One of the things I challenged myself to do this year was to build things in the real world. In other words get some hobbies that didn’t involve sitting at a computer. The most ambitious and one I have enjoyed the most has been buying a truck and fixing it up.

Despite having a drivers license since I was 16 and having owned a few cars, I knew almost nothing about how they worked. So I was really starting at square one with this project. I had to find a truck, figure out what work it needed and then figure out how to do all of it. My brother (who knows what he’s doing) and YouTube have been my best friends in getting this thing from where I bought it to where it is now.

Finding a Truck

Growing up my grandpa had a red, early-90s Silverado that I was absolutely in love with. As a teenager (and as an adult) I would borrow it and joy ride around. Driving that thing made me feel like I was living in one of these classic commercials:

His truck would have been my dream project but that wasn’t an option. By some luck I was able to find a similar truck, but in better shape. The truck I found was a 1994 Silverado 2500. It had a long bed and an extended cab, so it was a behemoth. It had just over 100,000 miles on it. And as a bonus it had custom racing tires and a retro paint job. I took it for a test drive and knew I had to take it home. I bought it on the spot and brought it home to get to work.


This thing was in way better shape than I expected to find an old, used truck in. But there was still plenty of stuff that I wanted to do with it.

Get Out Of Your Shell

Turns out this truck also had a custom made shell (the previous owner loved it as much as I did, based on how much he spent on custom parts). I didn’t have much need for a shell. After a few days I took it off and found it a new home with an owner who would get good use out of it. No shell made it much easier for me to load stuff in and out, and made it easier for my dog to hop in the bed of the truck.


When I took the shell off I did find a few issues. The paint was a bit marred and there was old dry adhesive where the shell had been. The back window was starting to detach, which I hadn’t noticed because the shell had been holding it in place. And lastly the cab brake light was missing.


I cleaned up the paint myself and got it looking almost new. I also installed a new brake light. I did leave the window fix to the pros, my car-expert brother said that was not something anyone should try to do at home. Once all that was done the thing looked almost new from both the outside and inside.

Get Ready To Work

I wanted to put a rack on both the front and back of the truck. And I also wanted a tool box in the bed of the truck. This is where things got scary. It wasn’t as easy as just snapping these on. I had to drill a bunch of holes in the truck. Few things test your resolve and faith in yourself, as spending a bunch of money on something and then trusting yourself not to destroy it with power tools. But once I had the right drill bits and supplies it turned out to be surprisingly easy. (I definitely recommend goggles and long sleeves for something like this, unless you enjoy hot shards of metals burning your skin and eyes.)