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Old 01-16-2017, 11:49 PM   #1
Ryan Hubbard
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1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

So this past year my MIL passed away and my FIL decided to sell the house and move to a smaller home. He has always had a collection of trucks and I have taken a few from him and fixed them up. I first got a 1971 C20 Longhorn and restored it almost 20 years ago and still have it. I also have a 1971 K20 that I am going to build for my son and will have a trophy truck chassis underneath it.

But I decided to grab this Suburban from him because I have been doing the Scout thing with my son and decided I could use this Suburban for Scout trips and such.

Here is the basics, 1990 V2500 Silverado with a 350/4L80E combo with 4.10 gears. The truck has 160,000 miles and has a new GM Goodwrench Engine about 20,000 miles ago. My FIL had it repainted and the interior is in great shape. I also had the truck on a lift and there is absolutely no rust anywhere on this truck and the body is straight.

I did some minor fixes/upgrades at my FIL's home before the drive home. I installed a new stereo and speakers in the rear so I could have Bluetooth/ Music Streaming for the drive. I also replaced most of the exterior lights and put on a new muffler and tailpipe.

I drove this truck 1000 miles to get it home without a problem. I even had heat and windshield wipers through a pretty good snow storm. I got it to my shop in So Cal and cleaned it up. But I did notice on the trip that I had a small leak in the heather core.
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Old 01-16-2017, 11:55 PM   #2
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

So here is the plan for this truck, first I am going to get the A/C and Heat working and without any leaks and get the vents working correctly. I am also going to replace the headliner and carpet because something was spilled in the back that ruined the carpet.

Also I need to replace the dash since it was cracked from old age. So I took the dash apart and pulled out the carpet and headliner in the back.
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Old 01-17-2017, 12:05 AM   #3
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

I cleaned up the engine compartment and will be replacing the Condenser, Compressor and Evaporators for the A/C.

The current plan is to get this registered and start driving it for camping trips and family outings. I already got most of the parts to do the interior and the A/C done. So I plan to leave this alone for a while.

I plan to do a 4" lift with a set of Deaver Spings and New shocks and am looking for options on upgrading the brakes but I can tell I am limited with my options due to the 8 lug wheels.

But I do plan to put a LS3 Erod engine in this truck by the end of the year. I have to put up with emission laws here in So Cal so my only option is to go Erod.
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Old 01-17-2017, 12:08 AM   #4
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Here is my C20 that is now being used for parts storage for the suburban.
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Old 01-17-2017, 03:36 AM   #5
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Sweet rigs. You could start your own fire department. Sure it's not a 1991 with the 4l80e? There are some guys on here doing big brake upgrades on 8 lug axles. Not sure if applicable since the ones I have seen were on D60/14FF not 10 bolt and 9.5 sf. Looking forward to your review on the Deaver springs.
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Old 01-17-2017, 10:59 AM   #6
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

The 4L80E replaced the T400 transmission. But it went right in and was an easy install.
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:46 AM   #7
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

I will post some pictures but I now have a factory tach in my dash and moved the fuel gauge to the lower left corner of the dash. I also rebuilt the the a/c unit under the dash and have the system working by going to proper outlets when it is selected. I also got the rear air unit back together.

I then went to charge the A/C with Freon and couldn't get a vacuum so I pressurized the system with compressed air and found my leak. Someone had cut the high pressure line going to the back of the vehicle. They had cut it with a pair of heavy duty dikes. I don't know why anyone would cut it. But I was able to fix it using a Swagelok 3/8" tubing union and then pulled a vacuum on the system and charged the A/C system with freon. Now I have A/C in the front and back.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:32 PM   #8
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Well things got a little hectic with my vehicles and had to put the Suburban back into service after I awoke to the noise of someone hitting my wife's car in front of our house.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:45 PM   #9
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

I finally had some time to do some upgrades on the Suburban and thought I would document them. I pulled the whole interior out and put in Rattle Trap sound barrier and then put Jute Felt on top of that. I even did the whole roof with the Rattle Trap.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Also during this time, I was able to purchase a lift out of a closed Kmart service center and installed it in my shop.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:51 PM   #11
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

So after I sound proofed the interior, I installed new carpet and headliner for the suburban. I also installed the new dash and my instrument panel with a tach and moved the fuel gauge.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:59 PM   #12
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Next up was the upgrade I stole from a few others, I installed power points for the passengers in the back. In the center console, I installed two USB power ports and two 12 volt power outlets. I also installed one of each in the third row. I didn't take a picture, but I also installed one of each in the front of the center console for the driver and front passenger.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:04 PM   #13
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Also during this time I had the truck out of service, I installed a new transmission controller. The truck had the TCI controller and I kept having issues with it and have been running the same controller in the C20 and I just have not been happy with it. So I went and bought a US Shift controller which used to be the Baumann Controller. It is a great unit and made driving the truck and much more pleasurable experience. I mounted the unit down on the floor so I can still see it for the trans temp.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:06 PM   #14
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

My next upgrade was a set of Wilwood Brake Calipers
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:09 PM   #15
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

I also picked up a set of 2500HD Alloy Rims on Craigs List. The tires have a good amount of tread left, so I will run them for a while.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:13 PM   #16
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

I got the center caps with the wheels but I need to cut out the centers for the front hubs. So i used my water jet cutter to cut the centers out.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:17 PM   #17
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

I also ordered a set of Deaver springs for the front and rear with a 4" lift. I also got a set of Bilsteins for the four corners. I should have the springs in a few weeks and will post when I have those installed. Now the truck is back into service. Just in time to go on a backpacking trip with my son this weekend.

The next item to install will be the LS3, which I plan to do in the fall.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:30 PM   #18
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

You've been busy. Sucks about your other rig getting smoked, but on the bright side you get to drive your suburban. Bet she will ride great with those springs and shocks.
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Old 06-13-2017, 07:21 PM   #19
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Nice work. Glad to see it kept mostly original.

I didn't know Wilwood made calipers for a K20, that's pretty cool.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:37 PM   #20
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Very cool rig! My parents got a 1998 suburban when I was in scouts and we went on many trips in that thing. Lots of trailers pulled, and lots of awesome memories! It's got 306k miles on it now and is still trucking.

How about a picture of it with the 2500 rims?
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Old 07-31-2017, 05:58 PM   #21
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Just picked up my Deaver Springs for the Truck this morning. Am going to try and get the springs in this week. Already have the Bilstien Shocks and other components I need. Just need to get the old springs out and new ones in.
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Old 01-24-2018, 07:42 PM   #22
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

It has been a while since I posted but I installed the Deaver Springs and a rear sway bar. I also reinstalled the Bilstiens. I also put a set of Nitto Terra Grapplers on which are 33" tires and d rated. All these changes have made the ride in the suburban really nice. We took a family trip in it to Boise, ID after Christmas and the thing made the trip with no issues. Just need to save up for the LS swap and then I will be really happy. I also had the windows tinted so I have limo all around the back and 35% tint on the driver and passenger windows.
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Old 01-26-2018, 03:37 PM   #23
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

Wow kickass truck dude! That's got to be one of the cleanest squares I've ever seen and all of those upgrades and creature comfort work will keep it fun to ride in for years to come. Especially once you get that Erod LS3 installed lol. I'm up by Sacramento and feel your pain about our stupid smog laws. My way around them was finding a smog exempt diesel K5 that will eventually be getting a stroked LS2 and 4L80 once I finish gathering parts.

If your still looking for a brake upgrade there are some guys on CK5 that are using a bracket from Thor Parts that lets you convert your 10 bolt front axle to a slip on rotor and uses Hummer H3 calipers. No real options for the rear semi-float but it's not to hard to swap in a late model axle that came with discs from the factory (that's the route I'm going). Just takes relocating shock mounts and spring perches and adapting it to your brake cable.

I grew up riding around in my dad's 85 Burb and went on a ton of boy scout outings and camping trips across the country in that beast so I'll always have a soft spot for trucks like yours
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:49 AM   #24
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

This is Awesome!

The 12 volt and usb plugs are a pretty neat idea i hadn't seen before

Curious any futures changes in mind?
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:08 AM   #25
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Re: 1990 V2500 Suburban Build Thread

You've got a really clean burb, and have done some great work to it. A lot of your upgrades are in line with what I've got planned for mine.

I started my scouting adventure in my dad's old '74 Chrysler Town & Country station wagon. Over the decade that we had that thing, we made a lot of good memories, and I eventually ended up becoming an Eagle Scout. You'll make some great memories with your son in that thing.
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