Overhead console crew cab install, how I did it.

Bronze Knight

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There is a lot of talk about putting the 89-91 Suburban overhead console into a crew cab, and there are a few pictures out there of it done but no guides or pictures of how to do it. At least none that I could find. So this is a guide of how I went about doing it. I’m not saying that this is the best way to do it, just that this is what I came up with and it works.

In my case, I have a bare-bones Custom Delux K30 so I had to run the wiring harness first. to be honest this was probably the most frustrating part of this project.

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The method I found that worked the best used a bit of hard steel brake line and an inspection camera taped to it that I used to get a piece of wire from a hole I cut where the dome light would be. Down the B pillar to the access plates at the bottom.

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If you already have a dome light this part will be easy as you can just either modify the wires already there or tie a wire/string to the wires there and pull the overhead console harness through that way. While I was doing that I also ran the wires to the door switches (front and rear) so the lights would come on when the door opens.

Next was fabrication. I had the black metal bracket that the overhead console mounts to but the ribs in the crew cab roof are in different locations than on the Suburban (where the metal plate is riveted to the ribs directly) So I came up with this…

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Just a piece of scrap steel I cut and bent to fit. I then welded (yes I know my welds are **** its on there well enough) a washer and nut to it so that I don’t have to worry about trying to get a wrench inside the roof (and then dropping it and having it rattle around inside there forever). I cut them so they fit, at 90 degrees, inside the hole I made in the roof. The rear one was just slightly wider than the black metal support the way the roof is molded there, there isn’t much space.

Don’t forget to chase the threads after welding, or just be a better welder than I am and not need to do that.

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Next was getting the brackets into the roof, I used these airbags (I got them from Home Depo, seen them a harbor freight as well) between the inner cab roof and the roof ribs so that my brackets could fit under the ribs. in retrospect, I would have tried to make them go OVER the ribs as they the brackets would pull on the ribs and not the sheet metal (witch is attached to the ribs via 8 small 8mm self-tapping bolts but still) but then my nut and washing would be contacting the outside sheet metal of the roof, perhaps and bracket that slips over the ribs? I’m not sure what would be best, short of just cutting the interior roof out and going from there. Anyhow…

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Once at this point the trick is getting your bolt holes lined up. You may also need to pray that you got everything square. And lined up…

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Here I am using a punch to hold one end in place while I use another punch to scoot the plate around to line up the middle one.

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Repeat that process for the other side and the rear, for the rear one I cut another hole for the wiring harness plug, then I shoved my hand in the other hole and guided the rear plate back with my hand and punch/long poking tool. Then I put my bolts in, I was using some 1’’ 9/16th for the front and middle bolts, the rear two were 1/2’’ 9/16ths

And then just put the 4 10mm(CHEVY, WHY, just pick one, standard or metric I don’t care which just pick ONE.) bolts that hold the console to the black frame in and you are done!

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bucket

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Out of curiosity, why not just use riv-nuts for the bracket to bolt to the inner roof?
 

Bronze Knight

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Out of curiosity, why not just use riv-nuts for the bracket to bolt to the inner roof?

Oh those expanding nut things? I don’t own any or the tool to put them in if it’s what I’m thinking of. Could do that though.
 

bucket

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Oh those expanding nut things? I don’t own any or the tool to put them in if it’s what I’m thinking of. Could do that though.
Yeah, the steel ones:
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There's the more expensive install tools like the hand riveter type. Then there's also cheaper ones that are basically two wedges and a draw bolt.
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Or you can simply install them with a bolt, some washers and a serrated nut (turn the bolt while holding the nut in place with a wrench)
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The cheaper routes sometimes don't work the best, but they do work great most of the time

The way you did it obviously works great and is very sturdy though. It's just a lot of labor.
 

AuroraGirl

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I commend the dedication. When faced with getting a tool and utilizing your skill set of fabrication and ingenuity, you chose the harder one because thats what smart people do.

The dumb or time sensitive among us just do the tool thing,

The smartest among us made a lot of money from making the tool or thing that those ******* ^ above bought :)

But in this whole dynamic that is simply a very simplistic and inflexible, big-rivnut didnt get the sales

Personally, i would use

Wellnut inserts​

I had to google that because i just knew it was rubber lol.... one fear I ould have is that big bracket becoming a tuning fork in the roof.
If your holes wouldnt all be on the same flat plane, float nuts would be good. the wellnut is best because the brass will still be easier than steel to compress(so not needing huge tool) but also being a way to isolate vibrations
 

Raider L

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When I worked for the airlines we had "rivnut" tools that were similar to a pop rivet puller, but more complex and larger. You took your rivnut and screwed it onto the end of the tool that had a threaded piece you screwed the nut onto. Then you placed the nut into your hole and drew the handles together like you would putting in a pop rivet. But as you drew the nut down you screwed that screw deeper into the rivnut while squeezing the handles, and collapsed it, while sandwiching the aircraft skin in between the collapsing nut sides captured the skin. Once you had the threaded screw down as far as it would go, while squeezing the handles together, it stopped and you were done.
If that is kinda clear, is that how the one you've got works, @bucket? But, since it was for "aircraft" I'm sure they cost a million dollars.
 

Raider L

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@Bronze Knight,
Good job. So what does that console come out of anyway? Don't you have a Surburban, and it's made for a Surburban. I don't get it.
 

bucket

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When I worked for the airlines we had "rivnut" tools that were similar to a pop rivet puller, but more complex and larger. You took your rivnut and screwed it onto the end of the tool that had a threaded piece you screwed the nut onto. Then you placed the nut into your hole and drew the handles together like you would putting in a pop rivet. But as you drew the nut down you screwed that screw deeper into the rivnut while squeezing the handles, and collapsed it, while sandwiching the aircraft skin in between the collapsing nut sides captured the skin. Once you had the threaded screw down as far as it would go, while squeezing the handles together, it stopped and you were done.
If that is kinda clear, is that how the one you've got works, @bucket? But, since it was for "aircraft" I'm sure they cost a million dollars.
Yep, the one I have is like a hand rivet tool. Squeeze, tighten, squeeze tighten, squeeze tighten...

I've got the wedge shaped tool with the draw bolt as well, but I haven't ever used it since I got the rivet type tool.
 

AuroraGirl

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Yep, the one I have is like a hand rivet tool. Squeeze, tighten, squeeze tighten, squeeze tighten...

I've got the wedge shaped tool with the draw bolt as well, but I haven't ever used it since I got the rivet type tool.
you say squeeze, tighten.... you mean a regular rivnut set you can find at HF right? Looks like a rivet tool? Just has a threaded part which changes depending on the size nut, has a small tool that fastens it to the tool, and you screw the nut on , have an appropriate hole, and place in and squeeze. Right? If that is what you are talking about, I feel kinda dumb because I thought you had to give it a real strong squeeze and you just did it once and thats all she wrote, But you saying to repeat that.. makes a lot of sense.... I bet they would be way more secure if I tried that. i have only used them low weight bearing so far so I havent had issue lol

Yay learning

I was talking about using these
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only because I could see that large support plate and the assembly all vibrating together and start to resonate, using some rubber wellnuts if you used them proper and plentiful as possible, I wouldnt be worried about it holding any less secure but it would at least break up the mechanical interface of the metal parts and dissuade resonating or rattling etc. I could be overthinking it but I just picture the support combined with the fasteners etc all having a tiny bit of play or wobble but secured togethr, making an annoying racket on the highway or idle or something
 

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