"CHUCK" 1998 Chevy Suburban K2500 Build


Finally got my rig to get started, and he's a beast! Lovingly named after my wife's great uncle because he was an enormous (6'3", 370), rough-around-the-edges, outdoorsy lover of American horsepower, this boy's currently pretty much stock. Going to be using him to teach my 3 boys (14,12, 10) more about working on cars, and to get us out into the great outdoors without scratching up the wife's ride. Here's the current breakdown:

1998 Chevrolet Suburban K2500
7.4L (454 ci) Vortec Engine
4L80E tranny
Stock suspension
Stock wheels, standard size tires
159,900 miles

Paint has no fading.
The lower right corner of the right barn door is tweaked a little.
3 rust spots and one dent on the passenger side.
Leather interior is worn, but not as bad as most I've seen this age.
Has the original stereo with cassette and optional CD player (HA!)
Stock running boards.
It will need a new windshield at some point

The only addition I can tell that's been done is a trailer brake control install.

First order of business is a good cleaning.




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Lunchbox Lockers
well, it is the 4L80E...i edited the initial post.
I don't think GM ever put a 700R4/4L60/4L60E behind a big block. The LQ4/LQ9 6.0's in the Escalade/Denali (01-06?) were the biggest motors to have the 60 type transmission. Most 2500's had the 80 from '91 on up.
I don't think GM ever put a 700R4/4L60/4L60E behind a big block. The LQ4/LQ9 6.0's in the Escalade/Denali (01-06?) were the biggest motors to have the 60 type transmission. Most 2500's had the 80 from '91 on up.
Didn’t the GMT-800 Escalade/Denali 6.0’s have the ‘65E instead that was slightly stronger?


K5 Camper guy
Probably the best foundation of a Burb for that generation. Vortec 454, 4L80e, 14b full floater rear. Bulletproof parts. About the only thing you can't pass with it is a gas station. But with the big tank it's still got pretty good range.

What's the plans beyond cleanup? Any lift? Larger tires?


We'll first I'm pulling off the chrome fender trim...Ha!

Trying to keep expenses minimal, but the following are on the list:

- Small-ish lift and tuck some larger tires under it. I like what @CrazyDrei has done with low lift and 37s and not afraid of trimming fenders etc. 37s are maybe overkill, but my boys like the idea of big...and so do I. Have seen some around running 35s and they look pretty good and would be more than capable for our needs. Chuck had big feet, he needed big shoes...

-Drop the stock running boards. Still thinking about steps...

-Roof rack or basket.

-Spare carrier on the back, likely with custom bumper.

-Considering custom front bumper and winch.

-Light bar.

-Intake, exhaust.

-Drawers in rear cargo area.

-And spray the whole thing with raptor liner.

Not necessarily in that order. Would like to stick with lightly used gear for most of it. Father and brother have a metal shop so I'll likely be enlisting their help on the stuff I can't find or don't want to pay out the nose for.

The other piece of the puzzle is a trailer to convince the wife to come along... really liking the thought of the trailmanors.

Anyway, taking suggestions on lift to begin with...like I said, Small-ish. Thinking 3" would be about right.

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@zoomad75 just saw you're in pueblo... that's where the Chuck this boy is named after came from...also my mother in law's home town.

Looked through your K5 build earlier... pretty sweet.

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Lunchbox Lockers
The front ends on those trucks are pretty stout as long as you keep the lift minimal. 3" is probably about the most you'll get from cranking up the torsion bars but that will kill your ball joints and your ride quality. Once you step up to a "lift kit" that drops the front diff and lower control arms the whole system gets wobbly during hard use and you start breaking stuff. Fine for street use and "mall crawling."

In would think about going with a moderate torsion bar adjustment and a 285/75R16 or 255/85R16. There are 17" sizes that approximate those also. 33-34" range stuff here.

The newer rigs like Drei's have larger wheel wells than the older ones like yours. Of course if you don't mind hacking...

Biggest bang for your buck is going to be lockers front and rear. You have the big 14 bolt FF rear axle. If you don't have "G80" on your SPID label (look in the glove box) a Detroit locker is a drop in. If you do have the G80 it works ok in the big rear ends or you could pick up an open carrier and toss in the Detroit. Eaton makes or made an E locker for the 9.5" front axle. ARB's are available for front and rear also.

With those mods you should be able to get just about anywhere the big Suburban will fit.

Intake and exhaust mods on the 454 won't help much in fuel economy or power, they'll help it make so much noise the wife won't want to ride.


Thanks for the notes, I'll keep that in mind. I know that cranking the t bars will destroy the front end if you go too much, so I have been considering lift kits...I'd rather go that direction and keep things from wearing out too quick, but I don't intend on crawling up anything too crazy.

The wife sleeps through almost anything so the noise may not be an issue....LOL...

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Looks like I don't have the G80 so I'll look into lockers as well.

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