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shopping for a Suburban

1997 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  skivhere
Hi everyone I'm new here! Well just found out my wife is pregneant with #3. I sold my 95 Blazer which I loved very much because I need more room. It's already tight in the back with two car seats. So I decided I want a Burb I know there bad on gas but it's only used mostly on the weekends. plus I want sometime I can maintain myself.

Anyway I have a $6000.00 budget, from what I seen locally I can find one from model year 1999 and older. So I have questions, Should I consider diesel? What model year is better within my range? When did they go from tuned port to mulitport? Thanks in advance.
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Ok, I will try to give you what I know. I have had 8 GM products in my drive way over the last 6 years. Some got sold, some blew up, some are company vehicles. When we had the 3rd child, we couldn't fit 3 car seats in the back of the Grand Am, so we started looking at mini 'utes with the 3rd row. They suck...there is no room behind the 3rd seat when it's up. This is also the truth on the Tahoe and Expeditions...they are full size, but with the 3rd seat, there isn't much room in the back. I wanted something that the wife could drive, so after much looking and concideration, we purchased a Poontiac Montana. I's a mini van. But the thing has some style and a lot of go...smoked a couple go fast ricer cars more than once!! The down fall is the towing capacity, which is why I kept my '96 GMC truck. The problem with that is it only had 2 seats...found a '97 Suburban K1500 with a 350!!

Anyway, I know the bodystyle 'burb I have was from '94 - '99. I know in the trucks, they went from TPI to multi-port in '96, I think the subs did it at the same time, although I'm not positive.

I can tell you , look for leaks around the manifold gaskit...very common. Also try out the transmission...if you get 100K from one, you are concidered lucky. The brakes will feel mushy...they work great though, just feel bad. The fuel pump is another common part that breaks. Unfortunatly, there is know way to tell when it will go. Brake booster...same thing.

They seem to be good trucks and aren't too hard to work on...internals on the engine are a pain to get to...and a lot of stuff has to come off to get to them. It varies on the kind of driving I do as to the gas mileage. I would say anywhere from 14 to 17 mph city, maybe as high as 20 or 21 highway. Not great, but it gets you there.

It's also not as big as everyone thinks. The standard cab/ long bed GMs are actually 3" longer, so of course the extended cab and crew cabs are longer!
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within your price range 99 and below is a good assumption. My mom has a 96 with 135,000 and has never had a serious problem (knock on wood) and gets around 16 MPG. I have seven people in my family and we make it work when we need to. They change from TBI to multi-port in 96 with the introduction of the vortec motors. I suggest trying to find one with a vortec because they are better on gas and have 45 more horsepower (for the 350 5.7L) for a total of 245. They will be good for your needs and will be reliable for you. As for diesel.... the 6.5L diesel motors found in that generation of trucks was not necessarily the most reliable motor. I would not suggest them. It will also be hard to find a diesel in that generation tahoe or burban. they may get a little better gas mileage but diesels are always more expensive....
Yes you should consider a Diesel, if you can find one their rare.
Personally I wouldnt rule out Suburbans from around 84 up, depending on condition and mileage (90/91 are probably my favorite, I like the grill style).
Any year/model in your range is good, there really arent any bad years of Suburbans to stay away from, even when they did the bodystyle change (92) they were still good trucks.
96 was the changeover year for Tuned port and Multi Point. The Vortec engines have a few more ponies and a little better fuel mileage but reliability is the same for either engine. The GM small block is the most popular produced engine in the world, there are so many parts produced to improve these engines it's mind boggling.
Driven conservatively with the right gearing a 2wd Suburban is capable of high teens for mileage, not terrific but better than some SUV's, and you have lots of room for the little one's and thier gear.
Thanks for your responses. Looks like I will shop between 96-99
What would you pay for this one? It was done over by Southern Comfort it has a lot of interior wood trim, almost new Michelin LTX's, new shocks, TV VCR combo and more. I bought it 4 years ago for 11K, it had 112,000. At 125,000 the tranny died that was 16,000 miles ago. It has -0- rust, has 50psi oil when hot. Being a 2X4 with posi it gets better mileage then a 4X4. It will do 14-15 local and I have gotten 20 on the hwy doing under 70, over 70 it drops into the high teens. Below is the Kelly Blue book on it which does not reflect the Southern Comfort conversion.

Any year Burb is good, we have had them since 90, now have 2 in the stable, 86 and 94.

No matter what year you buy you may find problems, hey it’s used.

The most common ones have already been covered here. A good way to check for a head gasket leak it check the engine for white residue and any smell of antifreeze after it has warmed up to operating temp.

Fuel pump replacements can be a pain but doable for the novice. Head gaskets are easy enough if you have a good memory or a digital camera. Just a lot of work.

Brakes can be a dealer only repair if it is the antilock system with that monster of a brake module under the hood. The thing looks like something from doctor Frankenstein’s lab. Has about 20 brake lines going in and out of it and is right on the driver side fender well.

We will never be without at least one Burb, they are the perfect vehicle for us, even thought we have never left the third seat in any of ours.
We haul horse trailers, car haulers, hay wagon, and just about anything that will fit inside.

They also hold 18 square bails of hay when the need arises.
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Well I put a deposit on a 99 LT Burb 4X4. 138000 miles, Leather. just needs a new muffler and tail pipe. $ 5,600. Florida car (no rust).
Question while shopping for 97-99s i noticed some had an electronic selector for the 4X4 and others had a manual lever. Mine has the lever, Which is beter and what is the difference?
Well I put a deposit on a 99 LT Burb 4X4. 138000 miles, Leather. just needs a new muffler and tail pipe. $ 5,600. Florida car (no rust).
Question while shopping for 97-99s i noticed some had an electronic selector for the 4X4 and others had a manual lever. Mine has the lever, Which is beter and what is the difference?
Wow, that seems like kind of high mileage for a '99! My '97 only had 104K!

Not real sure on the advantages of the 4X4 selectors. Mine has the push great, although I think the transaxle is going due to a loud 'clunk' when it engages. I actually have to check the front driveshaft to see if the unions are going...might be an easy fix.
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