they will roast my behind off now and that's more important.

Ran the wiring under the carpet. Found a bunch of unused peanut bulb sockets hidden there?! My best guess is that it's for floor shift 4x4 models.

Run_Away Dork
11/25/18 2:27 p.m.

So I decided to do something about the water leak on the passenger floor area. Only happened after longer rains. Doesn't seem to leak if the truck was in motion. I tried to make it happen with a garden hose but no luck.


Did some googling and found it's probably either leaking from the screw holding the cowl on, or the fresh air inlet inside.


I decided to just go nuclear and seal everything. Pried up the sheetmetal cover that was seam sealed into place and added additional seam sealer all around the fresh air inlet




Put a bunch of seam sealer on the cowl screws before installation as well.

Of course as soon as I had finished the repair it got cold enough out that we don't get rain anymore, only snow. I'll update in the spring I guess if it worked.


Picked up a set of studded LT265/75/16 tires date coded 2014 for $500 locally. The E36 M3ten approved of his new tire fort.


Sold the old and cracked 285/75/16 BFG A/Ts for $300 to a farmer who was going to use them on a farm truck.


When swapping them over I found the new ebrake cable had been rubbing. Hopefully it won't seize up from water intrusion. I wrapped it in electrical tape and loosely ziptied it to the leaf springs. The new smaller and a narrower tires should help too.


It doesn't look as good anymore, but should work a lot better once the snow really hits.


I'm thinking a set of 285/75/16 Falken Wildpeak AT3Ws in the spring on the 16x8 6 hole wheels.


Also picked up a Sony XAV-AX100 android auto deck for a steal (that's $225 USD - crutchfield USA currently has them on sale $70 off at $330 USD) so I can stop using my cassette aux adapter. The ticket for cellphone use while driving around here is a 3 day license suspension, $672 fine, and 5 demerits (you gain 1 merit/yr with a clean record).


Run_Away Dork
2/24/19 2:20 p.m.

Borrowed some Hummer H3 wheels briefly. I quite like the look.

Better with centercaps or without? Might keep an eye out for a cheap set on ebay.



It got cold out and the truck wouldn't start. Battery was weak. I bought a $12 pair of adapters and rigged this up so I could use a good battery from the warranty pile I nursed back to health.


A couple weeks after that it wasn't starting again. Solenoid was just clicking. Upgraded to an AC Delco gear reduction starter. I kind of miss the sound of the direct drive starter.

Dropped a bit of weight there too.


Radio came in and I stuck that in. That also saved a bunch of weight and freed up a nice pocket for my phone.

Had to cut up the dash to make it fit, fitment isn't that great but I love having bluetooth and google maps to navigate.

Run_Away Dork
2/24/19 2:36 p.m.

Installed a nice two way remote start.

Cold start video proving it works!



Started finding coolant on the ground.


Radiator end tank is split.


Went for an all aluminum from Rock Auto.

Cost $315 CAD with express 2 day shipping, about $100 more than the cheapest stock replacement locally (or a Spectra Premium from RA). Ended up being a 2 core which I was not expecting. I did have to buy a pair of $5 adapters for my trans cooler lines as they didn't match.


I did end up having a leak at an unused steam port....swapped out the cheap hose clamp for a constant tension spring clamp.


Swapped in a new thermostat too. Bought an AC Delco and found a MotoRad unit in the box.

Kind of peeved about that. It opens a bit late on initial opening and fluctuates temp a bunch as it cycles compared to the one I took out.



Also solved my "dome light won't turn off when it gets below -10" issue....the passenger side door pin is incorrect. Happy it's such a simple fix, peeved it took me this long to get around to it. If you remember I had previously replaced both switches, one new from Rock Auto and one from the junkyard. I must have grabbed the wrong one and not noticed. I was mentally gearing up to trying to replace the keyless entry module that controls the lights.


Next up is going to be relaying my headlights to fix the 2.2V voltage drop I'm getting at the lights


And converting to electric cooling fans. Keeping my eye out for some scrap sheetmetal. I have several fans ready for it, just need to fab up a shroud.

solfly HalfDork
2/25/19 11:37 a.m.

I've had that problem with the dome light and thought I had to replace the module too. Must have the wrong switch on the pass. side. Assumed the two sizes listed were diameters. Thanks.


Truck seems to be coming along nicely. Those big hole wheels always look good on these trucks. I have American Racing Ar172s on mine in 17x9 flat black.

solfly HalfDork
2/25/19 11:39 a.m.

What remote start did you use?

Run_Away Dork
2/25/19 10:23 p.m.

In reply to solfly :

It's a compustar 2 way. The module is actually almost 10 years old pirated from a previous car. The antenna and remote are new. The truck is a '98, so the only GMT400 that has Passlock so I used a blade bypass.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
2/25/19 10:58 p.m.

If you keep the H2 wheels, I suggest running without caps.  They're a bit odd looking with the one thick "spoke".

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