DROPPING THE
BIG SHIP
- Part 1


In the world of sport utility vehicles, the Suburban has long been at or near the top of all urban assault vehicles.  Since the late '30's, Chevrolet has been building the ultimate vehicle for both work and play.  Ask any truck owner with kids what they dislike most about their ride and the general answer is lack of room for the car seat, toys, bikes, and so on.  One of the main reasons that SUV's are so popular is their ability to haul everyone and everything, all in the same trip.
 
     With the price of new SUV's going through the roof, it only stands to reason that the classic Suburban market is booming, too.  This newfound popularity has created a seller's market, leaving many people looking at alternative solutions to the shortage of prime project vehicles.
 
    Early Classic's VP and General Manager, Stan Hammond, faced the same dilemma recently.  With a growing family and the need for a bigger, yet cool, mode of transportation, he started looking for a suburban to fill the garage.  After realizing that most of the 1/2-ton models were either overpriced or just plain worn out, he found this very clean 3/4-ton Suburban and struck a deal.
   
  From a customizing standpoint, 3/4-ton trucks and Suburbans have generally been passed over, due to their heavy suspension and eight-lug wheels.  Stan and the crew at ECE decided that this would be the perfect R&D vehicle to test and display their new 1/2-ton conversion spindle kit, along with a rear air suspension and anything else that could be bolted on while it was in the shop.
 
    Follow along as we show the transformation from zero to cool in just a few short hours.


EARLY CLASSIC'S 3/4 TO 1/2 TON CONVERSION WITH LOWS TO BOOT
 

EARLY CLASSIC'S C-20 CONVERSION KIT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE FROM EIGHT-LUG TO EITHER FIVE- OR SIX-LUG BRAKES AND SUSPENSION ON '60-'87 C-20 TRUCKS.  THE COMPANY MANUFACTURES ITS SPINDLES IN BOTH STOCK HEIGHT AND 2.5-INCH DROP, AND EACH SPINDLE IS MACHINED TO FIT THE ORIGINAL TIE RODS AND BALL JOINTS.  THE KIT COMES COMPLETE WITH ALL THE NECESSARY BRAKE COMPONENTS FOR A SIMPLE INSTALLATION.




WITH THE SUBURBAN SECURELY SET ON A LIFT, THE OLD EIGHT-LUG WHEELS ARE REMOVED AND TOSSED ASIDE.


THE WORN-OUT FRONT ANTI-SWAY BAR IS UNBOLTED FROM THE FRAME AND LOWER CONTROL ARMS, THEN THROWN ON THE SAME PILE AS THE OLD EIGHT-LUGS. IT WILL BE REPLACED WITH A BIGGER MODEL LATER ON.


SINCE EVERYTHING IS BEING REPLACED, THE ENTIRE SPINDLE ASSEMBLY CAN BE REMOVED IN ONE PIECE.  THE TIE RODS AND BALL JOINTS HAVE A TAPERED DESIGN THAT NEEDED TO BE POPPED LOOSE FOR REMOVAL.  THIS CAN BE ACHIEVED USING SEVERAL DIFFERENT METHODS;  SINCE THE FRONT-END PARTS ARE FAIRLY NEW ON THIS TRUCK, A HAMMER IS USED TO STRIKE THE SPINDLE BOSS AND SHOCK THE TAPER LOOSE.



IT IS IMPERATIVE TO ONLY LOOSEN AND NOT REMOVE THE BALL JOINT'S NUTS,
DUE TO THE SERIOUS COIL SPRING PRESSURE OF THE FRONT SUSPENSION.