FOURTH STEP:  Install Engine, Drive Train and  Suspension Improvements

We installed a reconditioned "RECON" long-block 350 cubic inch "L" series Chevy engine with a 4-bolt main bearing.  We bought our engine from Autozone.  With the new engine we put in new engine mounts.  We put the new engine on an engine stand and we installed a custom towing performance cam.  Air and fuel components included an Edelbrock EPS performance intake manifold, Edelbrock 600 cfm 4-barrel carburetor and a new Holley mechanical performance fuel pump.  Hedman Hedders were used to start the exhaust system.  We're hoping for 300 horse power!

On the front of the engine we kept the water pump, alternator and air compressor since they seemed to be in good condition.  We brushed them clean, and repainted the water pump a nice glossy black.  However, just to be safe, we replaced the power steering pump as well.   The old one was banged up pretty bad, and appeared to have a leak on the shaft.

We decided to re-install the original TH-400 transmission and kept the original New Process transfer case and both drive shafts.  Upon purchase we were told that the differentials were re-geared for towing.  We hope that's true.  It was too difficult to tell on our single test drive, and the drive home to stuff it in the garage.

The tires and wheels from the donor were in good shape so we gave to a friend of ours who needed them more than us.  No way the stock steel rims or 32" Wranglers were going to get the job done on our dream truck.  In place of the stock tires, we installed 37" Super Swamper Radials on 16.5" x 10" Eagle Alloy polished aluminum wheels with 4.75" off-set.  Final front width was 84.5".  The six new Rancho RS 5000 Shocks (four front and two rear) should give us a the ride we were after - stiff but smooth.

We kept the original steering stabilizer shock.  It was removed, cleaned-up and repainted black.  The original boot  was completely covered in leaky engine oil and road grime, so we thought it would be a total loss.  Much to our surprise it cleaned up to a nice bright yellow, and offered some nice contrast to the undercarriage.

New stainless steel brake lines were installed while the body was off.

If we could have had fuel tank installation directions and parts, we would have installed new fuel lines and gas tank at this time, but the tank wasn't yet available.  It was not clear what frame  modifications would be needed without having all the fuel system parts so we elected to put off the tank install until later.

STEP FIVE:  Install the Body

Since our project was being built in our garage, we needed help installing the body.  [Note - At that time we lived in Ohio, about 1-1/2 hours west of Mentor]  We trucked the repainted rolling frame to Mentor, Ohio where Chris Ardern installed the body.  The body was primered  black, and the underside was painted clear coat black before the installation.  The doors were already hinged and hung with door latches.  The interior was also black-primered.

After the body installation, we trucked the Gorilla back home to continue in the project in our own garage.

We were a bit overwhelmed because it became apparent how much work we had to do.  For a few days we just stood around looking at it, trying to figure out what to do next.

We decided that it needed to keep looking more and more like a truck so next came the plate steel bumpers, radiator, quarter panels, hood and power window regulators.
Click on the photo to Supersize the Engine
Click on the photo to Supersize the Engine
Radiator, Bumpers and Hood