Project MULE - Expedition build on a 1991 1500 4x4 Suburban

PMA4x4

Adventurer
With a bit of nudging (thanks eclipse85k10) I thought I would start a good old build thread.

The plan is to build a expedition rig that maintains its creature comforts, holds all that we need and can even be slept in on a regular basis if needed. Basically think of the amenitys you get with a small RV and that's what we are looking at doing to the Mule.

Stock Specs:
1991 V1500 4x4 Suburban
350 (5.7) TBI
700R4 Transmission
NP241C Transfer case
GM 10 bolt rear Limited slip 3.42s
GM 10 bolt front open 3.42s
32x11.50x15s BFG Ats a little weathered
Auto hubs

Goal:
TBI upgrade >DONE<
Tru-Cool LPD Tranny cooler with fan and thermal switch >DONE<
30K GVW inline transmission cooler >DONE<
Sealed snorkel system using a Donaldson cyclonic air cleaner.
3"" lift TC HD springs front >DONE<
3" lift in rear with HD 3/4" springs and 2" block >DONE<
4.56 gears >DONE<
Manual hubs >DONE<
16x8 Wheels - UNKNOWN
Tires - 315-75-16 Cooper ST MAXX
Upgrade rear to GM 14 bolt Full Floater
ARB front and rear
On board air - added a 20lb CO2 tank >DONE<
Dual AGM DC batteries (separate from the starter battery) >DONE<
Front Winch bumper (Expedition XL bumper from PMA4x4) >DONE<
Sliders/"Nerf bars" >DONE<
Rear dual swing out bumer >DONE<
Full length roof rack >DONE<
Steering gearbox frame reinforcement plates >DONE<
Steering brace from ORD >DONE<
Steering cooler >DONE<
Toughbook LT Mount
GPS, CB, HAM
Other misc electronics.
Custom interior cabinets and drawer systems
Captured cargo net on ceiling.

New project Start 05-31-2014
Engine swap
'99 5.7 Vortec with a '89 Tuned Port Injection system, custom cam and EPROM burn from Eaglemark



If you go here this will give you an idea of what I am going to be doing. I even got some ideas from these guys. Expeditions 7 build: building a vehicle to go around the world
 
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PMA4x4

Adventurer
This was how I got it

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113,000 miles. 45K on a new engine from the GM dealership. 10K on a new transmission. Full maintenance records and receipts back to original original owner (I am the third owner).

We were looking for a cherry condition interior and that the vehicle be in a stock configuration, cause let's face ti when you buy a pre-built rig 1) you don't know what are all the parts in it, 2)you don't know of the workmanship 3) you always get their headaches along with the purchase.

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The rest of the belly is just as clean as this shot it.

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PMA4x4

Adventurer
We started with a basic no none sense tune-up

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This is what we pulled out. Got gap!

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I am thinking the previous owner didn't know what to do with this thing. We get it and like I posted earlier there were no electrodes left on the spark plugs and producing around a .070 gap! He stated at best I should expect around 11 mpg empty 8 pulling.

We get it home and I do a no nonsense tune-up. plugs, wires, air filter, cap and rotor. He also stated the tranny needs to be adjusted for shifting. all that it needed was a proper adjustment of the TV ("kickdown") cable and everything else looked good. We decided to go for a good drive and use this as our baseline before we start building it. During the tune up I noticed a receipt for a 170 thermostat. So $1.96 for a new gasket and half a jug of coolant (I already had a Stant Super stat sittin' on the shelf) in went a 195* as OEM recommends.

Stopped off at the local filler up and then off we went. Right off the bat we saw huge improvements just from setting the TV cable properly. This allowed it to shift at a stock rpm range which in the case was higher.

The drive was done midday with a total of 110miles with highway, hills and a couple of stop and go's. Did I mention we had the front and rear A/C going! Weight was two people, two fullsize dogs and camera gear.

End results
15.02 Mile Per Gallon
 

PMA4x4

Adventurer
New (to the Mule) tires. These are 1000 mile take offs from the old Mule which was a 96 Jeep Cherokee. The Cherokee now has the old 32s from the Burby which means I can sell the jeep and sink all that cash into the new Mule now!

Picked up some white steelies from my wholesaler and went down to the local tire shop "Reid's Tire". They are not the quickest but you get a job done right and at a good price.

So it now sits on fresh 33x10.50x15 BFG ATs with a matching spare.


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PMA4x4

Adventurer
Thanks to goathearder over at CK5.com I am exploring the idea of producing the Heater door actuator tab in Aluminum. Estimate is out to my machinist. I also have a backup plan for a three piece welded unit out of steel thru waterjet. We will see what the week brings.

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PMA4x4

Adventurer
Project currently in the works

Fix heater door actuator tab (hopefully with prototype metal tab)
Tighten down steering wheel screws.
Fix non springy flimsy shifter handle.
Rig up repair for pivot point for shift indicator cable.

Did this last Tuesday. Turned out really nice. Magnaflow Hi-flow cat #94009 and a Flowmaster series 70 #53071. The exhaust was already 3" so I thought I would leave it at that. The old muffler and cat needed some swapping anyways.

It has a very nice quite rumble. You almost have to think if there is a Flowmaster on it or not. Nice thing is it doesn't really open up on sound until high revs.

Before

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After

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PMA4x4

Adventurer
I am open to ideas on where to install these gauges. I still have the factory gauges running these are for just additional information.

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nosnerd

wanna be tourist
This was how I got it

View attachment 123948

113,000 miles. 45K on a new engine from the GM dealership. 10K on a new transmission. Full maintenance records and receipts back to original original owner (I am the third owner).

We were looking for a cherry condition interior and that the vehicle be in a stock configuration, cause let's face ti when you buy a pre-built rig 1) you don't know what are all the parts in it, 2)you don't know of the workmanship 3) you always get their headaches along with the purchase.

View attachment 123949

View attachment 123950

View attachment 123951

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View attachment 123953

View attachment 123954


The rest of the belly is just as clean as this shot it.

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I LOVE THIS TRUCK! REMINDS ME OF MY 86..........tight!
 

KELLEVRA

Observer
Thanks to goathearder over at CK5.com I am exploring the idea of producing the Heater door actuator tab in Aluminum. Estimate is out to my machinist. I also have a backup plan for a three piece welded unit out of steel thru waterjet. We will see what the week brings.

View attachment 123959
You can always find a steel doner from a ''72 to ''79 I believe Just pull it clean it and stick in yours. Its astronger unit than that stock plastic one . I did it on mine and it worked great until the day I sold it. M2C
 

PMA4x4

Adventurer
Damn... It kinda fits. Will see about making it fit I think a longer bolt will do the trick

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PMA4x4

Adventurer
So with the heater/vent problem I have been having being that it blows thru both the vents and the floor I assumed it was that vacuum manifold behind the HVAC controller. So what do I do. I rush into it and pull the dash apart!

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Then find out it was the little plastic Actuator arm pirce thats a common brake and not 5 minutes to get to.

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PMA4x4

Adventurer
The barn doors had some rattle and found the pass side barn door lower latch bar had a notch worn into it over the years so it wouldn't secure tight any longer. I ordered a couple of new latches from LMC, swapped them out and adjusted them inboard a bit more to offer a more tight seal against the springs. It did the trick the doors don't rattle and they have a nice positive seal when closed.

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Within the next month or so I will be repainting the hood if not the entire sub. But when the hood gets done I am installing a set of RunCool Hood Louvers from Hoodlouvers.com They are bit spendy but they are well proven to be one of the best ones for helping hot air escape the engine compartment. The picture shows to sets but I am only using one. They measure 22 by 11 and are powder coated white.

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