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ClemSparks PowerDork
10/22/16 7:51 p.m.

The Sparkseses could use something to ride around in, all 4 of us, as a family and pull boats and junk cars and horses and such.

So this is the most recent in a long line of Trades. A 1983 F350 got traded for a 1977 Shortbed Chevy that got traded for a 1992 Chevy Van, that Got traded for a 1950 1 ton Chevy truck that got traded for a Goldwing that got traded for a 4x4 Toyota that got traded for a '79 El Camino that got traded for this...a 1983 4x4, ½ Ton Chevy Suburban:

First, I had to retrieve it. This was a joint effort between the previous owner (who now owns one of the rustier examples of El Camino I've seen in a while) and I. Here it is on his neighbor's trailer behind my wife's '83 K2500.

That photo alone made the trade seem worthwhile.

As-aqcuired, it's kinda gross. All sorts of detritus, artifacts, rodent...evidence, and about 50 really crusty pennies.

But...I think it'll clean up enough to be an acceptable utility workhorse for us!

More info to follow.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/22/16 8:32 p.m.

The Suburban didn't have an engine. It was originally a 6.2 Diesel. Somebody way back removed the diesel and started to put a 350 SBC into it. They didn't finish the job and that's how the previous owner got it. Our deal was that I'd keep the (running) 350 from the El Camino. So...before the trade happened, this happened:

Burp. The engine was pretty thoroughly greased-up and a combination of day-glow green and Chevrolet orange under the grease. So, I gave it a Krylon-rebuild. Or maybe it was duplicolor. At any rate, I cleaned and scrubbed and scraped and sealed and painted. Lots of new gaskets, a new oil pan, a used Edelbrock Performer intake, etc. Afterwards, here is what it looks like:

Oh...The photos remind me. Thanks member fidelity101 (with the Frankenburban) who gave me a tip to check out the serpentine accessory drive set up from a later TBI truck.

The aluminum brackets and idlers you see above are from a '90-up TBI truck.

There are a few other implications to the serpentine belt setup too. Some I've discovered and some that I probably will eventually.

One is that you need a reverse rotation water pump and matching cooling fan. I got the crank and water pump pulley with the brackets (from a nice guy who responded to my want ad on craigslist).

I put a new seal in the front pump of the 700r4 Transmission (more on this gamble later), and put some new engine and transmission (transfer case, actually) mounts into the truck.

And then it was time to put it in.

Notice that the tires had to be nearly flattened to allow “clearance” (it was more of an interference operation) as I pulled the truck under the engine.

Old, beat up Subarus make good tow mules for maneuvering trucks under engines

And the engine sits in its new home.

Lots of details to attend to now. Lots.

mazdeuce UltimaDork
10/22/16 8:41 p.m.

Two things.
1. Nice engine stand. I'm going to need to build one of those soon.
2. I miss two tone trucks.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/22/16 8:51 p.m.

That's the base of the "crate" my "crate engine" came in. That engine is sitting in the black Malibu you may see in the background of photos of this and other projects.

My wife looked at the wooden engine crate base the other day (with no engine sitting on it) and said, "Is that something we can get rid of?" and I responded "NO!" She was a little surprised at how adamant I was until I explained what I was about to use it for

mbruneaux Reader
10/22/16 10:01 p.m.

These 'Burbs are awesome! I miss our '91 and would love to find a clean example to use and preserve.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/23/16 7:50 a.m.

I, too, would like to find a clean example...but this is the one I got. In all seriousness, though, it's not rusted as bad as most are around here. The floor pans are...well...they are all there and I honestly don't think I've ever seen that before in a truck that's spent any time in Missouri.

Since I dropped the engine into place last weekend I've been slowly bolting things together. I tightened the engine and transfer case mount bolts. I bolted the bellhousing to the engine and attached a couple of body-to-engine grounds while doing that. I bolted the starter up. The torque converter is now attached to the Flexplate.

On the topic of the torque converter: I've read that the torque converter is different between a diesel truck and a gas truck. The torque converter I got with this project seemed not to be the original torque converter. It was painted blue and did not appear to have been used. I'm guessing that whoever started putting a gas engine in it years ago probably sourced an appropriate torque converter. I've installed it and we'll just see what happens. What can possibly go wrong?

The Transmission is a 700R4. I assume it may not shift quite right for a gas engine when I get it going. The transmission and transfer case were already sitting in place in the truck when I got it. I thought pretty hard about just getting it rebuilt but for now just decided to roll the dice. I talked myself into it by saying "It's not THAT hard to pull the transfer case and transmission out to re-do it later."

So, eventually when this thing runs, we'll see if the transmission can actually pull it. What is better motivation to spend hours on your back in the gravel AND spend $1,000 than the joy of a running-but-not-driving Suburban?

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/23/16 8:13 a.m.

One interesting thing I have to deal with is the hydroboost power brakes.

The truck was originally diesel and so it has the hydroboost system which uses hydraulic power from the power steering pump (rather than manifold vacuum) for power assist. I asked fidelity101 how he handled this and was relieved when he told me you just bolt the diesel engine's steering pump onto the small block's bracket. (He also recommended the serpentine setup at this time).

I discovered, however, that my original steering pump had a remote reservoir that mounted to the accessory drive bracketry somehow. So I looked into options for a pump for hydroboost that had an integral tank. Basically, I ended up with a steering pump for a diesel truck of the same era my serpentine setup came off of. The application was a '91 3/4 ton diesel truck.

The main external difference is that the hydroboost-specific pumps have an extra return line built into the reservoir. I've seen people simply tee the two return lines together and say it works fine. I would have gone that direction, but since I did not want to hassle with fabricating a mount for the remote reservoir, I just bought pump that would take care of both issues.

Here is a photo of the back of the pump with the two return lines and one high pressure line:

The pump bolts into the bracket just fine.

Everything clears, the hoses all connect to it fine. So far this looks like a great way to make this work. Keep in mind, the factory didn't ever build this particular combination. It's fun when it's this easy to bolt it together.

And here is the pulley going on using a strap wrench and a pulley installer.

I just bought the pulley installer a few months back. It's pretty handy to have one (as opposed to always borrow/renting one from the auto parts store).

Next I have to get an alternator and an A/C bypass pulley. I ultimately hope to have working A/C on this rig. So I'll put an idler pulley in the place of the compressor for the time being. I don't know if there's any way to run a belt without having a compressor or bypass pulley in its place. And I don't have a compressor yet for the multi-rib serpentine belt. So, before too long (and without much hassle, I think) I'll have the accessory drive finished up.

BrokenYugo UltimaDork
10/23/16 8:37 a.m.

I think the only difference in the trans was the converter and the governor (can be swapped with the trans in place).

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/23/16 8:56 a.m.

That's good to know, thanks. If the transmission seems healthy otherwise, it would be worthwhile to change out the governor (or it's entirely possible it has already been done). Time will tell about the overall health of the transmission.

mbruneaux Reader
10/23/16 9:50 a.m.
ClemSparks wrote: I, too, would like to find a clean example...but this is the one I got.

I didn't mean anything by it, I would take yours in a heartbeat.

ebonyandivory UltraDork
10/23/16 12:48 p.m.

The problem with those Chevy/GMC trucks is the lack of aftermarket and/or junkyard parts availability.

(Can you sense the sarcasm?)

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/23/16 8:12 p.m.
mbruneaux wrote:
ClemSparks wrote: I, too, would like to find a clean example...but this is the one I got.
I didn't mean anything by it, I would take yours in a heartbeat.

Don't worry, I didn't take any offense to it. I just saw it as a good set-up for a bad joke ;)

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/24/16 6:26 a.m.

One thing I need that I have not yet been able to come up with is a driver side exhaust manifold. One that looks more or less like this:

The most critical feature is the outlet location. I think this is a pretty common one. I have one sitting in the shop, but it's cracked. If I can come up with one of these, I should be able to use the exhaust that's in the truck. If someone here has one laying around they would sell me, let's talk!

Chadeux HalfDork
10/24/16 10:24 a.m.

I've got one I don't think I have a use for anymore.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/24/16 8:56 p.m.
Chadeux wrote: I've got one I don't think I have a use for anymore.

I just sent a private message/email...thanks!

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/26/16 10:02 p.m.

Here's where the engine installation is at as of a few days ago:

I put a carburetor on it (the carburetor that was working fine on this engine in the El Camino...albeit atop a ridiculous high-rise intake) to start thinking about linkages and such.

I have to come up with something for the Throttle Cable and transmission Throttle Valve cable. Doing some research looks like there is a ~$30 bracket that will work slick on an Edelbrock. But I figured I'd see what was lying around already. I've got this old regal chassis with a broken Olds engine with a quadrajet on the top of it. Maybe it will have something:


That's just like the ~$30 one I had in my cart at jegsummit. And the whole chassis followed me home for a hundred bucks several years ago.

But, it's not without a hitch. Seems the bracket will run afoul of the edelbrock intake.

In this picture, I'm stacking washers under it trying to decide how much it needs to move.

My current plan is to run a spacer between the carburetor and the intake manifold. I have one hanging on a nail in the barn. Other than blowing the budget on carburetor base gaskets, it seems like a pretty simple solution.

I also picked up and test-fit an alternator on the 'Burb today. It'll go back in favor of an earlier one because the one I picked out is clocked in a way that puts the charge wire REALLY close to the tall valve cover. The alternator on my '89 looks like it will fit great, so I'll pick up one of those tomorrow.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/29/16 7:12 p.m.

Today I spent a bunch of time with Wiring. The biggest thing is that the alternator is now on the opposite side of the engine. The Serpentine setup puts the alternator on the Driver side. Stock V-belts on either a Diesel or Gas '83 Suburban have it on the passenger side.

So I set out to do some re-routing. But it is a bit of a rabbit hole.

While I was at it, I pared down some stuff. Like glow plug wiring and evap and fast idle solenoid wiring.

Once I had the alternator wires running to the correct area, I also had to add in a resistor and the correct plug for the updated alternator. I didn't get any specific photos of this aspect. It's fairly well documented in several corners of the web. But if anyone has specific questions, I'll be happy to add details.

The accessory drive system is now complete. It even has a belt installed!

I put the heater hoses on too.

I'm waiting on a shipment of carburetor gaskets, Valve cover Grommets, throttle studs, a new throttle cable (Diesel and Gas are evidently different), and such before I can make much more progress.

And I'm still on the lookout for a driver side exhaust manifold.

Also...my Throttle Valve cable for the 700R4 is too short for this setup. I'm not sure why. Diesel and Gas applications call for the same cable (and LOTS of stuff from this era). I have removed the TV cable that's too short and will compare it to a replacement one for this application. I hope they're different (but I kinda doubt it). If that's not the case, I don't know what I'm going to do. Everything from the intake manifold up is non-stock. This could be the cause of the problem (different location of bracket, carb spacer, etc)...but looking at my other SBC powered stuff, this setup on the Suburban doesn't really look odd or different.

ssswitch Dork
10/30/16 11:36 p.m.

I love these old Suburbans and this one has clearly found the right lawn to ornament.

I am sure that trusty old first-gen Legacy is more than a little irritated at having to help fix all those hoopties rather than do sweet jumps and haul Labrador retrievers like it was born to do.

10/31/16 4:59 a.m.

Any plans for the El Camino? Drop in a different engine, and use the Suburban to pull the Elky t the 2017 Truck Challenge

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/31/16 7:02 a.m.

The El Camino got traded for the Suburban. Before that, though...I was awfully tempted to look into rule sets for Rally racing. There is a Malibu sitting next to the Suburban in many of the photos, though. That one is sticking around for a while.

patgizz GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/31/16 8:08 a.m.

Make sure you get a tv correction bracket for the carb. It puts the hookup in the correct location on the carb linkage to give factory pull to the cable, or you'll burn the trans up right quick.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/31/16 1:35 p.m.

Thanks, I hadn't realized it would be an issue. I'll check it out and make sure I get one.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/31/16 6:53 p.m.

The other day I popped the cap off the brake master cylinder. It was empty (both sides). Wonderful. So I went ahead and poured some DOT3 in just to see where it came running back out.

Today I crawled under to see if I could find anything.

I think I found the rear leak! That's the right rear with brake fluid pouring out. I assume a wheel cylinder as it's coming from inside the drum.

I didn't look too much harder but I didn't find an obvious leak like this one anywhere else.

ClemSparks PowerDork
10/31/16 6:55 p.m.
ssswitch wrote: I am sure that trusty old first-gen Legacy is more than a little irritated at having to help fix all those hoopties rather than do sweet jumps and haul Labrador retrievers like it was born to do.

No, I think the Subaru loves it. If you look REALLY close at the brake leak photo in the post above, you can just make the Subaru out...lurking in the trees in the background.

fidelity101 SuperDork
11/1/16 9:24 a.m.

ahhh I kept my remote reservoir, I just welded a bracket to it and bolted it to the BMC, I like the color of the burb!

If you were closer I would offer you my engine because I am eyeing a 5.3 swap

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