94 GMC K1500 a project by accident

Rustyoldjunk

Rustologist/Punishment Glutton
Senior Member
Member
Its amazing how people don't take care of their stuff.
I bought this truck as a backup work/driver truck.
I knew it might need a little TLC but I had no idea how much !
I should have looked it over better but I was on my way to take the grandkids home and stopped on the way to look at it. I bought it and went back to get it the next day.
after realizing what all it needed I had two choices. Lose on it or fix it.
I'm too poor to loose on it so....
I brought this clean 94 GMC K1500 home a month or so ago.
And started working on it.
I dropped the trans and transfer case and replaced the leaking front seal in the transmission.
Then changed the transmission fluid and filter along with adding Lucas transmission conditioner.
Then I replaced the electronic ignition control module,changed the oil and filter,fixed the broken dip stick issue and adjusted the fan shroud so the fan isn't hitting it.
Then since the passenger side front wheel was way out of adjustment on top I loosened the upper control arm to adjust the wheel.
One of the bolts broke,so after adding a new bolt and cams I got the front wheel adjusted.
Then jacked the front end up and went thru and cleaned the front calipers all up to cure the sticking front brakes.
I replaced three tires. Two had broken belts,the third was worn out from the the leaning out passenger side front wheel.
Then I got back under it and fixed the wiring for the 4WD front axle actuator.
This truck drives very nice now. Smooth and quiet.
I still need to replace the driver side mirror and put in a missing thermostat.
It's a fairly low mile truck for a 94 with 142,000 miles and has been kept inside pretty much since new.
It even still had the window sticker in the glove box.
Now it's getting back into shape to seem like it.
 

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Rustyoldjunk

Rustologist/Punishment Glutton
Senior Member
Member
The original window sticker.
I have already put the truck to work.
Not sure that I like the truck or not yet though.
I'm not a big fan of the 88-98 GM half tons anyway and with the 4.3 V6 I'm not sure that this truck really has the umph that I want to pull a loaded single axle 12 foot trailer down the highway.
I will drive it a little more and If I don't like it the truck will go up for sale and be replaced (most likely with a older Dodge or Ford).
 

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UncleWillie

Wrabbit Rangler
Senior Member
Member
The4.3 is a great little engine, but not strong enough for towing. In an S10 they are a riot. In a full size they are adequate.

If it had power mirrors I would send you one since I have 2 sets I will never use.
 

Rustyoldjunk

Rustologist/Punishment Glutton
Senior Member
Member
No power mirrors Willie.
This is a pretty basic truck. Manual windows and locks but thank you.
I agree about the 4.3.
I have have several in 4x4 S10 models thru the years and they were fine.
But in this full size it makes my 360 powered 95 Ram 4x4 feel like a Hemi.
This truck reminds me of a 86 S10 4x4 ext cab with a 2.8 V6 in it about 20 years ago.
I loved that little S10 but it had to downshift if it looked at a slight grade.
 

UncleWillie

Wrabbit Rangler
Senior Member
Member
No power mirrors Willie.
This is a pretty basic truck. Manual windows and locks but thank you.
I agree about the 4.3.
I have have several in 4x4 S10 models thru the years and they were fine.
But in this full size it makes my 360 powered 95 Ram 4x4 feel like a Hemi.
This truck reminds me of a 86 S10 4x4 ext cab with a 2.8 V6 in it about 20 years ago.
I loved that little S10 but it had to downshift if it looked at a slight grade.
In a 2wd 5 speed the 2.8l is great. Just hums right along barely using gas. A freind had one in a 4wd Cherokee with an automatic. IT was slow, and got terrible fuel mileage.
 

Rustyoldjunk

Rustologist/Punishment Glutton
Senior Member
Member
In a 2wd 5 speed the 2.8l is great. Just hums right along barely using gas. A freind had one in a 4wd Cherokee with an automatic. IT was slow, and got terrible fuel mileage.
Mine was like some sort of early "Baja" edition.
Chrome grill blacked out bumpers and factory tube bumper type of deal. It also seemed to sit an inch or two higher than other 80s S10 4x4s (I had others at the same time).
It had factory 4.10 gears and locking rear diff.
I used to drive it down the 4 wheeler trails right onto the sandbars and fish off the tailgate.
I loved that little rig but it was underpowered.
 

olcowhand

Daniel In KY
Staff member
Administrator
The4.3 is a great little engine, but not strong enough for towing. In an S10 they are a riot. In a full size they are adequate.

If it had power mirrors I would send you one since I have 2 sets I will never use.
In a 2wd 5 speed the 2.8l is great. Just hums right along barely using gas. A freind had one in a 4wd Cherokee with an automatic. IT was slow, and got terrible fuel mileage.
My first Cherokee had the 2.8 and sure lacked in power and mileage. Didn't keep it long till I sold it and got a Grand Cherokee with 4.0. Plenty of power and better mileage. The 2.8 with an empty small trailer was pitiful, but the 4.0 would pull quite a load.
 

Cat385B

Knighted as Sir Cat, Vanquisher of Spam
Staff member
Moderator
My FIL had a ‘93 with the 4.3, but it was a 1500 reg cab short box flareside. With the 5 speed manual, it was ok as a cruiser but not a worker.
This one is pretty close:
166F66BC-D35B-4465-8486-BE8BFF96D99E.jpeg
 

MFDAC

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
I've only had 2 GM V-6 outfits. First one I got for the wife to drive in the mid 90's back when we were broke all the time. It was a mid-80's Astro van with a 4.3. It had one of those 2bbl carbs that looked kinda like a quadrajet. The 500 dollar van served her well for several years until we could afford something better. Then the other was a 1962 GMC K2500 that had a 305 V-6. Had it for a couple years in the mid 2000's but sold it for some cash for another project. I don't think I ever drove a smoother engine.

Now I'm working on a freebie Grand Cherokee, but it is a 4.0 inliner 6. 2004 that my wife's uncle gave her. Seems like it might be a pretty good beater for having 219,000 on it. Her uncle said he was just going to scrap it if we didn't take it.

I had a 1991 S-15 for a lot of years too but it had the old "iron duke" 4 banger. Talk about no power---LOL! It was a good work beater though! For a 2wd that little truck got through some pretty deep snow just fine on many occasions!

DAC
 

Rustyoldjunk

Rustologist/Punishment Glutton
Senior Member
Member
what did you set the front wheel to? w/o some kind of alignment setup kinda impossible to set it any sort of "right". Even if its the old AMMCO magnetic camber caster gauges that's better than nothing
I need to take it and get it aligned now,I'm sure.
The front wheel was leaning out probably close to 3 inches on top.
It had worn the outside half of the front tire smooth while the inside half looked good.
The wheel looked like it was trying to fall off and the truck pulled hard right.
I used to do alignments in a tire shop I worked at years ago.
I carefully eyeballs it and got it as close as I could.
The truck now drive nice and straight down the road and the alignment looks very close but as you said I don't have the tools at home to get it completely right.
Now if it was a sold front axle truck instead of IFS I would just use a tape and get it very close.
But for now it drives great so I'm in no huge hurry to get it in.
 

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Rustyoldjunk

Rustologist/Punishment Glutton
Senior Member
Member
I have a couple of runs that I need to get done with a single axle trailer.
Both 100 mile-ish round trips. With two garden tractors going out on each trip and two garden tractors coming back on each trip.
My main trailer puller is down in the garage waiting for me to get to it.
This truck doesn't have a Reese type receiver under it.
Out of desperation I'm debating on using the step bumper hitch and taking it easy.
 

Arti

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
Tape measure for toe in and a carpenter level will get it close. I put the level on a vehicle that is in good alignment and shim the level until it reads level. Then if it reads level on the other vehicle you are close. This works well if you are parked on a level spot.
 
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