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KYLEdallas 11-09-2005 07:07 PM

99 Chevy Silverado- how to save weight?
Just went to the truck scale last week and weighed my Full Size 99 Chevy
Silverado swb regular cab...... the verdict??.... 4100 pounds with me in it..
I weigh about 180.....
I need to know a few things...
1. MOST IMPORTANT... I am looking for sources for fiberglass body parts
I DO NOT!!! want a cowl hood... is anyone making plain stock
replacement hood, fenders, doors...from internet
searches have been unfruitful..... please only recomend GOOD sources
that will bolt on without info would be a plus

2. Would like to see what simple but effective and low buck ways you
guys are saving weight.... break out your trick ideas and send'em here.

3. What about fiberglass bumpers.... anyone making them??? Tailgate??

4. Have any of you made your exhaust pipes from lighter material than
steel..... where did you get the much did it cost..

5. Favorite lightweight wheels??? Favorite lighweight seats ??

MARTINSR 11-09-2005 07:45 PM

1. Why?

2. Why?

3. Why?

4. Why?

5. Why?


Honestly, why?

First off, street fiberglass isn't going to be much lighter if at all. I work on those trucks a lot, believe me the fenders and hood don't weigh a whole lot. They are basically only "paint holders". Even the front bumper is pretty light, the rear "Bardon" bumper, yeah it is pretty heavy.

Fiberglass parts are not perfect by any means, they fit like crap and require a LOT of work to make them look very nice.

If you installed all those glass parts, lighter wheels, bumpers, you would save, what? Maybe 300 lbs MAYBE.

All these parts would cost you a ton, is all that money going to pay off? How long?

What would that do, to what end? Save .0008 miles per gallon? Cut your et by .005 in the quarter mile. What are you after?

I suggest if you want to lighten a 99 Chevy full size truck, take the radiator cap off and drive an S-10 under it. :)


KYLEdallas 11-09-2005 09:36 PM

why ask why
I have a factory MOPAR performance guide written by Chrysler engineers..
the book includes tables of horsepower requirements to run 13, 12, 11, 10, 9
seconds in the quarter mile.
I am not currently at home or I could give you exact numbers... so I will give you my best recolection... I can provide factual chapter and verse if needed later.
It is a cookbook for perfomance.... the tables say... want to run 10 seconds? 1. Get car weight to________ 2. Use __________ gear ratio
3. Make ____________ horsepower
The Tables are pretty much rock solid correct.... they are used by many members of the Racing club I am a member of... Cowtown Mopars..
One of the most telling examples of the benefits of light weight in racing applications is a comparison of 2 cars..... one weighing 2800 lbs (Dart)
the other weighing 3800lbs (70's Cuda)
this example is in the Mopar book to drive home the importance of being lightweight... I believe the example was to get a 13 second car.
The 2800 lbs car needed less than 400hp to achieve that speed...
The 3800 lbs car needed over 500hp...
best recolection was around 380hp for 2800 and 540hp for 3800
Moral of the story is it is much cheaper to go fast with light weight than
throwing dollars and big cubes, blowers, nitrous, etc.
I can scratch on 500hp with a stroker crank, cam, and port job for $1500
or less.... with an LT1 or LS1 and get decent mileage to boot...and have an inspected emissions legal truck.
For my Dart racecar I saved 160 lbs on bumpers alone... they cost about
90 dollars a piece. Glass hood and remove heavy 70's factory hood hinge
attachments.. 70 more pounds...
lightweight battery... saved 25 pounds over stock
lightweight wheels... saved 18 pounds each x 4 wheels... total 72 pounds
.... you get the idea... my 74 Dart was 3100 from the is now
2685 and I have full interior ... and A/C!!!!
Anyone who goes about their performance applications in a scientific
and informed manner is concerned about weight.... or you can lose, go broke spending money on speed parts and scratch your head about why a stock appearing Dart just smoked the living ***** out of your new Z06 corvette...and did so for under $3500 ...
None of my mehcanical engineering buddies from Bell Hellicopter are asking
why... they are just helping find the light pieces ..knowing what will happen next..
Having seen some fiberglass that is substandard I asked for reputable is out there I'm sure...I'm not much of a fan of gawdy scoops
or ghetto skirts... and pieces are not always expensive... $160 for the Dart hood..fits like a glove..there is plenty of crap fiberglass out there... but then again that is why I am here asking for sources... K

baddbob 11-09-2005 10:44 PM

Do you own a hole saw? There's a hole lotta innerstructure to hack away at on this design but it'll be a mess if you crash. The wiring harness probably weighs 100lbs. Pull the heater and ac out. Cut the bed floor out and leave the braces. Remove the tailgate and rear bumper. Lexan the windows. Rip the dash out. Put one racing bucket seat in and ditch that comfy bench. .... .... I bet you want to keep the radio though.

That S-10 idea sounds easier.

skeeveman 11-09-2005 10:49 PM

Damn man, dont go off in a rant like that, we understand the power to weight ratio, brian was just trying to tell you the fiberglass route isnt going to help much, and he's right. Just like he said, the sheetmetal on those trucks and are flimsy as hell, find one and pick it up, it's not like old school heavy metal. This stuff is meant to be painted and be cosmetic, no structure whatsoever really. And as much as you say theres good glass out there, it takes a lot of work to get it right, even the best of them, and with filler, you're probably going to go over the origonal weight of the truck, and if not, tops will all the panels, you might of shaved off 10 lbs. Sure, they put glass on old stuff to make it light, but like I said, that was when sheetmetal was heavy, and made to be repairable, not replacable.

And my personall opinion is that, and has always been that loosing weight is the easy way out. Why loose weight when you can just make more power.

Dont forget chassis work too.

This thread will probably do better somewhere else then body.

KYLEdallas 11-10-2005 12:28 AM

How much would cutting out the bed floor save?... I've thought about it..
I have seen the holesaw work done before and it looks very nice if done in a workman like manner... saw a straight axle A/FX style Shoebox that had the front axle swiss cheesed... it looked very trick... but I wondered about the practicality in sheer weight savings.. and integrity of the axle..
What about tubular A-arms vs. Stock... how much could be gained there?

My Dart bumpers weigh under 7 lbs each... bumpers and hood and hinges
netted huge weight savings..

little things ad up.... how about adding to the list of little things
instead of adding s-10 comments...

Where is the weight hiding... Cab, bed, frame, suspension, engine.. what can be done...

You guys still aren't giving me sources on glass parts... you're just complaining about how hard it is to get good finish on them.....

front bumper
rear bumper
fuel cell
alluminum heads, waterpump
alluminum drive shaft

What gauge is the steel in the bed bottom?...Is it the heaviest steel in the body?? How much does it weigh??

MARTINSR 11-10-2005 08:20 AM

Like I said before, I work on these trucks all the time, and have spent zillions of hours on vintage "A" bodys and such as well, there is a WORLD of difference in the two. The hood hinge on your truck is about half the weight as one on a 1970 Dart.

Of course I understand the weight (or lack of it) advantage. However, I didn't understand the depth of your desire. If you are challenged by making THAT truck go faster, by all means rock on. Because it is going to take a LOT of time and money to do it.

Old race car adage:

"The best way to loose a pound on a race car is to remove an ounce in 16 places"

If you are talking about removing 1000 lbs you better get cooking because most of the stuff you are talking about (fenders, bumper) are only going to net you a few pounds.

This weight loss is "free horsepower", I understand, the manufacturers know this too you know. It is also "free MPG" and they well aware of that as well. They are doing everything they can to get them down in weight to get more power and miles per gallon out of them.

The weight in that truck is in the frame, suspension, and drive train. The front bumper will get you a few pounds, the fenders a few,the hood a few, I am not kidding, I honestly don't think you will get more than a hundred at BEST. Honestly, I would bet a crisp dollar bill that it will barely break even.

I pull the beds of these trucks all the time, four guys take it off with ease, more clumbsy than heavy. But I do have to say, that tailgate is a heavy mutha, a net would cut about 80lbs right there. Between the tailgate and rear bumper (if it is the class II tow hitch variety) that will get you a hundred and fifty I would think.

All the tricks that you would do on a 72 Cuda are already done on that truck! Like I said, I have done a lot of work on both, the tail lamp on my 65 Gran Sport weighs as much as a door shell on your truck, no kidding! Your truck has tubing headers as I remember, my Gran Sport has 50lb exhaust manifolds. The bumper brackets weigh as much as your whole bumper.

I have an idea, go take off the tail gate. Hold it, and picture the fenders and hood, all three weigh about as much together.

Anything to do with cosmetics is VERY light on this truck, they put all their "eggs" in what the truck was made for, pulling and hauling. Just look at it this way, if it has something to do with pulling or hauling, it is heavy, if it is there to look nice or just has to be there like the rad support (aluminum) then it is light.

Heck, the head lamps are all plastic, brackets and all, my wifes purse weighs more than one. The radiator is aluminum with plastic tanks, it weighs only a few pounds. The grille is all plastic, the bumper brackets were eliminated and the bumper bolts right to the frame! The inner fenders are plastic, the glass is as thin as a 60's lightweight factory drag car.

I believe it already has an aluminum drive shaft. I also seem to remember the waterpump is as well. The gas tank is plastic, probably lighter than a fuel cell. Late model cars are LIGHT. That is designed into everyone of them so to lighten a ninties up car or truck takes some doing.

You REALLY want to do this, I am not joking, remove the body off the frame. Make a new 2x4 square tubing frame with a little Mustang II tubing control arm front and rack and pinion, and a four link rear, THAT will cut weight.


KYLEdallas 11-10-2005 02:44 PM

I already own the truck... I hear what you are saying about the weight of the front metal pieces..... and maybe it seems I am obsessing....
This is my hobby that I don't mind spending time on.... I don't mind spending hours and hours and hours searching over every last detail before I spend my hard earned dollars.... BUT when I do strike...the results are usually pretty good... they are always thoroughly and thoughtfully researched.. this is what I am doing here with these questions...
I think 1000 lbs is completely unreachable..... totally absurd unless I just
LOVED the body style and was dead set on being the fastest full size Chevy in America....then a frame swap might be in order... but let me explain the goal with an example I sighted...
The 2 car 2800/3800 example provides info we can desiminate..
What is the weight difference.................. 1000 lbs
What is diffence in power required .......... 160 hp
For arguements sake lets round it to 150 horsepower

What is HP advantage for every 100 lbs ... 15 hp

This crude estimation tells us that if I can save 500 lbs then gain in
horepower needed will be
15 x 5 = 75 hp
600 lb 15x 6 = 90 hp

How much money would need to be spent to achieve 75 to 90 hp by
conventional means..full time hp not nitrous... the 75 to 90 will be with you all the time...
Heads $1100
blower $2800
stroker crank $450 to 850 plus install

400, 500, or 600 lb savings is reachable with work and low dollars.. 60 to 90hp
Only a stoker crank is going to be a better value and then if you do it
I am dead set on getting the 75 to 90 hp that is sitting there cheap and easy for nothing more than my time to find it and a few dollars...
Truck was weighed in bone stock conditon with bumpers and spare tire..
You guys job is to help me find 500 lbs or 600... so called body experts??
prove it by knowing the factual weights of the pieces.... are the shipping
weights in your ordering books.... there is the info to compare with
glass pieces to do the cost estimation with... then we will know... how
close can we already come to 500 lbs.

Part/Action Weight savings est

Wheels 70 pounds 70
Remove Spare Tire & hanger ? 45
Rear Bumpr remove & rollpan ? 70
Light battery 20 pounds 20
Tailgate ? 40
Front bumper to glass.. ? 25
subtl 270
Headers ?
Aluminum heads ?
Aluminum water pump ?
lightweight starter ?
tubular A arms ?
Cut out bed floor.. fab aluminum sheet ?

See it now?? the makings of 75 to 90 hp .... subtotal has us 230 lbs away
from 75 horespower....if the bed floor is heavy gauge... would that sole
improvement get it to 500 lbs...???
Everybody has their own style of hottrodding... I look at weight savings
like alot of people look at exhaust/headers.... one of the first places..
WITHOUT me in it truck is 3900... sure we can't get it to 3400 or 3300
Bet it can be done and without hacking the crap out of it..I won't hack it.
You guys hotrodders? here is your mark.
Once the weight of everything is known descisions can be made what
to replace...what is best $ and time per dollar... and what could be
dual purpose hp/weight savings... like aluminum heads, aluminum
driveshaft, headers/exhaust...
I knew all these things before I came and asked questions about
lightweight parts here... so enduring the onslaught of naysaying has been
pretty lame.... I'm a racer not a an idiot...
I will hit 500+ naturally aspirated with stroker, cam and factory head
port on LS1.... already done the computer mock up... whether that is
more like 575hp or 590hp depends on weight ...
Would like to hear from some body guys with factual weights on
factory parts and cheapo Mexican/Chinese parts and Fiberglass...
Where are the freethinkers??? where are the inovators?? need weight

1931 steve 11-10-2005 02:55 PM

Sounds like allot of work to gain a little less weight!! Why did you buy a truck if you want a performance vehicle? Why chop up a good 1999 truck????? :confused:

KYLEdallas 11-10-2005 05:38 PM

All my vehicles perform.... but I don't think Im going to respond to anything more here than what I've ask for and haven't gotten.... lightweight parts sources..
Nothing I'm preposing is difficult..overly time consuming..or expensive..
I do exhaustive planning before I move... I gather alot of pieces from Ebay and the new ones I planning and gathering might take a year plus..
usually have the bulk of my projects knocked out in 2 weekends with help from 4 or 5 friends.... I wrench for them on their stuff...I get them to help with major sections... I finish up on smaller details..they will help with engine and if I decide to give my truck a fabbed alluminum bed floor... that too..
Chevy shortwides have a pretty good service life... some outlast their owners...body style on mine is nice enough to remain poplular I'm sure..I like all the old shortwides except 73-80...back to the 30's... don't see any reason not to set it up how I like it now....3 of my friends work on Airplanes... the quality is always top knotch..

twinturbopickup 11-10-2005 06:03 PM

i havent lightened anything on my 88 and im running high 9s it weighed 3780 with the small block running elevens now it has a big block here are my thoughts worry about power traction and getting it to move a bit quiker before you lose the weight it hasnt even crossed my mind yet im still figuring out my new motor and just put a different stall in it so it will luanch with some boost.

skeeveman 11-10-2005 07:31 PM


Originally Posted by KYLEdallas
All my vehicles perform.... but I don't think Im going to respond to anything more here than what I've ask for and haven't gotten.... lightweight parts sources..
Nothing I'm preposing is difficult..overly time consuming..or expensive..
I do exhaustive planning before I move... I gather alot of pieces from Ebay and the new ones I planning and gathering might take a year plus..
usually have the bulk of my projects knocked out in 2 weekends with help from 4 or 5 friends.... I wrench for them on their stuff...I get them to help with major sections... I finish up on smaller details..they will help with engine and if I decide to give my truck a fabbed alluminum bed floor... that too..
Chevy shortwides have a pretty good service life... some outlast their owners...body style on mine is nice enough to remain poplular I'm sure..I like all the old shortwides except 73-80...back to the 30's... don't see any reason not to set it up how I like it now....3 of my friends work on Airplanes... the quality is always top knotch..

Well, you're dropping a lot of good info and contacts for info if you dont post and leave, but it's up to you. This site is a very special site for a lot of people and their hobbies/careers. Every one of the tech forums on here is full of some of most knowledgable and helpfull people you meet. You will find we get into intricate convos more then just answering some guys post blindly. With this comes a lot of questions to figure out what you're doing and suggestions to maybe rethink the plan. I'm sure you know a good bit too, but it will never expand if you dont take in what others are telling you. We explained that we knew the theory of power to weight ratio, but also you were told by people that have been doing collision work on that vehicle that it's not going to work as easy as you think, far from it actually. The more openminded you are to new perspectives on things like this, the more likely you are to succeed, pick the best one, or make a combination of them and make an even better one.

But to get to answer your question from origonally, no, I dont and I dont think anybody else on here will know where to get factory panels made out of glass for your truck, regardless if it adds weight also.

MARTINSR 11-10-2005 07:39 PM

Kyle, sounds like you care a lot more than I do, so I will leave you to figuring out all this. :welcome:


KYLEdallas 11-10-2005 08:56 PM

One of my joys in hotrodding is spending time with my friends and helping them with their projects... they run the whole gamut... dedicated race cars
drag, nasa, porshe club of america, street rods, 50's cadillacs, model T's
But I usually listen to what they are trying to do and then use my resources to locate or build what they need....
We are on post, what 13?, and instead of the help I need coming here in the form of useable information I'm just getting .... what I'd do... my thread title was specific to saving weight...did that to attract those who, like me,
see that as smart way to go.... this is the norm, actually, at the racetrack-so I gotta say I find it pretty amazing to find such little interest or infomation here... I know how hard and how much money it takes to gain horsepower..
especially when you are trying to do it in a dual purpose machine with factory small block, keeping it emissions legal, and stock appearing...
75 to 90 horsepower is alot... and the shedding of weight is almost always
more cost effective than hard parts purchase...I'm going that way.. period..
Found 600 lbs to ditch on my Dart.... I'll find 500 to 600 fot the Shortwide
Want to see what a 2600 lb Dart looks like???
go to

Fairly "sleeperized" and not cut up... this pic is before the bumper change
No one looks at my Dart and sees 2600 lbs and 500 horses... they find out
when I pull the cable and the exhaust note changes from turbos to open headers and the White and Light pulls away fast...hard to see the quality of the paint on the hood when you are looking at the rear all the time.
Mustangs, Camaro, Vettes, Ricers.... most don't touch my Dart's power to weight ratio...nor their drivers my track knowledge..can you say
The LS1 is one of chevrolets best of all time.... deserves to go into
as light a chassis as possible... that's what I'm doing here..
Found Carbon Fiber hoods on web but best price so far is $500... would like to see if I can do better and need to know the stock weight of Chevy steel
hood so real gains will be known...

MARTINSR 11-11-2005 08:48 AM

Take your hood off and stand on a bathroom scale. That is what I would do. By the way, the "shipping weights" on these parts are no where that I know of because they are shipped in bulk to the dealer. Sure, they get UPSed once in a while, but that info isn't kept as far as I know. Besides, it would include the PACKAGING!

You want to find out, take the parts off and weigh them. Can't get anymore accurate that than.


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