Frankenstein Silverado

1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4x4

My son bought this rotted out bent in half retired plow truck last February and I offered to fix it. I hoped we'd fix it together, but he moved to Chicago, so it's been sitting in my garage for a year getting worked on whenever he supplied parts or whenever I felt like it. Since being laid off, I've had oodles of time to get it finished.

I'm very fortunate to have had access to so much scrap metal.

Aside from the obvious rust stuff, here's what else needed fixin'.

  • Fuel lines, from the engine to the tank (Dorman kit)

  • Fuel lines -custom nylon with new connectors

  • Rear brake lines from ABS unit under the cab to the rear wheels.

  • Rear axle seal and fluid

  • Rear caliper and pads

  • Fuel tank filler neck

  • Fuel tank straps

  • Rear bumper

  • Rear shocks

  • Torsion bar keys

  • 2 replacement crossmembers (dorman)

  • Custom cab mounts and bushings

  • Nerf bar mounts

  • Custom crossmembers and fuel tank strap brackets

  • I also burned through 10lbs of welding wire, multiple cutoff discs and reciprocating saw blades.

Before: The frame was bent and the bed was slamming into the cab.

After: Everything sits square!

Here's what we were dealing with. The one shock isn't even attached to the frame. It's scary to think about all the people out on the roads like this.

Replaced the crossmembers and patched everything! Also replaced the bumper, fuel lines, brake lines, repaired the axle seal, and replaced brake pads because they were covered in gear oil.

The frame was complete garbage here, and you can see a previous owner had already patched it.

I put jack stands under the cab and then used ratchet straps to make the frame perpendicular with the cab.

I made some cardboard templates and cut them out with the plasma at work.

While everything was under tension, I repaired the frame rails. Sides are 3/16" and the tops, bottoms and braces are 1/4".

I had to completely replace the rear cab mounts. These are $30 bushings from Amazon on my own custom designed cab mounts.

You can really tell by how rough it rides now.

Fuel line mayhem.

One of the annoying features of a lifted truck. I'm 6'2" and I needed the step ladder, but that that only got me so far. I had a friend help fish the old fuel lines out. Out of all the work I did to the truck, the fuel lines were the absolute worst.

New tank straps and custom strap mounts.

The evap system mounts were all rotted away, so I reused the old gas tank strap to hold it in place. Also pictured are the custom tank strap hangers and the new nylon fuel lines.

The truck had a body lift kit on it, so I decided to make it permanent with black pipe risers. The frame is still crooked, so the risers had to be cut at different lengths so the bed will match the body lines.

Risers all welded up.

Fuel tank is in.

A touch of black rust preventative paint and I'm able to drive it!

Last thing to do is fix the holy bed. I had to replace 3 crossmembers and modify 1. I ran out of welding gas, and it was a Friday, so I had to wait until Monday to get back at it.

Blasting media... EVERYWHERE!

I had to double up the rod supports near the fuel filler door.

After replacing all of the crossmembers with more scrap steel. With only 11 more stitch welds to do, I ran out of wire.

Some of the mount detail. While my welds aren't perfect, I've really gotten a lot better throughout this project.

Here's the bed frame tool I made from a bed frame. It's my tool to maneuver the bed into different positions without the help of another person.

This is my favorite pic! I screwed together some 2x3 faming lumber and began muscling the bed into place.

After all that work, when I saw the bed almost all the way on, I smiled. The body lines were pretty much perfect too. What a great feeling.

once I got to putting the bolts in, I was only able to get 6 of the 8 to line up. The two that wouldn't line up were the two near the rear left tail light. I had to cut in through the top of the bed and reposition the weldnut. So 7 out of 8 bolts holding the bed down isn't too bad.

Body lines look good.

Such a good feeling.

Unfortunately once my son started driving it around I noticed that the frame settled, so the bed is about 1/8"-3/16" closer to the cab on the top than it is on the bottom. Live and learn, I guess.

We also discovered a little ring and pinion noise, which was probably caused by the axle leak.