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Old 07-06-2009, 07:22 PM   #1
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1999 3/4 Ton Suburban Question

Two questions.
1) We have been towing our 1978 Ambassador with this truck for 7 years or so. Great tow vehicle. However it is really a hard riding truck...enough so that I am contemplating getting rid of it. Has anyone been able to find a way to make it a bit more comfortable?
2) The brakes are not the best design. They are in perfect working order but I really have to stand on the brakes to get it to stop fast. The dealership and another garage both say that the brakes are working as they should. These are discs front and drums rear. Has anybody converted to rear discs or found a way to get the brakes a bit more responsive?
Many thanks.
Tom
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:54 PM   #2
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Shocks can make a big difference. 3/4 tons are a bit more stiff of a ride though than 1/2 tonners.....also, lowering the PSI in the tires can help too. On mine it suggests 80psi and I kick it down to about 75 in back and 72 front. Even at those pressures, the weight rating is well beyond what I need, but has softened the ride a bit too.

Not sure what brakes came with yer 99, but the 04s have phenomenal brakes IMHO. Our 1985 was similar to what you are describing, but it had front disc and rear drum, no antilock, etc.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:55 PM   #3
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We had a 98 3/4 ton Suburban and we sold it last year mainly because it was starting to cost us more than it was worth. Different problems that added up to big expenses.
As far as the ride, unless you take out the leaf springs and put in a full air ride suspension. Thats very expensive though. The brakes were always a problem but I would adjust my rear brakes manually every oil change. I replaced my brake lines with braided and would remove and re-lube the caliper pins every year so it would stop straight. Good luck with your rig, we ended up with a 08 Tahoe and love it.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:05 PM   #4
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If you like the vehicle spend what it takes to get it softer. A good suspension shop should be able to modify it as needed. Not cheap, but neither is it cheap to buy a new one.

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Old 07-06-2009, 09:26 PM   #5
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1999 3/4 Ton Suburban Question

Greetings Tom!

My '99 K2500 Suburban is approaching 200,000 miles since I purchased it in April of 1998. I never really thought of the ride as rough particularly compared to the 1995 K1500 Chevrolet Z71 pickup that I traded on the Suburban. When the original shocks required replacement at 60,000 miles, I went with premium ride, gas filled shocks at all four corners -- that made a great difference as did the switch from the Firestone radial tires that were OEM to Michelin LTX load range E tires -- paying close attention to the inflation pressures for the load carried can have a great impact on the impacts transmitted by the tires. Since the 60,000 mile mark, I have stuck with the same brand shocks and tires. I would also think that the factory buckets might be a good swap if your Suburban has the factory bench seat -- the factory bench was far from comfortable for long drives, but I love the factory leather buckets in my Suburban (they have both heat and adjustable lumbar support).

I have never really had any particular issues with the brakes on my Suburban. The front rotors require turning more frequently than I would like, but they are still within industry norms for frequency. My mechanic did put one set of "softer" composition brake pads on the front once -- they were a bit more responsive, but the brake dust that covered the wheels was terrible. The next change was back to stock pads. When the rear brakes were serviced, the shop had the machine shop jobber machine the drums and brake shoes to match one another -- that really made more of a noticable difference than anything else that has been done on my Suburban.

Good luck with your Suburban!

Kevin
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:00 AM   #6
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Thanks all for your thoughts. Kevin, I am running Michelin LTX tires. I have never replaced the shocks so perhaps it is time for that upgrade. The truck runs well and has about 100,000 miles on it. I need to have some rust work done on a few doors. My thought now is whether to keep it or look to a newer truck in a year or so.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlavergne View Post
Two questions.
1) However it is really a hard riding truck...enough so that I am contemplating getting rid of it. Has anyone been able to find a way to make it a bit more comfortable?
2) The brakes are not the best design. They are in perfect working order but I really have to stand on the brakes to get it to stop fast. The dealership and another garage both say that the brakes are working as they should. These are discs front and drums rear. Has anybody converted to rear discs or found a way to get the brakes a bit more responsive?
Many thanks.
Tom
It is hard to find an HD truck that has the kind of ride that many would want to take on a vacation. May need to look into alternative TV's

I saw a Jaguar sedan the other day and noticed the huge discs. No wonder those vehicles has superb stopping power.

Burbs have a reputation for long stopping distances. Going to a Brembo upgrade Brembo Brakes Application Index will make a huge difference in braking performance but at a price. Again a better solution could be in a different type of vehicle. There are many options.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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Thanks for the link Road Ruler.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:16 PM   #9
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Thanks for the link Road Ruler.
No problem tl. My pal has Brembo's on his Nissan Skyline and they are just amazing. They are a powerful and reliable HP braking system.

Another option which may help a little is upgrading to Hawk brake pads. I use them on our G35 and found them to work very well. They are very quiet, long lasting, and no dust, even after a long ride with bullet in tow. There is info about them here http://www.nolimitmotorsport.com/hawk/ . Looks like they are available for the Burbs.

From the Hawk site they report..

Key Features:

  • Improved braking over OE
  • Superior fade resistance
  • Low Dust
  • Excellent pad and rotor life
  • Virtually noise-free
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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Brakes

Take a look at this web site/brand.
I have a friend who had a company that demolished building cleaned up construction debris.
He swore by these pads.

Power Stop

They are not cheap.

Also, could the power assist device (vacuum or hydraulic) be weak?
Beginner
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:13 PM   #11
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One other thing that came to mind tl. If you have oversized tires on your Burb consider going back to the original size or even slightly smaller. A tire with a smaller diameter will actually give the vehicle better braking performance. If going to a smaller tire be sure you don't lose any load capacity.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:38 PM   #12
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Used the IAS Performer on our 96 3/4 Burb. Big improvement!!


Edelbrock IAS Shocks

Use the best pads, rotors and shoes you can, keep the rears adjusted.

Lower the tire pressure when not towing, have the LTX's on the 06 really a nice riding tire, Stream Safe
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Old 07-09-2009, 09:51 PM   #13
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Best shocks; springs that are not weak; R&R sway bar bushings with polyurethane. And examine body bushings, they do deteriorate.
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:48 AM   #14
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You mentioned, in your original post, about rear disc brake conversions.
I converted my 1980 chev K-25 to rear discs, using parts from: tssmfg.com,,, the system worked very well. Am considering doing the conversion on my '97 Suburban, an added bonus, is the conversion reduces the unsprung weight ~65lbs., this improves the ride.
Did the job in one day, but spent about half of that time flushing new fluid throughout the system.
When the job was done, the braking was much improved, and the pedal was nice and hard, with very little take-up slack.
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