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Part of the fun of a long-term project is the process it takes to get from beginning to end. A story will inevitably prevail by the time your build is complete, and depending on your level of sentimentality you have to your steel, you may be repeating the things you remember from the days in the garage for many years to come. Nowadays with devices like cell phones and GoPros, it’s easier than ever to document the details so you can show them off to friends and family. Luckily for us, that’s what we do—and luckily for you, we are really good at our job!

Project Rocky will be a unique, exciting, fun and fast truck that will be easy on the eyes for any type of human on this wonderful planet we all live on. We are tearing him down to the bones and rebuilding from the ground up. New everything and no stone left unturned. We will show you each and every step along the way, and this time, we are offering a free video series to take it to the next level.

For those who don’t remember, project Rocky is our 1979 Chevy squarebody truck that we picked up for a measly $2,500. It looks rough, but this once-retired fighter will be the champ again one day.

In this issue we will rip off the old and prep for the new. All the body panels need to be removed from the frame so it can be blasted and painted to look even better than new. The chassis is our most important starting point, so a few structural upgrades and visual modifications will be the first step. The only thing we will be using is the factory frame and original cab; the rest will be replaced with new aftermarket parts from amazing American companies that support our addiction one part at a time. We will work with RockAuto for all the OEM suspension pieces we need and combine it with some upgraded parts from BDS Suspension, Rough Country Suspension and Performance Online.

In the next issue we will break down all the parts we ordered to complete this project so you can follow suit if you like the concept. After the suspension is complete, we will bolt on a brand new set of American Force wheels wrapped in 33-inch Toyo tires. By the time our cab is rust free, thanks to our local paint and body shop, and the new Aeromotive fuel system will be routed and installed.

It’s going to be a very fun process and we will keep you informed all along

the way. Be sure to stay up to date with our video series on our YouTube channel. Until the next issue, keep wrenching away!

Before you start any major project, we always recommend getting a rendering done. We had this one completed from Rendered Rides for about $200. He was able to perfectly replicate our concept, including the suspension, correct body panels, and even cool details like a gold boxing glove necklace around the rearview mirror.

First thing we needed to do was tow the truck to our garage and have the aftermarket crate engine removed. We will be doing an LS swap in this truck, and the 350c.i. small black engine is currently locked up. Maybe being repurposed into cool decorative furniture is in its future?

With the engine out and the engine bay all cleaned up, the truck can be brought to its next destination to be disassembled. Luckily for us, there is basically no rust on the firewall of the truck so the body shop will not be overwhelmed.

It’s important to take a final photo of this truck in its original skin. Not only is it great to compare when it’s complete, but this will also add value if we ever decide to sell it. Which we won’t!

One of the first things we need to remove is the factory wiring harness. The bulkhead connector is bolted to the firewall, but once it’s removed the rest of the harness it can be freely pulled out. We will be rewiring this truck with a new harness from Painless Performance, but that’s a project for another issue.

The front end of this truck came off in one piece by simply removing the bolts on the top of the fender and in the gap between the fender and the door. Be sure to spray some lubricant on these walls before just cranking on them.

The last few parts to be removed are in the wheel well, which is easy to get to without an engine weighing it down.

Now that the front is completely removed, we can add some straps and lift it with a forklift. Yes, we know how lucky we are to have a forklift at our disposal, but it only takes a few of your friends to tackle the task.

We set the removed front end off to the side, but it’s not gone for good. We have something pretty cool planned for this that we will show you in the next issue.

Now to tackle the bolts holding down the bed. It’s a dirty job, but it needs to be done. Once again, you will save yourself some hassle if you pre-coat these bolts with some rust lubricant. Don’t forget the bolts holding down the gas tank filler neck!

With the bed fully unbolted, the forklift once again does the work of five men. If you were going to do a project like this, maybe look into renting one for the day.

A bare cab sitting on the frame looks like a rowdy truck 12With the bed fully unbolted, the forklift once again does the work of five men. If you were going to do a project like this, maybe look into renting one for the day., but this part has to be taken off as well if we want a high-quality, personal project to keep forever.

The body mount bolts are all pretty easy to remove after a few hours of soaking in WD-40. We are ordering new frame body mounts and rubber bushings for this build, so this old stuff can go to the wayside.

Disconnecting the steering shaft and removing the roof are the next steps in Rocky’s teardown. We slid the straps in between the cab and the door keeping it tight and centered.

We are reusing this cabinet so it’s very important to be careful moving it around. The last thing we want is for it to get deformed and not sit properly on the new painted frame when it’s time.

Now that we have a clean and body free chassis, we can assess the situation and start a parts list. We will remove these factory suspension pieces before the sandblaster comes to clean.

It looks like someone previously installed a trailer hitch on his truck but didn’t have any drill bits to use. They just blasted a few holes with a torch and ran a ball through it. Luckily our buddy CJ owns a mobile welding company and is happy to come by and clean up this mess.

And there it is, a nice clean starting point for any do-it-yourself project. Now we can call the sand blaster, take off the suspension and get ready for some fun! Hope to see you all in the next issue.