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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So, as many of you know, I've owned quite a few Colorados. Throughout my ownership I have gained a TON of knowledge and wisdom on the inner workings of these trucks. I dont know everything but I do know alot. I am going to be using that wisdom for my next build Project: Pale Hooker (the cheap build). I am going to build a "race" truck using only cheap parts. I use the word cheap to describe price, not quality. I am going to beg, borrow, (NOT steal), and hunt for the best deals I can possibly find. Now, my experience is in lifted trucks and off roading so I'm going to need a little help with this. Throughout this build thread I will teach you how to build a truck on a budget. Consider this the Youtube TV shows "Dirt Every Day" Cheap Truck Challenge. So, without further hesitation lets move on to the build!

Yesterday (December 9th 2016, my birthday) I bought an incredible present for myself, a new to me Colorado! This is a 2004 3.5L ZQ8 with 3.73 gears and a G80 Locker. Now keeping with the spirit of this Cheap Truck Challenge I bought the truck for only 4 grand! So, I'm already off to a great start. Here are some pictures of how she looked when I bought it.

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So, the first night that I bought the truck I contacted SuperMod and requested a tune. I still had some credits left over on my personal HPTuners account so we worked out a deal and I got the truck tuned. Once again, off to a great start with the cheap build! James and I talked a bit on the phone about where I wanted to go with the build and what my plans were and we devised a plan (which is somewhat secret right now) but I will say the suspension will more than likely stay stock. Yea I know stock suspension sucks, its all about that low-lyfe but with the plans we have for the truck James said the stock suspension is the best option.

The truck still runs a little sluggish after the tune and James said that could be because the the intake resonator vacuum hose is probably dry rotted. For now I am going to just use some Self-Fusing Silicone tape to wrap around it. I am also going to use some Lucas Deep Clean fuel system cleaner as well as clean the MAF and the throttle body. Those are the plans for today, hopefully I can get some throttle response out of it. Let me know what you guys think!

Future Mod list plan:
Ported Throttle Body
E-Fan
Resonator delete
AEM High Flow intake filter
JTR Headers
Exhaust
Hood bolt spacers
Ram-air
new wheels and tires
SECRET MOD (not to be disclosed until installed)
 

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[MTS] Who is this guy?
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3,779 Posts
Noooo you can't has white reg cab race truck. That's my shtick! Lol
 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
@Skizzo I told you at SESM that I was buying the exact sister to your truck lol, well I found it!

So today was a productive day for Pale Hooker, I cleaned out the MAF and throttle body (which was dirty as hell, pic below) and i also wrapped the hose that goes from the intake resonator to the motor with the silicone tape I was talking about. What a difference! The truck runs a hell of alot better now. I did snap the thin line that goes fro the resonator to the fuel solinod? Not sure if thats what it is but i wrapped it in the tape but ill have to find a new one of those now.

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Dirty right? So I also did a few mods. I had my scanguage 2 left over from my last truck (no clue why I kept it but im glad I did!) So I hooked that up. I also wanted a cowl hood but since this is a cheap build thread I decided to go the cheaper route. For about 4 dollars I bought 28 washers. I put 7 washers per bolt in between the hood bolts and the hood in order to lift it up and allow airflow out. I actually could have added more and given it more lift. Question: Do you guys think I should remove the rubber hood seal to allow more space or just lift the hood up more?

Scanguage hooked up!
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Washers used:
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Hood Lifted:
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I also took the truck on a little photoshoot as well. I wanted to capture the truck before I start to modify it. Thats it for today, its time to start my list for the next few mods I want to do lol.

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Premium Member
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1,654 Posts
Do you notice a lower air intake temp since the washer mod, or is it primarily to increase underwood cooling?
 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
@xscott71x Not really. I still stay about 6-7 degrees above ambient air temp. Its more for expelling hot air from the engine bay to reduce heat soak. It might not cool anything but it will prevent parts from getting hotter.

So today I went and met up with a local member and picked up a bumper air-dam (lower piece of the bumper) and sticking with the cheap truck build I got the part for free, well not free but i traded some stuff with him and actually made $40 off the deal. AWESOME! The trucks tail lights were a pretty bad, cracked and busted so I went on craigslist and found a brand new set of tails for only $30. I had to drive an hour to go get them but it was well worth it. I think with these new tail lights Im going to tint them a little with some VHT nightshade.
 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So today was a VERY Productive day. In continuing with the cheap build I am constantly on the hunt for great deals on parts. I found a local member who sold his truck, he had a left over e-fan. So I worked out a deal with him and I picked up Supermods E-Fan for..... only.... FOURTY FREAKIN DOLLARS! Yea! Shout out to Caleb French for that incredible deal. The fan was for a V8 but with a little modifications (grinding down certain areas of the fan) I was able to make it fit perfectly. Shout out to James for answering my million phone calls through the process as well. Installing this fan freed up quite a bit of HP and the truck runs a hell of alot smoother through the rpms.

Good Bye old fan!


Hello E-Fan!



I also tinted the tail lights (I probably mentioned this earlier) I may have been a bit drunk when i decided to do this but it came out really good. I think the next mods on my list will be a ported throttle body and i cant decide if i should gut the front cat or just buy a JTR header... Let me know what you guys think about that idea.

 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So I'll get to updating this here soon. I had to head to Louisiana for a family emergency and haven't had time to update or anything. We took the wife's Malibu since it's 100x better on gas ��
 

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Registered
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Personally, I think the JTR header is the way to go.
 

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[MTS] Who is this guy?
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3,779 Posts
I would vote header over gutted manifold but if you want to do it as cheaply as possible, you won't see a huge difference between the two unless you get an equal length longtube.
 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
You know it's funny you say that Skizzo, I was watching this episode of engine masters on YouTube and they did an experiment with headers. They found out almost all length headers are the same unless you get a pair of equal length long tubes but even then that's really only beneficial on high HP motors. Idk, I want to see some dunk numbers from some 355 members to know for sure.
 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
So, I went ahaead and stuck with the cheap truck build spirit and just went ahead and gut my front cat. It cost me about 12 for renting a spot at the base hobby shop and about $3 for new hardware. The bolts that connect the mid pipe and manifold were so bad that there was no saving them. My buddy who helped me said I should have replaced my manifold gasket but he didn't really understand the concept of this build. It was a re-usable gasket anyways so I'm not that concerned.

In keeping with the spirit of being cheap I set up a go-fund me account. Instantly I received a lot of kick-back /hate for creating that but it's still to early to see if it will work. I'll update as we go on weather or not to go that route for your cheap build as well.
 

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[MTS] Who is this guy?
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3,779 Posts
I'll still sell you my spare OEM 3.5 head, cams, and brand new 07+ beehive springs on the cheap. You know the price, just let me know when you want em.
 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
ok, so i figured it was about time I updated this thread. I have done a lot since the last time ive updated this but unfortunately I do not have any pics. This will be a short and sweet comment but there is a very rewarding ending. So since my last update I've added the following mods:

DJM 3/4 drop
Belltech front and rear swaybars (which were a fucking BITCH to install)
belltech rear shocks
Falken tires
thermostat mod
Badland industries intake
Ported Throttle Body
Supersparks
AND James and I have been building a very bad ass tune.

ALL OF THIS has now allowed me to break into the Top 5 list of fastest N/A i5's in the nation! She ran a 14.9910 @ 90.65mph today at Richmond Dragway in Virginia. THis also means that I know have the fastest N/A 3.5 in the Nation! I beat out a 3.7L for the top 5 spot and the only people ahead of me are 3.7s. I have a few more mods planned in order to break into the top 3 and it should be a very interesting ride.

Oh and if you want to use goFund me for your cheap build, dont. It didnt work haha
 

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US Army 19yrs and ......
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45,284 Posts
If the Belltech sway bars were a bitch to install..... you were doing something wrong.

Not trying to be a troll, but they were a pretty straightforward install.
 

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Pale Hooker
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1,767 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
So, I have more time to type on here now. The belltech rears were a bitch on the rear because I have the ZQ8 suspension so trying to get everything to line up right was difficult.

Also new mod! I just installed my Spec-D ebay specials lights. They actually look really good. If anyone saw on facebook I originally painted my headlights white (did a great job) but once they were on the truck it just didnt look right.

I think its time for a cost analysis now that ive broken into the top 5 fastest i5s and what appears to be the fastest 3.5L (N/A).

Truck- $4000
Efan- $50
DJM 3/4 drop- $200
JTR Low-Pro xmember- $100
Tune- $0 (already owned HPTuners)
Supersparks and PTB shipped- $140
Thermostat mod- $0
Badland Intake- $100
Spectre pod filter- $0 (gift)
4 Falken tires and lower balljoints- $870 (installed by a shop)
Tinted Tail lights- $7 (I think thats what a can of VHT cost)
Headlights- $140
Painting wheels- ~$40
Hood spacer washers- $1
Window tint- $136
Spark plugs and oil- $60
Grand total------------------ $5,844

So, Project Pale Hooker (The cheap build) is a success. For under 6 grand you can have a truck with a bunch of mods and have alot of fun and even break a record or two. I do have many more mods planned in order to break deeper into the top 5 list so ill keep this thread updated as I go. My plan is to spend under 8k to be at least top 3 before I add my secret mod. Well its not really a secret anymore so I guess ill let the cat out of the bag. I will be going nitrous here shortly. Im still in the air about a one stage or two stage kit as well as how big of a shot to go. Id also like to gap my piston rings beforehand as well. That will be a whole different ballgame though. For now Im sticking to trying to get that number 3 spot on the fastest N/A i5's in the nation.
 
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