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Old 07-13-2007, 08:02 PM   #1
tygaboy
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52 Suburban project thread

So I figure I might as well start the thread.
I got a '52 'burb about a month ago and have started the project ball rolling.
Plans include Corvette suspension, some exterior body mods, a fully custom dash and interior - I do composites work as a hobby so it will have a fair amount of carbon fiber trim. Maybe even fenders and running boards in raw carbon - we'll see. I'm sure I'll be asking lots of questions along the way so thanks in advance. For now, enjoy the "Let's get this thing apart and ready for bodywork...!"
Here it is as purchased:

Last edited by tygaboy; 07-13-2007 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:04 PM   #2
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

Not too bad - for a 55 year old truck...
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:07 PM   #3
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

I decided to Soda blast it. Turns out that if you get good ol' baking soda moving fast enough, it takes paint right off. No heat and it doesn't remove any material. Since I didn't have much rust to deal with, this worked great. Best of all, they came to my house and since it's all biodegradable, I didn't have to do anything.
Cost WAY less than sand blast or dipping. The nastier surface rust will have to be dealt with manually, but I'm pleased with the result - and most importantly, so is my body guy.

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Old 07-13-2007, 08:09 PM   #4
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

The inside turned out nicely, too.
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:13 PM   #5
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

The body shop came later in the day, trailered it to the shop and got it inside. Soon to be etch primed. Now the fun begins! Oh, and the total time to blast it - inside and out - was a bit over 3 hours. They used 400 lbs of soda and charged me a tick over $700.
And it's getting a *****in' firewall, inner fenders and rad support set up. New fenders, too so that's why all that stuff isn't shown here - it's all brand spankin' new!
For now, here's my naked '52 'burb!

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Old 07-13-2007, 08:22 PM   #6
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

And for fun, here's a sample of my composite work. I made this carbon/kevlar gas tank and fairing for one of my project bikes. It just made the cover of Cycle World's SportBike Annual along with a nice 4 page article. Pretty good feeling to be featured in a national magazine...
Anyway, I want to see how these old trucks might look with some super high-tech looking mods - the whole old/new juxtaposition. Carbon fiber and 50 year old metal seems like a fair span of years to cover, no? We'll see.


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Old 07-13-2007, 09:02 PM   #7
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

This is going to be one interesting journey.................great work!
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:00 AM   #8
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

I'm always interested in these Subs. Not as many around. Good luck and keep the pics coming.
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:53 AM   #9
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

A great start on a solid Suburban.I`ll be watching this.
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:56 AM   #10
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

I work in aerospace and have worked on a couple of all-composite aircraft programs. I am extremely impressed with your quality. So the tank on the Suzuki is entirely carbon/kevlar? That must have been a challenging layup and the bag you had to make to draw it down must have real fun to get it to seal completely. I like quality craftsmanship, and I'm looking forward to seeing more on your project.
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Old 07-18-2007, 12:45 PM   #11
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

hope my 54' burb turns out nice like yours seems like it is. keep the pic's coming.
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:35 PM   #12
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

Making some progress! I quickly realized I would never get this finished before I was 85 if I did the body work myself so I bit the bullet and took it to a local body shop for the big time once over. There was a bit of rot here and there that will be cut out, both side cowls are more easily replaced than repaired and I'm doing some custom metal work - recessed license plate and frenched '59 Cadillac tail lights (staggered, stacked, 2 per side in the rear fenders), custom rear roll pan, hood holes welded up and a few more things I'm sure...
Paint is looking to be Subaru WRX blue. Same as my bike - I just love that color.
So here are some pics I took today.
Let's start with that recessed license plate...
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:48 PM   #13
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

The hood in first primer - now the fun part - make it perfect, please!
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:49 PM   #14
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

time for new panels....
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:14 PM   #15
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

Rot at the top of the fender lip area replaced and the driver's side quarter is ready for primer...
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:16 PM   #16
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

Near as we can tell, at some point the 'burb tipped over or got leaned pretty hard into something (!) and tweaked the passenger side window frames all along the length of the truck. Not too bad but it sure needed to be worked. A bit more to go here...
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:17 PM   #17
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

And the area just behind the door took a pretty good hit - it twisted the inner door frame. But it's getting there...
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:23 PM   #18
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

The Flat Out Engineering Corvette suspension kits for front and rear are here and once the body is all in primer, off it comes and we go to work on the suspension.

I've also source the engine I'll be using: a Cummins 4BT turbo diesel. It'll be converted to run on waste vegetable oil. With some minor tweaks, I'm looking for about 200 hp and 400+ lb/ft of torque. Not going to win any drag races but that's not the goal. It'll get over 25 mpg and run on free fuel. Kinda cool, in my book.

Next, I need to get the trans - 7000R4 built for use with the 4BT - a motor that revs all the way to 3000 rpm!

More pics as we make progress... So far, so good.
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:03 PM   #19
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

With all your carbon fiber experience, this should be a great tread. The cummins engine should be really awesome though. I am in the middle of swapping a vortec engine into my 51, but I seriously considered the 4BT. I wanted to keep an inline engine in it. I wish the 6 cylinder fit, but the 4BT should be really cool. Good luck, and keep the build pictures coming.

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Old 08-25-2007, 12:39 AM   #20
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

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With all your carbon fiber experience, this should be a great tread. The cummins engine should be really awesome though. I am in the middle of swapping a vortec engine into my 51, but I seriously considered the 4BT. I wanted to keep an inline engine in it. I wish the 6 cylinder fit, but the 4BT should be really cool. Good luck, and keep the build pictures coming.

Corey
I'd love to have used the 6BT but the "little" 4BT weighs about 700 lbs. The 6 is, as I understand, closer to 1100. Too much given the suspension plans. Plus the 6 would have intruded a fair bit into the cab interior. Also nice that the 4 is a "one wire" motor. No computer, mechanical injection, etc. Simple, durable. What could be better...?
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:40 AM   #21
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

This is going to be a cool different ride. Is it going to smell like McD french fries following behind you??
Keep the pictures coming....
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:30 AM   #22
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

Did you find a pages that have a good explanation of installing the motor (wiring), or have you just been reading all the diesel forums? Seems like its going to be a good swap.
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:21 PM   #23
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

Look's like a good start. I will be following your build so keep those pictures coming.
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:10 PM   #24
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

And the source of the 4BT is this lovely ex-Wonder Bread delivery truck.
I'm thinking I may stuff a small block in it and use it as my motorcycle track day vehicle. It's in remarkably good shape and pretty clean. Needs some new ball joints but I only paid $2700 for it. Plus, if I decide to skip using it, I can get about $1200 for it at the scrap yard since it's mostly aluminum...
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:13 PM   #25
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Re: 52 Suburban project thread

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Originally Posted by LB181 View Post
Did you find a pages that have a good explanation of installing the motor (wiring), or have you just been reading all the diesel forums? Seems like its going to be a good swap.
There's not much to wiring these. It's a few sensors and a power wire. Really simple. It's also nice that I have it in a running vehicle so I can just copy what I need from the bread truck.
Here it is in all it's glory... 3.9 liters of vegetable burning turbo terror!
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