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Old 03-08-2011, 11:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Indy
Posts: 3
Default Lurker finally commited!

As stated I have been contemplating and lurking on here for a long time and finally pulled the trigger to join. First let me say I have read just about every page and thank you guys for all the posts. Needless to say I have learned a ton before even starting on my rig.
My project: I know this goes against the norm from what everyone recomends but dare to be different right? Anyway I purchased a 1994 U haul (Top Kick chassis) with the 24' box. I read all the horror stories about them being worn out, junk etc. so I spent some time searching to find a decent one. I bought this one with a bad 366" gas motor and a Allison AT545 for $1200.00. It's got 140k on it and the service records show the front end was rebuilt (new king pins, bushings, brakes etc) at 120K along with the normal service stuff. Its got a nice box on it so I feel pretty confident I gotta decent deal. I think the key to these is doing the research and being patient to find a good one. Anyway, so far I spent the winter swapping the engine out with a early Turbo 5.9 Cummins (P-pump) engine and Allison 545 I scored from a crashed school bus with 40K miles on it. The swap was really pretty painless as I used the front motor mounts from the school bus and since it had a 545 trans in it originally I reused the tranny crossmember just had to move it back for the difference in engine length. Of course having access to a complete fab shop helped considerably. Being a gas motor version it came with a 5.57 geared eaton rear which meant it probably would have only run about 35mph topped out. I checked gear sets and found it considerabbly cheaper to swap the whole rear with one with a better gear. Currently I have a 3.90 rear in it. After driving it she really needs an extra gear (overdrive) so I am looking at the gear vendor overdrives. I can say I am extremely happy with how it handles and drives. Its a little stiff in the rear and I'm not sure our conversion will add enough weight to get the rear springs to work so I may switch it to air ride in the rear.
Now we are getting ready to start on the interior. The plan is to build a toy hauler style truck with 8' foot of garage at the back. Not very big I know but we will use it primarilly for hauling dirt bikes to the races and we have an enclosed trailer we can pull with the show bikes in it when needed. So I am sure I will have tons of questions once I get going and again thank you guys in advance for any and all help. Once I get it figured out I'll post some pics of the motor swap if anyone is interested. Sorry for the long intro but just wanted to share my progress.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:02 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 1,812
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Sounds like a great project. I put a manual valve body th400 trans and a Gear Vendors overdrive in my '86 Vette. The Gear Vendors is great. It drops my rpm's about 500 when the th400 is in 3rd (1 to 1). I've got a 3.07 rear diff. The guys at Gear Vendors were great to deal with and very knowledgeable. For sure give them a call and ask to talk to a tech and explain your setup and see what they say. I'm glad you've joined the forum. This build has lots to look forward to.
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