How many of you wanted a Red Ryder BB gun after “A Christmas Story” appeared on TV when you were a kid? It was one of the most influential movie scenes in the ’80s, and to this day it still plays nonstop during the holiday season.
Few things stick around for that long and still hold sentimental value to millions of people around the country. Show anyone in your family a picture of a stock ’88-’98 GMT400 truck, and we promise at least one of them has a great story involving one of them. Either it’s your grandpa who used one as a farm truck his whole life and watched the sunset in it with his wife for the past 30 years, or it’s your mom who met your dad in their parent’s work truck on a Friday night. Everyone has a memory that involves this all-American Bow Tie, and this particular shortbed is no different.
Dylan Eaton from Spring Hill, Florida, grew up with this exact truck—well, a stock daily-driven version of it at least. His dad picked it up from the dealership new in 1989 and drove it until 2008 when he gave it to Dylan. This was the first truck Dylan ever owned, and he wanted to prove he cared about it as much as his dad did. Now after a little over eight years and around $25,000 dollars or more, Dylan is proud to tell the story of this long-time family member. He knew the path he wanted to take when he started customizing. A daily driven, big power, thick tire street machine. Nothing more and nothing less. He wants to jump the truck at any time and have a strong crank. No special fuel and no pre-charging, just a ready and reliable show truck.
Because it was so well maintained since its time on the showroom floor, the exterior of the truck only needed some fresh paint and a few simple upgrades. A Street Scene front grille with billet inserts was installed, the factory bumpers were shaved and painted, the bed rail stake holes were shaved, and a steel roll pan was welded and smoothed in. Finally, the whole truck was painted Viper Red by Donnie Peake of Peake’s Autobody Inc. To get the stance correct, Dylan and his dad installed a 5-inch front and 7-inch rear suspension drop that included DJM Control Arms, Belltech coil springs, new spindles, a rear flip kit, C-notch for the rear frame rails, and Belltech Street Performer shocks. They also bolted on a 1.375-inch front sway bar with polyurethane bushings and body mounts as well as a Calvert Racing Caltrac bar.
The power plant on this sweet OBS is an ’87 GM roller block SBC 355ci V-8 built by Mark’s Performance and Machine in New Port Richey, Florida. The block was balanced, blueprinted, decked and line honed. It was also bored 0.030 over and has a Pro Meth methanol injection system. Eagle connecting rods, Comp Cams nx276hr camshaft, JE Pistons, Total Seal rings and King bearings complete the internals, and it’s all bolted together with ARP bolts and studs. Under the block is a Morosso oil pan. Topping off the engine build are Air Flow Research Eliminator 180cc heads, a polished 192-intake 16-rib supercharger from The Blower Shop, a Devane “Weekend Warrior” 930cfm carburetor, and Hooker Headers. These bolt up to Hooker Max Flow mufflers and flow out the back of the truck. An MSD ignition keeps the timing in check and an American Powertrain “White Lightning” Tremec 5-speed transmission with hydraulic throwout bearings and a SPEC Type 3 clutch wrap up the drivetrain.
All this power is sent back to the 14-bolt 5-lug 454SS rearend with 3:73 gears. Some 17-inch American Racing Torq Thrust 2 wheels are at each corner with a 17×7 up front and 17×9.5 in the rear. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires give Dylan the traction he needs and the SSBC Big Bite brakes stop him when he steps on the pedal. The SSBC rear disc brake conversion and SSBC adjustable proportioning valve give him all the braking power he needs for this beast of a truck.
This truck is on every grown kid’s Christmas list, and you don’t have to worry about shooting your own eye out with a truck like this—although you may break a few necks when you drive by.
’89 Chevy Cheyenne C1500
Spring Hill, Florida
Add modern performance to a pickup that was designed for utility. With QA1’s bolt-on front and rear systems, not only can you lower your C1500, but you’ll also have ri de height adjustability on all four corners, giving you that perfect, level stance. The front systems offer up to 5-inch of drop with drop spindles, and control arms provide more room for wider wheels and tires. The rear system offers up to 7 inches of drop, and the torque arm design reduces binding found in other four-link systems.
Front: $2,298.66 Rear: $2,482.87
Bolt-on coilover suspension systems dramatically improve handling and ride quality when lowering a truck to the 4/6 level or lower. The wishbone multi-link rear suspension, heavy-duty C-notches, tubular A-arms, drop spindles, HQ adjustable coilovers, Musclebar front sway bar, Delrin bushings and R-joints all work together to create the best ride imaginable. And best yet, this kit is also available in an air-ride configuration.
This deluxe lowering kit for ’88-’91 Chevy/GMC C1500 includes light duty spindles. Easy to install in your driveway!
Lower your sport truck or SUV right the first time. Belltech’s complete lowering kits include all the parts and pieces you need to achieve not only the look you want, but the alignment, performance and safety you need.
This aluminum 2.5-inch drop spindle for GMT400 GM C/K 1500 2WD truck and SUV models features an OEM style GMT800 sealed hub conversion in dual 5×5, 5×4.75 or OEM 6×5.5 lug patterns. The Modular Truck spindles are also ABS-ready for ’95-’98 factory equipped trucks. The anodized finish will keep these beauties looking and performing great over the long haul.
CB Chassis Products
Aldan C1500 suspension packages are designed to convert your stock, front suspension to fully ride-height adjustable coilovers with adjustable shock absorbers in the rear. They’re designed for the GMT400 and C1500 2WD truck chassis.
This Air Suspension System is specifically designed for the ’88-’98 Chevrolet and GMC C1500 truck and includes everything needed to create modern drivability with an ultra-low show stance. The package contains front upper and lower control arms, front CoolRide with HQ Series shocks, front sway bar, drop spindles, rear wishbone with C-notches and Shockwaves.
OBS Chevy Racing billet control arms are made out of T-6 6061 billet aluminum and designed to have the utmost in adjustability, strength, ease of use and cool style. Imagine being able to change your alignment in a few minutes depending on the activity. Simply jack up the truck a little to relieve pressure, loosen the top rod end bolts, change out your desired spacer, and you’re ready to go. These arms are great for autocross, road course racing and lowered trucks wanting to get that perfect alignment with style. Correct ball joint angle for lowered trucks, solid billet construction, solid connection through high-end rod ends.
OBS Chevy Racing
Looking to lay out your ’88-’98 full size truck on some 24s? Then you’ll be needing these! Includes one pair of upper and lower control arms, built-in lower bag brackets, built-in lower shock brackets and ball joints.
CB Chassis Products
These 3-inch drop springs from CPP are available for a simple factory swap. Pair it with the company’s rear flip kit and shackles for a full 4/6 drop.
Classic Performance Products
The combination of Calmax arms and coils springs up front net you out 4 inches of drop without wheel clearance or alignment issues. and we put this together with our DJM 6-inch axle flip kit.
StreetGRIP is a high-performance 4/6 drop lowering suspension system for ’88-’98 C1500 pickups. Like all StreetGRIP systems, Ridetech focuses on the areas of the OE suspension that need improvement rather than upgrading everything. In the case of ’88-’98 C1500s, that means keeping the factory control arms and leaf springs.
Looking to bag your OBS for an affordable price? AVS makes it easy with this complete all-in-one kit.
AVS on the Web
MaxTrac Suspension K330546 has an all-in-one solution for your 2WD ’88-’98 Chevy Silverado 1500. MaxTrac drop kits use 2-inch front spindles, 2-inch lowering springs as well as MaxTrac shocks for the front. The rear lowering uses a 6-inch rear flip kit with shock extenders, a rear C-frame support and MaxTrac shocks.
This complete air-ride chassis for “Old Body Style” single cab 2WD GM pickups is engineered to provide the best ride quality and performance for a full-sized ‘bagged truck. Designed from the ground up with all new suspension geometry and modern drivetrain adaptability, this system also allows for large diameter wheels and most aftermarket engine accessories without worrying about any weird fitment surprises.
GSI Machine & Fabrication
In this kit, the control arms are narrowed 1-inch on each side for proper alignment; the ball joints are pushed forward ⅞-inch to re-center wheel; bushings are polyurethane, utilizing Moog ball joints; and sway bar heim attachments are included, along with Aldan American Direct bolt-in coils with your choice of spring rate.
This tightly engineered 6-inch suspension lift kit is designed around two heavy duty upper A-arms, one-piece ¼-inch laser cut high clearance crossmembers and replacement steering knuckles. This combination offers zero track width change, unlike many knuckle kits on the market. Clears a 35×12.5-inch with 20×9 wheels and 5 ¼-inch backspacing.
This complete rear system incorporates both of the bolt-on four-link and cantilever kits together. Fabricated with the quality you’ve come to expect from KP Components, it is able to lay out most 24-inch wheel and tire combinations and offers you about 12 inches of travel right out of the box
MaxTrac offers a 3-inch lifting front coil spring to easily raise your 2WD Chevy Silverado 1500 from the factory stance. MaxTrac also offers a 4-inch lifting block kit for your 2WD ’88-’98 Chevy Silverado 1500. An alternative is the company’s 2-inch rear lifting shackles. Not only are these easier to install than blocks, but they can be combined with a rear block to get additional lift or be used to simply fine tune the ride height of the rear.
This rear-only suspension kit from React converts the factory suspension in your 88-98 Chevy truck to a parallel 4-link setup with a panhard bar, c-notch, u-bolts and a rear frame crossmember. This kit is adjustable down to a 7-inch drop in the rear. All made in the USA, so you know it’s solid quality.
QA1 Rod Ends for Panhard Bar
Satin Black Powdercoated
Run up to 10-inch wide wheels
Classic Parts of America price: $199.95
LMC Truck price: $119.95 – $179.95
TMI now offers high-value interior automotive components including complete seats with brackets, interior center consoles, carpet kits, all new door panels, even a new headliner. Currently in production for ’88-’94 Chevy C1500 standard cab trucks.
Classic Parts of America price: $244.95
Classic Parts of America price: $299.95
Classic Parts of America price: $399.95
Classic Parts of America price: $94.95
Classic Parts of America price: $24.95
Classic Dash price: $129
Dakota Digital price: $795
Corbeau Racing price: $349
BluePrint Engines offers a direct replacement 383ci Stroker crate engine for ’88-’98 Chevy trucks. This is a small block GM style, fully dressed long block with carburetor. Aluminum heads and a roller cam are preinstalled and drop-in ready.
Borgeson steering shaft for full size Chevy and GMC trucks connects to the factory column and OEM steering box. It includes a complete rag joint and billet steel universal joint and weights 5.3 pounds.
Borgeson Universal Company
This brake kit will work with any HD brake spindle, such as McGaughy’s, Street Edge, Belltech and even stock. You will receive a template and instructions for modifying your spindle, which requires cutting of the caliper ears and drilling and tapping for the caliper mounting bracket.
Pro Performance offers this new brake kit for ’88-’98 Chevy trucks with factory rear ends and does not require machining to the axle or rotors. It uses new calipers, not rebuilt ones. It features laser-cut zinc plated caliper brackets and is designed to fit most 18-inch wheels and larger.
These kits are designed to provide a 30-50% increase in fuel economy, a low RPM cruising for greatly reduced driver fatigue, an improved highway driving experience and reduced engine wear leading to longer engine life with cooler engine operating temperatures.
This 14-inch C1500 kit utilizes Wilwood 6-piston FNSL calipers, aluminum hubs, hats and machined 6061 AL brackets that bolt directly to the factory spindles or drop spindles without drilling. Designed to fit ’88-’00 full-size 2WD GM trucks and SUVs.
Little Shop Mfg.
Works with both ½- and ¾-ton models. Includes motor mounts, frame brackets, transmission crossmember, transmission mount and hardware.
This 4WD mount kit locates the engine at the factory bell housing location so you can use your original transmission, transfer case and crossmember.
These kits come standard or machined for the oil bypass valve to use with displacement on demand or variable valve timing. They include a new full-length windage tray, pickup tube, hardware, gasket, dipstick and a pickup tube girdle.
These headers feature 3/8-inch laser cut flanges with the tubes welded inside and out and then machined. They include gaskets, bolts, reducers and O2 sensor bungs. Standard ceramic finish is polished silver; contact the company for bare steel and black ceramic coated pricing.
These radiators feature all-aluminum construction, stamped tanks with strengthening indentations, and a double pass design that put the inlet and outlet on the same side. The all-important steam port bung is welded into the upper part of the tank, which lets your new LS engine vent properly. They also include a sensor port that can be used for a coolant temp fan switch.
MSRP: Starting at $619
BRP HotRods offers stand-alone harnesses as well as harness and re-flashed computer packages.
Available for ’91-’07 Chevy/GMC Silverado/Sierra, Suburban and Tahoe, these true plug-and-play custom built harnesses are designed specifically for your project utilizing a ’94-’97 LT1/4 or ’97-up LSx or Vortec small block.
Current Performance Wiring
Auto Metal Direct offers hoods for ’88-’98 Chevy GMC C/K pickup, ’92-’94 Blazer and Jimmy, ’95-’99 Tahoe and Yukon along with ’92-’99 Suburban. They’re all stamped from heavy gauge steel with factory style underside.
Auto Metal Direct
This six-piece door window channel beltline kit includes the beltline moldings and glass run channels for each front door of the vehicle.
Steele Rubber Products
NPD reproduction tailgates offer a ready-to-paint finish at an affordable price.
National Parts Depot price: $89.95
National Parts Depot
Lose the bumper and gain the sporty look we all love. AVS on the Web offers roll pans for OBS trucks with and without a tag box.
AVS on the Web price: $190
AVS on the Web
OBS refers to Chevy C/K trucks that were manufactured by General Motors between the years 1988 and 1998. Marketed under the Chevrolet and GMC brands, the C/K series included a wide range of vehicles including a truck and two SUV models. While most commonly associated with pickup trucks, the model line also included medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. The “C” denoted a two-wheel drive; “K” denoted four-wheel drive.
General Motors released eight different versions of the C/K line for 1988: Fleetside Single Cab, Fleetside Extended Cab, Fleetside Crew Cab and Stepside Single Cab models, each in either 2WD or 4WD drivelines. Three trim levels were available for these trucks, including Cheyenne, Scottsdale and Silverado.
GMT400/480 ’88–’00 Chevrolet C/K – GMC Sierra
GMT410 ’92–’99 Chevrolet Suburban
GMT415 ’92–’94 Chevrolet Full-Size Blazer
GMT420 ’95–’00 Chevrolet Tahoe
GMT425 ’92–’99 GMC Suburban
GMT430 ’92–’00 GMC Yukon
In 1989, a Sport Equipment Package was available on either C/K 1500 Fleetside shortbed single cab model. The package featured a black grille with red outlined bow-tie emblem, black moldings outlined in red, body color front and rear bumpers, black mirrors and “SPORT” identification decals on the box and on the tailgate. There were no suspension or engine upgrades provided with any of the sport packages as this was an appearance only option.
Throttle body (TBI) fuel injection was used on ’88-’95 gas engines.
Central point injection (CPI) was used on the ’96-’00 4.3L V-6, 5.0L V-8 and 5.7L V-8.
The Work Truck (W/T) was introduced in 1988, which featured a single cab longbed with Cheyenne trim and a new grille with black bumpers.
In 1990, Chevrolet introduced a high-performance variant of the GMT400 under the Super Sport emblem called the 454 SS. It was available only as a 2WD half-ton regular cab short box in Onyx Black with a garnet red interior. Unique exterior features included a front air dam with fog lights, special rims, decals displaying “454 SS” on the bed sides, red trim emblems, and black painted grille, bumpers and mirrors.
The MSRP of the 1990 model was $18,295. A total of 16,953 units were sold over the four years the 454 SS was in production; 13,748 units were sold in 1990 alone.
The 454 SS was powered by a 454ci (7.4L) V-8 producing 230hp. A Turbo Hydra-Matic 400, 3-speed automatic transmission and 3.73 rear axle ratio added to the truck’s performance. The axle itself is unique, being a 14-bolt semi-floating unit that uses standard Chevrolet 5 on 5-inch wheels—the only factory-produced 14-bolt axle with such a wheel bolt pattern.
In 1991, the 4L80-E automatic transmission was added for three-quarter and one-ton trucks.
In 1991, California introduced a standard called OBD-I in order to curb vehicle emissions. All cars had to be equipped with a system that could detect engine issues and report trouble codes. Unlike the later OBD-II standard, however, OBD-I wasn’t standardized across manufacturers.
This means that an OBD-I scan tool will often work for only one make of car. In addition, the codes themselves aren’t standardized, so a Ford with the same engine issue as a Toyota might give a totally different trouble code.
In 1993 General Motors re-introduced the Sport branded trucks along with the 454 SS. The 454 SS was discontinued after the 1994 model year.
In 1993, the 700-R4/4L60 transmission was revised with electronic controls, becoming the 4L60-E.
The 1994 models received a new front fascia, federally mandated center high-mount stop lamp, many new exterior colors including a new two-tone option on the rocker panels, and new tire and wheel combinations.
All 1995 models received a new interior that included a new steering wheel with the 1500s containing a driver’s-side airbag, a new dashboard containing a more centrally mounted radio, dial-operated HVAC system, and an improved gauge cluster. New front door panels and new seats were also included.
In 1996, OBD-II became a nationwide standard and it has been used ever since. Unlike OBD-I, OBD-II equipped cars all support the same type of scanner. The trouble codes themselves have also been standardized across all manufacturers.
For 1996, a passenger-side-mounted third door became optional on extended cab models.
C/K 1500 models received a passenger-side airbag for 1997 to comply with new federal regulations for light trucks.
1997 was to be the last year the C/K Silverado would display “CHEVROLET” on the tailgate.
In 1999, the Chevrolet Silverado became the divisional replacement for the C/K.
The Chevrolet Tahoe is a full-size SUV from General Motors. Chevrolet and GMC sold two different-sized SUVs under their Blazer/Jimmy model names through the early 1990s. This situation changed when GMC rebadged the full-size Jimmy as the Yukon in 1991. All were two-door models through 1994.
The Chevrolet K5 Blazer name was discontinued after the 1994 model year, and the Chevrolet Tahoe was introduced in 1995 with the addition of an all-new four-door version.
The Tahoe has regularly been the bestselling full-size SUV in the United States, frequently outselling its competition by 2 to 1.
Both two-door and four-door models were produced in rear- and four-wheel drive. The two-door weighs roughly 4,500 pounds while the four-door weighs approximately 5,500 pounds. The two-door has a 6-inch shorter wheelbase than the four-door.
The standard engine was Chevrolet’s 5.7L (350ci) small-block V-8, while a turbocharged 6.5L (395ci) Detroit Diesel V-8 was available beginning in 1994.
The GMT400-based Suburbans were introduced in December 1991 for the 1992 model year even though the similar pickup truck models had switched to the newer platforms in the 1988. Both 2WD and 4WD models, designated “C” and “K”, were offered, as well as half ton and three-quarter ton versions.
The GMT400 series introduced independent front suspension. The 2WD models used coil springs and 4WD models used torsion bars in the front suspension. All models used a live axle and leaf springs in the rear.
For a 1995 Suburban, 0–60 mph times were around 9.3 seconds at best. The top speed of a 1995 Suburban was governed on the engine for economy and a maximum of 98 mph could be obtained with a fuel economy of 13 mpg.
From the editors of Street Trucks Magazine comes the all-composing guide to restoring and customizing one of the most popular body style trucks ever released. Chevrolet’s 88-98 Fullsize trucks and SUVs spawned a massive sub-culture of passionate enthusiasts, artists, and gearheads worldwide. With over 800,000 OBS (Old Body Style) trucks built and sold within the first year of production, it’s easy to see why this is one of America’s most beloved bodies. The OBS Builders Guide is here to document this trend-setting truck and bring you the best how-to tech, feature stories, manufacture spotlights, event coverage, and new product reveals that relate. In this book you will see:
THE REBIRTH OF SLICK | IT’S ALWAYS BEEN COOL LIKE DAT
RED RYDER | ON EVERY KID’S WISH LIST IN THE 1990S
PERFEC/KTION | IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER
G-ZERO | LIFTING A 4X4 OBS CHEVY
JACKED UP | LIFTING A 4X4 OBS CHEVY
BIG BLOCK ADDICT | ONE ENTHUSIAST’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE “TRUCK FROM HELL”
THE SPORT TRUCK MOVEMENT | A BODY STYLE THAT SPARKED AN ENTIRE CULTURE
OBS? WHAT’S THAT? | DESCRIBING THE DESCRIPTION
OBS READER RIDES | KEEPING IT REAL!
LONE STAR THROWDOWN | OFFERING SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!
OBS GIT DOWN! | INVADING TO BE ACCEPTED
BIG BRAKE CONVERSION | FRONT AND REAR DISC BRAKES FOR GMT400 TRUCKS
STELLA! | A STREET TRUCK AIMED TO INSPIRE
QA1 COILOVER CONVERSION | MODERN PERFORMANCE FOR PREVIOUS PICKUPS
ON THE LOW TAHOE | SWITCH SUSPENSION TAKES A UNICORN AND MAKES IT BETTER
MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR
What exactly does a harmonic balancer (sometimes called a dampener) do? Each time a cylinder fires in your engine, a force acts upon the crankshaft, causing it to twist. This force also causes vibrations in the crankshaft. These vibrations from the engine can become too much for the crankshaft to bear, causing it to fail.
This is where the harmonic balancer comes in. The circular device, made of rubber and metal, is bolted at the front end of the crankshaft to help absorb vibrations. ItÕs usually connected to the crank pulley, which drives accessories like the air conditioner. The rubber inside the pulley is what actually absorbs the vibrations and keeps them at a safe level.