Florida Man Does God’s Work Converting Chevrolet Suburbans to Diesel Power

Duraburb Inc. is doing the work General Motors won’t. 

Ever wanted to get your hands on a Chevrolet Suburban 3500 HD, or a diesel-fueled Suburban or Tahoe, but found your local dealer unable to help? Here enters Erich Swanson’s Duraburb.

Based out of Apopka, Florida, Duraburb has been converting GM’s full-size SUVs to diesel power since 2007, along with offering regular consumers a chance to own a Duramax powered 3500 HD Suburban. Swanson had previously been an automation engineer at Walt Disney World before he retired in 2009 in order to focus on Duraburb full time. 

Today, the company builds approximately 50 trucks a year out of their small six-lift shop, mostly for the Secret Service, Border Patrol, and Department of Defense, but there are a few projects that make it into civilian hands. 

At the heart of the matter is a 2016 LMX Duramax diesel paired with a beefed-up Allison transmission, the combination directs 550 horsepower and more than 1,000 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, with fuel economy pegged around 21 mpg. 

Becuase the powertrain and host vehicle weren’t designed to work together, there were a few nuances Duraburb needed to work through first. The glowplugs, in particular, were a problem, as the Suburban was never designed for an engine that uses glowplugs. By using a resistor, Swanson’s team tricked the ECU and temperature sensors into thinking its in a negative 25-degree situation which allows the glowplug system and gauge cluster to work together with the Suburban’s factory pushbutton start setup. 

There’s even a hidden switch under the dashboard to override the glowplug system in the event of failure. 

Conversions start at around $45,000 for smaller half-ton diesel conversions, but the Suburban 3500 HD conversion will set you back $135,000. 

[Source: Motor Authority]