Death Row to DD

Discussion in 'Offroad Build Threads' started by Bret, May 28, 2018.

  1. Bret

    Bret Newbie

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    After searching for a while for a good deal, I found this 1999 Suburban 2500 on Craiglist for $600 with 225,000 miles, claiming it needed a Harmonic Balancer and had an exhaust leak. Checking out the truck, it had almost everything I wanted: 454 Vortec, 4x4, 4.10 Gearset, leather, and barn doors, and no rust.
    The truck ended up being 3 hours away, and the PO got it through a barter deal for work he did for the PPO when it was running. When I bought it, he was only a few months from scrapping it after trying to sell it for months. While he was selling it, the outer ring on the harmonic balancer separated from the rest of it, rendering the truck undrivable, and difficult to sell. At some point, the window also got broken in.
    After I paid for the truck and got the keys, I went back home and rented a Home Depot pickup and a 20 foot car trailer with winch to haul it back home. All in all, $200 for a 3 hour tow.
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    Eventually I got it back home, and the first order of business was going down to the junk yard and getting a new driver window, and I ordered a brand new window regulator due to the old one being mangled from what I believe was a break-in. Due to there not being a window, it left the interior in rough condition. After a good cleaning, the interior now looks presentable minus the torn up driver side seat.
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    After ordering all the parts, I replaced the harmonic balancer and fired the truck up only to hear an awful sound that made me understand the PO was completely wrong about the exhaust leak.


    Assuming a collapsed lifter, I used a mechanics stethoscope to figure out which side was making the sound, and I took off the valve cover to discover the pushrod and rocker was pretty loose due to the lifter.


    Ordered all the parts, and after dismantling the engine discovered it actually had 3 collapsed lifters. I replaced all the lifters, and did a break-in with fresh oil and an additive for good measure. I replaced the oil again and also replaced both shift solenoids and changed the filter on the 4l80e. This proved to be slightly inconvenient, as I did not expect to have to jack up the back of the transmission to make the bolts closest to the back of the tranny pan accessible.

    After all was said and done, the truck drives fine, the only problem being a slightly rough idle. I am thinking it could be a couple things including bad gas, the fuel pump that's going out(Fuel pressure was fine, but the pump makes a loud whine, a new one is on the way).
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    I pulled the older GMC grill from the junkyard a while back(that one's my favorite), and today walking around the junkyard I found a diesel bumper for $30 that I couldn't resist picking up. The bumper only has couple scratches from someone pulling the factory 6.5 out.
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    I put the grill on a few weeks ago and today I put the bumper on and couldn't be happier with the results
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    For anyone curious, going from a new to old grill isn't exactly plug and play, but is still easy. First off, in the radiator support there is push in screw tabs that will be in the wrong places. It's as simple as taking a pick or small screwdriver and prying them out and relocating them, as the support still has the provisions for the older locations. The second problem that arises is the turn signals. The turn signals on the newer grills are deeper than on the older ones, which means you will need new turn signals. If you put just enough screw threads to hold them in, they will work, but you can tell that something is wrong when you look close up.
    I want to modify this grill to get rid of the GMC logo or just order a billet one if I can get it for a good deal.

    My short-term goals include tackling this rough idle issue by replacing the fuel pump and tossing a few sensors at it. I also have the buckets for the quad sealed beam headlights, with the headlights on the way and will be installing them as soon as they arrive.
    Long-term, I plan to puting on a 4 inch lift on running 35x12.5 tires. I'm going for a overland inspired build.
     
  2. Bret

    Bret Newbie

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    I've spent the past week pretty much waiting on parts and brainstorming, and I've finally today been able to do some work on the Burb.
    First thing I did was do a Quad Headlight swap, which is personally my favorite look for these trucks. Along with that, I also used proper parking lights for this grill. They needed a little trimming on the back to put in the newer parking light bulb socket, but it ended up working nicely.
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    Tonight I've been working on rigging up a mount for my CB radio where the stock CD Drive goes below the HVAC controls. The way I've done it is to dismantle the original CD Drive and rig up the CB inside.
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    The dash bezel should fit very nicely around the CB, and I've chopped the original front a bit to act as a temporary place holder. I originally planned on cutting out the CD front to make a wrap around bezel, but I don't think there would have been enough plastic to hold together. I'll be using some 3m tape to keep the CB in place inside the metal mount.

    I'm likely going to try and mount it in tomorrow, not sure how I want to mount the whip yet though.
     
    jsfrmsj and NightRunner like this.
  3. Bret

    Bret Newbie

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    It's been a while since I've updated this thread, but I've been able to get some more work done on the Burb.
    Right before the 4th of July I was able to get a new fuel pressure regulator and set of injectors hooked up. After doing tons of research, guys seem to have had good luck using Bosch Mustang injectors. I found a new-old stock set on Ebay for around $115, and I figured that isn't bad considering that's right around the price of a refurbished set.
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    Stock on the left, Ford Bosch on Right

    I was able to remove all the injectors from the fuel rail without snapping any of the plastic tabs, and the new injectors popped into the rail and intake nicely with a little oil to lube the o-rings. The new injectors seem to fit and be running fine, and aside from the slightly shaky idle it had before this(That I'm still chasing, another forum user suggested knock sensor, so I'll try that next), the new injectors seem to be performing great.

    While browsing facebook marketplace, I came upon a deal I absolutely could not pass up:
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    It's a 1999 Suburban 1500 5.7 2wd with reverse blown out on the 4L60E for $375. I contacted the PO, and was at his house with a tow dolly and cash the next day. My 2500 Burb towed it like a dream. Since I don't have a need for another vehicle, I'll be using this as a parts vehicle. It had amazing grey seats that I've swapped into my truck, although I will miss the leather. It also has a steering wheel in great condition I'll swap over once I rent a puller.
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    I'll likely sell the 4l60E as a core, and I'll be using the 350 Vortec in my 1967 Chevy Biscayne. It currently has a pretty tired 350 from the mid-80's, and this Vortec with an Edelbrock Carb, HEI distributor, and some longtubes that I've had in the closet for a while I'm sure will make the car rip! The PO mentioned that he recently had the entire top end professionally redone, including a valve job, lifter replacement, and head gasket. The engines sitting at ~200k right now, but I'm not too concerned with it.

    Some of the other parts including the grill and new lights I'll be selling to a friend with a GMT400 ECSB. Once I get the engine and trans pulled from the truck, I'll be selling it for scrap.
     
    95C1500 and Dubs like this.
  4. Bret

    Bret Newbie

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    Unfortunately I haven't been able to do much moding lately, I went through a struggle with a no start on the suburban lately, that issue is well documented on GMT400 here and on Reddit here. I finally have the truck running though. I will still be putting most mods on hold for now, I'm focusing now on getting the parts ready to swap my parts Suburban's 350 into my 1967 Biscayne. I'll be sure to post some pictures once I get to that.
    In the mean time, I've been tossing up the idea of changing the front end. Black 96+ Chevrolet grills have really been growing on me, and I think I want to go a little more modern rather than old school on the build. I'll be keeping the quad headlights(despite the difficulty getting anything but stock or similar to stock). Tomorrow, I plan on removing the side molding with some fishing line and goo gone.
     

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