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"True North" Build

I nicknamed my truck "True North" - GM now has a True North edition Sierra in Canada - crap.

  • Hang my head in shame and keep the name

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  • Keep the name and hope no one notices

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DukeCanBuildit

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True North Build

I've read a ton of forum threads, watched just as many videos, viewed hundreds of photos, clicked on way too many links, decided just what I want to do, then changed my mind a dozen times. Parts have been ordered, plans have been made, boxes are piling up in the garage. Now, it comes down to doing the work. True North is being built. Here's the "before" picture of my 2019 XLT Super Cab fresh from Thor Motors in Orillia, Ontario. Talk to Mike Sturley at Thor - that guy's a straight shooter.

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Stay tuned...



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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Phase One - Okay, the fun begins this weekend with the first phase of the True North build. A ton of boxes have been dropped off from Westin, Rough Country, Bushwacker, General Tire, Ford, Action Truck Accessories, Menace Wheels, Standard Graphics, Galaxy Auto, and a bunch of others. The guys at my tire shop and local Ford dealer have stepped up, I've cleaned out the garage, made sure I have all the right tools on hand, and it's now in my hands. There's a lot to do and I'll be busy but will try and post pics at each stage of the build. See you on the other side...
 
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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Built for Work and Play

Every truck should have a purpose and every build should help it fit that purpose. True North is a work truck , and it's loaded with tools and fighting traffic in the city all week, hitting the highway with bikes in the back on the weekends, and battling Canadian winter driving conditions when the snow flies. I need a truck that can handle all that and look good doing it.

The real build starts tonight but a couple of small things needed to get done early on.

Rear Seat Delete

Out came the seats, in went high density foam and carpet. No drilling or modifications - just an inexpensive but effective way to have room for tool cases, luggage, and beer.

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Here's a link to the thread for this mod: 2019 XLT Rear Seat Delete

Air Dam Delete - Modified to Fill the Gap

Trucks look funny in skirts, so off came the front air dam. I hated the gap between the bumper and skid plate, so a quick mod to the "old" air dam and tucking it up under the skid plate took care of that.

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Here's a link to the thread for this mod: 2019 XLT Air Dam Delete/Mod
 
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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Action Canopy & Bed Liner

So, it's 10:00 Saturday morning and time to get to work. True North is a work truck, so that means a canopy and drop in bed liner from Action Truck Accessories had to be installed earlier on. The canopy appears to be an ARE model that Action sells as it's own brand. So, why a drop-in and not a spray liner? Well, slide a table saw and mitre saw in and out of your truck bed a few hundred times and it doesn't matter who sprayed in your bed liner, it's going to fail.

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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Floor Liners

We can't have dirty work boots messing up that nice truck! Action Truck's "Enthuze" fitted floor liners have great coverage and protection. Look familiar? They're made by Husky for Action Truck - cost about 20% less than Husky and WAY less than WeatherTech! I'm not cheap, just practical - it's a work truck, it's not an entry at SEMA.


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Up next...

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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Fender Flares

11:00 am - well, the Bushwacker Bolt-on Style Pocket Fender Flares were a lot easier to install than I thought they would be. Should keep the mud and stones away from the paint!



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Up next...

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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Drop Step Nerf Bars

Love the Westin HDX Drop Nerf Steps! I might even like the ease of installation more. No jack stands required!

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So, why the pocket-style flares and drop steps with original wheels and tires? It has as much to do with getting me to the mountains as it does with looking good while doing it.

Up next...

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But first, time for lunch!
 
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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Oh Man!

Well, True North is not riding tall in the saddle at the moment. Let's just say the afternoon did not go as smoothly as the morning. No, I didn't pop my CV or run into rubbing issues. Didn't have the jack stands fail and crush me. Didn't get side-tracked with household chores. I'll give you a clue and leave it to your imagination.

Clue: Bad things can happen when you leave your pre-set 105 ft/lb lug torque wrench too close to the other torque wrench you've pre-set to 32 ft/lbs for torquing your strut to the levelling kit. Yes, there was a sharp, loud, very unpleasant SNAP! 😳

Buy a new strut or compress the coil over spring, remove top hat, and R & R the pin? Hmm, need to think about that for a bit.
 
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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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Rough Country 2-1/2" Level Kit

Between yard work and some shopping I managed to resolve the strut issue and get True North levelled. There's a way to install level kits by removing the lower control arm from the frame and removing the tie rod end - I couldn't see myself doing that without a hoist, so I did it like most folks - unfasten the upper ball joint and tie rod end. There are a few things that help make this a lot easier:
  • Remove the caliper and rotor - they are crazy heavy when heavy is what you don't need - especially at re-assembly
  • Remove the axle nut and push the CV out of the knuckle and tuck it out of the way - I zip tied mine to the sway bar
  • Remove the sway bar link from the knuckle and loosen both sway bar mounts
  • Remove the lower studs from the strut! Got a press? Use it. No press? Then thread the nuts back on the stud, upside down, and have at it with a heavy hammer.
Sure, these steps add a bit of extra time and effort, but they make it so easy to move the knuckle around and to get that upper ball joint re-attached. You also won't pop your CV or a sway bar link and you won't get frustrated trying to get your new, taller strut into a space designed for one that's, well, um, 2-1/2" shorter.

General Grabber A/T X (275/70R17)

This is the main reason I levelled True North - the agessive stance of wider, taller tires. Wow, these Grabbers are a lot of tire - a full 32". My dealer couldn't get Falken Wildpeaks or BFG KO2s (back order) but I am more than impressed with the look of these big tires.

Menace HD 17x8 +15mm Offset

These wheels have enough offset to allow 275s to more than clear the knuckle (actually further than the stock wheels) and push those tires out to just inside the fender Flares. Gloss Black for a Shadow Black Ranger.

Note...
No rubbing at full lock, no cutting, no trimming. I loosened and angled the intrusion bars and removed the plastic covers while the wheels were off.

FYI - Because people on these forums ask...
Before I installed the level kit, I put the wheels on the front just to see if they would clear the crash bars without the lift - they DO NOT and if you try it, they still won't. If you want 32s, level your Ranger.

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Up next...

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But first, True North needs a bath - I need a beer - it's happy hour and just about time to start the BBQ.
 
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Tracy Bowman

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Rough Country 2-1/2" Level Kit

Between yard work and some shopping I managed to resolve the strut issue and get True North levelled. There's a way to install level kits by removing the lower control arm from the frame and removing the tie rod end - I couldn't usee myself doing that without a hoist, so I did it like most folks. There are few things to make this easier:
  • Remove the caliber and rotor - they are crazy heavy when heavy is what you don't need
  • Remove the axle nut and push the CV out of the way
  • Remove the sway bar link from the knuckle
  • Absolutely remove the lower studs from the strut
General Grabber A/T 275/70R17

Wow, these are a lot of tire - a full 32.2". My dealer could not get Falken's or BFG KO2s (back order) but I am more than pleased with the look of these big tires.

Menace 17x8 +15mm Offset

Enough offset to more than clear the knuckle (actually further than the stock wheels) and push those tires out to just inside the fender Flares. Gloss Black for a Shadow Black Ranger.

Note: No rubbing at full lock, no cutting, no trimming. I loosened and angled the intrusion bars and removed the plastic covers while I was doing the level.








Up next...



But first, True North needs a bath - I need a beer - it's happy hour and just about time to start the BBQ.
You certainly don't let grass grow under your feet! Looks great! :like:
 
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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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You certainly don't let grass grow under your feet! Looks great! :like:
Thanks Tracy - and thanks for following True North's build. 🔧🛠⚙I 🔩 With this wild pandemic, I've been spending most of my time (Fri to Tues) at the cottage in my hometown (Mom's there) and Wed and Thur in the city - I couldn't easily work on the truck on the grass at the cottage, so I had to really plan things out and schedule time for this weekend - that issue with the strut through me for a bit but I'm back on track.
 

Tracy Bowman

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T​
Thanks Tracy - and thanks for following True North's build. 🔧🛠⚙I 🔩 With this wild pandemic, I've been spending most of my time (Fri to Tues) at the cottage in my hometown (Mom's there) and Wed and Thur in the city - I couldn't easily work on the truck on the grass at the cottage, so I had to really plan things out and schedule time for this weekend - that issue with the strut through me for a bit but I'm back on track.
"Grass grow under your feet" is a saying we have here down south meaning: you don't waste any time. You accomplish what you set out to do. :like:
 
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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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T​

"Grass grow under your feet" is a saying we have here down south meaning: you don't waste any time. You accomplish what you set out to do. :like:
My brother in Daphne (Mobile area) would know that saying well - our equivalent here is "Moss sure doesn't grow on you, does it?"
 
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DukeCanBuildit

DukeCanBuildit

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  • #14
Paragon Raptor-Style Grille

Well, the last item in Phase One of the True North build is now complete. The new Raptor-Style Grille went on at noon today and it really completes the look on a black truck with black wheels, canopy, drop steps, etc. No, I didn't install an LED kit - it's a work truck - just trying to keep things understated where I can.

So, that's it for a while - Phase Two will include a few things that help a work truck do its job while looking a bit like an adventure rig. Stay tuned!

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Here's a little before and after pic...

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Here's True North in its natural habitat.

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GregM

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Paragon Raptor-Style Grill

Well, the last item in Phase One of the True North build is now complete. The new grill went on at noon today and it really completes the look on a black truck with black wheels, canopy, drop steps, etc.

So, that's it for a while - Phase Two will include a few things that help a work truck do its job while looking a bit like an adventure rig. Stay tuned!

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Here's a little before and after pic...

Well Duke you can't even tell its the same truck. I mean that in a good way. Congratulations that is a gorgeous looking Truck :like:
 

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