1963 GMC Suburban 4 x 4
From Eric :
Cora and I pent the winter 2008 in Mexico painting again. Just before we left, the new 1963 283 rebuilt engine got installed with some fine tuning to be done in the early summer (2009) when we got back and the truck came out of storage. Another view.
Just before we put her to sleep for the winter, we had Zorro Muffler install all stainless from the Headman headers. Sounds fine, not too loud.
The finishing touches for now where done when I picked the 'Burb up from storage and a good friend installed a custom complete wiring harness from Brothers with the new fuses. We added a second 5 fuse box for accessories which included windshield washer pump, fog lamp switch, hidden interrupter switch that disables the starter, dash mounted fan and cig lighter.
Next I will install a repro rubber floor matt and fire wall kit.
BTW everyone loved the truck in the 2009 calendar!
09 November 2008 Update
From Eric :
Here is an update for my 1963 Suburban 4 x 4.
I found the West Coast mirrors on eBay. They came to me from a warehouse in Chicago, Illinois in a very old looking box, wrapped in a 1957 newspaper.
The 283 engine was built in the shop ( Hamilton Engine in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada ) by Jim Howlett ( my auto mechanics teacher ) with a little help from me.
Next it goes to a mechanic who installs for Jim.
It took two years to find the vintage engine and get this far.
03 September 2007 Update
From Eric :
I removed the roof rack (which was fabbed up by a previous owner). It was bent at the front (looks like someone tried to enter a parking carriage and hit the roof). I shortened the rack to conform to the profile of the cab and cargo bay division, painted it and added 5 off-road lights.
I found some funky scoops on the bargain table in a auto parts store and thought they would work on my 'Burb if I painted them the same color as the roof.
I still haven't decided what engine to build. That's got to happen soon because the valve seals are leaking in the old 1985 350 from the age of the motor and the fact that it sat still for so long I guess. Smokes pretty bad for about five minutes when you fire her up in the morning.
Here's a good view from the side.
I went to live in the West Indies for five months at the end of February. My wife and I are artists and we had the opportunity to live in a house in St. Kitts. We brought our supplies and painted and traveled to other islands. Great experience!
From Eric :
Here is an update for the old 'Burb. I have finished the inside of the 'Burb [ pix ] .
After the power assisted break conversion, I had the conversion to power steering done by Steertech in Brantford, Ontario. The process is a little more complicated on a '63 4 x 4 so I went with someone who specializes in this kind of work. It works just great -- what a difference from strong-arm!
When I got the truck back, it went into the garage and I ordered the orange and cream (beige) colours from the paint codes the previous owner gave me and set about painting the front cabin and the tail gate. I spent a day fooling around with the clam shell gate trying to get it to shut and lock tight. I made some rubber bumpers and adjusted the hinges and it is better but by no means perfect.
I modified a spare tire carrier, meant for the back doors of a van, and fitted it on to the driver's side wall and the '33 just fit between the wheel well and the back door jamb. The gas can is in a holder made for ATVs but sits just fine on top of the wheelwell.
On the passenger's side, I mounted a tool box which bridges the wheel well and is made for the bed in pickups. I ordered chrome vent visors and installed them. I got a repro cigar lighter and installed it along with a set of heater controls.
Next will be a two-speed windshield wiper switch, pump and fluid container. After that, I need to prep and paint the roof rack and add a row of off road lights. The rack is off the truck as it would not go in the garage with it on top.
The motor I was supposed to build this winter is on hold due to finances but hopefully will happen in the summer.
The project is coming along. Keep up the good work!
13 November 2006
From Eric :
Hi all. This is my 1963 GMC Suburban 4 speed standard 4 x 4. I just bought this beauty from Bryron Corkum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I have also owned a '78 and still have a '90 Suburban. Here's a view from the drivers side / passenger side.
Byron did the body and paint. The color may look red on the computer monitor but it's actually called "Sundown Orange" ... and it's pretty! The inside is 90% complete and Byron sent me the paint codes (VW Sundown Orange LB2A; Beige for roof PPG #24768) so I can finish. He did excellent work.
I have had the starter rebuilt, replaced the battery, the rocker cover gaskets, replaced or made gaskets for the drive line (no more drips), installed rubber backed carpet in the cargo compartment, had the lock for the back clam shell doors re-calibrated to the key for the ignition and front doors, converted to power breaks and had a new master cylinder installed for the hydraulic clutch (keeping the original slave which works fine), cleaned and painted most of the undercarriage which is in very good condition.
When I'm finished, underneath the truck will get a good rust-proof undercoating before going in the garage for three or four months, depending on the winter we have. During the truck's winter sleep, I plan to build a short block Chevy 350 on the bench and swap it for the old 350 that a previous owner put in. The latest thing was new bushings to the hinges for the passenger door and new replacement part for the window crank assembly.
At the moment I do not know the history of the truck before Byron got it other than that it came from the US west coast. I think it us a government vehicle for the military or perhaps.
Looking forward to learning more about the beast.