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My suburban -

9250 Views 60 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  JPs300
A little background -

I've always been a 'burban boy. My parent's said I cried when I was 5-6ish and they sold one we had then (lol). - I drove a '95 K1500 SLT for a few years, downed it to do a drivetrain transplant and it has basically just sat in neglect for a few years now as the body was honestly too rough to warrant fixing. I decided I'd get it back going as intended and just find a clean body to swap in place, but scored a great deal on a running K2500 with a super clean body, thus I'm simply putting my custom powertrain in it & swapping my loaded interior over.

Now onto the "victim". After a light wash/polish the day I drove it home -

Gave $1k for it & drove it home, though the trans was mortally wounded. 454TBI/4L80E trans, ifs front/full-floater 14-bolt rear. It had had a roughly life for its almost 250k miles, heavily dirt/grease stained interior. Motor was supposedly rebuilt within the last 40k miles, all kinds of new gaskets/sensors/etc and signs of a major over-heat suggested they probably cooked it and had to freshen it up.

I cleaned it up a drove it for a few weeks in basically stock form, getting a whopping 10-11mpg...."ain't nobody got time for dat".

A TBI big-block was never an efficiency minded motor, but the same engine/trans in our 32' motorhome manages 11-12 while towing our loaded enclosed car trailer.....tells me what the simple "free mods" and namely what a full exhaust(headers & all) can do to really help efficiency.

Apart it came to start the list of mods:
- custom 4" suspension lift
- 305/5.0l full-roller short block, mildly ported 350 "vortec" heads, TPI intake manifold, '97 sequential-fire efi computer/harness, all force fed from an Eaton M112 blower (ford lightning/cobra blower).
- Full length ceramic coated headers & all mandrel bent dual 2.5" merging to single 3.5" exhaust that I had on the '95
- Essentially stock 4L80E with a shift correction/improvement kit(an 80 will handle around 700-800hp in basically stock form, so no reason to upgrade much)
- Interior swap from the later SLT
- 18" or 20" wheels with likely 33's, but maybe 35's.

It's being built as a nice/fun daily driver/tow rig, shooting for high teen/low 20 mpg & enough torque to pull the enclosed trailer comfortably on the cruise control at 75mph w/o downshifting for every over-pass. - I got 18-19mpg out of a 2-door tahoe on 35's with a 355 & crappy OBD1 TPI computer, so the smaller bore motor & better ecu should get me within reason and the "boost on demand" of the roots blower should give me plenty of power when wanted.

The interior swap wasn't as straight forward as one might think. The later door cards required changing all hardware(including all handles & linkage rods) and the mid passengers' door frames are slightly different than the later, thus some cutting/grinding was required to fit everything up. I haven't yet swapped the dash/steering column but it also requires cutting out the entire column/pedal mount assembly and welding the later one back in place. - I only seem to have one pic of the int uploaded as of now, a shot of the door cards. I'll be working on the dash swap tonight, and will take pics accordingly.

Being a daily driver/tow rig I decided it made sense to keep the IFS, though in all honesty an SAS swap would have been a much easier route. - I measured everything up and figured out that if I cut the stock upper a-arm mounts off and moved them from the top edge to the bottom edge of the frame it would net me a true 4" worth of lift. Then I cut the lower mounts & crossmember off and spaced them down with several sections of 2x4 box tubing. Every "spacer" is at least doubled up(thus 4x4 with 4 upright walls) and they also span a length of the frame rail. I still have a couple braces to add, but I'm happy with the results -

all cut-off -

notching/boxing in the lower section of the rail to allow full caster/camber adjustability/a-arm movement -

front mount welded back in it's new place -

rear -

All cleaned-up/finished -

Spacing lower mounts/crossmember down, behind the sections of 2x4 that you can see here there is another peice standing up right(at the inside edge of the frame rail, welded to the sections viewed here at the outside edge) -

I'm going to run a section of angle from the lower-front edge of the crossmember up to the very front of frame rail. Will add some additional bracing & make a nice spot to mount a big skid plate to.

The rear of the front diff mounts is part of the rear-lower a-arm mount thus it moved down along with the above a-arm mounts. The front mounts are part of the engine mounting platforms, thus I built extensions to lower them accordingly -

Drop blocks for the torsion bar crossmember, cut with my logo just because. The back side is notched open so that the crossmember sets inside the box, while still being box for a few inches forward of & behind the crossmember. -

I used two drag links to build the drop unit -

Front suspension bolted back up -

Front all back together -

In the rear I simply built some custom blocks. They are fully welded to the spring perches/axle housing and are wedged to correct the pinion angle. I made them 4" on the short side & 4.5" on the long, should have gone 4 x 4.25 as I almost back the pinion off too much. It's still down 3-4* at ride height so I don't think it will be an issue, but I will re-work them if I have a vibration. - I'll be building some custom traction bars for it as well, later on.

Suspension all back together & standing a true 4" taller -

The new long block is sitting in it now. Will be working on the dash/colum swap tonight, hopefully get it done so that I can get the exhaust & accessory drive on tomorrow night. Then mod/install the wiring harness, put the front clip back on & it should be back on the road. Also gotta swap my step-bars over.

Hopefully have a nice set of wheels/tires on it shortly. I will probably leave the blower off for a little while till I decide what I want to do on the tuning. Paint will be one of the last things, thinking a nice 1-1/2 or 2" cowl hood would suit it nicely. Probably sport a nice "D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F" sticker at least until paint, lol.

Also looking at having the later "non-chrome" looking rear windows swapped over.
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haha! You sound like me. Always wanting to try something different.
Not really wanting to add more work by any means, but I don't think I'm going to get what I want out of this combo. - Looking like 16-17ish average is all it's going to do, and while that is plenty respectable for what it is, I won't be happy with it. With that in mind, I have roughly $1500-2k left to spend to get the blower on, get it tuned, etc and if that isn't going to do enough for me then I'd be ahead to throw in the towel now & put that $ towards a different set-up entirely.
12 valve!! Do it! Do it!

I'd say a duramax but mine don't get gas mileage for nothin lol stupid emissions!
It's indeed looking like a 12v is in my future, either a 94-98 P-pump motor or conversion to said pump. jrpro130 is looking at swapping his truck to a manual trans & I need a complete motor/acc drive/IC, etc, so we may partner up on a "donor" truck to get everything each of us needs.

I will keep my 4L80E trans in place, utilizing a stand-alone trans controller & a stock diesel converter for it. - That will get me rolling for now, if I later decide to turn the motor up beyond 300-400hp then I'll swap to an aftermarket converter & better input shaft(engine braking beats the stocker up over time).
Still on the lookout for a donor!
Giddy like a school girl! - ordered the new rimz today, 20x10

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That's a good looking wheel.
Thanks, I took me quite a while to find one I really liked. I'm really picky on wheels, has to flow with the rest of the vehicles' styling well and can't be too overly common.

I should also update -

The little 5.0 is doing ok for what it is. It would do a lot better with the blower or with another point & half of compression, but I don't feel either will make me happy enough all-around to warrant putting more money into this combo. I've got a nice fresh higher compression 5.7 sitting here ready to go, but not really feeling that either.

I picked up a multi-port EFI intake for the big-block. Going to pull the heads & check it out; will have them shaved .060 & will blend the bowls in the ports. Throw a mild marine hyd roller cam in it and I'll likely see another 1-2mpg over what I'm getting now & will definitely see a nice improvement in torque. - That will hold me over for the time being, knowing myself I will more than likely do the 12v swap in the future, but it's just not something I want to tackle anytime soon. Too mush other misc/projects going on & I haven't spent enough time playing either.
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It's all greek to me. But the rims looks nice!
Not winning. - Just got an email back from the company I ordered from, with an attached file showing the email from the MFG saying they are out of stock & have no ETA on when they will have them???? How the heck can the mfg not know when they will have them?

I seem to have a knack for ordering wheels that are impossible to get a hold of, some of y'all may remember I went through this on my Can-Am......
Tried a few vendors & nobody has them in stock. The guy I placed the order with made some more phone calls and got an estimated ship date of August 30. As much as anyone hates to wait once they "pull the trigger" on something like this, I'd rather wait a month and have what I really want vs being antsy & not being as happy with the end results.

That aside, as luck would have it I had a tire come apart yesterday morning. Managed to find a full set of 285/75/16 Michelins with decent life left in them for $150. Threw two of them yest evening & back rolling. They should hold me off long enough.
that sucks.
Tht sucks about the wheel delay but i promise u Aug. 30 will be here faster than u think lol
Found your donor truck lol

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YEAH BABY!!!!! - arrived ahead of schedule!

Should have them on over the weekend.
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Can't wait to see them on! Was thinking of getting rid of the chrome hostages and getting those!!
:rockn: That is a nice looking rim JP..
Going on with the 33 Cooper A/T's from the wife's ranger for right now. Once we get her new truck, I'll order rims for it to suit the Cooper's & a new set of 35 Toyo's for me.
pull that weak *** 305 tpi out and stick a 383votec in or do a 6.0ls swap-tons better on the ls swap and easier to find donor trucks. no matter what you do-shy of 4.56s in the pumpkins- that 305 can not do what you want in that burb. its just to heavy of a vehicle.
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