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#1397477 Mon Feb 15 2021 11:21 PM
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Joined: Dec 2020
Posts: 113
1986 GMC Suburban 2500. AKA Big Blue

We have several trucks in the family, but in this post, I will add some history of my 1986 big block Suburban.

This truck was my mom and dad's. They were both teachers and retired at the end of the 1986 school year. Two years earlier, my dad purchased a 1983 1500 diesel 6.2l Sierra Classic. In all honesty, this was a beautiful truck. They also purchased a 31' Airstream trailer. They planned to travel with this rig, and also winter in Florida at an RV park. The 1983 1500 Suburban got amazing fuel economy, but the truck was not really built for such service. By then I was working as a technician at the local Pontiac/GMC dealer. We sold a ton of 6.2l diesel trucks, and for the most part, they were OK, but did not have the power of even the small block-powered trucks.

My dad decided that they would order a new 3/4 ton Suburban as a retirement gift to themselves. With that in mind, we went through the order book and decided to order a truck that would be the best fit for them. I lobbied for just about every option, but dad was skeptical. For instance, he didn't want a third seat. With bucket seats and console, rear air was not needed as there was no third seat. It was also planned to not be a winter use vehicle, so rear heat was not needed. In hindsight, U would loved to have had the seat, but the rear heat/air systems were not all that good. They always seemed like an afterthought.

What the truck did have was a 454 cid. Big block, and THM 400. It has 3.73:1 rear gears. It also had a 40 gallon tank. If it was heavy duty, I added it to the option list. I remember the day the truckload came in, and Big Blue was there on the lower rear position. I went out and told the driver to "Be careful with this one, It's going to be mine."

It was a beauty, and dad sold the 1983. At the time, it was hard to get a 454 truck as GM could only build a few of them due to CAFE Standards. We didn't want to be out of a truck if the order was rejected.

My folks used it for several trips until my mom got sick and we lost her in 1989. Dad, to his credit, continued to live a well-lived life. He eventually replaced the 1986 for a new 2001 2500. (I also have that one). I purchased the 1986 from my dad and have kept him (This truck is a he, not a she.), ever since. He now has about 178,000 miles on him. It is still in drive anywhere condition.

A few stories of interest are when on the way home from Canada, a left rear tire blew in a massive tire failure while pulling the Airstream. I was in the back seat at the time, nothing I could do but hold on. The blown tire shot dad across the center line, and as he tried to bring it back, it started to slide. I was thinking at that moment, "Boy, I am glad I ordered that 1 1/4" sway bar!". The crazy things you think of in an accident. The only damage was some paint around the wheel well.

Another story was when we lost dad, I along with my brother, carried dad to be with mom instead of using a hearse. It was the right thing to do. It was the truck they purchased together to spend retirement with. Now I was bringing them together again. Shortly after the funeral, my wife said, "I imagine that this means we are keeping this forever." She has never liked the exhaust. It was the last of the pre-catalytic converter trucks. It does not even have the fuel filler restrictor.

Lots of more stories, but this is long enough.
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 5,414
Unrepentant VW Lover
Great write up! Thanks for sharing.

Can we see more pictures? I'd like to see the interior and the engine bay. Maybe one of the front, too.

Just a neat truck with a cool story.


Cisgendered heteronormative aggressor perpetrating problematic toxic ideas of Chevrolet normativity smile

'49 Chevrolet 3804

Joined: Dec 2020
Posts: 113
Thanks John! Right now I have it in storage till April. I will get some more photos up as I find them. I am sure I have some on other devices.


Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,343
Moderator - The Electrical Bay and Rocky Mountain Bolters
Nice story and a nice looking 'burb. It's (almost) hard to believe that a 1986 vehicle is 35 years old!

Another quality post.

Real Trucks Rattle

HELP! The Paranoids are after me!
Joined: Dec 2020
Posts: 113
I failed to notice that I was supposed to add my location to my posts in the gallery.

I am from Kenosha Wisconsin, Steven Carlson


Moderated by  hardshell, J Lucas 

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