Help Buying A Suburban

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by willowtreexx, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. willowtreexx

    willowtreexx New Member

    Hey guys so im new to this forum and i was just wondering if you all could help me out?

    just 4 weeks ago i rolled my S10 Blazer 5 times and now im looking to get a suburban. there are two that im looking at and both arent too expensive.

    the first one is a 1987 that the owner says needs front U-joints. has the 350CU in it and is a 4x4. "Minimal rust" i have not had a chance to go see it yet however. He is asking $1000 obo

    the second one is a 1994 suburban 1500 silverado with a push bar and mudflaps, again havent laid eyes on it yet. mechanically fair condition and is mentioned it needs some mechanical work. asking $3500 obo

    I am 19 and pretty mechanically inclined, just looking for a suburban. Also if anyone could tell me what type of milage they might recieve, that would be great too.

    Thanks guys
  2. 84fiero123

    84fiero123 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Nice to see you came out of that rollover alright, but, and this is just a constructive criticism, do you really think a larger more unstable vehicle is right for you?

    Now after saying that, take what ever vehicle you are really interested in to a local reputable mechanic for the once over and pay him his hourly rate. You will thank me.

    He will see things you would miss.

    You, yourself just crawl under there and check for leaks on the axels, engine and tranny.

    Good luck.


    Mileage is not going to be as good as your Blazer.

    12 to 18 MPG depending on how heavy a ft. you have and if you do more highway or city driving.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2007
  3. nowlaj

    nowlaj New Member

    I agree. Definitely take the vehicle you are interested in to a mechanic. Also, do a carfax report on the VIN number. That way, you can find out if it had been in an accident. The older burbs can run like warhorses or like weak puppies. Get what is right for you.
  4. Cableguy

    Cableguy Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Just to add to this. You need to know from Carfax or whoever that there are no liens registered to the vehicle. Good luck
  5. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Take your time-don't buy cheapest

    Hey,glad you came out ok.
    I learned a while back to not buy something really cheap that "needs work." Of course I had to buy 40 POS motorcycles before I learned this.I would look at something-drive it-see what was wrong etc.Then I would figure,"just $35 and a few hours for the U-joints,and I have a good running vehicle." It never works out that way.Besides in most places used Suburbans are going begging because of the $3 gas.There isn't any need to buy a POS Surburban for $3500.You should be able to find a fully functional Suburban for about $3000 or so.Now it will have a pile of miles on it>175000 usually, but the 5.7 350 seems to survive high mileage pretty well if properly maintained.With luck you will find one with a trans that has been recently rebuilt-maybe at 150,000 miles.
    Steer clear of the "needs work "$1000 vehicles(unless you are absolutely broke,and then $1000 for something running isn't bad).$3500 and "needs work" seems too high unless the "work' is charging up the AC.
    3 months ago I paid $2950 for my 1998 2wd 195,000 Suburban.It has some dings- it kinda needed shocks, but it runs just fine,and hasn't used any of the thin 5w30 Mobil I oil in 1100 miles.I really a bit surprised the motor is still so tight at 200K miles, but it is.Get decent city mpg-13mpg-but this is pure redlight to redlight driving.It gets about 19mpg at 65mph.
    Keep looking-Suburbans are real bargains now because folks can't do simple multiplication.They will pay $2500 more for a much smaller less versatile vehicle same condition etc.Most Midsized SUVs/pickups only get about 2-3 mpg(city) better than the Suburban.
  6. 95CTburb19

    95CTburb19 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I payed 800 for a 95 with 186,000 but it needed brakes and airconditioning stuff along with some electrical work. I've had really good luck with the 5.7 (knock on wood) my 94 suburban has 225,000 on it and is still running strong and my 99 old body style sierra has 194 and runs mint. If you don't need a vehicle right away I think that shopping around for a little is your best option.
  7. nemopoppins

    nemopoppins Rockstar

    Wow. I guess driving styles really do matter, because with my mix of highway and city driving I only get about 10 miles to the gallon on my 99 Suburban. Also, it has 145,000 miles on it and it uses about a quart of oil every 500 miles.

    I'm not very mechanical, but my advice is to be sure to be patient and not jump on the first one or two you see.

    Also, I don't know how similar the 87 is to the 86, but I used to have an 86 4wd and it was SO SLOW. Also, it got under 10 miles to the gallon and needed better than regular gas.
  8. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Yep-like they said,"take your time."

    Like the folks above said-take your time.There will always be another deal just as good as the one you missed.
    Especially take your time buying a Suburban.High mile used ones-1996-1999-are real bargains now because of the gas prices.Around here-New Orleans area-there are plenty of the last 5.7 model years-96-99- with asking prices about $4-$6000. The $6000 ones never sell unless the miles are about 100,000(most 96-99s have about 150,000 miles)
    If you are strapped for $$ and have to go the $1000 route-really take your time.Drive it a lot with your ears and nose open.You can frequently smell oil burners back by the exhaust.
    Eyeball the dipstick.Real cheapo sellers frequently won't even bother to top up the oil and it will be low.Some folks claim that a heavily gunked up dipstick tells them that the oil wasn't changed frequently enough-maybe so???
    If at all possible try to buy in the $3000-$4000 range with one that needs nothing but cosmetic stuff(dents,tears etc). Keep an eye out for ones from the midwest/NE.The road salt turns them into rusty POS.It will be obvious-look underneath-steel will be crusty,and aluminum will have grungy white crap on it.The southern states(FLA,GEO,ALA,MISS,LA),and SW(TX,NM,AZ NEVADA,CA) ones rarely rust much.
    A $1000 vehicle can turn into a $5000 vehicle pretty easy-motor or trans.An AC,REAR DIFF,fuel inject can easily add $1000-$2000 to the cost.Take your time-eyeball the owner.Ask about oil changes,and trans fluid changes.I never keep much in the way of records on those things, but how he answers might tell you something"I change the oil every year."or "it has lifetime transmission fluid in it."
  9. 4wd-burban

    4wd-burban Member

    Nice to hear you made it out of that.

    If I missed it I apologize but how many miles do you plan on driving a week and in what conditions (highway, city)? Do you plan on going into 4WD for some fun in the mud or just working it like a dog for tasks around the homestead and home <-> work activities?

    Since we live in the country most of our driving is highway for about 40 miles then city and we average around 18-19MPG in our '98. Granted it is a stripped model and never tows more than our family around and groceries. The '98 has 177K and the original transmission and we've been very pleased with it. Now the '87 in my avatar is a totally different story as to mileage but since it has just blown a motor I'll let you know after I put the remanufactured engine in.
  10. 4wd-burban

    4wd-burban Member

    On a side note heard a funny story from a friend I was out hunting with. A friend of his runs a transmission shop and when my friend was visiting him recently the transmission shop owner said that if people had any idea on how to maintain their transmissions he'd be out of business.

    Curious how many hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted in the U.S. every year because people aren't taught or take the time to learn the basics of maintaining the items they own.

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