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Following up on our last issue, we are ready to install our new interior pieces and start the planning phases of our powerplant/drivetrain swap. We have some great goals for this little OBS Chevy truck and with some help from the industry elite, the plan is quickly coming to fruition. The factory 4.3-liter V6 is still pumping out enough power to push this GMT400 down the road, but after close to 25 years in service, it’s best days are behind it. Still bolted to the originally installed transmission, this combo has performed and functioned better than the original engineers probably expected, but it doesn’t meet our standards. After we remove the block and set it aside while we install its replacement, we plan to show you a few simple tips and tricks to rebuilding this still dependable workhorse for a different project down the road. Just because it doesn’t have crazy compression or extremely thick walls doesn’t make it completely useless, especially if you’re just trying to flip an older truck for some extra spending cash.

Our big secret from the last two issues was the engine choice for project Stella. We showed you the crate and you could clearly see the engine builder, but the specifics were kept under wraps, until now. Sure we could have documented a brand new LS-swap or even a 5.3-liter rebuild, but the truck we are working with has been so synonymous with small block Chevy engines over the years that we decided to keep that trend going. The generation that originally loved these short wheelbase, full-size trucks have grown up around 350ci SBC’s and opened up 383’s. So we decided to go back to the basics and order up a Longblock 383-stroker engine from Blueprint Engines.

To transfer the power to the rear axle, we called up the geniuses at American Powertrain for one of their 5-speed Pro-Fit kits designed specifically for 88-98 Chevy/GMC C1500 OBS GMT400 trucks. This kit features the TREMEC TKO 5-speed coupled with all the parts needed to successfully install these transmissions with an excellent shift position for both bench and bucket seat projects. No modifications are required to the tunnel and allows the stock cross member to be reused with only a few holes to drill in the frame, making the install a breeze. 

We will start that part of the project in the next issue of Street Trucks, but until then, let’s finish up our interior upgrades and break down all the parts we will be installing.

Sources:
Classic Industries
https://www.classicindustries.com
800-522-5004

BluePrint Engines
www.blueprintengines.com
800-483-4263

American Powertrain
https://americanpowertrain.com
931-646-4836

Vintage Air
https://www.vintageair.com
1-800-862-6658

Engine

Our weapon of choice for this weekend warrior is a BluePrint Engines 383CI Stroker Crate Engine. This is a small block GM Style Longblock complete with Iron Heads and a Roller Cam. The engine is fully built and dyno-tested before it shipped. This is a carbureted engine that will produce nearly 420-hp which is almost double the power this little truck currently has.

SPECS:
HP & Torque: 420 HP / 440 FT LBS
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Cast Iron Heads
Hydraulic Roller Cam
Cast Steel Crank
Hypereutectic Pistons

BLOCK:
Hand picked seasoned block
Square and parallel decked
Align honed main bearing bore
Cylinders honed on computer controlled machine to within .0002 straightness and roundness
Cylinders are sonic tested for thickness
4-Bolt Main
4.000″ Bored .040″ Over
1-Piece Rear Main Seal
Mech fuel pump provision: Yes
Passenger Side Dipstick
Drilled and tapped for clutch linkage

ROTATING ASSEMBLY:
New BluePrint Cast steel crankshaft
3.750″ Stroke
OEM type 5.700″ connecting rods w/ 150,000 psi bolts
Hypereutectic pistons
External Front/ External Rear

CYLINDER HEADS:
Cast iron Vortec heads
1.25 diameter valve springs
Hardened retainers and springs
2.02 swirl polished intake valves
1.60 swirl polished exhaust valves
Hardened pushrods

CAM SPECS:
Cam Type: Roller
.510 Intake .520 Exhaust
230 Intake / 236 Exhaust duration
@ .050 – 110 degree lobe separation

IGNITION TIMING:
34 degrees total at 3500 RPM

Transmission

This American Powertrain Pro-Fit kit is designed for 88-98 Chevy/GMC C1500 OBS GMT400 trucks with no cutting of the floor. This transmission will also provide a 30-50% increase in fuel economy from the factory while utilizing low RPM’s during cruising for greatly reduced driver fatigue and an improved highway driving experience. They are also known for creating reduced engine wear which leads to a longer engine life and cooler engine operating temperatures.

Kit includes:
AP Revolution Shifter Mechanism to locate the shifter which will fit bench or bucket seats
A seamless DOM Driveshaft Assembly that is Race Balanced with Solid U-Joints
A Cryogenically Hardened Steel Driveshaft Slip Yoke
Polyurethane Transmission Mount
Pilot Bearing – Stainless rollers, grease pre-pak
Reverse Light Harness – Weatherseal
Speedometer Conversion Electronic
Shifter Knob
Reuses the stock crossmember
5-Speed TKO Gear Ratios – 3.27, 1.98, 1.34, 1.00, 0.68

Engine Pully Kit

Vintage Air’s Front Runner drive system is engineered for maximum Performance First. These are not merely appearance or dressup components. They are the essence of form following function. Designed for Small Block Chevrolet applications with power steering, this kit features a Detroit Speed aluminum power steering pump, machined-finish brackets, a polished compressor and alternator chrome pulleys, and polished clutch and tensioner covers.

Interior

Ok enough with the plans for the future, let’s knock some simple tasks out of the way now so we can be a little more comfortable inside the cab. Starting with a headliner replacement. The factory headliner and visors are shot and should have been replaced about 10 years ago. No worries though. With a few inexpensive replacement parts from Classic Industries we can quickly and easily refresh the interior and stop breathing in 20 year old glue.

The first step is to remove the 3-screws holding in the visors. 

Next we simply used a flat head screwdriver to pop out the dome light cover to revel two more simple screws.

Finally, we popped the plastic pillars away from the body and the headliner is completely free to remove. These don’t need to be taken completly out, just moved out of the way.

Now we can easily remove the headliner and prep the new unit. The fresh headliner is cloth over a plastic moulded board. No more cardboard to disintegrate over time. Ordering new visors was a must as well and quite a bit cheaper than paying a local upholstery shop to recover the factory pieces. 

Before installing the new parts we simply cut some velcro strips and slipped the stock brackets into place. Installing into the truck is the reverse of removal, couldn’t be simpler.

What a difference an hour can make! Now we can drive with the windows down without sucking in some contact glue. Now to move onto the floorboard.

This truck originally came with vinyl floors since it was a base work truck model. Easy to keep clean but very un-custom.

To remove the factory floor covering you will only need a screwdriver and a socket set. This can be knocked out in a short afternoon with no additional hands needed. If you haven’t done this before we recommend it as its simple and satisfying. 

With the seats removed and the panels pulled, the factory vinyl can be picked up and thrown away. There is no glue holding it down and no padding left over. A quick pass with the vacuum will show you have solid the floorboard of the truck is or isn’t. In our case its in great shape.

Time for the new carpet kit to go in. Contact glue isn’t necessary since its a moulded carpet kit but we sprayed some in anyway. 

Before the seats go in be sure to locate all the bolts and cut holes to reroute the seat belt wires. This will save you time and frustration we promise!

New carpet can make any truck look and feel new again. And you just can’t beat the smell of a fresh new interior!

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