88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

#1
Well, for those of you who haven't heard elsewhere, I recently picked up another project: "Black Fox"

Anyway, here is the new towpig. It's a 1998 Silverado K3500, 454 NV4500 5-speed I bought with 135,000 miles.

Dealership Pictures.....
















So, The story goes like this: I've been looking for a new towpig awhile now. I was looking into duramax trucks but I still wanted a manual. After a few months of searching, etc I determined that the cost of owning one VS how much I would use it and the distances I would go just wasn't worth the money. I'd be buying it and wouldn't have any play money to customize it or anything either. So I started looking for GMT400 trucks again.... I ran across this truck about 3.5 hours from me. 1-owner trade in. The dealership listed it as an auto so I hadn't caught it prior. I called, got the pictures, etc etc.... Got the financing figured out. They were asking $9,000, I got them down to bluebook at $7,600 after pointing out some flaws I could see in the pictures. It also has 6 brand new Load E Toyo Open Country AT Tires.

I take the time to drive down there, with money in hand and a friend to drive my 02 back. I took it for a spin and after a few stoplights noticed a whining sound in gears 1 & 2. I later noticed it in Reverse too. The tech checks it, they check fluid. I know it's the bearings in the transmission.... Anyway they looked into it, while they did I grabbed some grub and figured out what I would still pay for it knowing I can' rebuild the transmission myself for a good deal less than they could and I'd have a great truck. So, after the last negotiations, I got the truck for $5,600. It made the 3.5 hour drive home no problems other than the hole in the gas tank :lol:

On the way home grabbing some grub. 21' long doesn't fit in many parking stalls.


Or my garage.....


My dog approved, although he was upset I wouldn't let him drive....


And just for all you mid and east coast guys.... Here is what a 15 year old west coast truck looks like underneath.... Not a spec of rust anywhere :lol: Ok this truck is particularly clean underneath, even for this area.



So, with that said: Here is the start of my newest project truck, nicknamed "Black Fox". First order of business is to get the trans fixed up and go through the fluids and give it a tune up. Then on to a few towing items, such as removing the current power vision mirrors in favor of the GMT800 towing mirrors, getting a trailer plug wired in (they removed the wiring), and do some cleaning on the paint, wheels, repair the cracked dually fender.... Then eventually onto more "Fun" modifications like Kodiak door handles, Overhead console... etc.

Stay tuned!
 
#7
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

Thanks guys!

Welp, the deed has been done. Transmission is pulled from the truck, I'll have to get some pictures. Actually pulled a Getrag from a 90 1st gen Dodge cummins truck, it's getting a NV4500 as well. Was full day of transmission pulling!

Anyway, the trans was as expected inside, needs bearings and synchros. Had a good deal of metal in there. Gears all look fine. Clutch is getting replaced while I'm there.

Also went through a few things, here is the list of items that will be changed in the upcomming months:

- Rebuild transmission with new clutch
- New u-joints and carrier bearing
- Tune up - plugs, wires cap & rotor.
- Injectors. It has the famous leaky vortec injectors that hard start after sitting. Maybe higher flow and a tune.
- Replace broken glovebox
- Wire in trailer connector
- GMT800 towing mirrors
- Tint front windows
- Kodiak Handles
- Re-connect airbags (came with firestones but are disconnected)
- Paint the wheels
- New front lighting & Grille
- Repair/replace LH dually fender (cracked)
- Cut & buff truck, touch up scratches
- Toolbox

I have more things I'm ready to do but we'll leave those up to the imagination.
 
#11
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

Came home to this today... Love amazon's 2-day shipping.


U-joints, Carrier Bearing, and some trailer wiring.


Got the joints installed. Going to bring the carrier bearing to my dad's tomorrow and press the old one off and new on.


Suburban rear Weathertech mat. I stole the front weathertech mats from the 88 also... It fits ok, not as close to the rear seat frame as I would like, but better than a universal mat for sure.



New clutch kit.


Compared to the old clutch disc.... It's a little different and a heck of a lot lighter. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. Seems wimpy.


For comparison... Here is the Hays supertruck that I installed in my 88 about 4 years ago. It's a GREAT clutch. I'm thinking I should swap this AC Delco one out for this instead.... Thoughts?
 
#14
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

Started tearing into the transmission yesterday. I pulled it and didn't REALLY look at it as it sat in the garage this week.

Top cover off.


Peeking around. Notice the metal shavings. Welp, 5th gear was backing off and the nut wasn't tight...



Drained what was left of the fluid.... This color isn't good.


5th exposed. It's walked back but hasn't contacted the reverse shift arm, no damage.


Popped out the input shaft. I was quite loose and because the pilot bearing had long failed and chewed it up, it was to be replaced anyway. Here is the nose of the mainshaft... Where the input rides on a needle bearing on it...



Damn. This is a showstopper. Planned to have this back together and on the road this weekend. At least I know where the metal was all from now.

Determined that I can still pull the shafts and rebuild the countershaft.

Mainshaft pulled


Countershaft in the housing....


Empty shell.


Counter shaft removed.


Countershaft re-installed with new bearings.



New input shaft


Oh yeah, this wouldn't be possible without this tool set....


Once that was done I set about working on a few other things, such as cleaning my transfercase up.


And my friend (who's also working on his transmission) painted all our drivelines up after I re-built all the u-joints.


And a few more parts to add to the pile.
Throwout bearing/Slave Cylinder.


Tow mirror parts. My current set has a bad heated glass on the driver's side and is missing the post cover on the passenger's side. A friend of mine had his truck stolen and the pass mirror glass was shattered. He ended up replacing the mirrors with a new set and I picked these up off him for parts. Driver's mirror is 100% good. Passenger is for parts only.



Now that I have to buy a mainshaft, I'm at standstill on the transmission itself for a few days. figured I can get some other things taken care of in that time, like the trailer harness, other fluids, mirrors, etc.
 
#16
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

Hey....those look familiar. Good to see they made the trek. I don't trust shipping companies after I worked at UPS and saw some of the stuff that happened, lol.
 
#17
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

Hey....those look familiar. Good to see they made the trek. I don't trust shipping companies after I worked at UPS and saw some of the stuff that happened, lol.
Yup. Got the two sets together and made one good set. Should be putting them on this weekend.

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Spent the evening putting all the pieces back together. The trans shop forgot to ship my locking 5th gear nut, so I haven't installed the tail housing yet but will tonight.

For the record, these transmissions are really easy to rebuild. Just have to have the right pullers, installers and a press. :lol:






Planning to re-install this in the truck Friday. Then on to other fun mods.
 
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#18
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

What a weekend!

Spent Friday night putting the truck back together. Got everything done, trans in, clutch bled, etc. Took it out for a test drive. Everything works well, shifts nice.... Until I try 5th gear. It grinds. Every time.... So I play around with it in the driveway... Even sitting still, 5th grinds..... At this point I was SUPER frustrated. After calming down, I research it and determine I put the shift collar for 5th on backwards so it will not engage the synchro.... That means pull things back apart. At least I only have to pull drivelines, transfercase, and the extension housing for the transmission.

So Saturday morning the 2nd tear down...



Here you can see how I had the shift collar installed.


And how it is supposed to go. Taper faced forward.


Here is why.


The taper side has tapered teeth to engage the synchro.


Put it all together and everything worked right. Transmission drives so nice. So glad to have it back together. Took it on a 250 mile trip to break things in. Unloaded, doing between 70-80 MPH the entire way, netted me 12.8 MPG. Not too shabby honestly.

Once I was back, some of the fun times ensued! Pulled out a few parts from storage and swung by the junkyard for the 50% off labor day sale.

Kodiak Handles


Solid tailgate straps to replace the cables (I don't trust them)




Swapped out the rear armrest for a center console I picked up at the wreckers. They charged me for an "armrest". It was $3.74.



Future project. Steering wheel audio controls. Picked up the wheel with controls and airbag, clockspring, and a second set of controls for about $40


Firewall reel light, and suburban dome lights.


Installed my HVAC with rear defrost to control my heated mirrors.


Once the parts pilfering and collecting was done, I pulled the wheels. They are Accuride wheels. Surprisingly light for a dually.


Decided the splash some black paint on the wheels, rock the chrome caps and no trim rings for the time being.



Then finished things up by installing the power heated signal/parking light tow mirrors and front Kodiak handles (rears are waiting for door rods still), and de-badging the truck.



More things to come. Need to tint the windows, start smoking the lights, and decide on what to do with headlights.
 
#19
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

Looking good. That is a cool truck and I'm jealous. What kind of gas yardage are you getting?

I would have sent the AC Delco clutch back and went with the Hays clutch kit though, the Delco one looked weak and I hope it will hold up for you. Are you going to black out the bumpers? I saw some plastidip painted chrome bumpers and they looked pretty good unless you want to spend the money for painted steel ones and then gloss black them to match the truck. I love the size of the leg room in the rear seat.
 
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#20
Re: 88GMCtruck's 98 Silverado Towpig Build: "Black Fox"

Looking good. That is a cool truck and I'm jealous. What kind of gas yardage are you getting?

I would have sent the AC Delco clutch back and went with the Hays clutch kit though, the Delco one looked weak and I hope it will hold up for you. Are you going to black out the bumpers? I saw some plastidip painted chrome bumpers and they looked pretty good unless you want to spend the money for painted steel ones and then gloss black them to match the truck. I love the size of the leg room in the rear seat.
It's an OE service part, I think it'll hold up fine for my purposes. I do want to black out the bumpers, going to start with plasti-dip for now, eventually I want to get painted bumpers.

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Ordered up everything for a good tune up: Plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel pressure regulator and new bosch injectors.

Current plugs are past their life I'm thinking....