95 SUBURBAN to a 01 DURAMAX/ALLISON

Discussion in 'Diesel Engine Conversions' started by THEFERMANATOR, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    Well I guess I'll start this thread off with my adventure:D.

    Progress has been slow as I have too many irons in the fire, but this is where I'm at now. I have my SUBURBAN with the engine, trans, and transfer case pulled out. I also got my 01 donor's powertrain pulled out.

    Here's my donor after I drove her into the shop. The radiator and intercooler were trashed from it's wreck, but you'd be surprised at how well a heater core can cool an engine.
    [​IMG]
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    This was after the first afternoon of about 2 1/2 hours with my nephew helping me. He's trying to learn more about cars than what his playstation has taught him.
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    Took all of the harness's out without cutting.
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    On the second afternoon it was just me, so I was able to work without teaching. Took about 3 hours to have her out and the donor rolled out.
    [​IMG]
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    It wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would be to pull the engine and tranny out together. It's one HEAVY SOB, but came out fairly easily. The worst part was realizing while the engine was hanging on the hoist that the front diff had to drop down an inch to slide the engine out in order to clear the oil pan.

    I'm still up in the air as to wether or not to transfer the cluster and BCM over. The only things I see that I will lose that really matter is the tranny temp guage and the tow/haul switch. I already have an older QUADZILLA digital guage for the tranny, and BRAYDEN at FLEECE can write me a custom TCM OS that will allow me to use tow/haul without the BCM. The WIF light can simply be tapped into the sensors output as it is just a magnetic on off switch that grounds a circuit. The wait to start light and check engine light already have there own drivers coming out of the ECM, so they can be wired directly to my existing cluster. The 01 ECM appears to have the correct ABS seperate output and a speedo output, so I should be able to elimnate my VSSB.

    I'm sure I'll run into many obstacles along the way, but so far it hasn't been that bad. The ALLISON measures just 1" longer than my 4L80E, and the LB7 block has dual bolt patterns that will accept my old engine mounts. I'm going to do a test fit in the next few days to see if the mounts line up or not in the SUBURBAN, but if my measurements are correct the DMAX is actually not as long as the 6.5 I pulled out. And the fact that they moved #1 over to the passenger side on the DMAX should allow ample room for the downpipe to fit in.

    It also turns out that there is a converted 99 C2500 SUBURBAN in VALRICO that has a 01 DURAMAX ALLISON in it. His is a 2 wheel drive, but he said it was a pretty easy swap. His was a 6.5 to start with as well, VS the one the dieselpage did where they started with a 88 1500 gasser. I'm probably being overly optimistic, but I don't want to burn myself out early on in this big of a project.

    And here is the recipient just before the 6.5 was pulled.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Burning oil

    Burning oil LeroyDiesel.com

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    Thats very cool. How much do you think you have in it so far?
    I did a Cummins 6bt in a 96. It was pretty reasonable. Thinking about doing it again in the other 96.
     
  3. Unit453

    Unit453 Cruises comfortably at 140... Staff Member

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    I think this is a cool project and I look forward to seeing it in person, or maybe getting a chance to actually help out with it sometime.
     
  4. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    I've already got too much money into it. A swap like this I believe you have to do more so for the one of a kind factor than for a fiscal reason. The 6.5 I had was nice when it ran, but it was always something in it needing attention. Then the tranny went which had been done right before I bought it with a GM SRTA that had about 20K on it. This was the last straw for me, so I was actually going to do a CUMMINS. Then I got a chance to hear a 12 vlave again and remember just how noisy they are(when I was 20 it didn't bother me, now I can't stand it), so the DMAX made the most sense. I need to start making a checklist as all of the details of this swap are starting to get overwelming and all just running together. Right now I'm ANXIOUSLY awaiting the release of the AUTOCAL from EFILIVE so I can get TONY to send me the tunes we were talking about. I figure by the time I get it in and the tranny and engine done it should be out.

    And this is the thread from the page that started me in this direction. He took a 99 C2500 and dropped in an 01. I know mine will be a bit more work being a 4X4, but should still be doable. He is also just down the road from me a short ways in VALRICO, so I'm waiting to get ahold of him so I can go see his and maybe see some of the problems I will encounter and how to get around them.
    http://www.thedieselpageforums.com/tdpforum/showthread.php?t=27851
     
  5. Burning oil

    Burning oil LeroyDiesel.com

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    I know exactly what you mean. I was just tring to get some idea. I know there could be a huge difference in cost depending on how you come up with the parts. If its not much of a cost difference I would rather have the Dmax also. But, the Cummins is so easy and you can tame the noise with a muffler.
     
  6. DieselCash

    DieselCash Trust but, verify Staff Member

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    That will be sweet when you get it done! Keep up the good work!
     
  7. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    I ended up paying $6K for the donor truck, but hoping to get some back when I part out the leather interior, axles, harness's, and doors. I looked at several donors, but what some people called complete were cut up junk to me. This one drove onto my trailer under it's own power and sounded solid, so I got it.
     
  8. Golddigger

    Golddigger New Member

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    I am so jealous! I have a '99 sub 1500 that I haven't even licensed this year since the tags expired! But I haven't been able to convince the wifey that it should be " A Project."
     
  9. DEERE3594

    DEERE3594 I welcome everyone...not just Penguins!

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    Good luck with your build!
     
  10. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    Well I worked on it again today and made a little progress. Here is the SUBURBAN stripped down and ready for some test fits.
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    Here's trial fit #1.
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    Here's trial fit #5 after several attempts of finding what had to be dropped and cut. Ended up having to remove the front differential, cutting the corner off of the passenger side engine mount pad on the frame, remove the bumper, and drop the steering linkage down.
    [​IMG]

    Here's #7 where I actually got it somewhat close to where it should sit.
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    And on the 9th try I got it somewhat mocked in and was able to do some test fitting and clearance checking.
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    Should be plenty of room to move the radiator back and put the intercooler up there as I have over 4 inches of clearance between the fan and radiator.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately it looks like I will either have to lift the body 2 inches, OR hammer out the tranny tunnel a bit, possibly switch over to the electric shift transfer case as the shift linkage is RIGHT against the tranny, cut part of the oil pan out and make a notch in it in the front to clear the steering linkage, hammer part of the oil pan in by the differential mounts, and do some more clearancing on the mount pads as to gain some clearance between the block and mount pads. This is a TIGHT fit, but looks doable. The hood will also be tight down to the engine at the compressor it looks like. I was able to get the transmission crossmember and mount in, but the tranny is touching the trans tunnel as it sits now. I'll try and get some more pics of how it fits tommorrow, after 7 hours of putting the engine in and out I was WHIPPED!
     
  11. Rafedial1

    Rafedial1 Member

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    nice project. :thumbsup:

    looks like you got a healthy drivetrain too!

    bet you can part that donor truck out and it will pay for itself. :D

    keep the pics comin...
     
  12. DieselCash

    DieselCash Trust but, verify Staff Member

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    When they mount the duramax in newer suburban's they give the body a 2 inch lift. Over on the dieselplace their is a man called tdiguy that is doing videos of a swap to a newer suburban. Last time I checked he was going to do one in a smaller vehicle. I have not checked in a while, i do not like it over there anymore.

    Wish you luck!
     
  13. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    Yep I've read the TDIGUY's post's, I've also tried to PM him(he doesn't answer them I've found). His feeling on the old body style is that it isn't a good conversion platform and it would need to much work. He did a EXCALADE recently, but is still trying to work out some bugs with it from the conversion. I sent him some diag sheets last week, but haven't heard back from him. The one that the dieselpage did a few years back has no body lift though, and the one in my link above doesn't either. So I'm hoping to be able to do the same. I also think that the LB7 was built so that it could fit into the older GMT-400 chassis as the mysterious dent in the drivers side manifold that serves no purpose on the GMT-800's and 900's is in the PERFECT spot for my steering shaft.
     
  14. DieselCash

    DieselCash Trust but, verify Staff Member

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    OK, Just trying to help you out.

    You seem to know more about this than anybody else I know.

    Wish I was closer, it would be fun to watch and help!
     
  15. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    Well I've spent a few more hours on it in the last few days. Progress has been next to nothing really, but I have worked out a few bugs and fitment issues that I was concerned with. I ended up moving the engine forward until the crossmember was bolted into the holes it was for the 4L80E, and putting the trans mount just slightly back from as far forward as it could sit in the crossmember. This unfortunately cut my clearance with the radiator down from 4. 1/2" to about 2". I wanted to move the engine as far back as possible, but it caused clearance issues with the oil pan and steering intermediate shaft. Also it was going to make fabricating engine mounts BEYOND a PITA! I also ordered in Jim Bigleys conversion guide from the page, and I am going to use the foundation of his mount templates for mine. My engine will actually be about a 1/2" furthur forward than his conversion, but at this point many things are revealed.

    At this point in time there is NO DOUBT in my mind that the DURAMAX was designed to fit into the older GMT-400 platform. The ALLISON 1000 is another story. With about 5 minutes with a 3lb BFH the transmission now has about a 1/2" of clearance all around, and will have more before I'm done. The indent in the drivers manifold matches the intermediate steering shaft almost dead on. And the oil pan has a clearance spot in it that matches the steering nearly perfectly once you remove the plastic coating from it. Also by sliding the engine forward a 1/2" and lowering it down over the pan notch, it lowered the engine down and the fan shroud lines up almost perfectly center. And by using a 95 mount instead of the 01 on the trans, it brought my pinion and engine angles to within a 1/2 of a degree of each other so shimming shouldn't be required.

    I'll have to rework the radiator core support a bit to work with the DMAX intercooler and retain an external trans cooler. The pages truck uses the radiator only in there conversion, and modified the condenser to slide it forward. I plan on cutting the fan shroud and sliding the radiator back an inch and gutting the center of the core support and sliding the intercooler in there.

    The electrical appears to be pretty straigght forward as the 6.5 and DMAX use almost the same engine fuses and amperages. I will have to add an IGNITION 1 relay and the ECMPRV 15A and INJ B 25A for the FICM, as well as a 15 A fuse for the fuel heater. The rest are already there, and most of the wiring colors are the same between the 2. I will also have to add in another A/C relay as the 01 ECM looks for a ground from the HVAC controller, but the 95-00 controller in a 6.5 truck sends a 12V+ to engage the A/C. The APPS out of the 01 will not fit into my 95, but my 95 WILL interchange to the 01 ECM as they are both wired and work the same(just a different base with a stronger spring in it).

    Now for some pictures:D.
    Steering after grinding the coating off the front of the pan and smoothing the ribs down a bit. Provided an extra 3/8" clearance by cleaning it up, and a total of almost an inch after moving it forward with this cleaning.
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    Heres the steering shaft.
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    Lots of room between the turbo and firewall for the insulating mat.
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    And a few shots of the ALLISON nestled down in there nice and snuggly. I need to get a pic showing how close the shift rod is the case, it misses it by about a 1/4".
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Unit453

    Unit453 Cruises comfortably at 140... Staff Member

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    Lookin good man. I'm free monday and tuesday if you need a hand with anything. I'd even be happy to stand there and watch you (supervise) while you get dirty and I take the pictures...):h
     
  17. saratoga

    saratoga Unpaid Help Staff Member

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    Wow. Looks good!

    Continue to keep us posted and don't forget I'm not far from you if needed either.
     
  18. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    I'm making a little progress, BUT THIS THING IS KICKING MY ASS!! I have spent the past 2 days fabbing the motor mounts and welding em up. The passenger side one is done, but the drivers side warped some from welding. So I have to straighten it some in the press, and weld the last brace into it. Next I'm going to re-inforce the trans crossmember and fix it where I modified it in the past for a GEAR VENDOR install that I took out. That ALLISON is quite a bit heavier than my 4L80E was and the crossmember seems to flex more than I would like with the weight on it. I also am going to have to modify the lower oil pan on the passenger side. GM changed the front diff mount on the later trucks so they could put the kick-out on the side of the oil pan for extra capacity. That kick-out hits the lower mount for the front diff on mine, so I'm going to cut and weld a plate in like Bigley did on his rather than change out the mount for the diff. I dropped the pan earlier before making the mounts and installed the diff to make sure it all would clear, and I had good clearance on it.

    I also installed some limiters inside of my factory rubber mounts so the engine can't move as far since it is so tight in there. I'm hoping to finish the drivers mount, trans crossmember, and get the oil pan cut-out made tommorrow. I may take it to a local welder and have him tig it so that I don't have to worry about any leaks in the pan instead of migging it myself. If I can get that done then I'm going to go run some more parts down MONDAY and take a break from it for the day. Then start on the engine and tranny with what I'm going to do to them. I know it needs a FPR on the CP3 as it loped like a cammed big block at idle before, and I found a FORD relay for $13 to fix the glow plug controller with already. I will probably also do head gaskets as I see some signs of leakage around the passenger rear side of the head in between the block and head, and do the injector cups while I'm there.

    I'm still up in the air though on the injectors. They currently have roughly 130K on em, but it had ZERO smoking before. The balance rates were less than .5 on 6 and 2 were at 2.5(one positive and one negative). I also plan on a KENNEDY lift pump, EFILIVE(found out the new AUTOCAL will only be for one ECM/TCM combo with no expansion to a second ECM or TCM incase one fails), and an adjusteable boost valve. Also I found a pre bent 4" exhaust that will fit my SUBURBAN so I don't have to modify a truck exhaust to fit. And swap out my 4.10's for some 3.42's, and replace my CV boots.

    No pics tonight, been working and getting so greasy I didn't want to mess up my camera.
     
  19. THEFERMANATOR

    THEFERMANATOR FRANKENBURBAN Staff Member

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    Got the motor mounts done today, finished up my tranny crossmember and modified the oil pan. Got the engine sitting in there and with it's weight on the mounts.

    Heres my finished motor mounts.
    [​IMG]

    Passenger side installed in the truck.
    [​IMG]

    Drivers side installed.
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    Before installing the mounts I had to take my BFH and flatten out part of the mount clamshell where the motor mount bolt was close and also added in some 1/4" plate to act as limiters to reduce engine movement. The red circle is where I had to flatten the edge off. The blue arrow shows where I added my limiters(theres one in the bottom as well).
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    Oil pan clearance with it all together.
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    No turning back now:eek:. You can see I had to take a good bit out of the passenger side of the lower pan to clear the diff mount.
    [​IMG]

    And the finished pan after welding, grinding, pressure testing, and paint.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Unit453

    Unit453 Cruises comfortably at 140... Staff Member

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    Man is that coming along....Looks great so far.
     

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