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Old 03-13-2019, 11:04 AM   #26
Ski-me
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Every truck is a little different but I've gotten 32x11.5r15 and 33x12.5r15 on stock height trucks. I did have to hammer in the inside lip of the front fenders. And I also have to be a little gentle turning if the suspension is moving a bit, due to bumps. The rears tend to sag due to time, so adding a zero-rate lift spring helps level it out (1" block really).

I have a 2.5" lift and have 35x12.5r15's on stock rally wheels. No issues. I run 4.10's and it's pretty decent. Much better than the original 3.42's.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:13 AM   #27
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

I might not be the best influence, and its not a suburban, but I am 5.3/4L80E Swapping my 1980 C10 specifically so I can 3-season daily drive it. I use Imports or modern cars for the winter, because (generally) they hold up better in the salt/brine thats used here in Maine.

I say go for it - if you love the 'burb you buy, you won't regret it.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:19 PM   #28
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Thanks, Jeff. Seems like 31x10.5 or 32x10.5 wouldn't be an issue. Unless a truck I buy has been recently gone through, the first things I do usually are springs, shocks, tires, swaybars (if absent), brakes. I've never lifted anything because the majority of offroad service here in PA is pretty mild stuff on state forest fire line roads (old logging skid roads) and a stock height 1/2 ton usually will do, but I could see the benefit to something 2.5" or less for a bit of additional clearance and suspension travel. Or a stock 3/4 ton.

Eric... I had originally thought of doing something similar to what you're doing with your C10 (really nice, btw) with Earl. He's lowered 2/2 and rides on rallyes with radials. Stock 3/4 ton springs in back with 2" blocks, 2" drop 1/2 ton springs in front. Bilstein shocks. Swaybars front and back. There was a plan once for an LS swap. Then kids came along. The missing 4th door that never bothered me became a hassle when trying to get toddlers into car seats!

Yeah... I think I'll go for it.
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:48 PM   #29
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

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Originally Posted by Ski-me View Post
^^^^ Love this truck!!

I assume you put in the 4L80e?
Yes, I put the 4L80E, originally came with a turbo 400.

As far as mileage goes, I still get 10 to 12 mpg. Of course here in the west we drive faster on the freeways, I am always commuting at 75 mph when there is no traffic so my fuel mileage shows this. But with the current set up, I am only turning 2500 rpms when I am cruising the freeway at 75 mph.
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:49 PM   #30
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Undercoating. Yes.I have seen the cheap stuff drip off. But have also used some rubberized undercoating that held up well. Putting the first coat on too thick rather than as 2 or 3 light coats is a problem.

But in high school I bought a 1959 Triumph TR3. Almost the entire drivers floorboard was rusted out. And there were other bad spots too. I was on a budget, to put it lightly. I had to use what I could find lying around the farm to fix it. I cut off the sheet metal from the outside of an old hot water heater that had not made it to the dump, made a new pan. Got a gallon bucket of roofing tar and some mineral spirits, thinned out the tar and spent most of a day under the car painting every surface I could find. That was in about 1981. I still have the car and no rust has penetrated anywhere that was coated in tar.

So it can work. But yes coating everything can be an issue. You just need to find a motivated 18 year old.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:18 PM   #31
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Roofing tar? Really? What an interesting idea. I mean, it's meant to prevent water from penetrating on a roof, so why not? It would be tough to mentally prepare myself to take roofing tar to a neat old survivor truck... a mental hurdle that probably doesn't even exist to a motivated 18 year old.

Gotta be tons cheaper than any automotive specialty product that tries to do the same thing, too!

Roofing tar and used motor oil. Huh.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:24 PM   #32
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Roofing tar undercoating must be a old trick....not the first time I've heard of it used for undercoating
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Old 03-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #33
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Old? Old?! Dang Mongo, you trying to tell me I'm old? I mean I'm getting there, but still.

Really though, my main point is there's usually more than one way to skin a cat - wait, I'm sure PETA is not going to like that expression - more than one way to accomplish an end goal. Roofing tar ain't sexy, but then how often does someone look under your truck? In a TR3 there's only about 3 1/2 inches of ground clearance, so for sure no one else is ever going to know.

And it is cheap.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:11 AM   #34
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Hey Ryan,

Earl looks great.

I can only add how I handled the same desire, with the caveat that like you, having owned many GM trucks, each generation gets better.

Instead of going out and buying an older truck that was someone else's memories I decided to buy a new one and create my own memories. When I see a K5 blazer going down the road, I remind myself that I'm driving the modern incarnation of that truck (2016 Yukon) and someday we will look back on this Yukon and think of it fondly like the K5. And it will have been "mine" with "our memories".

Properly tuned carbs drive just fine but I prefer modern tech. No vapor lock, stuck choke, broken throttle linkages, etc. Never mind that the 305/350/454 tech from that era would be outrun by the 4-cylinder that is an option in the 2019 Silverado with double the MPG.

And if I were to go against my own best judgement and do it, I'd go with a 97-99 Suburban for the Vortec 350, dual airbags, and general modern feel. There's a TON of difference between a 88 and a 98. Night and day.

Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:09 AM   #35
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

This '87 square pickup was a daily driver for 30 years and 200,000+ miles. Lil Red retired in November of 2017.

Fuel injected V6, overdrive manual trans, 3.73 gears. Power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning. Routinely pulled down 22-24 mpg commuting to work.

It was one of the most pleasant vehicles to drive that I have ever owned. Basically it was a "modern" vehicle wrapped in vintage sheet metal.

K
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:42 AM   #36
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Hey, Wes. I totally get where you're coming from. I just can't get excited about a new truck and the payment that comes with it. A 97-99 is probably the most reasonable choice (cost, options, comfort, drivetrain, etc.), but I always loved the late-'70s square trucks. Dad had '77 and '85 Suburbans when I was growing up and I'll always be drawn to them. Thanks for the compliment on Earl. I'm gonna miss him.

Really nice truck, Keith. I've said for years that if GM would put a modern drive train and some of the modern conveniences into a vintage-style body, they'd have a home run. That, or make a Suburban in work truck trim for guys that want to use them as trucks with a price-point to match.

I have a really clean '88 located. But still thinking about that '76...

R
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Old 04-03-2019, 11:11 AM   #37
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

A little late to the party, but I have been dailying an 87 r20 for 4 years. Replaced the 454 with a 4.8 and then swapped a 5.3 w/ 4l80e to make highway miles a lot more reasonable. Would take it anywhere at this point. Really need to do the 3 point belts in the back for the kids. But plan to keep this truck a long time.

Its perfect for all the interesting side jobs I get into, no payment, 16 mpg cruising at 70 mph, and I feel like I am actually investing in a vehicle as opposed to one depreciating faster than I can type this comment.
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Old 04-03-2019, 11:18 AM   #38
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanAK View Post
H

Really nice truck, Keith. I've said for years that if GM would put a modern drive train and some of the modern conveniences into a vintage-style body, they'd have a home run. That, or make a Suburban in work truck trim for guys that want to use them as trucks with a price-point to match.


R
Key here is the seats need to be able to fold and get an 8' sheet in the back.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:29 PM   #39
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Well, just keep in mind that back when these old Suburbans were new that we used them for daily drivers and to haul our kids around. Assuming good repair, they aren't any less capable or safe than originally.

For years we had a 1977 2wd Suburban with a four speed manual. For much of that time we lived up in the mountains of western Colorado and never suffered for lack of 4wd. You just had to be a little bit wise what you got yourself into. Had tire chains but only used them once or twice on the Suburban, in extreme conditions. Traded it for a 1991 4x4 after moving to Montana because anytime you get off the pavement here you are at the mercy of gumbo if it rains a half inch.

I will say that if running an older vehicle, you pretty much need to have some sort of backup rig to drive when it needs some fixin'. Still cheaper than payments/plates/insurance on a newer one.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:29 PM   #40
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

I don't want to daily mine since the commute is 212 miles round trip. But, I just bought it in NC and drove it 800 miles home to NH. It's been sitting behind the barn for 6 years. My boys and I put two days of work into it and drove it home. Everything went smooth and we pulled 13.5 mpg from the 350, SM465, 35 inch MT combo.


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Old 06-23-2019, 08:29 PM   #41
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

I have daily driven square bodies off and on for a long time, I currently have a 90 suburban and a 91 crewcab. I live in Montana and when winter time shows up a 4x4 can be a necessity. They both get bad mileage and neither one is as comfortable as the 2012 suburban my wife drives but I would take either of them on a road trip of any distance and prefer to drive them when the roads are bad. As long as you are comfortable with some tools in your hands and have a fairly good understanding of everything you will enjoy driving one every day.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:37 AM   #42
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Ok, I pulled the trigger. My '71 C10 Suburban is posted on Craigslist... and a '78 K10 will be making its way from Montana to Pennsylvania. I had been daily driving the '71, including 250 mile interstate round-trips for work, and I really do enjoy an older truck.

Y'all convinced me... though my choice might not have been the most 'reasonable' for an all-day-every-day daily driver. The '78 will need a few minor things, but it's dry (just a few blisters, no rot) and has a new GM 350 crate motor with less than 3000 miles and 18 months of warranty on it. 3.73 rear. A/C, clean interior, mechanically sound.

The logistics of getting this truck transported from Trego, MT to PA is proving to be a hassle. Not the cost necessarily... I planned for that. But the rural location of the seller is making things challenging.

nobox351y - I'm with you. No payment and I feel like I'm investing in a truck rather than watching it depreciate faster than the payoff amount is coming down. Your rig is great... 5.3 / 4l80e is a great swap. If the '78 didn't have a brand new engine...

1976gmc20 - I'll definitely be in the market for a slider for long work trips and when I'm tinkering on the new '78. The 2011 Z71 Tahoe is doing that for now... but it (and its payment) gotta go. Looking for something good on gas with some character. Maybe a wagon of some sort...

Avitech - you boys' faces say it all, brother!

oltronj - I've spent time in MT and even with a 'newer' '97 Tahoe when I was out there for a few months in my 20s, I always had a tool kit with me and was confident I could deal with anything that would happen. I feel even better with a square body. Pretty straight forward to work on.

Thanks for all the input, gang. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:17 PM   #43
1976gmc20
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Geez - I been here 22 years and I had to look up Trego on the Delorme topo atlas.

That's about 400 miles from here and we live near the middle of the state.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:56 AM   #44
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Yeah... I'm not sure what my strategy needs to be to get the rig on a truck to travel to PA. I might have to fly out to get it and drive home with my fingers crossed...

R
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:12 PM   #45
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

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Originally Posted by RyanAK View Post
Yeah... I'm not sure what my strategy needs to be to get the rig on a truck to travel to PA. I might have to fly out to get it and drive home with my fingers crossed...

R
Nearest place of any real size is Kalispell. Not sure if they have passenger air service there right now or not? Next place down the road is Missoula.

Would the seller drive it down to Missoula to meet you?
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:40 PM   #46
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

I've hinted around the idea of getting the truck to Missoula with the seller, but he hasn't taken the bait. Ha!

Worse case scenario is I pack the fly rods, jump on a jet, and meander home with the truck. Fishing along the way. Geez, that would be terrible.

On a positive note, Earl went to a nice local guy that loves these old trucks and he paid me much more than I really thought I could get for the 'burb. Sometimes things just work out....

Making a list of things to go through / do to the 'new' '78 when it gets here. I like the planning part of when a new old truck comes into our lives.

R
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:39 PM   #47
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

I'm about halfway across the state, but let me know if I can be of any assistance.
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:14 AM   #48
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

I guess my 91 Burb is technically my daily driver since it's the only vehicle I personally own. Thank god I have a company vehicle.
This is its common habitat...
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:22 AM   #49
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

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I'm about halfway across the state, but let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Appreciate the offer! I'm still hopeful!
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:07 PM   #50
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Re: Daily Driving a Square Suburban

Got it off the trailer around 10:00pm last night. Alternator not charging, doors need adjustment, some trim is loose. Otherwise as expected. New GM crate seems well setup. Inspection sticker, tires (suggestions?) and A/C serviced and we’re ready to roll. Not sure about the running boards or huge mud flaps yet...



Thanks for all the information and encouragement!

Ryan & Family
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