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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I purchased my '69 Suburban almost two years ago. It was fairly straight, but pretty neglected interior wise, and lots of little issues that required work. We were looking for a replacement for the 1984 Toyota 4x4 that we'd had for over 20 yrs, and found the '69 by chance on the local Craigslist when looking for newer Suburbans. A quick look and test drive, and it was our's.
This was when we first purchased it in April 2011:

First thing on the list was to get things working, so I bought a repair kit to get the heater and vent controls working, plus a new fan switch. The radio was scabbed in, and not hooked up, nor were there speakers, so I got a new radio/CD player, and speakers and installed them. The rear cargo area had no side panels, so I made cardboard templates and then transferred them to masonite and cut them out with a jigsaw. Once they fit I covered them with black naugahyde, and mounted the speakers in the rear:



As you can see in the pictures, the carpet was a faded out dark blue, but in good shape, so I pulled all the carpet and dyed it black. While the carpet was out I decided to replace the tired old bucket seats someone had put in, plus the original fixed bench rear seat that was well worn.


Looking around the ads, I located a complete electric leather buckets and folding bench setup from a 2001 Durango, and purchased them. I also located a decent early Blazer console, and got it. I had to fabricate mounts for the buckets and the folding bench, but a little welding and they fit right in:




One of the sill plates was missing, and the other was trash, so I got two new stainless steel sill plates:


The Burb had a new engine, TH400 trans, and conversion to 5 lug power discs, plus HD swaybars front and rear, so it didn't need much beyond a good cleaning and polishing under the hood:


The grille above and below the center bar was pretty broke up, and I found an old tube grille for it at the swap meet for $5. It was fpr a later Chevy C10, so I cut the center tubes out, and reworked it to sit behind the grille slightly:


We've been using the Burb as our daily driver for nearly two years, and recently found some bigger tires and wheels at the local swap meet. Went from the pitted old 15x7 spokes with 205-70-15 tires, to powder coated ralley sports 15x10 with 275-50-15 in back, and 15x8 with 235-60-15 up front.



I still want to lower the Burb all around, with probably 3" in the rear, and 2" up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks! We love the old Suburban, and get a lot of use out of it around town, and long trips too! It's close to as good on fuel as the 4 cyl. in my '84 Toyota was too, so we're comfortable without sacrificing mileage.
 

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Really nice ride. You can really fix them up very nicely and not break the bank. I had a '68 2WD myself years ago.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Really nice ride. You can really fix them up very nicely and not break the bank. I had a '68 2WD myself years ago.

Bob
Thanks Bob!
This is my first long wheelbase Suburban. I've had '57, '60, and '64 previously, but never thought I liked the long wheelbases. Now after having this one for nearly two years I'm not sure why I didn't get one sooner! Love the extra room, and the third door.
 

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Great looking Suburban! I'm about to purchace a '77 burb and my plans are to make "ultimate" daily driver from it...350 efi, th700, modern seats etc etc I just sold my '03 duramax silverado and that truck was not for me. I want car with hot rod 'wibe' and simple easy to work on car/truck...something that duramax was not. Btw what kind of gas mileage are you getting? Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great looking Suburban! I'm about to purchace a '77 burb and my plans are to make "ultimate" daily driver from it...350 efi, th700, modern seats etc etc I just sold my '03 duramax silverado and that truck was not for me. I want car with hot rod 'wibe' and simple easy to work on car/truck...something that duramax was not. Btw what kind of gas mileage are you getting? Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! I get about 13-14 in town and 17-19 on the highway. If my old 350 ever gives up I'll probably replace the 350/TH400 with either a 350/700r4, or LQ/4L60E to improve highway mileage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Has anyone done the gas strut conversion to the rear clam shell tailgate? I am tired of lifting the heavy window, and plan to put the Volvo 740 tail hatchback gas struts on mine, but heard some say the Volvo struts are a bit heavier than needed and hard to close.
If anyone has swapped gas struts to the rear window od a Suburban, let me know your experiences and if they soften up after time. I'm planning to use the Strongarm #4220 struts.
 

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My original gas struts on the rear hatch of our Jeep cherokee 2001 work well during the warm months, winter months they tend to weaken in cold weather, the colder it gets you sometimes have to hold the hatch up, time for replacement, guessing how they were when new you would say they were strong arm, but this is the whole rear hatch fiberglass and glass.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My original gas struts on the rear hatch of our Jeep cherokee 2001 work well during the warm months, winter months they tend to weaken in cold weather, the colder it gets you sometimes have to hold the hatch up, time for replacement, guessing how they were when new you would say they were strong arm, but this is the whole rear hatch fiberglass and glass.
I saw where one guy on a forum mentioned his tiny 100 lb. wife could hang from the tailgate while trying to pull it down with gas struts, and it would hold her weight, and not come all the way down! He didn't have a problem, but they were new and he didn't have any input as to getting weaker with time.
 

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Age only showed up when it got in colder climates, but they are 13 years old, so I guess I can`t complain, the rear hatch is quite heavy it started at the tail end of last winter..factory originals...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I got the Volvo gas struts yesterday, and picked up 10mm ball studs from the hardware store today. They had 5/16 studs instead of 1/4", so I drilled and tapped the holes out to 5/16", and threaded one stud top and bottom per side. I did one side at a time, so the other side would hold the gate up.
After installing both sides I tested it, and it works great! Easy to open with one finger, and the struts slowly raise it, and not too heavy while closing either. Now my wife will be able to actually open the tailgate! It was too heavy for her before.
 

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Great, glad it worked out for you...!
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Latest project is the roof on my Burb. I've noticed the clear coat was failing, and lots of flaking going on up there. Since the lower paint looks pretty decent, I figured I'd strip the clear off, and make the Burb two tone with an off white roof.
Got up there to strip it and discovered more issues than paint! There are 4 spots that the paint has cracked in a circular shape! It appears the old Burb was an ambulance at one time in it's early life, and some knucklehead didn't properly delete the holes for emergency lights, and sirens!
I dug out the cracks today, and underneath was the beginning of rust creeping at the bad metal joint. The holes range from about 6"-7" down to 1.5", at 4 locations. After digging them out, I saw some previous owner had pop riveted sheetmetal underneath the hole, and then ground the stubs off the rivets on the top side. No sealer used, so moisture wicked under the paint and filler, resulting in the patch going bad. I ground them out and then hit them with rust neutralizer. After neutralizing them, I again ground the edges smooth, and tack welded the 4 fillers in, so they're permanent. After that I mixed up epoxy resin, and brushed the joints, just to ensure no pinholes would appear later and ruin the paint.
Just have to grind it smooth, and give a thin coat of filler to sand now. After that I'll prime and then decide which of the many white colors would go best with the metallic blue lower body.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yep! I knew the clear coat was bad, as it was very easy to see! Glad the repaired spots showed up prior to painting the roof, or I'd be doing it again later!
 
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