Stronger Axles and Better Brakes
We have always been fans of Chevy Suburbans. Built the right way, a Sub can tow a house and still go wherever theres room on the trail for it to fit. It can do all that while hauling you and all of your friends, and all your gear, along for the ride. When you get tired, you can just lay down for a nap in its massive interior.
It was with those positive traits in mind that we started looking around for a 73-91 Suburban. We wanted to stick to those years because they are still leaf-sprung, with solid axles front and rear. Plus, with so many Burbs of that era out there, parts are plentiful. Then our plans changed: One day we happened across a 71 Suburban. It was for sale. We have always been suckers for the funky styling of the 67-72 three-door Burbs and couldnt resist taking a look. This beast was beat and battered and would be plenty of work to make into the rig we wanted, but the potential was obvious. There was no way we could pass it up.
We bought it, and thus began a massive project to transform our sub-par Burb into SuperBurb. From towing to trail running to exploring Baja to driving to work, we want the Burb to be able to handle a wide variety of tasks with ease. For our first part of the project we focus on stronger axles and better brakes. What follows is a chronicle of what we did and how we did it.
The same caliper that came on your 1/2-ton Dana 44 can actually be used when you convert to eight lugs, but we decided to upgrade to the 3/4-ton calipers from a '73-'77 Chevy Dana 44 as they use a slightly bigger piston. Another part that can be reused from the 1/2-ton Dana 44 is the locking hub. With all those parts in place our Dana 44 was now eight-lugged, stuffed with a stout Ox Locker along with 4.88 gears, and ready for action.