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BGarza13x 08-29-2017 02:16 PM

Big Blue Burb
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So. I just bought a 1969 Suburban. I had been stalking it out for months, scouring the internet for more info on the generation. I looked at countless YouTube videos and found this forum. I talked about it and dreamt about her nonstop. I looked around and found other 67-72 Burbs, but kept coming back to Big Blue. After finally convincing my wife I could turn it into a family car/daily driver, I was given her blessing and made the purchase. I had been looking at this particular 'burb since May. I finally was able to broker a deal over the weekend, then went to the Tax Office to transfer the title yesterday.

I go pick it up, drive it home, and am excited, but feel ready. I showed it to the family, laid out plans, set priorities. After the kids went to bed, I went outside to clean it out. As I am inside, hunched over, moving the 2nd bench that wasn't bolted in, planning on taking it into the garage, I am being careful to not drop it on my foot as I maneuver it towards the back tailgate. I keep moving it slowly, drop it down, then lift it back up and...... POP POP POP!!!!!

Sudden sharp pain hits my right arm. I'm so confused, the bench can't weigh more than my 3 year old son, I believe myself to be stronger than this, not thinking I was straining myself. I make my way to sit on down on the spare tire in the cargo area.

As time passes, I text my wife for help, but she's not near her phone. I try to assess what is happening and think, maybe it's a dislocated elbow? I can't move it or flex. Fingers still moving. I somehow climb out the back, then move things with my left arm, close the doors, lock them, then try to close the tailgate and the top hatch won't come down. I struggle with it, then one of the hinges pops loose, the hatch comes down, but crooked.

I finally make it inside the house, ask my wife to take me to Urgent Care. My sister in law is staying with us for the week, so she agrees to stay with the sleeping kids. I keep replaying it in my head, figuring I was at an awkward angle. When I get to urgent care, the doc starts poking at it, tells me it's not the elbow, it's a torn bicep. They take x-rays just to be certain, but the more I move it around slowly to position it, the more I can tell, it's my muscle.

Meanwhile, the realization that I am not going to be able to do much the next several weeks sinks in. I think of not being able to carry any of my 3 kids. It's gonna be a task to do daily functions. Then, I realize I won't be able to work on the car for a good while. I suddenly think of all the work that needs to be done and realize I am in way over my head.

The doc gave me a sling and some pain pills, but said I need to get a CT scan to tell how much damage. Appointment is set up, so now we wait and see.

After all that anticipation of getting the 'burb, I'm feeling pretty low right now. Had to tell my parents and in-laws, then had to tell my work that the first night I work on my new project, I injure myself. My pride is hurt more than anything. The only thing I can do is sit and wait for my arm to heal (possibly needing surgery) and wonder if I can still commit to something I've dreamed about for so long.

Has anyone else injured themselves while working on cars? I'm sure plenty. Did that stop you? slow you down?

flashed 08-29-2017 02:42 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
Welcome and sorry to hear about your shoulder issue , I hear its a major pain .Best of luck and take the time to heal .

BGarza13x 08-29-2017 04:03 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
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Thanks. I go tomorrow to get a CT scan. I'll know more then.

As for the 'burb, I happened to drive by it back in May in the yard of a mixed use place. Part Mechanic, part used car lot, part older, project car lot. I stopped and took a few pics, but it was weekend and late and I didn't want to get in trouble, so I left, planned to call. I looked on Craigslist and saw the same Big Blue Burb for sale. I started emailing, see what kind of work it needs. I go back to the lot, it's not there anymore, so I finally ask someone who was working. He told me it was not being sold there, it was one of his buddys who was just using some space. He mentioned what neighborhood the guy lives in.

I keep emailing and texting the owner, but scheduling kept interfering, I was busy during the week, he was out of town on 2 weekends, then I was on-call, then family issues... I would drive by his house to see the car, took some photos one afternoon. Knocked on the door, but no one answered.

As life went on, I stopped going by. Then I saw it on Craigslist for a 2nd time, price cut, the guy mentions that he "needs to move it".

When I finally meet up with him again, the barn-style back doors had been swapped for clamshell, it was a little cleaner. He mentioned he still needed to do a few more things, so we negotiated a low price this past Saturday, then met yesterday to get the title transfered.

Here are some photos, "Love at First Sight", then the original craigslist post, then some of those photos listed.

BGarza13x 08-29-2017 04:06 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
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Here are some photos from when I stalked it out, it was in the process of converting the Barn Doors for the Clamshell...

BGarza13x 08-29-2017 04:19 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
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And here are some photos from the 2nd Craigslist post.

I know I need to redo the interior, nothing glamorous, just cleaner and more functional. The 2nd bench in it right now is old, worn out, the front seats are dated, so I will probably get new seats from a newer car. The headliner right now is carpet (like, shag carpet for living rooms in the 80's), so I will need to redo that, as well as the carpet, the interior panels (it's missing the rear ones). I live in Texas, so I need to fix the A/C. It also needs work on the brakes, body work (it is rusted under some of the paint and maybe bang out some of the dents) and will probably paint it a different color on the outside at least. A rat chewed through some wires so the headlights and the brake lights don't work right now. I also need to put new seat belts in it, so I can drive my kids to Daycare. I'll also tune up the engine, see what it needs. Also, I need to repair/redo the rear hatch. It looks like the hinges were welded on to the roof, but it wasn't strong enough. I'll need to reinforce it, I suppose. I was also considering putting in an Electronic Fuel Injector.

Any thoughts on my task list? Anything I'm forgetting? Anything I need to keep in mind?

Bigdav160 08-29-2017 05:00 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
I see a lot of potential there. Don't give up.

I severed my distal bicep tendon unloading my Suburban about ten years ago. Doctor said I could live without the bicep muscle (and lose 40% of my arm strength - No Thanks!) and had it repaired. It's stronger than ever now.

You need any help you know where we are.

68SWB4x4 08-29-2017 09:05 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
Sounds like a torn bicep tendon.

Did your bicep "roll up" a bit in your shoulder?

I have a Suburban and do Strongman competitions... Tore mine competing (very common in the sport)

If that is the case you want to get it reattached with surgery ASAP there is a 2 week window I believe.

Good luck! While healing you can start searching and saving for all the parts you need.

I am back to competing after reattachment and its no hinderance to my day to day life (including moving suburban seats by myself)

LockDoc 08-29-2017 09:35 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
I tore my bicep about 10 years ago and the Dr. said there wasn't much that could be done about it. I now have what they call a Popeye muscle on my right arm but it has never really bothered me. The only time I notice it is when I am trying to turn a screwdriver or something like that. I still lift pretty much whatever I want. I guess my body has compensated for it.....

Good luck with your project. Everything will work out for you and I am very confident you will finish your truck.


BGarza13x 08-30-2017 12:25 AM

Re: Big Blue Burb
I believe I want surgery if it's an option. I was planning to go to get a CT early on the morning tomorrow, but the insurance hasn't authorized it yet. Tentatively planned for Friday, but I'll reschedule for sooner if I get authorized sooner. For now, ice packs and Tylenol 3.

68SWB4x4 08-30-2017 11:09 AM

Re: Big Blue Burb

Originally Posted by BGarza13x (Post 8028146)
I believe I want surgery if it's an option. I was planning to go to get a CT early on the morning tomorrow, but the insurance hasn't authorized it yet. Tentatively planned for Friday, but I'll reschedule for sooner if I get authorized sooner. For now, ice packs and Tylenol 3.

If its a bicep tendon rupture a competent surgeon won't need a CT scan its pretty easy to tell visibly. Set up an appointment with a surgeon and see what they say.

BGarza13x 08-31-2017 05:14 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
So, slow progress. Really, no other progress but inspection/assessing the vehicle more.

I took more photos of the headliner. It is carpet, like from a home. looks like it was just cut to size and glued on decades ago, 1 section was hanging down, so I ripped it out.

The headlights, the brake lights, and the reverse lights all don't work. Also, the front side lights blink when turn signal, but don't come on otherwise. The rear side lights don't turn on at all, when should each come on?

The interior is gonna be a complete gut. There is some handmade box with speakers and air vents, which neither work, on both front and back. Haven't torn them apart to see if anything is worth saving from the vent work. Door interior panels are damaged, cargo interior panels are broken or missing, the bench seat may be salvageable, but I will probably just trash it, same with the captain seats and console. I've only been able to peek at the carpet underneath and it looks like trash, can't tell what the floor panel looks like yet.

The exterior, obviously, needs work. Scratches and dents, need to sand, bang out the dents I can, bondo, then paint it. I have a replacement front fender, but its damaged too, but better than the current (1 dent instead of multiple). I think I still need to fix the tailgate conversion. Haven't been able to look at it again with only 1 working arm at the time.

Mechanically, I want to take it to a shop to be evaluated. I know it needs new brakes. Engine seems to work well, but may need a tune up. The AC needs to be repaired, I could hear the rear vent, but could not feel air coming out.

All in all, it's gonna be some work. Together, it seems daunting, but I think I can take it section by section.

BGarza13x 08-31-2017 05:17 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
5 Attachment(s)
Here are some photos I was able to take.

BGarza13x 09-03-2017 02:36 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
So, questions:

When upgrading the seatbelts, I understand the 3 point harnesses for for the left and right, but what about for the middle seats? And for the third row, do you attach to the back of the car to area?

What do you do to replace the plywood cargo floor. Put better wood?

Still uncertain of the rear sidemarker lights. When do they come on?

BGarza13x 09-14-2017 03:58 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
Slow progress on the burb. Bicep was completely torn, had surgery last Thursday, staples come out tomorrow. My dad has been helping around the house and with the truck. Neither of us could figure out the headlights until we were reminded about the Dimmer Switch on the floor. It was full of dirt and coroded, so it was replaced along with the Brake Light Switch behind the steering column. So, working headlights, brake lights, turn signals in back, and front Side Marker turn signals. Haven't fixed the reverse lights yet, or the missing components for rear Side Marker lights.

Related question: The turn signals, currently/stock were not in front of the 1969 Chevy Suburban, do aftermarket ones need to be added for it to pass inspection? I assume they'd be grandfathered in, but my dad seems convinced I need to add some, so he's rigging some up. I don't like the way they look at all, so may need to either redo the grill to include some or get a bumper with some lights. I think the guy who sold it to me may have the one in some of the pics, but it was swapped out with a white bumper.

LEEVON 09-14-2017 04:24 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
Hurt my back lifting a transmission in the middle of a build, took awhile to recover. Still have to tell myself that transmissions and engine blocks aren't a one man job anymore. Projects seem to gain and lose momentum all the time, so my comeback was stronger since I was forced to sit out. You'll be back!

richard2717 09-14-2017 05:14 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
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Originally Posted by BGarza13x (Post 8039654)

Related question: The turn signals, currently/stock were not in front of the 1969 Chevy Suburban, do aftermarket ones need to be added for it to pass inspection? I assume they'd be grandfathered in, but my dad seems convinced I need to add some, so he's rigging some up. I don't like the way they look at all, so may need to either redo the grill to include some or get a bumper with some lights. I think the guy who sold it to me may have the one in some of the pics, but it was swapped out with a white bumper.

In regards to your front turn signals they were originally in the grill on 69-70 chevys. Someone has installed an aftermarket tube grill in yours thereby deleting the signals. here is a picture of what the grill should look like with the signals. You will most likely need them for inspection.

Easiest thing to do if you want to retain that grill would be to locate a 71-72 front bumper since the turn signals are in the bumper on them



richard2717 09-14-2017 05:17 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
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here is a pic of the 71-72 grill and front bumper


BGarza13x 09-14-2017 05:23 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
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I couldn't see the lights in the original brochure. Perhaps the trucks and Suburbans were slightly different? I thought I've seen other 69 Burbs with no front lights too.

BGarza13x 09-14-2017 05:25 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
Or is that just how bad photos were in 1969? Lol. That option had never occurred to me.

BGarza13x 09-14-2017 05:30 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
I just realized i was looking for amber lenses, not clear/white, so I must have assumed they were part of the chrome... Feel dumb. Gonna blame it on the pain meds.

Bigdav160 09-14-2017 05:35 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
They are there just clear lenses(?). You'll need amber bulbs with those.

There are provisions in the pillars for shoulder belts at all three seat positions. It was an option. Of course, there wouldn't be any for the middle of the bench seat.

There should be wiring for the rear markers. The rear wiring goes from the front to the rear inside the left roof rail. Then it exits under the left rear light and goes under the truck to the right rear.

If you do a search you'll find a couple members documenting their rear wood replacement.

I wish the mods would move this to the general section as I don't look at the build area that often.

BGarza13x 09-14-2017 05:46 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
Awesome! Thanks for the info! It cleared up some questions I had. Slowly but surely, things are moving forward.

BGarza13x 09-27-2017 01:57 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb

Truck was running a bit hot, realized the radiator cap was junk, so got a new one. Then, the increased pressure made it start leaking everywhere else. Lol. New radiator and hose.

Brake leak visible on one tire, changed the wheel cylinder. Brakes still looked good but extremely dirty, so had to clean them all.

Arm is healing, I'm about 3 weeks post surgery. Regained most mobility, but still weak when it comes to lifting. Gnarly scar, about 4 inches long from forearm to bicep, then had 17 staples that came out a week out. Looks healthy, pink, new skin. There goes my modeling career.

Waiting to recover a bit before starting body work myself. Don't think I can afford a shop, so it will be homemade, except maybe some patches I'll take it in for.

BGarza13x 11-13-2017 05:40 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
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Slow progress. So, I ordered parts over a month ago and they finally got here. Got a few patch parts that I am going to either get help from a professional welder or from my dad. Rocker panels and the rear taillight section, mainly. Also, when I hurt my arm, I took my frustration out on the liftgate. It was added by the previous owner, apparently not very well. I snapped the weld on one side on top, so it droops and water comes in through the gap when it rains. Any tips on how to strengthen it?

Also, I want to buy new center caps for my rims, but have no clue what to search for or were to find it or what size. All 4 are rusted out. Any clue what
I should search for?

Last question for now, how much Lizard Skin do the Suburbans need. The website has an estimator, I came up with 4 gallons of each sound and heat insulators, is that right? Any one use it and really need that much?

flashed 11-13-2017 07:16 PM

Re: Big Blue Burb
I would try Summit Racing for the American Racing center caps or EBAY .

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