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Junk Truck Revival, 02 5Lug gets a new lease on life.

2035 Views 37 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Icecoast
Wanted to start by saying thanks to all the members here who have contributed tons of information and thus given me the inspiration to do something with this truck besides drive it into the ground. This endeavor will probably cost more money than I want but hopefully we can all learn a thing or two along the way.

The truck is a 2002 "base" 5 lug 2rz W59 with just over 55k miles but probably triple that in run time and as you can see not a bit of caution was taken around the body.

It was used as a maintenance vehicle for a small housing complex and when they discovered the massive frame rot, decided to get rid of it. I happened to be at the right place at the right time and made an offer before it was scrapped.

Originally my plan was to patch the frame and use the truck for trips to the town dump and going to Home Depot.

Thanks to you guys, I'll be doing a bunch more.

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First order of business was a solid cleaning, something it probably hasn't had since new. Got the bed box out, power washed and did a quick polish with Meguiars 83 and sealed with Meguiars 21.

I can't seem to figure out how to add images to post replies so I'm gonna leave this as a placeholder.
Indeed, cleanliness is important.
I took Fridays off for the month of March and it was pretty nice out yesterday so I finished up with the front suspension. Nothing crazy just replaced upper/lower balljoints, tie rod ends and installed new shocks. The only thing I did different that I hadn't seen mentioned before was to use the old upper ball joints as a spacer in the upper control arm when doing a ball joint flip.

Old joint cut and painted.

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Back in its original location.

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I feel a bit safer knowing its the exact size and all four bolt holes are tied together vs stacked nuts and washers.
It seems very secure.
Machined a lip in the Amazon turbine adapter flange to work with male/female style v-band flanges.

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I think it's a very good match.
So a set of seats popped up on marketplace and I couldn't resist. Truck came with a bench and it was in rough shape so these will be a great upgrade. I need to make brackets and I've been cleaning stains but here's how they look in the truck.


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I've been wanting a set of these for a while just haven't been far enough along with other projects to even consider purchasing but this truck should be on the road later this spring so it was a no brainer. They remind me of the OEM Recaro seats in my previous MKII GTI and I loved those seats.


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Spent the afternoon making brackets to mount the seats. I was able to align the drivers with the steering wheel but I just eyeballed the passenger and I think its like 3/4" off toward the door so I'll have mess with that later.

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Those seats look awesome in there! Do you happen to know the model number for those? Def the best looking replacement seats that I've seen in a 1st gen...
Those seats look awesome in there! Do you happen to know the model number for those? Def the best looking replacement seats that I've seen in a 1st gen...
Corbeau GTS-II

I don't think there's a particular model number. Just reclining with additional options.
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I got the log portion of the manifold back from my brother so I started working on the placement of the turbo.

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First mock-up
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Man those AC lines are tight. I had to massage the heck out of the return to get even the slightest bit of clearance. Now I understand why all the turbo 2rz I see pictures of have heat blankets on them.
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Took a moment on Saturday to change out the spark plugs.

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Progress is slow but I'm still going.

Both crossmembers in the rear were pretty rough and I after thinking about it for a while I decided its better to replace them rather than have the gas tank fall out or the rear frame twist. I had to replace the lower portion of the tail end of the frame and add material where it rusted away.

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I'll probably end up working down the frame rails making patches/adding plate to the outside before I reach the front crossmember. I've considered making a x-brace between the crossmembers but that can always be added later.

My LSPV was frozen and the rod from the valve to the diff was bent out of shape from lowering so I decided to replace it with a Wilwood prop valve. Install was pretty straightforward; remove lower line on LSPV going to the forward tee junction and plug junction with a bleeder, connect upper LSPV brake line to flex line on diff, mount prop valve and fit the brake lines In/Out.

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I still have to bleed the brakes and figure out which of the rear shoes is dragging but its another item of the ever-growing list.
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Focused on the frame the last couple days. The front fuel tank support crossmember was worse than the rear so I started working on fabricating a new one. At the same time I cut out the old upper passenger side strut mount as the frame surrounding it was shot.

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I made a template for the frame plates over the rear wheels and cut them out with a jigsaw.

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It was a little windy and on and off rain today but I managed to get the passenger side welded up. Only had a couple instances where the wind picked up and blew my shielding gas away, overall I'm happy with the results.

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Only things left on the passenger side are to mount low profile bump stops, add material back to the inner frame support around the bump stop area and reinforce the upper shock mount.

Driver side still needs a lot of work.
Decided to make my own hidden hitch to fit just below the Rollpan. I don't plan on towing much but figured it would be a good way to stiffen up the frame around the rear leaf mounts.

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Passenger side frame repair is done and I should be through with the drivers by the end of the week.

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I have plans for my brother to come over in a couple weeks to install the bed so I better have everything wrapped up by then.
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Drivers side is plated up and painted, tomorrow I should be able to finish the forward crossmember and then I can tie up some loose ends and have the bed back on for Memorial Day weekend.

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Made some good headway over the past few days. The fuel tank crossmember is done as well as the trailer hitch. I was able to install everything after work tonight and get the truck back on the ground.

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I wanted to relocate the charcoal canister towards the center of the bed in the event I decided to add a brace between the two crossmembers so the fuel filler vent hose and electrical connector still need to be extended in order for it to be permanently mounted.

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Hopefully my measurements were correct for the trailer hitch as I never test fit the bed and roll pan for clearance.
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Wrapped up most of the frame work and mounted the bed this weekend with the help of my brother.

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The Trailer Hitch came out perfect, I have to finish the hinge mount for the license plate to make it accessible but I'm not in a rush.

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Thinking it still needs a bit of drop in the rear to level it out and the mud flaps need to go but otherwise I like how it came out.
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I picked up a set of new 4X4 leaf springs last week and got them installed over the holiday weekend. Dorman PN 929-401 for both sides. I swapped my original helper springs but left the remainder of the new spring pack as is. We'll see how it settles out once I get some more miles in but it seams to have leveled out nicely.

Suspension right now is:

Front balljoint flip
Rear 4x4 leaf springs with helper swapped and 3" angled blocks
KYB Excel-G on all four corners.

I also got a set of Cadillac ATS Brembo front calipers for a big brake swap along with the lines. Still have to order rotors and do some machining but that look like its gonna be my next step.

Overall the truck runs and drives pretty good. It's lacking in the power department but the steering is quick, it shifts well and its pretty fun to throw around like a go kart.
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21 - 38 of 38 Posts