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Next Question!! - '69 - '72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

Discussion in '1936-Present Suburban' started by Greg72, Apr 1, 2003.

  1. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    OK, now that we've established the basics....(and I've learned a bit more about the old Suburbans) I am at my NEXT proverbial 'fork-in-the-road'......2WD vs. 4WD??

    The basic things I'm finding are these:

    3-Doors - All Suburbans in this time frame have the 3-door setup, it's weird and cool!

    Clamshell vs. Barndoor rear gate - Looks like there are pros and cons either way, but a clamshell can be convereted to barndoor easier than vice-versa.

    Engines - From the factory, the only way to get a BB motor was in a 2WD chassis, the 4WD versions only got the SB motors....

    Coils vs. Leaves - As far as I can tell so far, the REAR suspension always uses a coil spring/trailing arm setup regardless of 2WD or 4WD. Up front, it looks like once you go 4WD, it's a conventional leafspring setup that I'm already familiar with.



    So, now I'm really trying to be honest with myself about what is most important. Initially I'll admit, I went straight for the 4WD versions.....maybe out of habit? However, this is going to be a "tow rig", not a wheeler. I will not be driving it in snow or other treacherous conditions that would require 4WD.

    I keep looking at the IFS setup on the 2WD versions and keeping hearing that little voice in the back of my head saying "IFS drives nicer than a solid axle....". On a tow rig, a comfortable ride is a GOOD thing! I'd hate to haul around a solid front axle (4WD) AND have a harsher ride....AND know that I'll never get benefit from it.

    Also in the back of my mind is the knowledge that I am more likely to find a BBC in the 2WD version (of course there will always be those retrofitted ones)....and torque is a GOOD thing in a tow vehicle too!!!


    Anyone driven both the IFS and Solid Axle versions (of this vintage) that can comment on the ride quality? I'm getting to the point, where I really need to go start looking at the ones that are for sale and drive a few to start forming opinions....but the closest ones are still a couple of hours away.

    WAIT! Is there anyone here in the San Jose, CA area that owns a '69-'72 Suburban that would be willing to take me for a ride??? You don't need to sell it to me.....just let me "experience" it. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  2. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    Greg,

    All 4wd's have leaf front & leaf rear suspensions. 2wd's could have either. There is a fuzzy 2wd rule that generally Chevy's got coil spring rears and GMC's got leaf spring rears. But there are exception to that fuzzy rule. In fact, I once parted out a 1972 GMC C20 402, TH400, Dana 60 rear with coils.

    If you are going with a straight tow rig, I would suggest the 71-72 402, TH400, 4:10 geared D60 rigs(although the Eaton rear is good, just hard to find parts for). /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
    /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif
     
  3. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    Ben,

    Here's what has me confused.....from the 1969 Suburban Brochure:

    [​IMG]


    The rear suspension shows a coil spring, with what they call an "auxillary leaf" on the rear of the trailing arm. They indicate it's for heavy loads or very rough roads? (That's item #8 in diagram)

    The specs on the brochure don't mention rear leafs as being available as the "primary" setup in the rear....so now I'm cornfused! /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
     
  4. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    Chevy and GMC were completely different trucks up until 1969/70. Prior to that they had different brochures, different assembly plants, different designers, etc. They did share a lot of parts to make the trucks loook similar but the drive trains were completely different.

    Chevy 2wd: Coil spring front & rear suspension
    GMC 2wd: Coil front, leaf spring rear
    Chevy & GMC 4x4's: leaf spring front and leaf spring rear

    Chevy rear axles: 12 bolt for 1/2 ton, Eaton for 3/4 ton
    GMC rear axles: Dana 44 for 1/2 ton, Dana 60 for 3/4 ton

    Infact 1967 was the first year GMC offered a Chevy engine in there trucks. The Canadian built GMC's were just rebadged chevy's with chevy drive trains (exception to the fuzzy rules mentioned above).
     
  5. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    Kenny,

    OK so just to clarify, the specifics you just listed are for the '69 and up Chevy/GMC, or for pre-69???

    Have you got any personal experience on the whole IFS vs. Solid Axle front question? I realize these are old vehicles, so handling is not probably considered GOOD by modern standards.....but I wonder if there really is an difference in ride quality with the old IFS front suspension????

    Remember this is going to be a tow-vehicle for me, so 4x4 ability is not particularly important...


    Thanks! /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  6. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    Greg,

    That picture is of a 2wd with coils(obviously /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif) that is equipped with the optional tapered helper spring. The 4wd Suburbans have the same suspension set up as 4wd Blazers of the same vintage. This is a page from a 1971 Jimmy brochure:
    [​IMG] My Suburban is a 1/2 ton, D44 front, 12 bolt rear with leaves at all four corners just like your Blazer (when it was stock /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif)

    On 2wd Suburbans, I guess neither rear suspension option would be considered primary, it was just more common for GMC to be leafs and Chevys to be coils. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    I guess I wouldn't say they were completely different trucks, but there were alot more differences between the two pre-1970.

    The D44 rear was only available in 1967 as was the 6-lug D60 rear on GMC's. GMC's could get the big V6's but Chevys could not. They both shared the available small block options, as well as trannies, diffs etc etc. There are more similarities than differences by far IMO.

    I would catagorize the rules you listed as fitting into the fuzzy catagory. I have seen trucks with variations of the rules you stated. Like I said earlier, the 72 GMC Sub I parted out was a coil sprung truck, but the 68 GMC pickup I parted out was a leaf truck with a 12 bolt rear.

    Here is a pic of the rear diff/suspension on my GMC Burb. You will note the 12 bolt and leaf springs. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    Greg,
    I studied the picture of the frame in the Suburban brochure, and it looks like that pic is of a pickup frame. The give away is the rear cab and front bed supports on top of the mid-frame area. I had to wait untul I could check my Sub frame at home to be sure. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  9. DesertDueler

    DesertDueler 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    I would go for the 2wd version for a couple of reasons. first you can get the big block which will be good for towing. Another is a better ride. You will get better gas milage because you wont have the front axle up there. And the most important is you wont be tempted to go wheeling in it. Trust me even when I had my Jimmy, and the Burb as a tow vehicle, I took the Burb out every once in a while because it was street legal and I could put more people into it. Next thing you know I parted out the Jimmy and put 38.5s on the burb /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Then it bacame my wheeler and tow rig for my boat and car.

    Dan
     
  10. 68 Suburban

    68 Suburban Registered Member

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    What is this 69-72 Suburbans??? lol. It should be 67-72 Suburbans!!! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  11. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    LOL!

    True. I know these aren't "1st Gens" like K5s......but I want to focus on the Burbans that are visually similar to the K5 that they will be towing.

    More of an aesthetic thing, than an interchange thing. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  12. Heavymetal

    Heavymetal 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: Next Question!! - \'69 - \'72 Burbans 2WD or 4WD?

    I agree with Dan, go with the 2 wheel drive version. You won't be tempted to lift it or wheel it. Plus a better ride and the big block. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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