Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15 - S-10 Forum
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post #1 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Time to jump back in to the forum! Some of you on here may remember me from a few years ago when I had my '91 S10 daily driver. Pic attached for memory's sake:







That truck was a 2.5/5 speed with A/C and around 58,000 original miles. I was really wanting to build a V8 S series but could not pull myself to take my '91 apart for the swap. I ended up selling that truck to a guy in Texas and then drifted away from the S10 scene for a couple of years. Fast forward to about 6 months ago. We are now living in Virginia and as most of us do, I was browsing craigslist looking for nothing in particular. A search of "S10|Sonoma" pulled up this 1987 S15 being sold about an hour from our house.













It looked clean and the price was right so I loaded the family in the Tahoe and made the drive to go check it out.









"Hey! Driving is a serious business. I ain't having no accidents just because of you!"
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post #2 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

The truck ended up being an abandoned project of the seller's teenage son. They had purchased the truck in stock form from their neighbor who also happened to be the original owner. Shortly after getting the truck, the 2.8 blew its guts and they began pulling things apart to prepare for a small block install.That's where things got put on the back burner and the truck ended up sitting for quite some time. In comes me!


We agreed on a price and 7 days later I was back with a trailer to take it off their hands.









Due to the fact that this truck was owned for most of its life by an elderly gentlemen, it was in phenomenal shape. The interior was one of the nicest that I have ever found. The dash alone was worth the asking price!

















Stopped on the way home to blast off the years of mildew and moss that had accumulated onthe truck. I think by now you can tell where I came up with the "grandpa"part of my project name.













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post #3 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Once I got the truck home, I decided to try out an old hot rodders trick to see if I could get rid of the rest of the nastiness that had built up on the truck. Comet to the rescue!








Now that it was looking fresh and clean, I started to tear in to the interior to see what I was dealing with.


Floors look pretty dang good! A little surface rust on the passenger floor but nothing that cant be easily taken care of.











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post #4 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

While I was waiting for our move to the new house, I started my search for some new parts that would be needed for this project. A call to a member of the facebook V8 S10 owners page that runs his own performance shop got me set up with my suspension. I am trying to build this truck on a budget so he hooked me up with what he thought would be my best combo. The rear setup is Western Chassis Supply 4" drop leafs with Lakewood traction bars. The front has 2" DJM drop spindles and 1"springs. I also picked up a new rear axle which I will explain shortly.











Right around this time, I happened to be talking with my neighbor about my new project and mentioned to him that I was in the market for a new rear axle for the V8 conversion. He said that he had some cousins that worked for the local Pick-a-Part and could get me hooked up with whatever I needed. The following Saturday, we went to the yard on the hunt for a 2wd 5 speed blazer with a 8.5" 10 bolt. After a morning of scouring the yard, we found this little Jimmy tucked back in the corner. I jumped under to confirm that it had what I needed and he had his cousin drag it out of the mud so that we could pull the axle. It was at this time that I should have paid closer attention to the wheels. They would have been a dead giveaway that this was going to be a bi twider than I thought.






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post #5 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:13 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Truck looks super clean! I would love to find a rust free 1st gen some day. Nice thread so far.

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post #6 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

I totally stripped the axle down, cleaned up the housing, and ordered a new 3.73 gear set and Eaton posi unit.





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post #7 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Then the day finally came to move into our new place. I finally had a garage to work on this pig.










Then came the start of the tear down. First things first, that camper shell had to go. I was sick of all of the "mini Farm Truck" comments! haha.









Then I started to strip all of the unnecessary factory stuff that was in the way.





Good thing I was getting rid of the stock fuel tank!



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post #8 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Pushed it out into the driveway and put it up on jack stands so that I could get the frame and underside all cleaned up.










Back in to the garage you go! Time to start tearing out the old suspension





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post #9 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Started with the rear suspension/axle. Pulled out the whole assembly and gave it to a guy that was building a 1948 Chevy truck.











Cut the factory bump stops off. Got the rear half of the frame prepped and painted then slid all the new parts into place.
















I'll wait until things are all in place and back on the ground to finish the trac bar install and order my shocks.
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post #10 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Then I moved on to the front. Stripped the suspension out, painted the frame and undercoated the wheel wells and bottom of the bed. All new parts up front to include rotors/pads. wheel bearings and seals, spindles, springs, control arms and bushings. I also took the time to swap the power steering box for a manual unit.


Out with the old:














All painted up:







In with the new:







New to memanual box as it was when I bought it:











And after some elbow grease and paint:




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post #11 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Around this time, I was trying to order replacement axle shafts for my new housing.The shafts were measuring at 29" which was 4wd length. After some research I determined that I had a non-ZR2 4wd 8.5" 10 bolt. NOBODY carries off the shelf replacement shafts for this axle so a call to Dutchman Motorsports got me a pair of 30 spline replacements.









Got my best little buddy out into the garage with me to help rebuild the rear brakes.









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post #12 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:55 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Please say you're going to leave the body untouched!

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post #13 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

I had previously picked up a set of Weld Prostars on craigslist. I had recoated them in semi gloss black and was super pumped to run them. Once I determined that my axle was about 4" wider than I had planned, they had to go! Way to much wheel sticking out past the bed sides.









I ended up selling those wheels and ordering a full set of the JEGS SSR racing wheels. 15x8 in the rear with 5.5" of backspacing. Fronts are 15x4's. I also ordered some Nitto Drag Radials and front runners.









Even with the increased backspacing of the new wheels, I was not happy with the amount of tire that stuck out past the bedside. I remembered seeing some pictures of 1st gens with the factory flares and remembered that they add about an inch of coverage over the rear tires. A trip to the local junk yard yielded a pair of rear flares. I snagged some front fender moldings as well and painted them all with some high quality black trim paint after a good scrub and scuff.


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post #14 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 10:02 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

I was going to ask about leaving the patina too. Do you have the rubber snubbers for those slapper bars?

Pull those bedsides. lol

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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Got the brake system flushed out and replaced all of the soft lines plus the rear hard brake lines on the axle. Had my wife come out to the garage to help me get the brakes flushed and bled.


Nice and tidy!



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post #16 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Swapped the old mirrors for some off of a Blazer









And then the moment came that I had been waiting for for 2 months. Took it off the jack stands and wheeled it outside for some fresh air!













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post #17 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

A few shots of the squeaky clean undercarriage.




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post #18 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

A little comparison shot of the before and current



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post #19 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

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Originally Posted by ajp89 View Post
Truck looks super clean! I would love to find a rust free 1st gen some day. Nice thread so far.

Thank you sir!

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Please say you're going to leave the body untouched!

The paint and body are going to be left alone for now.

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I was going to ask about leaving the patina too. Do you have the rubber snubbers for those slapper bars?

Pull those bedsides. lol

Yes I do have the snubbers. That's what I was referring to when I said that I would finish up the install once the motor and trans are installed and the suspension squats. The flares actually do a great job of making up the extra width of the axle..

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post #20 of 102 Old 01-15-2017, 10:53 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Good find! I like what you done so far.

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Good find! I like what you done so far.

Thanks! I appreciate it.

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post #22 of 102 Old 01-16-2017, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Santa brought me some parts for the project truck on Christmas day. My wife knows me well!!





Also found a trucks only junk yard about 5 minutes from our new house. The very first section that you come to after walking out the back door is the S10 section! It was meant to be.



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post #23 of 102 Old 01-16-2017, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

After a few months of searching for the right motor for this project, I finally tracked down a guy in Southern Maryland that runs a business buying and parting out Government surplus vehicles. He had a few 96-98 Suburbans in his inventory. After a few emails and texts, I was able to make a deal with him on a low mileage 5.7 Vortec long block. It will get refreshed and maybe some head/cam work pending the budgeted funds allowing for that.


Horrible picture but I will get more once its on the stand.....





Ordered up a new intake from JEGS. I am starting to accumulate enough JEGS stickers that I could probably wallpaper my garage with them.





My daughter gets just as excited to see a box from JEGS as I do!





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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Gonna watch this one. Awesome find on the mint truck. Good fix with the flares and new rims. Looks sharp.

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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

I'm digging this build, and can't wait to see how it turns out.

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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

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Gonna watch this one. Awesome find on the mint truck. Good fix with the flares and new rims. Looks sharp.

Hey thanks brotha! Much appreciated.

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I'm digging this build, and can't wait to see how it turns out.

That makes two of us! haha. Thank you.

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post #27 of 102 Old 01-16-2017, 04:57 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

This is a cool old truck. Very clean underneath, you can tell a lot of work was done under there. The floor pans are very impressive.


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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

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This is a cool old truck. Very clean underneath, you can tell a lot of work was done under there. The floor pans are very impressive.

Thank you sir. I try to keep things looking clean.

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post #29 of 102 Old 01-16-2017, 07:25 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Now that you are in Virginia you just keep off the NC Craigslist. I don't need competition!
Clean looking truck. I will be watching this as well!
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post #30 of 102 Old 01-16-2017, 08:31 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

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After a few months of searching for the right motor for this project, I finally tracked down a guy in Southern Maryland that runs a business buying and parting out Government surplus vehicles. He had a few 96-98 Suburbans in his inventory. After a few emails and texts, I was able to make a deal with him on a low mileage 5.7 Vortec long block.

Is this the guy that always has motors on Craigslist? If so I have talked to him a few times in the past and he has some low mileage motors for good prices for sure.
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post #31 of 102 Old 01-16-2017, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

So I decided to get real ambitious last weekend.


There are a handful of things that I want to accomplish before I begin the motor install. They are:


-Perform an absolute and complete A/C delete to include both inner and outer heater boxes, wiring, and switch panel from a heat only truck.
-Remove all unnecessary wiring from under the dash and in the engine compartment
-Swap the steering column for one out of a 5 speed truck


The best way to get all of these things done at once was to just tear the dash apart. I was super paranoid about damaging my mint condish dash pad but made it through the tear down unscathed.







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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

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Now that you are in Virginia you just keep off the NC Craigslist. I don't need competition!
Clean looking truck. I will be watching this as well!

No promises! haha. Thanks man.

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Is this the guy that always has motors on Craigslist? If so I have talked to him a few times in the past and he has some low mileage motors for good prices for sure.

That's the guy! He is always posting in the Mechanicsville craigslist. This motor supposedly only has 55,000 miles on it. I figured that I couldn't go wrong for the price I paid. He said that his contract with the auction dealer he uses is that he wont buy anything with more than 90,000 miles on it. I will tear in to the motor soon to see what I am dealing with.

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post #33 of 102 Old 01-16-2017, 09:45 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Wow, those floors are immaculate. I doubt ill ever find a truck that clean up here in Canada.
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Truck looks good....you gonna keep that bench seat? Im looking for one in good condition
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Wow, those floors are immaculate. I doubt ill ever find a truck that clean up here in Canada.

I was seriously shocked to find one this clean in Virginia. Things are typically pretty rusty out here.

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Truck looks good....you gonna keep that bench seat? Im looking for one in good condition
Thank you sir! Sorry, but the bench seat is going to stay for the time being.


I had another really clean one from my last S10 but just sold it about a month ago!

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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Following! This build is going to be EPIC!
Subscribed.

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post #37 of 102 Old 01-17-2017, 10:46 AM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

The project looks good man! Definitely will enjoy this one

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post #38 of 102 Old 01-17-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Following! This build is going to be EPIC!
Subscribed.

I hope so man! Ill try to not disappoint.

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The project looks good man! Definitely will enjoy this one

Thanks man! Glad that I'm not the only one that likes it so far.

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post #39 of 102 Old 01-20-2017, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Anyone need a mint condish AM/FM stereo?



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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Shes looking great man. Cant wait to see the motor in.

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post #41 of 102 Old 01-20-2017, 11:51 AM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Finally somebody else from VA. And you aren't that far from me. Truck is looking good man. Is that Woodfin Auto?
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post #42 of 102 Old 01-20-2017, 05:54 PM
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Awesome & inspiring work done here
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post #43 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

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Originally Posted by keystone View Post
Shes looking great man. Cant wait to see the motor in.

Hey thanks man! I am hoping to start work on the motor here shortly.

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Originally Posted by Dime94 View Post
Finally somebody else from VA. And you aren't that far from me. Truck is looking good man. Is that Woodfin Auto?

We need to have a Va S10 get together. I know there are more of us out here. Not sure what Woodfin Auto is so I guess that's a no. Is that a local shop?

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Awesome & inspiring work done here

Much appreciated sir!

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post #44 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 12:24 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Nice work. Can't wait to see it when it's done. I live in Hampton, Va.

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post #45 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Got some more work done over the weekend. It was one of those days where you finish up what you had in front of you and it still looks like you didn't do anything. haha.


Got all of the ducting and inner box from the A/C setup torn out. Cleaned up some stuff under the dash and then installed all of my parts from a "heat only" truck along with a brand new heater core.







Also got the outer heater box installed on the firewall after I got some things cleaned up. This will get painted along with the rest of the engine compartment.



"Hey! Driving is a serious business. I ain't having no accidents just because of you!"
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post #46 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

I had purchased the switch panel from a heat only truck a few months back. It was pretty nasty and faded so I took it all apart, pulled out what I needed, then swapped all of those parts over to the nice switch panel that I had from my truck that came with A/C.


Before:











After:



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post #47 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Finally, and most important, I cleared off some space on my bench in preparation for the steering column tear down.



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post #48 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

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Nice work. Can't wait to see it when it's done. I live in Hampton, Va.

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Really? I wonder if we ever crossed paths? We lived in Hampton for a couple of years. We left there in 2014. Lived right off of East Mercury. I had my static dropped blue '91 back then.

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post #49 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 01:52 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Clean looking truck! Why the A/C delete and skinnies up front, dedicated race truck?

2004 Silverado Z71 ECSB - |Silver Birch Metallic|5.3|Custom Single Exhaust|Method Standards
1993 Mustang LX Hatchback - |Reef Blue|5.0 H.O.|5 Speed|MGW Short Shifter|70MM MAF|MAC Shorty Headers|Pypes O/R X|Spintech Pro Streets|3.55's|
1984 El Camino Conquista - |Black|5.0L|Comp XE262H|Holley 570|700r4 swap|2.41 open rear|
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post #50 of 102 Old 01-23-2017, 01:54 PM
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Re: Bad Grandpa: V8 swapped '87 S15

Woodfin is a junkyard on Genito rd. Looking at your pics and seeing that you were in the Midlothian area, it looked like thats what yard you were at. They are full of S series trucks and blazers.
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