09 Suburban Transformation

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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

So I'm a new member and just getting into Overlanding. I thought I'd share what I'm working with and updates as they come along. Basically my wife got a 2018 Suburban. Her old Suburban just paid off and I decided to take it rather than trade it in. It has 190k miles on it and it's been through its share of repairs. I am the mechanic, home repair guy, appliance repairman, vet, and husband as we live far out in the country on a homestead. I now use this for a daily driver and has been fun to mess with.

Here is a picture of how i received it. Overall in OK shape. With 4 kids and Football, Basketball, Baseball, and track all over the state of Nebraska in 5 years it has served us well.

98720

Chevy Family. 09 and 18 side by side.

98721
 
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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

First order of business was to fix a bad engine knock that started the search for a new burb. This is a 5.3 with AFM and the cylinder 4 lifter had failed. I chose to replace all the lifters and do a AFM delete at the same time.

Motor ready for new parts.

98722
 
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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

I've had issues with the front end ever since we purchased the vehicle. It was eating tires fairly quickly with a shake that just wouldn't go away. I had installed a front end rebuild kit at one point a few years ago but although it was better the issue wasn't fully solved. In fact after a year or so it was back to being as bad or worse than previously. After inspecting it I realized all the parts I installed previously are now bad again and needed new tires. Lesson learned, don't buy the cheap Chinese kit. This time I decided I was going to replace everything that rotated with all new AC Delco OEM components. While I was at it I installed a Rough Country 3.5" Lift. The best part of this project is my 15 year old son got to share in a bulk of the work with me for the first time. Having a useful second set of hands was very helpful and has sparked his interest in mechanics. Here is a list of what was replaced.

Lower control arms with Ball Joints installed.
Inner and Outer tie rods
New Axles
New Hubs
New Sway Bar bushings
New Sway Bar connecting link and bushings
New Rotors, pads and calipers
Rough Country Front Diff lowering kit and skid plate
Rough Country 3.5" lifted Struts and new springs. (Did not use the spacers)
Rough Country 3.5" Lifted Shocks on the rear. (Did not use the shock brackets but installed the coil spacers)
Rough Country Upper Control arms and ball joints
Airlift Bags in rear coils

Here is everything I didn't replace up front.
98723

We lifted the rear first. Looks like an old school street car from back in the day.
98724

Lift completed.
98725
 
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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

So I knew I needed new tires and debated a long time about tire size and whether or not to buy new rims. In the end I decided to replace wheels and tires. I really debated between 33" and 35" tires and finally decided I didn't want to go to big and have to do a lot of cutting and pounding to make them fit. I went with RBP 73R wheels in 20" and Fury Country Hunter RT tires in 33x12.5.

New Shoes!
98726

Last but not least I like a clean looking car so I debadged everything and this is how it sits today.
98727

So this is where I am. I'll add that I have also installed a Diablo i3 tune. I'm currently going through several settings with a focus on MPG and am right at 15 mpg currently. I'm also debating fender flares that are color matched as I've got a lot of chips on the fenders since this car is always on dirt roads. I'm planning some body work, paint, color correction, and ceramic coating next along with new headlamps. I've got a list of stuff that I'm also getting together to support overlanding.
 
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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

One of my projects is to design something like the picture below. It must be removable without damaging the car and retain the second row bench when installed. I can remove the third row when this is installed for trips. So when I get where I'm going the second row would roll forward and this thing will fold into that area and the mattress would fold out over the entire area. The kids can then camp in a tent while I sit back there in style :)

98728
 
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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

Thanks guys! So I really need to start thinking about what to build next. I've got some 1/4 plate sitting around I can use to make under armor or I can get some tubing and build rock sliders. A swing out tire and Jerry can carrier are also on this list. There are some options above also. As for plans I have no expectations to have this be a rock crawler but will be on rocks. Given the wheelbase sliders seem like a good next step as there is a lot of rocker exposed. Give me your thoughts.
 
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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

This truck had a brush guard on it when I got it and when I removed it there were no tow hooks. I purchased some used ones on EBay. I was able to bead blast, paint them red and install them this weekend. I like the little splash of color. Total cost was about $50.
100431
 
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Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

JKU Ben, just to be clear that interior picture with the woodwork is not mine. That is from SubOverland and is the idea I'm going to run with on my own vehicle. I haven't even started :)
 

SanDimasBilly

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Member

Contributor II

301
Placentia, California, USA
First Name
Billy
Last Name
Slavens
Member #

17790

I have an 08 I have used quite often. After crossing the Mojave River the ECU took on water and the connections corroded. My advice is to re locate or protect the modules best as possible. Otherwise it's a very fun platform20190316_170321.jpeg
 

Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

Following, I have a '13 z71 I am planning to build up.
So just to clarify, with the lift you did not have to trim to fit the 33" tires?
I did have to trim the plastic that is towards the front of the vehicle directly behind the fender liner. I then zip tied the fender liner to it to give the tire more clearance. When the tire is mounted you will know what I'm talking about. Here are a couple of pictures. This was a super easy mod and took maybe 10 minutes per side.100976100977
 

Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

I have an 08 I have used quite often. After crossing the Mojave River the ECU took on water and the connections corroded. My advice is to re locate or protect the modules best as possible. Otherwise it's a very fun platformView attachment 100872
Great looking ride. Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely look at that. I see you have fender flares. What brand are they?
 

Eckroll

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
Dalton, NE, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Eckhardt
Member #

18085

Just a quick update. I ordered a yaesu ftm-400xdr today. I'll post pics when I get the installation done.