Jim Sloate's

1953 Chevy Suburban

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06 October 2005

From Jim:

          I am a recent member of Stovebolt. I have had this '53 Suburban since 1973 and have a story of a long journey I would like to share. I already found a pair of running boards I have bought through Stovebolt.

          (Jim's story actually starts as a great Saga -- if you want to hear the very beginnings on this 'Burb, check it out. It's a good read! Then this is where we find "the rest of the story" ~~ Editor)

          I awoke Sunday and went out to my truck. I turned the key and pushed the foot starter solenoid and it fired right up. It made the trip around the block as if nothing was wrong. I was thinking the same when it started sputtering and steaming and died. It was that cracked head! I coasted the rest of the way downhill to home. I was able to locate a low mileage ‘68 Chevy Bel-Air with a 283 small block from a friend’s Mother. I pulled the engine and had it installed into my Suburban over two weekends, along with an alternator and 12-volt conversion.

          I blew the old tranny within another couple days. This required a trip to a friend’s wrecking yard, Rick's Auto Salvage down on Aurora at about 95th. I knew Rick from school. He took the rest of the ‘68 Bel-Air off my hands and made me a deal on a good turbo350 tranny, driveline and a corporate 10-bolt out of some full size Caprice. I really didn’t want the Power-Slide out of the Bel-Air! I cut off the radius bar mount, coil spring hangers and all the other bracket hangers before locating it with a good pinion angle and had the spring perches welded on to accept the stock Suburban leaf springs.

          The driveline was shortened at some place in Ballard. I installed a cable shift from a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix. I knew this shifter would work because my Father had a ‘67 Grand Prix. I used a separate transmission oil cooler at first, but eventually used the radiator I saved from the Bel-Air. I fabricated some brackets and soldered on a copper neck extension for a good looking retrofit that retained the original core support.

          I have since been collecting original and reproduction stainless/emblems sheet metal floorboards and ideas for about 10 years. Currently the contrition is a bit rough with the following mods. The front sub frame is from a ‘73-‘87 style 1/2-ton Chevy truck. It has the disk brakes, dual master, steering box and correct geometry from a ‘76 Chevy 1/2-ton pickup. I had it aligned like a ‘76 single cab, short bed pickup. It has the same wheel base and front end. It is also running a small block w/350 turbo tranny and a 10-bolt bringing up the rear. I need some two-inch lowered springs and lower spindles to get the ride height. I hope to actually begin the restification in a year or so.

          Thanks for a great site!

Jim Sloate
Stovebolter #8902
Duvall, Washington

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