Blast of the Past
51,000 Original Miles
454 V-8 Engine
Heavy-Duty Tow Package
|July 8, 2016 - Heading Home
- Dale Old Towing came through with their typical timely and reasonable
service. The driver was concerned when he saw the Suburban in my back
yard, wondering how he would get his truck backed in. He was very
pleasantly surprised when the truck fired right up and could be driven onto
the flatbed. In truth, Bubba could probably have been driven out to
his new home, but after sitting ten years there is no telling what might
need some attention. It's way better to be safe than sorry when you
are dealing with a 5,000+ pound 42 year-old truck with no license plates.
I am looking forward to seeing Bubba at antique car events in the near
future - his new owners are friends in the car club.
||July 6, 2016 - SOLD! Bubba's
new daddy came over today with payment and left with the title and
literature. Bubba was supposed to follow soon afterwards, but the
person who was supposed to carry him to his new home had a breakdown.
No real worries - he is welcome to remain in the yard a few more days if
necessary, but I know the new owners are anxious to get him home. On
the plus side, I got the fuel pump properly wired in with its own fuse, and
was able to gather all the parts and put them in the back. The front
seat came out just as nice as the back after I got the old plastic covers
off and cleaned them up.
|July 2, 2016 - It looks
like Beast will have a new name in a few days - 'Bubba', the name bestowed by
new owners. If all goes as planned, the Suburban will be heading off to a
new home on Wednesday. The major issues are taken care of, but it
still needs some attention in the form of at least an accelerator pump for
the carb and tweaking of the tune. I did take it around the block a
few times. The transmission shifts smoothly, and the power steering is
smooth and quiet. No issues with the tires or noise from the rear
axle. More than anything, the truck needs to be run. Buying the
Suburban ended up not being a great financial move, but I am at least
breaking even. The good thing is that I can focus on the MGA
now, which will get the Suburban money as a resource for further work.
Better yet, the Suburban is going to a good home where it will get the
attention it deserves. I just could not work up the enthusiasm to finish it
up. And I have a backup buyer so one way or the other, the Suburban
will be gone soon.
||June 26, 2016 - Beast
lives! Well, at least mostly. A long and painful saga ended
tonight when it fired up and ran for the first time since I put in the new
fuel pump. I think it all started when the coil wire broke internally
when I pulled it to hook the new fuel pump to the hot side of the coil. No
ignition power. I thought it might eb the original coil, and then the
original ignition cap, rotor and points - after 42 years, they were likely
to have issues. However, as you can see from the photo, access to the
^%$#@! distributor required use of a step stool and a rug so I could
lay across the engine to reach the back center of the engine compartment.
To make things even more 'fun,' the distributor weights and cap block view
and access to the points so you need a dwell meter to set them. After
several failed attempts over the past few weeks to eyeball things, a friend
and race car driver/mechanic dug out his dwell meter last night and made the
first attempt. Beast laughed in his face too, but today I went back
and redid everything. When Bobby came over this time, we got the dwell
to read and a minute later Beast's 454 roared to life! Still need a
fuel pressure regulator, but Beast lives and moves!
|June 4, 2016 - Where does
a 5,000 pound Suburban sleep? Almost anywhere it wants.
Unfortunately, I had parked it in front of the carport where the MGB-GT
lives when I started the 'simple' job of replacing the fuel pump.
Thanks to almost daily rain the past two weeks, the Suburban settled in
enough that one-Bob power was not going to budge it. So I enlisted the
aid of the Mazda, pulling it alongside the house and running a come-along
and chains between the pickup and Suburban. That was enough to move
Beast far enough to free Rodney. I think the issue with Beast may be
carb floats. Replacing the points, coils, cap, and rotor did not help.
The old MG pump was not putting enough fuel out to flood the engine, but the
new pump is high-capacity for the Quadrajet. I need to pull the top
off the carb to check. Fun Fun Fun.
|May 28, 2016
- The new high-volume pump is installed, though I had some issues getting it
to draw from the tank. I blew through the line to make sure it was
clear, but could not get the fuel to push back through when I pressurized
the tank. Best bud Chip came over and after looking things over,
suggested reverse priming the line. I got some fuel hose and ran it
from a gas can to the inlet of the pump, and hooked the outlet of the pump
to the feed line from the tank. I ran the pump long enough to get
steady fuel flow showing in the filter, then swapped out lines so the fuel
pump was drawing from the tank again. This time it worked great and
filled the filter. Beast is not appreciative - it won't fire. I
have new points, coil, and cap and rotor for a good tune-up. I think
the points may have closed up - or could be the new pump is flooding things
out. More diagnostics ahead! I did get the back seat covers off
and the seat upholstery cleaned. It came out like new - I think the
plastic seat covers must have been put on when the truck was purchased.
|May 15, 2016 - Beast's
new fuel pump came in - 115 GPH compared to the 40 GPH (gallons per hour)
pump that is in it now. The small pump is actually for the MGA, but I
stuck it in just to get Beast going. As you might expect, the 454
4-barrerl was not happy with the meager fuel supply that was supposed to
feed a 1500 cc 4-cylinder. The new pump is installed -I just have to
make the electrical connections.
||April 23, 2016 - Finally,
some progress! The brakes were bad and the master cylinder was
obviously leaking, so I installed a new one today. On the shelf at
O'Reilly's, and very easy to install. Better yet, it seems to have
solved the brake issues. I have a full pedal that doesn't sink.
Next up , the fuel pump. After that, just some minor tinkering and
Beast will be ready to go. It sounds great - the 454 has a very
throaty rumble - there is no mistaking a big block.
|April 2, 2016
- After no baths for ten years, Beast was looking a bit grungy, I took
advantage of an earlier soaking rain and took to the Suburban with Whitely's
Whitewall Cleaner, dishwashing detergent, and soft brushes. No, Beast
did not turn into a Beauty, but it does look much better. I also
installed the new wheel covers. Actually, the pictures make Beast look
a lot nicer than it really is on the outside - there are some minor rust
issues and it has primer and touch-up spots all over. Next up is cleaning the inside and
removing the old plastic covers from the back seat.
|March 31, 2016
- The Beast has arrived home! I had it towed to the house, but it
fired right up and I put it in the back yard by the garage. As you
might expect, I will have to do a lot of cleaning and some repairs to get it
ready to sell. The brakes have gone soft, which means a master
cylinder and/or wheel cylinders may be in the its future.. All cheap
and readily available. And I picked up the rear hatch lock assembly
from the locksmith today - the original key had been lost and I had to have
one made. All door locks function smoothly. Hopefully, I'll get
time and weather this weekend to do some serious cleaning. Also, even
though I am planning to sell the Beast off ASAP, I bought the dealer
literature off eBay, and it came in today. Fun to have, and lets me
know what the specifications are.
|March 26, 2016 - The new
fuel pump I had put on with no luck last week came off in two pieces - a
casting failure! The auto parts place swapped it out no charge.
And still no fuel when I cranked it. So I pulled the pump and did more
investigation - only to find the problem with the pump was the installer.
Turns out the 454 fuel pump operates from a pushrod that drops down from
overhead. And when you install the fuel pump you have to lift the
pushrod up into place first. Never having run into this before, I
tried to bolt the fuel pump in against the pushrod. This broke the
first pump and bent the pushrod. Lesson for the day - research even
simple jobs. Anyway, I rigged up an electric pump and the Beast fired
up and ran great! No smoke, no noise, and a deep big-block rumble.
The automatic transmission and power steering both worked fine, and I got
the Beast moved. I need to work the pushrod out and replace it or just
block the pump hole off and stick with the electric. But the Beast lives!
I posted a video on YouTube:
|March 19, 2016
- After a week of sunny, warm weather, my first full day to work on the
Suburban was chilly and drizzly - bleh! Even so, I had some limited
success. Besides getting the MGA parts out of the back, I cleaned the
Suburban out and got the clear seat covers off the front seat. As
expected, the original upholstery is near perfect, though I need to clean
off some dirt and mildew that crept in around the seams. Even better,
the 454 motor sounds strong - I was able to get the Suburban to start with
gas added to the carburetor. Unfortunately, I can't get the fuel from
the gas tank to the carb (a new 4-barrel). The prior owner had actually drained the
Suburban's gas tank when it was stored, so there was no bad gas to get rid
of. We blew out the lines, got air in both directions, and I replaced
the fuel pump. No luck so far, and after hours of cold and wet, I put
things away and will try again later. It has to be something simple.
I plan to add an electric pump to see if the new pump is bad. Still,
the Suburban is looking very good. I'll get a new battery for it, add
the fuel pump, and see if that gets it going.
||March 18, 2016 - This
very low-mileage hauler was parked in 2004 when the original owner got ill,
and only left the garage once a year for inspections until 2006. Then
it remained in the garage until this week when I bought it and had
it moved to where I can work on it. The seats are under plastic
covers, the tires look to be brand new, and it has new wheel covers still in
plastic wrap. The hope is that I can drain the old gas out, throw in a
battery and fresh gas, and get the beast running. It will make a
tremendous tow vehicle for someone and perhaps a little profit for me to
help pay for the MGA!
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