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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought an old, worn out 80 Suburban (always wanted one of these). It is a 2 wheel drive. I have a rebuilt engine and tranny going in soon, but my question is about the suspension. The primary function of this rig is going to be towing a double axle car trailer.

This vehicle seems to sit pretty low (the running boards make it seem even lower, but the vehicle itself is low). I have located a 1-ton rear axle and springs for a reasonable cost. Will this be a bolt-in? What should I look out for? How far can I expect it to raise the rear of the truck (unloaded)?

Assuming this swap will work, and assuming it will raise the rear, what can be done to raise the front? A buddy suggested maybe using front springs from a diesel truck. Would this do the trick?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh yea...

I forgot to mention that I am a new-old member. I used to hang out here a couple years ago when I was pushing snow. I am now setting up to push again, assuming it ever decides to snow again in central Indiana!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess this isn't the site I used to post at- alot of the names looked familiar, so I assumed it was the same one. Anyone know what I should do with the Suburban?
 

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I don't think I would want to plow with a 2wd Suburban, 1 ton or not, its still a 2wd chunk of steel, with a slightly smaller chunk of ice in front of it.

If you wanted to swap something, You might consider 4wd swap, but that would be pricey and labor-intensive!

If it was my decision, I would sell the suburban, and look for a 4wd sub or K20 of similar year. I don't want to discourage you, but 2wd trucks just don't plow as well as 4wd. I learned how to drive and plow in a 1979 F-350/460 3spd. It was a tank, but very much stoppable, and even more stickable. On large, open, flat parking lots, it was a dream, try to take that thing in a neighborhood, forget it.

Welcome to the new and improved Snowplowing Contractor site!
 

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The rear axle will not bolt in. The spring perches need to be moved or you need 1 ton spring hangers. The 1 ton rear springs are longer than a half ton spring.
As far as the front. the diesel springs will fit and lift the front but the ride will be rough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I guess I wasn't clear enough (that happens to me alot!). I won't be plowing with this truck, I'll be towing with it. When the snow gets bad enough at my mothers that a neighbor kid can't shovel it, I'd like to tow my plow truck on a double-axle trailer to take care of her drive. I know it would be easier just to drive the plow truck down there, but the kids like to go see their grandma, and I can't fit them all in the truck. That's why I want to tow with the Suburban. Plus, I'm always picking up parts cars for different projects and stuff. I just want to get the Suburban set up to spend the remainder of it's days pulling a load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The rear axle will not bolt in. The spring perches need to be moved or you need 1 ton spring hangers.
So if I also grab the 1-ton hangers, will it be a "bolt-in"? Will the driveshaft still work, or do I need to have it lengthened/shortened?

As far as the front, I don't mind a little stiffness, but if it will ride like a train, maybe I should look into something else. Any ideas?
 

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Yes it will. The shaft will need to be shortened and new larger u-joint for the rear.
As far as the front, if I remember correctly GM used air bags inside the coils on the 93 or so 1 ton vans. Not the best way to get a higher ride height though.

I would find springs for the front and rear from a 3/4 ton Burb. This will sit it up higher than the 1/2 ton and give a decent ride.
 

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Dually suburban

If you are considering making your suburban a dually I have real nice custom fiberglass fenders with the install kit . I had a dually 78 suburban project I never finished . Still have the fenders they were never mounted . If your interested I can post pictures
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
BWhite, the thought never crossed my mind to make it a dually, but now that you brought it up, I might think about it. Can I see those pics?

Thanks for the replies, everyone. The 3/4 conversion was thought about, but I think I really want to go 1-ton if at all possible (plus I have a donor). This Suburban will be replacing a 3/4 ton that I used before I plumb wore it out, and when I put larger vehicles on the trailer, even the 3/4 would sag and struggle.

Any other recommendations and advice for a 1-ton swap? Will those hangers bolt in, do I have to drill or weld?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are the holes already in the frame for the one ton spring hangers, or do I have to do some drilling? Still up for some ideas for lifting the front to match the back.
 

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The only real way to lift the front end suspension wise, is to lower the IFS mounting points. That would entail alot of work. If you want to add larger tires a body lift would get the job done.
As for the rear end, if the axel is out of a SRW pick up, it should bolt right in. Rear ends out of Cab and chassis have the spring mounts closer to the center of the axel due to a narrower frame width.
I have a HD 3/4 ton rear end if you are interested.
Dino
 

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Try looking in a 4 wheeler magazine for lift spindals for the front. Most of them are a 3" lift.
The rear axle will need to be from a Burb to fit in, assumining you are installing a 14 bff 10.5" rear axle. They are out there just need to find one. The half ton trucks and all burbs use the same spring pad width and the 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks use the same width spring pad even the dually pick up. The cab and chassis dually is different from the other 1 ton pad width.
 
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