Need help with family Suburban 4x4 purchase please

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by omnisi, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. omnisi

    omnisi Rockstar 100 Posts

    My wife and I are looking for a Suburban 4x4 for a 3rd family play vehicle, with some long road trips, daily driver/hunting/fishing, etc. We have an Accord, and Titan, but need more room at times with 4 teenage girls & 3 large dogs.

    Im having trouble deciding which route to go. Im fairly mechanically inclined (Jeep builder), but not sure if I should go pre-91 or mid/late 90s. Those are the choices due to our budget of $3500-4500.

    I dont want anything over about 150k miles, so most of the ones Im finding in our price range are mid/late 90s 2500s with 454....a few great deals there - but 10-11mpg..?, and some 1500 4x4s with a few more miles.

    Found one '89 2500, 134K actual miles clean, in budget... This older guy(former GM tech) says this one gets 15-18mpg with a 350/Turbo that possible??

    Anyway, I plan to put 33s or 35s on it. I thought the 2500s would allow for more tire room w/o a lift, but not sure. Main thing is I want it to be solid... not too fragile. I may play a little hard with it at hunting camp.

    Gas mileage is a factor, but not the deciding one. Wife want some creature comforts, so cant be too much like a cargo van.

    Any help and thoughts are GREATLY appreciated.
  2. scgamer_99

    scgamer_99 Rockstar

    i gotta say there is nothing better then having the 454 in a 2500 it has the power that you might want if you plan on towing or if you have plans on going off road, i have never had any problems with mine and if i did i know the parts are actually cheap compared to other truck parts
  3. KidHauler

    KidHauler Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    We have filled the seats in our Burb and pulled an old pop-up (~2200lbs) aways and got 14mpg at 65 mph. We have moved up to a 26ft TT now, but only a short trip so I didn't gather mileage.

    I love the 454, but the 350 does alright. It's not a race car, and it's certainly no Accord, but it will do the job - move people and gear to wherever you want to go, in relative comfort.

    I have noticed a lot of "I just bought a Suburban..." posts here lately, and a lot of 'em in the trader mags, so they're out there for the picking.

    Good luck,
  4. omnisi

    omnisi Rockstar 100 Posts

    Thanks ...I know that is a pretty vague request, but Im looking for thoughts just like that.

    Probably wont tow much... if so, it will be a smaller boat and the Gulf in only a mile down the road. However, I would like to put 33/35s on it, load it down heavy with kids/camping gear, and want it to be sturdy enough to ride over a 10-12" log without breaking anything. I wont abuse it, but I want it solid.

    The tranny is another reason Im looking at the 90s 2500s, I understand the tranny is stronger than the 700R4. Looking at a 96/454/2500/4x4 gues it has a 4L80E? Is it any good?

    Thanks again
  5. 1st Synthetics

    1st Synthetics Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    THe 2500 with the 454 will be very satisfying, - the gas mileage.
  6. omnisi

    omnisi Rockstar 100 Posts

    Yeah, me too. We vehicles if gas prices get out of hand, but we really need more room for summer beach trips w/kids & friends...

  7. omnisi

    omnisi Rockstar 100 Posts

    After talking more with the wife and showing pics, I think we've ruled out the 91 & older burbs.

    Now, I guess we are narrowing it down to 95-99, 4x4, but not settled on a 1500 5.7, or a 2500/7.4...?
  8. ct9a

    ct9a Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Well, my suggestion for you would have been a '91 and older 2500. The reason being the solid front axle. It doesn't sound like you intend to do too much hard off roading, but you never know. I think it's always better to have a truck capable of a lot more than you intend to throw at it, especially when out in the wilderness on, say, a hunting trip.

    I have a 1500 with the 5.7L, and trust me when I say I wish I had gotten the 2500. The 350 does the job, but it's just not as satisfying when you step on the skinny pedal.
  9. KirkW

    KirkW Rockstar

    I have a '95 Suburban K1500 with the 5.7L. I would tow 3000-lb snowmobile trailers up and down the mountains of Vermont with no issues. It has 3.73 gears. The gas mileage during towing would drop to 10mpg, but snowmobile trailers aren't particularly aerodynamic.

    I can help narrow down your search by telling you to look at '96 and newer. My '95 has throttle-body fuel-injection, good for about 200 HP. The next year (1996) GM switched to multi-port fuel injection (and some other engine changes) that resulted in over 20% more horsepower from the 5.7L.

    I'm not sure if all Suburbans came this way, but look for one that has the 'off-road' package, which includes skid plates under the front-axle, transfer case and fuel-tank, as well as extended vent tubes for the front- and rear-axles that will keep water out of them when fording streams.

    Speaking of axles - on whatever you get plan on changing the rear-end gear oil, specifically the gasket. The factory gasket blocks off two holes in the axle carrier, reducing the amount of lubricant that can get to the wheel bearings. The Felpro gasket has slots to allow the lubricant to get through these holes. Once changed you'll never have to worry about rear-wheel bearing failure.
  10. omnisi

    omnisi Rockstar 100 Posts

    Roger that...

    Any more thoughts on the 2500/454? Looking at a '96, 2500/7.4, with 132k miles, 2nd owner, off-road tires(??), brought down from Alaska (not salt used on roads), for $4200...


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