Cruisin' Down teh Street in Mah Six-Fo

Strut your greasy stuff!
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Huckleberry
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Drives: 2004 GTO
Location: Hi. I'm in Delaware.

Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:12 pm

Back in 2014, my dad bought a 64 Impala SS two door hardtop. It is a true SS and was originally a 327/4 speed car. However, the original motor and trans were long gone. It made it the perfect candidate for the 5.3 swap that we wanted to do.

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The nice thing about it is that it had almost all of the trim and interior pieces, which was a huge plus. After decoding the VIN, my dad realized that the car was assembled at the Boxwood plant in Wilmington, De, which is awesome since we are both Delaware natives and essentially have brought the old girl home. It hasn't been an easy or short process, but it has been rewarding. Our first indication that this was going to be arduous was the trailer having a blowout on the trip back home.

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Nevertheless, much like that early challenge, we have overcome each obstacle that has crossed our paths. And since this thing turned out to be such a rusted pile, we have been presented with a ton of challenges.

Initially, my dad wanted to keep the car at his house, which has a tiny one-car garage that required us to push the car onto the driveway to get any work done on it. The front end and the interior were disassembled there.

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Notice the tight quarters.
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Huckleberry
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Location: Hi. I'm in Delaware.

Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:13 pm

As I said, the interior was all mostly there, which is a good thing.
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Of course, as it turned out, someone went completely insane with the carpet adhesive.
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But the interior came apart without much issue.
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Since it was evident that the car was going to require more space than what was currently available, and since I was looking to buy a house anyways, I came across a garage that happened to come with a house.
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And in October of 2015, the Impala moved in.
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And that's when the real fun began.

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:14 pm

The first thing we did was get our asses to Lowe's and buy some lumber to make a body dolly.
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How did we get the body off? I gathered about 8 people and we gave it the ole heave-ho. One thing to note: it was at this point that we realized that the driveshaft was a one-piece unit. Even further, my uncle noticed that it was a factory driveshaft. Once removed, we saw the markings "68 Chevelle." What I failed to mention earlier in the thread is that the car came with a Muncie M21 and a 12 bolt. The guy had a 396 big block that he would have thrown in with the car for additional money, but we told him to keep it because we were going to do a 5.3 swap anyways. After checking the numbers on the 12 bolt and the Muncie, they were both from 1968. It looks like, at some point, someone had swapped in a complete 68 Chevelle big block drivetrain. The only thing missing were the Chevelle brackets on the 12 bolt, which were cut off to have the Impala brackets welded on. That effectively means that in our rejecting the 396, we rejected a numbers matching Chevelle drivetrain. God. Damn. It.

We stripped down the frame and wirebrushed the hell out of it.
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Originally, we were going to have it blasted and coated, but after getting stupid pricing estimates along with the prerequisite that we need to remove the heavy dirt ourselves, we opted for good ol' Rustoleum and some brushes:
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The frame itself wasn't without issues. The most glaring offense was the rear crossmember, which was rotted to shit.
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So, we cut it out and made a new one with some angle iron from Lowe's.
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After that, we finished coating the frame.
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Desertbreh
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:15 pm

Subscribed.
max225 wrote: You can't "hoon" a pos like that. You can however set up a methlab.

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:15 pm

Now, a little bit about the 5.3. I sold my dad on the idea by telling him the 5.3 is a modern 327, which he has always had a soft spot for. The fact that this car was originally a 327 car sealed the deal for him. I didn't do anything wild since my dad wants a decent driver, so I made it a point to use factory components. The details:
- Aluminum Gen IV block, complete with flattop pistons.
- 862 heads
- Factory head gaskets for 10.5:1 compression
-LS2 camshaft and LS3 beehive springs
-LS6 intake manifold
-Z/28 LS7 manifolds

I'm really interested to see how this engine performs.

I painted the engine Chevy Orange, and modified some GTO fuel rail covers for the car.
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Once the frame was coated, we gave the engine a test fit to see what needed to be done.
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It turned out to be a lot with the LH6 pan.
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Once that was done, we assembled the front suspension using Global West lowering springs, Southwest Speed tubular control arms, and C3 spindles. As it turns out, on the B-Bodies, the C3 spindles are a direct bolt-on.
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Then it was a matter of cleaning up the 12 bolt and getting the frame back on four wheels.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:16 pm

It was then time for the body.
Hole-Lee-Shit. I'm starting to get Vietnam flashbacks on this, so I'm going to let the pictures do the talking.

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:17 pm

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^^^Yes, that is a bullet hole, and yes, we patched around it.


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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:18 pm

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Then it was finally time to set the body back on the frame.
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The inner rockers were a whole other animal. The previous owner had "patched" the floors by brazing steel overtop the bullshit. So, this is what we found when cutting out his "repairs."
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So, out came the floor and what was left of the inner rockers.
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And this is the new inner rocker: 3x4 1/8" tube steel.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:19 pm

Annnnnd onto the other side....
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Then came time to fit the new quarter panel.
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Then we stripped and painted the firewall. The color is Daytona Blue.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:21 pm

Now it is time for the fun stuff.

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A Tanks, Inc tank that was purchased before Holley bought them.
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And since my dad wanted a standard 3-point seat belt, we picked up some E46 M3 convertible seats.
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Wilwood master cylinder and adjustable proportioning valve.
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It will go great with the new front calipers.
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Rear brake set-up:
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The clutch master took some figuring out. The original kit had a bracket for supposedly mounting the master on the steering column underneath the dash. Aside from no chance in hell of that working, the linkage also looked like it would bind just by looking at it. So, we mounted it to the firewall using the existing hole that was for the wiper motor wiring and drilling a hole in the clutch pedal.
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GTO accessories with a custom alternator from Tuff Stuff.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:21 pm

We masked everything off and painted the cowl. It came out a little lighter than we thought after removing the sheeting, but almost all of it is going to be covered.
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The dash was also painted and an Ididit steering column was installed.
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And my dad wanted a wooden steering wheel, so we found one that he liked.
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We then installed a CPP 500 steering box along with u-joints and 3/4 DD steering shaft cut to length.
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Last edited by Huckleberry on Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:22 pm

Then it came time for the wiring. On the engine side, we are using a harness from PSI. On the chassis side, we are using a harness from American Autowire. Both harnesses are very well put together and I've had no issues marrying the two up.

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I used some weatherpack connectors to tie the body harness to the engine harness. Three plugs and it is disconnected.
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Picked up a radiator and 16" Spal cooling fan.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:22 pm

Deal of the century here, and proof why you always, always make an offer on eBay when given the option.

My dad and I were looking at exhaust kits, and he found that Magnaflow makes a complete kit from the manifolds back for a retail price of $700. I started browsing online for a deal and came across an eBay store selling them for $597 or to make an offer. So, I made an offer of $550.

The next morning, I received an email with their counter offer to my $550:
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^^^Accurate to how I read that email.

I immediately accepted and paid, and then spent the rest of the day waiting to see what was going to happen. I fully expected to receive an email saying that the order was cancelled and they made a mistake. And I did receive an email:

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I spent the last few days checking my tracking number while discussing with friends on what was going to actually show up in the box. I guess cardboard tubes. Someone else guessed a picture of the kit. Today, it arrived.

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We managed to score a brand new, $700 Magnaflow exhaust system for $285 shipped to my door!

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:23 pm

As I said earlier, the 5.3 is going to be utilizing the tri-y manifolds off the Z/28. Why? Because I wanted to see what could be done with factory parts.

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Now, when it comes to the X-frame, the exhaust actually runs along the outside of the frame rails. So, we grabbed some bent 2.25" and 2.5" tubing and got to fabricating.

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And then we sent them off for ceramic coating. I found a guy locally who uses a product called Cerakote.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:27 pm

Since information on these specific 58-64 cars is rather sparse when it comes to LS swaps, for anyone looking for radiator hoses, here are the two I found to work:

Upper hose for an 01-07ish V6 Caravan. You just need to cut one end off.
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Lower hose for an LS1 4th Gen. Perfect fit.
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Next on the list are the doors.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:28 pm

To go further into the inner rockers, we used 3" x 4" x 1/8" rectangular tube steel cut to around a 61" length, if my memory serves correctly. I got the idea after seeing the pricing of replacement inner rockers and after looking at this cutaway:
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Essentially, the tube steel fits in as outlined below, with about 3/8" worth of shimming on top to bring the floor back up to its proper plane.
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We used one of those corner cut-in tools to coat the inside of the tube with some Rustoleum.
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You can see here how the shimming is necessary.
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For the rear, we tied the tube steel in with the rocker cap.
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This is on the other side, but it shows how we used a piece of angle iron to tie the tube steel in with the B pillar/quarter window.
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On the front side, we cut some tubing in half to make a new brace that was rotted out on the A pillar. We notched out a clearance for the fender bolt.
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Then it was just a matter of building out the front floor area.
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As well as the underside:
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The result is a much, much stronger rocker area without spending the $160/side for the replacement pieces. Oh, and we can also jack the car up by the rockers now.

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:30 pm

We got both doors patched. We briefly looked at getting new doors, but they would have been about $900 for the pair, which is $900 that can be applied towards paint. And since most of the rust was on the underside of the doors, we decided to just patch them. The driver side door was worse than the passenger side.

Driver side:
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Passenger side:
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After dealing with the doors, we attached the driver side fender to the inner fender and set it onto the car.

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Unfortunately, the fender isn't fitting as well as we were hoping, and it has taken quite a bit of shimming and bending to try and get it contoured correctly. The best we can assume is that it had warped in storage, but it is what it is.

At the beginning of September, we had placed an order for a new driveshaft through Denny's Driveshaft. After looking over the options, my dad decided to save $100 and order a steel driveshaft. It finally came in last week. When I originally picked up the box, I thought to myself, "This isn't that heavy at all!" When I opened the box, I was a bit perplexed to find not a black tube, but rather this:
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I guess Denny's decided to give us a free upgrade to an aluminum driveshaft. One more lucky score added to the roster.

Since the frame tunnel had already been modified for a single piece driveshaft, the install went without a hitch.
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Now, we just need to wait for the passenger inner fender to arrive and then we can get that side buttoned up.

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:31 pm

The inner fender for the passenger side finally came in. My dad wound up cancelling his original order and ordering from a separate company since the first company said it was on "indefinite backorder." Once it arrived, we were able to get the passenger side bolted on. Due to the pieces being aftermarket, it didn't fit nearly as well as the driver side, and required just about all of the mounting holes on the inner fender to be re-drilled.

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Now we can start making this look like an engine bay.
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As an aside, eBay was running a deal with Discount Tire Direct for $100 off an order of $400 or more. So, my dad ordered four Kumho Ecsta 4XIIs for $342 shipped in 245/45/17. They'll get mounted on the new wheels shortly.

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I mounted the relays for the fan, low beams, and high beams.
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Then came the time to start mounting the PCM and fuse block for the engine. I found some steel brackets online that I was able to bend to fit the inner fender. As a bonus, the brackets weren't riddled with gaudy logos like all of Dirty Dingo's stuff.
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I made a spacer for the one bolt:
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And then I used the existing bolt hole for the heater hose clip to fit a carriage bolt and mount the fuse block with a custom bracket I made.
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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:31 pm

We then revisited this previous patch we had done because I absolutely hated it and knew we could do better:

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So, we cut it out.
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And welded in a new patch:
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Oh, yeah, and thanks to the steel tube in the rockers, we can do this:
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Eastwood Contour Aluminum-Filled Filler:
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Eastwood Contour Premium Filler for a second coat after sanding:
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Sanded with 120 and then 220:
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One thing that needed to be addressed was the fact that the heater hoses were rubbing on the control arm. I found some 45* silicone hoses with 6" and cut them as needed. We also picked up a battery and I terminated the ends of the battery cables. Between the PCM and fuseblock is a chassis ground I connected directly to the battery:

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I also used a heater hose bracket from a Mopar Hemi for hold the hoses in place:
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She's finally starting to look like an engine bay:
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Apex
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:43 pm

:amazing:

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troyguitar
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:01 pm

Fuck, that is a lot of work.

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Huckleberry
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:13 pm

troyguitar wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:01 pm
Fuck, that is a lot of work.
Indeed. She ain't done yet. We're starting to get the body prepped for paint. Almost all of the metal work is completed. Now it is the tedious job of body filler, sanding, filler, sanding, some more sanding, and then sanding again. Then sending off to paint where more sanding will happen.

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MexicanYarisTK
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:15 pm

Jesus
Zillon wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:46 pm
Honesty is the best :alpo: policy.
check my yarii fools @tkmk777

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MexicanYarisTK
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:15 pm

Fucking
Zillon wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:46 pm
Honesty is the best :alpo: policy.
check my yarii fools @tkmk777

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MexicanYarisTK
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:15 pm

Christ
Zillon wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:46 pm
Honesty is the best :alpo: policy.
check my yarii fools @tkmk777

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