Winter Beater & BOV

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EBuff75
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Winter Beater & BOV

Post by EBuff75 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:20 pm

Finally picked something up that's a bit more winter-worthy than my Mazda 3 hatchback - a 2004 Chevy Suburban Z71 with 4wd. It's rusty, but at least it's rusty... Yeah, it's been a bit of a money pit so far. Everything that my mechanic and I thought was wrong... was. Most of it on the extreme bad end of things and a few surprises too.

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After bringing it home the truck spent several weeks at various repair shops and it now appears to be more-or-less reliable at this point. Replacing the bumpers is high on the list of remaining repairs, given that they're sorta see-through and there's barely enough metal to hold the license plate. I'd love to put some heavier (more off-road-ish) bumpers on, but the price for those is a bit steep (unless someone here has some brilliant advice on where to get some that won't break the bank). I've found replacement front and rear bumper sets that are under $400 shipped for the bumpers and all the bolts/mounts, which seems like a decent deal. I kinda dig the black paint that the previous owner used to cover up the rust on them, so I'll likely do something similar.

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I also need to replace the headlights (stock ones are terrible, actually the worst non-sealed beam lights I've ever had) and turn signals (one of them has a failed seal and keeps getting water in, even after I added some drain holes to it). I'm looking at the Depo projector headlights and possibly some LED turn signals and brake lights. Open to advice on this too if anyone has experience with these!

I took the steps off it because the rockers are fairly badly rusted. Didn't want one of them tearing loose in a parking lot some rainy night, so they're sitting in my garage now for future determination. Michigan is hell on vehicles because of all the salt we use on the roads during winter. To get a rust-free version I probably would have had to pay twice as much.

What I really wanted it for is something to use in the winter, a vehicle that can carry lots of people and/or stuff, and possibly haul me out of the area if that's ever needed. Hopefully it'll fill those duties for me. I've already used it for one weekend trip up to northern Michigan and it was great to just be able to throw everything in there and not worry about whether there was enough room! Beats the heck out of having to spend the whole week playing Tetris with my Mazda!

The family: 1986 Yamaha XJ700S is hidden at the back left, 2004 Chevrolet Suburban Z71, and 2006 Mazda 3
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The Twizzler
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Re: Winter Beater & BOV

Post by The Twizzler » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:08 pm

I had a friend in college that had an old Bronco he attached an old rail tie for a bumper. Since it's wood they can be cut to size, easy to drill and mount, paint or leave it natural, and can take a heck of a beating. You can pick up used ones cheap from the rail yards and sometimes gardening shows. Also you can forget about salt problems with these. :v:
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EBuff75
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Re: Winter Beater & BOV

Post by EBuff75 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:37 pm

Hah! :clap:

Okay, I'm not sure that I want to go quite that down-market for new bumpers! I just don't want to pay $1000+ apiece for offroad bumpers.

For that matter, maybe I could just tape a couple of my flashlights onto the hood in place of the headlights. They'd probably be brighter (although that's less of a comment on the poor headlights than it is on me being a bit of a flashaholic...). :wink:

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Re: Winter Beater & BOV

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:04 pm

If you know a local welder, they can throw together a real cheap tube or plate bumper. Jeeps, Toyotas, and Nissans do it all the time. Or just google "suburban tube bumper" and they are cheaper than the big beefy ones

For lighting, I wouldn't be afraid to try cheap amazon LED light bars. LED technology is way overpriced from most brands. I normally buy from reputable companies, but not if it's 700% marked up. So check amazon and it's reviews.

Not sure about your tires, but I always replace mine at half tread cuz I'm paranoid. I'm a huge fan of Cooper tires and it's brands like Mastercraft and Hercules. Check out the Cooper AT3 and Mastercraft AXT and Hercules Terra series for great road tires that do great off road and in snow. Some of the few tires left made in the USA if I remember correctly.

But that's a cool purchase!!! You can always just rip off the bumpers and cut the fenders and Mad Max it out!!!
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EBuff75
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Re: Winter Beater & BOV

Post by EBuff75 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:47 pm

I've broached the topic with a friend of mine who does welding ("hey, it would make a good project for one of your welding classes"), but she wasn't really interested. Earlier on we did talk a bit about me possibly helping fund some welding equipment for her in exchange for work on the truck, but that was before I blew my budget on all the repairs...

I've looked at the light bars, but that wouldn't help me any around town as they aren't legal to use on the roads here. Maybe somewhere down the road if I end up hanging onto it and making it a bit more off-road oriented. Right now I'm really just looking at replacement headlights/turn signals/brake lights so that I can see clearly at night!

Fortunately the tires on it are in good shape. They're Bridgestone Dueler A/T tires and they've got at least half the tread left on them and no weird wear patterns. When I bought it the spare was missing, but the guy who was selling it (the truck belonged to his brother) had a stack of them in his shop and just gave me one of them that would fit. As a bonus, the spare is an actual 17" rim rather than the more common 16" sized spare and it has a pretty good Michelin tire on it!

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