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RETIRED AND REBORN OBS | A Relatable Upgrade for Many OBS Enthusiasts

Chris Hamilton November 08, 2021 OBS Builders Guide

Buying a brand new truck is a day some of us can remember and others can’t wait to do. For this particular OBS oldschooler, a life on the road was his calling, so his favorite truck just had to sit and wait for him to come home for a drive. It was garaged for years and well maintained as often as possible. Gary recently retired, and his big rig was permanently parked. Now the time has come to put some miles on the 20-plus year old truck, but she needs a few modern upgrades before she hits the road!

One major sign of the times that stands out on this ‘98 GMC Sierra are the 16-inch wheels and big bubbly tires. They may ride smoothly, but they look ancient and have no style benefits. This is one of the easiest upgrades you can make, and online shopping is actually fun to do for custom wheels! Wheel Pros is generally the go-to “off-the-shelf” wheel distributor and they handle most of the major brands in the industry. This truck was screaming for some chrome and our sales rep recommended the new Fuel Hammer wheel design in a 20-inch tall x 10-inch wide size. We looked them up, Photoshopped them on the truck, and smiled with excitement. They are perfect! For tires, we choose the new Toyo Open Country R/T in size 275/60R20. Built rugged for any terrain, this powerful 4×4 tire offers excellent off-road traction, durable construction and aggressive styling. Their ability to tackle dirt, sand and rocks is inspired by the legendary Open Country M/T, while its quieter ride is a nod to Open Country A/T III.

The final touch to this weekend warrior project is a trip to National Parts Depot in Ocala, Florida. This company specializes in ’88-’98 Chevy truck OEM replacement parts, and the prices are just in our budget. We picked up a new chrome front bumper, rubber impact strip and a few other misc pieces. Last thing to do is get it all back to the house and swap out some parts. This is a super fun project for any level of shadetree mechanic, even you!

This 1998 GMC Sierra is very clean, very well maintained and garage kept for over 20 years. The dash is not cracked, the engine runs like new, and the interior is super clean and fresh. What a great blank canvas to work with!

First, we brought this weekend warrior project to National Parts Depot in Ocala, Florida. This company specializes in ’88-’98 Chevy truck OEM replacement parts, and the prices are just in our budget.
NPD not only has helpful staff on site all day at a few locations around the country, but they also have a full phone sales team that is knowledgeable and ready to talk about your build.
Once Gary placed his order, we took a quick stroll around the showroom while they collected our parts. Look at that all original Squarebody!
Only 10 minutes later, we were loading up the truck with our new bumper and parts, heading over to his driveway for an afternoon of turning bolts and having a few cold drinks.

We jacked up the truck and supported the chassis with jack stands. All this equipment can be picked up for less than $150 at Harbor Freight.
While the wheels are off, be sure to check the brakes for worn pads or rotors. These are good to go and have plenty of stopping strength for these wheels.

Fuel Off-Road has been capturing the attention of off-road enthusiasts with its cutting edge designs, fitments and technological advancements. The company manufactures the most advanced off-road wheels, offering the latest in design and engineering innovations on the market. The new Hammer is the perfect design for this project. For tires we choose the new Toyo Open Country R/T in size 275/60R20. Nick from East Side Auto knocked out the mounting and balancing like he does with all our sets.

While we waited for the wheels and tires, we threw on some 2011 Tahoe wheels just to see how it looks. Not bad!

The original bumper and crash pad are worn out and drilled into in some places. Gary wants a new fresh bumper, so National Parts Depot was the next stop for a new OEM replacement bumper.

The wheels came with a variety of centering rings to ensure the wheels are properly lined up. Choose the one that fits your hub and you’re good to go.
These tires are about a half inch bigger than the previous tires and it’s a little too close for comfort up front. No problem—we have a quick fix for this!

After a few measurements, Nick adjusted the torsion bolts until we gained an extra inch and leveled it out left to right.
The back fits perfectly and no adjustments are needed. The tires fill the wells perfectly and those Fuel wheels look amazing!
One last test around the parking lot and it’s good to go!
The smile on the face shows that a weekend with a toolbox can still bring joy to any aged enthusiast. How could you not love these ’88-’98 Chevy trucks?

PROJECT SOURCES

Fuel Wheels
www.fuelwheels.com

Toyo Tires
www.toyotires.com

National Parts Depot
www.NPDlink.com

 

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