Should I be scared of buying a diesel Suburban?

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by ajcannon, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. ajcannon

    ajcannon New Member

    Hey everyone, first let me thank you for all of the great threads that I've read so far. I've actually been reading this site for a few months now, but I decided to register today to post something that I haven't seen come up yet. So here it goes...

    I am going to be in the market for a used Suburban in the next few months. My wife and I will be getting a travel trailer next year and I need something to tow it with. We've looked at crew cab trucks but have decided that a Suburban fits our needs the best. I would be looking at a 97-02 model year most likely, either in 2500 (preferred) or 1500 configurations.

    I know that in the 97-99 years these were available with a diesel engine. I've never owned a diesel before, and while it seems like a good idea for a vehicle that will only be used for towing on long-ish trips, I've got some concerns that I'm not sure are justified. I keep hearing about the "new" ultra low sulfur diesel and how it is not compatible with engines made before the mid 2000's or so. If you use the ULSD with an engine from, say a 97-99 Suburban, without using a fuel additive will it damage the engine beyond repair?

    My concern is if the previous owner may not have always used the fuel additive that I may be looking at expensive repairs down the road. Is this a valid concern? Any way to check on/test/inspect before I buy to find out if it's been run without the additives?

    What say you? (Thanks for all of the help!)
  2. Beast69x

    Beast69x New Member

    I would go with a 2000+ model year 2500. I have a 1500 and it can tow, but a 2500 can TOW! The newer 2500's have a 6.0L or the rare 8.1L (until about 2004 then they stoped using the 8.1L). The 6.0L is great because it has lots of power and will get 12mpgs no matter what. The 8.1 will get about 9.5mpgs, but you wouldent have to buy a camper, you could just pull your house off the foundation! :)

    I would stear clear of the diesel. Fuel prices are higher and so is maintenance. The new gas burbs are a much better value, and can tow much better that the old diesel. Some people might be mad at me for saying this, but that old diesel GM used to make wasent all that great anyway (in my opinion). The modern gas motors are much better. My dad has a 2004 Silverado 2500 with a 6.0L with over 240,000 miles and he says it is the best vehicle he has ever owned.

    If you are just going to use it as a tow vehicle a 8.1L would be a beast. Everyone I have spoke with that owns one loves it. The 6.0L would do just as good a job and save a few dollars on fuel. I love my 1500 but the 2500 is a way better buy. The miles per gallon are about the same but a 2500 is much more durable, especially for towing. No matter what you choose you cant go wrong, a Burb is a great vehicle. Hope this helps. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

    P.S. There is a company out there that can convert the gas Burbs to a Duramax diesel. If I had the money I would definetly own one. Check out Duraburb on youtube.
  3. ajcannon

    ajcannon New Member


    Thanks for your advice. Since I originally wrote that my plans have changed slightly. We went and test drove a Suburban and my wife actually sort of liked it. So now instead of getting two vehicles (one minivan and one Burb), we're thinking of just going with a Suburban by itself and keeping my old car. The downside to this is that the 2500 is out, but we'd be able to tow anything that we need with a 1500 anyways.

    On the other hand, I have seen a few 2500's with the, I'd like to have one of those if we do end up going with the original plans and getting two cars instead of just one.

    So thanks for your input - I really appreciate it. Have a great day!

  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Those dang Suburbans, once you drive one and realize how smooth they are and the amount of room inside they do become a little hard to pass up.
    Why is the 2500 out? I'd think with your future plans of towing a trailer the 2500 would be perfect, yea your gonna loose a little mileage but in the end you have a good stable towing platform that'll be able to handle almost any trailer you can hook up to it.
    Much easier to pay the price now than have to regroup and find another vehicle down the road after you decide this one doesnt have the towing capacity, dont get me wrong I love Suburbans but the 1500 with a 5.3 wouldnt be the best for towing a camping trailer, once your loaded you'll be near max towing capacity without much room for extra's, the 2500 will give you a little better margin.
  5. ajcannon

    ajcannon New Member

    That's a good question...maybe I'm giving up a little too early. If we do end up only getting one vehicle as opposed to getting her a minivan and me a Suburban (I don't drive much in town at all by the way, so I'd be perfectly happy to either keep my Nissan Maxima OR drive the Suburban) then my wife would be the one driving it. She wants something that can haul a lot of people around. As we were test driving it she said that "it's not as bad as I thought it would be". Since the test drive she has actually made a few positive comments about it, but also threw in "I wouldn't want it to drive any more like a truck than it already does". I think this was thrown in there about the same time as I started mentioning the 2500 series to her.

    So, how much rougher does a 2500 ride than a 1500? In all honesty, the gas mileage isn't a huge concern to me, as most of the miles will still be highway/towing miles, and I wouldn't mind paying a little more for the added durability. But at the same time, if the 2500 is too rough of a ride for her then I'd be happy to settle with only one vehicle, and that would probably be a 2003-2006 Suburban/Yukon XL 1500. the ride quality dramatically different between a 1500 and a 2500 Suburban?

    Thank you!
  6. Bighornkid

    Bighornkid Rockstar 100 Posts

    Hi and welcome.
    I have had both 1500's and 2500's. I currently have a 04 Yukon XL with 8.1L. It's by far the best that I have owned. I prefer the firmer ride of the 2500. A 1500 has more of a car like ride. I get between 10 and 14 mpg, depending how and where I drive. When you are towing you don't even feel the trailer, behind you. I towed with my 02 1500 and it didn't like hills very much. Always in the lower gears. With the 2500 you also get a heavier transmission, which is a plus.
    Good luck
  7. ajcannon

    ajcannon New Member

    Thanks Bighornkid...I think the thing for us to do now is to try to find a 2500 that we can test drive. I think my plan at this point might be to not even tell her it's a 2500...I could just spring that on her after we bought it (assuming she can't tell the difference herself). Haha. I think it's at least worth giving it a shot and seeing how it rides ourselves vs. relying on how I "think" it will drive.

    Thanks again for all of the responses. One thing is for sure, we will definitely be getting a Suburban or Yukon XL, be it a 1500 series or a 2500 series. Depending on who's driving it will depend on what year we're looking at, but I think we've probably settled on the 2000-2006 range as we like the look of these the best.

    I found one not too far from me with an 8.1. If I can find the time I'll try to get her up there for a test drive to see how she likes it.

    I'll let you all know what we decide on, and if anyone else wants to chime in with their thoughts, please do so.

  8. Beast69x

    Beast69x New Member

    Good to know that you like the Burbs. My wife actually gets to drive mine more that I do, she loves the thing. Like I said before, get the 2500. I love my wife, and listen to her most of the time, and dont tell her this but she is usually right. Anyway I took her advice and bought the 1500 insted of a 2500, not the biggest mistake of my life, but close. I love my Burb but the 2500 is much nicer to pull with and they are more duarable. If milage is of no concern definetly get the 2500. The ride quality is great even in the 2500. GM makes the nicest riding trucks and SUVs out there. I drive a 2010 1500 Dodge Ram for work (not my decision) and it rides worse than my grandpas 1-ton Silverado Dually. Anyway both are great rigs and you will be pleased with either one. Good luck. Make sure to let us know what ya get.
  9. ajcannon

    ajcannon New Member

    Thanks again...I think we'll at least test drive a 2500 before we decide on anything. I will definitely be back to let you all know what we end up with. We're ready to buy, but not in a hurry at all, so it could be next week or it could be as far away as January. But I'll let you know when the time comes. Thanks again for everyone's help...I appreciate it very much.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

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