1997 Restoration (1 Viewer)

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truthdetector

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Sep 14, 2020
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Kalamazoo
First post, folks and I'd like to share the first major milestone of my 97 LC restoration project.

Bought this beauty at an online auction. The auction pics showed the engine running and it was classified as "run and drive", so I took a chance and flew to Indianapolis on a one-way ticket with the hope of driving it home ~200 miles. After calling AAA to get a new battery and topping up oil, water, and air at the nearest gas station, I hit the road. It was exciting.

Made it home with no issues! Found some service records in the glove box, and the most recent one was an estimate for fixing a coolant leak. The estimate was dated FIVE YEARS AGO and listed the same mileage as the odometer read when I picked it up. The truck had not moved on its own in 5 years! I assume the previous owner didn't want to fix it, put it in storage, then it eventually wound up at auction somehow - with a clean title.

Fixed the coolant leak for a few bucks by bypassing the rear heater so I could drive it around, but the plan was to eventually get it into my buddy's new shop and begin a full tear-down.

This weekend was the first major milestone of our work - we got the body lifted off the frame.

All the body bolts except the front two came out with no issues. The fuel tank didn't give us too much trouble, and we were super stoked when we got it lifted.

Next, we're going to trailer the body to another location, where I'll strip the interior in prep for taking it to a body shop for complete inside-and-out paint work. The driver's side rocker has some decent rust in the front and back, and a good amount of rust inside under the driver floor pan, all of which were probably caused by what appears to be a completely shot/missing steering shaft bushing.

While the body is off to the spa, me and the buddy are going to start taking apart the power train and sending things out for stripping, machining, powder coating, etc.

For a while, I was thinking of getting a crate LS power train, but ended up deciding to just rebuild this engine. Working on it and thinking of how the thing was so rock solid that I drove it 200 miles after it was sitting for 5 years made me really guilty about tossing the engine aside. So, no more LS-swap, we're going to do a rebuild and possibly add a supercharger if I can find one.

Although this is my first post, I have spent plenty of time on IH8MUD to get me to this point - so thanks everyone!

IMG_3015.jpeg
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
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South west utah
Nice way to start off with a new 80 series. I am excited to watch your progress.

For a second I thought your first milestone was a "body lift", not a frame off restoration. Than I scrolled down a little farther. The frame off is much better lol

Skip the supercharger and go for the turbo.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2017
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Charlotte, NC & Alexandria, VA
You got extremely lucky removing that fuel tank without problems. I own a 95 80 that was sold new in Charlotte, where it has been since. I dropped a bolt replacing the LSBPV and it found its way between the tank and skid plate. I didn't want it to grind a hole in the tank, so I dropped the skid plate. Four week nightmare, which included lifting the body off the frame on the DS side and replacing all the mounting hardware, due the severe rust. And we don't have enough ice or snow to warrant much use of salt in the last 26 years. To top that off, the bolt had already fallen out of its own accord, before I managed to remove the tank.

Congratulations all around; looks like a :popcorn::popcorn:project.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
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Alpharetta GA
One post and already trying to outclass most of us.... sad thing is. I am jealously admitting he has outclassed me ha. Nice start and welcome to MUD!
 

truthdetector

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Sep 14, 2020
Messages
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Location
Kalamazoo
You got extremely lucky removing that fuel tank without problems. I own a 95 80 that was sold new in Charlotte, where it has been since. I dropped a bolt replacing the LSBPV and it found its way between the tank and skid plate. I didn't want it to grind a hole in the tank, so I dropped the skid plate. Four week nightmare, which included lifting the body off the frame on the DS side and replacing all the mounting hardware, due the severe rust. And we don't have enough ice or snow to warrant much use of salt in the last 26 years. To top that off, the bolt had already fallen out of its own accord, before I managed to remove the tank.

Congratulations all around; looks like a :popcorn::popcorn:project.
That sounds awful. It was surprising how rusty all those bolts were and we couldn't believe the placement of the front strap mount where it bolts to the body directly above the frame rail. Impossible to change without lifting the body.
 
Joined
May 20, 2009
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Canby Oregon
Why did you pull the fuel tank ?? those thing suck I have never had to
 
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Charlotte, NC & Alexandria, VA
Why did you pull the fuel tank ?? those thing suck I have never had to
Well, the goal wasn't to pull the tank, but to separate the tank and skid plate to retrieve the LSBPV mounting bolt. I absolutely would not ever drop the tank unless I had a very good reason to do so.

Unfortunately, the clamps strap bolts and nuts were welded shut with rust, so there was no way to do that without nearly dropping both. Since the straps were toast, I elected to replace everything I could only get to while the tanks was lowered.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
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Sonora, CA
Powder coat is great, until a chip or scratch, then it will rust underneath the coating.
I had Line X on a truck bed, and it was great. I don't know how well it would do on a frame, since there's flex to a frame- I believe Line X can flex. I believe there's vendors or users who can give better info than I.
I would suggest a scuff and spray paint. It's cheaper and easier than other coatings, and can easily be touched up, especially if your factory coating is still in decent shape.
I went down this road a few months ago, and chose the scuff and paint, partially for cost, partially for reapplication.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
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9,258
Another vote against powdercoat for the reason mentioned above. A durable catalyzed paint followed by a non-hardening cavity wax type coating (like what Toyota put on the undercarriage at the factory) is another way to go.
 

thatcabledude

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Walton Co, FL
Definitely wouldn’t powder coat the frame. I’ve seen too many P/C’d boat trailers completely fubar’d. Line-X sounds like a bad idea too. Not to mention how it holds dirt, etc. It would look like crap.
 

truthdetector

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Sep 14, 2020
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162
Location
Kalamazoo
Dang, that engine is much cleaner internally and externally than mine was when I tore it down.
Yeah - it only has 205k, so on one hand I'm not surprised, but was still happy to see the condition when we took off the valve cover. Waiting on a couple more tools before we pull the engine and put it on the stand. Looking forward to seeing the condition of the valves and pistons. The engine ran fine, so I don't anticipate issues, but still am excited to see.
 

Lyle Kilson

Go fast, don’t die.
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Nov 28, 2020
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Saint George, UT
You win for “best first post”:clap: I’ll be following this build for sure. I have a 94 that I plan on doing the same thing your doing. Only it will be a slower process:frown:

it blows my mind that after sitting that long it made the drive home. 1fz-fe’s are legendary.
 

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