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  1. #61


    I'd measure at full droop and full compression then get a hold of somebody like 4 wheel parts and get them to look up a shock that would fit that stroke.
    A low buck FabTech shock only runs $19ea.

  2. #62


    I picked up some parts today. I didn't get all the lugnuts because they only carry 2 in the store. Here's the parts I got:

    Qty Part No. Description
    16 611-186.1 Lug Nuts
    1 RD555063 Differential Cover Gasket
    2 382A Bearing Race
    2 387AS Bearing
    2 2081 Wheel Seal
    1 452 3 1/2" wide Brake Shoes

    All the parts are spec'd out for the 99 1-ton pickup. For the brakes I still need to get a new spring kit, parking brake adjuster, and parking brake cables.

    Tim, I'll take those measurements and contact 4wheelparts. I'm not bothering with attaching the shocks just yet since I still need to drop the axle and springs.

    And, and updated todo list:

    •Inspect axle tubes for slag and remove any present
    •Clean axle tubes, axleshafts, and housing
    •Purchase and install bearings, races and seals on hubs
    •Purchase and install leaf spring bushings
    •Install drum brake components with new parts
    •Custom-make brake lines to center brake hose
    •Have driveshaft shortened and yoke swapped out on driveshaft
    •Install shortened driveshaft and u-joints
    •Install rear tires
    •Install front 8-lug spindles and hubs
    •Install front tires

    1991 Chevy Suburban 1/2 ton 2WD w/ chevy SBC 350-3/4 ton drivetrain upgrade w/4.10 gears 200K miles
    2005 Saturn ION-2 Stock 277K miles
    1982 Bronco, 1993 Bronco (sold), 1971 M35A2 Deuce and a Half

    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary, and those who dont...

    Remember kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down- Adam Savage

  3. #63


    Well, I didn't get a ton of work done this weekend. I got some parts wire wheeled and primed and painted. I disassembled one of the brake backing plates and it got painted. I also painted one side's worth of shackle parts. I knocked the huge chunk-o-slag that was hanging down in the axle tube down with a piece of pipe and a 4 pound hammer. Then I took a newly-purchased magnetic retrieval tool and pulled it down the axle tube 10 or 15 times and pulled out huge chunks of slag and metal fragments. I still need to drag the other axle tube, then clean both out with copious amounts of brake cleaner.

    I also need to figure out how exactly to remove the front spring hanger bolt. Once I get that figured out, I can drop the leaf springs, paint them, and replace the bushings in them. Once I get them done I can rehang the axle and finish up the project. So close!!!

    As a little note, I started keeping track of and adding up the costs of various parts and labor I used to complete this project. So far, I'm around $1000 into this project. I'm approaching what I paid for the truck in the first place.... but, it's all worth it since what I want doesn't really exist in regular production, especially down in my neck of the woods.

  4. #64


    Today I FINALLY figured out a way to get the bolts for the front spring hangars out. I'm using a 7/8 crowfoot jammed against the mount to hold the nut in place and a breaker bar to turn the bolt. The bolts are coming out pretty well, though I'm not going to reuse them. Since I just figured this out a few hours ago, I'm going to have to work on it during evenings this week. I'm going to see a show next weekend so it's another weekend blown... Onwards and upwards!

  5. #65


    Sunday I had a revelation that makes me feel incredibly stupid. After pulling the front leaf spring bolt on the drivers side, I went to pull the rear bolt. For starters, I cant seem to get the shackle to lay down so I can get to the bolt and nut. In addition to that, even if I got the nut off, the bolt has nowhere to go! It's blocked by the dip where the spare tire sits in the cab. The only way I could think of to get the bolt out would be to remove the rivets with an air hammer and drop the whole mount, which I'm currently not willing to do. That, or pull the whole body off....

    Now, I shouldn't have an issue like that on the passenger side because the floor does not dip down over there, but what's the point of changing the bushings if I have to leave one original. I might just leave the springs as they are. The rubber in the bushings are slightly dry rot, but they're not falling apart yet. Had I noticed this detail before I ordered parts, I would probably have the truck driving by now.

    The battery went dead from sitting for so long without being run and having the door open to get tools. It was so dead that the intelligent battery charger would not even chage the battery. Voltage was down to around 5 volts. I was able to put an old-school charger on it to force voltage into the battery. Today when I get home I'll put the intelligent charger back on and charge the battery all the way up. Hopefully I didn't develop a bad cell in the battery.

    Speaking of batteries. I test fitted the second battery tray into the truck. It fits, though I need to drill some holes for some of the bolts. Shouldn't be too bad. My only issue is it can't currently accomodate a real big battery, so it's kinda pointless to put a deep cycle in that spot. What I may do is make that location for the starting battery and put the deep cycles on the other side. My other option is to relocate the windshield washer resevoir further back which should allow me to put a bigger battery in. That project's low on the priority list.

  6. #66


    I've made progress, and I've hit another roadblock. I got the leaf spring bolted back up and got the axle hung permanently. Hanging the axle involved cutting the U-bolts to length, painting the u-bolt plates, hanging the axle, and torquing the bolts to spec. I ended up having to buy a second u-bolt kit because I blew up one of the u-bolts. I was torquing it down to 140 foot-pounds like the haynes manual said, and the bolt streched and fell apart. Here's a pic of it:

    Not to be defeated, I went and picked up another set of u-bolts (they only sell them in sets of 4) and the associated Nylock nuts I had wasted as a result, and got the axle hung the rest of the way. Then, I started to install the backing plate for the brakes. On the passenger side, one of the 4 holes for the backing plate has damaged threads, so I still need to chase them with a tap. I'm also going to probably swap out all the bolts and lock washers for new bolts. And to make it seem like I had accomplished something, I threw the drum on. Boy, does all that flat black look sharp on drivetrain parts!

    If I'd only been able to pull the springs and paint them too... Oh well.

    Fast forward to this past weekend. I decided to rebuild the hubs by changing the bearings and seals. Easy job I thought. Boy, was I wrong. I spent probably 20 minutes trying to remove the old wheel seal, and in the process broke the tip off one of my Craftsman screwdrivers and gouging the hub where the seal mates up. Crud. Guess I'm going to have to take a file to it to smooth it out. So, I proceed to pull the bearings. Outer bearing fell out, but I was going to change the race out too. Pull out a harbor freight punch and get to hammering. Nothing, and, I bent the punch the first time I've ever used it. Feeling defeated again, I said screw it, I'll just replace the bearings and be done with it. The outer bearing is held in by a snap ring. For some reason I keep thinking this is going to be easy....was I stupid... I spent a good 30 minutes trying to pull this snap ring, and I STILL haven't gotten it out. It seems like half the snap ring won't come out of its groove. So, I packed up the tools and gave up.

    Yesterday I went to the local tire and wheel shop and bought 4 used steel rims with used tires on them. Stupid me didn't ask for the price before they got to mounting the tires on the wheels. $75 for each for a used steel rim with a used tire! They totally screwed me on that deal.

    Ugh, at least I'm almost done with this project.

  7. #67


    I've been having huge issues rebuilding the hubs for the axle. Check out this thread for those details:

  8. #68
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Indianapolis Area


    Hands down the most interesting thread I've seen yet on this forum.

    Keep up the good work and posting pictures of your progress.

    Someone should nominate this "TOTY"... Thread of the Year!
    1992 GMC C1500 SLE

  9. #69


    I don't have pictures currently of it, but I feel it's a pivotal change that shows definite progress... THE SUBURBAN MOVED YESTERDAY UNDER ITS OWN POWER!!!! I threw the drums on the hubs, threw tires on, hooked the driveshaft up temporarily, and drove the truck forward and backward about 20 feet to scoot it over by about 1 vehicle width. I was so happy to see the beast finally on 4 wheels and moving again. The rear still has no brakes at all, and the bearings still need to be changed, but it's operating enough for it to move. The rear brake line is pinched off with a pair of vise grips and did not leak a drop of fluid while moving the truck.

    So, the list of things left to do gets smaller:

    • Install bearings, races and seals on hubs
    • Install drum brake components with new parts
    • Custom-make brake lines to center brake hose
    • Have new custom heavy-duty driveshaft built and installed
    • Install front 8-lug spindles and hubs
    • Install front tires

    I'm still stuck on how to replace the bearings and races in the hubs, and that's currently what's holding me up. That, and I need a 1/2-20 tap to try to re-tap a hole for the brake backing plate. Installing the front spindles and hubs is going to be interesting, because I'm going to have to re-engineer what parts I'm using to make it all work together.

    Another issue I'm facing, is whether or not to replace the leaf springs. The existing springs are sagging pretty well, and even with the new tires being a half an inch taller than the factory tires, the rear is still sitting lower than the front. I have a feeling that if I want the truck to sit with a proper truck stance I'm going to have to replace the springs because I am NOT doing a lift block. My only issue with replacing springs is I go back to my bushing fiasco and the leaf springs I've found are uber-expensive. (IIRC it was around $700 PER SPRING) I'll have to see and decide what to do about it.

  10. #70


    Just moving on its own is a good sign of progress.

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