Way back in 2015 I picked up this 1966 Suburban.
Its been in various states of completion and I wanted to start stringing the highlights together. In 2017, about 2 years after I bought the ‘burban, I somehow got my ass invited to the undiscovered builders showcase at the Car craft summer nationals in Bowling Green Kentucky. Even though I was still building my shop, Mike, Zach, and I started a 5.4 Ford (yes FORD) swap.
From January to July of 2017, we were able to rip out the big block,
and jam in a built 5.4 4V Modular ford with twin Precision 6466’s, 6R80 trans, 9 inch rear, air ride, and engine management from PBH performance. We made it to the Car Craft Magazine summer nationals. It was hotter than the surface of the sun.
Even though we had made the show in Kentucky, the ‘burban still wasn’t running very well.
I was using an 11-14 Mustang computer on and 5.4 modular engine with a 6R80 trans. I messed around with it for months with no success. The experts told me my MAF location was horrible. They wanted a long straight tube. So thats exactly what I gave them. Guess what….. still didn’t work….
Fast forward to February, 2019.
Two more years of dicking around with the MAF style Ford copperhead ECU and I just cant make it run right. I know, I’ll throw Holley Performance EFI at it! I removed my Ford throttle body to 4150 adapter from the intake and put my holley stuff on. VROOM. So stoked at this point. It actually moves, and now its time for the dyno after 2 years! So I strap it to the dyno and get ready for the tuning runs the next day. The next morning, it starts skipping. Just start it up and misfires like hell. Well, turns out a piece of my Holley intake broke off and fell into the engine. Bent valves, whole thing. Go straight to jail, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.
Now its mid March 2019.
I left the thing sitting for a month as punishment. Left it strapped right to the dyno. Finally Alex and I took the engine back out and I got my hands on that little bastard. The little piece of aluminum marred up the piston and bent a couple valves, so it was time to do some freshening on some things I neglected on the first go round. Chad, our machinist, put all the pieces back together for me. What I don’t have pictures of is Scott Roth and I trying to fish the piece back out through the intake like everything was going to be fine. It was a couple hours we’ll never get back.
Beginning of May 2019.
The Suburban needed a new intake setup that didnt look like a choo choo train, and I had already chopped up a front entry Holley sheet metal manifold to make that previously mentioned adapter. It was time for a better looking solution. So, a High Ram flange from Holley came in the mail so I got the old buzz box out and went to town. One problem. There is no O-ring groove in those flanges you can buy. Thats when a friend like Scott, and his Haas CNC mill bailed my ass out. We did some programming and clamping, and just like that I had a flat flange with a groove in it. High Ram top here I come!
Chad has the 4V 5.4 all freshened up (even though the starter had more hours than the spark plugs), the new intake manifold has been fabricated, so it is finally time for a repaint and the reinstall. The guys had poked fun at me for using the knock off colors of the teal and white suburban so I decided to go another route. People often asked upon first sight if it was a Hemi. Well why not really make it look like one! Of course I like Chevy orange better so thats what she got, along with a set of the older style valve covers that had the remote mounted coils so I could use a hemi type red plug wire. Little bit of wrinkle black and bingo. Lookin Sharp.