1990 Chevy Subur­ban

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN you are into rock­crawl­ing but have a fam­ily of seven? If you are Mark Schultz, you build a Subur­ban big enough to fit your wife and all of your kids. Schultz started with a $200 in­vest­ment four years ago for a 3⁄4-ton Subur­ban with a blown en­gine. He be­gan with a 6-inch lift kit and a re­man­u­fac­tured en­gine, but that en­gine got smoked in short order. For­tu­nately, the ini­tial in­vest­ment was min­i­mal, which left enough money in the bud­get for a 406ci V-8 from Cus­tom Ex­haust Spe­cial­ties and 1-ton axles.

Schultz painted the big Burb him­self—and then de­cided to take 16 inches of the rear of the body. Af­ter that he took the Subur­ban to his friend Graeme Ty­de­man at G-Fab Mo­tor­sports, who linked the front end and added a trick hy­brid ’cage. Wheel­ing with Graeme and the Sketchy Ore­gon Boys started a down­hill spi­ral of dents and bro­ken parts.

Don’t let the cur­rent straight sheet­metal fool you. Schultz re­cently re­placed the body pan­els on the Chevy and re­painted it. The re­pairs were nec­es­sary af­ter fol­low­ing bug­gies and Jeeps through wooded Ore­gon trails in a full­size fam­ily rig.


Af­ter hav­ing is­sues with re­built en­gines, Mark Schultz stepped up to race car-qual­ity parts. Power comes from a 475hp Chevy small­block that Shayne Bur­ton at Cus­tom Ex­haust Spe­cial­ties built with Trick Flow Twisted Wedge alu­minum heads, a SCAT crank and rods, Mahle pis­tons, and a Comp Cams camshaft de­signed to work with the FAST EZ-EFI fuel sys­tem.


Mark’s son Alex held up an old body panel from the Subur­ban to show just how ham­mered it was. Mark Schultz re­placed the body pan­els, which come apart at the floor seam. While this was an in­volved process, he found it to be much eas­ier than a full cab swap.

“Hard­core rock­crawl­ing isn’t just for the guys”


The in­te­rior is com­pletely caged to keep the en­tire fam­ily safe. G-Fab Mo­tor­sports built the cage from 2x0.120- and 1.75x0.120-wall tub­ing and ran the top halo out­side the ve­hi­cle, but the down­rig­gers are in­side the cab. This type of hy­brid cage takes a lot of work to build, but they are be­com­ing pop­u­lar due to in­creased head­room with­out the added width of a full exo-cage.


G-Fab Mo­tor­sports built the three-link front sus­pen­sion with 2.25x0.375-wall DOM links capped with Cur­rie Johnny Joints. 14-inch­travel re­mote-reser­voir Fox coilover shocks with

175– over 300–lb-in coil springs sus­pend the axle, and Fox air bumps smooth out the last few inches of travel.


The front axle is a king­pin Dana 60 that has been up­graded with 4.88 gears, an ARB

Air Locker, a Solid In­dus­tries diff cover, Nitro

35-spline chro­moly axle­shafts, and Yukon hard­core hubs. The axle is turned by a Toy­ota box that was tapped for hy­draulic as­sist and pushes a PSC ram. The steer­ing links are 1.5x0.250-wall DOM, but as the frowny-face tie rod sug­gests, that still isn’t enough for the 6,800-pound Subur­ban.


The rear axle is a 14-bolt filled with 4.88 gears and a spool be­hind the Solid In­dus­tries diff cover. Disc brakes in­crease stop­ping power and shed a bunch of weight com­pared to the fac­tory drums. The axle is lo­cated by 63-inch­long Deaver leaf springs with an Of­fRoad De­sign shackle flip and is damped by Bil­stein 5100 mono­tube shocks.


The Subur­ban body was short­ened 16 inches be­hind the rear tire for im­proved de­par­ture an­gle. Plex­i­glass rear win­dows re­placed the fac­tory glass and take abuse with­out break­ing. The grille was nar­rowed 10 inches and the hood and fend­ers mod­i­fied to match. This greatly im­proves vis­i­bil­ity on the tight, tech­ni­cal trails that Schultz likes to run.



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