Truck Tech Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Matco Tools
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The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(LT)>> Today it's a little bit of this and a little bit of that. All topped off with some smoke on the water. [ tires screeching ]

(LT)>> Plus!

(Austin)>> I guess I have the pleasure of calling LT for my very own Driveway Rescue.

(LT)>> Hey man I think I found the problem. They circled it right here.

(Austin)>> Funny! He drives a Duramax. [ music ] [ engine revving ] [ tires screeching ]

(LT)>> Yeah baby, woo hoo! [ music ] So we've all got that phone call from our buddy. You know the one I'm talking about. Early in the morning, goes something like this. Hey man, my truck broke down. I can't make it into work. Could you help me out? Well just today I got that call from Austin. Now you know his truck. It's a 2008 Ford F-250. It's got the 6.4 liter Powerstroke underneath the hood, and he loves that truck. He hot rods it, he hauls gooseneck trailers, and believe me he does plenty of burnouts. Now for some reason it's not running right. So we're gonna take a quick look and see if there's anything we can do to get him back on the road. And if not I guess he's got a ride to work. [ music ] How's it going buddy?

(Austin)>> Hey bro.

(LT)>> What's going on?

(Austin)>> Well not really running at the moment.

(LT)>> It's not?

(Austin)>> Nope.

(LT)>> Well I'll leave the obvious Ford jokes over here for now. Believe me, I've got plenty of time for Ford jokes but tell me what happened.

(Austin)>> I'm sure you do. Well I go grab a bite to eat last night. Cruise around, running fine, full of power as always. This morning I plan on meeting you early for work. Crank it up, blah, blah, blah, spitting, sputtering like a sick dog dude.

(LT)>> So does it run at all? What's going on?

(Austin)>> It runs but it does spit oil out everywhere. Exhaust, breather!

(LT)>> I guess why don't you start it up and just let me hear what's going on first of all.

(Austin)>> So no shortage of oil coming out of the exhaust or the breather. Just a fair warning.

(LT)>> But it still runs right?

(Austin)>> For a minute. [ engine starting ]

(LT)>> Oh that is not the sound that you want to hear first thing in the morning. So you're telling me it was running fine last night and it just started like this this morning?

(Austin)>> Yeah no problems dude really until I cranked it up. I mean we knew the head gasket was on the way out.

(LT)>> That's not a head gasket buddy.

(Austin)>> No that's a cracked piston.

(LT)>> Well there is one way you can tell for sure, at least to isolate where the problem's coming from. Take off the oil fill cap. Now there's not supposed to be any, or hardly any vapor in here, and I can kinda already tell what's going on.

(Austin)>> Let your hand off.

(LT)>> Alright let's see what we got. Uh yeah.

(Austin)>> You shouldn't see smoke like that.

(LT)>> It might not have had anything to do with the fact that you were doing burnouts and hauling gooseneck trailers all over the place.

(Austin)>> As if, I drive very normal.

(LT)>> It might have, I don't know. Hey man go rev that thing up. Just kinda curious how bad it really is.

(Austin)>> Oh you ready to see some serious smoke? [ engine revving ]

(Austin)>> Not the best thing you ever heard huh?

(LT)>> One more. [ engine revving ] [ music ]

(LT)>> You got smoke in the garage, smoke under the hood.

(Austin)>> Well I've got to say this is not the first time I've been in this situation. After a lifetime of owning Fords and being in a family full of them. Well this is the sign of a cracked piston or a few worn cylinders, and problem more than one. You've got no compression and at least one or two you can hear that obviously with the motor running, and so much blow by you can't even see, and it's setting my fire alarm off in the garage. God I love the way to start a day.

(LT)>> So how many miles you got on this thing?

(Austin)>> About 185,000. I figured it was going to happen sooner or later.

(LT)>> Well I hate to point out the obvious and all but that Duramax I've got has got 225,000 miles on it and all the pistons are still in one piece.

(Austin)>> Yeah and half the power, go figure. Safe bet huh?

(LT)>> Well this is clearly something we're not gonna fix today. So why don't we pack it up here and head on to work.

(Austin)>> This is obviously not going anywhere. Work on something else. [ music ]

(LT)>> So what are your thoughts? You've got the '08 F-250. You've got a lot of work ahead of you either way, but what direction do you want to go?

(Austin)>> Yeah dude, honestly we know it's not gonna be an easy fix right? These are hard bottom end parts.

(LT)>> And the thing is too with a Ford you've got to pull the cab off to be able to get to any of those parts.

(Austin)>> It's a 30, 40 hour job. Here's basically the options. Option one, you call Ford up, you get another motor. It's one part number. You order it up. You could swap it, drop it right in ready to go.

(LT)>> But hold on though. What does that cost, especially from the dealership cause I know that ain't cheap?

(Austin)>> $15,000!

(LT)>> What's just a re-manufactured long block, what's that gonna run you?

(Austin)>> A remaned long block, $6,000 to $8,000, somewhere up in there. It'll basically be back to stock power levels right?

(LT)>> Now let's say you went all out. You built this thing to handle 800 horse. You've got the bigger injection pump, bigger injectors, the turbos. Roughly parts wise and labor what do you think it would cost just to do the whole thing?

(Austin)>> $20,000.

(LT)>> Well it looks like we've boiled it down to this. I've got a coin here. You've got two options really. That's the only way I see it.

(Austin)>> I have to decide right now?

(LT)>> Hey we could let fate decide. Either we fully build this truck, we, I say you. Either you fully build this truck, go nuts with it, or buy a new one. Heads or tails?

(Austin)>> What's what?

(LT)>> Heads is new Alumi-duty, tails is build the 6.4. You ready?

(Austin)>> Tails.

(LT)>> Heads, new Alumi-duty it is.

(Austin)>> So I've got to buy a new Alumi-duty.

(LT)>> You've got to buy a new truck. I'll call up the junkyard right now.

(Austin)>> I think I'm gonna need more than $20,000 for that. [ music ]

(LT)>> Next we'll tear into Dragonali.

(Austin)>> Well I must say it does feel pretty good finally being behind the wheel of a truck that actually works even though it's a GMC and all.

(LT)>> What does that mean? Even though it's a GMC? This is a Denali. This is way better than that XLT Ford you had or whatever.

(Austin)>> Well it's a running truck, so I'll take it. But hey on the way over here these tires were running pretty hard. Do we even have fender left we can trim or did it eat it all up?

(LT)>> Oh no, it just kissed it a little bit. We're actually pretty good. Now one of the reasons why we have to trim on a vehicle that's lowered and has wheels that stick out further is because as you turn left and right the wheels are gonna be pushed farther frontwards and farther backwards. Go right a little bit. Now up front here it's not that bit of a deal. The wheel just kinda kisses this plastic valence down here. It's simple trim and there's no metal work required on the front bumper, but on the back that's a different story all together. We are gonna have to do just a little bit of metal work. From this corner up we're perfect but down below we're gonna have to cut this fender back just a little bit all the way to the inner rocker. We'll do a little bit of metal work but it's really not as bad as it sounds.

(Austin)>> Alright let me hop out of this thing so we can make some progress.

(LT)>> Well I figured you'd just take a nap up there or something.

(Austin)>> No I was gonna show you how to cut these fenders. You gonna catch me?

(LT)>> Here how about this. That was really awkward. [ music ] [ drill spinning ] [ music ]

(Austin)>> So the moral of the story, we've got to move some metal to make some room for that tire. Now don't worry about cutting up this old truck. We're not gonna ruin anything. We're just basically trimming here and there. If you notice on the bottom of this fender there's a bolt hold it together. We're not gonna go past that. We'll make one cut here, fold this panel flat so we can access that whole pinch seam. Cut the top and the bottom of the pinch seam, beat it flat, fold this back up like it never even happened. Now we're not gonna go crazy here. We're cutting just enough to get the clearance we need. [ music ] And this quick fix will work on any GM truck from '07 to 2014. [ music ] [ air hammer vibrating ]

(Austin)>> Well the hard part's done. Now for the front it's plastic. We'll just tape it up for a cut line. We could heat it up, use a razor blade, get it nice and clean, but I'm using a cutoff wheel cause it's just a lot more fun really. [ cutoff wheel buzzing ]

(Austin)>> Got her. [ grinder wheel buzzing ] [ music ]

(Austin)>> With the clearance issues taken care of there's one quick easy upgrade that'll improve the ride quality. I figure what better time to swap the shocks out than when the big tire and wheel's not in the way right? So you might wonder how you know your shocks are bad and when you should change them. Well they do have a shelf life. They only last so long right. As you can see I mean, it's kinda hard to compress and rebounds fairly quickly. Well the old one you can press it and it does nothing, just stays put. So out with the old, in with the new. [ music ]

(LT)>> Now normally our fender modification would be done at this point. We could throw the wheel liners back in and bolt on the tires and drive down the road with no rubbing in sight, but there is one more thing that we need to correct and that's the front bumper because somewhere along the way, probably in a parking lot, the truck just got bumped and it pushed the bumper back and in just enough to interfere with the tire. So there's a couple different ways we could fix it.

(Austin)>> Now typically this would be pretty simple. You just loosen up the brackets like I did, have a buddy yank on this thing, hold it in place, cinch them back down. This one's a little more twisted and it just wants to go right back where it started. So an easier bet, power tools.

(LT)>> We need something with a little bit more force and control. Now this is a Port-a-Power. Basically it's a small hydraulic jack that you can use to push metal exactly where you want it, hold it while you tighten up the bolts. There's a couple different parts. There's a pump and the ram itself, and all you do is combine the two with the right attachments and you'll be good to go.

(Austin)>> Hey the little rod and flat part, that works. Beautiful!

(LT)>> Alright ready? Our 10 ton hydraulic body repair kit from Matco Tools is perfect for jobs like moving sheet metal or even straightening out bent frames in heavy duty truck applications.

(Austin)>> About right there.

(LT)>> One more.

(Austin)>> Sure. [ drill spinning ]

(Austin)>> Next eliminating axle wrap.

(LT)>> A while back when we lowered the rear end of this truck we also took out the overload leaf spring. Now this gained us an extra inch of drop and it also made the truck ride quite a bit smoother since that's a very stiff spring, but the one thing that we gained is actually a negative, and that's axle wrap. So in order to cure that we installed these CalTracs traction bars that we picked up from Summit Racing. Now basically it's a pretty simple design and it all pivots off the front eye of the leaf spring. As the axle pushes forward the bar gets pushed ahead and this top pivot, well when it's at ride height it'll be almost touching the top of the leaf spring. This guy here's going to be driven down and it pushes the whole axle into the ground, increasing traction and preventing wheel hop. So to get started basically we've just got to pull the whole spring off to access that front bushing. [ music ] [ drill spinning ] [ music ]

(Austin)>> A little more pressure, a little less pressure.

(LT)>> So really the trickiest part of install CalTracs is up here on the front of the leaf spring. Now Austin lower that down a little bit if you would. This rubber bushing provides a nice, smooth, comfortable ride when you're driving your truck down the highway, but in order for the CalTracs to work properly we need to remove the rubber bushing and replace it with a solid aluminum sleeve. That means there's a lot of work ahead of you because that thing is pressed in there really good. So all we're gonna do is remove the entire spring pack from the vehicle because it's not that hard to do the work over at the press.

(Austin)>> Toss me that impact. I'll zip the U-bolts off and then we'll handle the rear shackle. [ drill spinning ] [ music ]

(Austin)>> Not as light as I thought. You got it?

(LT)>> Alright to the press. [ music ] Now I know that we're pretty lucky and all having these tools like a hydraulic shop press to get this kind of work done but believe me, if you have the tools you've got to take advantage of it because it makes the job so much easier.

(Austin)>> I mean I'm sure everybody has an overhead crane and such too. I wish I had two arms.

(LT)>> Well you know the one good thing about taking the spring off the truck is even if you don't have these fancy tools you can still use something like a hammer. You're gonna have to put that up here buddy to hold it flat. Yeah even if you don't have these fancy tools. Having this on a bench with a big hammer, it'll still make the job a whole lot easier over trying to do this still with the spring in the truck. Come down just a little bit, right there.

(Austin)>> I mean a few ways you could do it. Take a torch to this thing, burn it out. Then it catches on fire and stinks up your shop.

(LT)>> You know I've seen guys do that. Yeah, definitely makes a huge mess, makes a huge stink. Alright stand back. [ metal clanging ] [ music ]

(LT)>> We're spreading on some Permatex nickel anti-seize lubricant to prevent corrosion between dissimilar metals, in this case aluminum and steel. [ music ] Kinda tip it like that, get it over the axle.

(Austin)>> I'll get the bolt in this back shackle. [ music ] Move forward. [ music ]

(LT)>> I think we should go from the front huh?

(Austin)>> We got her to go. Tilt her back.

(LT)>> You got it.

(Austin)>> I think we're in. Yeah, yeah!

(LT)>> Alright now let's get this front on. Not the appropriate tool for what we're doing but it works. Making sure the sticker is out of course. Put a little bit of grease on the inner steel sleeve so we've got no squeaking, or rattling, or any other unwelcome noises. Alright Austin can you jack that axle up for me just a hair.

(Austin)>> I can't see.

(LT)>> Alright. [ hammer tapping metal ] [ drill spinning ] [ music ] [ drill spinning ] [ music ]

(LT)>> So now that we have the weight of the truck on the suspension we need to adjust the length of the rod ends. So this top little roller thing here basically contacts the top of the leaf spring. Going the wrong way. You don't want to make this thing too tight and put a lot of pre-load in it. Just enough so it barely contacts right there. Then we'll lock down the jam nuts.

(Austin)>> Now that we've got it sitting at ride height let's see if we actually trimmed enough. [ engine idling ] Looks good and turn the other way. [ engine idling ] A little closer than I would like but definitely clears, and you probably notice the left inner fender out but that's because we're about to yank the motor anyway and that's weight savings.

(LT)>> And you know it's one thing to test this sitting static in a shop without moving but the rear test is when we get this thing out on the road. So we'll get her outside and we also need a chance to test those traction bars.

(Austin)>> That's a good plan. [ tires screeching ]

(Austin)>> And we'll do just that coming up. [ tires screeching ]

(Austin)>> I didn't know it was gonna rain today but it looks like a 100 percent chance. How depressing is this?

(LT)>> Well this might not be the most accurate representation of what a traction bar would do but hey, this way we know the wheels won't rub and what better way to cheer you up after getting that news about your truck.

(Austin)>> You know what I like.

(LT)>> That's kinda weird to say but I do.

(Austin)>> See, that's what I like. [ tires screeching ]

(Austin)>> Keep going baby! Keep it going, keep it going! Woo hoo! [ tires screeching ]

(LT)>> Went around! Yeah buddy woo hoo! [ music ]

(Austin)>> What's that say?

(LT)>> Coolant warm, 200!

(Austin)>> That was great. Go again!

(LT)>> Alright! I've got some bad news for you buddy.

(Austin)>> What's that there partner?

(LT)>> Well according to the official burnout rating device here we only destroyed about a half of a 32nd of tread depth. Now these are pretty good tires but that's a pretty poor burnout in my book.

(Austin)>> Dude that is weak sauce, but a burnout is better than no burnout, but we need more power for sure.

(LT)>> Yeah basically we're working with a stock engine right now. We've been talking for some time about the plans that we have for this truck, and that all starts today. We're gonna make a whole lot more horsepower, but before we do anything the entire stock drivetrain is going to come out.

(Austin)>> For sure. You know typically from the factory it's a safe bet up to about 600 but you push anything more than that you need to go through that bottom end, and that's new connecting rods, new pistons. Since here might as well put a cool new cam in it too.

(LT)>> You know that's kinda funny though because your truck failed at a lot less than 600 horsepower.

(Austin)>> 500ish.

(LT)>> Maybe 500. No basically everything's coming out. Like you said, new rods, new pistons, and there's a couple of different ways we could go about that job.

(Austin)>> Yeah for sure. We'll yank the transmission and transfer case from the bottom. It'll be easy. We're putting a heavy duty trans anyway.

(LT)>> Alright get the stand setup in the back. [ music ]

(Austin)>> That was a first. Didn't even break a clip. [ music ] 75 percent in the bucket, success! [ music ]

(LT)>> I've got to say that little bit of extra effort it took to take the grille and the front end apart is gonna pay dividends cause I mean look how easy it is to access all these connections. Plus when we take it out we don't have to worry about denting anything.

(Austin)>> For sure! Now we didn't have to rip the whole front end apart just to yank the motor. We could have kept the intercooler and radiator in place but why not? It's gonna be torn apart for a while and makes it easy.

(LT)>> And that's what it all comes down to, easy. And the whole point of what we're doing right now is to remove the motor, put it on a stand, and completely disassemble it so we can remove and replace the pistons and connecting rods. Those are the two things that won't work with the amount of power that we have planned for this truck. Speaking of pistons and connecting rods though have you had a chance to think about your six-four and what you want to do to it?

(Austin)>> Well cracked pistons equals a lot of money and a lot of work. So as soon as we finish this up I'm gonna go look at a new truck.

(LT)>> What you got in mind?

(Austin)>> Well it'll be new to me. 2017 Alumi-Duty baby!

(LT)>> Powerstroke right?

(Austin)>> 250!

(LT)>> Alright well let me know when you do get it. We'll put some exhaust or some stuff on it.

(Austin)>> Black flat!
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