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Building Barney: Hans3T's H3T Build Thread

Hans3T

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Welcome, and thanks for checking out my build thread!

Allow me to preface this build by saying I have been blessed in life with a great family, a beautiful fiancée, wonderful friends, and countless opportunities – all of which have made me who I am today. For the better part of a decade, I have been active on Hummer forums and for even longer I’ve been mesmerized by the brand. I can say with unabridged enthusiasm that H4O has been a great experience, and I’m glad to be here with so many people who share the Hummer passion. Let’s keep the Hummer candle burning.

Here’s to all of you who have helped me with my truck, and with life in general. :cheers: I hope that you all enjoy the read, the photos, and my adventure.

Best,

HansT

PS: Don’t forget you can see even more following the build of my truck at www.hans3t.com! :wink:

And now for the main event – if you don’t care about the background story of my truck and want to just see the mods and stuff, skip ahead to post #3. Get ready for some long-winded writing, ladies and gentlemen. :)
 
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Hans3T

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Barney officially entered into my life on May 29[SUP]th[/SUP], 2010, with a paltry 4,700 miles on the clock. This Sonoma Red Metallic 2009 H3T Alpha/LUX/Off-Road was picked up from a dealership in Washington State, and rode on a flatbed all the way to the other side of the country to Vermont. In truth, it arrived on a flatbed May 28[SUP]th[/SUP] during dinner, much to my surprise. I had no idea that I was getting my truck at that point. About a month prior to its arrival, I had been given the green light to shop for a Hummer – something that in and of itself was a dream come true. With news of the brand shutting down, and my ’96 Acura SLX limping along, the timing just seemed right. The shopping did not go well, however, as it seemed every truck I called about had “just sold” or was much too expensive. Then, one day, I showed my old man the listing for an H3T Alpha with a slantback. Those were not on my radar at that time, but this truck was really sharp. My old man told me he thought it was ugly, so I heaved a sigh and moved onward with the search.

McCannListing.jpg


It was about three days later that he told me I should focus on some other things and take a break from the truck hunt for a couple of months. I was pretty bummed out, but thankfully I was able to drive my mother’s Explorer (I had sold the Acura) to work, so I was not without a vehicle. Grudgingly, I accepted his wish and stopped showing listings to him – but I’ll admit I still looked every day, and I was always sure to look at the listing for the Sonoma Red H3T Alpha in Washington. If you haven’t pieced it together yet, I was told to call off the search because my sly father had called the dealer in Washington and, well, you know. He also (and I’m still amazed at how crafty this was) asked them to keep the listing for the truck up until it was delivered, so that I wouldn’t think it had sold. So BOOM, here I am eating dinner on May 28[SUP]th[/SUP] and I hear a truck pull up. Immediately, my dad goes outside and you know I had to follow him, and…talk about a surprise! I could not believe it. And I couldn’t believe what happened next either…

deliverytruck-1.jpg


So to give you the brief version of the story, our delivery driver left the keys to my H3T in New York with a Chevy he had dropped off earlier that day. (Talk about a buzzkill!) He had to drive back to New York, and that is why even though I found out on the 28[SUP]th[/SUP], my truck officially arrived on the 29[SUP]th[/SUP]. All I can say is the day I drove Barney, well, it was one of the best days of my life.
Before we get too much further, some of you may be going “Who the heck is Barney?” Well, in the early days, some folks teased that Sonoma Red looked markedly similar to purple (and in certain light conditions, that is not far from the truth) and that the SnugTop bed cover gave the T a somewhat “creature-like” silhouette…this, in turn, prompted comparisons to a certain well-known dinosaur…and you can piece the rest together. Barney just stuck, and while at first I hated the comparison, now I’m glad to have a nickname for my T that I didn’t come up with!
 
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Hans3T

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NC
All right: You all know how it goes. You get your Hummer, you join a forum, you go on your first wheeling trip, and then the modification bug bites you hard. It didn’t necessarily happen to me in that order, but the bug bit me as hard as anybody and before I knew it, I was adding bits here and pieces there. I believe my first modification, as simple as it may be, was the addition of a Daystar dash panel. As we know, the H3 lacks a truly useful storage cubby for the essentials, so the Daystar adds a real value for everyday use. Notice my dash-swag, Senior Hoppy. He has been with me on every wheeling trip so far [insert “awww” noise here]. I bought him for a dime at a garage sale – funny story actually, I bought that frog about 2 weeks before I even knew I was getting a Hummer. I just thought it was funny and figured I’d put him on my desk or something. I guess destiny brought the two together. Anywho…

senorhoppy.jpg


The next noteworthy modification happened within the first couple of months of ownership. I learned during my first wheeling trip (which happened literally a week after it arrived from WA) that a CB radio is a must for a day on the trail. After lots of investigation and shopping around, I finally settled on a Cobra 75 all-in-one radio paired with a 3’ Firestik antenna. My old man and I crudely fabricated an antenna mount that fits behind my rear tow hook plate and we then installed the radio hook on my glove box door and ran the cables in through some sort of opening place (I know, I’m very technical) up in the passenger side of the firewall.

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Hans3T

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NC
After the CB radio, I took it easy for a while, much to the delight of my father (a man who has, unfortunately, never been bitten by the modification bug). I did a few visual modifications, including the purchase and subsequent blackification (yeah, that’s a word…) of a set of H3 center caps and a pair of powdercoated side marker lamp guards. I was, and still am, on a war against chrome. I learned from my Acura that Vermont winters and road salts are not nice to chrome. Also, black is in vogue. Also, black/burgundy is a cool combo in my opinion. Regardless of my reasoning, I knew that I had to get rid of the chrome. I just had to bide my time.

e2b2a4ec.jpg


A couple weeks before my first trip as a driver at Rausch Creek, I was fortunate enough to pick up some used OEM undercarriage protection for my T from a forum member. I had also ordered a full set of Hunner Skids as well. I wanted to be sure that Barney was armored-up for the boulder-laden trails of RC. With the UCP and Hunner Skids installed, I was feeling much more confident that I would make it out of RC in one solid, well-running piece. A short while later, I was able to focus on a few mods that were more “form” than “function”. What can I say? I like a sharp looking truck!

5c151f74.jpg


Since I was still headhunting for more black trim pieces to replace my chrome LUX package trim. Fortunately, with some help from a peer on the forum and some luck on eBay, I came to own a full set of black OEM mirrors and handles. With more help from some other forum members, I was able to swap the black ones for the chrome ones after a wheeling event at Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania. I also stumbled across another eBay treasure: Powdercoated handle surrounds. I mean, heck, why not! Having added those de-blinged bling, I thought Barney was looking pretty darn tough -- even though his shoes and his big 7-slotted smile were still shiny. This was my T in September of 2010 after a trip to Rausch Creek.

2010-10-07155503.jpg


2010-10-07155553.jpg
 
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Hans3T

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All was quiet for a few months. Well, as quiet as one can be when they can drive around in a beautiful machine like this! :wink: Come January, however, that quiet came to a screaming halt when I was able to secure a Boulder Accessories bumper from a forum member in the DC metro area about an hour from my campus. He and I spoke for a few days trying to “seal the deal” as there was quite a fervor over the surfacing of such a “Hummer Holy Grail”. Needless to say, I was beyond overjoyed to grab this beautiful piece of powdercoated steel, and after my buddy from school and I picked it up, I kept the sucker on the spare desk in my dorm room on campus (my roommates knew I was sick :)).

100_0173.jpg


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It wasn’t until a month and change later that I was able to install the bumper in the bitter cold of February. During that time, I also had to buy an ‘06/’07 skidplate to fit the BA (eBay to the rescue, again!). Once I bolted on my new bumper I felt like there was no way to make Barney any better in the foreseeable future. And I was right for many, many moons.

100_0254.jpg


DSCN2868.jpg
 
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Hans3T

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NC
Okay, okay…it was like two months. But it felt like an eternity! One day in April of 2011, I was contacted via a PM by Kflips, who was swapping his H3T-specific Rocky Road Super Sliders for the Ridge Demon Crushers. I was honored he gave me the first shot at them, THANKS KEVIN! With a powerful team-effort between Kflips, his son, his son’s pal and I, we were able to remove the RR’s from his truck, compare them to the RD’s for some publicity shots, (RD’s are a better product, fyi!) and then put the RD’s on his T and the RR’s on my T. Did I mention that I used to have AMP Power Steps? They worked great! -- Until the first time I went wheeling… After that, they just became rock rail placeholders. They were a bear to get off, but with our focused team effort (and a few brews) we were able to get those mud-caked, sand-jammed, gunked-up mammajammas off my T. Thank goodness! :thumb: Oh, Kflips also gave me his OEM roof rails...what a guy!!

install.jpg


twoslants.jpg


Ok, I thought to myself, now Barney is done! I don’t need new tires, I’m saving towards a winch, I’ve got lots of black trim – for the next 30,000 miles he’s done! Well, shortly after that I picked up a Rola Rack to use for trips. I don't keep it on much, but it serves its purpose well for a small rack.

DSCN3262-1.jpg


Somewhere along the line, I had a boring Sunday where I felt "crafty", so I made a personalized license plate with some vinyl letters from Walmart and a blank silver plate.

2011-09-18154429.jpg


Believe it or not, I get plenty of complements out of this. I actually thought it was tacky as soon as I did it, but the trial period went well so I kept it on. I guess it let's folks know that I've got a spot of humor in me. :wink:
 
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Hans3T

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My latest mods were done within a few days of each other. The more functional of the two was the addition of E&G Classics H3T fender flares. (You know, in case I were to ever lift the sucker...:roll:) The flares required some manual fabrication with tin snips in order for them to fit into the front wheel well because the BA bumper is a bit larger than the OEM one. No worries, though. I surprised myself and made the darn things fit! Well, that and I put the flares on as well! (This may seem like a making a mountain out of a molehill, but I'm not the most technically inclined...)

2011-09-18130238.jpg


2011-09-18135317.jpg


100_0564.jpg


And this is how Barney sat January 19th. It's been a great adventure and I'm looking forward to much, much more to come!
 
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Hans3T

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Oh, by the way, I lifted my truck. :)

Back in October, as a birthday gift to myself for being so good, I got a screaming deal on a brand-new XD Suspension System (pronounced: Tuff Country lift with a different sticker). For the next few months I saved up and waited until the local shop in town had some downtime so that I could have it installed. It was originally my intent to help install the lift and take photos the whole day in order to learn more about what exactly was going on down there -- and the shop foreman and technician I worked with were cool with that...until the wife of the owner (better said, the HR Department) put a stop to that due to the "insurance liability". I even said I'd sign a waiver, but no dice! Fortunately, the technician was kind enough to offer to snap photos of Barney's progress every now and again and he let me swing by the shop a few times to duck in and get some hands-on learning in. So thanks to my tech, KJ, I am lucky enough to have some photos other than the final product to share with you all.

The install was quoted to me as taking 8 hours...it turned out to take 4 days... Hear me out: The truck was 95% done on day one, however the seller had sent me 4 front shocks instead of 2 front / 2 rear. Of course, I didn't know this until I get a call from KJ saying the shocks don't fit, I have a mini heart attack, and call my guy. He reviewed my order and immediately texted me back and said "Oh [poop], I made a mistake! I'm going to overnight the right ones to you!" So, after transit from Utah, the shocks were in yesterday and the truck was done at the end of the day because they had some other work to do and they hooked me up on labor costs.

BTW, I am running wheel and hub-centric spacers with the lift so that I can continue using my OEM wheels. For the 33" tires, I have a 1.5" spacer from Motorsports Tech. I will make it clear to you all here that I had a TERRIBLE experience with Motorsports Tech. I ordered my spacers on my birthday (Oct 31) and did not receive them until after Christmas. I called multiple times between the order and delivery date, only to hear "you're next on the list". On the 4th call (a week before Christmas), I was told that my order was never actually put into the production system (mind you I paid on Oct 31) and that they would be to me the next week.
Did they offer to express ship them? No. Did they offer to give me a 10% good-will discount? No. I was given, however, a "Geez, sorry about that buddy." After I finally received my spacers, I sent a few emails to their owner and got no response. Moral of the story: I was told Motorsports Tech is one of the best in the business...I suppose the product is fine...but your product is only as good as your front office in my opinion; and in that respect, they failed miserably. /rant

After what seemed like an eternity -- waiting for wheel spacers, waiting for rear shocks, waiting to see the final product -- I'm back to driving my T -- THANK GOODNESS!

Some shots of the process:

You all digging the sticker? :) Here is the OEM set-up:
PICT0252.jpg

PICT0260.jpg


The new bumpstops are HUGE!
PICT0256.jpg


Here's the front end with the new pieces on it:
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The rare and elusive wheel spacer from Motorsports D*ck
:finger::
PICT0265.jpg



And here is the final product after the second adjustment was made (which included adding another add-a-leaf to the rear and Warrior shackles):

forrealliftcomparison.jpg


PICT0358.jpg


Knowledge is power! :wink:

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I'll be happy to answer as many questions as I can with my limited knowledge. I will also post in a separate thread in the H3 section with just some info on the lift AND some questions for the Hummer masses to help me with. :cheers:
 
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Hans3T

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NC
As some of you are aware, the lift was not properly adjusted the first time in the shop. Last week, I finally had my second appointment with the local garage and we were able to adjust the lift to it's true-and-awesome proportions.

I got 1" out of the rear add-a-leaf, which was not what we wanted at all. I gave my contact at Boosted Parts a call and he got me replacement add-a-leaf out the next day and I ordered some Warrior extended shackles for the rear as well for good measure. We ended up stacking the both pairs of add-a-leaves (so 2 on each side) in addition to the Warrior shackles in order to obtain the necessary lift. I'm not sure what caused the ineffectiveness of the add-a-leaves -- my guess is that it had to do with either the weight or length of the H3T compared to the SUV.

Regardless, here is the rear set-up:

PICT0357-1.jpg


Also, I'm not really sure if this helps anybody, but I threw together this little "phase" photo so you can see the various stages of lift that are possible on the H3/T.

phasesofliftcopy.jpg


Fast forward to March 2014... A fellow on Craigslist was looking to sell an H3T with a GOBI rack, so I contacted him and asked if he would be willing to sell the rack alone. Well, eventually, he got back with me and we made the sale. He even helped me to install the sucker -- what a guy!



Last week, after convincing myself for years that I should wait to replace them until they're truly worn down, I finally cracked and bought some 315's. I went with the Kumho Road Venture MT (315/75/16). I've only put a short cross-town jaunt on them, so I can't really comment on their drivability...but they look great! And now, Barney is a bit taller (with shoes that better match his other qualities)!



A couple of weeks later and BOOM... Barney is officially CHROMELESS! (Except for his Alpha badge. He likes to show that off! :wink: )

 
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glpd74

Well-Known Member
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189
Location
WI
Thanks for sharing the story. You def have a sweet ride. How do you like the E&G fender flares?
 

alrock

El Diablo
Staff member
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10,421
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Scottsdale
This is reserved . . . for nice comments. Great thread Hans, thanks for posting up the pics and recap
 

Bigunit

Hammer Down!
Staff member
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6,558
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Arizona
Hans,
You have a great looking T and you did a great job putting your thread together! ...I need to do one someday....:shame:

BTW, what department in Walmart are those letters...I need some for a little project I'll be doing this weekend.
 

Hans3T

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Location
NC
Thanks for sharing the story. You def have a sweet ride. How do you like the E&G fender flares?

Thank you!

I like a flares a lot. They cut down on the amount of junk that gets flung onto the side of my truck and they've held up to a wheeling trip so far with no problems. Other than the high price point, there's not much to dislike!
 

Hans3T

Lif"T"ed
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Location
NC
Hans,
You have a great looking T and you did a great job putting your thread together! ...I need to do one someday....:shame:

BTW, what department in Walmart are those letters...I need some for a little project I'll be doing this weekend.

Thank you kindly, Luis! I appreciate hearing that from a fellow T owner! :) -- I had been putting it off for a long time but decided to spend a few hours yesterday creating a coherent story of sorts. Good luck to you when you decide to do a write-up.

As for the stickers, I got them out of the craft/office section at my Walmart. I paid like $2 for a whole package of random letters and punctuation. Not a bad deal!
 

kflips

Well-Known Member
Messages
776
Location
Virginia
Nice thread. Maybe you'll get the Big U starting his thread up. Get those mods in now before your new home boss puts a squash on future "investments"

:thumbs:
 
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