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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know this is a truck site, but you might be interested my new project. My first car was a Beretta...had a couple since then. My last one (that I just sold for insane money) was a 3.4 swap/5spd summer daily that ran [email protected] on 87 n/a. Pretty sweet car for a FWD...and looked amazing.


This new one, I just rescued from the junkyard. I recently bought a low-miles 2000 truck LR4 that's drive by cable and the harness to go with it. I tuned it for free with my phone from LS-Droid. I already have a 2wd NV3500 5spd (not super strong, but I'll be small displacement, lightweight and small tires) and just picked up a Explorer 8.8 3.73 LSD for $200. There's a lot of fab work to be done...but my goal is a RWD v8 Beretta to slide around for $5000 in about a year. It's gonna be a quick and dirty build...my never-ending 80Z Camaro has kinda soured me on perfection.










I don't have a whole lot for pictures, cause I've been doing most everything on youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/GEARHEADdezign

And here's the video picking up the car:

I've also got a lot of stuff on converting the truck LR4 to LS2 intake and LS1 pan on the cheap. Just made some DIY trap doors for the Fbody pan baffle. Let me know what you think!
 

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That would be hella fun to drive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Really jealous of the gray truck, always wanted that color with colormatched bumpers. great looking and sick project!
I'm a pretty big fan of the truck, too. I may actually go a different color at some point...always kinda wanted a red truck...but I do like how it looks now, too. I have some videos about the truck on youtube too:

I also made some cheap oil slosh baffles for the LS1 pan in the Beretta. Don't want to uncover the pickup and lose oil PSI doing donuts or drifting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, I just bought the stuff I need for rear suspension from Barnes4WD and Speedway. Gonna end up doing coilovers instead of messing with the stock style coils, and maybe even a 3link instead of the torque arm I was thinking. The hole for the VSS in the Explorer center section would make a nice spot for the 3rd link. Maybe tap for a heim right there?


Barnes has threaded poly bushings that I'm going to make the LCA and Panhard bar out of. I got the hex tube ends in LH and RH so they will be easily adjustable on the car, and if my bracket placement on the rear axle isn't 100% perfect it can be squared up.


Speedway has AFCO "hot rod" coilovers for relatively lightweight vehicles that are pretty small overall. And there's enough room to nestle them in. It should work pretty well. I went with 200lb springs that should be about right. I bought them in pieces, but it's basically these with yellow springs. That way the ride height and the spring rate are both easily changeable. There's no adjustability in the shock valving, but the Beretta is gonna be a tire burner. The Camaro will be the competitive one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
More progress on the Beretta.

Most of the internet can't agree what the center section of the Ford 8.8 is, but after some testing and one good source (Hiltsy torque arm kit)...I determined it's probably nodular iron. Also found a way to MIG it successfully with stainless wire. That means I can build my torque arm mount and weld it up. I also gotta weld the tubes to the center section. Don't want to end up spinning the tubes like the Camaro (quick 2008 clip of that failure too). haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
More rear axle progress! Got the lower control arm mounts trimmed, drilled and welded up. I also lathed my tube ends down to match the .120 tube I'm using for the LCAs and torque arm. Cut all the explorer brackets off and tried to see if I could reuse the shock brackets for coilovers, but that wasn't gonna happen. I need the coilovers a fair amount below the axle centerline, so I found an adjustable mount for cheap! $25 straight from China I'm sure, but it looks like they'll work decent. I'm gonna weld them pretty close to the LCA brackets and weld a brace to span the gap. I picked up "shock mounts" for the panhard bar also. I think that will work out nice. Seems to be coming together, and still looking good on the budget. Probably have it driving for 1/3 the sale price of what I sold my old one for. haha


 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You know there's video coming soon...but I'm too excited not to post these pics. The axle is done! Ready to install under the car. Mounts for the lower control arms, torque arm, panhard bar and coilovers are all done. They're all adjustable so I can dial them in perfect in the car. The 3.73s and LSD are back in and my Motorsports Tech custom order Explorer 5x4.5 to Beretta 5x100 hubcentric and wheelcentric spacers are on. I also tested my 15" slicks and they clear the Ford brakes by a mile.





Did get the first half of the video done:
Measuring for the the adapters and making them work on the axle. That whole axle was pretty rusty too, so I blasted and rebuilt the calipers for $4 a side. And I picked up some more truck parts for it!

Just finished the lower control arms tonight but forgot to get a pic. Adjustability will be sweet.
 

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This is awesome! I always loved Berettas back in the day. I like how GM did the door handle in the B pillar too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is awesome! I always loved Berettas back in the day. I like how GM did the door handle in the B pillar too.
Yeah...the build quality and longevity of the drivetrains was not so good compared to other GMs. But the Beretta styling was freaking MINT! Some 2dr Grand Ams and Grand Prix had the same B pillar door handles too. And Luminas.
They break in the winter though...a lot. I've broken like 4 or 5. That's probably why GM stopped doing them. But they look so clean.
 

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My high school had a racing club, since we had a track about 30 minutes away, and they had 3 vehicles. There was an S10 or S15 truck, probably late 80s, extra cab, slow LOL. They also had a Beretta and one other car that was unique, can't even remember what it was but it had a digital display for MPH. These were all 80s or 90s vehicles.

I'm pretty sure I ran the Beretta at least once, ran the S10 at least twice, and the other car once. I have some time slips somewhere but they may have faded by now, that was in like 2003 lol. I don't think any of them broke 95mph. Seems like my best time in the truck was in the 15s around 82 or 88mph can't quite remember.

I think that Beretta was yellow though.
 
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