Time for some room for family - looking to buy a Burb

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by Jeepman, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. Jeepman

    Jeepman Member

    As an avid Jeep Cherokee and Wrangler fan I always had a great respect and like for the Suburban. I use my 99 Xj to plow, pull my fishing boat and pop up camper and haul my family during inclement weather. Up until June it was fine for my needs. That is until my new Daughter was born. My other Daughter was 11 at the time so there was still plenty of room for all of us up until this point. I have a lift, lockers and recovery points on it as I do drive off road at least 25 times a year and live in the middle of nowhere. The Jeep will still remain my plow and off road vehicle.

    I'm just saying hi and enjoying the wealth of knowledge for the Suburban. I do not own one yet but the hospital bills should be done soon and I will be buying a Suburban. I plan on buying a 2000-2006 Suburban with the 5.3l and 4wd. Kind of wanting the middle bench seat instead of captains chairs. I figured the 1/2 ton was the way to go as I do 90% highway driving and 19-20 mpg would be nice as I hear the 6.0l gets only 17 hwy. I will use this vehicle for towing, and hauling family. Been steering away from the Yukon XL with full time AWD. Is it a more of a gas hog?

    I see brakes are a good upgrade on these. Is there a rear disk conversion? Is the programmer worth the cash? Anything to watch for as trouble areas? I do all my own work from engine swaps to mild fabrication so I'm not scared to do some wrenching if it's worth it. I look for MPG, safety, comfort, and reliability as the main goals for upgrades. Of course not in that order.
  2. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I'll leave the questions to others on here, short of time this morning. Hope that you enjoy the world of the Suburban! :)
  3. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Good choice by looking at a Suburban/Yukon XL. I will try to answer some of your questions. It seems like you know about vehicles, so I will not go thru the "how to buy a used car" speech. I have had 2 yukon xl's, a 2003 4x4 with a 2nd row bench and a 5.3L and a 2005 4x4 5.3L with second row captains chairs. Both of the trucks had front diff issues at around 130,000 miles. Both had bad bearings in the diff that had to be replaced. The 1500 comes standard with rear disc brakes. As far as upgrades go, you could always put slotted and drilled rotors on them.
    A thing that I would consider when buying one is what suspension system it has. Auto ride (air ride, rpo code Z55) shocks are expensive to replace and I have also heard of many guys having issues with the compressor. A Z71 package can have the shocks replaced with almost any truck shock. The "premium smooth ride suspension" (rpo code ZW7), has Nivomat shocks in the rear, they cost around $360 a piece! You can put a regular shock on the rear, but then need to change the rear coil spring at $90 a piece.
    I would not consider a Denali. Owners of them have some inflated view of the value and always want way too much money for them. The denali only come in AWD and with a 6.0L. My cousin's gets about 2 mpg less than mine.
    Yukon Xl DO come in 4x4, not only AWD as you stated. Mine is 4x4. Many sellers do not know the difference. When I was buying my 2005 I drove 90 miles to look at a truck that the owner said was 4x4. I got there and discovered it was AWD. I did not even test drive it. The easy way to tell if it is AWD or 4x4 is to look at the switch on the dash. A 4x4 will have: Auto 4x4, 4 high, 4 low, 2wd, buttons. Here is a pic of mine.

    The Suburban and Yukon XL are the same truck. The Yukon XL offered a few more options, like 2nd row headed seats that were not available on a Suburban for that year and of course the Denali package on the Yukon XL. I did notice while looking for mine, I originally wanted a Suburban, that most of the Yukon XL's had leather seats while only a few Suburbans that I looked at did.
    Another thing that you might want to look for is electric fans instead of a mechanical clutch fan. My 03 had a mechanical clutch fan and got at least 1mpg less than my 05 that has electric fans.

    As far as a programmer or tuner goes. I believe in them. They can be great if used or tuned properly. There is a member on this forum that sells the diablo tuners and then does a custom tune for YOUR truck. So that way you get the most out of your tune, better mpg and more power. There are many members here that are very happy with his services. To be honest I have searched all over the web and can not find one person saying anything bad about his services.
    I hope this helped.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013

    99'HEARTBEAT MODERATOR Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    :sign0016:To the Site.......:glasses:......Regarding...."Anything to watch for as trouble areas?"....the Stepper Motors, for the Gauges in the Dash Cluster's, the Blower Motor Resistor's for the HVAC, and Front Wheel Hub Bearings.....are items to keep a Eye on........Programmer worth the cash.....The Diablo Tune's....is the one most often mentioned, another to look at for a Tune is BlackBear....and Both are Sponsoring Vendor here on the Site.
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Oh yea, I forgot about the stepper motors in the instrument cluster. They are also a known issue. But, you can send the cluster out and have them all replaced and all the bulbs replaced for $125. The HVAC resistor is a cheap easy fix also.

    I hope that we don't scare you away from your purchase. You asked for known issues and are getting them all! All in all most of the issues are not super expensive to fix. The most expensive of mine to date (knock on wood) was the front diff. The rebuild cost about $700. I have friends that have over 250,000 on theirs and never replaced a front hub, I have other friends that have 120,000 and have replaced them multiple times. They also used cheap replacement hubs. Same with the front diff. It is the same as the trucks diff. There are plenty of people that have tons of miles on their trucks and never had an issue. As with any used vehicle it is just the luck of the draw.
  6. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the Club!!!

    I moved your thread to the Suburban section of our forum and changed your title slightly to more match your topic.

    Good luck with your search!!
  7. Jeepman

    Jeepman Member

    Thank you guys for all the info.

    Hub bearings I'm more than familiar with. I learned to do those in a foot and a half of water on my Jeep in 40 minutes. lol

    Is it just bad solder joints on instrument clusters?

    Front axle bearings on the differential I usually just swap axles on my Heap I mean Jeep when they go out. Setting the pre-load on the crush sleeve of the pinion bearing and getting the proper mesh on the gears I've failed at before and let someone else deal with now.

    Electric fans I could easily add my own. I built a solid state setup with an emergency switch to run the electric fans when I wanted along with being thermostatically controlled. Just would need a way of getting rid of the engine fan. Is it bolted to the water pump pulley?

    So the third row seat does not have headrests? Only the Yukon had the headrests? Hmmm will need to look for that.
  8. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Welcome to the club
  9. unsub

    unsub Member 1 Year

    My 2001 Suburban LT's third seat has adjustable headrests, have mine for sale on craigslist MN as my cargo area including third seat area will have custom subbox, gun rack and tool cabinets soon.
  10. 99'HEARTBEAT

    99'HEARTBEAT MODERATOR Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    @Jeepman, Regarding....Is it just bad solder joints on instrument clusters?.....Its not bad soldering, The Issue is due to Faulty Stepper Motor's.

    The Common Symptoms, causes by bad Stepper Motors include:
    ....Speedometer Displays Incorrectly

    ....Speedometer Stops Working

    ....Tachometer Needle Sticks, Jumps, or Pegs
    ....Fuel Gauge Flutters

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