Project: Blue Beast - S-10 Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 05-15-2019, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Project: Blue Beast

Recently I've been getting some PM's asking for pictures and info and such... Better late than never I suppose.

Quick introduction...

This project started about uh... 6 years ago? Yeah... around 2013 summer.
1998 GMC Sonoma Ext. Cab SLS, originally Pewter Metallic, repainted to Laguna Blue. The truck has been in the family since 2000', it was bought used with about 20k on the clock. I daily drove it in my college days and then after I put it in storage for a number of years.

The name comes from a few shops that it's been to. The most common phrase we hear is "This thing is a beast!".

This was a father & son project. A shared hobby for my dad and I. Majority of it we worked on together, some things he did, some things I did. I was more on the electrical/engine side. A lot of things we did together, fighting a transmission is a lot easier with two people! He was more on the restoration side and fussy things like brake line clips, fixing door handles, little brackets for this or that etc. Combined we have about ~2,000 hours into the project.

Major Items:

Engine Bay:
LS3 6.2L bored 0.020" over, 24x LQ9 crank, stock Gen IV rods, flat top hypereutectic pistons, Mahle rings.
Started life as a bare block LS3 w/ 20k on it, and a donor LQ9. Had local engine shop polish, and balance the crank, match the rods & pistons, and blueprint & assemble the block with rotating assembly. Upgraded extra wide Gen V LT-1/4 cam bearings.
LS3 CNC heads, BTR dual springs .650 lift, Ti retainers, 3/8" 0.080" wall chromoly rods, factory rockers with bronze bushed trunnions.
LS9 head gaskets
Cam Motion 222/228 on 112+2 .598/.598
Stock ignition system using truck coils.
Melling High Volume Oil Pump
ATI damper
ARP hardware through and through.
LS3 intake manifold, stock 42lb hr. stubby LS3 injectors.
Carbon Fiber Intake piping, screened 5pin MAF. Homebrew filter box w/ rubber flappy lid hiding a blue cone K&N filter.
92mm Warr TB
Racetronix fuel pump & FPR, -8 supply, -6 return, billet fuel rails all lines braided PTFE, rail mounted FP sensor wired to EGR inputs on PCM.
Holley 302-1 Oil Pan
Polished Holley Accessory Drive,
170amp alternator with upgraded power and ground wiring throughout.
LEE Power Steering Vette TC-II P/S Pump -10 supply -6 high pressure all lines braided PTFE
LEE P/S Reservoir
CPW Radiator & overflow tank. Stant Rad Cap, 20psi IIRC...
CPW Engine brackets, condenser, hood latch relocation bracket.
CPW main harness, with modifications later on by me for other items.
Controlled by Blue/Green Express Van PCM
Wide Band Bosch 4.9 LSU o2 sensors reading through PLX Devices AFR modules.
Dual Spal low profile 12" fans mounted to custom radiator shroud with RTMR relay/fuse panel, series/parallel hi/low setup.

Trans:
Built 4L65E (all the usual goodies) hardened input/output shafts, w/ Circle D 2,400rpm converter, chromoly yoke.
Trucool trans cooler w/ AN 6 fittings & stainless braided rubber lines.

Driveshaft:
Custom 3.5" w/ 1350 universals, upgraded mid-ship shaft to 1.5" 15 on 16 spline through upgraded AAM carrier bearing.

Rear end:
Explorer 8.8" not narrowed, custom Moser axles w/ corrected BCD and step pilot for explorer rotor/vette rim. Center tubes fully welded. T/A diff cover.
3.73 factory gears using original Trac lok.

Brakes:
Hydro boost, stainless lines end to end.
Front: C6 calipers w/ Z51 rotors.
Rear: Stock Explorer calipers & rotors, parking brake fully working.
EBC Redstuff Pads, slotted cryo rotors, ARP wheel studs.

Wheels:
18x8.5 deep dish Z06 replicas wrapped in 245/40ZR18 BFG KDW's
19x10 deep dish Z06 replicas wrapped in 285/35ZR19 BFG KDW's

Suspension:
Front: SPC Lower Control Arms, SPC double adj. upper control arms, AFX spindles.
ZQ8 sway bar, greaseable poly mounts, BT Street Perf. Shocks & Moog Springs
Rear: Cal-trac split monoleaf springs, solid alum. bushed eyes, Calvert adj. shocks, Cal-trac traction bars.
Lee Power Steering 670 series alum. Steering Gear 12:1 ratio.
ZQ8 sway bar rear w/ greaseable poly mounts.
~3" drop front, ~3" drop rear.

Body:
Xtreme aftermarket kit (though only have the lower bumper on at this point)
Custom tailgate w/ LED halo vette lights w/ sequential blink, white LED reverse lights in roll pan.
Bed shaved brake lights, line-x'd, custom aluminum piano tonneau cover on electric lift actuators.
Tailgate wire harness is fed through the passenger side tailgate hinge.
Street Scene mirrors w/ LED turn signals
LED lower turn signals in grille, aftermarket clear uppers. Currently stock lighting system. It doesn't get driven in the dark much.
LED rear side markers that are wired for turn signal... its a requirement of the law here when your brake lights don't wrap around the corner.
Rear backup sensors.
Hood struts because why not?

Interior:
Restored or matched to original, sand coloured cloth 60/40 bucket seats w/ rebuilt foams, fresh carpet, rebuilt door panels.
Mirror changed to full size for set-screw clip, temperature, auto dimming, and compass.
Cluster swapped to speedo/tach (originally had single large speedo).
All panels lined w/ b quiet.

Misc.
The truck was rebuilt from the ground up, every single part has been on/off probably 5x min, and sometimes like 10+ times. Not a spec of rust anywhere on it.
All of the electrical work matches factory specs for wire/connector type. Some variation in colour.
Factory ABS is fully functional.
Factory EVAP was maintained.
True dual 2.5" S.S. exhaust c/w high flow cats, x-pipe, resonators, dual Borla mufflers out through 3" inner bevel quad tips.
The radio is a 20yr old Pioneer unit that can play CD's... I haven't changed it because I don't listen to music. Prefer the wind, road, and engine for sound.
Fully appraised and insured under agreed value classic/modified policy, 100% street legal.

Things to finish:
Haven't wired backup sensors yet... some day.
Need to figure out tonneau lift switch location.
Need to finish A/C system waiting on modified HP lines.
Needs some more dyno time to get the tune dialed in a bit better.
Need to put skirts on, though I kind of like them off...
Blue LED backlit bowtie for the grille...

Pictures:

I'll start from more current, if there is anything specific that anyone wants to see, let me know I've got too many pics...







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post #2 of 32 Old 05-15-2019, 05:19 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Very sharp truck !!!!
You can see the attention to detail.

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post #3 of 32 Old 05-15-2019, 06:03 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Nice work...needs the skirts tho...imo.

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post #4 of 32 Old 05-15-2019, 09:20 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

nice touch painting the PCM
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post #5 of 32 Old 05-16-2019, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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Originally Posted by dime-dozen View Post
nice touch painting the PCM
Yeah, it was used, so quite gnarly. Roloc wheel'd it clean, sanded it, decided to go with blue. Debated for a long time whether to smooth and paint the intake or leave it black. Decided on leaving it black with a few blue accents around the engine bay, coils, PCM, plug wires etc.
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post #6 of 32 Old 05-16-2019, 09:09 AM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Thanks! Better late than never.

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post #7 of 32 Old 05-17-2019, 12:47 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Nice truck! The color is awesome. That cam must drive close to factory, all while still laying it down when necessary. I am interested in your air box setup, i've scratched my heard for a few years on fixing my current HAI. I know this is a personal taste thing so please don't take any offense, I think caddy tail lights would look the **** on that thing. Also would the mirror directional satisfy the "side directional" part of the law?

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post #8 of 32 Old 05-17-2019, 01:21 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

What are the holes for along the top of the roll pan for?


Never mind...back up sensors.

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post #9 of 32 Old 05-17-2019, 01:34 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

suggestion for tonneau lift switch location- inside gas door- mini rocker in upper side of fill neck

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post #10 of 32 Old 05-17-2019, 11:02 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Hello,

That's a great truck.

I have a question about the 8.8 -- you said it wasn't narrowed. What offset do you have on the front and rear wheels? Are you running spacers on the fronts, or are the fronts a different offset?

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post #11 of 32 Old 05-18-2019, 12:29 AM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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suggestion for tonneau lift switch location- inside gas door- mini rocker in upper side of fill neck
I don't think I'd put it there...a little spilled gas, a stray spark from the switch....

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post #12 of 32 Old 05-18-2019, 12:42 AM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Corvette tails, or any tails on the tailgate, and lights in side mirrors have always been super gaudy, but other than that truck looks awesome. Needs the rest of the xtreme kit.




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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Rhot- inside in the top rim- marine grade mini rocker- no see'um

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post #14 of 32 Old 05-18-2019, 12:01 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

How about getting a Blazer FOB with the extra button for the rear window? Not sure if that's a momentary switch, tho. Wouldn't matter if it's wired for one.
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post #15 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadReligion View Post
Nice truck! The color is awesome. That cam must drive close to factory, all while still laying it down when necessary. I am interested in your air box setup, i've scratched my heard for a few years on fixing my current HAI. I know this is a personal taste thing so please don't take any offense, I think caddy tail lights would look the **** on that thing. Also would the mirror directional satisfy the "side directional" part of the law?
Nope, must be located in the rear quarter of the vehicle, mirror directional are too far forward.

Yeah, lot of personal taste, I've never seen a caddy tail conversion I've liked. I think they all look terrible. Then again Im not a fan of most actual caddy's in general.
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post #16 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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Hello,

That's a great truck.

I have a question about the 8.8 -- you said it wasn't narrowed. What offset do you have on the front and rear wheels? Are you running spacers on the fronts, or are the fronts a different offset?
Yeah, fronts run 2.5" adapters. +56F/+59R IIRC.
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post #17 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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Corvette tails, or any tails on the tailgate, and lights in side mirrors have always been super gaudy, but other than that truck looks awesome. Needs the rest of the xtreme kit.
Personal opinion I suppose... the Olds front grille is also super gaudy.
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post #18 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 04:15 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

I like how you did things under the hood. I would like to see some detailed pics of the intake and filter set up? It looks very well thought out.

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post #19 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 07:09 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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I like how you did things under the hood. I would like to see some detailed pics of the intake and filter set up? It looks very well thought out.
I was thinking the same thing,

did you relocate the alternator?
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post #20 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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I like how you did things under the hood. I would like to see some detailed pics of the intake and filter set up? It looks very well thought out.
LOL I'll try to get some this week, it is in the prototype stage, the mock up is made from 1/4" plywood. Currently it has a rubber flappy lid, but thoughts on the next iteration are to simply extend the sides up and use a rubber bulb gasket to seal to the underside of the hood. Though it remains a toss up as to whether we want the filter visible or not...
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post #21 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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I was thinking the same thing,

did you relocate the alternator?
No... that's the Holley high mount setup in Corvette offset. We managed to sneak a 4" dia tube between the radiator shroud/rad fan housing edge, and the alternator pulley. There's around 3/16" of an inch of clearance between the tube and the pulley rim. That said it has never touched, and the engine when rev'd or under load, frankly doesn't move in the engine mounts at all.

In mid or long offset my setup would not have worked.
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post #22 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Some of the time it spent in autobody jail:


The painter is a friend of the family, Jim, he let us work in his shop on weekends when no-one was around. We spent a few weeks fitting the aluminum tonneau cover and setting up the lift struts.





The third door was one of the single biggest regrets we had on this truck. The hinge pins and bushings are not common in length, diameter, or knurl with the front door hinges. Unfortunately the clown Jim had working for him misplaced/lost the originals...

They're out of production parts that no GM dealer or online parts place has, and LMC was back-ordered indefinitely on them. I still have an outstanding order with them incase some day they ever produce more.
[
We ended up going through the yard and pounding out the pins and bushings from 3 trucks to get all the parts we needed in good enough condition. Took a lot of work to get that door working right again without sagging, and getting it to latch properly both to the frame, and with the front door... Word to the wise, never take your third door off unless you absolutely have to!!!

The front quarter panels had seen too many Canadian winters, so we got aftermarket which were surprisingly good quality in fit/finish/hole locations etc.


Getting fresh'


Wish i'd pulled the sides at this point (or rather just prior to this point), still might a year or two from now...


That gaudy' tailgate... originally it had the license plate in it like the C5's, but it looked too gaudy, so the license plate got flushed and we went with a roll pan and plate below.


Oh, we also replaced the front windshield, and the rear glass. It used to have the sliding rear window, but the trim was rotting and it was leaking in a corner. We never used the window, and I wanted the smooth look of a 1pc rear, the 3pc also sticks out farther, so the 1pc was definitely nicer.
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post #23 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

So the project took soo long that we actually did it arse backwards... we did all the body work, and then we did the engine swap.

We never actually planned to swap the engine, we just wanted to paint it and restore it. But it spent more than a year and a half in the body shop... mostly sitting in the barn waiting behind a bunch of other customer's project vehicles.

Roll pan was fully welded in, none of that bolt in business. Though I still have to get to that... there's a bottom lip on the underside I need to add drain holes to... currently it'll hold a bit of water in the track so that's not good...


The cab corners behind the inner fenders needed some TLC... we had to cut some areas out, weld in new, and patch it up.


We cleaned the back frame while we could and painted it (and everything else for w/e reason) black... the exhaust didn't matter, that's an old magnaflow dual out kit (I liked it, it sounded great for many years). The whole exhaust system got replaced when we did the swap.


Once it was back from the shop, we cleaned the front. The frame was in amazing condition given it'd seen many a good 6 or 7 salty winters. We undercoated the truck every year with krown… it paid dividends when it came to the frame.



Oh yeah, we notched the crossmember for the holley pan... The cross member material measured out to around 3/16" Th. its not exactly 3/16th, a few thou underside, and also not consistent likely due to the way its formed. We used 1/4" plate welded back in. Pretty sure its stronger now than before we started, plus it fit the oil pan... the important part y'know.

if I ever had to do this again, I'd have jigged the frame, and cut the cross member right out just below the engine mounts, welded in flat plates on both sides, and a bent tubular center section. There are 2 oil pan bolts that are hella-fun to get at, since they're directly above the center of the cross member... Good luck with that...




Its not in this picture but later on we ended up clearancing the body seam on the top of the trans tunnel with the ol BFH. Its such a stupid seam... way bigger than it needs to be. GM coulda done better but they chose not to for cost measures probably.


POR-15... not sure I'd use the product again, its a bit expensive for what it is in my view... Their seam filler and seam putty though, great stuff!


Don't worry... we painted the firewall/trans tunnel... Decided to go black instead of blue. I preferred it just disappear and people not look back there.
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post #24 of 32 Old 05-20-2019, 11:18 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Man that was a lot of work. Results are worth it.
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post #25 of 32 Old 05-21-2019, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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Man that was a lot of work. Results are worth it.
Yeah... I speak from experience when I comment on people's project threads about their laundry list of project wants/to-do's. Been there, done it, know what a pita it is to remove x to do y and the things you'll get side tracked on and want to fix/replace along the way.

Def. don't regret the project at all though, but it has soured me some on other projects. People often want way too much money for half finished projects, or completed projects that are kind of crap. Blame TV for that I guess...
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post #26 of 32 Old 05-21-2019, 08:14 AM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Are you saying the media is fake?

Is that the IPCW all chrome grille I see in your Avatar? I just put one on my 99 to compliment the chrome front and rear bumpers. But have been hearing they don't holdup very long. How long have you had it?
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post #27 of 32 Old 05-21-2019, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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Are you saying the media is fake?

Is that the IPCW all chrome grille I see in your Avatar? I just put one on my 99 to compliment the chrome front and rear bumpers. But have been hearing they don't holdup very long. How long have you had it?
Yes. I've had it about 4 years? The truck has only seen maybe 1,500 miles with it on though, and in sunny warm summer weather.

I had an IPCW Sonoma version before when I daily drove it. It lasted about 3 years before the chrome started to pit. Its the road salts that eat the things. If you daily/winter drive it'll go to poop. Unless you live in places that don't use road salt, or you don't winter drive it.

In terms of the number of clips and all that, it is the same as OEM, and it is sturdy enough. For the price it works and looks great. I've had it on and off probably 20 times, no busted clip stands or cracked parts.
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post #28 of 32 Old 05-22-2019, 08:30 AM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

May I ask the back spacing of your wheels? I am surprised they fit inside the wheel wells. Any input is appreciated....
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post #29 of 32 Old 05-28-2019, 05:56 PM
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Wouldn't it be a boring world if everyone had the same taste? Ultimately the only person you need to please is you so build the truck to suit yourself.
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post #30 of 32 Old 05-29-2019, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Project: Blue Beast

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May I ask the back spacing of your wheels? I am surprised they fit inside the wheel wells. Any input is appreciated....
They're 19x10 +40mm with 285/35R19 tires on an un-narrowed 59.5" Ford 8.8 on a stock 2wd S10 that'd convert to needing 2.5" wheel adapters on both sides (59.5" - 54.5" = 5" / 2 = 2.5").

They've got about 1/2" of clearance to the frame rails, little less to the frame rivets, but no signs there's ever been enough lateral movement to rub.

At one point we had the truck sitting axle on frame, during go-kart stage, so whats that like 5-6" drop? The inner lips of the fenders had about 1/8" clearance to the rubber. At higher ride heights though its fine and I can put a couple hundred lbs in the bed without worry that its going to cut when compressing over bumps.

Any larger though and I'd for sure trim the fender inner lips and/or pull sides. E.g. I doubt like 325/35R19 would fit on a 19x10.5 or 19x12...
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post #31 of 32 Old 06-06-2019, 02:16 PM
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What did you use to strip your frame down that shiny? I’m at that point of the body/ frame almost still have a little stuff to clean up to make the engine bay area look good
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post #32 of 32 Old 06-06-2019, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: GTA, Ontario, Canada
Age: 32
Posts: 1,642

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Re: Project: Blue Beast

Twist knot wire wheels on 4-1/2" angle grinder, both radial and cup. If you use crimp wire wheels, expect to come out a porcupine with a zillion strands stuck in your coveralls. For the love of god wear eye protection .

For really stubborn stuff, you can also use 4" 120 grit flap discs. These are more aggressive and will remove good material if pressed too hard. But a light touch will smooth any bubbled rusty frame areas.

My frame was in pretty good condition so 95% of the work was with wire wheel. Only the top flaps of the spring pockets needed some flap disc.
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