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Thread: 1990 Suburban Build

  1. #1
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    1990 Suburban Build

    Racing in the Detroit Gambler 500 last month was the most fun I've had on and offroad so I decided to build my own Gambler rig and at the same time get back into wheeling and camping with a street legal vehicle. I'm forever done with post-1970 Chrysler/Jeep/AMC/Renault bullshit so I wanted a GM product. I debated going with a S10 blazer, K5 blazer, or a Suburban and... Suburban won. I saw this one in Washington, PA. Guy lost the keys and couldn't let me hear it run so I took a little gamble and paid $800 for it. I got it home this past weekend and swapped the ignition cylinder. Sounds like a good motor but just needs a tune up so I have a pile of parts coming from Rock Auto.

    1990 Suburban 1500, TBI 350 (208k miles), auto trans, NP241C, half ton axles. Mostly unmolested/unaltered. I'm told the body was brought up from down south a few years ago. The rusted out rear wheel wells and one rusted rocker make that pretty meaningless but the chassis is pretty clean.



    Plans are:

    -Get everything running and adjusted properly. Engine, trans, fluids, brakes, power windows, stereo, heater, tailgate latches, wiring, etc. all need some love.
    -Swap in half ton axles with 4.56 gears and front locker that I have a line on.
    -I want to run 35's or 36's with as little lift as possible and hack the fenders. Maybe a shackle flip in the rear and add a leaf in the front if needed. Def want to avoid the land of big gay trucks that don't flex.
    -Fabricate front and rear hitch receiver points for a winch. Front may only get a hitch receiver inside the factory bumper. Not sure I want to go full cow catcher. I'm planning on making a rear bumper and tire carrier that holds two spares. I have a design in mind that will swing open like barn doors with a tire on each side.
    -Needs a roof basket I think. I'd really like to find a school bus at a junk yard and pull the emergency roof hatches and put them on this rig. Anyone know where I can find some?
    -Swap front bench seat for bucket seats. Pull carpet, headliner, and third row bench.

    Last edited by joshs1ofakindxj; 05-07-2019 at 02:58 PM.
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  2. #2
    Right Wing Extremist! DMG's Avatar
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    Where is the next race? More info please!

  3. #3
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    The PA gambler is supposed to be in Septemeber. But, details are lacking thus far.
    1998 GMC K2500 454 5 Speed
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    1986 Reliant K
    Daily driver/Panty Dropper

    1978 International Scout
    7 inches of lift 35x12.50x15 Maxxis Big Horns
    Aussie Locker front and rear

    1974 International Scout
    3 inch rough country lift

    1973 International Scout
    3 inch body lift 31x10.50x 15 Apache All terrains
    Western 7.5' snow plow

    [B]
    Help keep four wheeling around get involved [SIZE=4][URL]http://www.nora-usa.com/[/URL][/SIZE][/B]

  4. #4
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    There is a NY Gambler October 6th-8th around Dundee, NY (Fingerlakes region). Info here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/315722078821728/

    PA group: https://www.facebook.com/Gambler500PASaga/
    Fun > rules.

  5. #5
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    Motor runs good until it warms up and then it starts stumbling and eventually dies. Service Engine Soon light flashes the engine temp sensor code and the issues running jive with that based on forum posts I was reading.

    It ran long enough for me to find there is nothing in reverse. Drive is strong but it barely moves a hair in reverse. Guess I lost that Gamble. Anyone got a 700R4 laying around for cheap?
    Fun > rules.

  6. #6
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    Replaced the temp sensor and the engine runs fine, just needs timing checked.

    Also, I'm a moron and I guess I didn't check the trans fluid level when it was warm because once it was warmed up I was able to add 4 quarts and the transmission works fine! What luck!

    Yesterday I gutted the interior and picked up a school bus roof emergency exit hatch for it. Now to find some bucket seats, then tackle the wiring issues (radio, heater, tail lights, windows).
    Fun > rules.

  7. #7
    Right Wing Extremist! DMG's Avatar
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    What is the school bus emergency exit hatch?

  8. #8
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    I have a pair of Tundra SR5 buckets and a pair out of a Nissan that were in my Scrambler. And food for thought, I have a pair of Deaver springs built for a full size Bronco. They have johnny joint type eyes at one end and military snail wrap at other. I think he was shooting for a 6 inch lift but on a sub it would be less, or remove a leaf??They were never used.

  9. #9
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMG View Post
    What is the school bus emergency exit hatch?
    One of these big roof hatches:



    I'm going to put it right behind the front seats so anyone in the back seat can easily pop up and repel Somali pirates. Also it pops up but doesn't open to act as a roof vent. The roof is ribbed in the area so hopefully a ton of foam weather stripping is enough to keep water out.

    Quote Originally Posted by scramblur View Post
    I have a pair of Tundra SR5 buckets and a pair out of a Nissan that were in my Scrambler. And food for thought, I have a pair of Deaver springs built for a full size Bronco. They have johnny joint type eyes at one end and military snail wrap at other. I think he was shooting for a 6 inch lift but on a sub it would be less, or remove a leaf??They were never used.
    I got one pair of lift springs I'm going to try and use to make an add a leaf. I will keep you in mind though if I can't get the lift I need to clear 35"'s with what I have. PM me your number and what you want for the springs and/or seats though so I know.

    Just need a decent set of 35's. These 36's I got with the axles are shot.

    Last edited by joshs1ofakindxj; 06-26-2017 at 11:46 AM.
    Fun > rules.

  10. #10
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    We may have a set of red cloth K5 seats till in the trailer. They were in good cond, just sold the K5 before we had time to install them.
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  11. #11
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    Got the front axle swapped and front lift springs on. Tackling the rear tomorrow. I think I'm going to run a shackle flip and 2" block on the back and call it a day. Also fixed the power window in the tailgate.

    She's definitely bordering on big gay truck but I kind of love it.

    Tires are good 35x12.50x15's I found a deal on. They are about the largest I can change on my tire machine. I'm trying airsoft BB's in the tires for balancing.

    Fun > rules.

  12. #12
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    Front end is done except for brake lines and dealing with the front driveshaft. Right now the factory single exhaust cross over pipe is keeping the front driveshaft from drooping enough so I ordered a manifold back dual exhaust kit from Summit. Then I'll be able to determine if the front driveshaft needs to be extended.

    Hopefully my massive transmission fluid leak goes away after taking a look at the pan bolts. All of them needed a 1/4 to a 1/2 turn to tighten, so fingers crossed that's all it was.

    I removed the rear leaf spring shackle mounts, and got a set of shackle flip mounts from Gatsby Trucks on ebay. I'm planning on using those, 2" blocks, and possibly an add a leaf if needed to get 6"+ lift to match the front and give it a littler higher stance in the back. I don't want it sagging when loaded down with the 2 spares and gear. Just waiting on U-bolts to put the rear together and figure out what size shims to order.

    After that it's on to rewiring the exterior lights, stereo, and heater controls which are currently a mess. Also need to replace just about every vacuum line.

    Then fabricate a skid plate for the T-case, the rear tire carrier, and front hitch receiver. I got a 9500 lb Smittybuilt winch and put it in a basket, so I will be using that for front or rear winching.

    I'll be getting ice cream and turning heads at the trailer park before August hopefully.
    Fun > rules.

  13. #13
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    Nice!! Square body burbans are in my top ten to get list.
    1984 Scrambler - On the road again
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  14. #14
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    Got the rear shackle flip brackets welded on. With 2" lift blocks I figured I wanted another 3" of lift so I ordered longer rear shackles. Need front axle shims to lower the caster too. Rear driveshaft seems long enough but I will have to extend the front myself by cutting it and sleeving it with heavy tube. Found a longer rear brake hose from an early 90's Dodge truck will work well at 26" long with the right ends.

    Started working on the rear bumper. Hopefully this weekend I will get it mounted and start building the two swing outs for dual tires. Also got a dual exhaust kit from Summit and need to spend some time heating the collector studs on the manifolds.

    Lot's to do, never enough time!
    Fun > rules.

  15. #15
    Can't wait to see how it turns out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by toocheaptosmoke View Post
    Nice!! Square body burbans are in my top ten to get list.
    Guy on Pirate has a nice rust-free NC 'burban he's trying to GIVE away! Were I into Obamamotorwerks products I'D go for it!
    '07 Commander - 2" Daystar lift, 32x17x10 Cooper ATPs, Flowtech exhaust, aFe CAI
    '92 Dodge Ramcharger - 4 1/2" lift, 35's, 318 Magnum... a work in progress...

  17. #17
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    Made some progress last week after being tied up by work, now just 200 things left to do instead of 300.

    Done:
    - Suspension and pinion shims
    - Extended front driveshaft 2"
    - New brake lines are bled
    - All fluids and filters changed
    - Transmission cooler and new hard lines

    Started and in process:
    - Waiting on mufflers to finish dual exhaust
    - Rear dual tire carrier and bumper are half way there

    To do before NY gambler first weekend in October:
    - Re-wire lights, heater, and stereo
    - Install suburban bucket seats I scored on CL
    - Patch rust holes in body
    - CB radio and antenna
    - Front receiver for winch
    - Run winch power to rear
    - Replace vacuum lines
    - Mount OEM brush guard and LED bar
    - school bus hatch in roof
    - pioneer tool rack and hi-lift mount
    - antique plate!
    Last edited by joshs1ofakindxj; 09-11-2017 at 05:39 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Finished the the dual exhaust last night. I now understand why dual exhaust tail pipes are never in the same place on 95% of installations. What a pain in the ass it was trying to line them up the same. Otherwise the dual exhaust kit I got from Summit was awesome to work with and came with all mounting hardware and clamps I needed. I went with some cheap Thrush turbo mufflers.

    Still a lot to do. I pulled off the front bumper last night to start welding up a front receiver for the winch and I also started running welding cable to the rear for the winch power back there. Still working on the rear tire carrier. About to try a second design iteration.
    Fun > rules.

  19. #19
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    Any updates on this? Looks like a pretty cool old burban! Are they running a pa gamblers race?

  20. #20
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    There was a PA Gambler race in the works but planning fell through. Hopefully next year.

    I got a lot done. Rewired just about all the lighting, the heater, and the stereo. Put the seats and center console in. Changed out a leaky power steering pump. Made a front hitch and put on the brush guard. Mounted a pioneer tool rack and hi-lift in the back. Took it for its first drive yesterday. PA antique plate took about a week and a half to arrive at the notary. Checked the flex and the front fenders need trimmed badly. I'm also still not happy with the height in the rear. Still sits too low for my liking. Once I patch some rust holes in the fenders its ready to wheel. Tire carrier and roof hatch are still on the to-do list.





    Fun > rules.

  21. #21
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    Working on getting this dual tire carrier squared away...



    Last edited by joshs1ofakindxj; 10-08-2017 at 11:22 AM.
    Fun > rules.

  22. #22
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    That looks like a pretty sweet rig man. I really like those old burbans, they make great tow pigs too. I would love to run the gamblers race sometime but it’s not happening with my current rig, street legal isn’t even an option with it. If you have any good pics or videos from the gamblers race post em up!

  23. #23
    Right Wing Extremist! DMG's Avatar
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    That Burban may be too nice for the Gambler race, Josh.

  24. #24
    Less posting, more wheeling! joshs1ofakindxj's Avatar
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    I know! Luckily you can still wheel whatever and call yourself part of the recovery crew.
    Fun > rules.

  25. #25
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    What did you race the gambler in before? Doesn’t it have to be a $500 beater or something along those lines?

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