As part of our continued improvement for 2010, we're opening up our Readers' Rap section to those of you having a hard time getting an answer to a tough truck question. Send in whatever is stumping you and if we can't answer it, or if we think your question is going to help out other people with a problem, we'll send you free truck gear. It's just that easy. Also, if we did something to tick you off, did something that you liked, or even if you want to make a suggestion, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to respond. This month's free giveaway is a pair of Mechanix gloves to protect your mitts while turning those wrenches. For more info, check out mechanix.com.
I want to install a 6.0L LQ9 engine from a late-model truck into my C10, but I want to run a carb. I've heard that since these trucks never used a distributor you still have to use some sort of computer to run the ignition. What's the deal?
You've got a couple of options on your ignition. GM Performance Parts (part # 19171130) and Edelbrock (part #7118) both make an intake and ignition kit that uses the crank trigger and an ignition box to fire the coil-on-plug ignition. GM Performance Parts also makes a front-drive distributor kit (part #88958679) that replaces the timing cover. You will also need a small-block Ford style distributor and a new harmonic balancer, adding cost, so this route might be best left for racing divisions that require a distributor. Besides, people will keep asking you why you put a Ford engine in your Chevy.
I look forward to your recently announced '89 C1500 project truck, although I confess I expect to be disappointed. I know you need advertising dollars, which means showcasing bolt-ons from your advertisers, but it would be nice to see something original once in a while. I've noticed there is a distinct lack of originality in the pictures of trucks at shows. The interior and paint are the only places most people seem to express themselves. Why not build a grille, something really different and original, or a bumper? Ground effects packages aren't available for this truck anymore, so what about making your own? Shop for automotive fabric and stitch your own seat covers and upholstery. Any fool with money can take his truck to a shop and say, "do this". In my humble opinion, DIY is more rewarding and will be the wave of the foreseeable future in these hard economic times.
We think you make a great point, and I've put some thought into making a grille for the project truck, but I am a bit leery of trying to make a body kit or bumper. The reason bolt-ons are so popular is that everyone has a basic set of tools, while few people have the capability to fabricate with sheetmetal to the extent required to turn out a good-looking body kit. If we showed how to make a body kit and bumpers and all you needed was a sheetmetal brake, a planishing hammer, and a few years of metalworking experience, only a handful or readers would benefit from the article. This project will be more budget-oriented, and we will do as much of the work in-house as possible, but we also want to be realistic and show readers what they can do themselves.
I have been searching for '95-'99 Chevy Tahoe/Suburban door panels with the four window switches and door lock switch. I plan on putting them in my single cab '98 GMC and using the two extra window switches to control my bags. I cannot find them anywhere. I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me with this problem.
That sounds like a good idea to keep your interior nice and sanitary. We pulled up LMC Truck's online catalog for Suburbans and Tahoes (at LMCtruck.com) and the parts you're looking for are #39-6688 for the switch plate and 29-8108 for the switches. Both parts will set you back $149.99, a pretty good deal considering that it includes two momentary switches for your 'bags. Good luck on your project!
I really liked your Throwdown article in Issue 1; I wish more guys were willing to actually have fun driving their trucks. I was wondering how you guys recorded your performance numbers, did the trucks really stop that fast?
The numbers for braking were very low, and while they might not be perfect, they were consistent, so we feel it was still a good comparison. We used a GPS to determine speed to eliminate speedometer error, fully applied the brakes at the same point over several passes, and averaged out the results. Also, keep in mind that the best distances came from trucks with massive brakes and racing tires. Previously we used a radar gun, which is the preferred method, because it calculates the instant speed begins to drop. We use a GPS data-acquisition system from Racepak (racepak.com) for the 0-60 and 1/2-mile times. It gives us speed and position and works great for measuring acceleration very accurately. It also works when we have a finish line like in the 1/4-mile, but we're not familiar enough with it to be able to determine distance when it comes to stopping, where each "finish line" will be different. For the autocross numbers we used an old-fashioned stopwatch.
In regards to your '00 Chevy project truck, the truck has high mileage because it was well used, so keep with that theme of usefulness for the rest of the build. I would like to see a mild static drop, some interiorupdates that would put the truck closer to new car specs without going overboard on budget. However, the most important thing I want to see is to swap in a new 6.2L crate engine that GM has out. There is one that comes with headers, cats, ECM, etc. that I believe is C.A.R.B. approved for you guys. I would like to do this same swap into my own 4.3L and see how difficult it is to wire and mesh with the factory gauges and such. Splurge here a little if you can. Good luck.
Believe us, we'd love to swap an LS engine under the hood and show everyone how it's done, but there's all sorts of red tape involved with regards to staying emissions legal. It's not impossible to do it, and is a worthwhile topic, so we'll keep it in mind. If our truck were an OBD1 model we could show you how to install an E-Rod engine from GM Performance Parts and be done with it, but the engine isn't approved for '96 and newer vehicles. However, you are correct, it does come with everything from the computer to the catalytic converters and the evaporation canister. There are several candidates for that exact swap, and we'll be sure to show the entire process as soon as we can.