We are still asking: What did you get done on your Bolt today ????
The question, initially posted May 23, 2005, was:
"Whatcha do on your Bolt this weekend?"
After 51,906,997 views, 7378 replies over 185 pages, this thread in General Truck Talk is a happening! And it's not just weekends anymore.
Hello everyone, By seeing this first post you are witnessing a giant leap towards a wish that has been stewing for years. I want to build a street rod, something fun to cruise around in and smoke the tires when I want; I have no tools, no prior experience, no family or friends with knowledge.... just a wife that told me she's tired of hearing me talk about it, so go do it. So I did, I took a loan for $10,000 and bought a truck.
*Disclaimer* I will be shooting out money spent for reference to fuel discussion that could possible help me further along. I know $10,000 is a drop in the bucket big picture and my estimates so far only get me through Stage 1 (see below). I'm very loose on my budget, I have assets and the kids still get to go to college. What I am interested in is avoiding purchasing things that are completely over specced and expensive for my intended use, given my prior knowledge of this being zero please feel free to give inputs as you see fit. Any ? means I have no idea.*Disclaimer*
Here outlines my plan and current status up for full review and scrutiny by this wonderful community, please feel free to offer your advices or comments because everything about this project is new to me and I'm having a blast learning everything I need to know.
Main Goal: Build a fun street rod to cruise around in and smoke the tires when I feel it needs to be done, look cool doing it, and learn all the interesting things about building cars that I have always wanted to learn (engine swapping, front/rear suspension upgrading, sheet metal welding).
Stage 1: Strip truck to the frame and upgrade everything bottom-up, stage 1 goal is to be drivable on the road with any money/time spent on the cab being strictly for that goal like glass replacement, seat belts and dash functionality. Intended upgrades: Drivetrain, suspension, disc brakes all around. Stage 2: Structure and rust fixes all around, stage 2 goal is to have all panels fixed for a solid ride. The exterior petina is going to be preserved as much as possible Stage 3: Cab interior restoration; paint, carpet, sound deadening, nice seats the works..... timeline will probably be when my son inherits this beast but I'm fine with that.
- Current status: Truck is on jack stands with the front clip and bumper removed. - Immediate Future goals: Remove hood, rear fenders, bed. Bed will be placed outside on pallets with rear fenders inside, pieces of plywood will be put on top of the bed with the front clip placed on top of the wood. This will be wrapped tightly to prepare for winter. The cab will be pulled off and put on flat dollies and wheeled to the corner of the garage. Stock power train will be pulled and sold on marketplace for $300?. Frame will be repositioned to the back of the garage perpendicular to our cars so I can park my daily driver in the garage for winter. Frame will be cleaned with a wire cup and treated with POR15.
Breakdown of Stage 1 purchases and intended upgrades: Truck: 1954 3100 - $5000 Bought beginner assortment of tools (Harbor Freight): 3/8 SAE/Metric wrenches & sockets, extensions, breaker bars, 1/2 drive Dewalt impact wrench, SAE/Metric impact sockets, floor jack, jack stands, engine hoist - $1000 Engine/transmission: Any junkyard LS with Transmission that I can find. Will probably be a 5.3 - Estimate $500 ? Driveline: Junkyard driveline that's longer than I need, have it shortened using a local shop - $? IFS/Rear suspension: Suspension [zigsstreetrods.com] Suspension kit #1 w/ power rack $2600 Rear end: This is where I need help; I need a rear end that will fit the space, have disk brakes and be good for my intentions. I have read a S10 4X4 rear axle fits perfectly but it's lmited slip which doesn't work for the whole smoking the tires thing. Buy welder: welder [hobartwelders.com] $600
Ok that's it for now. Expectation vs reality is fully acknowledged and scope creep is expected. Please give me your advices, concerns and recommendations, I have a lot to learn.
Seriously, there is nothing more valuable than someone with a different perspective and some basic skills.
I would also strongly recommend going to an LS swap forum and reading about the ins and outs of that swap. You will need to either build or buy a standalone harness for that engine and get a tune to remove the VATS.
As far as your axle question, the 4x4 S10 axle will fit. Some had LSD, some don't. When you are at the junkyard, check the RPO codes and if it has a G80 then it is the limited slip.
As light as the truck is, a used 5.3L will easily spin the tires even with an LSD unless you put pretty wide meats on the back.
As a note of encoragement, I did my first LS swap with just the internet for help. It took me about a year and I spent about $2000 on it. That car is still on the road with that engine 15 years later.
58 Apache, long bed fleetside, V8 w/SM420 Drivable but the rear axle needs work.
One other suggestion that I might make is to go with a one piece IFS if you really want to go that direction. Something like the T232-2202-00 from Ziggs.
The alignment of all of the pieces in the front suspension is absolutely critical to safe operation and proper function. A one piece unit like that will be much easier to assemble and install.
Make sure you spend plenty of time with your welder practicing before you do any frame welding. Or better yet, get someone with experience/training to weld the IFS in. It is really easy to have a weld that looks fine, but does not penetrate and will fail at the most inopportune time.
If a weld on your bumper mount fails, it looks ugly and maybe you do some body damage. If a weld on your IFS fails, somebody could easily die. Don't take that risk.
58 Apache, long bed fleetside, V8 w/SM420 Drivable but the rear axle needs work.
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Welcome, I admire your tenacity. Starting with no truck and no tools and mechanical skills. All can be learned along the way. Take your time and study what project you are about to tackle that day. ALWAYS measure 3-4 times before making anything permanent. It is critical that you do something on your truck every day, even if it’s only 15-20 minutes. Losing interest is the death of many projects. Please get a professional to weld any structural changes you make, it could save your life. Stovebolt has a Forum titled Project Journals, so as you get started, begin a running thread there to share your progress. Mechanical/Electrical questions can be addressed in the garage forums or back here in the HiPo Forum. I see you figured out how to post pictures so your already on your way to navigation of the site. Please take the time to read the Sticky post in General Truck Talk Forum by Cletis, titled “Why posts are.......”, to familiarize yourself with the site guidelines. I see you have already crossed the line with a minor infraction, you mentioned selling parts on Marketplace for $300. Selling outside the Swap Meet Forum is prohibited. Hope to see many more posts and photos as you progress in your build.
Martin '62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress) '47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project) ‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily” ‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”
"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one! Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop! USAF 1965-1969 Weather Observation Tech (I got paid to look at the clouds)
@Fibonachu - Thank you for the feedback, the welding advice I think is the most important which I will take and use. 20 years ago before career and family I took a course that ran me through all the processes from acetylene to TIG and I passed all the bending/inspections but I haven't used any of that since so I have zero confidence, I'll strongly consider hiring someone to make the final chassis welds.
@Justhorseround - Thank you for the encouragement I'll look into the project journals section as time goes on, there's going to be lots of questions as milestones get reached. Also thanks for pointing out the infraction, won't happen again, it was just a thought but totally does cross that line. My intent wasn't to advertise.
"How do you Eat an Elephant" on bite at a time. Take your projects in steps and finish what you start, take pictures.. lot's of pictures. Just so you know I didn't do any of this and I'm still paying for it.
You no doubt have seen these programs where they make a list on a piece of cardboard, that's really not a bad idea, it will help keep you on task. I have learned to stay on project over time but small things will always come up. Phak 1 (Phil) has a good habit of cleaning and painting all the parts and pieces as he goes, I have been trying to do that as well.
Last edited by TUTS 59; Wed Oct 06 2021 03:55 PM.
Come, Bleed or Blister something has got to give!!! 59' Apache 31, 327 V8 (0.030 over), Muncie M20 4 Speed, GM 10 Bolt Rear... long term project (30 years and counting)
As previously mentioned, take lots of pictures during disassembly and "bag and tag" everything, especially fasteners. Your project will take longer than you anticipated, your memory will fade, and the photos will come in very handy during reassembly and the saved fasteners will prevent trying to figure out what size and type go where. Good luck and enjoy your new found project!
The number 1 and 2 on any project (my opinion) is good brakes and good steering. Don't compromise on safety. Think of a SUV full of wife and kids that you may wipe-out. Also consider that what you modify, from original, may not be covered by your insurance company if there is an accident. You can purchase pre-engineered kits to do brakes and steering on most any plan you wish to take.
The following is a typical heads-up warning stuff for your consideration: You have to be mad-dog determined to do the project from beginning to end. Life happens and times can be tough. Don't become discouraged. If you are on a budget, consider keeping your truck original. The same truck 20 years later may be worth more in an original state. There are incomplete projects for sale out there and are at a substantial savings.
That's enough preaching. Have fun with your project and good luck.
"Adding CFM to a truck will only help at engine speeds you don't want to use." "I found there was nothing to gain beyond 400 CFM."
About 30 years ago I did what you're doing: no tools, no prior experience, just a desire to build a hot rod. It took four times as long as I expected and five times as much money. I learned a lot, and screwed up a lot. But I think you'll agree that for a first attempt it came out pretty nice.
Good luck with your challenge. Don’t give up. Select a area of work and complete it. Assemble the whole car before paint. To select a rear end measure the rear end in the truck from backing plate to backing plate. That is the width you need. You may may have to move the spring plates but they can be moved easily. Most rear ends have disc brake conversion kits. I’m doing a 51. I found an I Roc rear ended for $100 at a junk yard. I think limited slip and posi are the same thing and you do want one. You want to smoke both tires not one. I would you move the pedals from under the floor to under the dash. You have to use residual valves if they are under the floor. A tug welder I would do on suspension, IFS, frame, rear end… Some use rig on the body but mig does not get as hot so I would use mig on the body. My first car was a 32 Ford five window coupe. I have completed 4 cars and am working on my 46 Chevy truck and my grandson’s 51. Good luck You can do it.
A mistake I have made with my project, and continue to repeat, is getting bogged down in some item of secondary importance. That causes me to lose focus on the big picture, lose motivation, and then sometimes my truck sits for weeks or months without me touching it.
I’d make a list of the bigger milestones: engine installed, front suspension complete, engine running, etc. Think of big stuff that, once completed, will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you fired up for the journey ahead.
Your self awareness of scope creep is a good starting point. I don’t think your budgetary assumptions are crazy. Buying a complete LS and tranny for $500 in my area would be a challenge. Beware of the little $20 stuff that adds up to a few thousand over the course of a project.
You’re going to learn a lot and have a lot of fun.
It sounds as though you are considering leaving the body in patina , or "rat" , or whatever term you prefer. It looks to me as though you have a pretty good candidate for that. If so , consider the boiled linseed approach to stabilizing the oxidization.
Age 68 is not too late to start hot rodding , right?
It comes down to “How bad do you want this.” It took me 7 years to do one project. Between money and time. If you have the desire you can do it. Make a list of what you need to do to get it running. It may not be what you want when you are finished but get it running. I drove one without doors on it. Running and brakes are the key. Just so you can drive it down your street. Little by little make changes. Plan what changes you will make next winter. These projects are not easy.
"Tire smoke" is inversely proportional to how wide the rear tires are! The narrower the tire, the less power is required to smoke 'em! You can either build a budget weekend cruiser "rat rod" that will scratch your hot rod itch, or spend decades and wheelbarrows full of money on a "resto-mod", or anything in between those extremes. The folks here on Stovebolt can guide you through the completion of either type of project once you decide on a goal and pick the right sources of assistance. "It's your circus and your monkeys"- - - -we're here to help once you decide which way to jump!
Personally, I'd start out with a good basic restoration of safety-related systems like steering, suspension, brakes, lights, etc.- - - -and make some decisions about the drive train once you've got a safe, reliable basic vehicle to work with. Back in a former life during the 30+ years when I taught high school auto mechanics and built round track racing engines on the side, I told my students "we're going to make it steer and stop first, before we even start talking about doing "go fast" stuff! Some of those guys are running their own shops these days! Jerry
"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose" Kris Kristofferson
Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Something I thought of about taking the body off the frame. When you do set up on the rear end and the motor you need the body and bed in place to be sure that everything lines up correctly. After you mount the drive train you will need to put the front clip on to be sure you have room for your radiator and fan. You will put stuff on and take stuff off a dozen times to be sure it fits. I could go on and on about things that need to be done. In my first message I missed spelled mig and tig welders. Be sure all the work is done before you worry about paint. If you are worried about rust on fresh metal as you work, good old rattle can paint to prevent rust. Primer won’t last.
Last edited by 7045george; Thu Jan 20 2022 02:41 AM. Reason: Add info