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  1. #1

    Default 5.3L Engine Swap & Chassis Upgrades

    Anybody ever do a Duramax or big-block swap in a late model K1500 suburban? How big a pain is it? Shoul I just stick with the LQ9 upgrade and do headers/exhaust/cold air intake? How about multi-piston brakes? I use mine as a huntin' bus and boat tower. I run the K&N and a hypertech and still need more oomph (down low) and stopping power. How about body lifts to get some more rubber and air under these? I bottom out and wind up winching just about every year.

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bob_w View Post
    Anybody ever do a Duramax or big-block swap in a late model K1500 suburban? How big a pain is it? Shoul I just stick with the LQ9 upgrade and do headers/exhaust/cold air intake? How about multi-piston brakes? I use mine as a huntin' bus and boat tower. I run the K&N and a hypertech and still need more oomph (down low) and stopping power. How about body lifts to get some more rubber and air under these? I bottom out and wind up winching just about every year.
    For an over the road vehicle that tows I would not recommend a lift kit or bigger tires, “to get more air under it” as you said.

    This can make the truck less stable, and a lift kit does not really raise the axels.

    As far as a late model, what years do you consider late model?

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  3. #3

    Default

    The big block will bolt in with minor issues. The Duramax is a heavy engine (all Diesels are). If I remember correctly the frames are different for Diesels, heavier, I know the suspension is heavy duty. Unless your planning on spending a lot of money in frame/suspension upgrades I'd probably look for a Diesel truck to trade/buy and go that route.
    More rubber under the truck only increases your stopping and performance problems. Bigger tires need bigger brakes and more horsepower, remember the term "unsprung weight". A body lift will put the truck higher in the air and make the resistance higher, in effect taking away more horsepower.
    If you want to continue to use this platform for multi purpose (towing and wheeling) concentrate on HP increases, dont change the tire size, possibly a gear change to get a little more low end for wheeling and towing.
    Choose your line off road better, I know thats not always easy to do in the woods but if your taking your truck in places you have to tear up the trail to get out of mabe you need to learn about http://www.treadlightly.org/.

  4. #4
    Legend unplugged's Avatar
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    Default Driver skill vs better equipment.

    I drive my 06 Silverado all over the Mojave Desert for my work and I am the "King of Stuck" So far I've been able to dig my way out of trouble, except for the time I tried crossing the Santa Ana river. It took a winch that time! Picking the right line is always the best bet. As soon as I was high and dry I took a better line and crossed the river with no trouble. My 06 is stock height and the only upgrade is the 1 size larger BFG KO's. I drag the frame rails and dent the skid plates plenty, but I always seem to get where I have to. I carry a shovel, a high lift jack, chains and a tow strap and so far I use them more for folks I find stranded than on my own truck.
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  5. #5

    Default

    I've never taken my Suburban off-road (unless you count the dirt trails leading to the trailer parking area at my favorite ORV park). So I'm not sure how well a suburban wheels. I've seen people beating the snot out of'em off road but never felt that qualified that as wheeling when your standing on the skinny pedal and bouncing off the rev limiter the whole trail.
    I can say I've seen guys with 2 wheel drive trucks go farther than 4x4's by picking a good line and being careful with the gas and brake pedal. I've got a portable 8K winch that mounts in the receiver of all my trucks and their all wired for power at the rear. Usually if I find someone stuck through stupidity I'll hand'em a shovel and Hi-Lift jack and leave the winch in the truck. Let'em put a little sweat equity in their off road education.

  6. #6
    Legend unplugged's Avatar
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    Default

    I think winching is over-rated. Winches do have a place in recovery jobs, and I've had my eye out for a good deal on a winch like yours for those "just in case" situations. I definitely could not have gotten out of the river without help, but I think a tow strap would have done the job just as well as the winch. The guy with a winch on his jeep told me to just stick 'er in neutral and let the winch do the work. His 8k Warn wouldn't budge my truck. After a couple of tries he finally relented and asked me to put it in reverse for an assist and that got me out.

    I take my burb off road all the time. I am famous for my 'short cuts' on the road less traveled. I haven't done anything like hard core rock climbing, or the rubicon, but I've gotten in situations where the 'pucker level' is off the scale.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by unplugged View Post
    I haven't done anything like hard core rock climbing, or the rubicon, but I've gotten in situations where the 'pucker level' is off the scale.
    Rock crawling is what two Toyotas are for, their both built for hard core rock crawling. The 91 is a competition "Formula Toy", and the 99 is a weekend trail rider. I actually grew up in Georgetown Ca. at the trailhead of the Rubicon, it's where I got my passion for playing off road.

  8. #8

    Unhappy Chassis Upgrade

    Well I guess this answers it. There really is no sport or utility in a Suburban anymore. Mine is an '01 1500. I go off road in Wisconsin & Michigan hunting. I usually get stuck in the greasy muck of the lumbering camps. By adding lift I had hoped to change the approach and departure angles as well as keep the body out of the goo.

    It's too bad these have been "Soccer Mom'ed" to death. I used a '73 with the big block and full time 4WD - it ate front ends and sucked mega-gas, but at least it could haul and go off road.

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