upgrading my low mileage 99 suburban

Discussion in 'Member Introductions' started by egaldos, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. egaldos

    egaldos New Member

    Hello folks,

    My name is Enrique and live in beautiful county of Napa in California with myfam. I purchased a 99 Suburban 3 years ago and it now has 107K miles, only. Itis the family bus and I use it to pull a 20ft skiing boat and to travel to theSierra Mountains in Cali/Nevada in the winters to hit the slops. It runs great,but it’s showing some wear and tear. The paint is cracking and in some placesrust is begining to show. Because of its good mechanical condition, my wife andI have decided to fix it and do some upgrades. The truck is getting professionallyrepaired and painted next week and I would like to ask for some advice or othersuggestions to improve its already rugged look. Please, keep in mind that I ammore interest in efficiency/functionality than a fancy/flashy look (I am not agansta). ; - >

    1) Headlights are fogged-out and I can hardly notice the truck lights on theroad. Should I replace them with OEM or use the aftermarket with chrome withhalogen bulbs?
    2) I could use a pair of new tail lights. Are LED lights far superior or justupdated chrome lights would do just fine?
    3) Are chrome gillet grills a good addition to update and enhance the looks?What type/brand fits best?
    4) Do 18 inch tire rims improve the truck's handling?

    I have a budget of $2K (I figure the new rims alone would cost around 1K).

    Any suggestions are welcome.


  2. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    @egaldos, welcome! :great:

    1) Aftermarket can be hit or miss. I just put a pair of chrome aftermarket projectors in my 2004 Sierra and my low beam pattern is narrower and longer than before but my high beam pattern is scattered 6 ways from Sunday ... making my high beams useless. I'm going to live with this long enough for me to do headlight restoration and some LED customization to my OEM headlamp assemblies, after which I'm going back to my OEMs. That's my recent, andecdotal experience and I had read similar complaints before trying a set of projectors, so I knew it might be an issue ... but elected to give a set of projectors a whirl to find out for myself.

    Based on this I say buy a headlight restoration kit. I believe Consumer Reports rated Sylvania's kit the highest, so that's what I bought ... but I have yet to use it. You might also change your halogen bulbs to something in the 3800K to 4100K colour temperature range to produce whiter light. Stick to stock wattages, though. (Beware of Nokya Stage II's, as they exceed stock wattages; upgrade your wiring to support them if you plan to use them.) Last, you might consider doing the diode conversion that's detailed elsewhere on this site (if legal in your area). All of this is relatively low cost.

    2) Chrome or OEM tails will do just fine ... but if you want some appearance updates LEDs are one way to get them. LED tail lights come on faster than incandescent tail lights and use less energy ... and in theory have longer bulb life as a result. If you replace the whole tail lamp assembly make sure your aftermarket LED assemblies have built-in load resistors, else you'll likely get hyperflash when activating the turn signals ... and also likely burn out your LEDS quickly. As an alternative you can get a LED compat flasher module and install that so you need not ever worry about load resistors on turn signal LEDs. You might also consider a Recon or Plasmaglow tailgate bar; they're not terribly expensive and give your truck a look most others don't have ... while adding safety (more lights coming on when braking) AND additional backup lighting.

    3) Whether or not to use a chrome billet grille is a matter of taste and what YOU think looks good. There's no right or wrong answer, here. My truck is dark so I went with a black billet grille, but if you like/want chrome, go for it. My only caution to you would be to avoid bolt-over grilles no matter how they look in pictures ... because the pictures can be deceptive. I learned this the hard way when I bought one because it looked perfect in pics (couldn't tell it was bolt-over in the pics) ... and then hated how it presented in person. Thus, I'd suggest going with one that requires cutting if you're going to do a custom grille. There really isn't a best brand ... you can get an e-bay special on the cheap that looks fine ... or burn 500+ on some brands which also look fine.

    4) The best answer to this is: it depends -- specifically on how and where you drive. Larger wheels tend to have lower profile tires on them which often results in a stiffer ride (i.e. reduced ride quality). In general, the bigger the wheel the heavier the wheel ... which tends to adversely affect handling. Probably the most important aspect to handling is the size of the contact patch ... which means a WIDER wheel tends to handle better than a skinnier wheel because a wider tire can be placed on it and, thus, the size of the contact patch is increased. You can usually get a wider tire on an 18 than a 17, but really the handling you're getting due to a wider contact patch is from the tire width, not the wheel width ... unless of course you're choosing tires that won't fit on a 17x8 but will fit on a 18x9 -- then the wheel diameter comes in to play ... but only because the tire's too big for a smaller wheel.

    Worth noting is that 18's will let you get a big brake kit under them if you're up for spending a good bit of cash on upgrading to one. Aside from that there's not a huge amount of difference between 18's and 17's.

    Outside the scope of your list but worth consideration: think about your shocks ... and rotors ... and brake pads. If you find yourself with some loose change out of that 2k these are all worthwhile places to upgrade to improve ride quality and stopping capability.


    P.S. The search tool on this site is your friend. Lots of good information here. Look around, search a bit, make yourself at home :)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  3. Jeremy09LTZCrew

    Jeremy09LTZCrew Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Welcome to the site.
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog Member 2 Years 500 Posts ROTM Winner

    :sign0016: Welcome to the site,,,
  5. retired2001

    retired2001 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the G M T C !
  6. donyms

    donyms Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Welcome to the site. I have bought several aftermarket headlights including some that were $400 and they were all poor quality then I discovered TYC and they are great quality, good light pattern and work well with my Philips 6000K HIDs, as far as LED tail lights and brake lights I would say good choice but either go with the recon or get some aftermarket housings you like and go to V-Leds and get the high power LEDs and resistors and you will be fine. I got the 92 LED per bulb ones and they are brighter than the filament bulbs and put out a great red color. Also, as SurrealOne said they come on very fast and get your attention. I also did the brake upgrade and that also is a very good one. Anyway, welcome If you have any questions just ask.
  7. egaldos

    egaldos New Member

    Thank you all for your advice and recommendations. I now have a better idea of where to start. I will post some picture next month after I get the upgrades and paint.

  8. Coach24

    Coach24 Rockstar 3 Years 5000 Posts

    Welcome To GMTC! Pull up a tailgate and sit a spell:great:

    The professor covered it very well as did other posters. Always nice to get feedback before laying out hard earned cash.
  9. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the Club!!!

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