When mod doesn't mean truck nutz
October 10, 2009 5:19 PM   Subscribe

Whether it's trailer hitches or complete rebody customizations; Ford, GM and Dodge all provide guides to body builders or upfitters to make safe and reliable modifications to light and medium duty trucks and vans. The guides contain wiring diagrams; dimensions and specifications (eg: how much weight can you put on your van's roof); emissions information; and information on areas to avoid mounting equipment in for safety.

GM also makes available extensive information on best practices to maintain fit, finish, safety, reliability and noise standards. The electrical guide[pdf] should be required reading at every stereo and lighting installation outfit.
posted by Mitheral (9 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
These are pretty neat finds. I always figured that commercial trucks were modified by third parties which had developed their own standards. It's cool that the major manufacturers offer this kind of information to commercial customers. It'd be even cooler if they offered as much info about how to modify vehicles to regular car purchasers, but I think there's so many common parts between commercial and private vehicles produced now that at least some of this will be helpful to individual owners.

It's also good to know that my truck can safely support the CB radio I put on the roof.
posted by Science! at 5:43 PM on October 10, 2009

*antenna, the radio is inside.
posted by Science! at 5:43 PM on October 10, 2009

God, I love the Ford F53 motorhome chassis. This is like porn to me.

Note: the above comment is only mildly hyperbolic.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:24 PM on October 10, 2009

This is one of those, "Of course they do. Why did I not realize it" posts. Thanks.

> *antenna, the radio is inside.

Are you sure? Seems like half the time my coffee is up there instead of in the cupholder.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:25 PM on October 10, 2009

Handy. My Subaru has a spot for a NAV unit I've been eying as a carputer install point. I've been putting it off because of the expense and whatnot, but also because it appears I can piggy back on the official wiring. If I knew what I was doing.

But I'm guessing there's a reason you only linked to American truck makers. Guess I'll have to settle for repair guides I already have access to.
posted by pwnguin at 7:48 PM on October 10, 2009

This information tends to be published only for commercial type vehicles. I tried to find the equivalent for Toyota and Nissan, who both have 1/2 tons now, Suzuki and Honda but couldn't find anything. Toyota at least has an extensive commercial truck presence in it's home market but if this information is available for free on the web it's probably in Japanese. Toyota's Hino Division body builder documentation available on the web but it is behind a pay wall.

You can download the owner's manual for your Subie here if you don't have one. Might be worth it considering it's free with registration. Subaru also has a bunch of technical information available here including things (under body) called Datum Points and Datum Dimensions but you have to pay to access it. At a hefty $35 per 72 hours and a limit of 50 documents (which are fairly small) per hour.
posted by Mitheral at 8:17 PM on October 10, 2009

GM should do the same thing for 1980s Caprices for all the donk makers out there.
posted by NoMich at 8:52 PM on October 10, 2009

Oh, I've already got access to my owners manual. And the local automotive technician school library. And their databases. But I'm not clear on our access restrictions for something not strictly academic. Still, these are a nice find if you're a truck or van owner.

There's all sorts of other reasons I'm in stasis on the car-puter. It's expensive; I have other, cheaper, easier projects; they won't void a warranty; embedded systems are getting small enough to fit in dash -- I might even be able to fit a nokia n900 in the dash cubby and design a snap-in system to power it; I need to learn more about OBD-II and bluetooth; I need to figure out where to order a replacement panel for the enclosure and save up for all this. Or I might skip cellular and go for an older nokia MID tablet that's cheaper once the n900 is available.
posted by pwnguin at 1:10 PM on October 11, 2009

Wow, tremendous thanks for this wealth of information. I've been interested in van conversions for some time, I thought information like this could generally only be found with authorized GM service manuals. This is...just...really, really useful.
posted by nTeleKy at 2:31 PM on October 12, 2009

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