Dropping a Cummins into a 1969 Chevy Suburban
Every C-10 nut needs a diesel, right? Well, this nut does. I have had the privilege of owning many 1960-66 C-10 trucks in my life. Some of you guys might remember my ’63 C-10 that won Best Custom Truck at SEMA 2007 and went on to be made into a real Hot Wheels toy.
I decided that I wanted something a little different, so my friends and I started searching the web. We came across a running three-door ’69 2WD Suburban located about an hour away. A couple of friends and I headed over to check out the truck, and I ended up buying it on the spot for $3,000. I even drove it home without any issues.
I’ve never owned a 1967-72 C-10 before, and when my wife and daughters first saw the Suburban, the first thing they said was, “What are you going to do with that?” I told them that I wasn’t completely sure, but that I had a vague idea of what I wanted.
I parked the truck in my side yard for a few months where it became a playground for my girls. My wife would send me pictures of my daughters acting like they were driving it, putting the dog on the seat, and just having a good time. Seeing my girls enjoy the Suburban so much while it was just sitting there cemented a few ideas that I had about the truck’s future. We could take the truck on long family road trips and use it as a tow vehicle.
First things first, I needed to research costs, because I didn’t have an unlimited budget. I replayed the C10talk.com episode where the hosts discussed LS swaps. They said the average LS swap costs $10-15K, all included. I immediately decided that a Cummins was in the Suburban’s future. I certainly didn’t have an LS-sized budget! I got to work looking for donor vehicles that had a mostly mechanical diesel motor.
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