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Lifted 2wd & Bodied 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Thought I'd throw up a thread because I'm pretty excited about this. I am going to be embarking on the journey of attempting to build a crew cab 1st gen. The cool part about this is that the majority of the parts that will compose the truck are just spare/junk/leftover parts that I have laying around from my '91. What really spurred this into action was that a guy I've known for a while was getting rid of his spare parts from his standard cab 1st gen and offered them to me for super cheap, so I took him up on it and now have enough to build the truck.

Here's what I'm getting from him:

1st gen Standard Cab (not sure of exact year but he does have the title)
(2) right side doors (not sure on why there's 2 rights and no lefts)
right side fender
'91-'93 style core support
'91-'93 style grille (I know '93 is different from '91-'92 but I'm not sure which he has)
Hood
Tailgate

All the parts are rust free and came from the same truck that I got my rust free bed for the '91 from (same guy)

I don't have pics of the parts yet because he hasn't delivered them yet but here's a few pics I have of the bed (which is in my shed along with my new cab [also pictured] and my new doors for the '91)








The rest of the body parts will be coming from the old/rusty body that is currently on my '91, awaiting being replaced by the new cab/bed seen in the pics plus the doors I also have. I know that a lot of you guys have said that the body on my '91 "looks great" and that it "doesn't look rusty" or that the "body looks straight" and I would agree with you on those aspects based on pictures of it. But in reality, the bottoms of the doors are rusted out, the rockers are rusted out, the windshield frame was rusted and leaked, and the Xcab corners (lower bodyline down) had been replaced at some point and instead of using a contoured patch panel made for the truck whoever fixed it used flat/straight metal, so the lower section of the cab does not match the contour that the doors and bed have. So that is why the cab is being replaced, however, for this project it won't affect much because a majority of the stuff will be cut out/not used and the rest can be fixed easily during the build process. As far as the bed goes, when I was in high school I fixed a small amount of rust as well as some shoddy bodywork around the wheelwells of the bed and painted it to match the truck, but the whole inner box of the bed is pretty rusted out. So that is why a new bed was in store for the '91. For this project the good bedsides will be used to create dually fenders that I will affix to the side of a longbed (when I find one) and the rest of the bed will get scrapped.

Here's some pics of the old/original body of the '91









Then as far as the frame is concerned, a while ago (sometime in 2006) I bought a longbed S10 rolling chassis which I planned to use to build a backhalf for the '95 Work Truck that would incorporate the '76 Corvette IRS that I have. I still plan on doing this some day, so that is why have kept the '95 cab instead of parting it out. I wanted a long bed frame because the straight frame section (the part that lays flat on the ground when laying frame) is longer on the longbed frame due to the rise in the frame for the axle being the same length on all trucks due to the use of the same leaf springs. So on a longbed that rise is simply spaced farther back in the frame by having the longer straight section under the cab/front of the bed. Then the overhang behind the leafspring hangers is also longer on the longbed frame vs. a shortbed frame. The longer straight section under the cab makes it much easier to tie the new rails into the stock frame when building the backhalf, versus having to match the angle of the rise in the frame where it goes over the axle or having to narrow the rear clip while in that angle. So thats why I chose the longbed frame for that application. Since that frame will be getting cut in half right behind the combo cab/bed mount I will still have the entire stock longbed rear frame clip, which will be used on this truck. The combo mount will stay with the front section of the frame for the IRS truck, and I will buy new combo mounts for the frame I will build for this crew cab (they're like $25ea new). I will probably narrow the rear clip so that I'm able to fit nice wide true dually's in the rear.

For the front frame clip, when I was in my soph/jr year of MET at Purdue I had to do a project for a class and I decided I wanted to use a CMM (coordinate measuring machine) to build a 3D model of a pair of 4wd S10 control arms, because while working at a junkyard at the time I had seen enough of them to know that if I could build tubular arms for them I could find a way to bag a 4wd and keep the shafts in (keeping the 4wd functional [although the binding of the shafts would be another problem to solve so that driving while low would be possible]). So in preparation for that project I got an entire 4wd S10 front frame clip from the junkyard I worked for for FREE, including the front diff and everything. Unfortunately, the project never saw any action since the partner I was working with had an 'easier alternative' and we ended up doing his thing. So, since I hung onto that I will be using that as the front frame clip for this truck. At one point I removed the steering linkage and used it in conjunction with some 2wd linkage to create a linkage that got no bump steer or toe change throughout the range of travel of a 2wd S10 suspension, so there is no longer steering linkage on the frame clip, however, I can simply replace that with new parts so that is not a big deal. Since the 4wd tubular arms project never got off the ground, a big part of this project will be to finally do that project, so that when finished this truck will be a fully functional 4wd with the ability to lay 22s and get 10+ inches of lift (hopefully more). I'm hoping that what I'm able to build for this can help others such as JimHrabe with his Syclone so he can return it to AWD form yet still lay out


Then to complete the frame I will lay new 3x3x1/4 tubing down in between the 2 clips to set the wheelbase and tie everything together as well as facilitate the stock floor bodydrop. I don't have pictures of the frames now but when the project gets rolling I will get plenty



Then comes the hardest part of the project: Building the cab

Every attempt at building a crew cab 1st gen that I've seen so far has been undertaken by blending the front of a 4 door blazer with the back of a standard cab S10. I myself knew this as the best way to do it until following markviiisvt4's build thread "Project Crewd Attitude" CLICK HERE TO VIEW HIS THREAD. In his build he discovered that the width of the doors and doorjambs on the rear doors of the blazer are narrower than the width of the jambs of the front doors of any of the other 1st gen trucks. This would pose a problem when going to graft the fronts of the rear blazer doors with rears of front doors because either one would have to be narrowed or the other would have to be widened. Plus, when using a blazer front half there is the issue of the blazer having a taller roof than a pickup. So all the blazer roof supports and the pillars need to be reworked and shortened so that the entire roof can be re-skinned with pickup roof skins.

Here are a few pics from his build thread showing the different width jambs as well as the taller roof:







His truck has now been sold to Cesare who has plans to finish it but hasn't had time to make any progress yet. Here's a few more pics of the truck as a whole (as far as it got at least)





Also, for his rear doors he set them up to be 35.5" with an door opening of 36". I'm not sure what a 2nd gen crewcab's rear door length is but instead of just 'guessing' like he did on his truck I plan to make my cab to the exact same dimensions as a 2nd gen crew cab (so I'll need to get the measurements off of one... anybody want to take some for me?? :D)

Another build/thread that I have referenced is that of layNrkr as he also attempts to build a crewcab. His thread can be found HERE, and here is a photo of his progress so far





Some of the first/older attempts at building a crewcab that I have seen would use the majority of the blazer rear doors, and then fill in the wheelwell area with a patch from a front door. Here's a few pics of one of the first ones I ever saw (years ago)





You can see how it is very difficult to make the back door's windows line up with the back cab wall from the standard cab, as well as how the rear window is larger overall than the front and it just looks goofy. Plus the taller blazer roof looks out of place when it abruptly ends at the back of the cab. Here's another truck done the same way



Even when fully filled in and bodyworked the rear windows and taller roof still look out of place. Seeing the way these were built made me know I wanted to build mine differently. And it seems that other people felt the same. There are several other crewcab 1st gens that are much more along the lines of how I will build mine, but I'm pretty sure most of them also used the blazer/standard cab combo (but I cannot confirm that).

Here is the one that looks the closest to the final product that I'm hoping to achieve










I like how this truck turned out because the dimensions of the crewcab appear very stock, and the use of the front door window channels and metal makes everything flow together very nicely. From the last pic it seems that both the front and rear doors are the same width (wide front jambs used front and rear), so if it indeed was a blazer front that was used he would have widened out the jamb on the blazer parts. The ribs in the roof also lead me to believe that it was a blazer/truck combo, but the low, truck roofline means they either trimmed the blazer roof supports down and brought the roof down to truck height, or the cab was built from a combination of truck cabs and blazer ribs were spliced in. The one thing I DO NOT like about this truck (or any of the others that I have seen done like this) is that the front window area of the rear doors is built using the back side of a front door from the opposite side. Since the back of the cabs is angled forward slightly, when flipping them to the opposite side of the truck it makes the front of the rear door window angle backwards, leaving the metal/body between the front and rear windows thicker at the top of the window and thinner at the bottom. It also makes the rear windows thin at the top and thick at the bottom which puts them out of 'square' and makes them look goofy.

The 'GM prototype' crewcab truck looks this way also, as does the purple crew cab Xcab















What I'm talking about is the most evident in the 2nd to last picture (of the purple truck with the door open)


Up until this point in my knowledge of how to build a crewcab, using the combo blazer rear door/truck front door to build the rear doors was all I knew, but I knew that I wanted to do differently the things I just pointed out. HOWEVER, after seeing pictures of the following crew cab seen at Midwest Camp 'n Drag 2010, my knowledge of the best way to build a crewcab was changed drastically. Behold:









With this truck, the way they built the rear doors was to use a full front door, but simply cut the front edge off at the length they wanted the rear doors to be. This means that everything at the back of the door will line up with the back of the cab used to make the crewcab. Then only some minor patchwork to the front/top area of the rear doors is required to line everything up (which can be completed either with a section from that area of a blazer rear door [like they seem to have done], or with the back of a front door from the opposite side of the truck (like the silver dually, 'GM prototype', and purple truck have done). To me, this seems much simpler than having to piece together 2 major sections of 2 different doors. At first when I saw this truck, the low truck-style roofline as well as the placement of the roof splice (as seen in the last photo) let me to believe that it was 2 truck cabs spliced together. Although when I look at it now it seems that the bare metal at the edge where the roof connects to the tops of the doors leads me to believe that it is a blazer front with the roof sectioned down to be truck height. The B-pillar fronts from the blazer that are welded to the fronts of the rear doors match the roof/cab/front doors so that is another reason I believe it is a blazer front.


However, when I thought it was a truck front, it really sparked me into realizing that the combination of 2 truck cabs, an extended cab front and a standard cab rear, could be the simplist, easiest way to build a crewcab 1st gen, coupled with the way of building the doors seen in the example of the last truck. So that is how I intend to build mine. I will be using the front of the '91s Xcab, coupled to the rear of the new standard cab. The jambs will all be the same width this way, as will the height of the roof. And by building the bottom of the b-pillar out of the door hinge area of the standard cab and the jamb/latch area of the Xcab, that only leaves me from the window up to fab from parts of other doors/trucks. I personally feel this will be the easiest way to do it, and hopefully as this build progresses I will be proven right.


To round out the intent of the build, I will say now that I will eventually be acquiring a 4 speed auto trans as well as a transfer case and will then do either a carbed 350 or a Vortec 5.7 or something along those lines for the motor. I'm leaning towards carbed because of simplicity but when trying to operate the trans and transfer case it may be easier to get newer electronic models of those and that is why I think then I'd go with the Vortec motor, since the computer to run the trans/transfer case would already have to be on the truck. Then lastly, for a while now I've had an accessory set off of an '84 Corvette that sits very low and should clear a stock hood, so that will be run on whatever type of smallblock I end up putting in the truck. That is also why I will not be doing an LS motor in this truck


So stay tuned, but be aware that progress will be slow. Sorry if I made your head hurt with this novel... just wanted to cover all my bases and be perfectly clear about what it is that I am doing.

Thanks for looking!

-Brent
 

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There is something cool about the crew cab 1st gen. I like the duallys the most.
 

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2.2 Auto FTW
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2,957 Posts
I hope this gets done, I like the thought put into it to make it look real. Sounds like a great idea and game plan. Considering what you already have and the plan you have, you basically need to build the cab and extend your frame (minus all the details involved obviously). Best of luck to you. I will surely be watching this.
 

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I need to get movin
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holy term paper batman lol im excited to see this too, first gen crews are pretty slick and i think i like the last one mostly because of the short bed versus all the others with long beds
 

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Lifted 2wd & Bodied 4x4
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13,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the good words guys. Originally I was going to build it as a crewcab short bed like the one in the last pics since I already have a short bed. But then I'd have to shorten the longbed frame clip and the bed I have is really rusty inside the bed, plus I've always wanted to build a crewcab longbed dually S10 and since I basically have all the parts to do it I figured why not. And I have some tricks up my sleeves as to how I can fit 22s under the hood of a 1st gen, so that may also play into this build. Then maybe this can become a year-round daily driver thanks to the 4wd... We'll see
 

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Lifted 2wd & Bodied 4x4
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13,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another reason for doing the longbed/dually is that since the front end is a 4wd frame clip if I did a non-dually I would have to run a fwd offset wheel to be able to tuck and lay out, whereas by building it to be a dually I have room to run an adapter/spacer on the 4wd front end and when a dually wheel goes on it will end up sitting at a 2wd track width
 

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1st Gen Crew Cab Cult
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3,817 Posts
holy gezz to much reading.. lol

just a quick question and you may have already touched on it but are you more or less keeping the roof like the truck version or blazer version?
 

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Lifted 2wd & Bodied 4x4
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13,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's a couple pictures I meant to put up. The first is a pic of the accessory set that I have off of the '84 Corvette



Next is another 1st gen crew cab that I've seen (supposedly it's laying pinch on 23s and from the pic I'd say that's true). I would LOVE to see more pics or get more info on this truck to see how they built the cab




Lastly, I forgot to mention that for the axle I will be using an S10 7-5/8" rear for now since I have one as part of my spare parts, but eventually I will probably get an axle out of a 2500HD fullsize so that the truck is ready to go as an 8 lug, and then I only have to buy 5-to-8 lug adapters for the front and I will be set to roll dually wheels which for the time being would probably be just 16s
 

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Lifted 2wd & Bodied 4x4
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13,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
holy gezz to much reading.. lol

just a quick question and you may have already touched on it but are you more or less keeping the roof like the truck version or blazer version?
I'm not using any part of a blazer, this cab will be built 100% from truck cabs
 

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1st Gen Crew Cab Cult
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3,817 Posts
good luck with the project man have fun with it too.. ill be getting back to mine after the datsuns drivable
 

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DELIBERATE DESIGNS
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8,136 Posts
Brent, how long does it take you to write your posts? :eek:

Sounds good man, id have to agree on the rear windows, gotta have em sit square in order for them to look good.

I'd be interested to see how you got that no toe change 2wd suspension to work with the 4wd linkages. I have an idea that I think would work with modified 2wd tie rod linkages but i am yet to get any further with it. Would like to build a set and run around with them on a daily before even trying them on an adjustable suspension setup. Hopefully that idea would also eliminate the terrible bumpsteer these trucks have. But then your getting into the relm that it may just be easier to build a one off IFS setup and make your life 10 times easier. lol.

Lookin forward to seeing this start. I almost forgot what the 91 looked like. haha!
 

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Lifted 2wd & Bodied 4x4
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13,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Brent, how long does it take you to write your posts? :eek:
Haha yeah they're long lol. I think I started that first post around 8am and finished it up right before I posted it. We're slow at work so I can get away with sneaking onto the forum on and off throughout the day (as I'm sure a lot of you have noticed by my daytime presence here lol)

Sounds good man, id have to agree on the rear windows, gotta have em sit square in order for them to look good.
Yes sir. I will also be doing the upper upper bodyline (the one under the windows) in a way no one has ever done, but that should look amazing. My '91 will be the same way

I'd be interested to see how you got that no toe change 2wd suspension to work with the 4wd linkages. I have an idea that I think would work with modified 2wd tie rod linkages but i am yet to get any further with it. Would like to build a set and run around with them on a daily before even trying them on an adjustable suspension setup. Hopefully that idea would also eliminate the terrible bumpsteer these trucks have. But then your getting into the relm that it may just be easier to build a one off IFS setup and make your life 10 times easier. lol.
Yeah I ended up just modding the 2wd linkages and scrapping all the 4wd linkage stuff because it was all hacked up. I shortened the overall length of the tie rods and then custom built the center link to put the inner tie rod ball joints in a position where they lined up with the pivot points of the upper and lower arms. It worked beautifully but the guy who's truck it was took it to a buddy's house to work on it and his buddy and buddy's dad switched it all back to stock because they "didn't get it" (why it wasn't stock) :rolleyes:

Lookin forward to seeing this start. I almost forgot what the 91 looked like. haha!
Haha yeah me too lol. Hopefully that beast will be in my garage sometime this week. Just gotta coordinate with my buddy to get over there and get the storage unit emptied out. But he plows so I have to work around the weather now too :(

I'm not anticipating much happening on this new project til probably after the snow clears up (as long as it's not snowing I can park the Sonoma outside... rain doesn't matter to me). But the parts for this one should be to my house this week sometime as well.



I'm a hoarder :haha:
 

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Lifted 2wd & Bodied 4x4
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13,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
ill be watching this, im gonna assume you will be lowering it, if you said that then i missed it because i just skimmed through your essay lol but were it up to me i would say lift it
It will be bodydropped to the rocker, yet maintain functional 4wd
 

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DELIBERATE DESIGNS
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Yeah I ended up just modding the 2wd linkages and scrapping all the 4wd linkage stuff because it was all hacked up. I shortened the overall length of the tie rods and then custom built the center link to put the inner tie rod ball joints in a position where they lined up with the pivot points of the upper and lower arms. It worked beautifully but the guy who's truck it was took it to a buddy's house to work on it and his buddy and buddy's dad switched it all back to stock because they "didn't get it" (why it wasn't stock) :rolleyes:
Ill have to look into that. I am hating the toe change i get through ride height and i know i will have hella bumpsteer when riding low.
 

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4 Doors FTW
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198 Posts
Subscribed!!! Good luck with this project!!
 
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