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  1. #1

    Default New guy, real lucky buy or big mistake? 97 GMC Suburban SLT k1500 4x4 (6 lug whls)

    from Boston, MA
    own a small livery company, we use crown vic police cars but have wanted to add Chevy Suburbans to our little fleet. we Had a 97 Tahoe and the Execs loved it until a snowplow truck totalled it a yr later back in 2000, but new suburbans just too costly to add. I got i "think" lucky over the weekend, A craigs list private sale had an unusually nice looking older 1997 GMC Suburban selling for $2800, i went looked at it, made an offer and i got the big hell no, believe it or not the guy flat out told me it needed a manifold, but other than that truck had minor cosmetic issues, run drives 4x4 no problems. people kept showing up trying to buy the truck with checks, even bank checks the guy wouldnt take, (im thinking it has something to do with the Massachusetts Lemon Law, i believe even in a private sale the lemon law applies to any vehicle sold private or dealer has to be able to pass a mass inspection or can be returned in 3 days for full refund) but he was telling people flat out, the manifold was gone and has the "check Engine Light" on so thats autofail here in Mass. I told him i would take it as is for $1k lol, i had no idea what a manifold replacement was except for exaust. The only other issues he noted was passenger rear door window wont go up and down at that door, switch is broken. Doors have that "hard to open close" thing going i find in alot of cars that spend thier life near a beach, and this truck spent last 14 yrs less than 500' from Salem, MA Harbor. And a row of rust across the rear bumper where the truck spent every day backing thier 30' boat in and out of the sea launch. No rot, very lettle under carriage rust. Truck is loaded, only options i see it missing really are, no cruise control, no moonroof, and no heated seats. Guy calls me back following monday, said ile take $1k in cash for the truck which the lowest he had advertised was $1800, lol i did only offer him 1000. So i decide to take the chance, me and brother rolled down to truck, drove it just fine, can hear slight rumble from the manifold leak, other than that truck is pretty solid. Its noticable at second look, the tires are not even 3 months old, the guy dove on them for the first month according to him then parked it when the exaust manifold starting getting louder, so it sat for 2 months with no road time, so tires are brand new literally. This guy kept every reciet as well, i found his reciet for the new tires, put on and bought at the same dealership that sold him the truck in 97' Hillcrest? GMC/Chevy of Salem, $897. total/paid in Dec.2010.
    Anyways i bought truck for $1000 cash, paid taxes on lowest book value by Mass law from private party sales taxes 5% of low book val $2800, registered, titled, and DMV fee $307.21 also included was ins transfer from a crown vic, no xtra money needed as i got base insurance til i put a $7k Livery plate on it, gonna wait til i know its dependable enough to carry passengers to the airport and as well got it with almost FULL 40gallon tank of gas, worth about $275 here in Mass right now. So on the road and legal and owned all now for $1307.21!!! Actually if you had wash and oil chng $1371.19
    (I took to car wash and had inside windows done and vacumed for $24, got Oil change, the guy went to same place i went to Valvoline $39.98, turns out he took truck thier regularly, according to thier computer for last 6 yrs oil has been changed every 6k miles on the button and carfax as well shows no Crashes reported so its all same body, no dents, minor scratches, no crash marks great body and bergundy colored with lower portion silver, pinstriping in silver and maybe a light lvender or purple splash or paintbrush touch very attractive. As well the mileage is true at 126,520.

    Now the real problems ive found so far:
    Yes the Manifold is gone, brother owns tow company, he looking for part today so repair coming soon.
    The back door on pass side button for window is missing think i might have to troll a junkyard that and radio loudness on/off button missing. Doors hard to open close maybe just needs wd40?
    Ive driven it 150 miles now, it shifts fairly smoothly, however last night i was speedin, or getting it to 75MPH lol on I93, it has some sort of shift rang right at 70 it seems, and its a bang kind of shift. not a clunk, but a light bang when you go over 70 it shifts into and another gear then when you come off it, at 68-70 it bangs back to a lower gear, this a major issue to look into? any one know?
    other than that nothing for any other shiflt level noticable so far...
    The leather seats need to be cleaned too, 1 person told me just get leather conditioner, and another told me to clean them with "shout" detergent...???

    Side note. even though Mass only goes for the low book value for taxes, what i could find online, book calue was coming in at $3800, the guy i got it from thought $2800, Mass taxes takes on $3100, i drove into Chevy Dealer and told them might buy or trade in, they told me they would give me $4900 for it, and a local used dealer said if he was to sell it, it wouldnt list on his lot for less than $5100. A 97 in this shape or better right now is selling for lowest $3000 to highest found $6000 and all these are listing at 200,000+ miles, this one only has 126,520 as of right now.
    Anyone know or think what i should be looking for? because i think sofar this truck is a cold chance in hell i got it deal lol...
    Keep and use?
    I was told this being a premier year for this truck, it has a pile of recalls on it, can i go to chevy or GM and ask them to fix any and all recalls or is the truck beyond the recalls, do they ever expire? the mirrors in fact appear to be shorted out at some place and dont work, ( the external rear views on both sides) which i think was a recall.

  2. #2


    The only thing I can reply to is your "hard" shift. Sounds to me that it's not the transmission, but your torque converter locking and unlocking. (once the truck gets to appropriate speed, the converter "locks up" which gives the transmission 1:1 off the engine, improving fuel economy, and unlocks when a little extra power is needed, but a downshift isn't warranted.) It sounds to me (so far) that you made out like a bandit on this deal. Congratulations!

    1991 Suburban

  3. #3


    Welcome to the G M T C ! For the price, it sounds like a great deal. Good luck!

    2010 Z/71 Colorado C/C
    Black 4X4 w/5.3L V8
    2007 Winnebago Adventurer
    w/8.1L Chevy & Allison 6spd.
    Canyon Lake, Texas

  4. #4

    mfleetwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Denver, CO
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    Mike (Denver, CO) - 2008 Sierra 1500 Z71 SLE 5.3L 4WD

    SUSPENSION: Rancho 4" Suspension Lift; Rancho RS9000XL Shocks; Rancho Skid Plates; Rancho MyRide Wireless Shock Controller;
    BFG All Terrain KO 315/70/17
    DRIVE TRAIN: 4.56 Gears; Detroit TrueTrac Differential; True Cool 40k Transmission Cooler
    PERFORMANCE: DiableSport Predator Tuner; Custom Tuned by Diablew; Magnaflow Exhaust; AFE Cold Air Intake
    ELECTRONICS: Kenwood DNX6180 Touchscreen; Subthump box w/10" Kicker; Driver Information Center (DIC); Rear View Camera
    ACCESSORIES: Westin Brush/Grill Gaurd; Westin Nerf Bars; Truxedo Tonneau; 20% Tint; Tow Mirrors w/Heat & Signals

  5. #5
    Sr. Mechanic LSU truckman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    SouthWest Louisiana


    Welcome, I would have been all over it like stink on poop!

    Current Motorvation:
    2011 GMC 1500 4x4 crew / 5.3, 6spd, 342 rears, g80 locker, bone stock
    2000 Chevy Silverado Excab / 5.3, 373 rears, g80 locker, 93 oct perf. tune
    2011 GMC Acadia Denali wifes ride

  6. #6
    Legend Bigbomber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010


    Welcome to the site!!
    [/SIGPIC]2009 Chevy Silverado LT 1500 EXT CAB 4X4 Vortec 4.8L SFI,K&N air filter,Weathertech Floor Liners ,Weathertech Stone/Bug Deflector, Line X Spray On Bedliner, TruXport Rollup Tonneau Cover, Molded Mudguards, Viper 5701 LE 2 way Security Alarm/Remote Starter, Xm Satelite Radio,BILSTEIN 5100 rear shocks,BILSTEIN 5100 front levelling shocks,READYLIFT 2" rear lift blocks,Goodyear Wrangler Territorys -265/70R 17"

  7. #7
    stephan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Far West, Oregon USA,
    Blog Entries


    Welcome to the club, & X2 you got a good deal on this one!!
    1988 Chevy C-3500 2wd (no pic)
    350 c.i. 5.7 L Stock Block, 4 Bolt Mains
    L-31 Vortec Heads, Edelbrock Cam & Intake,
    Holley 650, Flowtech Headers, Magnaflow exh.
    Jet Trans 700R4, B&M Ratchet, 4:10 gears,
    3" susp. lift kit "shadetree"
    No rev limiter, No speed limiter lol

  8. #8

  9. #9


    Man sounds like you gotta hella deal!! For me personally if a dealer told me he'd give me $4900 trade in for it i'd take it on the spot! Thats a great profit and you don't have to worry about anything going wrong! All I can say is you are one lucky man and a very organized one too!! Welcome to the club and hope you stick around!

    2006 Duramax LBZ
    Edge Evo
    4'' Diamond eye to 6'' tip
    16'' ion alloy, 33'' fierce attitudes
    Lots of work left to do!

  10. #10
    murdog94's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cloquet, Minnesota, United States
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    *******thread moved here********


    1997 Chevy S-10 Blazer 4X4 with 330K miles and counting (Hunting rig).

    2009 Saturn Aura XE (wifes car)

    2011 F-150 Crew 4X4

    "Hold it to the floor till you see God.... Then Brake!!!!"

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