View Full Version : Project - Milverado

09-23-2012, 03:56 AM
Had been lurking a while and made a few posts to other threads but thought it was time to start my own build thread.



Purchased a 1985 CUCV M1009 (Blazer) with 48K from my local Police Dept. They procured it from Ft Carson, CO so there is very little rust and it is in excellent condition. They drove it all the way from there to Central, IL.

They swapped the 6.2 into another CUCV they already had that was hydro locked and then rattled.

I've been searching for a donor vehicle (Suburban, Blazer or Pickup) as I don't know what if anything is missing.

I've was hoping for a Silverado packaged truck for A/C, Cruise, P/L, P/W and possibly except able door panels and seats w/console.

Everything in Central Illinois within 150mile range has been way overpriced so the look continues.

Pulled the 6.2 yesterday and got it on an engine stand. My concerns were correct as a few wires were cut on the engine swap.

I will pull off oil pan first, what else should I look at or look for from the hydro lock diagnosis?



Still looking for a donor vehicle for engine.

Went to the Pick a pull last Friday, scored a good 87 tilt with cruise and intermittent wiper module for $60 came with keys so pulled the door locks as well.

Also grabbed the dual head lamp harness and turn signal lenses out of the broken grill, the fender Silverado emblems for a theme idea, the dash Chevrolet emblem and a/c vents and ducts above the glove box (trim piece has broken)

Thinking about going back for the p/w, p/l pieces but the harness looked like a bear to pull. Also would like to grab the dash speakers w/wiring and brackets. The cab corner ones were already gone.


Craigslist local score today off an 88 Blazer...

Complete firewall A/C box both inside and outsides with controls and wiring plus inner ductwork. Still need the radiator side condenser

Both front door panels, P/W regulators & P/L actuators plus all wiring and relays (man that relay was a bugger to get loose)

Rear tailgate P/W regulator and all wiring from the dash switch to the gate (frame mount wire clamp was also a bugger)

Both Buckets and rear seat

Spare tire

Need some Blue and Pink fuse box ends for the P/W wiring, broke the clips removing them.

All for $150 and some sweat work.


Have not posted since my Birthday in Sept on my CUCV Build but can finally say we are back on...

In the mean time I pulled the motor and got it on a stand to assess/diagnose the problem:


Had been looking for a donor in the mean time.

Scored an 87 CCLB on local CL with a replacement 6.2 Target engine, sounds like it runs good so bought it and they delivered it for fuel money yesterday.


I started a little body disassembly Sunday afternoon, getting one fender and inner fenders well off and the other one tonight. The DLS time is killing me with only about an hour of daylight after work.

Hope to get the radiator drained and the core support off tomorrow and get a good look for any thing I need to address before swapping into the CUCV.

Did find a fuel leak that ended up being a broken injector return line so swapped a good one from the old engine.

Hopefully when done I can part out or sell what's left and recoup some of it back.


Got the rad drained, disconnected the rad and heater hoses, oil and tranny lines, wiring harness, and have the core support loose but got to dark so hopefully tomorrow and pull it.

Also learned it is an emission free J Code 6.2 so thatís another plus.


Just about ready to break out the tripod halogens...Do have a 4 day weekend next week so depending upon what I get done this weekend, I should make some good progress.


Made some real progress today.

Took most of the day but got the engine and tranny pulled together from the Crew Cab. Instead of fighting the motor mounts I unbolted the frame mounts and tranny mount, disconnected the exhaust, driveshaft, speedo cable, and shift linkage and it came out with a little persuading. Found another of the 101 uses for the Hi-Lift Jack...


Had a large can of oven cleaner I've been saving for no reason and emptied it on both. After the clean up and separating the tranny Itís now on the engine stand to evaluate anything I need to transfer over from the original engine.


After getting the engine removed and looking over the firewall cover, I'm going to try and use it as well. Might give a decibel of noise reduction.



Fought the reinstall of the 6.2 for a couple hours yesterday trying to get the tranny bolts to line up so today I started off the moring pulling the dash pad, speaker, cluster, wiring harness, firewall covers, wiper motor, and stainless gutters on the donor Crew Cab. All went relatively well.

Then spent a couple more hours after on the 6.2 and decided to just pull the front clip on the CUCV.

It was a real pain with the bumper and brush guard on but I did get it off. I think I will probably take the fenders off when I reinstall it.

After I got the clip off the 6.2 seamed to go in a lot smoother and I got all bolts started and even was able to persuade the dipstick into place to catch the upper bolt and the starter shield to catch its correct bolt just at it got dark tonight.

I will say the upper two bolts started pretty easy from the top since I was not fighting a HEI distrib for clearance.

Hope to get them tightened down tomorrow and begin getting everything else hooked up.


Made better progress today...used the pry bar under the manifolds and was able to get the motor mount bolts in on both sides with a little frustration.

Got all the tranny bolts tightened down, center firewall pad mounted, p/s pump mounted, and the wire to the gas tank fished through the flexible conduit and connected, before having to stop and go for the annual quest for the Christmas Tree.

At least it was sunny but in the 30s versus last year with foot of snow on the ground.

Didn't get as much done as I hopped for my 4 day weekend but further then I was a week ago for sure.


Finally getting some decent weather again so spent a few hours Saturday and all day Sunday working on the CUCV.

Not getting 12v to the Alt and Glow Plug Relay for some reason. Dropped the starter to check the fusible links on the starter harness. Traced the wire to GP relay and is all good as is the wire to the Alt. Ran a separate 6 gauge wire from the battery to the GP relay it is getting fire. Took a few cycles to get it started and all the fuel lines purged but she took off after that and seems to run pretty good.

Disassembled the front clip and got the radiator support and passenger fender mounted. installed the Crew Cabs wiring harness in the dash and got the tilt column installed.


I swapped in the crew cabs interior dash harness and all the gauges work but the low water is staying on.

Installed the tilt wheel.

Ordered and received some red LEDs from superbrightleds.com to bulb the cluster and heater back lighting. I've seen some builds on cleanup, painting the cluster housing and may end up doing that (left mine stock light blue) as I'm not getting the results I'd hoped and heard from others who did it with redoing it.

Need to install the cigar lighter socket in the ash tray still and try to get the dome lamp fished (the CUCV does not have a dome lamp and has a plate tacked over the hole)


Weather is getting real nice and I'm finally catching up with other things so I can get back on this.

I have about a quarter play in the steering wheel from side to side so need to figure that out and hopefully close up the dash in the next few weeks, and take a test drive.

Anyone have any ideas on the low water lamp. I have not ohmíd out the wire but rad is full and the wire is plugged into the sensor on the tank below the fill cap.


Looking for all of the cruise parts for a 6.2...

I forgot to mention I was able to sell the 2wd Crew Cab locally on CL after keeping a few items. If you see my parting a 6.2 ad you will also see that I've been able to part a few items from the pulled CUCV motor so I'm actually at almost a $100 in the black from the donor truck purchase to gain the replacement engine.

The donor truck supplied 12V engine harness, dash harness, gauge cluster, good brown dash pad, engine, radiator, firewall insulation and a few items I actually resold separately.

CUCV options added to date:

firewall insulation
tilt wheel w/intermittent wiper switch and cruise
gauges (oil pressure, water temp, voltage) and red back lighting

power locks and windows including tailgate ready to be installed

gathering A/C parts


Windshield Wiper and Washer Upgrade/Conversion Ė took about two hours with cleaning included and finding tools, yours could take less.

We all know the early wipers and washers suck on the GM square body trucks compared to those available on the GMT400 and newer trucks.

When I was removing things from the donor crew cab, the wipers was a definite must so this is a build thread on how I converted/upgraded to this newer option on my 85 CUCV Blazer. I don't know what year the washers attached to the wiper arms started but it was interesting to learn the holes for the option were actually already there and this was a direct bolt on. If you are lucky enough to get all this from a donor truck at a u-pull-it also get the washer bottle, harness and tubing with the T or Y adapter. The washer bottle has the washer pump physically mounted to the jug and is a much better design than the vacuum pump integral to the wiper motor design type.

Here are the crappy wipers with the washer nozzle poking through the cowl vents.


This is the wiper arm release clip that will need to be released by a pick.


See the clip in the mirror being released by the pick and then you will need to pry the arm base away from the shaft with a large screw driver.


Now loosen the front hood hinge bolts and remove the rear bolts entirely to allow the hood to pivot forward and gain access for the cowl panel to be removed without interference of the rear of the hood.


With the hood now tilted forward remove the three cowl mounting bolt (9/32 ľĒsocket). There are pins that go into the body at the rear of the cowl to secure it to the body, so lift up on the front of the panel and it will lift out at an angle.


Next remove the two cowl screen bolts and the cowl screen. This will be a perfect time to clean all the debris that has collected in the wiper linkage area and under the cowl. As you can see mine was a mess.


Note the existing holes to accept the newer nozzles and how they install including routing the tubing back under the retainers in the stock location.


Cowl screen and cowl panel and wiper arms reinstalled after cleaning.


Attach the two pieces of tubing to the Y or T adapter, route the tubing on the firewall to not interfere with anything, swap your washer reservoirs, and plug in or adapt your washer pump wiring.


Update to wiring the washer pump into the circuit...

I'm still using the CUCV front and rear lamp wiring harnesses, but installed the Crew Cab donor trucks interior wiring harness to obtain the intermittent wipers, all cluster gauges etc. The two wires for the washer circuit (pink and white) were removed from the donor harnes by inserting a terminal removal tool (small screwdriver will also work) into the terminal end of the bulk head harness connector to release the terminals. I then had to remove the brown w/white stripe and black w/yellow stripe (blackout lamp) terminals to replace with the washer circuit.

Upon reinstalling the harness I did not have washers yet (quick test of pump checked good) so I removed the wiper delay module mounted to the column and reconnected the harness without the module. Washers worked so I must have a bad module. I also swapped the wiper motors as the factory CUCV wiper motor would not operate in the intermittent mode. Found my spare module and swapped it in...works better but not as fast as I desired. Guess I'm too used to the GMT400 Yukon and 2003 Suburbanís performance, but the washers are much better for sure.

I'll update the wiring install picture into the bulkhead when I can get to my home hard drive...I'm away on Military Duty until Sep 16th.
Finished removing the exterior lighting & horn override/black out lamp harness from the CUCV interior harness and next plan is to get it modified back into the Civy donor harness from the crewcab.

This is a cool feature on the CUCVs.

With the flip of a switch all the exterior lamps and the horn no longer will work and give your position away in a tactical environment. Flip the switch down and blackout front and rear bumper lamps come on which helps your spacing in a convoy during night driving Ops. Flip the other B/O switch and a hooded headlamp keeps you from being seen from the air but gives you enough downward lighting from a single b/o headlamp that you can still travel.

(Labor Day Wknd 3-5 Sep 11)

Had the interior harness in and out a few times trying to get the B/O wiring installed correctly.

I'm at a stand still until I can review the 87 crew wiring diagrams a little more closely along with the CUCV. I carefully extracted the Packard terminals from the CUCV bulk head and fuse box to reinstall in the Civy's and I have a couple circuits installed incorrectly.

Service lamps all work but I lost brake lights, the left T/S and flashers honks the horn continuously, right T/S activates the buzzer continuously and the horn button does nothing.

I also disassembled the cluster and lined the entire housing and the cluster cover with 3M aluminum tape for reflection purposes for the red back lighting LEDs. I also installed the lighter socket and the fiber optics to the ash tray and installed some corner Kicker dash speakers I got on the for sale section.

I would like to find a good factory Delco ETS AM/FM radio too.


Took several attempts to get the wiring correct but I finally got it figured out and have the blackout lamp circuit installed into the factory fuse box (no bubba splices) My last attempt had me puzzled for a while...left turn signal constant horn, right turn signal & hazards constant seat belt buzzer no service lights, brake lights, or horn

Installed the harness back in today got it all buttoned up and now no gauges or 4wd light

Had to get away from it for a while so I removed the grille to access the horn. I removed the dual horn wiring from my donor front harness and swapped it with the single horn wire in the CUCV harness. Had an extra horn and works as it should but turns out they are both "F" note horns so I need to go to the pick n pull and get a different note for the factory dual horn option. I also installed some bling from a parting out purchase over on the 67-72 site. It was the chrome and gold bow tie and that isn't quite tactical so hit it with the wire wheel to scuff it up and shot it with a few coats of flat black.


Did not realize I really do not have any complete body pictures other then the one in the drive with snow when I first brought it home so I went to the park to take a few good shots of it.



Been a while since I made an update but I started working on the CUCV again over the last month. I ordered some red LED lamps for the instrument cluster for the same military look that are in the M35s and M923s. I also got another set of dual Horns with the "A" and the "F" notes so I swapped in the "A" note behind the NATO plug and the horns sound 100% better.

I disassembled the cluster and cleaned it good. Instead of painting it I thought I'd use some 3M foil tape I have had for a while. I actually had the cluster installed and kept blowing gage fuses so I thought I might have crossed or shorted a wire and ended up pulling the wire harness again for the umpteenth time;( turns out I had got a little sloppy with the foli tape and was shorting some circuits causing the fuse to blow. I reassembled everthing tonight and waited until dark tonight to get a picture only to find out the Fuel back light might not be working but here it is:


09-23-2012, 04:04 AM
Today I scored another donor truck on the local CL- 88 K5 Silverado and it runs! The rust in the floor behind the seats is pretty bad and the tailgate is no longer attached to the body nor are the rear body mounts attached to the frame:(


09-23-2012, 04:14 AM
More like a "build post" !!! Wow, you were overdue for your own thread, great stuff in there!

09-23-2012, 04:24 AM
Dang you suck! That is a aweomse CUCV! I wish mine still had the 6.2.

09-23-2012, 11:32 PM
Pulled the donor 88 Blazer headliner trim, fit and drilled (what a pain) came our fairly well. Still need to recover the headliner itself next after I descide on a fabric.



09-24-2012, 12:00 AM
haha another one!

just using it for interior parts? thats how my black blazer was when i bought it. no rear body mounts, and it even rusted through the holes in the frame.

09-24-2012, 12:19 AM
I mainly bought it because of the interior color which turned out to be a deep maroon and not brown as I had hoped.

Bad or is it a good thing - Clean Title, TBI 350 Runs pretty strong, I was told it was rebuilt, but I do not know how long ago. Starts right up and idles @40 to 50psi oil pressure. Has a Jasper 700R4 in it but he did not know the miles on it. OD show 72000.

Anyone know what is involved in butting a pickup cab on a Blazer frame? I assume everthing is the same until you get to the rear cab mounts.

09-24-2012, 01:43 AM
I'd be interested in that Chevy hood ornament on the 88 donor if you wind up parting it out? :)

Make sure you use some 3M headlined adhesive when you apply your fabric.

09-24-2012, 02:07 AM
front mounts are the same. you have to build the rear cab mounts because they are higher on a pickup.

09-24-2012, 02:10 AM
Brent do you know if you just need the truck crossmember or something than must be fabbed from scratch?

09-24-2012, 02:24 AM
not for sure but i believe it is a custom deal. I've seen a few on pirate4x4.com forums

09-25-2012, 02:58 PM
Your doing a great work! I appreciate all the detail that you give in your description of the work done.

09-25-2012, 03:36 PM
Thanks - just wish I would have taken a few more pics during the engine and wiring swap as well as the wiring mods for the b/o lamp circuit integration into the Civy fuze block.

I also just upgraded or switched to Civy dual battery brackets and Optimas vs the huge Mil 6TL batteries...I'll do a write up with pics.

10-29-2012, 03:27 AM
Update on Dual Battery upgrade:
I pulled everything to do with the large 6TL dual batteries on the passenger side and mounted two factory civilian donor truck battery brackets so there is a battery on either side of the radiator. I also bought two new Optima Red Tops on the last good sale and had them ready to install.

Pulled tailgate power window harness from my donor 88 Blazer frame and got it ran in the same factory frame location on the CUCV. Also pulled the 2" receiver hitch from the donor but will need to modify in order to keep the pintle hitch.

Made a template out of card board and traced onto the receiver brackets. Notched the bracket with a cut off wheel and trial fit for clearance. Spent the remainder of the day with a wire cup on the grinder and a scotch wheel on the die grinder. Got the two mounting brackets cleaned up and paint is drying now. Just got about half way on the actual receiver tube and turns out its a Reese. Found the stamping under the rust and crud.


02-19-2013, 01:41 AM
Any progress?

Haven't heard from you in a while?

02-19-2013, 03:24 AM
Any progress?

Haven't heard from you in a while?

Have not done any work for quite a while. Actually had to charge the batteries last week so I could start it and move it out of my side drive so I could pull the tank to install a new fuel pump in my 98 Yukon.

Hopefully Spring is near so I can get back on it. Need to work on installing the A/C pieces on the firewall next and source the brackets and compressor for a 6.2 diesel.

02-19-2013, 12:40 PM
10-4 on that...waiting on Spring myself for more POR15 work to be done on mine...

03-29-2013, 10:19 PM
Beautiful Spring weather today...Installed the Resse receiver hitch I modified, cleaned up and painted back in Oct;)



Why it had to me modified to clearance the Pintle Hitch reinforsement bracket




03-30-2013, 12:27 AM
Hey I can SEE that hitch! What, no camo paint? ;)

03-30-2013, 12:51 AM
You are right...LOL

When I get everything done I do plan to do a new CAMO paint job.

I just do not have any OD rattle cans at the moment...

03-30-2013, 05:06 AM
really great thread please keep it up!

04-16-2013, 02:26 AM
Reclining Seat Mod from a (82-92) Camaro donor

Stock CUCV Seat




82-92 Camaro/Firebird Reclining Seat Mechanism (a direct bolt in swap)



Comparison of the two Mechanisms


Reclining Seat Mod completed




04-16-2013, 01:52 PM
Nice work!

04-16-2013, 02:42 PM
Thats pretty cool, good mod!

04-16-2013, 05:57 PM
thats sweet! how did you ever figure that out

04-16-2013, 07:05 PM
Looks like you had/have your hands full. I'd love to atleast paint my blazer CUCV camo. Good job so far, looking good

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04-16-2013, 08:12 PM
Nice mod on those seats.

04-21-2013, 03:30 PM
Not much to report but I got some more wanted items from a partout on another Forum -

Jack, Handle, Lug Wrench 13/16" (wrong lug size- need 3/4")


Rear Floor Mat: (looking for matching fronts or would trade for Dark Brown)


08-14-2014, 07:14 AM
Recently scored a set of Skyjacker 6" front and rear lift springs off the local CL for $75 a pair but will need new bushings. I considered this a steal and bought them right away!


I just so happened to have the new front bushings including the frame bushings that I've been holding on to for no reason since the late 80s, and found the rears on another forum for $25 shipped (another steal).

This is working out very well with my shoestring budget.

I have a new Rancho front u-bolt kit, also from my 80's parts stash along with a set of Skyjacker 6-8" front brake lines and a steering arm I bought off eBay last year.

What length u-bolts are needed for the rears without blocks?

Also what size center pins are needed for both of these spring sets, as I want to disassemble, clean up the rust and repaint them?

A friend of mine has offered me a set of D44 & GM12bolt axles with new ARB lockers (no compressor) and 4.56 gears from a 79 Blazer Project he bought for the motor, trans, and T/C and the guy was in desperate need of money for $600 which seems like another no brainer to me. I could then offer up my 10 bolts with 48k miles on CL to try and recoup some of the cost.

Does anyone know if the axle yokes are different u-joint wise on 10 bolts vs the D44/12bolt?

08-14-2014, 02:29 PM
Wow! Good deal on the lift springs!

03-23-2016, 11:03 PM
I guess its been way too long since I've posted anything on Project Milverado.

Over Halloween we went down to Orlando to visit my oldest Daughter who has been working at Disney World. One morning while going to get the Burban to pull up and pickup the Family from Breakfast I got a call from my Base Commander. I'm thinking what the heck did I do to warrant a call from the him. Turns out, he had heard that I had the CUCV and he had a good friend from Rotary Club who had recently purchased an M1009 CUCV too, but it quit running and he couldn't get it started. He was asking if I would be interested in taking a look at it and see if I could help him when I returned home.

When I got home he called and told me a little history, so we set up a good time to meet. He brought it over on a trailer shortly after Thanksgiving and left it with me to see if I could get it going.

Found a bunch of things that were wrong and ended up totally converting to a 12v starting circuit, replaced glow plugs, GP relay, Starter Relay Mod, installed a push button GP Button, repaired bad wiring connecting, brake lamp switch, Gear Selector Needle, Spin on Fuel Filter Mod to name a few.

Heres a link on Steel Soldiers to the work I did: http://www.steelsoldiers.com/showthread.php?147040-IL-M1009-Will-Not-Start

All this work over the Winter on his cucv has sparked a new interest in my project so I charged the Batteries over the weekend and fired it up for the first time Sunday. Today I went to the DMV and got the Title transferred into my name from originally purchasining in Feb 2010...hard to believe I've had this thing sitting for 6 years so its high time to get this thing road worthy and start enjoying it.

03-23-2016, 11:24 PM
What? You've never registered that rig?

Glad ya got motivated! :cool:

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03-24-2016, 12:07 AM
What? You've never registered that rig?

I know...I can't believe its been this long