View Full Version : MudBus

04-16-2012, 10:22 PM
This sucker has been ongoing for years and I only occasionally get it dirty just because it's so impractical. It started as an '89 1/2 ton all stock but with a 6" Skyjacker lift on 35 BFG ATs I bought as was back in '07. Old Red went everywhere with me (because it was my only truck but shhh, don't tell him) on roadtrips, beach cruises, and thru the nightlife. Then one fateful trip to Spring Creek the motor went swimming with me in a chest deep hole, and took in enough water to spin a crank bearing and gave it a knock so nasty, it sounded like someone threw a pare of boots in the dryer. So I curbed it while I brought parts together and I thought, "why not do it all in one fell swoop?" And that was the beginning of the end right there. After a tour in Iraq I came home, dusted it off, and a knocking motor turned into a curbside motor swap into a carbed conversion, 1 ton axle swaps, beefier transmission and transfer case, new seats, exhaust work, everything under the sun. But it all took so long and I never got the dang motor to work right so it sat in the driveway again for another year. Then my old wheelin buddy told me he was selling his that had a 454 and it was all running and good to go. I was just excited to have another running 'burban so I couldn't pass it up. I bought his, got all my good parts, and sold off the shell to Old Red and now I'm here with this big black ugly son of a beastie.

As it sits now it's got a completely different powertrain from stock, and most of the interior has been removed.

The Good:
RUNNING turnkey 454, mostly stock but with Edelbrock cam and intake, Jegs longtube headers, KN air filter, and FOUR E fans
TH350 shifts great
D70HD rear 4.10 welded with DIY4X disc brake conversion
D60 front 4.10 open, Warn hubs, ORD crossover steering kit
Hummer 8 bolt beadlocks with TWO full sets of 37 Goodyear MTs

The BAD:
The 454 wiring looks like a rat's nest. The headers are cracked, there's muck all over the valves, and the flywheel doesn't quite match up to the starter. (although since this THIRD starter has been installed, it cranks a lot quieter and sounds more normal. I'll have to check the gap.)
The 350 leaks where the original builder cut the steel lines and spliced them together with some kind of nut coupler.
The 208 has a cracked housing that the original builder covered with plumbers putty. (don't waste your time, folks, that crap doesn't work for long.)
The D70HD pinion angle is pointing toward the sky giving an almost scary driveshaft to pinion yoke angle. Also, the dang breather tube got knocked off from the seller.
The D60 used to have bad deathwobble but since the new tires I haven't seen much. I just haven't had a reason to bring it over 40mph to test it out yet tho. I suspect caster. Also, the stabilizer is kaputski.
The lift kit is a set of 6" blocks in the rear and 6" Pro Comp arced 48" springs up front. It's bouncy as all get out.
2 of the beadlocks leak about 30psi a week, and one of my sets of 37s is on it's last leg. 2 of them have severe sidewall damage, probably a hazard, but I'd rather run em till they explode. Maybe a few burnouts after the new drivetrain and power mods are finished.

454: I want to rewire the underhood area, and group it up all nice and neat, take off the heads and clean out the whole motor, install a new FAT, lopey cam, and maybe some better pistons if the originals are all burnt up. Someday I'll mock up a snorkel to the thing and waterproof the motor as good as a gas motor will get. I don't need to go swimming again but I'd like the security of knowing I can dive the hood under water and not worry about anything. I've ordered new headers, mufflers, and an H pipe to replace the ridiculously loud old setup. After I get in with a good muffler shop I'll have it all put together.

I have a TH400 and NP205 bolted together that's been sitting in my garage for over a year, ready to replace the current bits. Hopefully that goes smoothly and finishes up without leaks.

I've slowly been piecing together a proper new lift kit with 6" shackles, new ORD shackle hangers and 56" springs for the front setup, and ORD 4" shackle flips and 6" shackles with a 2" drop hanger for the rear lift. All that's missing is a set of 63" springs and that'll all be ready to go. I'm hoping that'll fix my rear's pinion angle, and adjust the caster on my front as well. If I still get deathwobble I have some 3* shims I'll shove under there to try it all out.

The crossover steering setup is noticably stronger than the original but with the blown dampener, it's definitely in need of some reinforcement. I have the mounting tabs coming but I'm in need of a 2" ram to make it a hydraulic assist setup. My box is already drilled and tapped for it, and I have an auxillary cooler with a fan on it.

Somewhere around there I'll take some time to repaint and reseal the beadlocks to fix the leaks.

As for aesthetic mods, the previous owner did a rather sloppy roll-on black bedliner. While it works, it doesn't win anything for good looks. I'd like to go over the whole dang thing, underbelly and all, with bright red bedliner for the body, and black for the undercoat and interior. The dashboard is completely trashed, but I've had my eye on DIY4X's dash kits. That'll fix a lot of the gauge issues as well, and pretty up the thing. Currently it has ratty bucket seats with a wobbly center console but I recently traded some other bits for a bench which I prefer. That'll get swapped in.

Anyways, I figured I'd start this thread up just in case anybody wants some good reading in building history, ideas, or even a good laugh. I'll post pics of some of the dumb stuff I've put on and taken off soon. I'll welcome any questions, comments, concerns, and criticisms. I'm usually stubborn with my brilliantly dumb ideas but if something makes more sense, I'll heed the wisdom and adapt.

04-16-2012, 10:52 PM
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the build.

Crossover install on the D60. I had to get out of the summer sun somehow!

Curbside motor swap

Wouldn't you just love to be my neighbor? The HOA has sent me a cease and desist letter conserning the "business I'm running out of my home." I guess the gypsy tent was a bit much, but buzz off! There's no business but my business going on around here!

04-16-2012, 10:58 PM
Here's what $800 in parts looks like on christmas morning

And here it is in the back seat of the truck, getting moved into the new house

Old Red the day I got him.
The current MudBus, soon after I brought it home.

04-17-2012, 10:13 AM
Nice! I bet the neighbors do love you! LOL

Wasting time, one post at a time... Via Tapatalk for iPhone 4...

06-08-2012, 01:49 PM
Well it's been a while and some progress has been made but the biggest deal is I finally have the last pieces I wanted for my new lift. I'll be calling Javier's on Monday to see if they have room for me to send it in for some fabwork. It's basically going to be a shackle flip front and rear, with 63s in the rear and 56s up front. Here's a look at how it sits now.

What I've done lately is install some shorty headers, I've mocked up a temporary exhaust with my new Flowmasters, and an H pipe. Also, I've scored 2 full sets of 37" Goodyear mil tires and wheels, making 10 total. I also have a front bench seat I'll be putting in soon.

The bad news is I blew up my front driveshaft on my last ride out, so now it's back to 2wd, and my temp exhaust was plumbed from bits from O'Reilly's, which means it leaks, isn't tight, and hits my axle on flex so it's grounded to the streets for now.

To end on a high note, I picked up a new car which has kept me in 4wd. It's an 01 BMW X5 with fulltime awd and boy is it impressive! So far it's gone everywhere my buddy's XJ has gone and I haven't had to mod it all, AND I can still do some nice sport touring on the FM roads! I'm really enjoying it.

06-08-2012, 03:44 PM

06-08-2012, 04:28 PM
Oh yea, it's pretty raunchy right now, but someday it'll be nice.

06-18-2012, 01:20 PM
So I've been having a hard time trying to find a place to squeeze me in and help me with my shackle flip but I'm still talking to a few people about it. Hopefully I'll be able to get it done soon.

But I did get something done recently! I finally put in the front bench that's been sitting in my garage for months. I like it so much better than having buckets up front. Not having a console might suck but the bench feels so much better. Check it out!

08-19-2012, 03:46 PM
I've mocked up a working snorkel for the suburban. Once I get a new dash in, I'll fab some brackets to suspend it behind the dash, over the tunnel, and have a provision hole by the passenger A pillar to reroute the flex tube and allow it to ride up the A pillar for a more elevated intake if water fjordings become an issue. For now, it works well, and sounds great. Once I finally finish it up, I'll get the costs, and parts list put together for my snorkel build thread in the tech section.

Here's the plenum hat from Spectre. It's made in China from cast aluminum but it's the cleanest air hat I could find. It fits right up to the Performer carb, and once it's all finished up, I'll use some silicone gasket maker for waterproofing.

Here's the hole in the firewall from the heater core I utilized for a passageway into the interior. I have some steel plates I'll modify to weld or bolt into place to close the gap.

Here's the K&N filer I bought for the system, resting over the tunnel in it's current spot. After the new dash from DIY4X, I'll mount i tup underneath for a hidden, more subtle look.

The valve cover breather was replaced with a sealed product, also from Spectre, and a regular hose was run through one of the original holes of the HVAC firewall, then out an old speaker hole in the old dash. Super ghetto. Shutup Sarge.

08-20-2012, 07:21 AM
Hey, as long as it works!

03-07-2013, 10:24 AM
It's back! I went from 54" springs with 6" steel lift blocks in the rear, and 48" 6" arc springs up front to 63" springs in the rear and 56" springs up front, and shackle flips on both ends. Eric did a really good job on the welds and measurements and I like it so far. The ride is much softer now than before, and he measured 15" of flex; 6 up, and 9 down. That's not bad for a Suburban!

Here's some pics!

Overall view of the front

The OEM mounts were moved forward and reshaped to fit the new curve of the new frame location

Here are the ORD FUSH with some custom shackles I found online. It's just cut steel, nothing fancy.

Here's an overview of the rear

Rear ORD shackle flips for the rear

ohhhhh those welllllds drool

The OE mounts for the front of the rear were also relocated and reworked. All that work kept the factory wheelbase and I'm still able to use the OEM driveshaft!

Pinion angle fixed! It used to be awful. Scroll around for that undershot view of the previous angle.

03-13-2013, 06:07 PM
As promised, here are some pics of the new exhaust. It was all done at Katy Exhaust Pros for just under $250. I already had most of the tubing, the H pipe, and the two mufflers.

Here's my H pipe all done up, underneath the U-Joint to the driveshaft.

Here's the sharp bend on the right bank. It had to be tight to clear the pumpkin but still make room for the starter to breathe and be removed.

Here's a nice view of the tailpipe and slash cut tips. Both sides are identical.

06-08-2013, 04:36 PM
So, it's been quite a while since I've been on any of my forums. I basically went ghost on everyone trying to keep away from all the cool events going on during the spring to keep me from spending parts money. It sucked but I've finally gotten a few pennies saved up for some serious repairs and upgrades.

First things first:
In one of my recent outings the bearings, inner and outer seals went out on BOTH front and rear axles. I know, right? I had just changed the fluids, too. So, the labor it takes to replace the inner guts is the same it'd take to regear and add lockers which means replacing a few $20 parts has turned into a $4000 repair/upgrade ticket by way of plus sized carriers, 4.56 ring and pinion gears, Grizzly lockers, and new inner and outer seals and bearings on both front AND rear axles. I'm lining up my last few duckets and will be making an appointment with Eric at Lonestar Ring & Pinion soon.

Once the axles are up and rolling, the next step very soon after is finally dropping the old 350/208 combo and installing the 400/205 that's been rusting in my garage for over 2 years now. That install will be comparitively cheap on parts save for the new requirement of slip shafts front and rear vs. slip yokes. Once the bugger is finally rolling well on it's own I'll be out runnin around again but the lockers means no more chirpy tires - just some loud kachunk clunk clunks around the corners.

One of these days.......

03-26-2014, 08:01 AM
I just logged in after a long hiatus and good grief, I had no idea it's been so long since I last did anything to this monster. A while, yea, but almost a year? Yikes. Dang money problems. I see it every day though, sitting in my driveway . .. .