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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, I figured I'd start a build thread on my towrig "BIG WHITE" and just update this single thread instead of all the little posts around the forum.

SUBJECT:
Big White, as my truck is affectionately called, is a 1990 Chevrolet V3500 crew cab dually. It’s a Silverado model, so it’s fairly high on the options. And, I bought it in late 2005 with only a bit over 60K miles. All in all it’s a good starting point for any project.



HISTORY:
I’ve been looking for one of these trucks (crew cab, 4wd, dually) no kidding since 1996. I got married to my first wife in 1997 and she was totally against getting "one of those old trucks" or really any vehicle older than 3 or 4 years old (even though she enjoyed riding around in my 68 GTO convertible). I continued to look until we got divorced in 2003.
In 2003, a buddy and I drove from Sumter, SC to north of Boston (over 14 hours) to look at a truck. I turned it down due to the excessive amount of rust and drove 14 hours back home empty handed. Here's a pic of that piece...



During my search, I've looked at a bunch of these trucks. As those of you who have looked for a GM crew cab, solid axle, dually know, they're fairly hard to come by. And, even harder to come by are the ones that weren't used and abused as a work truck during it's life. I've kept this picture of one that I looked at in Missouri and seriously considered purchasing around 2001 or 2002. This one was beat to hell and he wanted around $4K if memory serves me right.



In 2005, as I finished Air Force pilot training, I came across “Big White”. My fiancé knew I’ve been looking for one of these trucks for a long while. I even came across an old truck trader from 2001 that I bought to inquire about one of these trucks when cleaning out the house. She told me right then and there that I needed to get “Big White”! I still have that old truck trader...(see the top right 91 GMC? It's a four speed too. They wanted $16K back in 2001!)



GOAL:
Make this truck into the ultimate towrig. What exactly does that mean? I’m not really sure. I think “ultimate towrig” is in the eye of the beholder. The modifications that I’m planning will increase capability and coolness exponentially; however will take away what little practicality this truck had to begin with. Excess is the American way after all. :beer:

OVERVIEW:
Engine: Detroit Diesel 4-71 supercharged, turbocharged and intercooled (all Detroit 2 strokes are supercharged)
Transmission: Roadranger RTO-610 10 speed overdrive
Transfer Case: Divorced mounted NP205
Aux Transmission: Brownie/Spicer 5831 ?
Front Axle: Dana 80, late model Ford metric hubs with 4 piston calipers/disks, 10 lug, some kind of locker (possibly ARB)
Rear Axle: Dana 135, late model Ford metric hubs with 4 piston calipers/disks, 10 lug, some kind of locker (possibly Detroit Locker)
Interior: Custom semi style dash, Vintage Air A/C, late model Escalade leather seats, sound deadening
...and a bunch of other stuff/ideas that have been floating around in my head.

Why a Detroit, you ask?
I've thought about doing a 6.5L turbo, a Cummins 6Bt, a Duramax, and even some others that I'd be laughed at for mentioning. The 4-71 will definitely be different. Listen to this! It’s the smaller 4-53 too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3qyR2z8xEs

GATHERING PARTS:

Here's the aluminum block I'm using. An all iron 4-71 would weigh over 2100 lbs. By using an aluminum block, front and rear plates, front cover and rear bellhousing, along with some other weigh savings things, I'm hoping to save 650 to 800 pounds.



The engine in the back is a pontiac 455 for size reference, although you can't really see how much bigger the Detroit is in this picture.

Here's inspiration for the dash...Kenworth style.



Here's closer to what I'll actually do for the dash.

 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
After collecting a bunch of parts for about two years (which, in that time, includes two deployments to the middle east and multiple TDYs/exercises) the engine is now built and ready to be installed. Here are some pics of the pieces. A special thanks goes out to Byron Hassinger at Hassinger Diesel Service for working with me on getting the right parts and pieces and ultimately building this motor from scratch.

Engine block cleaned up.



New crankshaft (found it on e-bay for $100)



New four valve cylinder head. Jake brakes will be added.



Pistons are the heavier duty two piece with the domes ceramic coated.



Here's a picture of the turbo. Think it's big enough? :grinpimp:



Anyway, here's a picture of the engine fully assembled.



I cleaned up and painted the engine Detroit Alpine Green and added a nice shiney polished aluminum valve cover.



Jake Brakes are in!!! My neighbors are going to HATE me!

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Polished valve cover doesn't fit with the Jakes... :idea: Going to have to make a spacer.



Well, I cut the top off of another cast aluminum valve cover and TIGed the bottom to the shiney one. That should do. And, it'll stick up a bit over the water manifold and should be the first thing you see when you pop the hood.



Jet hot coated exhaust manifold and turbo housing (exhaust side).



I'm planning for a five inch downpipe and then it'll open up to seven inches under the cab and to the back. I'm thinking about doing the stack straight up through the hood, but my wife is against it. She says (and I quote) "The truck looks redneck enough already without the stack through the hood". I'm still thinking about doing it anyway.



Front shot of the turbo.



Here's a shot of some intake detail.



Started pulling the engine/trans/transfer case.

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Here's a pic with everything pulled, including the old engine mounts/crossmember. Big White is now ready for the Detroit to be mocked up. I'll set her in and figure out how much of the firewall will need to be cut and how the engine mounts will go. I plan on re-doing the front crossmember too.

I'm leaving the fenders on as much as possible, so the neighbors don't bitch about me having my truck apart in the driveway.



Here's a pic of my two car garage. I'm out of space!



I just put the engine in to see where I'd need to cut/hammer the firewall and to get an idea of what the motor mounts are going to do. These pictures are close to where the engine will be mounted, except I expect it to sit 4-5 inches further to the rear.



As you can see, the valve cover and water manifold is sticking above the hoodline. I think I'm going to leave it like that. I've got my nice polished aluminum valve cover, might as well let the whole world see it.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
ENGINE MOUNTS:

There's been a couple changes from the origional idea. (like they say, no war was won with the origional plan...but no war was won without a plan.) Here's a pic of the origional design that I had in mind.



There were a couple things that I wanted when setting the engine in the chassis. I wanted the centerline of the engine/crankshaft to be center of the chassis. Didn't want it offset. I also wanted the left mouter mount to be symmetrical to the right. When I started setting everthing up, if you notice from the pic that Grigg posted, the starter is in the way of where the bushing would go. Also, the mounting pads on the flywheel housing are up higher than where the frame mounts are located. So, I switched the design to the pad mounting type of motor mount.

Here are some pics of the rears which are pretty much done. The front is on the garage floor awating some bracing. Pics of that later. Motor is out now.







Another change to the plan was that I origionally planned on TIGing everything together. Well with all the bracing, I couldn't fit the torch and filler rod in the tight spaces to get a good weld, so I had to switch to ARC and the trusty 7018 rod. As you can see in the pics, I haven't even knocked the slag off of some of the beads and trimmed the bracing yet. That's on the adgenda for today.

Here the frame side brackets are set in the frame.



 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The motor is about to be put in it's final spot and bolted down to the mounts. Then I can get the transmission in place and the trans crossmember mocked up. After the engine and trans are in, I'll figure where the divorced 205 needs to go and mock up the mount/crossmembers for that.

After that's done, here are some things on the adgenda:

Smooth the firewall
Plumb the fuel lines. I'll be using Earls fittings
Start setting up the IR air starter.

After that's been done, I'll pull the drivetrain (again) and paint up the frame/engine bay, powdercoat all the crossmembers and mounts and start putting the truck back together. Hopefully I'll have everything done for winter so I'm not riding the Harley in the snow.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The seats are all leather out of an 09 Caddy Escalade. Fronts are 8 way power with heat and cool. While I'm waiting to do the interior, the rear seat doubles as a love seat in the living room which the wife loves...not. (It's complete with safety belts for when you've had one too many to watch TV.) Here's a pic of me and my girl Coco. She's my BFF (brown furry friend).

 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Some parts that are waiting to be installed.

Nice new Intercooler. Shouldn't be too much trimming to make it fit.



Divorced passenger side drop NP205 out of an Iternational. Went from this



To this...powdercoated case waiting to be put back together.

 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Some other things I'm working on...

Okay, so a while back, the el-cheapo pioneer 8 inch sub and 40 watt amp were stolen out of my truck. I've decided to build the system that I always wanted in my truck. It's nothing over the top, just a single sub and two amps, one for the 4 speakers and 1 for the sub.

As anyone with a pickup truck knows, there isn't as much room behind the seat as in a blazer. With only a couple inches to play with, I was going to have to go with a shallow mount sub. I chose a Kicker 12" CVT shallow mount.



I ran painters tape all across the back wall and started laying fiberglass. This is messy as hell.



After getting a good few layers of a back and a floor of the speaker box, I cut out the internal walls of the speaker box and mounted the speaker ring. You can start to see how the speaker box will be split up. I'll have the subwoofer in the middle, the amps on one side and a small storage/glove box on the other to hold miscellaneous items such as jumper cables, tools, etc.



Stretching an old t-shirt over the sub ring for the first layer of resin. I did this for each of the three areas (sub, amp, and storage sides)



Here's the finished product after several layers of fiberglass and some bondo.



You can see where the amps will be mounted from behind in this picture.



After hours of sanding and more body filler and sanding and more body filler, and sanding some more, it was ready for paint.



Well, I decided not to paint it and drop it off at the local LineX dealer. $60 to coat the whole thing and it will be much more durable than any paint I could use. Here's the end result.



Here's what it looks like with the sub, amps, and storage door on it. This is just the test fitting. Everything needs to be wired and I need to find some hinges and a lock for the storage compartment door.



 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
LED Tail Light Build:

Well, I've decieded that I wanted to convert all the lights on Big White to LED. LMC and Dakota Digital both make an LED tail light conversion kit. But, I wanted something a little bit brighter and a little bit more spread out over the area of the tail light. Plus, the aftermarket ones are on a single circuit board. LEDs don't have a very wide viewing angle of light, so this will be spread over four circuit boards that will be at about 20 degrees from each other as to curve with the tail light lense.

Here's kind of what I had in mind. I'll have one circuit of 6 (5 in the middle on then one on the side) for tail lights, one circuit of 31 for brake light/turn signal and then one circuit of 12 for the back up lights.



Here's the mock-up of the center 5 LEDs. I built a voltage regulator so that as long as the vehicle is putting out between 7 and 30 volts, the LED circuit will have 5 volts avaliable. That way, the output will be the same whether the vehicle is off and there is only 12.6 volts or the vehicle is running and there is 14.5 volts.



Here's the circuit connected to a car battery. I wasn't sure how bright it would be, but they're damn bright.



Here's an idea of what it will look like with the lense over it and the lights out.



 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Diamond Plate Trim:

I really like the idea of diamond plate aluminum used in the interior. It's rugged, fairly easy to keep clean and I think it looks badass. Anyway, the door pannels were looking kind of ratty, so I decided to do something about it. Here's my idea...



First, I cut some pieces out of diamond plate aluminum.



A picture of the virgin door.



Sound deadening install. Did it on the outer door panel and the inner pannel. The sound deadening stuff is called "Be Quiet" and awesome. It's about twice as thick as Dynomat and deadens the sound a bit more.



Here's a final pic of the door. I'll probably eventually do Linex on the door panel.

 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Okay, I finished welding up the front crossmember/motor mount. Still have some bracing to do, but it's strong enough to hold the motor, so I decided to install it again. I'm happy with how far back and down the motor sits in the frame. I'm planning on at least 4 more inches of lift anyway, so spacing should be good over the crossover steering/front axle. The motor cuts into the floor space a bit and the throttle pedal will have to be moved about 2-3 inches rearward, but the Escalade seats have you sitting about 6-7 inches higher than the stock seats, so footspace shouldn't be a problem. If it is, I'll just write it up to "worth it to have a 4-71 in the truck".



Looks pretty good, don't it? So good infact that I decided to install the polished valve cover to see what'd be sticking through the hood.







The polished valve cover doesn't really fit. It interferes with the water manifold, so I'm having an extra manifold machined at a bit of an angle to clear the fancy valve cover. Hopefully it works. We'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Okay, I figured I should update the little bit that needs to be updated. I'm deployed right now, but I got a little bit done before I left.

I got the Roadranger installed and mocked up. I didn't get the transfer case in yet, but I have an idea of where I want it to go.



I ended up lifting the body three inches. I didn't mind the engine sticking through the hood so much as the amount of space in the interior that the trans was taking up, so with the body lifted, the center floor hump doesn't need to be so big.



The added benefit of the body lift is that the hood should be very close to closing over the valve cover. There will eventually be some sort of cowl induction setup on it. Also, with the lift, I have a little bit more room under the bed for the air tanks. I'm planning on a setup very similar to what Grigg has with a couple "smaller" 20 gallon tanks for all the pneumatic needs. Here's how it sits now.



Since I've been gone, I've been purchasing parts that are needed to get everything together. That way, when I get home, I don't need to burn up leave waiting on the mail. I'm hoping to get her at least driveable by this winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I’ve got a lot of things left to do. Here’s an update of what I’ve been working on. I’ve pretty much got all the fuel lines and fittings ordered and mocked up. It’s AN -10 from the tank to the primary fuel filter/water separator, then -8 to the fuel pump and then -8 to the secondary fuel filter, then -6 to the cylinder head/fuel lines. Then, -6 for the return back to the tank.





I’ve got the starter painted, but that’s it. I’m still waiting on a full mechanical push button valve. It should be here within the week. Still need to find all the fittings, etc. to plumb it up. I’ve got the air tanks. Just need to weld in the mounts, etc.



I’ve found a flywheel that will work. It needs to be machined. It’ll be machined flat with with a modern double disk clutch and stamped pressure plate. Clutch should be here within the next week.



Right now, I’ve got the front pulley at my buddy’s machine shop. I’ve welded beads in the grooves and plan to have a serpentine setup machined out of it. That way, I can run one belt on the front. Still need to fabricate all the mounts for the accessories. I’m planning on running on the drivers side a York compressor for onboard air and a power steering pump. On the passenger side, I’m planning on having an AC compressor and an alternator. Can’t think of anything else that I’ll need.

I’ve got the exhaust all welded up and Jethot coated flat black. It’s 5 inch off the turbo and then goes into 6 inches. It’s just temporary for now. I plan on running it under the truck eventually, I just want to get this thing running. I still need to find a turbo oil drain flange that will fit this turbo.

 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Oh, since I'm just taking up space for later additions of the build, I'll show off this Fender Jazzmaster that I built (in all my spare time) for those that care.







It's got a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge and an overwound Gibson PAF for the neck position pickup. The roller pots above the pickups cut out a coil of each one of the pickups so I can go from the full dual coil to full single coil and anywhere inbetween. The two position switch on the top horn switches between the normal tone capacitor and a distortion circuit. This guitar flat out SCREAMS!

 

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Excelent pictures, project, planning, and workmanship!!!

Question about motor mounts. The angled mounts will try to spread the frame rails, what do you have trying to keep the frame rails at the original spacing?
Can you use a large U shaped crossmember at the mounts, commonly found on 70's and 80's GM medium duty trucks?

Grigg
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Excelent pictures, project, planning, and workmanship!!!

Question about motor mounts. The angled mounts will try to spread the frame rails, what do you have trying to keep the frame rails at the original spacing?
Can you use a large U shaped crossmember at the mounts, commonly found on 70's and 80's GM medium duty trucks?

Grigg
Thanks Grigg, and thanks for all your help and input! :beer: You've been there to answer questions since the begenning and I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it's appriciated, especially the input from someone who's been there and done that.

Yes, I'm planning on doing some sort of brace at or very close to the motor mounts. The oil pan is actually higher up (by an inch and a half to two inches) than the #2 flywheel housing, so I'm contemplating going infront of or maybe behind the housing with it. I want to route the exhaust or at least have an idea of where the exhaust will be going too when doing it.
 
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