1971 Suburban Project

Dr Smash

Well-known member
Reno4x4 Vendor
I used 6” lift springs with 3 springs removed for the front of mine. When they flattened out it pushed the front shackle back to much better angle and gave me about 2.5 lift when settled.


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ManNamedJed

Active member
Thanks. I'm still undecided on what to do for the suspension. It is a 1/2 ton but the previous owner swapped to 3/4 springs. I think the 33" tires will clear okay as-is. I have the stock leaf packs from the Suburban that provided the axles, so I may just cut the eyes off the main leaves and add them to my packs. I've done that in other vehicles and liked how it added just a bit of height and firmness.

I should probably do the engine work before I add taller tires and springs though. It would certainly be easier to work on at this height.
 

Dr Smash

Well-known member
Reno4x4 Vendor
Sway bars are a Subs good friend. I have a ford explore rear bar on mine as well as the stock front. You can surprise the hell outta people in roundabouts that are not being team players.


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ManNamedJed

Active member
Decided to dive into the engine stuff this weekend. Going to install new cam, intake, HEI ignition and maybe the rams horn exhuast. I think I have all the appropriate gaskets and tools. If anyone has any suggestions of things to do 'while I'm at it' let me know. Or if you are an experience cam-installer and are bored and want to come over......

I'm considering have a mild port job done on the heads. I would appreciate suggestions as to who could do this. I emailed one place recommended in another thread here and never got a respons.
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
Put in about 4 hours today to start the cam, intake, and HEI install. Had lots of 'help'. Basically just managed to unbolt stuff. Glad it all went smooth. I'm really happy with what I've found in the motor. It is very clean inside, backing up the receipt for the crate motor i found in the glove box, that says it was installed 18,000 miles ago.

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ManNamedJed

Active member
Slow progress... but i'm taking my time and trying to make sure I do it all right.

Cam in. Rockers adjusted, intake installed, HEI installed and new wires run (points used 6V, HEI 12V).

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Edit - WTF does it keep rotating my pics??
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
Got the suburban running today finally!

Got it all back together with the new intake, cam, HEI, and clutch fan (to replace the solid fan), and...... it wouldn't start. Its crucial you get it started right after a cam swap to do a proper break in.

When I pulled the distributor, I just noted its position. Then when I installed the HEI, I put in the same spot (after realigning everything else). Well, I'm not sure how it was set up before, but that sure didn't work with the new dist. I finally had to find TDC and re-install the dist. It fired right up then thankfully.

Still got some odds and ends to clean up, and some tuning to do, but the quick drive around the neighborhood showed more power off the line, and it will now rev past 3000 rpm.

Took a pic, but it just looks like a complete engine, so not much to see.
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
Made some more progress. Added lighter advance springs to the HEI. Invested in a timing light with tach and adjusted the carb.

Now its actually got a bit of power! More off the line, more midrange, and actually will rev up through 5000 if you want. I've got some different jets/needles for the carb I'll try soon, but for now I'm going to actually drive it a bit.

Installed a tach and new window washer tank/pump (stock one was cracked and had to move anyways for the AC pump). Getting the AC system charged later this week.

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Dr Smash

Well-known member
Reno4x4 Vendor
Did I spy you driving around in Reno on Sunday?


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ManNamedJed

Active member
Probably. Ran a few errands in it. Its running good, and the AC is working great.

I do wish I'd gone a bit more aggressive with the cam. I would've like just a bit of a lope, and of course more oomphf. However I was limited by the very low compression stock heads, and I've gone too aggressive in the past and know how its worse than being to conservative. I still think its really fighting its too-tall gears (3.08s). So the 4.10s should wake it up, the tradeoff being 2800 rpm at 65mph.

Still need to do the lift and axle swap. Have to cut the spring pads off, which as you know is kinda a pain in the ass.
 
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Dr Smash

Well-known member
Reno4x4 Vendor
I’m going to put in a 4l80e and switch from 4:10 to 4:88


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ManNamedJed

Active member
Overdrive of some sort is certainly in the future. Debating NV4500 vs 700R4. Its a manual now and I'd like to keep it that way, but the NV4500 conversion sure is spendy.
 

Dr Smash

Well-known member
Reno4x4 Vendor
A good rebuilt 7004 with converter is around 1600$ and you will need a case for like a 241 around 500 rebuilt. With the 7004 you will need to manage the lock up converter. You can find 4500 for around 1200 in good condition and a 205 case for it 600. Either way going to need around 2500 or so in parts.


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ManNamedJed

Active member
I wasn't aware there was a 205 that would bolt up to the 4500 withount an adapter. I know there are quite a few variations and you need to be careful about which one you get. If you have a line on a deal for either/both, I'd certainly be interested. My old man is a retired 'gear man' and could help me rebuild them.
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
Worked hard all weekend on the suburban and have painfully little to show for it.

It doesn't fit in the garage, so all work is being done in the hot driveway.

Goal was to install new axles and lift kit. Got the 2.5" lift springs and shocks from Tuff Country, FYI.

The internet said my rear axle would bolt up except for the shock mounts. Well that was wrong and the spring pads were in the wrong spot. Got them cut off. Tried to use my plasma cutter and ended up gouging my axle tubes, so wasted time filling gouges and smoothing with grinder.

The internet also said the driveshaft would bolt up and likely be an okay length, well its too long now and uses a different u-joint.

Got the Eldorado parking brake disc calipers from Ruff stuff and the parking brake cables aren't long enough now.

The new lug nuts I bought are the wrong thread.

Of course the leaf spring bolts were rusted solid.

The disc conversion is thicker than the drums and I'm concerned the studs aren't long enough now.
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So here it is and the rear isn't even done. It is centered, angle set, and the new perches are tacked on. The brake lines have been sorted and the calipers bled.

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I am happy with how its looking I think the small lift was the right choice. I like how the tires and wheels look. I just hope the front goes smoother.
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
Installed the 8 lug Dana 44 with 4:10 gears today. The new brake calipers needed a different brake line bolt than what was on there, so I had to leave the old rusty ones.

Special thanks to Denis for helping me weld my spring and shock mounts on the rear!!

The rear parking brake isn't hooked up because I need longer cables. If anyone has any tips on where to get them, please let me know. From what I've read, you really need them hooked up and adjusted right for the brakes to work properly. Right now they are squishy and weird, but there could be other factors.

But.... I'm stoked with the new stance, love the wheels. I think its a nice balance between an aggressive look without being all huge. The new gearing really peps it up. Haven't tried it on the highway yet though.

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ManNamedJed

Active member
FYI - the measurements from hub to fender lip were all 22-23" before the lift. Afterward they are all 25-26", It will likely settle a bit. So the Tuff Country 2.5" lift does deliver the advertised lift. Ride is firm, but not harsh, just as I wanted.

Ordered a new master cylinder and prop valve from Pirate Jack which will hopefully get the brakes working properly after the rear disc conversion. They were super nice and helpful BTW.

I don't think I'll tackle any more major projects this year. Kids keep asking 'Daddy, when is the busburban going to get fixed?' as I've promised it will be used for camping trips and drive in movies soon.

I want to get the windows tinted to help keep temps down. I'm also going to get some basic seat covers to protect from, you know, kids.

If anyone is interested in the 6 lug axles and tires/wheels let me know. Would be a cheap way to try out tall gears.
 
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