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1991 Suburban 1/2 ton 4x4 - newbie post warning! LONG

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by daniel_bergamini, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. daniel_bergamini

    daniel_bergamini Member
    Messages: 41

    Hey all, sorry if I get anything wrong, this is my first post and I'm new to all this. I just bought a 1991 1/2 ton Suburban, 113k miles, 4x4, 4 speed overdrive tranny, heavy duty tow package, 3.73 locking rear, quad suspension in the front, and new BFG TA/KO 31x10.5r15lt all around (what else do you need to know?). I bought the truck in pretty rough shape. There was one blown plug that needed to be extracted and it needed a new water pump and radiator. I put a heavy duty water pump and radiator in there, did a tune up and oil change and she purrs like a kitten now.

    We are building a little house on some land up in New Hampshire, and I'm thinking of putting a plow on it to plow the 1100' gravel driveway. Right now we're just using it as a people mover and to move furniture, etc. I am doing my research to see what I need before I actually need it.

    A guy up the street has a late 80's K-5 1500 Blazer with a Fisher SpeedCast - I think he said 7.5'. He says he sold the pump for it, but is willing to sell me the part that hooks up to the truck and the plow itself as he doesn't want/need it anymore for lack of use. I am of the belief that I can just bolt this right on my suburban with very little effort. What is a good price for what he has and should I buy it? If not, what should I be looking for and what should I expect to pay?

    Assuming I do buy the plow off him, what should I look for as far as damage? What should I replace as a good practice (hoses/wires/bulbs/pins/etc)? What kind of pump should I buy - mechanical or electrical? If electrical, will I need a new alternator/battery - and which one? I hope to get a good 10 years of service out of this truck, and I suspect eventually it will only really be used for plowing, so what regular maintenance should I consider as far as the plow is concerned?

    On a side note I have 2 problems, and since you all seem extremely knowledgeable on these trucks, I'll bounce them off you.

    1. Brake idiot light is on. Plenty of fluid, and haven't had any issues with the brakes themselves (and the parking brake is off when I drive but works great when I park). Where is the sensor for the parking brake? I assume it's right at the foot lever, but really haven't looked for it yet. Just to be thorough, this truck has ABS in the rear, so take that into consideration.

    2. There appears to be a leaky steering box problem. I'm not sure how bad it is, the previous owner mentioned it and I have noticed a little drip here and a drop there, and he said don't park with the wheel hard turned in any one direction. It appears to be the highest seal in the steering box. I bought some stop-leak steering fluid, but haven't added it yet. Will this be an issue? Should it be an easy fix, or should I live with the leak? Is stop-leak for this component a bad idea?

    I’ll be honest, I have never plowed before. As a kid I went of a few plow rides and had a great time, but didn’t have any real idea what was going on. Suggestions are welcome. Thanks very much in advance.
  2. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Your Suburban is the old body style I think,so the late 80's Blazer should be the same.The plow should bolt right up,except maybe for the headlamp harness (depending on light setup).The 7.5 will be fine for your driveway.

    Replacing all the bulbs,and filling the wiring connectors with dielectric grease would be a good start when installing the plow.

    It would probably be easiest to get an electric pump assy,and just bolt it on.You can use either a Fisher or Western unit,they are the same.

    You may want to look into some Timbren load boosters to help the front suspension.

    The brake light can be triggered by the parking brake switch (on the pedal assy),or the pressure differential switch,on the proportioning valve below the master cylinder.

    The PS leak should be cleaned up so you can determine exactly where it is leaking from,and then I'll tell you how to fix it.

    Oh....and Welcome to Plowsite. :waving:
  3. daniel_bergamini

    daniel_bergamini Member
    Messages: 41

    It is in fact the last year of the old body style, and is in great shape.

    Will I need to boost the electrical system at all? If so, how big should I go?

    Thanks, and I will let you know what I find when I get a chance to take a look at these components.
  4. daniel_bergamini

    daniel_bergamini Member
    Messages: 41

    But what's it worth?

    So what is the old fisher 7.5' worth without a pump? Which model pump should I be looking at? I would like to make this guy an offer while it's still hot out and there really isn't a market for snow removal equipment. Thanks.
  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    If your just doing your driveway,your charging system should be fine.You may want to have it checked,and make sure the battery and alternator are up to snuff.If your goingto be plowing for long periods,then an extra battery,or bigger alternator may be necessary.

    I don't know what that plow would be worth in your area.If it's just the blade and harness,and in good shape,I'd guess $500-1000.

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    Dan where in Somerville are you located?
    Good to see somebody from the area :waving:

    From what Ive seen in want ads the plow and attachments is probably going to run between 450- 900 depending on condition.

    You can find them cheaper but you may have to travel to get it.
    BTW is the plow located in Mass or NH?
  7. daniel_bergamini

    daniel_bergamini Member
    Messages: 41

    I'm over in Teele Square, right around the corner from the Food Master. Thanks for the welcome. The guy lives a few houses up, and the harness (as it might be called) is on his truck he parks up the street. As I understand it, the actual plow is parked at his parents house somewhere is western mass.

    I am hoping he's just had his fun with it and is ready to let it go cheap to get it off his truck and out of his parents yard. I'll let everyone know what happens when I see him on the street next and post pictures if I choose to buy it.
  8. daniel_bergamini

    daniel_bergamini Member
    Messages: 41

    So it seems the plow in question is a Fisher Conventional Snowplow System with Cable Electric Hydraulic Pak(EHP) and Belt Driven Hydraulics. What's missing from the diagram on page 7 appears to be:

    Maybe 3 (valve mounting plate, 4 and 7 hi and low pressure hoses

    and 8-12; belt drive pump, brace rod and tab, saddle bracket, drive sheave, pump sheave - I might be able to pull this off his truck.

    Where is the best place to get this kind of stuff and am I just asking for more trouble than it's worth trying to frankenstein this all together? Should I just be trying to buy a newer MM or MM2 kit?

    I figure once I get all the parts and install them on the truck I'll be fat city - I guess it's getting there that I'm concerned about. I'm open to suggestions. Thanks.
  9. daniel_bergamini

    daniel_bergamini Member
    Messages: 41

    ...and what about the optional "Front-mounted Electric" Fisher Electric Hydraulic Pak and Solenoid Electric Hydraulic Pak? Will this be easier to install and maintain? I just bought a new Optima - Yellow Top and a rebuilt stock 105-amp alternator. I would have gone bigger, but it was an emergency and the stock amperage was the only one available.

    I'm open to all options, and would like to get this all squared away before the first snow fall. Thanks guys.
  10. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I'd go hydraulic,as it's faster,and more reliable.You can use any capable pump,doesn't have to be a Fisher.

    The electric setup would work too,but you'd need to get the complete unit,a harness,and a joystick.
  11. daniel_bergamini

    daniel_bergamini Member
    Messages: 41

    Do you know of anywhere (preferably online saavy) that sells pump and bracket kits? Any recommendations on pump brands? The setup he had seemed to have a pulley that went on the fan clutch. Do you simply remove the belt in the summer when you don't need the hydraulics?

    Thanks again.
  12. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I'm sure any of the big plow parts suppliers should be able to set you up.Do a web search to get some links.

    Compare prices with a local hydraulic shop.They could probably get you any good hydraulic pump much less than the Fisher one.Barnes and Muncie make good pumps.Probably a small pump with a small remote resevoir would work best.

    I would pull the belt off in the summer,and put it back on in the spring to save wear and tear on the pump.