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Monster Truck - 1972 Chevy Suburban

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nice project carter... i see we have another thing in common ..... love for this body style..... this is my wifes urban street wheeler....also 72.....and my daughter was born 5-10-2009




dammit jrock why you gotta have all the cars i want! this body style with the 67 gmc dual headlight front end is my teenage dream car, one day ill build one but they are a lil more expensive than datsuns in ca

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  • 10 months later...

I shopped around for a while looking for someone who could reuphoster the front seat of the Suburban and I finally settled on www.hoglunds.com in Everett, WA.  After an in-person visit, dozens of e-mails and photos, we came up with a plan to rebuild my seat using my existing back and scroll sections - effectivly just replacing the fabric inserts.  In the mean time, I put an ad out for a bench seat I could use while I waited and this one came up only 5 minutes from my house!




I drove over to pick it up sitting on an upside down 5 gallon bucket.

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After nearly a year (no kidding) I got my bench seat back, it was quite an ordeal.


First Hoglunds ordered the fabric and we had to wait for it to be produced.  When it finally came in, it was green not blue.  It didn't look bad sitting by itself but when you held it up to the original, the match was terrible!


I didn't know where they had it made so I suggested they try SMS Auto Fabrics as a couple years earlier I had asked them to send me samples of their cloth and vinyl and it was a perfect match. 




It turns out Hoglunds did use SMS for the new fabric.  I gave them the letter I had received with the samples and SMC was able to find the bolt they cut the sample from.  There was enough fabric to do my job (not sure why they didn't just send that the first time 'round) so they sent it up to Hoglunds and they were finally able to upholster my seat.


After some more time had passed, I finally got the call that the job was done. I went to pick it up and it was done but they didn't use the scrolls!  We specifically talked about that from the beginning but they forgot or something so they had to disassemble the seat again and send out the vinyl to have the scroll pattern pressed in.


More time passed and I finally got my seat.  Almost 12 months and $1k later, I had a new front bench seat for the monster truck. 








In the end I got exactly what I wanted and they did a great job but *phwew!!*  One thousand dollars to re-cover a bench seat where half of the vinyl (the whole back) was re-used?  I shudder to think what it will cost to have all three seats in one of my 510's done when that time comes up.

Edited by carterb
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After my new seat was in, I sold the temporary bench on craigslist.  Two guys wanted it.  The guy who showed up first turned out to be a mechanic/manager for some local rich dude's car collection.  He listed off this huge list of expensive classic sports cars, race cars, muscle cars, etc that his boss owns.  He himself had a huge list as well, including 3 or 4 typhoons.  Must be fun.

The other guy was really mad that he didn't get the bench first and was one of the rudest craigslist personalities I have ever encountered.  It's amazing how much of a jerk some people can be while hiding behind their keyboard.

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Driving down to Shelton last weekend, we started to overheat and I ended up on the side of I5 just south of Tacoma mall at 9pm.  It looked like the radiator cap had failed as coolant was bubbling out from under/around the cap.  I called around and found that there was an O'Reillys open 'till 10 just south of exit 127.  We let it cool down for a while and then drove the 5 miles to the store - I just hit RED on the offramp and was pegged by the time I got to the parking lot.  I bought a new radiator cap and 3 gallons of coolant.   It took 1 1/2 gallons but the new cap worked and we made it the rest of the way home without issue.

Coming back north Sunday morning, we never overheated but the temp would swing up too high for comfort whenever we would climb a long hill like coming out Nisqually Delta or from Fife to Federal Way.  The radiator is pretty badly corroded inside so is likely not very efficient.  I ordered a new radiator Tuesday as we have a trip over the mountains coming up and there's no way this would make it up a pass in its current condition.

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We had a similar problem with my buddies galaxie, bought a nice new aluminum rad with electric fans and fixed it quick. When we pulled to old radiator out and too the tanks off the side the bottom half of it was plugged up.



Edit: the new seat looks good!!

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Well, nothing's ever easy is it?


The radiator came yesterday so I attempted to install it after church today.  First I pulled it out of the box so I could get a good look at it...  Ain't it perdy?!




Next I drained my radiator, the coolant still looked brand new!




I had planned on flushing out the block but this almost made me think I didn't need to.  I tried anyway by refilling the radiator with fresh water, starting up the truck waiting for it to come up to temp to ensure the thermostat opened and sure enough, after a few minutes, the tank level went down as the water started circulating.  Then I drained the radiator again and this is what came out...




I used a garden hose nozzle to fill the radiator so the only thing I can think of is that the high pressure washed down the inside of the tank and broke loose a bunch of crap to turn the water brown, because there was sure none of that in the coolant I had just drained out!


Anyway - I got the radiator out and compared it to the new one.




Yeah - I think this one will do a little better.  But...


Here is one of the upper mounts over the stock radiator:




And here it is over the new one:




Yeah, that's not going to work.


The ad said said the tanks measured 2 3/4" wide - same as stock, but these are 3 1/4" wide




So the mounts have to be removed and made custom - not too bad on the uppers but the lowers would have to be cut out as they are part of the core support.




The shroud might have to be modified as well.  I'm going to have to think about this one...  Hopefully they just sent the wrong radiator but even so - it's not looking good for my upcoming trip at this point.  I'll make a couple calls tomorrow and see what I can find out.

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love the sub.  looks absolutely beautiful.  as for the radiator... could you just fold out the outside lips flat so that the inner lips hold it in place?   as for the 1/2" difference in the with, that too could be spread a little to fit the rad the rubber will conform to it.  no its not the most perfect way but you would be able to re-use the stock brackets and locations.  just a thought.

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Thanks for the compliments.


The ebay seller called me today and is going to check with Champion to see why the radiator has different dimensions than advertized.  I also talked to a couple of my 67-72 chevy truck friends and there is a stock 4-row option that uses wider mounts.  I may be able to swap mounts and make this radiator work or swap mounts and put in the bigger stock radiator.  That is more expensive than the aluminum one but I prefer the stock look so we'll see.  Hopefully the ebay seller will find out something with Champion.

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Great build !!

Thanks Mike!


Bad news from Champion.  They changed their tank design so I can't get this radiator with the old narrow tanks any more.

Looks like I will be sending it back.  I have another option.  More expensive but oh well right?


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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay.  Finally got down to Olympia and picked up the new radiator.  I got it from Frank's Pickmups.  Frank is an awesome guy.  I have dealt with him many times in the past and have always gone away happy.  I'd recommend him to anyone.


Here is the new radiator compared to the old.






two more rows and away we go!!!

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Now apparently, the lower saddles are supposed to be riveted to the core support but the core support Mark installed in my truck has them welded in.






No biggie.  Just need to drill out the weld.

Here is one of the old saddles and bushings, removed from the core support.




And a comparisson of the old saddle vs the new:




Trouble is, the new saddle does not fit in the core support!  :no:


See how the old one sits down inside the channel?




Well the new one is too long so it doesn't fit:




I guess we'll have to make some cuts then :o

Not much room for a tool down there, but the dremel just fits.



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I made a couple slits in the channel at each mount location and folded the lip backwards:




This allowed the saddle to drop into place




So I bolted it in using some of the pieces from the hardware kit Frank included with the radiator and brackets




Same thing on the other side:




Note:  Before mounting, I primed and painted the exposed metal resulting from the tack weld removal and the saw cuts.


Next, I pulled the radiator shroud and test fitted the radiator:






It seemed to sit where it should so I installed the shroud, connected the hoses, and topped up the radiator with coolant.


Only problem is, the shroud does not fit up against the core support like it used to, so the old retaining clips do me no good down at the bottom.  I figured no problem, I put some nut-clips in there and planned to bolt it in place with some spacers.  See the gap?








But for now I bolted it in up top so I could start up the truck and test everything out. 

So I hopped in the cab and turned the key only to be greated by the most aweful abrassive grinding noise!  What the heck?!

I turned off the key and looked around the engine bay, which was now covered with black plastic shavings!

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