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Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
MSD Digital 6 Off-Road Ignition Controller
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Marc)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Marc)>> Today on Music City Trucks Unbreakable is back in the shop and it's time to fix her up for a heck of a run in the mud.

(Brandon)>> We upgrade the suspension, ignition box, steering, and wheels and tires.

(Marc)>> And you won't believe how Unbreakable pays it all off. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Welcome to Music City Trucks. I'm Brandon Burke...

(Marc)>> ...and I'm Marc Christ, and this is our '91 Suburban project that we've called Unbreakable.

(Brandon)>> And depending on your interpretation of unbreakable this one's not broken. It's just bent.

(Marc)>> I mean it doesn't move under its own power anymore because last time we took it out we went to Adventure Off Road Park and let's just say we ran into a couple of issues.

(Brandon)>> Looks like we aired down a little too much. [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Oh, right through the floor! Now as far as all the mechanical underneath the truck that's all perfectly fine. It worked exactly the way it should, but I didn't really beef up the rear suspension as well as I should have, and I ripped the bracket off the frame on an obstacle. So that's gonna be one of the first things we want to fix, along with some other little things that went wrong.

(Marc)>> And as far as the things we're gonna upgrade well there was several things that we wanted to do on this rig that we didn't get to do, and there was somethings we got some feedback from you guys in the comments that you said we should have done. One of those things are the wheels and tires, and this is a Super Swamper TSL. We got this and the Bart wheels, steel wheels. This is a 16.5 by 12 steely. We got both of these from Summit Racing. We mounted them ourselves, but this is the perfect wheel and tire combo if you want to get, compared to the bogger here, you want to get a lot more air, so you get a little more flotation. You're gonna have more ground clearance. It's gonna make the truck ride a little higher, and then also wider track width so you can get more traction, either on the rocks or in the mud. So, it's the perfect wheel and tire combo for our rig.

(Marc)>> But before we mount those wheels and tires on the truck, we've got to fix everything underneath the Suburban, and then at the end we're gonna take it back to AOP, get this thing dirty, muddy, and riding high. [ drill humming ]

(Brandon)>> Now where I hit that rock on the outside of the axle out here by the wheel it did two things. One, it bent this coil over bracket and this upper link bracket and frame. Now when I hit the rock it actually just broke the welds cause I didn't fully weld it. That's my bad. So, I'm just gonna bend it back over, weld it up, and put a brace on it. It should be just fine. [ MUSIC ] Dude that is bent! Okay to get that port-a-jack in between the frame rails I'm gonna have to get this driveshaft off. After taking the driveshaft out, Rob our camera guy made a really good observation. We should take these links off so we can get all of the tension out of those brackets so it'll be easier. Oh $#^%! [ horn honking ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Safety first people. Alright well that just shows you how much of a bind this rear end was in.

(Marc)>> Why don't you just get them all loose and I'll come in and help you get them out. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Got ya! That one! Now that the axle's hanging by the limit straps and supported by these pole jacks we're gonna get the port-a-jack in there and try to straighten that frame out. [ grinder buzzing ]

(Marc)>> Matco Tool's 10-ton hydraulic ram makes quick work of straightening our frame.

(Brandon)>> This one might work. Alright, now that we've got the bracket where we want it, we're gonna tack it in. That way we can get that port-a-jack out of there. [ welder crackling ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> We're gonna be using the torch to straighten this frame out cause it's got a little S-curve in it. So, we're gonna relieve some stress right here and here where you can see where the kinks are, and once we get it heated up Marc's gonna start jacking and try to get this frame straight. [ torch hissing ] [ welder crackling ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Wonder what I'll have for lunch. Alright now that we've got the bracket straight on the frame rails and the axle is centered back underneath the truck, I want to do an upgrade on these coil overs. So, this bottom spring is a 350-pound spring, and it was just a little too light. Once the truck started tipping it just kinda folded right over, and it was really uneasy. So, we're gonna be upgrading this 350 spring to a 450. All we've got to do is take out this lock collar and replace them. [ MUSIC ] Alright so we lifted the lock collar two inches because our spring's two inches taller. That way we get the same height on our truck when we put it back down on the ground. We're actually gonna be running the 450 on the top this time. Then we'll run this 600 on the bottom. So, the reason why we put the lighter spring on the top is that way you can adjust where it stops. That way you take up the load with the 450 while you're just driving normally, and then this 600 takes the heavy load once you pass that point. Should have done that from the beginning. We did it on the front, but I just totally didn't do it in the rear. Okay there we go. [ grinder buzzing ] [ MUSIC ] [ drill humming ]

(Brandon)>> Alright, now that we've got our secondary spring in the right spot, we'll be able to adjust our jamb nuts once we get the truck down on the ground and all the weight put on these shocks. That way these springs can do their job properly. Now all I've got to do is limit straps, swap the other side, and we'll be done back here. Next, we're steering Unbreakable straight towards our payoff.

(Brandon)>> Alright, now that we've fixed everything underneath the truck that needed to be fixed it's time to move on to upgrades, and that's gonna be our steering. Now the last time the Suburban was in here we just threw the stock steering back on it, but when you're running bigger tires, big lift, and you're going off road you're gonna want to upgrade your steering. Now that could be hydro-assist or full hydro like Jeremy and Jimmy have got on their Jeep.

(Jeremy)>> You know, and we built the Jeep both ways. We started off with hydro-assist, and then we did an upgrade like you guys are doing. We went to full hydro. Now the two big differences there are full hydro uses an orbital and just hydraulic pressure to steer. Hydro-assist uses a gearbox with a little ram to help you turn left and right.

(Brandon)>> And that's what came off of this, and that's all-Chevy stuff. So that's gonna bolt right on to our Dana 60. So, this is the kit I scrounged from the Carcass boys. This is actually specifically for a GM Dana 60, and the main difference between this box and our original box is it's got these two ports that are gonna support this ram. That's what's gonna assist our steering when we're on the trail. First thing we've got to do is drill out this tie rod though. I'll give it a shot of Seafoam Deep Creep to give it a little bit of lubrication. Originally this hole in the tie rod was for a stabilizer, but we're gonna retrofit it for the mounting point for our ram. Next thing we've got to do is put those brackets on, tack weld them to the tube, check our throw. So, I just made these tabs. The pump should be about in line with the tie rod. [ welder crackling ]

(Brandon)>> Make sure we got the stroke right from bump to bump. [ MUSIC ] Nothing hits. I say that's gonna work. All I've got to do is finish welding that tab up, start on the lines on the box. [ welder crackling ] [ MUSIC ] [ torch hissing ]

(Brandon)>> It's free! Alright now that the pitman arm's off we can get the hydraulic lines off and the steering shaft. There we go! [ drill humming ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Yeah that's not bad. Like I said, these boxes are pretty much identical, but the PSC box actually has the ports for the ram. We don't need this Junk Mail pitman arm. So, we're gonna just throw that in the toolbox and swap it out for ours. [ MUSIC ] Now if you've been wanting to do a hydro-assist swap on your rig this PSC box fits the factory location. So, there's no need to modify your frame. You've just got to bolt it in. [ MUSIC ] All we've really got to do is figure out how we want to route these hoses. [ saw buzzing ]

(Brandon)>> So these hoses are super easy to make. Put a little oil in there. This fitting's reverse screw on. [ MUSIC ] Pretty much made the same way an inline is. Let's see if it worked. Perfect! This worked out nice. Now there is a specific way that these hoses need to be ran as far as the ports on the ram and on the steering box. So, in this case the port closest to the firewall actually drives the driver's side port on the ram, and then the most forward port drives the passenger side. Now some other applications that's different. Well, this hydro-assist really steered this project in the right direction, but on a serious note this is a huge upgrade, especially since we're going with a bigger tire. Now the next thing we need to tackle is under the hood and its swimming abilities. Up next, we install the ignition box, snorkel, and wheels and tires.

(Marc)>> Well we're making some pretty good headway on our Suburban project here. We brought it back in the shop and made some repairs on some things that were damaged, like the suspension in the rear, and Brandon did a pretty cool upgrade on the front here, added a hydro-assist steering kit.

(Brandon)>> Now our idea when we go back out is to spend more time in the mud than we do in the mountains. So that means waterproofing upgrades, and I'm gonna start with a snorkel.

(Marc)>> Yeah and another waterproof upgrade is gonna be this ignition box right here, which is what I'm gonna start on first.

(Brandon)>> Alright, I'll get on the snorkel.

(Marc)>> We're switching to this MSD-6 off road, which is basically a typical 6-AL box except it's weatherproof. It's got all weatherproof connections on the wiring harness, and the box itself is weatherproof. So, you don't have to worry about having issues with impact or even getting water inside. So, I just need to get this thing installed and wired up, and we can move on. [ drill humming ]

(Marc)>> Another advantage to switching to a Digital-6 or this 6-Off Road is the fact that the wiring harness is not integrated into the box. It plugs in, and like I mentioned before, everything's weatherproof. So, all of these connections are weather paks, which leads me to my next point, which is our pickup that connects to our distributor has a weather pak on it and our pro billet does not have that. So, we're gonna have to adapt that, but first I'm gonna get this wire plugged in and start making some connections. [ MUSIC ] Could just go straight to the battery with these at this point. Since we've already made a spaghetti factory out of the wiring, we're just gonna go ahead and connect these wires using some good ole fashioned butt connectors. Next, we'll install a weather pak on the pigtail of our distributor and connect it to the existing weather pak on the new harness. That way we can submerge this thing, in theory of course. [ MUSIC ] The gray wire is the tach signal. [ MUSIC ] Well, our ignition box is all wired in. All that we have left is to program the box itself, but we'll get that done once we get everything finished up and connect the battery.

(Brandon)>> Alright now that Marc's out of my way I can go ahead and start installing this snorkel. We actually got this from Summit Racing. It's for a Land Cruiser cause we couldn't find a snorkel for a square body, but this looks like it'll work pretty good. I've just got to make sure that it's not gonna hit the door when we go to open it. Mark it and start drilling holes. I don't know if we'll be able to get all of these mounting holes to work with us. There's no better feeling than taking a good panel and drilling a large hole in it. Next, I'll drill the mounting holes, and then chop the inside of the fender out for the snorkel tube. [ drill buzzing ] [ saw buzzing ]

(Brandon)>> A little blue Loctite on the studs and we're ready. [ MUSIC ] Well that actually wasn't that hard. Let's see what it looks like. Well, it fits the body line of the fender pretty well, but I think it needs to go further in on this A-pillar. It looks a little funky sitting out there. So maybe heat gun this corner and lay it over. Looks like our situation is starting to heat up. Well, I just made this little bracket here to hold the snorkel to the A-pillar, and it's actually pretty sturdy. So, the last thing we need to do is put the cherry on top and then plumb this thing into the throttle body. Now I'm getting excited. Put this hose on and done! [ MUSIC ] That looks good!

(Marc)>> Well Brandon it's time.

(Brandon)>> This is the best part of the build.

(Marc)>> Yeah, the end! [ drill humming ]

(Marc)>> Let's get this thing loaded up and go get it dirty. Coming up next, we're riding high at AOP!

(Brandon)>> This is it, taking it back to AOP!

(Marc)>> Yeah you know I didn't think we'd be able to come back here again but I can't wait to get back out here and see what this thing can do the way it is now.

(Brandon)>> Especially since we're going in the mud this time!

(Marc)>> That's where I like to go. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Well we are back here at Adventure Off Road Park in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

(Brandon)>> And this is what we built it for. The Suburban's gonna go through the mud this time. I know we didn't really play last time.

(Marc)>> No, I mean we kinda put a hurting on it before we did that. So, we reserved everything for the mud today.

(Brandon)>> It's fixed and we're gonna have some fun.

(Marc)>> Let's do it. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Go right! [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> It's a little deep. Slightly deeper than I thought it was. Well as you can see the 42-inch TSLs are under the water. So, it's deeper than that.

(Marc)>> Oh yeah, it's pretty stuck. That's what this thing was built for right?

(Brandon)>> Oh yeah! I'm standing on hard ground and the bumper, which is normally here. [ MUSIC ] Hooking up a strap to the rear bumper.

(Marc)>> Now some people might see this as a failure...

(Brandon)>> ...but we say if you ain't getting stuck you ain't having fun. [ MUSIC ] [ engine revving ]

(Brandon)>> Zig zag the wheel. Come on, come on, keep going! [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> That was awesome! [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Well it still runs and drives. So, I guess we'll do that some more. [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ] [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Woo, hoo, hoo, hoo! [ MUSIC ] We just jumped the Suburban 30 foot from here... [ MUSIC ] ...all the way to there, wow!

(Marc)>> That's awesome!

(Brandon)>> Let's do it again! [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ] [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Broke something! [ MUSIC ] Come out of gear. [ clicking ]

(Marc)>> Oh we're good. [ engine revving ]

(Brandon)>> This has been one of those projects that like most it's always a evolving.

(Marc)>> This thing has climbed the mountain...

(Brandon)>> ...and now it has tackled the mud. What a great day. Woo!
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