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  #1  
Old 02-11-2009, 10:34 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Location: SF Bay Area
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Chevy truck 3/4 ton -> 1/2 ton-ization

I think I can civilize the ride of our C2500 Suburban by swapping in a regular/non-HD C1500 suspension for more labor than money. From my research, the major parts that are different include the front upper control arms, front coil springs, front spindles, front calipers and rotors (with ABS reluctors), 10-bolt rear axle for 5-lug wheels and 4 leaf rear springs (3 leaf springs were available on base trucks). And a set of 5-lug wheels, of course.

From what little information is out there by folks who did the 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton upgrade, it's all plug-and-play.

Unknowns include:

- will the prop shaft bolt up to the 10-bolt axle?
- can I find a ~3.40 diff (everything's 3.73 around here) to drop engine revs with smaller wheels?

What else am I missing?

Finding a 95-99 2WD Diesel 'burb with fabric upholstered seating for 9 was a stroke of luck. I've never seen a Diesel with mortal suspension. I don't want to have to get the local smog Nazis approval for an engine swap.

No towing or heavy hauling duty for this 'burb.

Sixto
87 300D

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  #2  
Old 02-11-2009, 10:50 PM
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Waste of time and money.........
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  #3  
Old 02-11-2009, 10:56 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Noted, but I'm trying to find something constructive in the sentiment. Should we live with the jouncing? Should we get a gasser? There's no avoiding a sacrifice.

Sixto
87 300D
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:01 PM
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What is the difference in weight between the diesel and a small-block Chevy V8? I would be concerned that the 1500 springs have insufficient strength to support the front end.
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:04 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Good question. There are 3 levels of springs for the C1500. I'll look for specs to compare with what's on there now.

Sixto
87 300D
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:09 PM
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Just bear in mind that if you have to upgrade the 1500 springs to support the engine, you might lose the ride advantage you're seeking.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:10 PM
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Can you put air bags on it. A friend put them on his Astro van because he uses it for towing and can pump them up to level the ride off. He said his ride improved considerably for about $300.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:19 PM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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The front isn't too bad now. It's the rear rated for a tongue weight of a house and a half that shakes nerves and rattles brains. The main reason for changing front springs is so it doesn't look like it belongs in Hayden Proffitt's garage with softer rear springs.

Phase 1 is to fit softer rear springs. If that's all it needs that's all I'll do. But lowering it is a secondary objective...

Sixto
87 300D
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:48 PM
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i have a 92 1/2 ton ext cab pickup with a 6.5.when ordering parts i have to specify heavy half.if i go for say a front wheel bearing the 1/2 ton pickup ones are too small,also brakeshoes are bigger on the heavy halfs.and i think the u-joints are too.go to a parts house and order heavy half springs you will be fine.as for the back springs regular half ton sub springs should be fine.also if you want the higher gears look for a half ton diesel pickup.i swear mine has 3:08's
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  #10  
Old 02-12-2009, 12:03 AM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catmandoo62 View Post
i have a 92 1/2 ton ext cab pickup with a 6.5.
If 2WD, do you have 5-, 6- or 8-lug wheels?

Sixto
87 300D
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  #11  
Old 02-12-2009, 12:53 AM
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Sixto,

If you want to civilize the ride on your truck consider this option. Go to airbags for springs and thinner sidewall tires, such as Michelin. Go to a Hot Rod shop or constructor, they are familiar with their implementation and tuning. The vendors, will have done the engineering work for you, or will for your truck.

It will not cost more than changing springs and shocks, and all the labor you will have to do, changing things around, and still, you may never get it right.

Good Luck
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  #12  
Old 02-12-2009, 12:59 AM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
 
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The 2000 Suburban came with coil springs in the rear. Since our 97 has leaf springs, do I have to replace them with softer leaf springs to work with airbags or is there an airbag solution that does away with leaf springs. Sounds expesive to weld in trailing arms and such.

Sixto
87 300D
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  #13  
Old 02-12-2009, 01:24 AM
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Sixto,

I don't know. I think that there are kits, that take what you have and uses it, with the airbags and air shocks, so you don't have to re-engineer the suspension points and frame.

Maybe using soft springs, coil or leaf, depending on what you have, with air shocks, may be a way to go for you?
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  #14  
Old 02-12-2009, 06:08 AM
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Location: Lafayette Indiana
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I have tamed the ride on a very hd suburban by the following in order of my recommendation

new gas filled shocks

new michelin tires

progressive front springs

lighter wheels if available

removing a leaf from the rear springs

I would not recommend changing the axles hubs etc. too much work for the potential benefit imho

good luck
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #15  
Old 02-12-2009, 07:46 AM
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My first thought was one of Tom's, take out a leaf. If you're not going to load it to the gills or tow with it that would seem to be the easiest.

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