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Incredible 1988 Chevy Suburban - Lifted, Dana 60's locked, 35" BFG's, etc!

Discussion in 'Complete Vehicles' started by flatlander4500, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. flatlander4500

    flatlander4500 Registered Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    Likes Received:
    This is the toughest, tightest, cleanest Suburban mountain vehicle that can still be driven on the highway! Don't forget, all of these parts are interchangeable with Chevy/GMC pickups and Blazers. Truck is located in Denver, Colorado.

    Prepare yourself for a lengthy vehicle description because I built this truck from the ground up and I know every detail about it.

    I bought the truck in November 2000. This has been my mountain truck for the last 6 years. The truck has kinda been in one accident – very minor. Before I bought it, it was hit in the driver’s door and driver’s side rear door while parked in front of the previous owner’s house. The previous owner replaced both doors with quality junkyard doors. I had the entire truck painted at Earl Scheib because I wanted the truck to be one color.

    This is one of the rare Chevrolet 4x4 trucks that does not have any oil or fluid leaks. The only leak it has is the transfer case barely makes a few drips after the truck is driven. That is it. Otherwise, the engine, tranny, radiator, and front and rear axles leak nothing. You will be able to tell when you look under this truck. I did not simply power-wash all of the oil off, which is nearly impossible. This truck is extremely clean underneath.

    This truck has always been in Colorado. I am the third owner. The previous two owners also had the truck in Colorado. This means that any rust on or under the truck is very minor surface rust only. All of the body panels and underside are very clean and solid.

    The truck handles great on the road. The crossover steering totally prevents bump-steer, and my caster angle is within spec – this prevents wandering and gives good steering wheel feedback.

    This would make a great camping vehicle, hunting vehicle, or ranch and snow plow vehicle. It’s also great for taking lots of friends and gear way up into the high country.

    My only reason for selling it is because my girlfriend does not like 4-wheeling – she gets scared, then she gets mad at me for driving so crazy. But I don’t drive crazy at all, I tell her. Then we get in a big fight and it makes the offroad, backcountry experience not so fun any more. So this poor truck just sits here at home – hardly ever getting driven except on Fridays to work and to pick up large items. This truck deserves to be treated to regular excursions.

    I have 103 high quality digital photos that total 55 MB. Send me an email with your email address if you want me to send you some or all of them. You must give me an email address that will accept about 6 MB of attachments. The photos will be WinZipped and sent in multiple emails. I also have the CARFAX for this truck that I ran on 9/17/06.

    The price is $8,000. This is a fair price if you just consider the cost of the parts – not to mention the hundreds of hours I spent building it. Some rough cost$:

    · Solid used Chevy/GMC Suburban $1,500
    · Dynatrac Dana 60 axles are about $3,000 each, not including the crossover steering kit
    · Suspension lift kit $800
    · Wheels and tires $800
    · New 700R4 tranny $1,800
    · Onboard air system $800
    · Transfer case $1,000
    · Custom bumpers $1,000
    · Custom seat covers $300
    · Tuffy box $250
    · Frame repair kits $200
    · Borgeson steering shaft $250
    · Heavy duty radiator and mounts $400
    · Tranny and steering coolers $200
    · Heavy duty drive shafts $500
    · Front and rear differential guards $200
    · Crossover steering kit $430
    · Detroit Soflocker and Dana Powr Lock limited slip differential $1,500
    · Tire chains $300

    Motor / Engine:

    Motor is a Chevy 350 cubic inch (5.7 L) with throttle body injection (TBI). Motor is completely stock except for the K & N air filter. Odometer reads 149,XXX miles, but is actually around 140,000 because the speedometer turns faster because of the lower gearing in the axles.

    The motor runs smooth and sounds great. Oil has been changed every 2,000 miles because it sometimes takes me 6 months to drive that many miles.

    The motor burns a tiny amount of oil at startup because of old valve-guide seals. This is very common for old pushrod V-8 Chevy engines. Otherwise, the motor burns very little oil – probably ¾ of a quart in 3,000 miles.

    All of the emissions / smog control components work perfectly because the truck has aced the last three emissions inspections with the pollutant levels measuring WAY below the legal limit. These emissions inspections can be emailed to you upon request.

    The engine has always started flawlessly – even in super cold weather. I have often used this truck for winter camping, and the motor starts right up after long cold nights with temperatures below zero.

    I just changed the spark plugs on 9/10/06. The old spark plugs are available for the buyer’s inspection, and are shown in photographs. These plugs show that the truck is running evenly on all 8 cylinders. The spark plugs show that the motor is not burning much, if any engine oil. The plugs show that the fuel/air ratio is correct. This means that all of the smog-control systems are working perfectly.

    I replaced the stock radiator with the larger radiator suitable for a big-block 454, or some other large or powerful motor. This means you could swap in whatever motor you want if you get tired of the 350.

    You want an electronic fuel injected engine in Colorado because of the large changes in altitude. The fuel injection automatically adjusts the fuel/air ratio for different altitudes. Carbureted engines do not do this.


    The original 700R4 transmission gave up on me in December 2001. I replaced the tranny with a 700R4 and a new torque converter with quality AAMCO rebuilt units in early January 2001, and I have the receipt. The transmission includes valve body updates to prevent the same future problems, and I installed an extra large transmission cooler – show in photos. These repairs cost me $1,750 in 2001. This new tranny has only 10,000 miles and shifts perfectly. The tranny fluid looks brand new – cherry red.

    The 700R4 with these upgrades is an excellent transmission.

    Transfer Case:

    The truck has a rebuilt New Process NP208 transfer case from Jasper. I bought this T-case from another guy in 2002. The transfer case was new in 1998. I have the receipt which shows this transfer case cost $1,050. The case is tight and it just barely leaks a tiny bit of fluid. Because it is new, the chain is tight. Jasper makes quality rebuilt components (http://www.jasperengines.com/index.html).

    The NP208 has a low range with a 2.6 : 1 ratio, instead of the 2 : 1 ratio in the NP203 or NP205.


    This truck has custom made, heavy duty driveshafts with 1410 series universal joints. These shafts are stout. All of my driveshaft angles are correct and the drive shafts are balanced so this truck has NO driveline vibration at any speed – everything is smooth. See the shafts in the photos.

    Front Axle:

    Dynatrac Dana 60 with crossover steering, 4.56 gears and a Dana Powr Lok limited slip differential. The Dana Powr Lok is one of the oldest limited slips ever made. They were used in old military Jeeps. They last a long time and are easily rebuildable.

    Rear Axle:

    Dynatrac Dana 60 with 4.56 gears and a Detroit SofLocker (http://www.detroitlocker.com/DL.htm). The SofLocker is the same as a Detroit Locker but is smoother and safer on pavement, and is quieter. In fact this locker makes no noise and is very forgiving when driving on pavement with snow or ice.

    My trick when ordering the Dynatrac axles was to order them with 6 bolt hubs so I could use my existing rims and tires. This prevented me from having to buy new 8-bolt rims when I bought the axles. 6 bolts are plenty strong for this truck. Many people think 8 bolt, full-floater axles are necessary for all heavy duty applications. Full-floater axles are incredibly heavy, and not always necessary. No way are you going to break these axles because they are not full-floaters with 8-bolts hubs. These are heavy duty axles but they are not super-heavy. Light yet strong.

    Tires and Rims:

    BF Goodrich TA/KO All Terrains – 35” x 12.5” x 15” on 10” wide rims. Tires have about 70% of the tread remaining. These are great tires for Colorado. They work well in snow, they are quiet on the road giving good fuel economy, and work well in the dry / non-muddy conditions here in Colorado.

    Don’t forget the complete set of extra 35” x 12.5” Trail Mark Radial APR tires that are brand-new. One is used as a spare, and the remaining three are loose and shown in the pictures.

    Onboard (On board) Air System:

    Out of all of the mods this truck has, this one is by far the coolest. There is nothing like being able to lower your tire pressure for a smoother ride and more traction when you get to the trailhead, then QUICKLY airing up your tires right before getting back on the road.

    My system has all of the components that are described on www.coloradok5.com (link below) and Kilby’s website:

    · York 210 compressor and electric clutch pulley for a belt-driven system
    · Toggle switch on the dashboard to activate the system
    · Air pressure gauge and pressure switch
    · Pressure relief valve
    · One way check valve
    · 2.5 gallon air tank reservoir
    · 2 Quick disconnects – one under the hood and one on the rear bumper

    Photos show the compressor, fitting and air tank.

    This system will fill my 35” x 12.5” tires from 18 psi to 34 psi in about 2 minutes. It takes a high volume system to be able to fill such large tires so quickly. This system will even run air tools for short bursts, although I have never used it for that.


    Suspension / Lift-Kit:

    Truck has a Superlift 6” system on it. This includes all new front and rear 6” lift leaf spring packs and I also put heavy duty shackles on. I put 2.5” lift blocks on the back because Suburbans are heavier than pickup trucks, so the rear end of Suburbans tend to sag after the lift is installed. You can see from the photos that the rear of my truck actually sits just a wee bit higher than the front. This is the way you want it!


    Bumpers / Spare Tire Carrier:

    Truck has custom made, heavy duty front and rear bumpers. The front bumper has a 2” receiver. Both bumpers have holes for inserting hi-lift jacks – the holes match up to the location of the frame rails. The rear bumper has a super-cool swinging spare tire carrier. The swinging spare carrier has a heavy duty latch and a pin that holds the carrier while it is swung out for access to the rear doors. This prevents the tire from swinging and hitting you, which would cause serious injury since the spare and rim are so heavy.

    My good friend made these bumpers for me. They are well-built and solidly bolted to the frame rails. You must see them to appreciate them.

    Seat Covers:

    Custom seat covers made especially for this year Suburban. These covers fit the Suburban seats perfectly including the front armrests. They are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Check out the pictures.

    Tuffy Console:

    Awesome Tuffy center console for storage. Sorry but I lost the key – I think you can call Tuffy and get a key made if you give them a number off of the lock. These consoles are great. It holds a ton of stuff. I bet you could put 4 gallons of milk in this thing. The console is heavily padded and includes cup holders for the front and rear passengers.


    · Borgeson steering shaft. I replaced the wimpy stock steering shaft with a Borgeson shaft. These shafts are solid and tight with a real steel universal joint instead of the wimpy rubber disk rag joints. This shaft totally eliminates play in the steering wheel.


    · Offroad Design Weld-In Frame Repair Kit AND Bolt-In Steering Box Brace Kit. Like all Chevy trucks that get 4-wheeled, my frame developed cracks around where the steering box bolts onto the left frame rail. Thankfully Offroad Design (http://www.offroaddesign.com/) makes these awesome repair kits (http://www.offroaddesign.com/catalog/steeringkit.htm). These kits are a lot of work to put in because one of them requires welding and a good welder. They are well worth it. In fact, I would recommend these kits even if your frame does not have any cracks in it (it will eventually crack anyway). These kits totally eliminate flex and play in the steering box and steering system. Combined with the Borgeson steering shaft and crossover steering, this truck has steering that is as tight as a stock suburban with regular size tires. This truck easily handles high speed twisties like you find on I-70 here in Colorado.

    · Custom made, heavy duty rock-sliders, rocker panel guards. Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures. These were custom made to bolt on to this truck. I just never got around to painting and mounting them. The only thing they need is paint and some bolts.
    · Front and rear differential guards
    · Braided steel front and rear brake hoses – shown in the photos
    · New muffler – shown in the photos
    · Replaced steering box and power steering pump. The original pump and box were tired and were squawking, especially in cold weather. The new box and pump are strong and tight.
    · Power steering cooler – the smallest of the three coolers shown in the grill photo. This is actually a small transmission cooler that keeps the power steering fluid super cool and increases the power steering fluid capacity.
    · Engine oil cooler. This truck has the factory engine oil cooler with lines that come off of the oil filter and go to the cooler in the grill.

    Extra parts and accessories:

    • Spare window for the passenger rear door.
    • Third-row seat for the far back of the truck (not pictured)
    • 4 brand-new 35” X 12.5” X 15” tires – one of these is being used as the spare –
    • Spare heater core
    • 2” trailer hitch with ball that plugs into the receiver hitch
    • Stock front sway bar
    • Two 15” X 10” heavy duty steel rims – white – one of these rims is being used for the spare
    • Heavy duty tire chains, brand-new, never used. These Campbell/Cooper heavy duty chains are stout. Complete set for all 4 tires.
    • Air hose with fittings and air chuck for the onboard air system – approximately 20’ long.
    • Extra shock absorbers
    • Extra 1410 universal joint
    • Extra hoses, belts, distributor cap and rotor, etc. that are good to keep in the truck when you go into the back-country
    • “Custom” carpet liners for the back cargo area and the rear passenger foot area. I bought a big piece of carpet and cut pieces that fit perfectly around all of the nooks and crannies. These carpets are good for saving the stock carpet. Sorry no pictures.
    • Tachometer – RPM gauge. I mounted a small, basic RPM gauge to the steering shaft. Simple and functional.

    Problems with the truck? Well this truck is not perfect. Here are the things I can think of:

    1. The windshield has lots of cracks. It has been this way for all 6 years I have owned it. It has not gotten any worse and most of the cracks are on the passenger side. I didn’t bother replacing it because this is my mountain truck. If I replaced it, the new window would just get cracked.
    2. The air conditioning does not work. It has the optional rear a/c, but because the main a/c does not work, the rear a/c does not work.
    3. Very minor oil burning at startup because of leaking valve guide seals
    4. The radio makes a slight humming noise when the engine is running. It does not hum without the engine running.
    5. The carpeting has some stains in it. Most of the staining is at the very back of the truck. I covered the back carpet with the custom carpet cover I made.
    6. That really is all that I can think of.

    I will be out of the country from October 10 – November 16. So please email me quickly if you want to see the truck before Thanksgiving. Between October 10 – November 16 I will have access to email and telephone to answer questions. But will not be able to show you the truck.

    The truck is licensed and insured for test drives. I am considering allowing offroad test drives for people willing to pay a non-refundable $200 fee to cover gas and cleaning. The offroad test drive would be with me at a trail of my choosing – probably Lamartine / Saxon Mine Road near Idaho Springs. If you buy the truck, the $200 would go towards the purchase price.

    Please email me with any questions.

    Thanks for looking!

    Search words: jeep cj5 cj7 cj8 wrangler k5 blazer chevrolet chevy ford bronco international scout landcruiser land cruiser pinzgauer wagoneer grand cherokee shocks lift leaf springs gmc nissan xterra pathfinder land rover





  2. flatlander4500

    flatlander4500 Registered Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Price lowered to $7,000.
  3. ccj8008

    ccj8008 1/2 ton status

    Apr 2, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Polson MT
    Keep the truck, get a new girlfriend. Bump for you.
  4. Jimbo*

    Jimbo* 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    Likes Received:
    roswell, new mexico
    X2 billion
  5. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

    Oct 24, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Fresno, Ca.

  6. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

    Jan 29, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Fairfax Station VA
    pics look like 6luggers...must be old pics?
  7. Mr.Chevy4x4

    Mr.Chevy4x4 1/2 ton status

    Jun 16, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Sims, NC
    look back at the description. He ordered the 60's with 6 lug outers.

  8. eclipse

    eclipse 1/2 ton status

    Jan 1, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Sparks, NV
    dont mean to be negative, but don't dana60s have stud bolts on the passenger side next to the pumkin instead of a ubolt
  9. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

    Jan 29, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Fairfax Station VA
    the front has kingpins, that is interesting that it has 4 u-bolts tho. is the rear semi-floater?

    just keep the rig man!
  10. eclipse

    eclipse 1/2 ton status

    Jan 1, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Sparks, NV
    oh yeah I do remember noticing the kingpins the last time I looked at that front end.

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