New (for me) 2006 Suburban LTZ -- Wheels and AWD

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by cielodome, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. cielodome

    cielodome Member

    Hello all!

    I am now in day 5 of my 2006 Suburban LTZ, which I love!!!

    This Suburban LTZ has AWD and no controls for any aspect of the 4WD operation. It does have the StabiliTrak button. Presently it has the original 20" chrome wheels, but am interested in putting on 17" wheels, along with good Michelin snow and mud tires.

    With the AWD system, which works great as we were up in the high Sierras yesterday in plenty of snow and slippery roads, would the smaller wheels give me a little better mpg's or are the 20" wheels not that different.


  2. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Smaller tires will give you more horsepower and poorer gas mileage.

    Usually, GM will select tires for the 17, 18 or 20 inch wheels that end up being very nearly the same diameter. In other words, one turn of each of those tire/wheel combinations will move the vehicle the same distance.

    I must say, I did not know the '06 LTZ was available with AWD only transfer case.
  3. cielodome

    cielodome Member

    Well, I've been in a little bit of a deli a with that AWD issue. I have been told that it is a full 4WD, an Auto 4WD, several different varieties of AWD, but I have no idea, really.

    I dont one know where to go to find out definitively.
  4. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Someone will help us out, [MENTION=52248]Conlan Rose[/MENTION] is an expert on those years. He, or [MENTION=51590]Pikey[/MENTION] will know. Worse case, we can roam the net
  5. cielodome

    cielodome Member

    A friend has an 09 Tahoe with stock 17" wheels and the recommended tire size. He recommended the smaller wheels with the recommended tires especially for the snow, which we encounter regularly in the mountains, all on paved roads. I am not doing any off-road driving other than an occasional unpaved but well travelled road.

    In other words, are the 20" rims and recommended tire size okay for my needs or would the 17" rims with the recommended tire size (for snow and mud) give me better results with the AWD.

  6. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Smaller wheels will give you higher sidewalls (the distance from the wheel to the face of the tire). More sidewall will give you more tire flex for better traction; however, the biggest difference, IMO, between 17" and 20" is going to be the tire you select. There is probably a big selection of snow tires in the 17" size.
  7. cielodome

    cielodome Member

    That is what my friend was explaining to me, but I did not want to make a change to something that would be wrong. I have been looking at stock (used) wheels for the suburban and I don't want aluminum. The 20" wheels on it now are chrome, but lighter, smaller wheels would save a little gas, I am hoping.

    Now it's trying to future out what wheels would be best for snow and general use.

    Thanks again!
  8. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    it is nor full 4wd. the front diff and t-case would not last long in dry conditions if it was and you would not be able to turn without wheel hop. It could be the auto 4wd. If it was you would feel it kick in as soon as the rear wheels slip. On mine when I put it in auto I can definitely tell when it goes into 4wd. Chances are it is the AWD T-case that the Denali models come with. It is awd but only a small percentage of torque goes to the front tires. As far as rims go, like rayvoy said, in the end you should end up with a tire that is the same diameter as the original, so no big deal. You might actually gain some MPG as the 17 rim should be lighter than the 20.
  9. cielodome

    cielodome Member

    From my research it appears that the 2006 Suburban LTZ was based on the Denali AWD, but even that did not make it clear what it actually was.

    Just yesterday we were up in the Sierra's at 6400 feet with a lot of snow and slush. We stopped at the bottom of the cabin driveway to finish loading. Finally I slowly began to go but the back wheels were beginning to spin, but in a about 2 seconds I felt the front wheels kick in and the car moved forward without any hesitation. For about an hour we proceeded through unplowed roads that were also slippery. The StabiliTrak was also working very well and corrected the car many times from sliding across the road. I was impressed by it all.

    I am in Southern California but we go up to the Sierra's regularly. Do you have any recommendations to keep the Suburban AWD running smoothly?

  10. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Keep the font diff and T-case (GM track II fluid in the t-case) oil changed. Keep an eye on your front wheel hubs and cv shafts. My cousin has a 04 denali. He goes thru front end parts like wheel hubs and cv shafts often. Basically, just preventive maintenance. Change trans fluid when recommended same with engine oil and spark plugs. You really need to be proactive with the front diff and t-case since on those they are always working. I believe GM recommends changing the diff fluids and t-case fluids at 50,000 miles. If you don't have a service record saying it was done then I would do it now.

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