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Old 05-03-2018, 02:23 AM   #1
guntotn
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: Idaho
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1988 Suburban - Cummins, Body swap and Rear A/C HELP

Hello, Hopefully I am posting in the correct location. I have a 1988 Suburban with a Cummins swap. I love the truck but the body has rust that is developing, thanks to Northern Idaho snow melt chemicals. I found a really clean 1989 Suburban in Oregon and I want to do a body swap. I would love to just slap the engine in that vehicle but the frame in my suburban was cut and altered to fit the 5.9 cummins. Here are a few questions and concerns I have. Sorry for the length of the post but I thought I should paint a clear picture to get a clear answer...

1. I didn't get an approval from DMV to do the engine swap in my suburban. Although the suburban was a 6.2 diesel so maybe DMV doesn't care?

2. I am not sure how a body swap works but both vehicles have titles so I imagine it shouldn't be that hard. My biggest concern is back to the first point. If I didn't get DMV approval for the engine swap will the vin inspector doc me or fine me for not getting an engine/vin inspection for the swap?

3. Do I have to register both vehicles before doing the body swap or can I purchase the other suburban, perform the swap then just show the paper work to DMV? My plan was to head to California and do all this work there as I have access to a lift.

4. If DMV is all taken care of then the vehicle I found does not have rear A/C. I like to install or retrofit the rear A/C out of another suburban BUT this does not look like an easy task as the lines look like they route through the frame. Has anyone else done this and what are my alternatives? With 4 young kids rolling down the window isn't always an option. (This is our main driver)

The new suburban is extremely clean so I really don't want to pass it up as is the exact colors I have been looking for so I will save a lot of money not having to buy new panels to try to color match my interior. My current suburban has 3 rows of gray leather seats from a 2015 Honda Minivan so it will match fairly well. I really blew it by using the donor vehicle to do the swap as it wasn't as clean as it should have been. Lesson learned!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-03-2018, 04:20 PM   #2
Dieselwrencher
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Re: 1988 Suburban - Cummins, Body swap and Rear A/C HELP

First, I'd call the DMV for your state and see what they say. I think you'd just need a bill of sale for each Burb and as long as the VIN's come back clean, they will probably issue a new VIN and title. As far as the diesel swap, does your state have emissions checks? The way the federal law used to read was that if your engine you put in was newer than the vehicle it was going in, you were fine. It does vary state to state. Luckily my state doesn't have smog/emissions checks and it isn't an issue.

I have a 79 K20 that has rear AC. The lines do run down the RH frame rail. I can get some pics of it for you if you'd like.

For you project, as long as your frame on the rusty truck is ok, a body swap will be much faster for sure IMO.
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1972 Chevy Longhorn K30 Cheyenne Super, 359 Inline 6 cylinder, Auto Trans, Tilt, Diesel Tach/Vach, Buckets, Rare Rear 4-link and air ride option Build Thread
1976 K30 CC SWB Build Thread

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Old 05-03-2018, 04:29 PM   #3
guntotn
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Re: 1988 Suburban - Cummins, Body swap and Rear A/C HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselwrencher View Post
First, I'd call the DMV for your state and see what they say. I think you'd just need a bill of sale for each Burb and as long as the VIN's come back clean, they will probably issue a new VIN and title. As far as the diesel swap, does your state have emissions checks? The way the federal law used to read was that if your engine you put in was newer than the vehicle it was going in, you were fine. It does vary state to state. Luckily my state doesn't have smog/emissions checks and it isn't an issue.

I have a 79 K20 that has rear AC. The lines do run down the RH frame rail. I can get some pics of it for you if you'd like.

For you project, as long as your frame on the rusty truck is ok, a body swap will be much faster for sure IMO.
Waiting on a call from an inspector at DMV. He's out till next week. No smog here. The engine in the burb is a 1995 so that should cover me for either vehicle. I might have missed out on that suburban I found haven't heard back from the guy. I even thought about picking up a excursion and dropping the engine and transmission in that. I would have to figure out the wiring harness and all the lines though so I am sure that will set me back a few thousand dollars and lots of time not to mention the cost for an excursion. I think the body swap would be the easiest and least expensive at this point. Finding a straight non rusted body is a huge problem though. I have searched all over the west coast with no luck. I love the vehicle but I am getting a bit burned out in dealing with sourcing parts. If I sold my suburban and went to an excursion I don't think I would get anywhere near what I put into it seeing the body has rust. Plus I would lose my beautiful cummins. Decisions...
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:17 PM   #4
Dieselwrencher
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Re: 1988 Suburban - Cummins, Body swap and Rear A/C HELP

It's a little far away, but I could sell you this one.

https://desmoines.craigslist.org/cto...554060087.html

I have a 00 Excursion with a VE pumped 24v so I could give you pointers on that too.

http://www.67-72chevytrucks.com/vboa...ight=excursion
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1972 Chevy Longhorn K30 Cheyenne Super, 359 Inline 6 cylinder, Auto Trans, Tilt, Diesel Tach/Vach, Buckets, Rare Rear 4-link and air ride option Build Thread
1976 K30 CC SWB Build Thread

Tired of spark plugs? Check this out.
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:27 PM   #5
guntotn
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Re: 1988 Suburban - Cummins, Body swap and Rear A/C HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselwrencher View Post
It's a little far away, but I could sell you this one.

https://desmoines.craigslist.org/cto...554060087.html

I have a 00 Excursion with a VE pumped 24v so I could give you pointers on that too.

http://www.67-72chevytrucks.com/vboa...ight=excursion
Nice Suburban but we want barn doors. I had one with a tailgate and it was too hard for my wife to close it. I know my wife would appreciate the comfort of a Excursion over the suburban but I think the upfront cost for a excursion is going to keep us away from that option. I just got off the phone with a guy that has an 2002 7.3 excursion and he wants $29k!!! The price for those trucks are crazy. Thanks for the help if we decide to go that direction!
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