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Rebuild or not?

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by Georgia_Dave, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. Georgia_Dave

    Georgia_Dave New Member

    Thank you all in advance for replying to my threads. I have a lot of questions. I have a 1999 K1500 Suburban LS, 5.7L with 213K miles. It runs very well, I drive it on trips for work often and I don't have problems aside from a minor thing here and there. It doesn't leak any fluids, the "Service Engine Soon" light is on but the code indicates an O2 sensor, which I'm replacing soon. I use it off road with some regularity, but not heavy 4x4 stuff, just fishing, camping etc. My question is about the value of overhauling/rebuilding the transmission and/or the engine. I'm in industrial maintenance and reliability professionally, so I understand equipment wear, etc. The old adage "if it's ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind. But I assume that with as many miles as it has that things will start wearing out. I've done a tune up (plugs, wires, rotor button, cap) replaced the fuel filter, radiator (it was leaking) water pump (leaking from the weep hole). I've got some slop in the steering that my tire guy diagnosed as a worn idler arm, which I'm replacing soon, as well as shocks. Also on my repair list are u-joints, I'm considering CV joints (even though I have no indications of failure yet) but these are relatively low cost. Is it worth it, if I'm planning on holding on to this truck, to go ahead and budget a trans rebuild and even an engine rebuild? Or do I wait until they clearly need them? Thanks again for any input!
  2. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 2 Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    It is always good to budget for it. Chances are that your trans will go at some point. I found that you can get a certified rebuild trans from GM (completely tested) for about the same price a local shop wants to rebuild one. Personally, I would go with the one from GM as it is tested and warranty for 3 years 36,000 miles. As far as the motor goes, I have also found that a crate motor is many times cheaper than the cost of machining and parts for your old motor.
  3. zippstripp

    zippstripp Member 1 Year

    I understand the dilemma. I am in the repair business and I kinda run into this all the time. It's 6 of one and half dozen of the other. If your gonna keep the truck long enough to get the use out of a new trans/motor then by all means start budgeting for it. If there is any doubt that you trade and or sell it then drive it till it needs fixed.
    Kind of a tough one to answer for ya. Hope this helps.
  4. unsub

    unsub Member 1 Year

    I can get a tranny and engine rebuild on a 5.7 or 5.3 1500 or 2500 for the price and labor of a new crate engine. If your tranny is not in need of a rebuild I'd go with new crate motor. If engine is high miles as yours is nearing as the 5.7/5.3 can run out to 250k fairly easily and the tranny is for sure known to need work then do the rebuilds. It's fairly simple, don't fix or replace what isn't broken. I'm doing the rebuild of both engine and tranny right before lift early next year. I have budgeted for it and know the costs. It's not something one can just do for most of us as costs add up quickly.
    The good news is outside of the engine and tranny most repairs, parts and work on the Burb are very affordable. Paint, engine and tranny are the cash hogs, and some 4x4 work but other than a few moderatley priced fixes a Burb 4x4 ssytem is usually rock solid throughout it's life. Suspension can be spendy if doing a lift but to upgrade with no lift isn't bad at all. Part are readily available and most cities have legit independent mechanics who will do discounted labor. I found my dream mechanic on craigslist in WI. Here in MN still looking. May just drive back to WI for all my future work.
    Do upgrades as needed. As for the original question rebuild if both engine and tranny need work, buy crate engine if tranny is in good shape yet. No you can't tear a tranny apart easily just to see if it needs work but by just driving your Burb you should be able to tell. Mine does the normal occasional "clunk" sound usually on hard turns while accelerating but that was from driveshaft and sometimes the steering support and new u-joints and yoke didn't even help that much. It's like the piston slap thing with 5.3s, there are things you can live with and things you can't.

    Choices. If holding onto truck do everything you can afford to that's needed. I plan on keeping my 2001 forever so I'm doing everything from new paint to lift to rebuilds and more. Try looking at newer Burb prices and you get an idea of how cheap an older model is to keep nice and running.

    Off subject a little but a friend of mine bought a Range Rover, older forget what year. He checked it out with the shop that did over 7 k in repairs for the previous owner just a year before who was basically giving it away for 3800. He bought it even after my advice to run away. Just 6 months later my friend is putting in another 7k in needed repairs because labor and parts are ridiculously expensive. My point here is the Burb or chevy trucks in general are great autos to keep up over time because the labor and parts are affordable and easy to find. Be patient and do to her what you can afford.

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