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Discussion Starter #1
As some of you may recall....I bought my first Suburban in November 2006...turned out to be a lemon Suburban. Here's the posts:

http://www.gmtruckclub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3419&page=2

Highlights:

"When I got this Burb it was pretty sick. I should have known by the low price. I've always driven Caprice wagons and have never had any problem despite age, high mileage and abuse. I should have checked it out more carefully. It looked good and ran well and a cursory check of the undercarriage (I did not know what I was looking for) showed only surface rust on the frame. I was very excited about the purchase since I really always wanted a Suburban, especially that body style.
To make a long story short, it turned out ALL the body mounts were gone due to rust and the body was only sitting on the frame without being secured. A few days after that, the radiator began leaking, then I discovered metal chunks embedded in the tires, and then it failed inspection. I was so depressed.
I was ready to walk away from Suburbans forever and made arrangements to buy another Caprice wagon (gave my LT1 Caprice wagon to my wife after her Dodge Caravan died). Then I ran into a friend whose neighbor owns a body shop. Four days later, for the price of labor only, they lifted the body of the frame, attached/welded in new body mounts and supports, 4 new tires, a clean inspection sticker and a new radiator."

Well on December 6, 2006...I thought for sure it was the end of the Burb:

"Driving home from work today, I saw the oil pressure drop to zero. Shortly after I hear a metallic "POP" and then claterring frieght train noises coming from the engine. Check Engine Light On. Clattering and zero oil pressure all the way home.

I think that's it for me...there is a warranty on the engine...hopefully it will be honored and then after the repair I'm putting it up for sale. This thing has brought me nothing but trouble, heartache, and money down the drain.

Anyway, thanks so much for making me feel welcome and for all your support. I guess it's just not the time for me to have a Suburban right now :("

Sadly the saga continued:

Mechanic told me oil pressure dropped because there was NO oil in it! I asked him how that could be but he said he didn't know since it wasn't burning it or leaking it. Filled it with oil and seems to run great now.

Then during a test drive...the rear end failed :( Followed by the rear brake lines.

Finally..after a month the warranty company covered about 50% of the repairs.

It should be coming back today...I was going to sell it but am now having second thoughts. Would be nice to have a truck. Still, not sure if I can trust it.
 

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I can totally understand your frustration, and concern. But in this case, you've invested a lot into it. I'm not saying it's not possible for anything else to go, but the only concerns I would have at this point are the condition of the engine, and the tranny. The more you replace parts, the more the truck is becoming an investment, not a money pit. Already you can sell it for more than you bought it for. Maybe not thousands more, but it's in better shape than when you got it. I'd call that an investment. Buy low sell high.
When taken care of properly suburban's go on and on. It's sad that you got it in such rough shape. But look at it this way. You've always wanted one, obviously the person before you didn't deserve one. You can make a difference in this suburban's life. (I sound like one of those save the children Christian fund commercials....lol)
You have to decide if it's right to keep it. But my feeling has always been the more parts you replace the closer you bring the vehicle back to trouble free.

You could always buy something newer that again you may know nothing about. At this point the surprises you can get from the 'burban are limited to a few, this much you know for sure (for example:eek:bviously the body mounts shouldn't be an issue again, or the rear brake lines).
 

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I can understand your frustration as well on this. We need vehicles to do different things, but most of all we need them to be reliable and not leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere.

There really are only so many things that can go wrong from here on out. Looks like a lot of the majors are taken care of. Was there any work done on the engine? Maybe they replaced something and forgot to fill it back up with oil?
 

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Jerseyfred, I went thru a similar situation with my old 99 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4. I sunk alot of money into it but ended up keeping it for another year. It never had any other problems and was really a great truck. I traded it in for my current vehicle, a 02 GMC Yukon. The Yukon is by far the best vehicle i have ever owned. Besides a couple of problems that I had fixed it has been a gem. Good luck with you Burben but don't rush to get rid of it because it has had problems because you really can't guarantee the next won't have problems also. By the way, are you called Jersey fred because you live in NJ? If so, what part? I am from Sussex county and work in Morris county.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well, I drove it home yesterday...it ran beautifully! In fact, before going in there was a rattle from the rear...I thought,,it may have been just old body squeeks and rattles, or the barn doors..but now it is silent back there (rear end fix). Also the ride was harder before and I just attributed it to the fact that it was a truck since I never owned one before. Now, it rides almost as smoothly as my Buick Roadmaster. I took it on a 30 mile test drive....no issues so far.

The oil thing still worries me....the only work done on the engine was when I first bought it..I took it to a cheap oil change place...but even if it was underfilled...would the oil pressure just suddenly drop like it did? Well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed...so far oil pressure is normal and no smoking, leaking or burning oil so far...we'll see.

Monday..will be the big test 65 miles each way to work on Route 78 in NJ from Hunterdon County (farm country) to Hudson County (just outside midtown Manhattan, New York City).

I hope it stays together...I would really like to keep it...driving it again made me remeber why I bought it in the first place!

Thanks for your support guys!
 

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Yeah, we're pulling for you. Engines are mechanicals wonders, they run great but need you to take care of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My Suburban hates me!

Well, today was the big day to see if she was ready to join the fleet. Sadly, she tried to kill me three times today. Lost all power brake assist, temperature gauge spikes to red...lost all oil pressure AGAIN...all oil gone AGAIN! Back at mechanics AGAIN!!!
Time to call it quits?
 

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Ok this is why I tell everyone to take there perspective purchase to a mechanic they trust for a complete inspection of all running parts.

Now for someone like me, or Traileadr, or others here who knows how to do the mechanical work a good buy can be just that.

I got to ask though, How much did you pay for it?

I don’t remember if you said.

I look at vehicles differently.

My 86 Fiero SE V6

I paid $200 for and it needed a whole new front end, hood, drivers side fender, radiator, both headlights and motors, rear brake caliper was locked.

Now I fixed all that, I had a parts car that needed a motor and was looking for a motor when I found the 86 SE.

Sorry to hear about all the problems you have had with this one and if you do get rid of it and then try again with another have it checked out by a mechanic you can trust, not the dealer you are buying it from.
 

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sure sorry to hear of your problems.
hope you can get things figured out
a suburban is a fun vehicle to drive, I love Mine
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. 84Fiero, I paid $1400 for it. I have to say that this has been the worse experience I've had with a car.

I've had Caprice/Roadmaster wagons all my life and I've never bought a bad one.

I thought that the Suburban would be an upgrade and I thought I knew what to look for since they share many common drivetrain pieces with the Caprice and like I said...I've never had a bad Caprice. I really did go wrong with this Suburban, I have never experienced the issues I've had to deal with so far with this truck.

Oh well...stay tuned more drama to come!

Thanks again for your support.
 

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I really did go wrong with this Suburban, I have never experienced the issues I've had to deal with so far with this truck.
It could very well be that you've just gotten the 'burban that wants to die, and doesn't care who it takes with it.

It's too bad.

Your temp spiking is definitely related to your oil problem. It doesn't matter how good your cooling system is if you're building that much friction without oil, your temp is going to spike. I'm sure you trust your mechanic, but have you done a visual inspection under the suburban for oil drips/puddles?

I know you said previously that it doesn't burn oil, but it's likely that it does. Bad valve seals, stuck or bad oil wiper rings will help you burn off oil quick during normal driving. Of course if you have bad valve seals you'll likely notice the smoke when you start the truck after a long sit. You have a lot of places to look for oil loss. If your oil filter threads on sideways, then you likely have a GM OEM right angle adapter, that will tend to leak after a time, not to mention any of the seals or various gaskets. Also if you have an oil cooler installed, you could be looking for oil loss in the hose, or cooling radiator.
I'm not trying to make it overwhelming, but just want you to know the possibilities where loss can happen. Even though oil burning off can happen, and you may not even notice it.

During my rebuild, I noticed just how bad of shape my engine was in even though it ran pretty good. I my piston rings on most cyls were gunked up, and stuck. So no, or little compression, and minimal oil wiping. Valve seals were leaky, and have created tar like deposits just around the intake valves, and seats. But I've never seen any tell tale signs of oil burning in the exhaust.

In regards to your power brakes. Do you know if you have hydro boost, and did the engine stall? That's when the power brakes are supplemented by the power steering pump, instead of vacuum boost.
If you have hydro boost, and your engine stalls, expect no power assist. From my experience, you get very little if any reserve backup power for stopping with hydro boost when the engine stalls. Unlike the vac assisted boosters. It's very scary, and yes, it feels like the truck has a death wish for you.
 

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Always consult a good Mechanic

I agree and always have when I buy used! Don't buy anything unless your trusted Mech. gives you the all clear. When I bought my 86 silverado 3/4 ton p/u I took it to my Mech and he told me everything that was wrong, everything that could go at the current milage and also what he thought should be fixed right away and what could wait a while. I took that knowlegde back to the seller, told him what we found, most of it he said he did not know(maybe, maybe not) offerd what it was worth minus repair and got the truck. Kept it, got the recomended things fixed and had no problem with the truck. Not only did I start with 196000 on it but my buddy still has it and it now has 350000 on it and still running strong. Long story short, the guy before you did not take care of his Burb or it would be still running strong today. I wish you the best! sell that burb and look for another one that has been taken care of and you will love it!
 

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I agree, I looked mine over before I got it. it has had good care, engine is very clean, has had recent brake work done, only repairs I've had to do, is replace the alternator, and I need to get the steering box adjusted/replaced.
otherwise, it runs and drives very well
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Spoke with the mechanic today...they refilled it with oil...runs beautifully...no knocking, no oil leaking, no smoking, no burning oil smell.

He said that in his 30 years of working on cars...he has never seen anything like this. After they get authorization from the warranty company they will tear into the engine next week.

I'm beginning to suspect that this was a flood damaged vehicle. The rusted out body mounts, and the many simultaneous system wide failures...not to mention that the truck was from an area of NJ that floods often..still no funny smell in the cab...anyway, just a thought.

I'll say this...the heater on this truck works better than any of my vehicles...it's been COLD up here and I was really enjoying that heat!
 

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Spoke with the mechanic today...they refilled it with oil...runs beautifully...no knocking, no oil leaking, no smoking, no burning oil smell.

He said that in his 30 years of working on cars...he has never seen anything like this. After they get authorization from the warranty company they will tear into the engine next week.

I'm beginning to suspect that this was a flood damaged vehicle. The rusted out body mounts, and the many simultaneous system wide failures...not to mention that the truck was from an area of NJ that floods often..still no funny smell in the cab...anyway, just a thought.

I'll say this...the heater on this truck works better than any of my vehicles...it's been COLD up here and I was really enjoying that heat!
Glad to hear that the warranty company is going to do it's job . I am sure this still sucks for you but if it were my vehicle I think I would keep it . Good luck to ya :biggrin:
 

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Who knows? You should be able to do a carfax based on the VIN. There is a possibility of just about anything. System-wide problems could be from a number of causes.

Just remember, every effect has an antecedent cause. :) You can't have an uncaused effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What now? Help Please?

Latest news:

Needs new engine

Warranty company backed out (want us to tear down engine---all at our cost) send them the damaged parts and will decide whether or not they will replace only the bare minimum of parts. Mechanic says teardown time and cost alone is impractical since it obviously needs a new engine due to high mileage and bad seals, rings, cylinders, etc.

3 Choices:

1) Get rid of the truck

2) Remanufactured/new crate engine---$3400 installed

3) Bonyeyard engine with a junkyard that also installs---???

Factors: Have already invested $3500 in this vehicle. Many new parts (body mounts, brake lines, radiator, rear end, tires, belt, battery, motgor mounts) Solid frame

What do you think I should do...also anyone have a ballpark figure on choice #3: boneyard engine and installation. If I keep it..it's probably all we can afford.

Please help!
 

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Latest news:

Needs new engine

Warranty company backed out (want us to tear down engine---all at our cost) send them the damaged parts and will decide whether or not they will replace only the bare minimum of parts. Mechanic says teardown time and cost alone is impractical since it obviously needs a new engine due to high mileage and bad seals, rings, cylinders, etc.

3 Choices:

1) Get rid of the truck

2) Remanufactured/new crate engine---$3400 installed

3) Bonyeyard engine with a junkyard that also installs---???

Factors: Have already invested $3500 in this vehicle. Many new parts (body mounts, brake lines, radiator, rear end, tires, belt, battery, motor mounts) Solid frame

What do you think I should do...also anyone have a ballpark figure on choice #3: boneyard engine and installation. If I keep it..it's probably all we can afford.

Please help!
Those are some tough choices.
It may not be as easy to sell the truck with the engine on it's way out. So you probably wouldn't be able to get much more than what you paid for it back. It's doubtful you'd break even with investments included.

Reman/crate engine installed for $3400.00 doesn't sound too bad price wise. I'm typically seeing about $3500.00 for crate engine, then you need to have it installed, which means more $$.

Bonyard engine, isn't going to come with any kind of guarantee, except that it is an "engine". I suppose a boneyard would put it in for you, but at what cost, I wouldn't know.

Considering what you've put into it, I think it would be a shame to get a used engine, who's history is unknown, and longevity is questionable.
Given the frustration you've been through replacing the engine with a junk yard engine is potentially asking for more grief. On the other hand that engine could outlast the body. It's a gamble, which you already know.

I would say your only to reasonable options for sanity sake, is either part with the rig, and know that there's one out there for you, just not this one. Or stick with her, and give her the heart transplant that she desperately needs.

I wish you luck in whatever you decide, and keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
she's gone

Well, sold her for scrap today :( $300.00. Driven away with brand new body mounts, rear end differential and gears, battery, brake lines, motor mounts, radiator, tires, fan belt, exhaust...most of our credit line. :( The alternative would've been 3 grand more for the engine and who knows what else :(

What a loss!
 
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