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Old 01-09-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
jbclassix
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1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

I have always been a BIG fan of 67-72 Chevy trucks, and even bigger fan of 69-70 GMC's. With a new adition to the family, it was time to find a Suburban. It was getting harder to get the baby in and out of the back seat of a 2 door Yukon. I knew what I wanted and my wife really liked the idea. It had to be a GMC. I needed a 4x4 living in CO, and I would really like to find one in Copper. So, here is what I found.











Now to start the build... First was to get it to reliable daily driver status since my wife would probably be driving it more than me for the time being. I am not a fan of leaks, and decided this was the first problem I needed to address.

It originally had a 350, but had a 400 installed by the PO. I checked the casting #'s to see what I was dealing with. I got the block casting number by laying a piece of masking tape behind the head and rubbing it with a crayon.

And thats when I found my first concern. The head casting was 3998993 which only showed to be used on 307's and 350's! This cating also had either 1.72" or 1.94" intake valves! I needed to make sure the heads had the steam holes, and atleast 1.94" valves, so into the engine I went. I was very happy with the condition of the valve train, usually, I'd find more crud under the valve cover than this.

One thing that made me want to keep these heads is the shape of the intake ports. Most SBC heads have the extra material cast in the upper wall for the valve cover bolt that causes port match interference. These don't.

The temp dropped below 5deg, so to wrap it up for the day, I threw a temporary steering wheel on.
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Old 01-09-2010, 02:06 PM   #2
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

thats a sweet looking ride! congrats on finding it and good luck!
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:32 AM   #3
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Here is what this Suburban is replacing







Here is a link to the rest of the pictures I used when I sold her
http://picasaweb.google.com/wild.bil.../96ChevyTruck#
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:49 AM   #4
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

nice addition. wish i had one like that, ll be looking for one later (hopefully)
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... more and more work

Boo! cracked head!



It Gets worse. #1 piston is different,



And the hole on #3 has damage I can catch my nail on!



There is signs of water damage on #4



Well, out she's gotta come!



The coolant in the valley came from removing the water pump. The coolant in #3 was there when I pulled the head.

Last edited by jbclassix; 12-06-2012 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:59 PM   #6
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Dropped the front end down today to pull the engine. I extended the engine hoist all the way up to see if it would pull it without dropping the front of the truck. It would pick it far enough up, but the garage door was too low to pull the hoist backwards out of the truck. So I pulled the wheels and set the rotors on blocks. I think all in all I did about 1 hour of work on the truck including wheels and picking the engine. The rest of the day was spent trying to fix the stutter in the Scout, picking up and dropping off the hoist. BTW thanks Dale from binderplanet for loaning me the hoist!

If you ever have to pull a hood by yourself, cut a pair 2" piece of 2x3 wood and place it in the corners. It kept the hood corner from getting chipped, or scratching the fenders.



I guess I should introduce my "new addition" since I mentioned her in my first post. Bristol Rose, born Sept 7, 2009. She has already been out to help (translated: daddy was supposed to watch her while mommy ran errands)




Last edited by jbclassix; 07-26-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:54 AM   #7
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

thats funny lol. sounds like something i would probably do lol. bet she had fun.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:01 AM   #8
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Have you thought about a Gen III swap?
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:13 AM   #9
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Actually I have! It went something like this:

"Baby, I was thinking"

"How much is it gonna cost us?"

"You don't even know what I am gonna say yet!"

"Having it in California doesn't mean it wont cost anything"

"Wanna go visit our families?"

"NNNOOOOOOO!"
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:43 PM   #10
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Nice. I like the ride. Sucks you have to dig into the engine already.
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:30 AM   #11
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

That's a great project. I have had so much fun with my family in my Suburban. My kids are a lot older now, but I remember working on mine and my youngest would always want to help.

Good luck with your build.
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:29 AM   #12
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Nice burb, did you really get rid of that SFA converted silverado??? That thing is awesome
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:11 PM   #13
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

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Nice burb, did you really get rid of that SFA converted silverado??? That thing is awesome
Yeah we did. Man, that makes me cringe! I guess everyone has atleast one regret. My wife (well, she was my fiance at the time) and I put it together just before we got married. It was great for the two of us. But not so good on the ice. We built it with 4.56 gears, Detroit Lockers front and rear, Propane, 3 inch down pipe, 3.5 inch exhaust, and put some custom tricks on the factory airbox. So there were a few things I wish I did different, mainly the gears and lockers, I would have left my 3.73 gears or gone with 4.11, and put a selectable locker in the front.

So that was kinda my trial run for the Suburban. There is a lot of work that I have in mind for the suspension, drivetrain, body, interior... the list goes on! Does this give a hint of what I really want to do for an engine?
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:22 PM   #14
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

good start to a project, burb looks good already, goodluck with the engine deal
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:14 PM   #15
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

ARB is definitely the way to go for a front locker, especially on something that will be driven on the road in the winter (in 4wd).

What springs did you have on the front of the SFA chevy? Looks like you notched the front crossmember for clearance, so they must have been small lift?
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:27 PM   #16
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

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ARB is definitely the way to go for a front locker, especially on something that will be driven on the road in the winter (in 4wd).

What springs did you have on the front of the SFA chevy? Looks like you notched the front crossmember for clearance, so they must have been small lift?
they were 4" lift springs for a 73-87 in the front. So it had about 7" of lift all the way around.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:51 PM   #17
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Did you have to notch the crossmember for 4" springs, would they hit without the notches?
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:54 AM   #18
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

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Did you have to notch the crossmember for 4" springs, would they hit without the notches?
Yes because I used a 77 Ford front which has the same spring centerbolt spacing as GM (32.5"). If I would have went with the 80 and up Ford D60 it would have cleared because they are wider (36.5").

Last edited by jbclassix; 01-21-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 01-29-2010, 06:52 PM   #19
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Progress update...

PARTS!!!


Last edited by jbclassix; 01-29-2010 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:16 PM   #20
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

nice looking burb man good luck with it!
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:47 PM   #21
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Latest update. Turns out the 400 is pure J-U-N-K. There is a sleeve in #6 that was not installed right, so it sank into the block which also made it impossible to install an larger sleeve. Oh well! Looks like its going to be 383 power! You can kind of see the ridge of carbon and oil around the cylinder in the picture, but it really showed up after hot-tank.

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:37 AM   #22
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

The Snow finnally melted enough to work outside so I could Get some work done!! Hey, it took some effort, so I think its note worthy!

First off, I said goodbye to these for now...



For these...



With the smaller wheels it clears the garrage door. I ended up trading the wheels and tires straight up for another Suburban.
I got this scary contraption for free...



It took quite a bit of aiming with such a short tow bar, but we got it backed in. I had to circle the block twice before I got it where it was aimed just right.





I was so excited to have a 2 "car" garrage when we moved into this house... shoulda known "car" was the litteral description! glad I don't have a CC-LB!



I like this picture!! I know... the Yukon is dirty, but it's still a cool picture!



I had some really good help too!



I figured with the engine toast, I woud get some of the other projects done.

Last edited by jbclassix; 12-06-2012 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 03-07-2010, 01:54 PM   #23
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

Little Hickup this weekend on working on the Suburban. Thursday night the Yukon started making noise on the drive home from work. Friday morning the garrage smelled like gear oil, so I looked under the Yukon and found a large puddle of the offending odor under the rear axle... a lot more than what could come from the pinion seal...

Boom!



looks like somthing internal impacted the cover.



and the culprit is stuck in the hole... pinion tooth.


Last edited by jbclassix; 12-06-2012 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 03-07-2010, 02:02 PM   #24
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

So here is what I did with my Helo's and BFG's. I traded for this bad boy. This will be my parts truck/donor truck for the 70. After a little work, this bare bones beast is running and driving great and is my wife's daily driver for the time.

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Old 03-07-2010, 04:19 PM   #25
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Re: 1970 GMC Suburban... for the family

awww don't use it for parts!

looks like it would make a sweet muddin rig.
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