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1994 GMC Suburban - Taking It To The Limit

Posted in Features on July 1, 2004 Comment (0)
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1994 GMC Suburban - Taking It To The Limit
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What do you do when you're part of a company named PowerPlay, you're from Utah, and you want to get people's attention at shows such as SEMA? You build a Suburban that stands above the crowd - literally. To start things, PowerPlay is known locally for building bigger-than-normal vehicles that are still able to handle and drive on the road. The biggest reason for this is that the design in the company's custom four-link suspension system includes 20 inches of travel with airbags.

This project all started with a '94 GMC Suburban Jeremy Manning had purchased for his wife Linsey. At the time, it was still stock and was used to get around town with the family. Jeremy decided to make it bigger and better for the business and family, since he could.

Jeremy took the Suburban to work at PowerPlay and designed a custom four-link/airbag suspension system. He went with Firestone 'bags that allow 20 inches of travel from top to bottom. For the shocks, he used Explorer Pro Comp ES 9000s all the way around and Explorer Pro Comp limiting straps. Jeremy went to Master Image Customs for the air source, and the guys set him up with a pair of VIAIR 450 compressors (100 percent duty cycle), with an air tank and gauges to monitor the air system. This is the perfect air source for a rig such as this one. Boyce Equipment designed the hydraulic steering system for this big-wheel rig.

When talking to Jeremy about ride stability, he'll be the first to tell you that this rig is actually more stable at the fully raised height than lowered. As a driver of a trail-raised Jeep Cherokee, which is small compared to this rig, the writer knows that all you see of this rig in the rearview is the front end and part of the front bumper. It's not a comforting feeling.

After Jeremy was done with all the suspension mods, it was time to work on the drivetrain. For this, he went to Advanced Four Wheel Drive in Salt Lake City. Advanced built a 14-bolt, full-floater rearend with a Detroit Locker and 5:13 gears. Up front, a Dana 60 with 5:13 gears was installed. Both front and rear differential covers are Jeremy's own patented CleargearZ covers. These covers put up with the abuse on and off the trail, while allowing you to see the gears and what is happening inside at all times. Finishing off the suspension modifications is a set of Weld Scorpio-series 16.5x14-inch wheels and Super Swamper Bogger 44x16.5R19.5 tires. The transmission on this project is stock, but Six States Distribution custom-built the drivelines.

The basic 454 powerplant is on board, but its performance has been pumped up with a K&N air cleaner and an Airaid throttle-body spacer. The custom 3-inch exhaust system was built by Charlie's Muffler in Ogden, Utah. This exhaust system uses a pair of Flowmaster mufflers and exits through the frame, out the side of the rig. Jeremy also added a Hypertech powerchip for even more horsepower.

Now that all the basic suspension, drivetrain, and engine work was complete, it was time to work on the exterior for that final show-stopping look. This began by installing a Stull Industries Phantom front billet grille and bumpers. Jeremy then added a Sir Michaels rear roll pan. The chrome and polishing work was all done by Metal Masters in Salt Lake City. For the hood, Jeremy went with a Reflexion steel cowl-induction unit, creating a powerful look. All the paint and bodywork was completed by Elite Collision and Customs in Ogden. Brock Smith and Blain Willardsen shaved the door handles, giving this rig a smooth show look. They then sprayed the PPG Silver Metallic paint with the Black top colors.

If you ask Jeremy what he learned from building this project, his quick answer is, "It always costs more than you expect and takes more time than you plan on."

Jeremy sends special thanks to Blain Willardsen, Brock Smith, Jeff Debartollo, Shawn O'Keefe, Troy Herzog, David Trease, and Curtis Garrelts for their help with this project. Most of all, Jeremy thanks his wife Linsey and kids Kyler and Heyden for letting him work late into the night to finish this ultimate rig. He also adds a big thank you to Big Bubbas Trailers of Ogden, Utah, for supplying him with a great trailer to show this big rig at events and SEMA.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown : Jeremy Manning/Utah
Year/make/model : '94 {{{GMC}}} {{{Suburban}}}
Engine : 454-cid BBC
Transmission : GM 4L80-E
Front axle : Dana 60 with 5.13:1 gears
Rear axle : GM 14-bolt with 5.13:1 gears
Suspension : PowerPlay Performance custom four-link with
Firestone airbags and Pro Comp ES9000 shocks
Tires/wheels : 44x16.5R19.5 Super Swampers/16.5x14-inch
Weld {{{Scorpio}}} wheels
Accessories : {{{Eclipse}}} head unit, Rockford Fosgate amplifiers,
JL Audio subwoofers installed by the Hi Fi Shop
in Ogden, Utah

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