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  • 1 Post By Felipe

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Old 03-13-2016, 12:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
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Budget Bourbon Bomber

First off I want to give a HUGE shoutout to all of the men and women who have ever worked for General Motors Corporation and helped put this BEAST of a truck on the road. My heart is eternally grateful.

I bought this 1996 GMC K2500 Suburban off a guy from craigslist.middle.of.nowhere.kansas for about $2500 bucks. We met in St. Louis and both made separate family trips out of the meeting. Great guy. Great deal.

Towed my 1984 VW Rabbit diesel back to Michigan with the truck. The truck had about 290,000 miles on it then and now it has about 305,000. This became my daily driver. Did a complete service and inspection. Found some stock aluminum 8 lug wheels and got some 235/85/16 LT truck tires.

Broke a lug bolt on the drivers side rear axle while still in Michigan. Not sure what happened - either the wheel was loose and snapped the bolt or the bolt snapped and the wheel came loose but either way it was a bad situation. Didn't have time to fix this and I also wanted to wait until the brakes needed rebuilt before I tied into all of that. Bought an internal bulkhead for a suburban, a suburban without interior or rear AC/heat apparently, so I had to completely refab that thing to fit.

Then me and Princess Bear rolled out to southern IN for some mountain biking. Continued west to Colorado then south to New Mexico. A curious thing happened in Albuquerque - the nights were very cold even that far south and I was idling the truck to stay warm but the PO had rigged up a battery solenoid to operate the retrofitted electric fans. The solenoid falied, the truck slowly overheated at idle, I woke up with the gauge well to the right and all but in the red and steam rolling out of the hood. Turned the engine off and went back to sleep. In the morning light I noticed that the asphalt under the truck was discolored and sure enough I put 2+ gallons of coolant back in the system over the course of the next day. Caught a freak snow storm in Las Cruces on our way to Arizona.

In Arizona I burned out two more solenoids before realizing that was stupid and bought a toggle switch + fuse but my reluctance to route wiring inside the cab meant I needed to open the hood in order to shut off both fans. Arrived in San Diego just in time for NYE. Mind you the engine stays cool when at highway speeds and light loads on the open road. Continued having overheating problems and forgot to turn the fans off at least once which completely drained the batteries. Dropped the Walmart specials off at Interstate Batteries and they gave me two loaners while they charged mine for two days - cost $20. Purchased a Derale high amperage dual fan controller and installed it in the parking lot of Interstate Batteries. I thought this had solved the problem but on a sojourn south of the border the truck (and dog) overheated in Tijuana, so we turned tail and headed up the coast.

Stopped by the Derale World Headquarters and spent about two hours with their engineer looking over my truck and setup before he determined that in order to solve the issue the sensor probe needed to be in direct contact with the coolant and/or there is a problem with the thermostat in the truck. Anyway, I didn't make any changes but had the override circuit tapped into the A/C wiring so I could manual turn on one fan or short the probe wires manually and turn on both fans.

Drove this truck up pretty much the entire length of Highway 1 from LA to Crescent City, spent a few weeks in NorCal messing around. Drove to Olympia, WA to say hi to a friend then back through Oregon where the dog and I took an off-road adventure near the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and visited several hot springs.

Almost immediately after we arrive back at civilization the truck starts driving weird and has no power. The volts are at zero and guages going wonky. I manage to get to an Autozone where I swap the alternator, belt, and idler pulley before changing the oil and inspecting the truck.

Truck drove great the rest of the way home. We went through Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana on our way back.

Get done with the entire journey and literally on the last leg coming up the MID COAST the truck loses power on the interstate repeatedly, guages going wonky, loosening and tightening the positive battery cables seems to help for a while. At one point the engine reached 2500 rpm at 40 mph and the tranny would not shift. I let the truck rest for a half hour and then drove another 40 miles home with no problems.

Note: I'm not really fond of slushbox transmission and have always intended to do a manual swap. I like using the engine to hold back momentum in mountains and would consistently downshift the 4l80E at speed: down to 3rd @60-70 mph, 2nd at 40-50 mph, and 1st @ 20-30 mph. Is this hard on that transmission? It sound f n awsome cause this truck has a 4" straight pipe and is real loud. Rural ghetto corn-fed redneck loud.

Not sure what's going on - if it is an electrical problem or mechanical. I really like this truck and intend to keep it as an educational project so I can improve my diesel mechanic skills - I own a '84 VW rabbit diesel that has been to southern Mexico and back under my helm and I like old diesel engines a lot.

I'm interested in building the drivetrain I want in the body/frame that I currently own. Down for a manual swap but I really love this 6.5 so far.

1984 VW Rabbit
1.6L NA

1996 GMC 'Burban Budget Bomber K2500
PMD relocate
4" Straight Pipe
298,xxx miles
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
6.5 NOVA
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Schoonebeek Holland
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Hello Felipe,

A nice diesel Suburban for a good price! Nice pictures. Check your hole engine electrical system, including connections and also the PMD. About the 4L80 trans. It is a stout transmission, maby someone could tell about engine braking with the 4L80?

`77 Chevrolet Nova, 6.5 hd KKK turbo/4L80e , 2.73 rear axle, K&N airfilter, ram air, gear drive timing set, E.P.S. steenlessteel exaust, 215-65-r15 tires.

`02 Chevrolet Express 6.5 Diesel, with some mods..
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