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Unread 05-14-2013, 04:54 PM
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Fair! Fair! is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800

Project Update for May 14, 2013: So I've put another 5 weeks of use in the GMC and really like driving this lighter, smaller "full sized truck" compared to the big 3/4 and 1 ton trucks I've used in the past to pick up parts and such. And we added another truck to the Vorshlag stable, as our custom ordered F-350 arrived.


This new F-350 truck arrived a few days before a NASA race being held in New Orleans, about 2 weeks ago. With only 100 miles on the odometer we hooked it up to our 36' enclosed trailer and towed our race car and all of our gear 1200 miles to New Orleans from Dallas and back, and it performed flawlessly.

This "twin-scroll" turbocharged diesel dually is going to be under warranty for quite a while and is staying very stock, but I'll update this same thread if we do anything to it along the way (maybe a little less chrome would be nice). This truck rides, stops and goes VERY well for such a gigantic vehicle, but parking it SUCKS. It is nearly 6 feet longer than the little GMC 1500. As promised I have done very little commuting in the F-350, with 1400 of the 1500 miles logged so far with the trailer attached (there's this slick application that tracks each mile logged with each unique trailer).


Anyway, back to the GMC 1500. We finally had some time a few weeks back to get it up on a lift and look at a few things. Quick oil and filter change was performed, and an inspection of the exhaust was done. Wow, yea, the exhaust is a mess. Sounds like ass and looks worse.

There is a Series 10 Flowmaster rusting away in the middle and the rear section is simply missing. The Edlgebrock mid-length headers are leaking badly because one exhaust manifold stud is broken off in the head. New ARH stainless long tubes are on the way and we will replace all of the exhaust with new, stainless, mandrel bent tubing. Dual 3" with some mufflers and all that.

There's a missing bump stop in the rear and the shocks are garbage, which we will of course replace. This truck could have some better stopping power, and we are looking at some OEM options to upgrade both the front (GMT900 13" rotors/calipers) and rear (1/2 ton Suburban larger 6-lug discs and twin pot calipers). More on that when we have time to order parts and put them on this truck.

This truck has been a Texas vehicle for most of its life, but there were a few obviously rusty bits: both chrome bumpers show some corrosion and the aftermarket trailer hitch was pretty frosty. The hitch was likely spray-painted black at some point but it was long gone, yet the rust turned out to be only superficial. We had our preferred powder coating shop bead blast then powder coat it gloss black, then reinstalled the hitch. Now it looks better than it did new, and won't rust further.

The owner of Titan Auto Glass came by a week ago and swapped in a brand new, Candian built windshield (not the cheaper, east Asian import unit) to replace the pock marked, chipped and cracked OEM windshield. As usual they did a great job and this is probably one of their most popular vehicles to work with, so the cost was pretty low. Huge improvement in visibility!

Two pet peeves from the interior that were bugging me included the center console/jump seat lid that was broken and the loose yet plain jane rear view mirror. The original center console lid was busted at the hinge, which is apparently a very common flaw - so much so that there are plentiful and cost effective replacement lid covers with a stronger hinge and upgrade materials. Gone is the old cloth covering and in comes the later model style faux-leather lid cover. And the old mirror was replaced with a new unit that has an exterior temp gauge and built in compass. This was available on later model and/or upgraded interiors, and it is something I'm used to having. Now I know which way I'm going and how hot it is, when I get lost.

So after measuring the aftermarket (and did I mention ugly??) 20x8.5" wheels that were on this truck, and seeing how much room we had to push inboard for the replacement set, we were thrown for a loop when Forgestar said they couldn't make a wheel with the required 6 x 5.5" bolt circle. They just don't leave room for these big bolt circle truck wheels. Dang... Really bummed me out, as I wanted to show off some wheels we sell. We noted that an 18x10" or 19x10" wheel could fit on either end, but tire choices were very limited for "truck" load rated tires in those widths and diameters. I noticed that there were lots of 17" sizes, and few 18" sizes, and almost ZERO truck tires in 19" diameter. But then in 20" there were tons of choices. This comes from the fact that the factories that build full sized trucks have skipped 19" sizes and gone from 15->16->17->18->20" OEM wheels. So we looked at TireRack, since we are a dealer for them...

This BBS wheel above is really slick, and it is what we've all agreed looks best among available options in the price range I picked. It comes in an 18x9" and 20x9" size, and honestly... after looking at both and driving a similar truck that just went from 20" to 18" wheels, we've decided that we will stick with the 20" version. It just looks better on a full sized truck, and heck, the OEM wheels for the GMT900s are 20" diameter anymore. But I'm going to wait to replace the wheels and tires until after we're done with the suspension/shock/brake updates, as much as that pains me.


Suspension updates and repairs are needed, as the shocks and some bushings are just worn out with age and miles. The right front tire was worn badly, rotated to the left rear by a previous owner, and it was just getting down to cords a few weeks back. I "borrowed" some old 20" tires that Ryan had pulled off his Dodge truck, and they put them on the back for now, replacing the worst two tires on this GMC. This is a stop-gap measure until we get time to work on the suspension - otherwise it will eat the new front tires quickly. The plan is to replace the front control arms, which come with fresh bushings and ball joints. Then go for a drop spindle up front to lose a little altitude. The plans for the rear are more complicated... it is already lowered 2" or more with a drop shackle, but this isn't the right way to do it. It needs a tiny bit more drop and then a bit more spring rate, which we will do with a pair of adjustable air bags (for when we load the bed with parts or tow with it). Bilstein 46mm piston monotube 5100 shocks will be used all around, once we have the lengths set.

The newer 2003-2006 GMC Sierra front end is another planned update/repair

Of course the exterior needs a little TLC... which I am working on as well. As much as I dislike this color I am not going to change it, just plan on a little PDR work to be done at Heritage Collision in Sherman, TX. That nasty billet front grill insert and rusty front bumper that are bugging me the most, so I will work on that next. I've done some research and the OEM 2003-2006 GMC 1500 front end (shown above) is what I like the best, and it all swaps over fairly well. Differing from the 1999-2002 Sierra in several ways it has a reshaped bumper, Paint-To-Match lower valance, round fog lights, and a grill surround and insert with a bit more edginess to it. The headlights and turn signal/parking lights are all the same but these 1999 units are all frosted with age, but brand new stuff is SO inexpensive that we will just replace rather than polish the old bits.

So that's all for this time. Just a few quick cosmetic repairs and some small updates. More to come.

Last edited by Fair!; 07-03-2017 at 09:09 AM.
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