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AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/11/19 9:44 a.m.

This post copied verbatim from 2019-06-15 post in MONZORA thread.  I don't know why i didn't start a separate Sonoma thread at that time.  Let us begin:

In the entire history of the GRM Challenge, only one competitor has had sufficient jam to race a Corvair.  That’s me.  And in the entire history of the GRM Challenge, only one vehicle has towed a Corvair to the event.  At this time, I am proud to present to you my latest vehicle purchase:

2001 GMC Sonoma ZQ8, 188k, 4.3L V6, 5-speed manual, with crank windows and no keyless entry.  Really, aside from ZQ8, A/C, and 4.3, I think she’s about as base as they come.  My buddy Jason bought her new in 2001, and she pulled my Corvairs to the Challenge in 2002-2004.  He sold her to a friend in 2016, and I bought her from that guy.  If all goes to plan, she retains her title as the only vehicle to tow a Corvair to the Challenge.  And if things go tits-up with the Corvair, I’ve got a ZQ8 Gastropod.  There’s a matching spare in the bed, plus the OE rims with nice Winter tires, two spare ABS ECUs, the OE dash (she’s currently sporting a replacement dash made for double-DIN radio where the OE was 1.5-DIN), and a few odds and ends.  Maintenance folder is about 2” thick and goes all the way back to Day 1.  

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/11/19 9:46 a.m.

The afore-mentioned folder of receipts:

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/11/19 9:54 a.m.

I was OGC

back in oh-three

And again in oh-four.  Same truck, same dolly, same V8 Vair (with updates):

In those days, she was rocking 2/2 drop (below ZQ8 height) via spindles and blocks.  

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/11/19 10:39 a.m.

Several people have commented about how clean she is for an 18-year-old truck that's been used year-round here in salty Michigan.  There are two reasons for how good she looks today:  first, my buddy Jay is OCD about keeping his cars and trucks clean.  Like "get there early and shake today's dirt from the floor mats" OCD.

  • 2001-07-06:  Purchased with 24 miles on odometer.
  • 2001-07-09:  Removed emblems, stickers, front plate.
  • 2001-08-14:  Painted (body color) exterior mirror shells, door and tailgate handles, rear bumper step pads
  • 2001-08-28: Cut antenna whip to roof height; install Blazer carpeted floor mats

second, she's had a bit of paint work, as my buddy Jay crashed her several times over the years.

  • 2002-03-08:  Crash!  Replace RH bed side, RH taillight
  • 2005-08-19:  Crash!  Replace front bumper, hood, LH Headlight, LH door and glass, LH mirror, LH bed side, section of LH door frame, rear bumper, paint whole truck
  • 2010-09-15:  Crash!  Repair LH door, LH cab corner, LH bed side
  • 2012-12-08:  Crash!  Repair front bumper, hood, LF fender, RF fender, LH rocker panel, LH door, LH cab side, LH bed side, paint whole truck

I shall do my best to not add to the Crash! list.

Robbie
Robbie MegaDork
12/11/19 2:43 p.m.

That's like exactly the truck I want.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/11/19 3:17 p.m.
Robbie said:

That's like exactly the truck I want.

me too.  that's why i bought it.  ;-)

so my ownership started at 188,650 miles.  the first few months of ownership were very uninteresting.  she needed nothing but gas for 5k miles, until:

  • 2019-09-18:  at 193,620 miles, she cost me a small fortune.  Oil and filter, wiper blades.  A *very* small fortune.  Like $46.

then nothing but gas for another month until:

  • 2019-11-10:  at 195,393 miles, remove 18" rims and summer tires, install OE 16" rims and winter tires. easy, and free.  And great timing, since this was the scene at work the next day (Sonoma at far left):

After installing the winters, I turned the key and she didn't start.  :-(

in RUN, all was as normal, but in START, there was no action from the starter. i jiggled the key and tried again, and she started, so I chalked it up to a worn ignition switch, and ordered a new AC Delco part. Swapped it in and she started right up. A couple days later, not so much. So I convinced myself that it was the mechanical interface between the ignition cylinder and the ignition switch. And I tried every combination of fast / slow / shallow / deep insertion of the key in an effort to figure out what worked and what didn't. Apparently i completely forgot that this is how GM (and maybe other) starter solenoids fail: Intermittently.  and then...

  • 2019-12-10: at 196,539 miles, after a month of berkeleying around with key jiggles, i sprung for a CarQuest reman starter from Advance, used "COUPON25" to get 25% off my online order price, and after core return and tax i'm into her another $111. Installing the replacement was easier than removing the original, which was nice since i was laying on my back in the driveway and the temp was dropping fast. while the hood was up, i cleaned and lubed the latch since it didn't pop as smooth as it should. It began to snow as i gathered my tools and called it a night.

FWIW, RWD plus G80 Limited Slip Diff plus good winter tires plus about 200 lbs in the bed works fine here in the flatlands of the Detroit area.

purplepeopleeater
purplepeopleeater Reader
12/11/19 3:24 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

Thumbs up from the man who was swapping out a warranty battery at Pep Boys in the rain & as the temperature dropped the other night. I didn't lube the latch though.

xflowgolf
xflowgolf SuperDork
12/12/19 1:40 p.m.

nice truck.  ZQ8 + 5-speed + 4.3 is all the options you'd want of that era anyways.  

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/12/19 2:13 p.m.
xflowgolf said:

nice truck.  ZQ8 + 5-speed + 4.3 is all the options you'd want of that era anyways.  

there are days when i'd like to have the sliding rear window, and i'm not sure if air conditioning was standard or optional but i wouldn't want to commute without it.

and thanks.  it really is a great little package.

chrispy
chrispy HalfDork
12/12/19 4:04 p.m.

In my "race truck/autox" dreams, this is the combo I keep coming back to.  My first new car was a 93 Dakota Sport, V6, manual, 2wd. I remember an 8 hour drive home that should have taken 3.5 in snow and slush.  I went through a good section of I40 in Winston Salem sideways (but still in my lane).

Go_Gators
Go_Gators Reader
12/13/19 5:23 a.m.

always loved these little trucks. had a 4.3 + 5spd as a daily for ~4 years.... hated to sell it... but kids...

 

 

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
12/13/19 6:58 a.m.

A manual, RWD small pickup truck is how I learned to drive through five New England winters.

Driving in a snowstorm was like going to Disney for me. It was never tracking straight but always in perfect control.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/14/19 7:08 p.m.

HVAC fan has been making that dry bearing noise for a couple months, so yesterday after work I R&R’d it.  It was easier than I expected:

  • Disconnect B(-)
  • Disconnect overflow hose from reservoir
  • Remove 3 bolts holding PCM to reservoir
  • Remove 1 nut holding harness retainer to HVAC housing
  • Disconnect radio antenna at front of HVAC housing
  • Disconnect HVAC motor connector
  • Remove 2 connectors from back of PCM
  • Remove 3 nuts from studs holding reservoir (I think only the rearmost one really needs to come out)
  • Remove reservoir
  • Punch rearmost stud down through fender liner
  • Remove 5 screws holding fan to HVAC housing
  • Assembly is reverse of removal

Noisy fan out, quiet fan in.  Quiet fan is quiet.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
12/14/19 7:33 p.m.

Sweet hands, love this truck.  My first two cars were S10s.  A V6 5spd.....  never sell and if you do, I will fly and drive and watch you cry im the rear view mirror.  I seriously doubt there are more than 5 similarly equipped in nice shape.

My son destroyed the last nice V6 5 speed 2000 Dakota......

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/14/19 7:48 p.m.

She’s been driving pretty sketchy lately, changing direction without steering input, squeaking and clunking. I began collecting parts and decided that this weekend is front suspension rebuild weekend. Today’s weather was nice for Detroit in December, mostly sunny and upper 30’s, so I decided to work in the driveway instead of driving 30 minutes to use the shop at work.

Wheels off, started with general inspection and evaluation.

Nuts and bolts were a little crusty, but not bad for a 2001 that’s been used year-round up here. Wire wheel in drill got things cleaned up:

and I was pleasantly surprised when (1) the nut came off and (2) the bolt wasn’t stuck inside the bushing sleeve. My buddy Jay said he has had it apart before and put anti-seize on these bolts. Thanks, Jay!

A little more poking around revealed a likely suspect for the unwanted direction changes:

That’s what’s left of the LH UCA rear bushing. Not good!

Unfortunately I left some of the new parts at work, so I spent the rest of my time identifying what tools I’d need, pondering how to approach the work, cleaning threads, and loosening fasteners. Then I put it all back together as-is. Stay tuned tomorrow for details of the new parts selected, and the R&R process and results.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
12/14/19 8:27 p.m.

Jobs like this are what keeps people interested in their projects/vehicles. You don't need to do too much at once. It's the Kaizen principle.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/15/19 10:37 p.m.

Family breakfast at the Olympus Diner this morning, then over to the local tree lot for an overpriced Fraser Fir. Got home, set up and watered the overpriced tree, then headed to work to see if my pass card would let me in on Sunday. It worked, so I got busy on the front suspension.

I started with the LF upper, because it was in the worst shape.  Out with the old:

And in with the new:

Note: see those nuts on the UCA cross-shaft? Always loosen them for assembly.  Makes tool access easier. Don’t tighten them until the suspension is at about ride height. You can get pretty close by jacking up under the LBJ until the frame starts to lift off the jack stand. 

This info is slightly out-of-order. I’m throwing away a little bit of $ on this job, as I bought new UCA and LCA assemblies and immediately removed the ball joints. Lowers press-fit, Uppers are retained by rivets on assembled arms and replacements bolt in after cutting rivets:

Taking a page from the Dusterbd13 S10 book, I got a set of ProForged tall UBJs and LBJs.

The tall lower drops the nose about 1/2”, and the UBJ/LBJ combo gives a better camber curve. And having complete assemblies means straight R&R instead of stripping, painting, pressing out old bushings, etc.

OK, back to the job. With new hotness LF UCA in place, I moved to the RF UCA, figuring I definitely need the UCAs to match. ProForged says the tall UBJs can be used with standard LBJs, so I figured I’d do UCAs and shocks, then see if I’d have enough time to do the LCAs. The RF UCA went smoothly, so I jumped into shock therapy. The RF fought me a little:

But I prevailed. The top nut got stuck on removal, so I tried to reverse direction and the top of the shaft broke off right where you’re supposed to hold it to prevent rotation and allow the nut to thread on or off. With no vice grips in the tool box (srsly WTF), I hacksaw’d through the shaft:

then installed the new Bilstein on RF and moved to the LF. Repeat trials and tribulations of RF, with added breakage of J-nut on lower mount, which required additional hacksawing to liberate. There was no way to turn back, so I had to figure out the way forward.

We have several sample bins from a fastener supplier, so I dug around looking for a similar-length bolt and matching nut. Or a reasonable facsimile. Found some torque-retaining nuts in the correct thread, but no bolts. 

Back down to the shop, wandering around thinking about where I might be able to rob an M8x1.25x35mm bolt, and I see this:

Lower left corner, that’s a bag of chair and stool assembly hardware, all M8x1.25! There was a 50mm Phillips head screw that I decided to modify. I know it’s craptastic Grade 2 strength but it will get me home. Moar hacksaws:

and a couple of nuts jammed together:

makes a “good enough” bolt. There was just enough room to get a 1/4”-drive 13mm socket between the shock body and a loose nut inside the coil spring:

And just like that, a good enough to get me home repair:

Total stroke of luck, finding that bag of chair hardware. It was getting late (9PM-ish) and I have to be up early tomorrow, so I called it quits here. Jacked up under LBJs and tightened the UCA bushing cross-shaft nuts, cleaned up tools and shop, and headed for home.

She drives so much better! Steering effort is a little higher since the UBJs are new, but the dartiness over bumps is totally gone. Still a little clunk over big bumps, but I believe the LCAs and sway bar bushings will fix that. I’m really happy with the result so far.

classicJackets
classicJackets Dork
12/16/19 6:32 a.m.

What a great field fix for the shock.  Can you see a difference in ride height with the UBJ's installed?

 

Very nice workspace to be able to just go in and work - brightly lit and clean as hell too!

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/16/19 1:31 p.m.

In reply to classicJackets :

I can’t say for sure, but I think no change in ride height with the uppers, as the spring acts between the lower arm and the chassis.

When I remembered about those fastener sample packs and found all the torque-retaining nuts, I felt like when Matt Damon remembers the doo-doo packets in The Martian.

Keep working the problem.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/22/19 11:23 p.m.

Spent some quality time in a local U-pull-it with my buddy Jay, getting some goodies to complete the front end makeover.

The later RWD S-Blazers and Jimmys used twin-pot bracketed calipers, floating 11” rotors, Gen3 wheel bearings, and unique knuckles, versus the integral-hub 10.5” rotors and single-pot calipers with abutment rails built into the knuckles. Thanks to GM component sharing between S-SUVs, S-trucks, and G-Bodies, these knuckles are sought by many as a direct bolt-on brake upgrade. There are also several sources for brackets to install C5/C6 calipers and rotors to these knuckles, for the budget-minded Pro Touring hookup. So I grabbed all those goodies from a single donor, for $120. Pix to follow as I clean them up and install on the Sonoma.

Had a LOL moment removing parts in JY, when the LBJ just plain old fell out of the LCA when I popped the taper free of the knuckle. Never seen that before.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/24/19 2:35 p.m.

Yesterday was my birthday, so I got to do my own thing all day. Back to the u-pull-it to grab 2 more sets of Blazer knuckles!

My left-hand dexterity is getting better, as is my familiarity with this job. First set solo took 2 hours. Second set took 55 minutes. I will cherry-pick the best bits for myself, sell one set to my buddy Steve at cost since he pointed me in the right direction, then eBay the 3rd set to cover most of the cost of the conversion. Down the road, when current winter tires are shot, I will sell my ZQ8 rims and pick up another set of Sawblades and spacers, then upsize the front brakes to C5. Because LS1/T56 when MONZORA is done.

Closed out my celebration with family dinner at Benihana.  With tips, the four of us knock a big hole in $200, but it’s totally worth it, once a year.

classicJackets
classicJackets Dork
12/24/19 4:22 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

Happy birthday! Our birthdays are a day apart, funny enough. Looks like a day well spent at the yard.

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
12/25/19 9:13 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

Yesterday was my birthday, so I got to do my own thing all day. Back to the u-pull-it to grab 2 more sets of Blazer knuckles!

My left-hand dexterity is getting better, as is my familiarity with this job. First set solo took 2 hours. Second set took 55 minutes. I will cherry-pick the best bits for myself, sell one set to my buddy Steve at cost since he pointed me in the right direction, then eBay the 3rd set to cover most of the cost of the conversion. Down the road, when current winter tires are shot, I will sell my ZQ8 rims and pick up another set of Sawblades and spacers, then upsize the front brakes to C5. Because LS1/T56 when MONZORA is done.

Closed out my celebration with family dinner at Benihana.  With tips, the four of us knock a big hole in $200, but it’s totally worth it, once a year.

Winning!  Happy Birthday Patrick.   Are fingers above dirty or is that post surgery bruising?

 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
12/25/19 11:34 p.m.
wawazat said:

Winning!  Happy Birthday Patrick.   Are fingers above dirty or is that post surgery bruising?

Junkyard filth. I didn’t have any bruising or swelling, and only today have I felt any itchiness inside the cast. Thanks for asking!

 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 Dork
12/26/19 9:36 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

You just discovered why I put a little tack weld on a press in ball joint!

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