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Old 06-08-2021, 04:54 PM   #1
Dexterb
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Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

I purchased this Suburban back in 2010 and had planned to convert it to 4x4 and swap a bunch of parts from a lifted Blazer that had begun to rot out that I had, D60/14 Bolt with 5.13, 12 inch lift springs, 3 inch body lift, 44" Super Swampers and make a top notch beer drinking, coyote hunting machine, but after taking it for a few spins I just couldn't bring myself to tearing it apart so it sat parked in my shop for a few years.





Jimmy before it was all rotted out that I was going to steal the drive train from.


-Dexter
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:00 PM   #2
kwmech
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Mmmm, Ok, so what cha' going to do??---drive it or sell it. I wish the paint on mine looked that good
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:04 PM   #3
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

A few years later I had some 24's kicking around from a Chrysler 300 SRT8 that and decided to see if they would fit on to the Suburban, unfortunately they didn't but when I put the rims up to the burb it looked not too bad, so I went to Kijiji (Canadian Craigslist) and searched for some used 24's and found some for dirt cheap.
After tossing the 24's on, I daily drove the burb 120 km/day to work and back for the majority of spring/summer. The A/C in this thing is the coldest I have ever felt so summer driving was extra good, plus at the time I had a 2011 Ram 3500 Diesel, and I preferred to mile out the suburban over my truck.

That summer it also proved to be a handy place to crash in for the night whenever my wife(gf at the time) went drinking at friends places where they lived out in the country no cabs went to, so we put an air mattress in the back and a few pillows and had somewhere to sleep without imposing upon our hosts when having a little weekend fun.

Picture with the 24's i found on google street view.


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Old 06-08-2021, 05:48 PM   #4
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Then in 2016, i was taking it for a rip and the front left brake locked up on it so I parked it with the intention of putting a big brake kit on it, but with shipping up to Canada and other things I wanted to spend money on, it just ended up sitting parked inside my shop instead.
Fast forward till now, and I sold off all my toys to finance having kids (fertility treatments) and this was the lone survivor.




This winter/spring I set out to buy a 67-69 camaro as I always wanted one and my mindset changed a little after Covid and figured why bother saving all my money for retirement when I could go enjoy some of it now , but with the inflated muscle car prices and closed border I gave up and decided it was time make the Suburban into a cool family ride, so I spent a few weeks reading threads on here, and came up with a recipe for the Suburban that should allow it to be a good family wagon and look pretty decent.


I really wanted to slam it to the ground and go with a drop member and a step notch/4link but I have 2 kids now and wanted to keep it family friendly, so for now, the rear floor is staying intact and I'm going to get it as low as possible without cutting the floor and with factory crossmember.

Ordered up F/R 14" Revelator Kit from Pro Performance. The brakes really sucked after going to 24's, I plan on going to a 22" rim/tire but still didn't like how poor the brakes were with the larger rim. Discovered after ordering the brakes, that part of the issue was likely caused by the RWAL Brakes. i might have been fine just ditching the ABS, but too late now.

Front: 2.5" Drop Spindles, Porterbuilt 1" Narrowed/Forward Control arms, air bags, new steering components, ridetech hq shocks, going to yank the inner fenders for now and see how clearance is with the front ac, and either go with a mild slosh tub or will have to go to vintage air and a full slosh tub or trailer fender. Will decide later when rims get ordered and suspension cycled to see my clearances.

Rear: Air Over Leaf, C-Notch, Flip Kit, 1 inch drop shackles, and will pull a few leaves out of the rear springs and if it isn't touching the bump on the c-notch, will either weld a spring perch saddle to the bottom or use a 1 inch zero rate spring to get it a little lower. (in the future I would like to 4 link it for ride quality but my welding skills need improvement and I don't want to pay someone to do it, so when I become more confident in my skills this will happen plus I would like to LS swap over the winter, so i'm sure the leaf springs will hold up with the stock 200 hp or whatever it is, but 400 hp might not be very enjoyable due to axle wrap with only a 2-3 leaf springs in place.

Air Management - Airlift 3P with dual Viair compressors and 5 gallon tank

As it sits right now, almost all parts are ordered, and i'm just waiting for them to get filled and shipped. Shipping from USA to Canada is pricey so I found a freight forwarder/courier that more economical, but it adds on even more time to the shipping. I'm hoping to have most of the parts by end of June or beginning of July.

Until then I'm slowly working on a few things in preparation of the parts.



Measurements I took before starting:

Bottom of Fender to Ground
Front Right 32 3/4"
Front Left 32"
Rear Right 31 3/8"
Rear Left 31"

Center Hub to Bottom Fender
Front Right 19 3/8"
Front Left 19"
Rear Right 18 1/2"
Rear Left 18 1/4"

Axle Tube to Bottom of Frame
6 1/2" Approx. Bump stop and frame angles down over axle tube
(Add 2 3/4" for C-notch, subtract 1/2" for bump stop) should have approx 9" of drop before axle tub hits c-notch)

Top of Diff to Bottom Bed
9 3/8" (clamp/brake line "T" will have to be moved"

Hitch to Ground 12"

Front Crossmember to Ground 10 1/2"

Front Air Dam to Ground 11 1/4"

Tire Size @ 34 psi
Front/Rear 28"

10" rear tire to top of rear fender tub.

Transmission Crossmember to Ground 10"

Rear Bumper to Ground 17"

-Dexter
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:22 PM   #5
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

I got her in the garage and up on jack stands.
First thing I did was yank out the inner fender wells.




This suburban had the rear heater option, which no longer worked and is no longer needed, so I got to tearing out the valve, lines, rear fan and rear heater core.






Valve


Crusty old hoses running to the back. Will likely mount the air tank along here, and have the air compressors on the inside of the frame rails.


Running up into the bed.



Have some holes to plug now. Ordered up some plugs from Amazon since the local parts store didn't have anything large enough, will likely weld something in at a later date.


No More Heater! Gonna toss the trim back in after the plugs arrive.


Here is all the junk that was removed.



Up front I used 2 Dorman heater hose connectors for now after pulling the valve, i figured no point in replacing the hoses with new ones, especially if I end up going with vintage air.

-Dexter
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Old 06-09-2021, 04:51 PM   #6
LT7A
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Glad the 'Burb got the nod for the coolness plan. Nice looking rig.
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Old 06-09-2021, 05:38 PM   #7
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by LT7A View Post
Glad the 'Burb got the nod for the coolness plan. Nice looking rig.
Thanks!


So last night tore the front and rear brakes off. I've never disconnected the emergency brake cable before from a drum brake assembly, well not entirely true... with 4x4 stuff I just cut them right off with a zip cut behind the backing plate and didn't care about the e-brake. Ended up doing a little searching for tips/tricks after I couldn't get it using some vice grips and discovered the box end of a 1/2" wrench made simple work of it, just turned back and forth with the wrench and pulled on the back side of the cable and it popped right out. I also tried used a hose clamp but didn't have any luck using that method.

When I was out the day before grabbing some supplies I noticed some flare nut wrenches on sale so I picked them up, and i think this is the first time I didn't partially or fully round off a tube nut when disconnecting brake lines.

My 3 yr old son likes helping out, he usually pushes his way in to unscrew bolts and likes to drag any wrench i put down for a minute to the other side of the truck. lol

Hopefully tonight/tomorrow I have time to pull the diff out and cut the backing plates off and start cleaning it up for paint in preparation for the rear disc brakes to arrive.

I work a schedule that is 7 day on, 7 off, and i'm currently on day 2 of 7 working, so progress might be limited until next week as I get up at 4:30am and leave by 5am and get home at 7pm.













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Old 06-10-2021, 01:28 PM   #8
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Didn't get around to pulling the rear diff last night. I tried to remove the U-Bolts with Rachet/Socket, but it was being a prick so I just soaked them in PB Blaster. I have an impact, but the kids were sleeping and wasn't about to risk waking them up by making a bunch of noise in the garage.

I picked up a C-Notch from Tin Works Fabrication. Super fast shipping, friendly service and it arrived with some stickers and a bag of candy which was fun.


Unfortunately it didn't come with a template so I took it to work with me today and made one here. I read the instructions from Bell Tech and they recommend drilling a 1/4" hole first in each corner of where the cuts will intersect to prevent stress cracks so I will follow this advice.


Also, coming from a 4x4 background where I went from running, 3/4 ton, to 1 ton stuff, and then to 2.5 ton and then watching friends go to 4 Ton diffs and bigger transfer cases, heims etc, because stuff kept breaking, it has become second nature to want beefier components, so once the suburban is together I will take it to a guy I know who has a fab shop and get him to box the frame in on the back side to add some extra strength.


Here is a link to the C-notch if you are interested.
https://tinworksfabrication.com/prod...body-suburban/

-Dexter
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Old 06-14-2021, 05:40 PM   #9
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Not much progress the last few days as I have still been working.
Today is however my last day at work and then i'm off for a week so I should make some progress this next week.

Pulled the rear diff, the tried to unbolt the u-bolts but that wasn't happening, so took the zip cut to them.





I've never pulled axles in an differential with C-Clips before, it's crazy to think this is how they stay together. D60, 14 Bolt and 2.5 Rockwells is what I have experience with.
I'm curious to know if the axles won't fall out of the diff if a c-clip came out or axle broke once the rear disc brakes are installed... I would think the bracket the caliper bolts to on the axle housing will effectively keep the rotor in position thus not allowing the axle to leave the housing?

When I pulled the axles they looked to be in decent shape where the axle bearing/axle is but I think I will yank them out again to measure the OD of the axles and order up new bearings and seals.


Have a few packages in transit right now, but still waiting on all the big items, brakes, control arms etc, so this week off I will likely put the c-notch in, paint rear diff, pull the leaf springs and clean them up, pull the control/spindles, and just clean stuff up in preparation of parts.

When i was pulling the body mount out where the C-notch goes the sleeve inside the mount was completely rusted so I also ordered up some new polyurethane body mounts from Energy Suspension and just waiting on those to arrive as well.

Cheers,
Dexter
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Old 06-21-2021, 07:45 PM   #10
Corts60
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Great rig buddy! Very clean. Love to see the kiddo helping out. I can't wait for my little girl to get a little older and out in the shop with me.

To confirm your fears, yes if you snap an axle shaft on c-clip type, out she comes!
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Old 06-26-2021, 12:54 AM   #11
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

A few more parts showed up, but still waiting on all of the important stuff.
Got the C-Notch Cut and fit on the one side, but ran into a problem when installing the new body mounts. The factory Sleeve/Washer needs to be reused with the Energy Suspension Polyurethane Body mounts, and mine is rusted to oblivion. Now just trying to source a replacement, and LMC is back ordered and Energy Suspension wasn't able to help when i contacted them. Likely just going to get some 3 inch washers and a few bushings for leaf springs from spring shop. Annoyed that this is holding me up, but I don't want to button everything up and then have to come back and deal with it later.

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Old 06-26-2021, 12:58 AM   #12
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corts60 View Post
Great rig buddy! Very clean. Love to see the kiddo helping out. I can't wait for my little girl to get a little older and out in the shop with me.

To confirm your fears, yes if you snap an axle shaft on c-clip type, out she comes!
Thanks. I would think once I install the rear disc brakes, the calipers will keep the axles from falling out... i'm going to test the theory by pulling the c-clips after installing the brakes and tugging on the axles.
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:12 PM   #13
Dexterb
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Re: Blue Two Tone 1990 Suburban Build

Some parts arrrived!

Front/Rear Disc Brakes, All Air Managment Stuff, Flip Kit, Shackles, and Steering Components.
Still waiting on all the front suspension stuff from PB Fab yet. Hopefully it will arrive soon, guess you could say, saving the best for last.


Got around to finally getting the Tinworks Fab C-Notch in. I found it much easier to remove the bolt for the body mount for installing/removing the C-notch. It probably would have been easier to cut the notch bigger instead of constantly shaving and test fitting.
The kit came with grade 8, 1/2 bolts and nylok nuts, I did notice other kits from the big names use a flat washer on both sides so I went and got extra flat washers since this kit only came with 1 washer per bolt. I figured a washer on each side might make for better clamping force. There were no directions, but I recall seeing some other people in the forum mention to drill a 1/4 hole in the corner where the cuts intresect to prevent the metal from tearing under stress so I followed that advice and over all i'm pleased with the C-notch. The metal in these frames just eats drill bits, by the end it was a full on battle to get the last few holes drilled since the metal dulled the bits so much. Gave it a quick wire wheel, and scuff with red scotchbrike, then wiped it down with degreaser and sprayed some rust converter on and then painted
with Krylon Colormaxx Satin Black.

Ended up getting a universal body mount kit from Energy Suspension since it had a metal sleeve in it, and washers for top and bottom mounts.
If I were to do it again, I would have found stock mounts and I would skip dealing with Energy Suspesnion. I reached out to them, and they were literally zero help. All they did was enter the details into their system, and looked at the result, which was "no hardware" for a 73-91 suburban for body mounts. I gave a few measurements of what I was after for the internal sleeve and washer size which I know they have, but I heard nothing back, and no effort was made by them to try and help a customer out, unfortunately I already ordered new leaf spring bushing from them otherwise I would have just got stockers put in by a leaf spring shop.









Now that the C-Notch is in, it's time to get the rear suspension in.
The plan is to put in a flip kit, lowering shackles and pull some leaves out of the leaf springs.
I messed around with the fuel filler neck and have enough clearance for 1 inch shackles to swing freely, but someone else mentioned a 2 inch will work with just zip tieing over the filler neck
since the range of travel for the shackles will never allow it to rotate all the way forward and down. I'm going to try the 2 inch shackles, and if it interfence or rubs, I alos have a 1 inch zero rate
spring from Offroad Design that I will use and swap back to the 1 inch shackles. In total i'm going to need a little over 9 inches of drop for the axle to hit the c-notch which is what I want. After I get the axle into the notch, I will use air bags to lift it a few inches to ride height. I'm hoping to avoid the zero rate springs just for the ease of installing the brackets for the air bags since they go on top of the leaf springs and woudl need to sandwich the bracket inbetween the top leaf and the zero rate if I have to use the zero rate spring. I suppose it would be best when testing fitting all of the suspension stuff to not torque the u-bolts down until i find the right combination to acheive the drop, everyone says to not reuse u-bolts and theroetically the threads would be stretched from the inital torque, so i think I will just make them snug enough to hold everthign in place while I add/remove leaf springs/leaf spring brackets etc.

To get started I pulled the leaf springs out, only one of the bolts would come out, so out came the zip-cut and all the bolts were removed.
It's been about 15 years since I last pulled out factory bushings and installed poly eurethane ones. This will be the last time I ever touch a leaf spring bushing.
Broke 2 drill bits, almost broke my wrist and i'm still fighting with getting the outer sleeves cut out, i find that a sawzall doesnt work very well so switching to a hacksaw to cut the last 2 out.
Next time, i'm taking them to get pressed out and replaced... this is just all around prick of a job that i dont enjoy.








Overall, progress is a lot slower than I originally anticipated, but with 2 kids under 3, and 14 hr days by time i leave and get back home from work, i'm fairly happy with the balance i've found. Hopefully over the next week I can get the rear suspension in and go from there. I do know, i'm not looking forward to figuring out drive shaft angles afterwards. I've heard some guys say they move the tranny and carrier bearing both up, and shim up the pinion with some success, but ideally, the motor would be moved up too. When that time comes, I will grab a angle finder and read back up on drive shaft angles and phasing and get it figured out. I would be curious if a shop would build a 1 peice aluminum shaft or if it would be too long, this path would likely be a pain to since you would want a driveshaft hoop for safety as well which is just one more thing to do and im sure the cost would not be something to enjoy.
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