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1989 Chevy 2500 Lift Kit Install and More - Sign of the Times

Posted in How To on July 1, 2009
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Before: Complete with stainless steel side steps and hideously large side mirrors. We couldn't wait to work our magic.

Today the inevitable has come to pass. Less and less people are interested in dumping gobs of cash into off-road toys. We've had to embrace the reality of what people are actually willing to spend their hard-earned cash on. In doing so we've come to realize that older, less expensive pickups make a whole lot more sense to build. So, we decided to showcase a build that adheres to a strict policy of economic reform, cost cutting and unbeatable value. Our mission was to transform a $500 beater pickup into a Baja-worthy prerunner and support rig. We took our time searching for the perfect balance of dependably and form. The truck we found was offered online for a great deal. The ad read: $500, 1989 Chevy 2500, 2WD, all original, one owner. We contacted a friend who lived in the same region of our perspective purchase, to see if he would look it over for us. Our buddy got back to us with good news. "Aside from a little dent in the left rear fender it's a clean truck". Happy with the report of an amazingly clean $500 truck, we wired the money and arranged a time to pick up our new (used) prize. A few weeks later we tested the rig the way we got it. We hitched it to a flatbed trailer and hauled a side-by-side to Pismo State Beach for a photo shoot. The truck ran fine, despite having more than140,000 miles on the odometer. Apparently the previous owner used the rig solely as a tow truck for a small travel trailer. Large aftermarket towing mirrors, an old school fiberglass Donco utility cover and fifth-wheel hitch were pretty good indicators of its past life. Now, we had a whole different intention for "Grandpa's tug boat," as a group of friends in Pismo dubbed it. Our mission was clear: Strip everything originally installed by the previous owner and modify the rest so that the rig could hold it's own on in Baja California during the upcoming Baja 1000 race. Good looks didn't hold nearly as much weight as function, yet we knew with a few weekend makeover sessions this tug boat could go from zero to hero for less than $8,000. Follow along now as we stimulate our beater with affordable products that make all the difference.

The Costs
(est. without labor):
RCD 6-inch Suspension system $1,500
5 Centerline Wolverine wheels $1,500
5 33-inch Nitto Terra Grappler A/T tires $1,400
Gears, E-Locker and install kit $1,400
Custom prerunner front bumper $700
Kodiak 9,500-lb electric winch $500
Hamsar Diversco LED lighting ${{{200}}}
Total $7,200
PhotosView Slideshow


Nitto Tire
Cypress, CA 90630
Cleveland, OH 44114
RCD Suspension
El Cajon, CA 92020
Off Road Warehouse
San Diego, CA 92111
Right Gear And Axle
Salinas, CA 93908
GM Truck Center
Burbank, CA 91502
Hamsar Diversco Inc. (LED Lights)
Kodiak Winch

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