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  1. #1

    Default Thinking of a new (to us) suburban

    We have a 93 Chevy suburban 2x that we bought new. It's clean with little wear showing since I tend to baby it.

    Now our son needs a bigger vehicle for his growing family that doesn't cost much to buy or keep. Since I know the full condition of our Suburban I've been thinking about giving it to our son to let the grandkids finish it out rather than a newer more expensive car my son can no way afford.

    To replace it I'd like to buy a newer Suburban in the 2000-2002 range to get the price I want and the Barn Doors at the back. I'm finding a lot of big blocks on the market right now due, Im guessing, to fuel cost for these big engines.

    Now fuel cost doesn't bother me one bit since ,being retired, its a non-issue since we drive so little and never very far. I want, insist on in fact, the comfort of a Suburban when I do drive. The 2000-2002 3/4 ton 2500 series suburban are especially affordable now since owners who do drive a lot are dumping them for more MPG.

    My question to those with solid first hand knowledge of them is..... how reliable is the big block GM engine that is used in 3/4 ton suburbans????

  2. #2
    Master Mechanic SupplySgt's Avatar
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    Friend of mine has one with the 8100 and she loves it. She has a big family and also has horses and it hasn't given her any problem and she's had it almost 2 years now. I replaced an alternator for her and helped her husband reset the oil light but other than that nothing has gone wrong with it (usually her husband doesn't have much time to mess with it so they call me if something goes wrong). My next truck will more than likely either have the 8100 or the Duramax. One of my coworkers just bought a 3/4 ton pickup with the 8100 and he loves it as well.

    I've honestly thought of dropping one into an older car too just for kicks.
    93 Suburban (Southern Slayer): TBI 350, 4L60E
    73 Z28 Camaro: L82, TKO 600

    KJ4CLI



    "...Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back..."

  3. #3

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    The big block engines are just as reliable as the small blocks. It ultimately depends upon how it is/has been cared for. having had a '93 'burb. With a 350' the only way I would buy another one is if it was a 2500/3500 with a big block. My 93 wouldn't get out of it's own way and got about 11 miles per gallon. I had to turn off the air in order to tow my pop up camper... Of course, it had almost 300,000 miles on it.

    I think you will be very happy with a big block Suburban.

    Sarge, mine looked just like yours, only it was dark blue where yours is light blue. I also see that you are a ham.

    73, N4KCN!
    "It went together didn't it? Well then there has to be a way to take it apart!" - Me.

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    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grandpa Pipes View Post
    We have a 93 Chevy suburban 2x that we bought new. It's clean with little wear showing since I tend to baby it.

    Now our son needs a bigger vehicle for his growing family that doesn't cost much to buy or keep. Since I know the full condition of our Suburban I've been thinking about giving it to our son to let the grandkids finish it out rather than a newer more expensive car my son can no way afford.

    To replace it I'd like to buy a newer Suburban in the 2000-2002 range to get the price I want and the Barn Doors at the back. I'm finding a lot of big blocks on the market right now due, Im guessing, to fuel cost for these big engines.

    Now fuel cost doesn't bother me one bit since ,being retired, its a non-issue since we drive so little and never very far. I want, insist on in fact, the comfort of a Suburban when I do drive. The 2000-2002 3/4 ton 2500 series suburban are especially affordable now since owners who do drive a lot are dumping them for more MPG.

    My question to those with solid first hand knowledge of them is..... how reliable is the big block GM engine that is used in 3/4 ton suburbans????
    I use mine about like you are indicating you would use yours. Gas isn't a concern for me because of that. I only put about 1000 miles a year on it. There's been lots of posts here about gas usage between the two, 350 or 454. General consensus is there isn't enough dif to warrant the issue much consideration.

    Regarding reliability or maybe more appropriately, longevity. Well, I look at it like this. Take two 1999s (for example). One 350, the other a 454. Now similarly service and work them. After 75,000 miles which would you expect to have more life left to it?

    Of course the 454 will have more use left in it.

    Of course I may be a wee bit biased......

  5. #5
    Master Mechanic SupplySgt's Avatar
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    Just to clarify, based on the years the OP indicated he's wondering about the 8.1L Big Block not the 454. The 8100 is basically a big block version of the LS style motors, but still with the iron block much like the small truck motors. SFI, coil on plug ignition, etc. I think it puts out around 350 hp and mid to upper 400s in torque from the factory.

    As far as longevity, neither one will have an advantage over the other IMO. I've seen plenty of small blocks over 400-500,000 miles. My small block in my current Burb has 251,000 and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.
    93 Suburban (Southern Slayer): TBI 350, 4L60E
    73 Z28 Camaro: L82, TKO 600

    KJ4CLI



    "...Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back..."

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by SupplySgt View Post
    Just to clarify, based on the years the OP indicated he's wondering about the 8.1L Big Block not the 454.
    Odd, it looked to me like he was asking about big block vs small block, milage and longevity concerns. If that's the case, it wouldn't matter what liter versions we are talking about. My analogy would be no less plausible.

    I'd add this. When considering buying a used Suburban. IMHO, a 1500 (or whatever lower end/smaller engine version) it's much more likely it's been relegated to basic family transpo 'soccer mom' duty. Vs. the 2500 which is more likely to have been 'football dad' work-truck. I'll let the reader decide which of these two vehicles is more likely to have received regular servicing.

  7. #7
    Master Mechanic SupplySgt's Avatar
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    The reason I specified is because the 8.1L is a big block but it's completely different internally than the 454. 454s are a very known quantity whereas not as many people know nearly as much about the LS-style 8100. If the two motors (5.3L vs 8.1L) are maintained equally, one won't last any longer than the other, at least not enough to make a difference. I've seen a lot of work trucks that were really beat on as well. You'd be surprised at how many people neglect maintenance on work trucks too. I used to work construction and I saw it first hand. Made me cringe inside. I'd stay away from a 6L that was used as a work truck though as it was probably pushed far closer to its limits than the 8.1 (which is much more capable).

    I do have first hand knowledge of the 8.1L used in the 2000+ Burbs which is why I piped in.
    93 Suburban (Southern Slayer): TBI 350, 4L60E
    73 Z28 Camaro: L82, TKO 600

    KJ4CLI



    "...Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back..."

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SupplySgt View Post
    f the two motors (5.3L vs 8.1L) are maintained equally, one won't last any longer than the other, at least not enough to make a difference.
    Fair enough. But maintenance is only part of the equation. What you're inferring is that if both are subjected to the same type of service, for say, 100k miles, the smaller motor would have basically the same amount of use left in it. I find that very hard to believe.

  9. #9
    Master Mechanic SupplySgt's Avatar
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    The only way I could see your argument is if both motors were subjected to very harsh conditions (i.e. a lot of heavy pulling). If both were mainly doing DD duty and hauling a few things here and there, I cannot see how simply the size of the engine would make any difference at all.
    93 Suburban (Southern Slayer): TBI 350, 4L60E
    73 Z28 Camaro: L82, TKO 600

    KJ4CLI



    "...Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back..."

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by SupplySgt View Post
    The only way I could see your argument is if both motors were subjected to very harsh conditions (i.e. a lot of heavy pulling).
    Harsh conditions like having 100k+ miles?

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