Steve Frisbie doesn't want to understand the Jeep thing. This Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant, aka the owner of Missouri Offroad Outfitters, is an incorrigible fan of fullsize trucks. In his book, bigger is unquestionably the only way to go, whether on the road or trail. You may remember Frisbie's previous truck, a daily-driven/trail-ready bright yellow Blazer from the September '01 cover of Four Wheeler. That rig was an impressive machine for sure -- but apparently not big enough, because he recently built this enormous, bulletproof '89 Suburban V2500 to encore that performance.
We caught up with Frisbie in Moab at the Easter Jeep Safari, where we saw the huge, yet amazingly agile, SUV in action. It was impressive, to say the least. Also notable is the fact that this truck is no trailer queen. Frisbie drove the Suburban to Utah from his home in Missouri--while towing a camper. It's no wonder he calls the truck the "MOOVER," which is an acronym for Maximum Occupancy Offroad Vehicle Equipped for Rockreation.
The interior is a combination of luxury and functionality. Here you can see the front of the truck, complete with Wet Okole-covered seats, Tuffy security box, LeCarra steering wheel, and thick carpet. What you can't see is the cargo area, which is stripped of carpet and covered in Ameraguard bedliner material. This area is packed with a variety of recovery tools as well as a Craftsman bedside drawer-style toolbox and a Power Tank.
Due to its long wheelbase, Frisbie knew there was a high probability that the 'Burb would occasionally drag its belly over trail obstacles. With this in mind, he fabricated this transfer-case skidplate/crossmember from solid 1.25-inch cold-rolled bar stock and 0.25-inch cold-rolled steel plate. This unit offers solid protection and support for the NP203/205 transfer-case setup, which was accomplished using an Off Road Design Doubler Kit and an Advance Adapters transmission-to-transfer-case adapter.
All of the Suburban's exterior modifications were designed to serve a functional purpose. There is no irrelevant bling on this truck. To enhance the departure angle, 8 inches were removed from the rear quarter panels, and the bottom of the panel moved up to retain the factory look. The front fenders were also shortened on the leading edge, and the rear of the wheel openings were cut and reformed to allow for suspension travel without tire-to-fender contact. A pair of custom rock sliders resides under each rocker panel, and they're designed to carry the weight of the vehicle by placing the outriggers at critical points on the frame where the transfer case crossmember/skidplate carries the load from side to side. The no-frills Missouri Offroad Outfitters front bumper/grilleguard not only holds a MileMarker hydraulic winch, but also offers two attachment points milled from 1-inch-thick cold-rolled steel. The custom Missouri Offroad Outfitters rear bumper sports a pair of D-rings, a hinged license-plate mount for access to the receiver hitch pin, and wraparound fender protection. Up top is a Goodmark steel cowl-induction hood and a Con-Ferr Porthole roof rack with aluminum treadplate floor. All of the driprails were removed and the truck received all new rubber seals and weatherstripping during its body-off buildup. The truck was painted DuPont Millennium Yellow by James Harden of Marshall, Missouri, with assistance from Mills Motors of Marshall.
The rear axle/suspension combination is simple, beefy, and effective. The full-float 14-bolt axle has a Detroit Locker to guarantee that torque is being split to both wheels for maximum traction. Gearing is 4.56:1 to compensate for the larger 37-inch tires. A stout Missouri Offroad Outfitters Rock Bruiser diff cover with built-in skidplate protection replaces the thin, easily damaged OEM cover. A pair of disc brakes pirated from the front of a 3/4-ton Chevy truck are mounted to the axle via a pair of custom 3/8-inch-thick brackets. The Sub's suspension consists of a pair of Superlift 5.5-inch-lift leaf springs mounted to an ORD shackle flip kit and a pair of Pro Comp MX6R 8-inch-travel remote-reservoir shocks. These shocks mount to a pair of unique Missouri Offroad Outfitters products; an Over the Top axle truss and a shock-mount crossmember. The neat thing about the Over the Top axle truss is that it moves the lower shock mounting location to the top of the axlehousing, allowing for less chance of trail damage as well as more suspension flex. A Missouri Offroad Outfitters Wrap Zapper is also bolted to the rear axle, and it helps alleviate axlewrap. Unrelated to either the rear axle or suspension, but noteworthy nonetheless, is the custom fuel-tank skidplate seen in the upper part of the photo. This massive unit is constructed from four solid pieces of 1.25-inch solid cold-rolled bar stock and 3/16-inch steel plate. Frisbie says that this unit is strong enough to hold the entire weight of the Suburban without flexing.
One of the many impressive things about this Suburban is the attention to mechanical detail. Take, for instance, the workings of the front end, which have been extensively modified to ensure function and durability. The front axle is a Dana 60, sourced from a Chevy dualie pickup, and it has been fitted with a Detroit Locker, 4.56:1 gears, and a Missouri Offroad Outfitters Rock Bruiser differential cover. The steering system has been engineered for extreme duty and features a crossover steering conversion using Off Road Design steering arms and Missouri Offroad Outfitters heavy-duty tie rod and drag link. A Missouri Offroad Outfitters engine crossmember has also been installed to eliminate the drag-link-to-crossmember contact commonly experienced when crossover steering is installed on these vehicles. A wide range of Performance Steering Components products have also been installed, including a pump, remote reservoir, steering gear, and hydraulic ram assist (the heavy-duty pump and remote reservoir come in handy for running the hydraulic MileMarker 12,000-pound-capacity winch too). The hydraulic ram assist is fastened to the vehicle via a Missouri Offroad Outfitters bolt-on mount. Further, Frisbie completed a variety of frame modifications to ensure that the steering box wouldn't tear from the frame. Finally, the flexy suspension consists of Superlift 6-inch-lift leaf springs and Pro Comp MX6R remote-reservoir shocks.
Frisbie ditched the stock 5.7L V-8 engine in favor of a more high-performance roller-rocker-equipped 5.7L out of a '93 Chevy Camaro. This engine was bored and stroked by the folks at Maschmeir Racing in Blue Springs, Missouri, and fitted with Keith Black pistons, an Isky camshaft, Dart heads, flow-matched injectors and riser plate, MSD ignition, and Jet-Hot-coated Doug Thorley Tri-Y headers. Other mods include a serpentine belt system from a '93 Chevy truck, custom four-core radiator, dual electric Flex-A-Lite fans, remote starter solenoid, hand throttle, Exide battery, high-flow catalytic converter, single 3-inch-diameter exhaust system, and Series 40 Flowmaster muffler. The engine power is sent downstream to an NV4500 five-speed transmission with Centerforce clutch that's controlled by a hydraulic clutch master cylinder from an '87 Chevy. This transmission has been fitted with a Dodge tailhousing and an Advance Adapters bracket so it will mate to the NP203 transfer case.
|Owner:||Steve and Lisa Frisbie, Marshall, Missouri|
|Vehicle/Model:||'89 Chevrolet Suburban V2500|
|Type:||5.7L SOHC V-8|
|Aspiration:||TBI, flow-matched injectors, Doug Thorley Tri Y headers with Jet-Hot coating, high-flow catalytic converter, 3-inch-|
diameter custom exhaust, Series 40 Flowmaster muffler
|Transmission:||NV4500 with Dodge tailhousing and Centerforce clutch|
|Transfer case:||NP203/NP205, ORD Doubler kit and modified ORD twin-stick conversion|
|Front:||Superlift 6-inch-lift leaf springs, Pro Comp MX6R 10-inch travel remote-reservoir shocks|
|Rear:||Superlift 5.5-inch leaf springs, ORD shackle flip kit, Pro Comp MX6R 8-inch-travel remote-reservoir shocks mounted to Missouri Offroad Outfitters Over The Top axle truss and shock-mount crossmember |
|Front:||Dana 60 with Missouri Offroad Outfitters Rock Bruiser differential cover; ORD steering arms; Ford F-150 drag link; Missouri Offroad Outfitters heavy-duty tie rod and drag link; PSC steering system including pump, remote reservoir, steering gear, and hydraulic ram assist; Missouri Offroad Outfitters ram-assist bolt-on mounts/Detroit Locker|
|Rear:||Full-float GM 14-bolt; Chevy 3/4-ton disc brakes; Missouri Offroad Outfitters Rock Bruiser differential cover, Over The Top axle truss and Wrap Zapper/Detroit Locker|
|Ring and pinion:||4.56:1|
|Wheels:||16.5x8.25 Humvee, Missouri Offroad Outfitters bolt-on rock rings|
|Tires:||37x12.50-16.5 Interco Super Swamper TSL Radials|