Talk'n Torque: Blueprints To Building A Truck

July 2017 Column, Feature Brady L. Kay

Growing up I worked a few construction jobs, but I admit I've never built a house for myself or ever hired a contractor to do the work for me. In the past I’ve simply just bought an existing house and then tweaked it over the years to fit my family's needs. Some houses have needed a little more tweaking than others, but for the most part my wife and I have enjoyed success in buying homes this way as we’ve been fortunate enough to upgrade to a little newer and a little nicer each time as our family has grown. Sure there are a few things I would have changed had I originally built my current home from scratch—a longer, taller and bigger garage comes to mind—but for the most part I'm satisfied with this process and I’m happy with my home.

Now when it comes to trucks and project builds, this is a whole different story. I know there are plenty of diesel enthusiasts who prefer to purchase a truck that has already had a significant amount of work done to it, but I'm not one of them. However, there are plenty of advantages to buying someone else's project truck. For example, buying a completed build typically translates to you saving money since rarely do you get back what you paid to get your truck how you wanted it. Plus if you trust the previous owner, you might get a better-built truck with unique upgrades and features that you weren’t even aware of and would probably have missed had you done it yourself. Some guys just always have to have the latest and greatest so when they move on to another build, there are plenty of buyers waiting to take over where they left off.

For me, I prefer a clean canvas to start with. I don't care if it's a 2017 or a 2007, it has to be bone stock or really close to it. It's fair to say not every build I've ever had has turned out exactly as I had planned and in some cases that was a good thing in the long run. With some builds I've meticulously mapped out exactly what I wanted to do every step of the way as my paycheck dictated, while others I just kind of winged it and made decisions as I went. For the record, I’ve discovered that “winging it” can be more expensive but it’s probably a little more exciting. Simply put, there's no right or wrong way of doing a build, just as long as you end up with a truck you love that has been modified to fit your specific wants and needs.

Fair warning though: if you're new to truck builds you need to be aware of haters. Forget the brand loyalty debate and the mandatory battles you might get into with friends who question your preferred grille emblem. I'm referring to those who question your bumper or wheel choices or have a strong opinion on the order you're upgrading your engine parts. Feedback and other opinions are important, but in the end it's your truck and don’t let others force you into doing something just to please them. I once described to my wife the wheels I had selected and when she saw them for the first time she said, “Oh, I actually like those. I was preparing myself to tell you I liked them regardless but I really do.” Gee, thanks dear. At least she’s supportive though.

When it comes to building a truck there are literally thousands of different ways to do it. You might have done it differently than I did, but neither one of us is wrong as long as the engine doesn’t blow up, right? If you're happy with how your truck turned out, that's all that matters. Even if that means buying someone else's old build and making it your own.

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