GM Truck Club Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My faithful 1999 Silverado 2500 6.0L is fatally wounded. It will be a slow demise as cancer continues to eat away at her frame. I have tried to stop it, but alas, it is terminal. Her running gear is in top condition however. Everything from brake lines to ball joints in the suspension have been meticulously kept up or replaced. The engine and transmission are both super strong and get regular refreshing of their vital fluids. Sad to say the heart is strong, but the skeleton is weak. I love the cross country hauls she has done for me as I move to and fro for my second family we call the Corps.

So I know I have a year maybe two to find another truck to replace her. However, I must admit I never did like some parts of her. The size of an extended cab made sense when kids needed space, but they are grown or driving their own cars. I have long lamented over selling my 89 1/2 ton step-side (EVERYTHING was manual and the 383 was awesome!). At the same time, I have used the load carrying (weight wise) ability and definitely tow loads up to 7,000#. The mountains of the southwest (steep grade and 110* weather) would definitely test a 1/2 transmission and engine. Yeah I know some can do it, but some would chuck their guts up climbing out of the Mojave with a trailer on anything other than the interstate. With this in mind the search began for a 3/4 ton version of that. Nothing too new mind you, I am a cheapskate for one, and I retire in a few short years for another.

Imagine my disappointment that Chevy never made a regular cab short bed 3/4ton truck! I mean why? Worse, even looking at 3/4 ton truck with HUGE mileages made my eyes pop! $10k for 250k miles on a 6.0L???? Who is thinking their trucks are worth that? I guess someone is buying them, but not me. I paid $5,000 for mine with 70k 11 years ago and fixed the "intake leak and misfire" (actually a rocker arm bolt was lose and ticking so free fix!).

What to do? Well, I happen to have a 3/4 ton truck and maybe a 1/2 ton in close to the same year will pop up reasonably cheap? Oh wait, there's one for $4k 10 miles from me rust free! You can see where I am going right?

Now, I must divulge with head held in shame that I have not had the need or time to dive super deep into my trucks in the past. I was a Mustang guy and swapping anything 79-04 was pretty easy with them. So I must ask for advice and help if I decide to do this project. Of course, I can be persuaded not to bother, but a large part of me is wanting to try it. If say I were to park a 2000 1/2ton step-side with a 5.3L and automatic beside my current girl for surgery, what kind of a mess am I getting into? Below are the specifics I am wondering about.

I am thinking the engine would bolt in clean. The some lines may be off, but that isn't too bad. The exhaust, I would be able to retain my headers and would maybe be able to use the short bed one(for now)

The transmission mount needs moved right? The 4L60E is shorter than my 4L80E I have heard. Are the mounting holes already in the frame? Is this a cut and weld, or drill and bolt deal?

The rear differential is bolt in if my research is correct and I can even take my springs across. The front the same? I know my current 16" rims are out dated, but I like them.

I am curious about the driveshaft combo I would need being the shorter truck/longer trans combo I am looking at doing. Anyone able to shed some light on this? Would this be a custom set or is there a stock combo out there I could scratch up?

Then there is the elephant in the room: Electronics. Would this be a full wiring swap or simply replace one ECU with another to handle the engine and trans swap? While wiring is no stranger to me since I do Communications Maintenance for the Corps, I don't like to rewire whole vehicles if I can help it.

I know this has been long and grueling to read. Therefore please enjoy a few pics of the reliable old girl.


167109

My daughter loved to wash her up
167111

My son learning to back her up on ramps (on the bright side he was able to pull her right back on where she belonged)
167110

The dirty side (got stuck pulling someone out)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,369 Posts
Probably the first hurdle to overcome is to realize that your now 1/2 ton will always be a 1/2 ton no matter what you swap over. It's still a 1/2 ton frame, and the title says 1/2 ton. The frame can be made tougher, but that title will always be 1/2 ton. If I were considering this, I would probably just swap everything powertrain into the 1/2 ton, along with the entire wiring harness, computer, and instrument cluster together. Then there is no worries about making it run. Custom drivelines are most likely a must, probably around $800 for both.
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top