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306K5's Write off rebuild 2014 Silverado LT


306K5
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If you've ever been on Facebook marketplace and found something that was too good to be true, seller was extremely hard to get ahold of, and impossible to go look at... You'll enjoy this build. 

 

It all started with two facebook messenger photos of a phone .... containing the photos of the truck. 

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It ended here: 

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I'll try fill in the gaps in between, but it may take a few posts when I have time.

 

As a hint, the model year of the truck changed and I got to order a brand new frame from GM. More to come soon! 

 

 

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July 15th 2020 I found the truck on marketplace and started inquiring. 

 

Details were vague, but the truck had been in a collision and wasn't repaired or reported?? (so he said) 

 

Weeks go buy and the information trickles in.. it has hit a pole and broke the entire front right suspension, but the engine still ran and it drove on 3 wheels 🤨

 

More info, it was actually crashed in the fall/winter of 2016. It has been sitting for 3-4 years. 

 

Fast forward to September 2020, the seller has decided he should let the truck go and now I get all the details, the VIN and we start figuring out a price. 

 

He was driving intoxicated and hit a pole, tried to drive the truck off the pole/had friends try pull the truck out but ended up getting caught. The truck was impounded and he was denied insurance coverage. 

 

He had plan on fixing the truck, but time was passing and it wasn't looking feasible. 

 

In order to get the truck, I would have to cover the compound fee, which he was able to talk the tow compound down on thankfully. 

 

Sept 28th I head there with my trailer to finally see the one I thought was getting away (and I likely should've left alone). 

 

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The first look, the drivers side looked pretty good. But with the tall grass I couldn't see the damage real well.

 

 The tow truck driver pulled it party way onto the deck so I could look underneath:

 

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The rim, axle, upper control arm and tie rod took the bulk of the damage. I couldn't really see the cab damage and from the looks of things the cab was ok. 

 

Oh, and it fired right up with a boost like nothing!! After sitting that long with almost 4 year old fuel. 139,****** KM on the ODO. 

 

I quickly talked with the seller and we decided on $1500 plus compound fees. 

 

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Away he goes? Yup he drove the deck around with it dangling like that to get lined up with my trailer (nightmare).

 

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Almost on, don't know how the aluminum trailer survived sliding it around with boards (no damage).

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Just about to head home. 

 

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The starting KM

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Had to get this out of the way... 

 

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Pulled the fender off and uncovered the damage to the cab... still hopeful here

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Ordered parts to get the truck fixed so I could back it off the trailer.

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Driving it around after it was off the trailer was such a great feeling!

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Next step was across the street into the body shop for frame measurements. Where I live in Canada it needs a body/frame inspection and a full mechanical inspection after a documented collision (which it turned out this truck had!).

 

I'll try keep the posts coming when I have time. 

 

 

 

 

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Body shop/frame rack day

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The verdict: Frame was out a bit (no kinks, just a an inch out overall), needed a new cab mount. The cab situation was worse, and would be a costly repair as it was many seams, that wouldn't be possible to fix as good as OEM. 

 

The body man was excellent, rather than take the work he asked me how much I was willing to do. This was 6 months after the pandemic, and I was barely going in to work. All the time in the world on my hands. I had also priced out a frame from GM already. 

 

When I told him I could order a new frame, and there was a local 2016 Summit white single cab he told me if it was his truck, he would replace both if I was seeking perfection and a better end result. I agreed, I didn't like the idea of straightened parts and I like things as it left the factory. 

 

So... $900 for a cab

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Meanwhile the junk fake chrome had to go!

 

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Work began!

 

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Rad support comes out in one big chunk

 

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Next is the cab.. with a 4 post lift I had to get creative but it worked!

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Starting to get stuff spread all over 

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Outside to wash off the filth. The surface rust on this thing from sitting in tall grass was brutal. Another reason I wanted to change the frame.

 

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The driveline getting picked out

 

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FYI the pictures were taken on my phone generally vertical, so they will be turned to fit here better. 

 

Can't wait for this ugly frame to go at this point. Now I'm learning how the assembly line assembles things

 

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The electrical, fuel and brake lines are all one large assembly that drops into place and connects everywhere. It was very to easy to remove as an assembly. 

Switched over to the new frame

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Doesn't take long and the old frame starts looking bare. The rear end and tank moved over as well. 

 

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Electric power steering shown out, and I would remove the front corners from the control arms. A bit annoying to install like this.

 

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Front diff is last

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Out with the old.. the rust looks so bad, it was actually all just surface rust and nothing worse. The factory wax coating is not a great finish, old GM frames had better coatings IMO.

 

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Mostly assembled, still some buttoning up to do.

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Engine ready to go back in

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In goes the 5.3/ 6L80E

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That old frame was supposedly bent, with it stripped right down there is no way I could tell. I also noticed the cab mounts were bent, bolts VERY bent. I almost wonder if all the movement was just in these parts. I'll never know now.

 

You can see the cab mount leaning bad. 

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Around this time I had to decided on what front end I wanted to use. 2014 1500, 2016+ 1500 or 2016+ HD front end. 

 

It basically came down to what I could find locally for parts, and I did want to do something different. Budget was a concern, so I couldn't go with brand new stuff. Amazing how much that stuff costs in Canada anyway.

 

White hood located

 

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I had found this picture online. It's actually a shortened HD truck. I wasn't going to have 14 wides or the Dmax scoop but it looked different from all the white half tons that I saw. so I decided to buy the hood above and continue.

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My not so cool hood, and right side fender from salvage.

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By far the most expensive part.. the HD front bumper. I was told by all salvage places if they ever did get a fully loaded painted HD bumper in, the whole front end would generally be bought by insurance for thousands. It was far too new to be a part out item. Most the the trucks coming it the bumpers were shot as well.

 

So ebay it is... the bumper was $1417 USD with one scratch. Perfect ones were about $1600 at the time.

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It arrived exactly as described.

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The last problem was finding paintable OEM HD headlights. Impossible!! Same story with salvage, if they had anything good it would be sold to insurance. Also were at least $800 per side. 


I was bummed but I went with aftermarket. Lighting is important to me so I tried to buy something with quality parts. 

 

I went with AlphaRex® - NOVA-Series Jet more details on - https://www.carid.com/alpharex/nova-series-jet-black-drl-bar-projector-led-headlights-mpn-880217.html?singleid=3034430856&url=111014919

 

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The quality didnt blow my mind, but they were about half the cost of salvage when they were on sale black Friday. They will be painted to match later. 

 

Before I got the hood I actually found a white grille just over an hour from me at salvage. It was $350 which was super cheap at the time, considering I could find NOTHING on any style front end other than the hood local.

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Ok so front end parts are now waiting. Onto cab swap. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tear down begins.. I was happy to do this. Truck sat for so many years I wanted to check/clean any rodent action.

 

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Dash out

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Definitely the worst part of the job. Taking a part a dirty interior carefully. 

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Added just a bit of sound dampening.. used the 25% rule from advice from http://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/ 

 

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I was going to do a full 2 step treatment, but I had ridden in other newer trucks and was happy with the noise level. No regrets not going further, it sure is quiet. Also I plan on parking this truck for half a year. I didn't want more stuff to be damaged if rodents ever got in again, although I am in the city so it shouldn't happen.

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Install into the replacement cab 

 

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I cleaned the carpets best I could without pressure washing, at the time I was trying to keep the project moving and making maximum progress day by day without many breaks. 

 

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I was able to add amp power wire through the factory passenger side grommet for the most ultra clean short power wire run. 

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Dash part way back in

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I ended up buying a salvage heated steering. This truck will be winter use only so a must have! I wanted OEM heated seats too but apparently that is next to impossible to put in easily. The wheel however was a piece of cake. 

 

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Carpet got a bit dirty from me being in there but it's starting to come together. 

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Now the cab can go on the new frame. Back to the 4 post with the lift kit

 

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Had to set on the new front bumper, this item cost more than the whole truck. Truck was $1500 CAD by the way.

 

 

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Two of the bolt holes in the HD bumper matched up with the 1500 brackets. Very thankful for this! 

 

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Unfortunately details are vague on the bumper installation. I had to extend tabs on the frame horn brackets for full support

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The other thing I did was re-drill the 1500 frame horns and move them down all way, as the HD frame is much taller. I would've like to had HD frame horn brackets to try, but I was obsessed with proper fitment on the frame and safety. That bumper had to be as strong as OEM for me to be happy. 

 

 

On this test fit the bumper is sitting way too high. There has to be a cab below the grille. I was still figuring that out here.

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Somewhere around here the truck came to life again. I was able to put the other Sheetmetal on once I knew the engine bay was good to go. 

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The feeling you get when you drive a project out like this was pretty good. Good motivation to keep rolling. I had lots of visitors pointing out how crazy I was... lots of fuel to keep going. 

 

Box went back on

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Had to try out the lights, hated how they looked here. 

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You can see how badly the truck needed paint correction here. Hey it was a $1500 write off, it didn't have a great past!

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Back to bumper alignment. Starting to get it figured out, that bumper was on and off probably 40 times. 

 

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Starting to look like a truck

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Box liner kept the bed nice at least!

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I wanted to stick with 18" Wheel for ride quality, found some used off a 2019 wrapped in new Blizzaks. Perfect for me, won't look super cool though. Function for me sometimes wins over looks. 

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Husky brand mud flaps to kick the junk off before parking in the garage: 

 

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I hated that fake chrome, had to order mirror caps, door handles, and a new gas door lid. The awesome body shop manager who convinced me to replace frame and cab did the spray job on these. 

 

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All assembled in the shop.. the lights look much better now. Still don't like them as much as OEM but light output is way better, with a clean cutoff and no blinding other drivers.

 

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Lights on

 

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Day time after some miles

 

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Beside the old cab

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Close up on the mangled cab.. I'm glad that repair wasn't attempted. 

 

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For those that scrolled through and read it all, thanks for taking a look! I don't know if I'll do another one again, but it's cool to have a truck that I tore down and rebuilt. It had to pass 2 inspections to be road worthy again, and did so with flying colors. Anything that had damage was replaced. IMO the proper way to repair a salvage vehicle.

 

It does have a rebuilt title now, and it's officially a 2016 model :D. Apparently the cab determines the year where we are. The frame is technically a 2018 part #. But built even after that. Maybe I have one of the last produced short box frames around who knows. 

 

What does the future hold? I need to replace the suspension and upgrade that 4" screen. 

 

Have been invested in Grumpy Bears 2015 Silverado suspension and want to go the route he did. Plus.. who on earth has studied it more than him? Foolish not to take advantage of that info. 

 

The truck is currently resting for the summer inside, sorry about all the winter pictures but it was built for a purpose and winter driving/fits in my small garage is it. 

 

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4 minutes ago, JimCost2014 said:

Very cool write up, nicely done.

 

Are you going to swap the rear bumper for a painted one?

Thanks!

 

I actually forgot about the rear bumper! Yes that was the plan, I need to start keeping an eye out for a painted one. I have a feeling I'll have to go new though.

 

The other thing I need to change is the box cover. I put the fiberglass solid cover on that it came with, but that has to go at some point. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Awesome build man! I like the changes you made throughout, definitely makes it unique.

 

I rebuilt my last truck, a 2006 GMC Canyon. Was a rollover. The damage to yours was a bit more extensive than mine was so I applaud you for taking that on. Looks like it was well worth it. I'm in Canada as well so I can relate to the cost of automotive parts up here. I was lucky that my fiance's dad was a autobody man at the time of the rebuild so he helped me source cheaper parts. 

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10 hours ago, jshrubs said:

Awesome build man! I like the changes you made throughout, definitely makes it unique.

 

I rebuilt my last truck, a 2006 GMC Canyon. Was a rollover. The damage to yours was a bit more extensive than mine was so I applaud you for taking that on. Looks like it was well worth it. I'm in Canada as well so I can relate to the cost of automotive parts up here. I was lucky that my fiance's dad was a autobody man at the time of the rebuild so he helped me source cheaper parts. 

 

Thanks! Hopefully a few more changes to come to improve it some more.

 

Good for you rebuilding your last truck as well! Takes the right kind of person without a doubt. A rollover would be a smarter move than what I did, the frame probably didn't suffer.

 

The rebuild made me appreciate the fine details on new vehicles that much more. Always lots to learn!

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