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Chevy M1008 - Project Reject

Front View
Jimmy Nylund | Writer
Posted December 1, 2007

Part 2.99: Some Ups And Downs

This should've been a picture of the M1008 victoriously climbing a hill, or something to that effect. Instead, here it sits pouting in a corner, not even running. That's after giving it new front tires, a new radiator, and glass in the doors, plus installing the dump-bed conversion. But we'll teach it a lesson-it can sit for another several weeks. Until it shapes up, or we decide to fix it anyway.

It was a mixed blessing that the 6.2L diesel finally fired and sort of ran. All of a sudden, the leisurely tinkering and the giant carrot were gone, replaced with a laundry list of items that needed attention, some more desperately than others.

Equally double-edged was the fact that some much-needed winter rains were about to hit the way-too-dry and sunny SoCal. Suddenly finding glass for the side windows became a higher priority than figuring out what caused the grinding noise that seemed to emit from the bellhousing during deceleration. Likewise, the solar panel that serves as a charging system wouldn't be quite as effective.

But what really bummed us out was that despite all the loving, tender care we'd given this ex-junkyard pickup, it wouldn't start after sitting for a few days. Not even with the auxiliary fuel pump running and after heating the intake manifold with a hair dyer. And, yes, with fully charged batteries.

Perhaps the starting issues were because of having used up a fair amount of the year's allotted luck by finding a rebuilt radiator in a dark corner of the Diesel-Tune shop. Since it wasn't supposed to be there, and it took up space, Mike Calandra gave it to us.

Damn, it's nice to have friends. As you might have noticed, this M1008 has basically been built with friendship favors, or it would've still been the same semi-useless junkyard wreck that Dennis Franklin brought us. Thank you all for the help.

We swapped out the borrowed (but not dimensionally or otherwise correct) radiator from JET Sales and even got a brand-new radiator cap as a crowning touch, replacing a rag which had served to keep the dirt out.

Speaking of friends, Craig Calkins at CRC Performance Transmissions shares our liking for the simple and dependable GM products of the '73-'87 body style and has squirreled away parts and pieces for years, including a set of door window glass. Luckily for us, he'd come across an even better pair and donated the glass for the cause. It was a quick and simple installation, if you don't count all the time vacuuming up the old broken glass. Standing back to admire the now fully enclosed cab, we realized that it now sported a clear windshield and rear window, but with green tinted side glass, which is probably an unusual combination.


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We'd figured that installing the Pierce Sales dump-bed conversion (July '07) would happen after the most pressing mechanical malfunctions were taken care of, but real life dictated otherwise. Having towed the M1008 to a better location for more serious work-OK, to install window glass-we noticed that fuel was spilling out from somewhere above the tank. Fuel out means air in, and everything pointed to the stubborn starting was due to air in the fuel system. Just drop the tank and ... no, far easier, let's take the bed off. It would have to come off anyway to install the Pierce kit, and removing it would allow perfect access to the fuel lines.

The downside to installing the dump bed at this stage? Well, without a functioning charging system, the electric-over-hydraulic dump bed would only be so useful for so long. To fix the charging, we really should convert the cryptic dual-alternator 24-volt system to 12 volts, except that we still didn't have a 12-volt starter motor. Oh, well, we'd only have to service the tractor to be able to remove the bed, which would then need a fair amount of straightening work before being reinstalled so the dirt doesn't fall out through the cracks.

And then it started raining, in the driest season on record. No big deal to you guys in Oregon, maybe, but we're just not used to it here in SoCal. Wet tools, yuck.


Valley Industries
Lodi, CA 95240
Pierce Sales
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