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Old 04-15-2006, 02:40 PM   #1
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My new project...maybe

I've been looking for a new project to take my mind off of the bus for a while.....but financially i have to be very conservative due to the tow truck fund....

For a while i've wanted either an old jeep (CJ or willies) or a dune buggy for some off road action....

The other day i stumbled upon a 1990 3/4 ton with a 350 chevy motor auto trans 4x4. It's been sitting for 2 years and the owner was ready to take it to the scrap yard. It does have some significant front end damage..mostly cosmetic...except that hole in the radiator. four wheel drive works, and the trans was rebuilt just before the accident..

Tomorrow i'm gonna go try to get her started..he sais it was running when he parked it. I'll pull all the plugs out, dump some oil in the cylinders, let it sit for a lil while, put a battery in it, turn it over to force the oil out of the now lubricated cylinders, put the plugs back in and see if she'll fire up. Anyone have words of advice for me when it comes to starting a vehicle that's been sitting for a long time?

I belive it has TBI on the 350. This will be my first chevy truck, but i don't think you can find a cheaper engine to work on. It does have IFS which is not so desirable for wheelin, but the price is right! From what i've been reading, i might as well go to the junk yard and buy a half shaft or two....especialy with such rediculously huge tires on a wimpy front end...Some 33's would be a better match.

It's xtended cab long box which is too long for me....i think i'm gonna shorten her up by a few feet (or more) She's gonna be an off road vehicle. I have some 38" super swampers laying around that have aobut 100 miles on them. Anybody know if 8 lug ford rims will fit an 8 lug chevy? I guess i'll find out soon enough..

i'll post photos when i get a chance....
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Old 04-15-2006, 03:55 PM   #2
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I bet that the TBI 350 fires right up. I have toyed with that motor alot. They are awesome for off-road, they are hard to hurt due to the fact that the computer is only programmed to 4600rpm. They will rev more but won't make anymore power after that. These relatively low RPM's make them last forever. When you get a chance to start playing with it, check the initial timing. Factory setting is 0 degrees BTDC. Going to 2 degrees makes an unbelievable difference. Underdrive pulley's make a big difference also. Check out TurboCity, they are really knowledgable on this system. Have Fun!!!
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Old 04-15-2006, 05:14 PM   #3
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another added bonus is that the truck was equipped with air conditioning....the condensor has a hole in it along with the radiator....but tha'ts perfect.

The GM a/c compressor is one of the most impressive air compressors i've ever seen. Put a filter on the intake side, a pressure switch and tank on the pressure side and you have a cheap on board air compressor for filling tires, running air tools, ect.

I converted one of these on a late 80's bonneville and it's one of the most impressive air compressors i've used. It's a great compressor at idle, but kick the rpm's up to 3K or so and it'll run circles around the 220 volt 7hp twin piston compressor sitting in the corner of my barn.

The problem is longevity....the original design lubricated the compressor with oil inside the freon (or R132A?) and the new modification has no oil.
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Old 04-15-2006, 06:59 PM   #4
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8 lug wheels are 8 lug wheels for all makes that I've come across with the exception of one....the newer super duties (when they went to their own body style as opposed to the same as the F-150) have a metric pattern. I don't know who's pocket (Weld, Cragar, American Racing, etc) has it's hand down, but someone is making some money because of it. If they are older Ford rims you'll be fine.

As for running the 38's....I think you know already that that is a foolish idea. The front is weak. There is no way around that fact. You're smart to go get some halfshafts now as the tripod style CV's are notoriously weak. Also, I would worry about the rear axle. If you have a full floating 10.5 inch 14 bolt it is as strong as a Dana 70 and a little shaving of the extra casting below the cover will give you clearance comparable to a Dana 60. My gut instinct is that you have semi floating "metric" 9.5 inch 14 bolt just like the 454 SS, 3/4 ton suburbans, etc had. While it is still tough, c-clips are the devil and parts for that axle will blow you away. The easy way to tell is to look at the hubs. If there is an axle flange with a bunch of bolts inside the lug pattern you have the 10.5 inch unit....a genuine keeper.

Now we need to move into gear ratios. You will likely have 3.08's, 3.54's, or 3.73's. I guess there is a remote chance you will have 4.11's if it was actually used for hauling. Find the tag on the door as it should say. No matter way those are kind of high gears for turning those tires. That's not to say it can't be done, but it will be noticable.

The transfer case is going to be a New Venture 241 model. This is a reasonably tough case with an excellent 2.72:1 low range. This is the same t-case that the Jeep Rubicon and the miltary Humvee base theirs off of. Again....a keeper.

You didn't say if the tranny was a manual or auto, but I'm just going to assume it was an auto. If that's the case I'm 90% sure it will be a 700R4. I guess it is possible that it is a 3 speed Turbo 400, but not likely. By 1992 most of the issues with the 700R4's lockup converter were taking care of. It's not the strongest tranny out there, but it has a deeper first gear ratio than a TH350 or TH400 and has an overdrive which is of course nice.

If you can get the truck for cheap, by all means jump on it. Wheel it until it breaks and start saving to do a solid axle swap. That's what I did on my toyota and haven't gone back since then. 36+ inches of combined travel can't be beat. It's amazing what a little extra wheelbase and all that travel can do. I walk circles around a lot of XJ Cherokees that I wheel with who have locked diffs in the rear and in some cases in the front. It bothers them that I run open-open most of the time (I do have a welded third member I swap in on occasion) and never have a problem. No tires in the air means no loss of traction.
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:39 PM   #5
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thanks for the info.....i know almost nothing about chevy trucks. My last wheelin project was a 71 F250 with D60 rear (with lincoln locker) and close knuckled D44 up front manual 4 speed with granny low and the good cast iron gear-gear transfer case (divorced) with pto shaft for the winch.....that's the truck that the 38" SS were intended for.

This truck is only costing me the price of scrap...so its' basically free

must have the 9.5" 14 bolt rear....i did notice it's not full floating like my old D60 (no bolts around the hub)

it does have an auto trans that was rebuilt just prior to the crash

The truck is going to be driven almost exclusevily off road. I'll prob put plates and insurance on it just so i can drive it to the trails. I immagine that it'll be driven in low range most of the time. I'll try to take it easy on her...If anything expensive breaks, I'll just tow it to the scrap yard and get back the amt. of money I spent on the truck.

About the only thing i plan to spend money on is a new set of plugs/wires/cap/rotor..and a spare set of half shafts...and the big socket needed to change them..ok, i'll spend a few dollars on the truck......The biggest part of the project is gonna be time. I'm gonna shorten the frame so i'll also have to shorten the driveshaft. I think i can do that myself....if i end up having to repace a set of u-joints i'll have the driveshaft balanced...This isn't gonna be a pro trail rig....just a cheap hillbilly off road truck.
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Old 04-16-2006, 12:00 AM   #6
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Just let me know when you're ready to do the solid axle swap. I know lots of places that make GOOD parts like the arms you're going to want for the crossover steering, etc . Four wheel drives are kind of like buses....once the bug bites you it's hard to get rid of it and keep them from getting bigger.
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Old 04-16-2006, 10:10 PM   #7
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When starting, pull the fuel pump fuse & crank the engine a dozen or so times--after 2 years, the cam & lifters will be bone-dry. engine will be a roller-cam TBI 350.

I'd change the oil for some 15W-40 diesel-rated, run it a little, then change it back to whatever is called for (probably 10W-30).

IFS is pathetically weak, and thermal axle-disconnect is almost certainly shot. Not cheap.
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Old 04-17-2006, 06:22 PM   #8
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I'm not sure it will be a roller cam. I've been inside my 91, another 88 and another 90 TBI 350, no rollers. I think that came later, but I'm not sure when.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:01 PM   #9
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You'll find the rollers on Vortec (Vor-tick-tick-tick-tick) motors as well as some of the 305 Camaro motors IIRC.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:03 PM   #10
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Also....for all you later model GM owners...make your voice be heard so GM might be held accountable for their faulty products.

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