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Old 03-02-2013, 12:06 AM   #1
RyanAK
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Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Hey gang. Wonderful site, and a truly valuable resource for all things vintage Chevy truck. By way of introduction, meet Earl, my new 'Burban. I've had a thing for old Suburbans for a long time, and finally found myself in a situation to get one. 350/350, factory air, all original (except for the paint) 2-owner truck. Lived its whole life with the same family in Utah. Amazingly solid rig, and should make into a neat tow vehicle for our '72 Airstream Argosy 22. I think I'm starting with good raw material, and I'm sure you good folks will help me with the inevitable questions.

By the way, my name is Ryan. Nice to meet ya.











Best,

Ryan
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:56 AM   #2
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Welcome to the site Ryan!

Looking forward to reading more about what you plan to do with your Suburban!
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:21 AM   #3
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Dig the full-length AC.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:53 AM   #4
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Welcome to the site and congrats on your burb - very nice!
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #5
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Welcome. Sweet burb.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Welcome to the board!
Great burb.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:14 PM   #7
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Thanks for the warm welcome! I'm still going through the truck and trying to decide just which way to go with it. I'm thinking of 'stock plus' at this point. The truck will eventually go back to Medium Olive w/white top, but that's about as far as I've gotten in my thinking. Will have to work on the stance a bit. Those are 235/85R16s on it.

I'm open to suggestions. Everyone has their own vision for these vehicles, I'd be interested to know what you'd do if you owned Earl.

Thanks again for the nice welcome folks.

R
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:30 PM   #8
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Nice call going back with medium olive. I know a lot of people don't like it but it is a classic color.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Yeah, I like the medium olive an my wife LOVES it. So, easy choice, eh?

I'm pretty lucky that the interior is essentially done. Under the seat covers are a mint rear bench, and a front that is mint other than some wear and minor cracks on the driver side. Other than a cup holder, 3 point seatbelts and overhead racks for the fly rods, I won't be touching the inside much.

That leaves going through the mechanicals, suspension, a small amount of rust to deal with, and paint. This will be a 3 season daily driver/fishing truck. Might see some tow duty with the Airstream. So these are the things I'll be asking about.

Engine/tranny seem strong and perfect right now, so I'd like to think about suspension/tires/wheels in the short term. Any advice or experience to offer with getting it to sit and handle right, keeping in mind my intended use? Appreciate all thoughts on the subject.

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Old 03-02-2013, 08:35 PM   #10
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Another burb is always good. Post pics of your Argosy as well.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:46 PM   #11
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Argosy behind our '04 Z71 Suburban. Yellowstone in October. Our honeymoon.


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Old 03-02-2013, 10:02 PM   #12
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Looks like a great 'Burb. Personally I'd detail the motor, swap the wheels, paint it if you like ( doesnt look bad to me as is), perhaps a mild lowering job and call it good. Thats the route I'd take but I'm not as adventurous as many on this site and tend to lose ambition when a project takes to long without being able to drive it. I DIGGG the Argosy. I' m a huge fan of vintage trailers and RV's. I like everything from the ugly Winnebago Braves to Streamlines, Airstreams, Silverstreaks, to the small canned hams. I'm curently working on a tank of a Holiday Rambler that I tow with my 67.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:22 AM   #13
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Hey Joe. Sounds like we share exactly the same philosophy with regards to these trucks. You pretty much wrote my build list. It's hard to see in your avatar, but if that 'Burb is the one I think it is, your rig is one that made me say "now that's how these trucks should look". How 'bout throwing up a couple photos, stock height and if you lowered it. And I'd love to know what you did to set it up to tow.

If all goes well, you my see my 'Burban and Argosy in Oregon later this year. I have a steelhead trip in the works.

Here's a couple more Argosy shots from our honeymoon this past October. The '04 did GREAT, but I think it will be just right with the '71.

Badlands


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Old 03-03-2013, 01:01 AM   #14
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

I personally would get a body shop to match the OE paint codes for your green and white exterior, then beef up the suspension as is and not lower it since your plan to tow and use it as an outdoors man truck.

Sure the lowered fans will debate my point, and I agree there are some really nice suspension system out there. But they are not cheap, and take a lot of work from an experienced mechanic to make them work the way you want.

Paint it back to the original paint scheme, update/rebuild the suspension, put some quality truck tires on, and get the OE hubcaps installed.

That will be the cheapest, and most rewarding route to getting your burb the way you want it with the least amount of down time. Expenses vary regionally, and what kind of buddies and contacts you have.

Get it that way, and enjoy it. From there if you want to ask more from it, I would then look at the full on suspension upgrade as your budget permits.

Simply put. A stock overhaul has easily attainable goals, where as custom upgrades go on and on as time goes on. New developments are made with manufacturing companies annually it seams, and you will always find yourself looking at the latest greatest. Which equates to $$
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:53 AM   #15
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Quote:
Originally Posted by vectorit View Post
I personally would get a body shop to match the OE paint codes for your green and white exterior, then beef up the suspension as is and not lower it since your plan to tow and use it as an outdoors man truck.

Sure the lowered fans will debate my point, and I agree there are some really nice suspension system out there. But they are not cheap, and take a lot of work from an experienced mechanic to make them work the way you want.

Paint it back to the original paint scheme, update/rebuild the suspension, put some quality truck tires on, and get the OE hubcaps installed.

That will be the cheapest, and most rewarding route to getting your burb the way you want it with the least amount of down time. Expenses vary regionally, and what kind of buddies and contacts you have.


Get it that way, and enjoy it. From there if you want to ask more from it, I would then look at the full on suspension upgrade as your budget permits.

Simply put. A stock overhaul has easily attainable goals, where as custom upgrades go on and on as time goes on. New developments are made with manufacturing companies annually it seams, and you will always find yourself looking at the latest greatest. Which equates to $$
LOL, I do not dissagree with your plan. I am lowering mine and towing my airstream. I am of the philosphy of build what you like and enjoy it. Argosy looks great, and if you do a restore with chevy truck ralleyes it will look awesome. Make sure you do a build thread.

RyanAK could you post some pics of the interior, I am curious of the layout with the door at the back, never seen that style before.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:34 AM   #16
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

I would normally say do a 4/6 drop.
But since you are towing,... I say a 4" front static drop and a rear drop that consists of rear shock relocators, drop shocks, an adjustable track bar, and a set of 2600 air bags.
Add a small tank and air compressor to adjust the bags, and tow all you want.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:51 PM   #17
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

4/5 drop and bags in the coils with a rear swaybar. Did my friend's Tahoe like this, and it's waaay down. No prob with an 18' hauler fulla bikes on the back. Having the coils helps. Cool ol truck! For your app, I'd put 8" Americans and 255/275 t/a's on it. Definitely be thinking LS in the short term. That thing is neat! I love how virgin it is.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:04 PM   #18
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Hey RyanAK if you make it out to So. Oregon drop on by would love to see the combo. As for my towing setup its far from perfected. I' ve only towed the 'Rambler twice. Both were short trips and I've learned from both experiences. I think you will find air bags are a must to avoid pourpoising. I dont have these yet but I have contacted Air lift for a set of helper bags that fit inside the stock coils. The part # they recomend is #60728 which is actually meant for a Toyota but the dimensions are correct for stock height springs. 5.38"IDx8.5" tall. They also advised two protectors #09191. I have yet to order and install but it is on the list when funds become available. Others on here have upgraded to 3/4 ton or heavy 1/2 ton rear springs. I had used a traditional weight distribution hitch with a friction sway bar but will soon be upgrading to a Reese weight dist. hitch with built in cam sway protection.It is supposed to eliminate sway before it occurs whereas the traditional minimizes sway after it starts. My cousin gave me the Reese otherwise I probably would not have spent the money. I am also in the process of installing 2" blocks for the rear. The front is a little lower cause its got SB springs supporting a 454. I may trim 1/2 a coil from the front if need be.This will be as low as I go right now. I currently have no sway bars on the suburban but will be adding a 7/8 front bar before this summer (I'd go with bigger but I already have the bar from another project.) I currently am running 15x 8 6 lug rallys with 255/70 15 4 ply radials. I would like to upgrade to a 16" or 17" wheel so I could find some E or D rated tires. I believe this will also help on rutted highways and add a huge margin of safety. Best of luck with your project. -Brian
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:32 PM   #19
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Wow. I was trying to keep that off the board but apparently he listed it on eBay. That burb is super clean. I missed it being in school still
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:18 PM   #20
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolife99 View Post
I would normally say do a 4/6 drop.
But since you are towing,... I say a 4" front static drop and a rear drop that consists of rear shock relocators, drop shocks, an adjustable track bar, and a set of 2600 air bags.
Add a small tank and air compressor to adjust the bags, and tow all you want.
I agree. I am going to eventually put bags in the back of mine. Otherwise I currently run this set up.
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:01 PM   #21
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Here's another pic, since we all like photos.



Chris, I agree with your build philosophy. This truck is so virgin, I really don't want to do any severe mods. Everything I eventually do will be reversible back to stock. How many Suburbans in this original condition are left? So paint will go back to OE Medium Olive/White and I'll update the suspension. Earl is a little rolly in the corners right now. I'm trying to decide on a tire/wheel package that will give me the performance and look I'm going for. Thinking 15x8 rallies with a 70 series tire. The goal is for a clean, reliable, easily attainable build so I can just drive it to the river and camp out of it. Down the road I'll look at the full blown suspension job geared toward towing. Maybe a mild drop - 2"/2" or so. I'd like to maintain the rake since there won't be many instances when the truck isn't hauling or towing.

Gumby... I know I have photos of the Argosy interior, but can't seem to find them. I will say that the rear door does not tow as well as the 22' front door model. Because of the door placement, the trailer is almost TOO well balanced. There's only 400lb tongue weight, and with my Andersen WD hitch, it's kind of wonky. The Andersen sway control works off of tongue weight - the more weight, the stiffer the sway resistance. But the floor plan is awesome for a couple and Boomer the Wonder Dog. Not a good family floor plan because of the awkward sleeping arrangement. Here's a shot from the brochure:



lolife99 and Low Elco - your rigs look great, I'm just not a way-low kinda guy. Ha. My rig will see it's share of unimproved roads and I need a bit of clearance. Lowest drop I could imagine would be a 1"/3", 2"/2", or 2"/4" done with springs. Maybe rear helper bags to help with towing. And as you say Low Elco, it's pretty virgin. I'd like to keep it that way and avoid c-notches, relocating shock mounts, etc.

Brian - thanks for the details buddy. I've made some notes for when it comes to setting up to tow. I want to get a comfortable DD out of Earl for now, then carefully consider the tow situation and make those mods down the line. I found a shot of your rig in another thread, and it has great lines and stance. Heck, I even like the color!!

Phil - I got lucky on this one for sure. It's incredibly clean.

Thanks gang. Feed back helps keep a guy motivated on a project. Appreciate it.

Ryan
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:06 AM   #22
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Hey Ryan
I just replied to your pm about tires and wheel questions
and your new family hauler looks great Im jealous mine didnt look that good when I baught it and still needs work before it catch up to yours. When your done that is going to look sweet pulling the argosy down the road that is actually my plan as well to look for an older camper like yours that needs some work and tow it behind my burb as well
I will soon have 15x8 truck ralleys on my burb now with BFG t/a radial tires
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:05 AM   #23
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

Hey Dave. Got your note and responded. Thanks buddy. We're excited to get Earl spruced up, but we're having fun with him as-is for now. He most likely won't be pulling the Argosy (named "Supertramp") for some time. Lots of things to sort out there. But that's the goal. I think they make for a good looking rig.

The Argosys are a fun camper. It's an Airstream that wouldn't polish up, so it got painted. Look around for what some guys have done to them. They're a fun brand to customize/modify.

Thanks again gang. This is a good place to hang around. Learning something every day.

R
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:15 PM   #24
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

i agree with you on keeping it "stock, only better." i added a reproduction tachometer and vacuum gauge kit to my 72 Burb C20 for that fully loaded look (and to keep a better eye on the engine).

according to the glove box sticker, your truck doesn't have a sway bar....get one pronto! about the first upgrade i did on mine. the NOS part number for the drop down brackets is 06271375. then get the front sway bar from an 80's Chevy 1 ton or camper special with the big 1-1/4" sway bar. it will bolt right in a look stock (only much thicker)

out back, install a set of 3/4 ton coil springs. i know everyone on here is a big softie and complains about the firm ride, but they are the only way to go with a tow rig and will help keep the back end up in the air with a trailer hitched up. you will notice that LMC doesn't even carry stock height 1/2 ton spec rear coils, only the 1/2 ton HD units (same part # as regular 3/4 ton).

on the subject of brakes.....3/4 ton trucks got a larger brake booster (hint) so look for a 71-72 c/k 20 or 30 to donate. i installed Hawk Carbon-Ceramic brake pads on the front of my rig last year and they bite like the devil. $75 isn't too much to spend for good brakes. no need for an aftermarket kit.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:57 AM   #25
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Re: Meet Earl. '71 C10 Suburban

capev86 - that is excellent, specific advice! Thank you. I took notes in the "to do" section of my log. I'm certainly ok with the "truck-like" ride the 3/4 ton springs will provide considering the eventual tow duties I'll ask of Earl. Tach is on the list, but I hadn't considered a vacuum gauge. Good idea.

Sway bars will be the first things I add. Ol' Earl is pretty soft when cornering. How dramatic is the addition of the bars? If cash allows, I was going to do fresh shocks and the springs too, but hope the sway bars will show a huge improvement in handling if I can't swing the shocks and springs right away.

GREAT place for info here. Thanks gang.

R
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