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Accessible Suburban Project

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    Accessible Suburban Project

    I purchased this burb in Feb due to my expanding family (3rd boy is due in August). A Tahoe or Yukon was my first choice but decided they didn’t offer enough room for our needs: 3 kids, 2 adults, wheelchair (I’m C6-7), 90lb Rottie, luggage/cargo/misc, so I settled on a Suburban.

    Obviously the biggest obstacle with a SUV is transferring and getting the chair in/out. In addition to lowering I wanted to maintain a nice, comfortable ride so I opted for air bag suspension using Air Ride Technologies CoolRide for the rear, ShockWaves for the front, and LevelPro BIG RED MAX for air management. Basically, I'm replacing the torsion bars and coil springs with fully adjustable "air springs".

    Based on measurements I need 6 1/2" drop in the front and 8" drop in the rear to transfer and get the chair in/out. The ShockWaves will give me 4 1/2" + 2" drop spindles for the 6 1/2" drop in the front. The convoluted airbag will provide the 8" drop in the rear.

    Here's how it looked when purchased. It's a VERY clean 05 - 29,000 miles, previous owner, leather, front buckets, bose audio, etc..







    I started on the front by removing the torsion bars, shocks, bump stop cups, trimming the corner of the bump stop brackets, shortening the sway bar end links 2 1/4" and drilling out the end link nut to accommodate a 3/8 bolt. From GM the bolt/nut is 9mm and the ShockWaves came with a replacement (shorter for the shortened end links) but it was the wrong size. I didn't have any 9mm hardware laying around but did have a few 7" 3/8 bolts and nylock nuts that worked perfectly.

    Here are a couple pics...

    Before removing the bump stop and trimming the corner
    [IMG]/forum/%5BIMG%5Dhttp://i645.photobucket.com/albums/uu171/loosecannon_album/8392258323250774786IM105565x421_A56.jpg%5B/IMG%5D[/IMG]


    After



    Shortening the end links and drilling the end link nut/cap



    Drilling the end link cap



    ShockWave installed on passenger side



    Drivers side





    Tie rod and sway bar are close (about 1/4") but they're not touching






    Had to throw on a wheel to see how it looked . The drop spindles are not yet installed so the front is sitting 4 1/2" lower. I'm hoping that the additional 2" won't be needed so I'm going without the drop spindles initially.




    Now that the front air springs are installed I focused on installing the bags in the rear.

    Bags assembled and ready for install.



    After installing the passenger bag I noticed the top of the mounting stud was hitting the floor so I pulled it and removed 2" from the stud



    My oldest, who is 4, "working with daddy in the shop"



    Front and rear bagged and off the jack stands











    Total drop in front is 4 1/2" and 6" in the rear. I was able to transfer in/out OK but getting the chair in/out was tough so I'll go as planned and order drop spindles to lower the front another 2". Removing the bump stop brackets (bump stops are already in the trash) will get me another 2" approximately in the rear. I might also remove the running boards to get the chair a couple of inches closer to the seat...

    Still have a lot of work to complete : mount the tanks, compressors, valves, run the lines, shorten the rear sway bar end links, install drop spindles, etc...

    Stay tuned!!
    [IMG]/forum/%5BIMG%5Dhttp://i645.photobucket.com/albums/uu171/loosecannon_album/8392258323250774786IM105565x421_A56.jpg%5B/IMG%5D[/IMG]




    #2
    Awesome work LC.
    It looks like you have a nice looking shop and quite a few projects lined up. Are you doing a lot of this work yourself? How are you managing if you don't mind me asking?
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." -John 14

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by ac06 View Post
      Awesome work LC.
      It looks like you have a nice looking shop and quite a few projects lined up. Are you doing a lot of this work yourself? How are you managing if you don't mind me asking?
      x2 on the question of how you're managing this... you doing all the work?

      nice work so far. I'll be watching this thread

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ac06 View Post
        Awesome work LC.
        It looks like you have a nice looking shop and quite a few projects lined up. Are you doing a lot of this work yourself? How are you managing if you don't mind me asking?
        Originally posted by Scott Pruett View Post
        x2 on the question of how you're managing this... you doing all the work?

        nice work so far. I'll be watching this thread
        Thanks!

        Scott - At one time weren't you building a Jeep?

        So far my fantastic wife has helped with putting on the wheels (they are too heavy to lift) and my 4 year held a wrench on the rear top shock mount nuts while I loosened the bolts with an impact (his little hands were the perfect size)! I've been able to do everything else.

        Working on the front wasn't too bad because most of the work was done while sitting in my chair. I was on the shop floor for the majority of the work on the rear. I use a plastic stepping stool to transfer from chair to floor and back up.

        The blue and white truck is the next project: a 71 Chevy C10 long bed that will be bagged on 20's and converted to a short bed. I also have a 66 SS big block Chevelle.



        Comment


          #5
          Yup, still have the Jeep. It required a considerable amount of extra custom fab work... totally different project, much of which I couldn't do on my own (cutting, grinding, welding, bending... not to mention using a shop that I don't have ).

          Kudos on doing the majority of the work on this stuff though! It's a darn good feeling. I can't even figure out a way to do an oil change anymore & it bums me out.

          The C10 & Chevelle have solid potential...

          Comment


            #6
            Nice! I had a bagged and bodydropped burban few years back. You need to run 22's on the 71 and bag it out! i've been looking for early 70's burban to bag and use as a hauler for my rugby stuff
            Steve
            C5-6 Feb 05

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MotoRacer598 View Post
              Nice! I had a bagged and bodydropped burban few years back. You need to run 22's on the 71 and bag it out! i've been looking for early 70's burban to bag and use as a hauler for my rugby stuff
              22's do look good when tucked! I'll probably go with 20's or maybe a 20/22 combo on the 71 though because I prefer more than a 35 profile tire.

              I too would like to build a 69 - 72 burb someday.. they look sick when layed out!!
              Last edited by LooseCannon; 3 Jun 2009, 3:02 PM.



              Comment


                #8
                Or maybe go more unique and shorten a burb to a 115" wheelbase. You don't see many 69 - 72 tahoes



                Comment


                  #9
                  I love the older ones!! I know someone who shortend a Excursion and make it a 2 door few years back.
                  Steve
                  C5-6 Feb 05

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Scott Pruett View Post
                    I can't even figure out a way to do an oil change anymore & it bums me out.
                    Scott, if your serious, I use to get under my jeep all the time. I put the unilite at chair height throw an exta cushion on it, transfer and ride it down to the ground and transfer onto a creeper. Then you can grab various things under the jeep and pull yourself around. BTW I've been thinking a lot lately of converting one of the new 4 door jeeps.

                    Loose, I had my 2001 Silverado bagged and drove it for about five years, I had the big bags on all four corners. Mine sat almost on the ground and the front tires barely rubbed on the top of the inner fenders. The most important thing is the bump stops. Make sure your truck will still roll if you lose a bag or line. They'll wear out and I had brackets bend and even tear off the frame. I lost a line on my right front once cruising down the highway and to say the least it was hair raising. It might be different/safer with the shockwaves though. After that I always kept a spare length of air line and cutter with me.
                    pat@beachmobility.com

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by pattherat View Post
                      Scott, if your serious, I use to get under my jeep all the time. I put the unilite at chair height throw an exta cushion on it, transfer and ride it down to the ground and transfer onto a creeper. Then you can grab various things under the jeep and pull yourself around. BTW I've been thinking a lot lately of converting one of the new 4 door jeeps.
                      That's actually not a bad idea! I still can't get under the hood though. Hmm...

                      I just need a shop.

                      I've been thinking about the 4dr JKs as well, actually. Drop me an email if you feel like kicking ideas around. scott.pruett@gmail.com

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by pattherat View Post
                        Loose, I had my 2001 Silverado bagged and drove it for about five years, I had the big bags on all four corners. Mine sat almost on the ground and the front tires barely rubbed on the top of the inner fenders. The most important thing is the bump stops. Make sure your truck will still roll if you lose a bag or line. They'll wear out and I had brackets bend and even tear off the frame. I lost a line on my right front once cruising down the highway and to say the least it was hair raising. It might be different/safer with the shockwaves though. After that I always kept a spare length of air line and cutter with me.
                        Do you have any pics of the Silverado?

                        I agree with your point on setting up the suspension to allow the vehicle to roll when aired out. Air bags are extremely reliable (big rigs have used them for years) when installed correctly but you one can never be too careful or prepared.



                        Comment


                          #13
                          I have never had any problems with my bags on my silverado. If i did i'd be screwed since it lays frame but I also ran hydrolic line for my airline so it's very durable. Trucks been bagged for over 3 years. Also helps when you own a business that does the work.
                          Steve
                          C5-6 Feb 05

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by LooseCannon View Post
                            Do you have any pics of the Silverado?

                            I agree with your point on setting up the suspension to allow the vehicle to roll when aired out. Air bags are extremely reliable (big rigs have used them for years) when installed correctly but you one can never be too careful or prepared.
                            These are the only ones I could find:




                            yeah as long as your comfortable with losing one at speed. I often worried about the possibility when cruising at 90. When it did happen, it scared the crap out of me but the truck didn't lose control like I thought it would and I was able to safely pull over.
                            pat@beachmobility.com

                            Comment


                              #15
                              pattherat - it looks good!



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