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One-Day Suburban Build: Part One

We Lift and Accessorize a 2013 Chevy SUV

Jul 31, 2019

"Mom's grocery getter" is a term we throw around that loosely describes that other vehicle that is part of your household. Not the commuter, not the tow pig, you know-the other one. It's not even necessary that the mom of the family drive it. It's usually some form of SUV, and it's even cooler when it's a fullsize.

Recently, we were scouting for vehicles to use for upcoming tech stories when we realized he had access to not just one, but two of the tenth generation, GMT900, '07-'14 Suburbans, so we decided to have some fun with it. The two vehicles were nearly identical, with one being Summit White and one being Amber Bronze Metallic. We decided that we would level one and lower the other at the same time, add custom grilles, do some debadging and a few other tricks, and see what we came out with. The catch was that we wanted to complete it in just a single day, which made for an extremely long day on both counts. We love making such a dramatic difference in a short time and the instant gratification of it all.

Photo 2/44   |   This refrigerator white 2013 Suburban was what we were starting with. Worse than being bone stock, it was outfitted with a bunch of factory and dealer accessories—and they all had to go.

This month, for the white 2013 Sub, we started with a leveling kit from Superlift Suspension, a brake upgrade from EBC, and added a set of 20-inch Mamba Offroad Alloys wrapped in 32.6-inch Fury off Road tires. From there we stripped off a whole bunch of dealer-added accessories and added a black grille from T-Rex, LMC billet bowties fore and aft, and bolted up a set of stealthy black side steps from real truck. We threw in a whole bunch of other little tricks and a whole bunch of elbow grease, and after about 16 hours of only two people working on it, our Suburban had a whole new attitude. Check out our install below, which started at New Year Tire in Santa Ana, California, and continued into the night back at the office. You can also check out the websites in the Source Box and let 'em know Truckin sent you!

Photo 3/44   |   The first item on our parts list is a 2-inch leveling kit from Superlift Suspension. The Level-It spacers (40026) mount to the front struts at the lower mount that attaches to the lower control arm.
Photo 4/44   |   Anytime we get into the suspension on a project, we upgrade the brakes with EBC anodized, drilled and slotted rotors and heavy-duty brake pads—Orange Stuff, in this case. The improved safety and looks make this a no-brainer.
Photo 5/44   |   The Mamba Offroad Alloys M19 features a D-shaped window design with drill holes along the rim edge. We ordered up a matte black set of 20x9s.
Photo 6/44   |   For tires, we checked out the LT285/55R20 Country Hunter R/Ts from Fury Off Road. Besides looking cool, the R/T gives a comfortable and quiet ride, excellent water and snow traction, and stone and mud ejectors gives the tire great off-road traction.
Photo 7/44   |   We arrived at New Year Tire in Santa Ana, CA, to see our old buddy Beto, and his crew made quick work of our easy upgrades. With the truck on the lift and the stock wheels removed, we began by dropping the sway bar mounts.
Photo 8/44   |   Then we popped tie-rod ends out of the spindles.
Photo 9/44   |   Next, we removed the lower strut bolts.
Photo 10/44   |   The removal of the aforementioned items created enough play to pry the lower control arm down and slide the Superlift leveling spacer in place.
Photo 11/44   |   And just like that, we were using the supplied bolts to reattach the strut to the LCA. Then we reattached the tie-rod ends and sway bar mounts.
Photo 12/44   |   Moving on to the brakes, we started by removing the front caliper bolts and moving the caliper out of the way for just a second.
Photo 13/44   |   Then we removed the factory rotor and scrapped it.
Photo 14/44   |   The EBC rotor went right back on in its place.
Photo 15/44   |   Next, we loaded in the EBC orange Stuff brake pads.
Photo 16/44   |   We tightened the caliper bolts back up and the front end was done.
Photo 17/44   |   Out back, we repeated the same process starting with the caliper bolts, then moved the caliper aside and tossed the stock rotor.
Photo 18/44   |   The new rotor slides on, and the new pads were loaded in.
Photo 19/44   |   With the caliper bolted back in place, we could call the brakes done.
Photo 20/44   |   The New Year Tire crew made quick work of the tire mounting. They specialize in big wheels, so these 20s were a walk in the park.
Photo 21/44   |   The Mamba wheel and Fury tire combo balanced out with minimal weight.
Photo 22/44   |   After mounting the wheels and torqueing the lugs, Beto took the Burb around the block, then hit the alignment rack for a check-up. After a couple small adjustments, we were on our way back to the office for round two!
Photo 23/44   |   It was time to address the elephant in the room, or in this case the push bar on the bumper. We had to make this front end look Truckin-worthy.
Photo 24/44   |   Additions to the front end included this T-Rex grille from their Upper Class mesh line (51051). Of course we chose the black option. The billet bowtie, also in black, came from LMC Truck. We got one for the rear, too.
Photo 25/44   |   We ordered up a set of stealthy black running boards from Real Truck. They're the Series 61 from Ionic.
Photo 26/44   |   The rest of the truck mods would come with plain ol' elbow grease. We began by removing the bug deflector, and using some rubbing compound on the area of hood behind it.
Photo 27/44   |   Next we began to remove the factory grille insert, which is more involved than a truck because the area around the grille is part of the bumper. After removing the top bolts, the grille area can be leaned forward.
Photo 28/44   |   Now all the clips can be reached, and with a few hands, can easily be pushed down to release the grille. Unfortunately, we were rolling solo at this point so it took a minute.
Photo 29/44   |   With the grille out, we pried off the factory bowtie.
Photo 30/44   |   Since the surround is chrome and would still show after the insert was installed, we scuffed it down with Scotch Brite.
Photo 31/44   |   And then we painted it with a textured matte black paint we found at the local parts store.
Photo 32/44   |   We'll spare you the push bar removal, but after removing it, we still had to completely unbolt the factory bumper brackets to get rid of these mounting brackets. This was the worst part of the entire job.
Photo 33/44   |   Moving along, we created a nice line on the factory valance and chopped it with an air saw.
Photo 34/44   |   When the paint was dry, we pushed the T-Rex insert into the factory grill shell, and bolted the mounting tabs to the studs.
Photo 35/44   |   We cleaned up the entire front fascia before popping the lower grill shell back in place.
Photo 36/44   |   Next, we slid the LMC bowtie into place.
Photo 37/44   |   Then we snugged it down with the provided hardware.
Photo 38/44   |   Finally, we reinstalled all the top bolts and called the front end done.
Photo 39/44   |   With the giant, chrome, low-hanging steps out of our way, we installed the two-piece brackets into the factory holes. It's super easy, you just have to do it eight times.
Photo 40/44   |   From there, bolts slide into the aluminum slots on the underside of the boards, then we set them into place and snugged them down. We finished up the sides of the sub with some good old debadging.
Photo 41/44   |   We wrapped things up in the rear, by carefully prying off the stock bowtie and sticking the billet one in its place. Then we did some more cleanup and debadging. By this time it was way past our bedtime, but we were done!
Photo 42/44   |   The next morning, we rolled out for some final shots. The leveling kit, 20s and 32.6-inch tires are the most dramatic improvement. But the much more subtle steps and trimmed valance really add to the overall stance.
Photo 43/44   |   Removing the dealership add-ons, coupled with the cool grille treatment really changed the look of the front end. We were pretty stoked on the results.
Photo 44/44   |   One Day Suburban Build Part One 44


EBC Brakes
Las Vegas, NV
LMC Truck
Lenexa, KS
Mamba Wheels
Superlift Suspension Systems
West Monroe, LA
T-Rex Grilles
Corona, CA