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How should I build my Suburban?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Eric M., Dec 28, 2001.

  1. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    I wanted to thank those of you who answered my earlier posts regarding difs. and stopping abilities of various year / model Burbs ... although one ended up a discussion on how to "best" change lanes! I ended up purchasing a 91 Chevy Suburban 2500, 350 (117K miles), 4L80E trans (20k miles on rebuild), 241 transfer case (I think, or something close to those numbers). I'm not very good at identifying differentials unless they are Danas, but the front and rear look like every other pair I've seen on 3/4 ton Burbs, 14 bolt, semi floater rear, 12 bolt front? I wanted to get some suggestions on how I should build it. The trial and error method I used building my 82, K3500 got pretty expensive and left me with a lot of spare parts.

    The Suburban will be used on highways and snow covered roads / highways ... in CA this means about 4" - 8" over paved roads with occasional ice. I'm not looking to build this as an "either or" ride, if I want something more serious, I'll jump in the other truck. I want something that will do well on snow covered roads.

    I'm curious about tires. What would you guys recommend? I've heard tall, skinny mud terrains work well for this sorta driving.

    Posis? Front? Rear? Leave open? I've had some interesting turns in my K3500 with a Detroit rear and a Power Lock front. I'm thinking of leaving the front open and putting something a little less aggressive than the Detroit in the rear. I hate the turning characteristics of the Detroit on highways.

    Any other mods or accessories from anyone who does this kind of driving would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping to do this right the first time!

    Thanks, and sorry for the long post.

    Eric M.


    Blown K3500 [​IMG]
     
  2. DarylB

    DarylB Registered Member

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    Re: 4L80E

    This is the older "square" bodystyle like a 1987 Pickup/Burban, correct? They put 4L80E's in 91 models? I was thinking those were limited to 92 and up. I heard rumors and heresay that they were in some 91 1 ton's (Older bodystyle, but have never seen any) Anyone else out there that can verify this?

    1987 Suburban 2wd to 4wd Conversion. NP205/SM465 PTO Winch, 14FF, 10bolt. Bone stock 454TBI
     
  3. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Re: 4L80E

    Yes, older style. I thought it was odd to, especially behind a 350. The truck originally belonged to Stephen Bechtel (Bechtel Corp.). He ordered it with a few odd items done at the dealer, but I doubt the trans. was one of them. It might have come with the 700R originally and been swapped out for the 4L80E after experiencing problems. All the reciepts are in the name of Bechtel Corp. It would have been a costly swap for us but just a tax right off for them. Just a thought, I don't see any reciepts verifying this. It was built early in 91 so it wasn't recieving any early 92 parts.

    Eric M.

    Blown K3500 [​IMG]
     
  4. woody9

    woody9 1/2 ton status

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    Re: 4L80E

    Somewhere along the way I picked up a master list of available options on 91 subs.... and it does show the 4L80-E as an option, footnote 1, which says, vehicles up to 8600 GVWR. 700R4 says all @ 8600 GVWR & all V models.
     
  5. chvyhs

    chvyhs 1/2 ton status

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    I'm building my Suburban right now. So far I've got the 6" springs up front 4" blocks in back. I'll probably us a "add a leaf" to get it leveled off. I'm not in the snow a lot because I'm down here in San Clemente, but I did go to Mt Baldy on Friday to play in the snow. I'm having problems finding the right brake lines for the lift. The Superlift lines from 4Wheelparts didn't fit so tonite I'm driving to the Compton warehouse to see what they can do for me. I'll let you know how things work out on that.
    What year is your K3500? Is it a Big Block or a Small Block. I've been kicking around the idea of putting a street legal blower on the Sub. I use it for light offroading and towing. Talk to you later.

    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/chvyhs>WebShot Pics</a>
     
  6. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    The K3500 is an 82. It has custom built wheels, a tubbed bed and is running dual 15 x 36 tires in the rear. It's a 454 with a B&amp;M (now Holley, I guess) Forced Induction blower. It was a pain dialing in for pump gas and street use, but it works pretty well now. If I had to do it again, I'd stick to other mods and fuel injection. The power is nice, but I think you could get enough HP by other means and have something that is a little easier to set up.

    Eric M.

    Blown K3500 [​IMG]
     
  7. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

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    My Suburban is also a '91 V2500. It is the above 8600 GVWR and has the 4L80-E trans behind a 350. If it still has the RPO sticker on the glovebox door, I'm sure you'll find it's the correct trans.

    Mine also has the 14 bolt SF rear and a 10 bolt front, which I'm fairly sure yours has, unless it's been swapped [front].

    Good luck on the build up...someday I'll attack mine with a vengeance!

    The learning curve is a toll road...ride with someone who has already paid!
    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/abshort>U.S.S. Nimitz II</a>
     
  8. chvyhs

    chvyhs 1/2 ton status

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    The blower sounds like too much work. I think I'll just do the Edelbrock Performer kit and keep it legal and simple. Thanks.

    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/chvyhs>WebShot Pics</a>
     
  9. Sparky87k5

    Sparky87k5 1/2 ton status

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    Now just for reference, I ran a 14BFF rear in my 88 Sub and used a Detroit locker with the T400 trans. Front end was a D60 open and that truck was a snow going machine. Never experienced problems on the street other than an occasional loud noise when the locker unlocked going around corners on dry pavement. Loved the traction it gave in snow.

    87 K5, 427BBC,D60 & 14BFF, NV4500, NP208, TSM disc's,
     
  10. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    Nice,

    Sounds like the ultimate set up. What tires were you running (height, width, make)? What do you think about some sort of limited slip in the front end for snow? I kinda feel it's a bad idea.
    As for the Detroit in the rear, I think some of my problems with cornering stem from the fact that my springs are moved on to the frame rails (about 34" apart) and the overall width of the rear duals are about 8'4" (100"). That's an awful lot of leverage on those springs when you go into a corner with a differential that really wants to go straight. I settled on an Eaton unit for the back of the Suburban.

    Thanks,

    Eric M.

    Blown K3500 [​IMG]
     

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