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1969 Chevy Custom Truck - DIY - It's More Than Just an Acronym - Notes From The Dirt

Posted in Features on October 1, 2004
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I'm a good example of someone who isn't necessarily a control freak, but would rather do things themselves rather than rely on others. It's not that I don't trust other people to work on my projects; it's just that I take great joy in working on my own trucks. In fact, I think I have more fun building trucks than actually driving them. My friends can attest to this facet of my personality because I routinely build vehicles, then turn around and sell them - usually at a loss.

It's not that I can't just leave well enough alone, although a few of my projects might suggest otherwise. I have a '69 Chevy pickup that has had several different suspensions between the stock and now full-custom framerails. The rear suspension alone has gone from a two-link/Panhard bar suspension to a triangulated four-link setup, and most recently, I cut everything off to fabricate an upper wishbone suspension with the help of my friend AJ. I've done all this fabricating, revamping, and changing throughout the course of the last year, and the truck has yet to even see the road.

I'm not crazy - really, I swear. I think my problem or asset, depending on your point of view, is that each time I think I can forge ahead with one of my projects, I learn a new skill or way of doing something, which makes my previous efforts obsolete in my eyes. Although this has prevented me from actually driving my Chevy, it'll make the truck much better once it actually sees the road.

What I'm getting at here is that doing things yourself can be a rewarding experience, provided you're not just cutting, hacking, and welding on your truck without any guidance. By all means, pay a professional to tackle the truly demanding jobs if they're beyond your means or skill level. But if you feel like trying your hand at fabricating a fuel-cell mounting bracket or MIG-welding an exhaust system together, then have at it. In this issue of OR, we'll show you the basics to get started. Even if you never decide to weld something on your truck, you'll at least understand the process and what a good weld looks like. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to confidently choose the right fabrication shop for your project because you'll be able to identify a quality weld when you see it.

This month, Off-Road is in full DIY mode, and we're sharing the knowledge. We'll show you how to quickly install a billet grille and apply vinyl graphics. We'll also install a set of MasterCraft suspension seats and fuel cell in our project Tundra. If you're looking for a great power recipe for your next project, we'll show you a big-block Chevrolet crate engine that pumps out more than 700 hp with bolt-on parts. We're not stopping there, either. We have the lowdown on a new easy-to-use GPS system that'll keep you from getting lost, and two articles to kill the mystery of shocks and leaf springs. OR has plenty of tech stories to get your blood pumping, and hopefully, after you've finished reading this magazine in the bathroom, you'll get out to the garage and start wrenchin'. See ya next month.

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