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Episode Transcript

(Marc)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Marc)>> Hey everybody, I'm Marc Christ. You probably recognize me from Detroit Muscle. Tommy and I have had over 5 great seasons there together. We built everything from vintage resto mods to late model muscle, and everything in between, but I've got some truck builds that I've been wanting to do for a long time. It just so happens so does a good friend of mine. His name's Brandon Burke and he's the newest member of the Powernation family.

(Brandon)>> Buckle up y'all, this is Music City Trucks. [ MUSIC ] [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> So let's talk about this season. So we've got a lot of cool builds planned. Won't get into all those now but we're gonna have a lot of fun, we're gonna make a lot of noise.

(Brandon)>> As long as we have fun and build cool stuff I think we hit the goal. I really want to build stuff that either everyone can build, or everyone wants to build, or dream builds. I want to hit the whole spectrum of what we're gonna do on the show.

(Marc)>> Yeah, I'm all about it. So budget builds on up to a full dream build right?

(Brandon)>> Yeah.

(Marc)>> Speaking of budget builds.

(Brandon)>> This one!

(Marc)>> What do you want to do with it?

(Brandon)>> My idea for it is the ultimate camping rig. Off road camping rig, which means that you can take all of your buddies and all your gear anywhere. Whether it's on the mountain, in the mud, or just regular trails, but everybody you want to fit inside this thing can come, have fun, do the whole weekend, and come back, and this thing not to break.

(Marc)>> So the plan here to kick this build off, what are we gonna do today? Where are we headed?

(Brandon)>> We're headed to Adventure Off Road Park, AOP, and we're gonna hit mud, hit the trails, and go up rocks hopefully. This is a long truck. The rock thing might not happen.

(Marc)>> We're at Adventure Off Road Park in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

(Brandon)>> I love this place. This thing's got over 500 acres to choose from, 120 different trails. Everything from easy to extreme rock bouncer type stuff.

(Marc)>> Plus they have over 20 events here every year and thankfully they saved a little bit of time for us to come in here and check out our rigs, and that's just what we're gonna do with our Suburban today. See what it can do, and you're driving.

(Brandon)>> Alright, lock it up.

(Marc)>> I thought it was lock'em in?

(Brandon)>> Ah same difference.

(Marc)>> Alright here it goes. It's already making some...funny noises. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Oh boy! Where's my keys?

(Marc)>> I don't know if this was a good decision. [ MUSIC ] Yeah it definitely doesn't want to stay in four. [ MUSIC ] Ah it's beautiful up here. [ MUSIC ] Don't mind me, just holding it in four. [ bleep ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> This thing is just awesome. [ MUSIC ] Oh this is a little more treacherous. [ MUSIC ] Oh hang on, hang on. You're right rear's not spinning. Back up and try it again. Didn't you say it's got a locker in it?

(Brandon)>> It did. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Okay, try it again.

(Brandon)>> Ready?

(Marc)>> Yeah go ahead. Oh it's spinning now. [ MUSIC ] Oh you're gonna have to give it a little more stank than that. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Alright let's see if we can do this. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Oh yeah! [ MUSIC ] Try again. [ MUSIC ] Try to avoid that one.

(Brandon)>> I'm trying to get her over the...

(Marc)>> Okay. [ MUSIC ] Man this is like Mister Toad's wild ride. [ MUSIC ] Stalled again?

(Brandon)>> Yeah! [ MUSIC ] [ engine cranking ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> I might have broke it. [ engine cranking ]

(Brandon)>> I think we broke it.

(Marc)>> Let's see what's going on. Pump it and crank it. Crank it and pump it! [ engine cranking ]

(Marc)>> No fuel.

(Brandon)>> Well we broke it just not in the way we wanted to.

(Marc)>> This is not how I wanted to end the day. Make engine noises Brandon.

(Brandon)>> Blub, blub, blub, blub!

(Marc)>> It's a little bit of quieter ride than it was earlier. You doing alright over there buddy?

(Brandon)>> Oh yeah I'm good.

(Marc)>> This is no joke.

(Brandon)>> Look at the steering wheel. If the steering wheel comes off we're gonna leave this project.

(Marc)>> Leave it here. Well this day didn't really end the way that we wanted it to. This is what happens when you go out trail riding, especially when the rig's untested. Sometimes it breaks. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Up next, we evaluate our Suburban and set the stage for turning this vintage square body into a beast.

(Marc)>> Well this is the moment of truth.

(Marc)>> Well our poor Suburban didn't make it back here under its own power but we got it back here on the hook. It's on the lift and it looks good in here, and it looks good in here.

(Brandon)>> I'm not an interior designer but I think I did a pretty good job with this thing.

(Marc)>> Don't quit your day job just yet. Speaking of your day job let's talk about the project.

(Brandon)>> I think we need to stick with the name that I said at the park, Unbreakable. So Project Unbreakable.

(Marc)>> You putting that stamp on there, that is a tall order.

(Brandon)>> Especially for something this big. That's gonna require axles, suspension, engine, trans, the whole works.

(Marc)>> So any moving part either has to be replaced or rebuilt.

(Brandon)>> Probably replaced.

(Marc)>> Let's start under the hood.

(Brandon)>> Throttle body 350, 185 horsepower of fury.

(Marc)>> It's not really anything to write home about in the power level but they are reliable. In fact so reliable this is probably the original engine that came in this truck 30 years ago.

(Brandon)>> I wouldn't doubt that. I mean these things are stout and they seem to never die if you treat them right.

(Marc)>> Except we don't know the history. We don't know the maintenance history. We don't know what's going on inside there or how many miles are on it, and like you mentioned the power level. I say this thing's got to go.

(Brandon)>> And I think we build a small block and keep this truck small block.

(Marc)>> Like it.

(Brandon)>> You want to see what's underneath?

(Marc)>> Suburbans aren't really known for being the first pick for off roading but with the right components can be plenty capable. Well I noticed the rockers are kinda rusty but other than that it seems like a solid truck under here.

(Brandon)>> I think this is the perfect starting point for what we're trying to build, but I am gonna pick it apart. 10 bolt front axle, which is known for breaking pretty much every component inside it. The 350 we already mentioned.

(Marc)>> I noticed the 700-R-4 looks like it's been rebuilt at some point. So we might actually be able to salvage that.

(Brandon)>> Yeah, that might be the only thing we keep. 208 aluminum transfer case, chain driven. Again not really off road worthy for what we're trying to do.

(Marc)>> I noticed under here too the wires for the fuel pump. They look like they're either chewed or got pinched and I can actually see the copper inside.

(Brandon)>> Let's not talk about the slip yoke that's gonna fall out of the tail shaft, and these nice welded on caps for the U-joint. The one wheel wonder 10 bolt. Block style lift and the worst part about this truck, especially for safety, is this tight brake hose you could play like a banjo. That's your only safety device on this truck.

(Marc)>> So bottom line everything we're talking about has to just come out, all of it. Let's get some tools.

(Brandon)>> Besides having the wheel base of a school bus everything under here is half ton Chevy. Whether you're talking about K-5 Blazers or K-10 pickups. [ MUSIC ] [ drill buzzing ]

(Brandon)>> You want to hold the front.

(Marc)>> If you would. I've got to get off this flange here. Oops sorry dude.

(Brandon)>> My funny bone.

(Marc)>> Was it funny?

(Brandon)>> Not really.

(Marc)>> I got it. Unbolting the transfer case and I'm gonna get that out of the way so we can get the engine and trans out the easy way. Okay you ready? [ saw buzzing ]

(Marc)>> Alright will you catch it because I'm gonna come back?

(Brandon)>> Actually you can probably go all the way back.

(Marc)>> There's lots of room. [ saw buzzing ]

(Marc)>> Woo! [ metal clanging ]

(Brandon)>> Oh that sounds nice!

(Marc)>> Awesome noise!

(Brandon)>> Country graham cracker.

(Marc)>> Ooh! Put some milk on it first or some honey. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Oop, there it is. [ drill buzzing ]

(Marc)>> Not as heavy as I thought it was gonna be. This may look like we're taking the long way around to get the engine out. That's never been off. But it's much easier and cleaner to just remove the front clip. That did it.

(Brandon)>> Well as long as you don't have a bunch of rusty bolts to fight with. [ MUSIC ] [ drill buzzing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> There's multiple ways to lift this front clip but this is gonna be the easiest way.

(Marc)>> Yeah, I'm good on this side. Oop, nice! [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Sweet! Engine mount, trans mount, all the wiring, maybe hoses, lines.

(Marc)>> Power steering hoses, let me get those. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> That was slick! Still good with me. There we go!

(Marc)>> It wanted to come out.

(Brandon)>> Go up.

(Marc)>> Not bad for a day's work huh?

(Brandon)>> Nah! Oh it's been rebuilt. Someone's wrote on it, on the transmission.

(Marc)>> We were wrong about the engine too. There's a tag on it. So now all that's left is to get the engine and transmission separated, get this thing on an engine stand, and take it to the boys down in Engine Power so they can get it rebuilt for us.

(Brandon)>> Stroker motor!

(Marc)>> I'm ready. Coming up, we finish the teardown on Project Unbreakable.

(Marc)>> As far as I'm concerned if you've got the front clip off you're living right. That's gone, so is the engine, transmission, and transfer case, and we mentioned earlier the 10 bolts have to go but we're not just gonna drop the axles.

(Brandon)>> We're also gonna be dropping these leaf springs, and those leaf springs are never gonna come back on this truck because we're gonna be replacing it with something with more flex, more capability off road, but before we can get to all that we've got to get the rest of this truck torn down. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Whether or not you're reusing your old parts will dictate your method of removal. For us this stuff is all heading to the scrap bin.

(Brandon)>> She hot. [ MUSIC ] [ drill buzzing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Ready? [ MUSIC ] Hammer time! [ drill buzzing ]

(Marc)>> Clear? Almost there. [ MUSIC ] [ drill buzzing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Alright go ahead. [ drill buzzing ]

(Marc)>> Well there's nothing holding this thing in but...

(Brandon)>> Some tension, some gravity.

(Marc)>> How do you want to get this thing down?

(Brandon)>> Let's put the wheels on it and lower the truck down, and it should just roll out of this thing. Another benefit to having these old wheels and tires attached to the axle is the time it saves getting them out of our hair.

(Marc)>> I'm there. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> We're gonna leave this front axle setup on the ground, and this truck's gonna move away vertically. Yes! [ drill humming ]

(Marc)>> You just hit the power band. Why'd you get out of it? Alright there you go. [ drill humming ]

(Marc)>> That thing is in there. [ saw buzzing ] [ MUSIC ] [ saw buzzing ] [ mechanical humming ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Alright! [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Now that we're done with the front.

(Brandon)>> It's time to tackle the back. [ torch hissing ] [ mechanical humming ]

(Marc)>> Hanging a little on that side. Hanging a little on that driver's side. Now we're talking! [ mechanical humming ]

(Marc)>> It's a little warm. [ MUSIC ] We're getting down to the nitty gritty here.

(Brandon)>> Up next, play time's over!

(Marc)>> We've all been there. Your alternator goes out on your ride. So you go to your local parts store and they've got two options. A cheap rebuilt and an overpriced o-e-m replacement, but there's a better option, Duralast Gold. All Duralast Gold alternators are brand new inside and out, not remanufactured or rebuilt. They're engineered for maximum life and performance with o-e or better amperage output. You can find them at your local Autozone and you won't have to take a loan out at the bank to get one for your truck.

(Brandon)>> This is Music City Trucks and we're finishing the teardown of Project Unbreakable. [ drill buzzing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Try it without the extension.

(Brandon)>> Mine came, oww! [ drill buzzing ]

(Marc)>> As you can see the body mount bushings on our Suburban were shot. So we decided to go ahead and split the body and frame. You want to use the extenders?

(Brandon)>> Yeah!

(Marc)>> Okay. [ mechanical humming ]

(Marc)>> And while we're at it we might as well go ahead and get the frame all cleaned up by removing any hardware or brackets that we're not gonna need. [ MUSIC ] [ drill buzzing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Got it?

(Brandon)>> Yep! [ MUSIC ] We're also removing the bumpers because we're got some big plans for those as well. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> We're getting down to the nitty gritty here.

(Brandon)>> Ready?

(Marc)>> Yep! [ MUSIC ] [ metal clanging ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> They should probably pop right out. [ MUSIC ] [ air hammer vibrating ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Well isn't that how projects go? You start taking it apart and the next thing you know you've got a bare frame. Well Brandon did a great job getting this thing all cleaned up and painted, but where this thing really made the transformation is what we took off. Mainly all of the mounting points for our leaf springs because those things are going away, and we're replacing them with four link and coil overs front and rear. This is gonna be a bad machine.

(Brandon)>> We're also gonna be ditching those 10 bolt axles for someone tons. These came out of a '77 K-30 pickup truck. It's a 14 bolt full float rear axle and a Dana 60 kingpin front axle. This is the holy grail of off road swaps for one tons. Now we can just put these things under the truck and they'd work but we want to make these things beefy. So gears, lockers, bigger shafts. We're gonna put everything we can inside these and under that truck to make this thing unbreakable.

(Marc)>> Here's what we're going for.

(Brandon)>> Unbreakable is the ultimate off roader that can do a little bit of everything.

(Marc)>> Except of course leave you stranded. Big lift, tall tires, sinister black paint, and all the recovery gear.

(Brandon)>> Just in case.

(Marc)>> We're gonna use aftermarket parts where we can, and then the rest we're gonna build it ourselves with the steel you see here on the floor. Things like skid plates a bumper, brush guard, and even rock sliders, which is where we're gonna start. [ saw buzzing ]

(Brandon)>> Now I could just cut these old rockers out and replace them. Then build the sliders underneath, but I'd rather kill two birds with one stone by building the sliders into the body. That eliminates the rust and gains me ground clearance. [ saw buzzing ] [ MUSIC ] [ welder crackling ]

(Marc)>> Dang that looks good!

(Brandon)>> No turning back now.

(Marc)>> I know and I like it. Square tubing, square body, it just works. Now we've torn this thing down quite a bit but we did start to build it back up, and it's got an even bigger transformation for next time.
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