upgrading a 1/2 ton

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by sunblock, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. sunblock

    sunblock New Member

    Hello, Soon I will have a new to me 88 Suburban 1/2 ton. I have a few trailers I will pull with it, but the largest is 34 feet and weighs 6900 pounds. This large trailer will be near the limit of what the suburban can handle so I want to beef it up some. The 700R4 in it has about 50k since it was rebuilt. I am thinking to add a large transmission cooler and temp gauge to make sure the temps are already less than 200. I think it has 3.73 gears, they may need to be upgraded to 4.10 I am guessing. What else should I consider? I want to keep the IFS so I am not sure how to beef up the axles or if they even need it. I will be towing short distances, on mostly flat land. no mountains or such until I get some confiendce with the rig.
  2. ippielb

    ippielb Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Only thing i can think you will need is strong leafs, or air bags in the back. I would recommend air bags, because you can lower the pressure and get a nicer ride when your not hauling. 3.73 gears will be fine for towing, if you have the stock tires.
  3. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    ippielb gives good advice.
    It would be too expensive to regear, and whenever you change something there is a chance that whoever does it will screw it up, so you pay a bunch of $$ to turn a working truck into a broken truck.

    One thought if you think you need a lower gear is you can probably find shorter tires.
    My 1998 has 235/75 15 I can probably find shorter 15" tires if it came to it.

    I rarely tow, but Suburbans are great tow vehicles.They are also the best long USA road trip vehicle-big enough for 2 adults and 2 dogs to comfortably sleep in at rest stops.
  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    An 88 Suburban shouldnt have IFS it should be a solid axle unless theres been some major suspension work done.
  5. sunblock

    sunblock New Member

    Ok thanks guys. Two dogs and two adults is exactly what I have haha. I am not really sure what it has in it, I am getting it tomorrow for cheap. I have been reading up on them and just thought they were IFS.It will have stock tires so maybe 3.73 will be fine. I am pretty handy and my father in law is a full time mechanic so I am confident I can get anything done that I want.
  6. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Is your truck 4x4 or 4x2?
  7. sunblock

    sunblock New Member

    It is a 4X4
  8. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Besides the larger trans cooler, I would install a deeper trans pan, run synethics fluids in the trans, f&r diffs, transfer case and engine.
  9. sunblock

    sunblock New Member

    Cool thx. got it today and it does have solid axles, and already has air shocks .. so woot for me.
  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts


    If you travel longish distances-few hundred miles or more- you'll love the Suburban. It is like having a GIGANTIC minivan that can tow, and allows 2,3 even adults to sleep full length(avoid motel bills ), carry many ice chests, bicycles whatever .Plenty of places to put a pistol-we sleep at rest stops-so just in case.

    Even the solid front axle ones(mine is a 1998 IFS 2wd 1/2 ton 213,000 miles) ride pretty soft on highways.

    Cheap parts , reliable on the important stuff, and not too bad mpg considering just how much it can carry.

    When you travel, nothing beats lots of interior volume and leg room.The dogs will love it.

    Hey,I'm getting the feeling you're getting a great deal- HOW MUCH?? Nowadays prices are up a bit, so with a decent body and good drivetrain anywhere around $2500-$3500 is pretty decent price.Lotta vehicle for not much $$.The 4x4's are a lot more desirable in a lot of areas, so they get pretty good prices if they aren't rusted out.


    PS POST Pictures when you get it!!

Share This Page

Newest Gallery Photos