The Camp 4x4 Bus - 1973 Suburban 8.1 Swap & Build

I like the look of that setup. The pipe from the passenger side is nice and tight up to the trans where it crosses over.

I checked out some videos on YouTube of different mufflers and found this one with the Flowmaster Pro Series, which is like a straight muffler but with some interesting internal baffling. Obviously my 73 is going to have a lot less sound deadening than a current model, but overall I like the sound difference shown in Flowmaster's demo video with the engine on a test stand.



Right now really liking the idea of a true dual exhaust with one of those on each side. But at $200 each.. yikes! :Wow1: We'll see...



Lol, no worries.

On another note, I'm finally getting rid of the 16.5 rims and military surplus tires. Just found LITERALLY the only option (besides custom $$$) in 17" wheels that have a decent backspacing.

Pro-Comp Series 98 steel wheels. 17x9, 8x6.5 with 3.5" backspacing. That's gonna bump 'em out a little from the stock 3.75 backspacing, but I'm very okay with that.

I'm currently going back and forth between AT and MT tire options. I'm a little sick of the military MT tire drone on the freeway, but I don't want to give up the aggressive performance on rocky and other uneven wheeling terrain. The BFG A/T KM2's are looking REALLY appealing. But so are the BFG Mud Terrains. Then, in comes Toyo with the Open Country R/T (Rough Terrain). And in a 13.5 width no less. So.... that's where my head is currently at: Toyo Open Country R/T's in 37/13.5R17 to split the difference between A/T and M/T.

Pro-Comp Series 98 Steelies


Toyo Open Country R/T


Thoughts?
ProComp rims look great, I was going to order them but found a steal of a deal for a set of Weld Racing forged aluminum which I could not resist. As far as the tires, I initially had Open Coutnry M/T in the rear and ProComps in the front, very loud and wobbly ride due to chunks missing. Switched them around to Toyos up front and ProComps in the rear, the ride became smoother and quieter. I recently acquired a set of 2 year old Open Country MTs for $120 and could not be happier. The EXOs you have pictured are an excellent tire as well, that has all the off road capability of MTs with the quieter ride of ATs. Are you set on 37s? 40s would look great on your truck and you have more than adequate power to propel them.

Looking forward to more pics of the progress.
 
Wow! Been a while since I updated. LOTS happening. New wheels and tires, frame painted, underbody coated, all back together again!

Started with getting the Toyo Open Country RT's mounted up on those Pro Comp's. OH. MY. GOD. I will never ever ever go back to those military surplus tires. I will say they served me well for what little I paid for them. But holy crap these Toyo's are so much better. They're so much smoother and quieter. I picked up the 13.5" width which are perfect. Super excited to see how they do off road. Love the look.







The last couple weeks has been off and on painting both the frame and the underside of the body. This has been a super slow process with every layer needing at least 24 hours to dry. Honestly though, I should have just powder coated the frame. The Corroseal came out great, the primer for the frame went on okay, but the top coat sucks. Even with the hardener and after multiple days of curing it is still pretty soft. The Lizard Skin insulating liner went on awesome. I'm super pumped with that. I did the entire under body in Corroseal, then Lizard Skin'd most of the firewall and all of the underside. This stuff seems super tuff. It's really hard when dry. The only part I may end up re-doing is behind the front passenger door body seam. There are a number of rusted through holes that have flakey rust around them still. For now I just spray a bunch of Corroseal in there, but I'm sure I'll eventually cut it out and replace it with some fresh sheet metal.''

Corroseal seems to be pretty great stuff.


Frame painted


Under body Corrosealed


Hole-y body panel


Finally today we got the frame and body back together again! The Energy Suspension bushings kit is going to be pretty great; I can tell they're going to last a really long time. Rear shackle flip hangers, front beefed up shackle hangers and engine cross member were all bolted in before hand which made those nice and easy. I kind of wanted to do the fuel and rear brake lines before the frame went back in so as to make routing a bit easier, but I think they'll be fine since the truck is up pretty high still. The next couple weeks will be devoted to getting all the driveline components ready and in, then swapping axles and doing plumbing. I need to take the NP205 apart to get the front casing machined for the larger bearing, then put it back together with fresh shift rods and the 4L80E input shaft. Then it's on to the new engine brackets and accessories. I'm hoping to be putting the engine and transmission in this week, then start working on the wiring and plumbing.





 
I saw this and thought "holy cow, he is going to do a Westfalia top too!"

Then I saw the next picture.

Whew!


With regard to powder coating, while it may have been less painful in the short term I think you would find that it is not the greatest solution in the long term. I have seen really ugly rust problems that have grown undetected underneath powder coating. One little scratch and moisture just seems to wick its way around underneath powder coating, and where paints would flake and let the moisture out powder coating holds on and keeps the tinworm healthy. It might be fine on a street rod that lives its life on pavement, but not not something that is likely to go over rocks, or even gravel. Besides, should you ever need to do any cutting, drilling or welding on your frame you can touch up this current finish. Good luck doing that with powder coating.

Galvanizing might be an interesting option to consider, but it still comes with the downside of not being able to touch it up later.

I think you have made good choices. I don't think you need to regret this one.
 
Oh man, I have seriously considered the Westy top route. We've gotten our packing to the point where we definitely can leave the middle row up, and thus easy to use as a pathway to the sleeping area. And I like the easy of setup and take down. I'm not, ultimately, a fan of the looks. The top looks great on VW's, but I don't think it matches the lines of square bodies too well. For now we're quite happy with the CVT RTT.

And I did actually see the same thing while posting the photo! ;)

As for the powder coating, being black and the frame I wouldn't be so concerned with using black spray paint for touch ups, but I would be incredibly concerned the water seapage would become a problem. I'm not super familiar with the pros and cons of powder coating, so this was mostly coming from the street rod guy in the shop next door.

Thanks for positive reinforcement! I feel better, but Some day I'll have to figure out why this stuff is touted to be so tough but seems to be so soft in my case. I'm sure it's user error, but I can't figure out what. Perhaps the overnight temp dipping into the 60's? That's the only thing I've come up with.
 
Awesome progress. I am personally torn between the Toyo R/T and M/T (as well as 13.5 vs 12.5 due to packaging on my truck).

Keep chugging away, looks great.
 
ProComp rims look great, I was going to order them but found a steal of a deal for a set of Weld Racing forged aluminum which I could not resist. As far as the tires, I initially had Open Coutnry M/T in the rear and ProComps in the front, very loud and wobbly ride due to chunks missing. Switched them around to Toyos up front and ProComps in the rear, the ride became smoother and quieter. I recently acquired a set of 2 year old Open Country MTs for $120 and could not be happier. The EXOs you have pictured are an excellent tire as well, that has all the off road capability of MTs with the quieter ride of ATs. Are you set on 37s? 40s would look great on your truck and you have more than adequate power to propel them.

Looking forward to more pics of the progress.
Love the speed the speedo needle travels
 
Just stumbled into your thread and realized I know you. Cool truck, glad to see Im not the only one from Barrington that wound up tinkering with ridiculous trucks. :sombrero:
 
Just stumbled into your thread and realized I know you. Cool truck, glad to see Im not the only one from Barrington that wound up tinkering with ridiculous trucks. :sombrero:
Darlington!! WTF is up man! :D Say hi to your brother for me and Post! Looks like you've been having a helluva good time with that Dodge of yours. When I make it out to CO for some wheeling I'll have to hit you up for the inside info! PM me your info man! If you ever come west wheeling lemme know!
 

FBJR

Adventurer
Another downside to powder coating is it will not show cracks.

I may have to come down there sometime to play in those hills Aaron. Co would be more fun though but wife hates road trips now. (guess I will leave her)

Drove by going to Santa Cruz sunday, hope you all had a good FD.
 
Progress has slowed...

Last week was a hot one! Temps here saw 100's and high 90's making work on the truck in that oven of a shop unbearable. I did manage to start taking apart the NP205 to get it machined for the larger bearing and new input shaft. Unfortunately I quickly ran into a lack of proper tools issue. 2 odd socket sizes kept me from progressing: 1-1/8" and 1-5/16". I suppose if I'd read the "tools needed" section in the how-to a little closer I'd have seen that. But no. The 1-1/8" was not hard to find. It was the 1-5/16" that proved to be a trick. Ordered it up from Amazon but it took a few days to get.

Now I'm fighting the roll pins since I don't seem to have quite the right punch. That should get remedied today. Hopefully I should have this thing off to the machinist tomorrow.

This Mother Trucker


1-1/8" socket required


1-5/16" socket required


Other than that I'm finally starting to make decisions on the fuel system. I'm still holding out hope that I can find one of the earlier fuel rails with the return port and pressure regulator. It'll make running lines a bit simpler. As it is, I'd already purchased an external pump - it's a Bosch 044 knock off (or maybe a rebranded one?). The good thing is that there's these nifty aluminum mounts made for these things. Between this and some grommets in the frame bolt holes I think it should be pretty well isolated from transmitting noise through the body.

Another reason for wanting the return line style fuel rail is to simplify filter plumbing. With -6AN adapters all around, I can actually couple one of the Summit or Russel 40 micro filters right to the end of the pump. That's one less line to deal with at least.

I'm looking at doing the Russell Twist-Lok hose and connectors for this setup. Should keep the cost down a bit and be perfectly fine for the pressures involved. and I've found tube adapter fittings and fuel rail adapter fittings to make the whole system -6AN from tank to rail.

Here's my parts list for the fuel system:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KYWUHRE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 - Bosch 044 knock-off inline fuel pump
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/tnk-634173-25 - Twist-Lok Hose (1x25')
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-230131 - 40 Micron aluminum inline filter (1x)
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-220641b - -6AN coupler (1x)
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/rus-640863 - -6AN to 5/16" fuel rail adapter (not sure if I need 0, 1 or 2 of these. Gotta measure)
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/rus-640853 - -6AN to 3/8" fuel rail adapter (not sure if I need 0, 1 or 2 of these. Gotta measure)
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/rus-624013 - -6AN Twist-Lok hose end (6x)
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/ear-at165056erl - -6AN to 5/16" tube adapter (1x)
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/ear-at165006erl - -6AN to 3/8" tube adapter (1x)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VRKQQS2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 - Aluminum 60mm fuel pump mount

Fuel pump with bracket






In addition to the fueling situation I've decided to re-wire much if not all of the electrical. Besides not being super stoked on the fuse block that came with the Howell harness, I'm partial to having everything in 1 block. And it seems I've found a way to do that, including the accessories that'll be run off the aux battery. I think I've previously mentioned Cooper Bussmann fuse blocks before. Well, I was browsing their catalog again and came across an IP66 rated block of theirs that has 2 buses in it! With no less than 20 fuses per bus plus 10 places for relays. That should more than cover both the normal and my aux circuits! https://www.waytekwire.com/item/46354/EATON-s-Bussmann-Series-15401-2-0-1-0A-RFRM/

Waytek seems to have really good prices on bulk wire, so I'm gonna pick up a bunch 12awg primary wire to do this. I don't expect anything on The Bus to take more amps than 12awg can handle, and if it does I'll use a larger external relay larger wire for it.



Unfortunately I'm gonna be gone this whole weekend. A buddy managed to get overnight passes to hike Mt. Whitney. I may have a day or two Monday/Tuesday, but either way this thing is looking to stretch well into July. :-/ Not what I was planning for, but I figure if I have it up and going by the end of July I'll still have time for a weekend test-run before our Oregon trip on the 18th of August.