Project Cars‎ > ‎'96 GMC K1500‎ > ‎

K1500 Build Log

Chris' K1500 Build Summary

posted Nov 24, 2012, 10:57 PM by Chris Agneta   [ updated Nov 27, 2012, 3:20 PM ]

This truck has been built from the ground up as a reliable off road recovery, and severe weather assistance vehicle.
^6 Inches of lift and 35" Off Road Tires^

The truck is packed with well thought out features that aid it in it's operation.

-SBC 305ci V8 motor
    - Dual plane Air-Gap intake manifold
    - Holley Off Road Carb
    - MSD HEI distributor
    - K&N Air filter
    - Airaid Pre filter
    - Shorty Headers
-Oversized radiator
-Radiator Electric Fans
-HD oil cooler
-Oil Cooler Thermostat

^305ci V8 with carb and  pre-cleaner^

-'93 NV4500 5 speed standard transmission
-NP241 manual shift transfercase
-10 bolt rear axle
-Eaton Elocker
-3.73 Gears
-64:1 Crawl Ratio
^NP241 with NV4500 ready to drop in^

-Dual Battery system with Active Isolation
-Dual Battery combine switch
-Master Power Cutoff switches
-105 amp alternator
-All 4ga. alternator and engine ground wiring
-0ga ground and 0ga battery combine feed
-Blue Sea Systems Fuse Block Under hood
^All loomed wiring with battery isolation and fuse block^

-6" Rough Country Lift
-35" 12" wide BFGoodrich KM2 Offroad Tires
-15x8 Cragar soft 8 Wheels
-5 gallon onboard air setup
-Fan Control inside cabin
-Front and rear underbody cameras
-LOWRANCE Out & Back Backup/LatLong GPS
^Climbing a Hill offroad^

-Underbody LED rock lights
-HID converted KC Rally 800 Driving lights Behind Grill
-HID converted KC 26 amber Fog lights behind Grill
-Sylvania Performance Silverstar headlights
-KC 26 Rear Backup Lights mounted in Bumper
-LED bed Lights
-Roof Light Bar
    - 4 Forward Facing 64 SMD LED Lamps
    - 2 130w Forward Facing Lamps
    - 2 Side facing 64 SMD LED Lamps
    - 3 Rear Facing 64 SMD LED Lamps

-Kicker KS65 speakers
-Kicker 10" comp Subwoofer
-Alpine MRP-F300 4 Chan Amp
-Kicker 30 channel EQ+Preamp
-Pioneer N3 In dash Navigation Head Unit
-Custom 12 position Switch panel Mounted in dash
-Custom 3 Gauge over Rearview Mirror Gauge pod
    - Autometer 2 5/8" Pro-Comp Oil Pressure Gauge
    - Autometer 2 5/8" Pro-Comp Oil Temp Gauge
    - Autometer 2 5/8" Pro-Comp Water Temp Gauge
-Glow Shift Digital Shift Light and Tachometer
-Locker Status LED in dash mounted
-Battery Switch status LED in dash mounted
^In Dash with navi and Switch Panels^

-Uniden PRO 520XL CB radio
-Firestik 4ft FS-II antenna
-Uniden 996XT Mobile Scanner
-RadioShack Hidden Antenna for Scanner

Motor Throws Rods, Truck is re-assembled better than it was before.

posted Jan 31, 2012, 10:19 PM by Chris Agneta

A little while back the truck decided that it would be fun to spin a rod bearing and throw some rods, needless to say that motor was removed in favor of another one that actually ran. I got the motor out within hours of the truck blowing up with the help of some friends and we then put the truck out back for storage until a new motor was found. Here are some pictures of the engine carnage that followed the truck's temper tantrum.

Crankcase explosion!

Even the cam recieved some damage

Even the cam took some damage. Quite the explosion of parts.

While I was swapping the motor in the truck I decided to fix the leaking oil lines permanantly. The motor sourced for the truck was a newer motor from a blazer and the blazer came from the factory with a remote oil filter bracket and lines. So I made short business of removing the lines from the block and cutting, filing and flaring, and then filing and cleaning them as to accept a 1/2 inch ID Oil line. The plan was to add an external oil cooler in front of the radiator this would help to seperate the heat being exchanged from the coolant to the oil. As the tasks that are ahead of the truck are not small or easy and it will get worked hard for sure. I decided that installing the over sized oil cooler is needed insurance that the engine will be protected when it is being worked hard. The remote oil filter will help complete the setup by adding capacity to the system and making oil changes easier! I also decided to install an oil tempature gauge at the same time as the rest of the oil system upgardes.  I installed it right before the oil passes through the oil cooler so that I will know what temperature the oil is exiting the engine at.

Flared and prepped remote oil filter lines
Oil cooler!
Oil Temp!

everything installed
The oil cooler fits nicely between the support and the radiator. The oil filter is completely hidden behind the grill when it is installed on the vehicle. The lights, power steering cooler, oil cooler, and plow wires are neatly concealed behind the grill of project K1500.

While the truck was apart I also installed a rear view camera and a Pioneer AVIC-N3 nav unit. The rear view camera serves a special purpose, the camera is focused on showing the driver what is coming up on the rear tires and more importantly what the clearance between an obstacle and the rear differential looks like. Incorporated into the navigation software and hardware on the N3 are a host of sensors it provides a magnetic compass, accelerometer, and inclineometer which are used to measure compass direction, acceleration, deceleration, yaw, roll, pitch, and incline . These parameters can be displayed on the screen at any time while in the navigation mode and are very interesting to watch while navigating different terrain in different conditions. The N3 has a fantastic road GPS built in and is also able to leave breadcrumbs on the map when the truck is traveling off the road. The NavTEQ maps have bodies of water, streams, and rivers built into the base map so it is useful both on and off road. The 7 inch touchscreen allows both  navigation and cameras to be toggled with ease. One nice feature is that even with the flip down screen closed the unit has a small LCD screen on the front of the face to show the current track or song that is playing and any other important information.

Rear view camera
This is what the display looks like with the rear differential camera on, the camera can see the differential and both tires, pretty useful if trying to navigate in close quarters.

That would be all I have for this update, more to follow tomorrow!


Dual Battery Wiring and Electonics Install

posted Dec 25, 2011, 7:31 PM by Chris Agneta

Upon starting the Build I had an Optima Yellow Top battery left over from my blown up Honda. Having always wanted to run dual batteries in a vehicle I spent some time researching dual battery setups, I kept in mind a few important things. First I knew I would need a solid mount for the battery, as vibration is the most common way to destroy a perfectly good battery I wanted something secure to do the holding. Secondly I knew that I had a battery that would be In need of some form of isolation from the primary battery once the truck's alternator was turned off. I did some creative Google searching and found that the diesel trucks came with a second battery tray mounted over the windshield washer reservoir we managed to pick one of these up at a local junkyard while on a hunt for a front fender. To address the problem with the charging systems and isolating the batteries I decided that normal battery isolators, or a more conventional continuous duty solenoid wouldn't be in the future for the truck, I needed something more reliable and more importantly totally submersible. It's no secret that I'm a fan of overbuilt electronics so I immediately turned to a market that would have the second highest quality electronic switches. (second only the the insanely overpriced aviation market) By that, I mean that I went straight to the marine Industry. I looked within the marine industry because their products get exposed to everything that one could call "worst case" for electronics. These electronic components are subjected to high temperatures in the engine compartment of a boat, they are also subjected to chemicals in the air in the engine compartment, and most importantly to me, these components need to be able to function at 100% even when submerged in liquid. Even though I was planning on mounting the solenoid above the fan shroud, I wanted to be able to have it work even if I drive through a water crossing and it goes under. The idea of some day driving into an obstacle, and not having the battery that my winch is connected to charged by the alternator scares me a little. After much research I bought an Automatic Charging Relay from Blue Sea Systems. This unit has Start Isolation feature, and a batteries combined indicator both on the unit and one that gets mounted in the cabin, and my favorite part, this charging relay is totally submersible for up to 30 minutes. This beauty is entirely automatic once it senses a charging current from the alternator for 30 seconds it combines the batteries and allows them to be charged together by the same alternator, then 30 seconds after it senses the charging source removed, the ACR separates the batteries again. The two batteries were then wired in parallel with the ACR between them. The Dual battery setup has been installed for a few months now and it works great both batteries are in very good health and the ACR has performed flawlessly so far!

The ACR installed inline and on the right is a picture of the install of the dual battery setup.

The next part of the power distribution project was to upgrade the ground wires and increase overall charging system performance
This was done by installing a four gauge positive cable from the alternator to the battery, upgrading the frame ground to a two gauge cable, upgrading the engine ground to a two gauge cable, and upgrading the cab ground to a two gauge cable as well.

The picture to the left shows the four gauge cable running from the alternator to the batteries, and the other four gauge cable runs from the primary battery through the ACR and then on to the secondary battery.

The power distribution for the accessories under the hood was now complete, I did also run a four gauge cable into the cabin for the amps and accessories that I would use inside the truck.

The next Wiring feat was to run the 8ga cables from the secondary battery for both power and ground that would be connected to the power distribution center for the four HID ballasts,  the Reverse lights, the rock lights, and the E-locker and all the relays to support these things. The power distribution center is housed within an ammunition box that is mounted next to the radiator on the passenger side. Even though the HID ballasts and the relays I choose for the project are waterproof, I still wanted to use something that would keep my connections watertight and more importantly keep the electrical components clean so when I need to add something to the system all I would have to do would be install a new grommet and run the new wires.

This is the Power Distribution center while it was being wired. The four HID ballasts are on the left side, the Positive and negative distribution blocks are not in the box yet and the relays for the E-Locker, Reverse lights, and

Inside the truck I chose the following components to support my activities and general sanity on long commutes.

-Alpine IDA-X200 Deck
-Parrot KCE-400BT Bluetooth module
-AudioQuest Aux Cable
-Alpine Full Speed iPod cable
-XM Radio Receiver
-Sirius Slim Antenna Upgrade
-Kicker KQ30 Signal Processor
-Alpine MRP-F300 Amplifier
-Kicker KS65 Coaxial Speakers
-Kicker TC10 Subwoofer

-Uniden PRO 520XL
-PA System
-Uniden BCD996XT
-External Speaker for BCD996XT
-Two Motorola MR350 Two-Way radios

-On road Nav is provided by Two TomTom units
-Off Road Nav is provided by a Lowrance Safari Handheld GPS unit

-DEI Door Lock Actuators
-Viper 5301 Two way alarm/Remote start system

The amplifier, scanner, and CB radio are mounted high on the seat back, rather than under the bench or on the back of the cab.  They are mounted as high in the cabin as possible so that if the interior of the truck were to become wet the electronics will have the best chance of surviving.  The power and signal wires are run inside wire-loom from the secondary battery to the back of the bench, to keep the install as clean and safe as possible.

 The Valentine 1 Radar detector mounted above the Rear View mirror.

The amplifier, signal processor, and scanner mounted to the seat back. Before wire-loom and after wire-loom.

Alpine Head Unit installed.

I chose to use a pair of  AudioQuest RCA cables as my aux cable the braided wires and all metal connectors are both cleaner looking and perform better both in durability and sound quality over a standard aux cable. I have the Alpine Full Speed iPod cable run to the glove box that allows me to have an iPod stored in the glove box and to have full control of it from the head unit, this is a nice extra because it keeps the iPod from getting knocked around the cabin when driving off road.  Lastly, the KQ30 Works perfectly to tune the sound from my coax speakers to blend flawlessly with the sub.

That just about sums up the electrical modifications to project K1500 so far.

More to come on the E-Locker install in the next few days!


Reverse and Rock lights

posted Dec 19, 2011, 9:01 PM by Chris Agneta   [ updated Dec 25, 2011, 4:10 PM ]

Over the last week I've had some time to address some of the other problems with the truck.

When we bought the truck the reverse lights didn't work, I drove the truck around for a few thousand miles with out being able to see what was going on behind me while driving backwards. The other day I decided to kill two birds with one stone, so I ordered another set of KC 26 All weather lights. These are my second favorite light to the Rally 800 Lights. They are small, measuring in at 2" tall and 6" wide they can fit almost anywhere. The Interchangeable lenses are perfect for my applications, if one gets broken just swap the lens out for another. The lights come with many different options for lens styles, in the box there are two amber fog, two clear fog, and two driving or pencil light lenses to choose from. For my fog lights I decided to use the Amber fog lights to cut down on glare off falling snow and rain. For my reverse lights I decided on using the white fog lens to spread the light  out behind the truck.  I used the plasma cutter, a template, and a grinder to cut the rear bumper to fit the lights behind, and then welded a mounting tab behind the bumper to attach the lights to. The bracket recessed the lights into the bumper about a quarter of an inch to minimize the change of them getting hit by branches or bushes that may be behind me.   
Reverse Lights behind the bumper!  To the right we have the lights mounted behind the bumper, and the image to the right shows the lights in action, lighting up all the area behind the truck to allow driving in reverse even in the tightest of spots.

I recycled some LED strips that I had bought from one of my favorite online LED retailers. These LED strips had previously been the interior white lights in the Honda road rally car.
I decided that because they are waterproof and extremely slim that they would make good rock lights. Not that I have a lot of time to spend off the road at the moment but having a set of lights in place to let me make quick checks of differential to rock clearances and general inspections has always been something that I wanted. So I took this opportunity to install these little LED strips under the bed to illuminate the area underneath my differential.
Rock lights at work in the driveway!

I also decided to include a breakdown of the current lighting setup on the truck in an illustrated form. This is the Culmination of a lot of research and testing and is what I find as a bare minimum for lights both on and off road.

K1500 Lighting Setup

Stock Sealed beam headlights, Sylvania Performance Silverstar Ultra Bulbs.

KC 26 All Season, HID conversion, Amber Fog beam lights.

KC Rally 800, Driving Beam lights, HID conversion, with rock guards.

KC 26 All Season, 55w Halogen, Clear Fog Beam Light.

SuperBrightLEDS FALM-WW4, 4300k 4 LED Accent Lights.

Still dreaming of a lift kit and bigger tires, as always. Also getting very uncomfortable with having the differential still sitting on the shelf in my parts closet. Going to have to make it happen soon.  But for now its off to a nice bowl of ramen noodles and some TiVo before finals begin.
Until next time,

Fogs are back in action!

posted Dec 14, 2011, 8:05 PM by Chris Agneta

After melting my previous set of amber fog lights on the trip to Ocean City I finally got around to replacing the lenses on the kc 26 lights that are behind the grill.  I mounted a pair of HID lamps in the KC 26 housings and now I have a nice set of HID yellows!

The Yellows are excellent fro inclement weather driving and help to reduce the glare off falling snow and rain.

While at work I took some down time to mount a few more switches in a blank plate in the dash to control the new lights and accessories.
Now there are switches for;
Remote start override
KC Driving Rally 800 HID lights
KC 26 HID amber fogs
KC 26 55w flood pattern rear facing work lights
with two switches left over for whatever comes next!

Up next for project K1500 is a BackRack, and the E-Locker install.

As always, more to follow in the next couple of weeks.


1-5 of 5