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Mom's Wheeler


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My mom has decided that she wants to wheel with me and with the group. I talked her out of wheeling her 2018 Cummins 2500. She wanted a small rig. So here it is, a rust free 1985 GMC s15, 4x4, but the beauty is that is is an Iron Duke powered , 4speed standard! 



Plans are to get it to tip top shape in stock form, and then the mild modifications so she can trail run and explore.  The 4x4 did work, but I noticed some issues with the pass side axle shaft, missing the retainer snap ring, then the 4x4 wouldn't disengage, now won't engage, I believe the shift fork/collar on the 2 piece shaft is bound up, possibly with the MIA snap ring. Needs to be disassembled for further diagnosis.

 Work done so far 

Upper and lower ball joints both sides.  

Front calipers, pads , rotors, wheel bearings, new CV shafts for both sides, new front shocks, Chevy grill and headlight bezals from my old s10, 


Today was planning a bunch more work and was on the way to a shop I can work in, when it blew the headgasket..... Damn,  new engine gasket kit ordered, est arrival will be Dec 31. On the ride home today


On the way home from the purchase. It's had more kms on a tow truck than driven kms since she bought it, Hoping to remedy that lol


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10 minutes ago, autumnwalker said:

Good stuff! That's super cool that your mom wants to wheel with you / us!

That poor vette out in the cold ... it might need a new home in my garage. What were the specs again?

My mom used to dragrace a 1968 mustang fastback lol, and street challenge in anything she happened to be in haha. The Vette is hopefully going inside very shortly, 2005 C6, 400 HP 6 speed

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  • 2 weeks later...

The "DUKE" got it's new headgasket, along with the rest of the gaskets needed while pulling the head, also did rear shocks, new muffler, intermediate pipe, new tail pipe, new side mirrors, new rear brakes and wheel cylinders, fixed the inoperative wipers, fixed the inop reverse lights, installed really ugly license plate light, swapped tires with the Nissan and gave the Duke it's identity back by  installing the proper GMC grille. When removing the head, found a broken head bolt!? Was broke for a while, had bit of rust on it, and found bent pushrods. !? Didn't see anything to cause those issues, and the pushrods weren't kinked , but had slight" wow "when rolling them on a flat surface. Straightened the pushrods for now, I have a complete new set on order.  

 Truck has badgas, so bad to the point I'm amazed it ran at all, had a completely plugged fuel filter, and looks like the tank must have some rust in it. Iv ordered the parts to do a complete fuel system rebuild, including , the fuel injector, injector seals, fuel pressure regulator rebuild kit, throttle body rebuild kit , new fuel pump and fuel pump sock , and a new throttle position sensor, it has a dead spot on the gas pedal in the same spot regardless of engine rpm. 




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12 hours ago, autumnwalker said:

Wow ... this is nearly a complete overhaul! Was any of this disclosed by the previous owner? At what point do you abandon?

The guy I got it from told me as much as he knew, he was planning on full restoration to better than new condition, but had too many irons in the fire, this little truck is almost rust free, amazing condition, so I'll keep forging forward, . 

Dropped off for MVI today, it failed, the windshield was broken, the ignition switch didn't require keys but needed a screwdriver and the tailgate handle was not there. Took to glass shop, they installed new windshield, then I put in a new ignition Lock cylinder in the steering column and installed a new tailgate handle, but did not have bolts, so I robbed the bolts from my old s10, from when I was in high school lol, it's still in the bushes on my property lol now the DUKE is road legal. Next on the list is to address the front diff and restore the 4wd 

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More Progress, and interesting find, I found the original keys to the truck, they were sitting in the glove box haha, oh well, at least I found them before I changed the door lock cylinders, saved some time there. 

 I tore apart the front diff long side axle  tube, replaced a snap ring, freed up the stuck shift collar and now the Duke has 4x4. tried it out around the yard, worked as it should, no issues.

got it in for undercoating, I pulled the grille, headlight bezels, door vents and taillights in their parking lot, and they did an awesome job for me , got everywhere with it and lots of it as this truck was dry, very happy with the undercoating job. 

Installed a spare tire on a spare wheel, now I have a spare, 

Picked up new upper rad hose, I'll install that tomorrow, and I have an original s-10 BAJA faux rollbar. Going to mount it tomorrow too. It's got one original light still on it, looks kind of goofy with only one, I'll mount an led light bar on it

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Took the little truck around ellershouse for a quick little Run, works good, but the driver side stub axle is popping out if the diff, it will need a new snap ring , iv already replaced the pass side axle shaft snap ring for the same reason, except it was jammed and alot more work to replace it. Driver side shouldn't be too bad to replace. 

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On 27/01/2021 at 3:58 PM, autumnwalker said:


Hopefully getting some pics, today, Baja Rollbar is now installed, removed the one remaining off road light from the bar and installed 2 smaller off road/fog lights? That were just sitting on the shelf. An LED light bar just didn't look right on this truck. I ran new 2 conductor 14ga wire through the tubes of the roll bar, also have the relay and interior switch wired, just need to connect the lights. Next thing on the mod list is to install a "tool" box in the bed, I have an odd box from the towtruck that opens "up" which is useless on the towtruck, but should work fine on this truck. 

Next order of business is to mount the winch, I have a plan, but need someone to supply and cut the pieces of material for me, looking to have 1/4 plate cut like an old school uprights on an old pushbar. I can make a cardboard template, both pieces identical. 

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PICTURES lol. Finished the lights on the roll bar, they operate, the switch is not my first choice as it is just 3m stuck to the dash, it came with something else , but is functional with red LED light for off and green led light when on. 





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