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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, been lurking around Pirate for a few years now, have learned a lot through the PBB and my own trial and error, and figure it's about time for me to start my own build thread. Original plan was to build a simple trail rig that I could use as a first learning project. That was about 3 years ago, and it is finally starting to come together. So without further ado...

1978 Chevy Camper Special. Bought from a local farmer with 46,000 original miles. 14 bolt, 10 bolt, NP203, TH400, 350ci.

Started with trimming fenders and bolting on some 35s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wheel base was obviously going to be way to long for Indiana trails, so moved the rear up to give me 108" WB. Chopped the excess frame. Welded the 14 bolt, shaved it, and slapped some disc brakes on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Gave her some boatsides, lost the front doghouse, threw in a fuel cell and toolbox, then stood back and marveled at my frame flex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Needed a cage before I got too far, so got some help from my buddy keepviper13 and bent some tube!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re-centered my H1 beadlocks using C&M Performances centers and rock rings, and ran some crappy HUMVEE tires for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I wheeled it for a season and had a blast. Found some weak points, discovered how crappy GM's push-pull steering design was, and took some poser pics.:smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since the stock steering wasn't going to cut it, and I knew the 10 bolt was running on borrowed time, I quickly picked up a dana 60 and started working on it. I pieced together a full hydro setup using a 8" single ended cylinder from tractor supply (cheap enough that I can afford to carry a spare) and PSC components for the steering valve, reservoir, high flow pump. Also added an aluminum cooler and tractor filter unit to keep everything clean and cool.

When I swapped in the 60, I decided to stretch the front end a bit. I redid all of the cheesy spring mounts from the first time I swapped in the 52" springs, and added about 4.5" to the wheelbase. Moving the front forward gave me much better weight distribution, along with better approach angles. It also gave me clearance to the firewall to get away with some bigger tires for the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
...so fast forward to the past 2 months. Decided the front end tube lines just weren't cutting it, and would not allow me to mount an 8274 that I had picked up a few years back, so we took to cutting it all up.

Oh, and I found a deal on some 42" TSLs. :grinpimp:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
...and here was our first attempt at rolled tube. We had the harbor freight tube roller with Swag's dies. After about an hour of trying to roll 1-3/4" and having bloody hands and only about 5 degrees of roll angle, we turned our attention to finding an easier way.

Found an old steering driveshaft, welded a bolt to it, chucked it up in the lathe, and cut a the glory hole in the wall for clearance. Worked like a charm!

A glimpse of the future when I get around to skinning everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
...and finally, here is how she sits today after making the voyage run with hydro/60 in place at the UMC down at the badlands in Attica, IN last weekend. I couldn't believe how nice it was to actually be able to steer!

Come a long way, still have a long way to go. Right now, I'm accumulating parts to put a 203/205 doubler together this winter. If lucky, I want to 4-link the rear this winter as well. I have it all laid out already in the calculator, just need funds to continue on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Turns out the 42s put just a little more strain on everything. Found this after making a pretty good climb in the rocks last weekend.

Looks like I'm going to be replacing some springs and building an anti-wrap bar for the rear. Kinda sucks since I am planning to 4-link it in a few months anyway. Oh well, I can afford leaves and anti-wrap now to get me back up and going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
muddindog said:
You can get a set of springs at the indy pic a part for around 50 bucks. That's where i got mine at.
Thanks, I should be able to find them at the Ft. Wayne take-a-part which will be even closer to me. I haven't had a chance to go out and scour the local boneyards yet, but I know they have some old chevys laying around with what I need. The yards around me though will try to charge me some stupid price for them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Got a lockright on the way for the front end, will be here later this week.

Progress has been slow lately on the rig, work has been crazy. I just accepted a new job last week, so starting 3 weeks from now, my daily drive time will be decreased from 2 hours/day to 24 minutes round trip! Extra time to work on junk...and the extra pay should help fund some goodies too :smokin:
 
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