Eric Bakke's

1961 Chevy Suburban 4-wheel Drive

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08 May 2006
# 1512

From Eric:

       Here is a picture of my 1961 4 wheel-drive Suburban. I purchased the truck in 1988 in Cody, Wyoming. When advertised, they said it was a "58" and I thought cool! My ride at that time was a '58 Apache 4 wd. So when I get there to look at the truck, I was shocked that the guy didn't even know what he had. So $700 and the rest is history.

       I struggled with the inline for a couple of months until I could get the 400 small block built. The V-8 added some life to the truck and some fuel mileage. It became my everyday driver and family carryall since I had two small children and a big dog. The truck became a reliable ride in the cold winters. It had a school bus heater in the back that would run you out if you where not careful.

       Then parts started breaking. We had a windchill of -50 degrees and the old Rockwell quit lubeing and seized the high lock gear onto the counter gear. Made a heck of a bang at 60 mph. So out came the Rockwell and the Muncie and in went the '74 Muncie with attached 205 transfercase.

       Wow what a nice difference! Had to make a couple of drive shafts and move the shifter linkage -- just took some time. I drove like that for a short while until the left rear axle failed. It snapped above the vent tube twice. I replaced the axle and the third member.

       Then it happened again. I had just moved my family to Pullman, Washington pulling a 16 foot car trailer, two different trips. The axle breaks again -- same location. No the trailer was not on, thank God.

       So finally I replaced the differentials with 72 front and rear, power brakes, power steering, limited slip diff, and paint. That was 1991 when I moved to Indiana and finally parked the truck in 1996.

       This is how she sits currently in my garage awaiting the time to start fixing her up again.Furure plans are FI 383, 700 R4 trans, A/C, and new paint. I belive in driving what you build. It's not a trailer queen.

       Thanks alot. Your forum has inspired me to get out into the garage and turn my dreams into reality again.

Eric Bakke
"61 suburban"
Bolter 10837
Wheatland, Indiana

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