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Old 01-06-2017, 12:37 AM   #1326
1985-GMC
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Awesome awning! I kinda wish the 73-91 trucks had a drip rail like these.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:24 PM   #1327
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

very cool rig subscribed for the updates!!
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Old 02-12-2017, 05:48 PM   #1328
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Stumbled across this thread looking for information/motivation for my Chevy Cummins conversion, great build! I enjoyed the pictures you took of your adventures. I had planned on taking a vacation to Flathead Lake when I finished my truck, but now I'm thinking I'll have to extend that to parts of Glacier National Park. Looking forward to more updates!
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:44 PM   #1329
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Thats super cool! a little shade and a little rain protection can make a huge difference in the mood of the whole trip! i like the white roof rack too. blends in nice.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:22 AM   #1330
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

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Originally Posted by RedChevy44 View Post
Stumbled across this thread looking for information/motivation for my Chevy Cummins conversion, great build! I enjoyed the pictures you took of your adventures. I had planned on taking a vacation to Flathead Lake when I finished my truck, but now I'm thinking I'll have to extend that to parts of Glacier National Park. Looking forward to more updates!
Glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, if you make it all the way to Flathead Lake, I say you have to go to Glacier. Very worth the extra few miles.

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Thats super cool! a little shade and a little rain protection can make a huge difference in the mood of the whole trip! i like the white roof rack too. blends in nice.
Thanks!! Yeah, it is nice having an option for inclement weather conditions. Not having a true RV, and having to do everything in the truck would make for a long, possibly unpleasant evening. Cold, wind, rain can all be reasonably dealt with now. I even had a filler piece made to hang from the rockers/quarter panel to make a "fourth wall". Hopefully we never need all of it, but it's there if we do.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:59 AM   #1331
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

So here are some more truck stuff photos before we get back to traveling photos. Up until this point I had still been using the sleep platform that I threw together for our first camp trip years ago. It worked. It was already built. It took up more space than it needed to. It had been modified many times and was better than when I built it, but over the years I had learned a lot about what I liked and didn't like about it. I had rebuilt it many times in my head and every time it worked out great. Yeah, well, it's cheaper than building materials.... Anyway, I thought I had figured out the best plan that balanced stout with functionality, weight, and ease of installation/removal.

I started out by making a new driver side rear side panel. I had done the right side as well as the left front piece, but somehow was still using the vinyl covered cardboard left rear piece. That one made a nice template on some sheet steel that I zipped out with the plasma and it got covering from the same piece that supplied material for the other panels.



Next came the platform and first on that list was the framework. The original used 2x4's. While durable, plenty stout and easy to assemble, they take up way too much space. Each side had two 2x4's screwed together. One horizontal on the bottom, one horizontal on the top, and one vertical here and there for support of the two horizontals. Now, if you add the thickness of the 2x4's together you get 3". Now each side has one of these structures, so 3" x 2 = 6" total. That is 6" of total width lost to wood. Overkill?? Yes, but it did work. Anyway, that is very valuable basement real estate, so for the redo I opted for some 1" square tube framework with some 1x2" tubing in the center. With only two 1" vertical pieces of tubing I effectively gained 4" of total width under the platform.



The 1x2" tubing allows the base to be disassembled for installation/removal. At this point it really isn't needed, but as soon as I add anything off of the sides, it won't go into or out of the rear door opening. The two pieces of tubing that run parallel in the middle are bolted together. Take the bolts out and the center falls in and can be removed. Also, if you look closely at the 1" square tubing used everywhere else, you sill see that it is riddled with E-track holes. Yep, good ol' free E-track holes. One thing that I wanted in the new setup was some form of tie down ability as well as some sort of bulkhead provisions. The E-track solved both issues. I can tie stuff down under the platform as well as use D-rings and straps to make bulkheads where needed. Why so much attention to load securement UNDER the platform?? When traveling down less than smooth roads/trails, things under the platform move at will and often end up being inaccessible. Some things always need to be accessible, other things are rarely if ever used and can be stored deeper in the middle. Without some method of securing the items, they all become jumbled up and their whereabouts are unknown.

Some E-track debris:



So after determining what the tallest item is that needs to ride under the platform I dropped the height to a fuzz (scientific measurement) over that. That is a very critical as the lower the deck gets, the better the headroom up top is. I took a couple specific measurements of me and my wife to determine how much room was needed and I was able to make enough to allow her to sit upright on the deck. I am close, but not quite enough. When camping, her comfort is more important. I went with slightly thinner plywood on the deck this time as every fraction counts. I also gained 1/2" in basement depth by getting rid of the 2x4's and using the steel tubing. What I was able to do is make the platform deck the same height as the wheel wells. I cut the deck above the wheel wells so the wheel wells actually stick through the deck. Those are the symmetrical notches on opposing sides of the deck:



Here it is outfitted with more tie downs and some hinged panels for access to the basement from the top.



The two pieces of square tubing standing vertically at the front corners are for E-track D-rings and straps to create a bulkhead to hopefully prevent everything on the deck from sliding off the front when descending long, rough trails. I also added tie down points on both sides (some are not visible from the top). All of this works together to hold everything in place and keeps it on top of the deck instead of mixing it all up and barfing it off the front when going down a trail on the brakes.

I prepped everything and got it ready to go. I sent the boy in to finish up a couple things, but I think he found a squirrel on the headliner or something:



So there it is. A whole lot of engineering/scheming on a seemingly simple item. So was it worth it?? It all turned out great and with several trips on the setup I can say that all of the planning and time spent getting it all right was very worth it. I use the center of the basement for the things rarely used and I use the ends for items that are needed more often/everytime. Everything stays put up on top very nicely now. Not shown in the pics is the carpet that rides on top of the platform for both noise abatement and aiding in equipment retention. Add everything up and it is a very nice unit now. I'm glad I finally took the time to redo it.
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:45 PM   #1332
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Thats awesome, I need to do something like that in the future
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:48 AM   #1333
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Great job!! Using all the space you have effectively is good for saving time and adding comfort. I will have to use some of your ideas in the back of my jeep.
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Old 03-01-2017, 01:27 AM   #1334
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

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Thats awesome, I need to do something like that in the future
Thanks!! It really helps use space more completely.

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Great job!! Using all the space you have effectively is good for saving time and adding comfort. I will have to use some of your ideas in the back of my jeep.
Thanks!! Yeah, use the ideas, just pay me royalties. It's nice because now I can move stuff around and keep it there while traveling. Some of the stuff never gets removed from the truck, so it can just stay put. I don't think I added any gear since the remodel, but having more room sure makes it easier to deal with.
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Old 03-02-2017, 02:05 AM   #1335
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

So after all of these miles, one thing I was not liking so much were the Rancho RS9000 shocks. I did some research and finally settled on a set of Fox 2.0 Performance Series IFP Smooth Body Shocks. I went with the non-reservoir units on the recommendation of a Fox representative. He said if I was going to Baja, I needed reservoir units. If I wasn't going to Baja, the non-reservoir units will easily handle any other roads in North America. So, I got my measurements and started shopping. It's always a challenge shopping for shocks by dimensions as the shock specs don't always match up with the specs you have to fill. I found the ones that were as close as possible and ordered them up.

Fronts:



On the rears I opted for the Roost Shields. They protect the shock shafts from flying rocks and debris.



It was an expensive upgrade, replacing seemingly "good" parts with other good parts, but the result was a ride that seems much more controlled on the rebound side. The oscillations seem more controlled. Less "bucking", if you will.

Somewhere along the way and another 30k service came up. Along with other things, I serviced the trans with another load of liquid gold from the GM store in the form of the specific NV4500 lube. I also serviced the trans filter:



For such a simple device, this thing works amazingly well. The lube I drained out still looks fantastic. Good enough I have saved the lube from both services so far (thought about reinstalling it both times too). One I carry in the truck as emergency refill and the other I keep in the shop as backup lube. Since both services have yielded such good looking lube, I'm considering running the interval out a little bit--especially if I install a cooler on the box.

Another issue I had to address was replacing some more junk-ass reproduction chinese parts with some good old domestic NOS GM parts. I installed the reproduction tail light lenses when I built the truck and they are already looking pink at best. I couldn't bring myself to install another set of the junk-ass chinese crap, so I scoured a set of NOS GM lenses:



Junk-ass chinese crap vs real domestic high grade NOS greatness:



Keep your GM vehicle all GM......Good words to live by.
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Old 03-02-2017, 03:01 AM   #1336
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Funny how your filter looks like a ball of yarn. I have the bucking issue in my '87 Jimmy maybe time to ditch the rancho's.
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Old 04-18-2017, 02:33 AM   #1337
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

So some time ago, a friend of mine that I buy parts from, dangled this carrot in front of me:



Yes, that is a factory cable driven diesel tach setup from a 67-72 medium duty truck equipped with a Detroit. I very wisely passed on it for some time, but then I started having issues with my ISSPRO tach reading strangely. I'm not sure if it was a pickup problem or an actual tach head issue, but I would have been waaaaay bucks ahead to buy a whole new tach setup (or two), (or three), than convert to this tach setup. Anyway, I bought the tach cluster then proceeded to empty my wallet (a couple times over) getting it adapted to function in my truck and spend a huge amount of time tracking down parts for it (and cleaning that funk off the lens--that stuff was like a crackhead resisting an eviction notice).
After searching out a bunch of parts and having the tach head gone through and recalibrated by a speedo company that doesn't listen very well, I finally was able to assemble and install the converted cluster.



Astute observers will recognize the ammeter is no longer an ammeter. It is a converted volt meter and is made to look accurate for the cluster.

A close up of the gauge in operation:



Backside of the cluster showing the wiring for the volt meter conversion as well as the tach drive adapter. Ever wonder why the tach printed circuit had that strangely shaped hole in it?? Here's your answer:



In the end I found out the drive adapter is not needed for my application. It actually reverses the rotation making the tach try to read backwards. It sucks because it made the cable easier to attach. Oh well.

So a cable driven tach has no place to attach to a Cummins. The nice thing is, the Cummins B series has been used in so many different applications that it is only a matter of combining the correct parts to make a tach drive off the front of the motor where the original oil fill pipe used to reside:



Oh boy, a clearance issue with my GM fan on the Cummins. Goody. With some good old school file work, I was able to maximize the clearance between the fan and tach drive adapter:



I figured if the fan moves fore or aft, it would only move forward thus creating more clearance between the two components. It has been in there for over 10k with no issues so far and there has been some flogging along the way....

"Action" shot of the cluster:



So with the addition of the "factory" volt meter in the cluster, I was able to get rid of my aftermarket volt meter under the dash and with the factory tach I was able to get rid of my aftermarket tach up in my dash-top gauge pod. This allowed me to move my trans temp gauge up into my dash-top pod:



I also removed all of the crappy switches in my switch panel with Carling round bat toggle switches:



I like the look of the duckbill switches, but they were just junk.

I have been putting off making a panel for my coolant heater controls, so I took the opportunity to make a home for those as well:



I included a dual 2.1A USB charging port while I was at it.

So all in all it was a ridiculous amount of time and money completing this tach install. In the end, was it worth it?? Meh, who knows. It does look cool and that's all that matters, right??
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:43 AM   #1338
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Was it worth it? Without knowing what you spent it's hard to say but it does look good. If it works and you're happy with the look then it was. I didn't know there was a cable driven tach available for these. I'm surprised you haven't fabbed up some kind of special fit glove box to fit in there yet, considering how much effort you put into storage space on this rig.
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Old 04-18-2017, 03:56 PM   #1339
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

It looks very nice! I miss my factory diesel tach cluster. By the way, those new shocks are pretty sweet too!
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:32 PM   #1340
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

I'd say it was worth it! All looking original and got to eliminate 2 gauges. Nice install.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:06 PM   #1341
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

yeah, it was worth it. i can say that because it's not my money. but it does look good.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:30 AM   #1342
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Nice work! More great upgrades to give us all ideas for our junk
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:28 AM   #1343
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

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Was it worth it? Without knowing what you spent it's hard to say but it does look good. If it works and you're happy with the look then it was. I didn't know there was a cable driven tach available for these. I'm surprised you haven't fabbed up some kind of special fit glove box to fit in there yet, considering how much effort you put into storage space on this rig.
Glove boxes and liners in these thing piss me off. Every time I have to get to something behind it, it has to come out. Installing them is easy, but removal sucks. I thought about some other storage device, but I have so much available elsewhere I liked this better for mounting other "dashboard" type things. Since this pic, I have mounted a T handle Bowden cable in there, on a bracket, to control a heater coolant valve. This way if we get somewhere and it gets cold, I don't have to get under the hood to open the previous ball valve I had. I can just pull the cable and get heat or turn on the Webasto unit.

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It looks very nice! I miss my factory diesel tach cluster. By the way, those new shocks are pretty sweet too!
Thanks!! Thanks again for the help in figuring out the option group for the drive parts.

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I'd say it was worth it! All looking original and got to eliminate 2 gauges. Nice install.
Thank you!!

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yeah, it was worth it. i can say that because it's not my money. but it does look good.
Thanks!!

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Nice work! More great upgrades to give us all ideas for our junk
Thanks!!
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:03 PM   #1344
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

So did anyone else notice that photo****et updated their terms of service...
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Old 07-02-2017, 01:25 AM   #1345
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

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So did anyone else notice that photo****et updated their terms of service...
Photobucket sucks balls. Nick is on another epic road trip right now (talked to him via text today AAMOF) so it will be a few days before he gets home and can fix the pix.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:12 AM   #1346
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

What they did is extremely ****ed up. They've basically decided to hold everyone's pictures hostage unless they fork out $400 a year to enable 3rd party hosting. I'm sure there's hundreds of thousands of people that have posted millions of photos on thousands of forums and all of a sudden none of the pictures work. I'm thinking its going to be longer than a few days before its fixed.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:50 PM   #1347
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

I'm betting over 3/4s of my build threads are all gone now too. What a chit show PB you bunch of greedy sons of..........

I don't know if they'll even go back we'll just have to see.

I did get a pic from Nick last week and he was in Montana. I hope all your travels are going well dude!
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:17 AM   #1348
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Well, I've redone the pics on a few of the first pages. It's a bunch of work and I haven't had a bunch of time to devote to it lately, but it's a start.

Anyway, here's a new pic to end the old year:

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Old 12-31-2017, 08:02 PM   #1349
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Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Awesome! What are you running for head lights? I don't remember but I'm betting they aren't plain old halogens are they?
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Old 01-02-2018, 02:31 AM   #1350
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Phoenix AZ
Posts: 1,114
Re: The Story Of A Cummins Suburban (Lots Of Pics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselwrencher View Post
Awesome! What are you running for head lights? I don't remember but I'm betting they aren't plain old halogens are they?
Sylvania Silver Star headlights. One step or two above plain halogens. I can't bring myself to spend the hundreds of dollars per lamp assembly when a stray stone kicked up off the road can take them right out of service. These Silver Stars are noticeably brighter than the halogens they replaced and cost somewhere in the low $20's each. Supposedly they don't last as long as standard halogens, but I have had good life out of mine.
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1972 K20 Suburban, 5.9L Cummins, Banks Power Pack, NV4500HD, NP205, H.A.D., D60/14FF ARB Link To Build: HERE.
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