What to do when you have an aging Suburban at home that has lost much of it’s luster, owes you nothing and really isn’t worth much with over 200K on the odometer but you still like the rig? Time to re-purpose it. That’s exactly what we’re doing here. Take a well used 2004 Suburban, tear out the drivetrain and suspension and start over. 40″ Nitto Mud Grapplers, well over 500hp LS power, Custom Rock Krawler solid axle conversion, and Prodigy Shocks, lockers, updated trans and T-case, extensive body modifications, paint and interior upgrades. Check out the first details below as we are just getting rolling on this huge project.
So far we’ve torn the drivetrain out of the Chevy and swapped an AAM 9.25″ Dodge Axle under the front end complete with an ARB Air Locker and Nitro Ring and Pinion. That combo is mocked up to the 4 link Rock Krawler suspension conversion and Prodigy Shocks. We’re still working out the ride height with the goal to set it as low as possible and still have a very functional suspension controlling the Nitto 40″ Tires on DV8 Beadlock wheels. We chose the Dodge axle after researching the ABS components and realizing that the Dodge uses the identical parts as the Chevy which should keep the ABS functional and the ABS warning lights off once this machine is back on the road.
Massive bodywork changes are needed to give us the clearance required for the big Nitto’s. Specifically a Mcneil Racing Fiberglass front clip is being installed along with newer style Spyder Lights projector light assemblies. The racing parts have required a lot of custom brackets and adding the newer front fascia meant building a custom sheetmetal duct/mount assembly to align the newer somewhat longer nose. Our in house fabricator made patterns then cut and welded the sheetmetal panels finally bolting them into place.
The Suburban itself has one particularly rare option which we intend to keep. It has a factory dana 60 rear steer axle. Not many Suburban’s were built this way and given the long wheelbase the rear steer is incredibly helpful during tight maneuvers. Unlike from the factory we’ll be setting the rear steer up for manual control and building lock out pins into the knuckles for highway use. We’re rebuilding the axle using Nitro Gears and a new Auburn Ected electric locker featuring 4 pinions and extremely strong aircraft grade alloy internals. Rear suspension consists of custom Atlas Springs and another pair of Prodigy Shocks will eventually be installed along with appropriate bump stops.
This project is just getting started, but it’s already in high gear. We’re working quickly to get it back on the road in the next couple of months and will be updating this blog regularly as we progress so check back often or subscribe to the blog.