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Old 06-24-2013, 10:03 AM   #1
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2005 Suburban 2500

Ok, so specific question...not to delve back into the which TV debate...instead a specific question about a specific model.

Local dealer has a 2005 suburban 3/4 ton model, 126k miles, trailering package, 8.1L V8

2004 Chevrolet Suburban for sale in Hoover - 3GNGK26G74G133873 - Ivan Leonard Chevrolet

NADA lists it more around 13,000k clean retail....so perhaps I could get them lower.

I checked consumer reports reliability history on this model for transmission look not stellar....not encouraging....

I am drawn to the idea of finding something in this mileage range and just keep good maintenance on it...this could allow me to buy at cash price pretty much...and considering I will drive it 4K miles or less per year, it will last a long time.

Any tips on how to search for CPO subrbans/yukonXL 2500's more easily on the net?
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:23 AM   #2
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My opinion is that it has too many miles already to be reliable for your use. The 3/4 ton ones are good tow rigs but after 100 k you put money into them, and more money, and then still more money. It is already 9 years old and if you keep it for another 10, you will have a really old unit.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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Pharmgeek. I have a 03 2500 Suburban that I have put 94k on with 86k on towing with it. The 8.1 is awesome, it 10does use a little oil but no biggie. I have the 4.10 gears and it tows my Safari 30 (2005 model) awesome.

I have had 4 Suburbans and they are very reliable. On this 8.1 I have it is only used for towing which it does great. I would not have a problem buying one with the
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
Local dealer has a 2005 suburban 3/4 ton model, 126k miles, trailering package, 8.1L V8

2004 Chevrolet Suburban for sale in Hoover - 3GNGK26G74G133873 - Ivan Leonard Chevrolet

NADA lists it more around 13,000k clean retail....so perhaps I could get them lower.
Price is in the ballpark anyway

Quote:
I checked consumer reports reliability history on this model for transmission look not stellar....not encouraging....
It is my experience that Consumer Reports tends to exaggerate trivial differences in order to create the appearance of valuable research. They can't sell magazines by telling you that all waffle irons are the same so buy whichever one you want.

Anyway the 2500 'burb has the same 4L80e transmission that Chevy uses in most of their 2500 and 3500 pickups; with the 8.1 it's called a 4L85e and has a fifth planet gear on the main planetary. While they do not last forever they are extremely tough, and Chevy built millions of them.

I had a shop replace the 4L80e in my 1997 pickup when it failed after 90,000 miles. The former owner used it for commercial snow plowing so it had a hard life. All told it was a $4000 repair to install a rebuilt transmission with heavy duty clutches. The second transmission quickly failed internally and has since been replaced under warranty at no cost to me.

So, short answer, yes, you take your chances on the transmission in any truck with that kind of mileage but: 1) that's not a reason to walk away from the deal, and 2) 2005 burbs aren't any worse in this regard than anything else.

Quote:
I am drawn to the idea of finding something in this mileage range and just keep good maintenance on it...this could allow me to buy at cash price pretty much...and considering I will drive it 4K miles or less per year, it will last a long time.
As I've posted elsewhere they do have a number of weak points (particularly the oil cooler lines and the transfer case) but there are plenty of people who run them well into the 200,000s.

Quote:
Any tips on how to search for CPO subrbans/yukonXL 2500's more easily on the net?

Almost all of them are 8.1s and you probably want that anyway so do your craigslist searches on that. I found mine at a dealership using carsoup.com.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:29 PM   #5
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My opinion is that it has too many miles already to be reliable for your use. The 3/4 ton ones are good tow rigs but after 100 k you put money into them, and more money, and then still more money. It is already 9 years old and if you keep it for another 10, you will have a really old unit.
Well you can go out and buy a brand new 2500 'burb for $50,000 and it will come with a 6.0 liter v8 since they no longer make the 8.1 and they haven't put a diesel in a 'burb since 1991.

I'd rather have my 2004, and no matter how I run the numbers it will end up being a much more economical deal than a new one would have been.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:54 PM   #6
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As Jammer said, it's all about running the numbers. For an "occasional use" vehicle, it may in fact make a lot of sense to buy something like this. Here's a "for example" on a deal like this: buying an older vehicle like this in my state and my county would save enough on sales tax and annual personal property tax alone to pay for a whole lot of potential repairs over the next several years. You pays your money and makes your choices....
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:13 PM   #7
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The kleptocracy here charges 6.5% sales tax at the time of purchase and a declining series of annual registration taxes totaling around 5% for the first five years.
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:25 PM   #8
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Just a few observations:
1. I have driven over a million miles in Express vans, but...
2. The fit and finish and quality of materials is a little better on the Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon.
3. A GM 3/4 ton rides pretty dang good, but...
4. Nothing in the truck world rides better than a GM half ton. It's like you are not even in a truck at all.
5. We have bought many in that mileage range. We always rebuild the starters and replace the wheel bearing hub assemblies and anything else that needs to be done before we put them to work to prevent a break down on the road somewhere.
6. You would be getting it at 1/4 to 1/3 of the price of a new one.
7. Not necessarily endorsing, just sharing things I have noticed or experienced.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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I feel good about this used model from all I have considered about it.

The lower cost of it allows me to roll the dice a bit and save a ton of money...if I "lose" and have to in some time put a new trans in it (it ran smooth as silk today though, and the fluid smelled good) and had to put 3-4K in it (not desirable, nor likely as my dad can do all repairs), I could do it and keep on running....

In talking to my father (a long time mechanic) - he has worked on tons of burbs, and feels very good about their reliability to 250k miles in many cases.

Actually, having my dad around makes me much more confortable accepting the risk here perhaps...

This suburban that I drove this morning ran really smooth...really quite....gears shifted wonderful and I gunned it repeatedly jerking at it and all this...the exterior is in perfect conditions, wheels perfect...muffler looked fine...engine compartment look very good. It has the trailer brake, all engine/trans cooler for trailer, all that I need is there...and one owner from before (the GM's son I'm told, although carfax will verify this fact - he supposedly bought a brand new truck recently and traded this one in).
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #10
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a new suburban after I ran the numbers will not be considered....in 5 years we will be out of student debt...at that time if I have grown out of this TV, I can easily afford the TV "of my dreams"....although I am quite frugal...if this one still happily will do the job, it will go till the wheels fall off
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:36 PM   #11
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If you get it, be aware that the factory hitch is prone to weld failures when used for heavy towing over the course of years. It's a simple and inexpensive fix to replace it with an aftermarket hitch. And watch for fluid leaks....
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:40 PM   #12
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A lot can be told by pulling the pan on a transmission and looking for junk in there. I took a risk when I bought my Excursion. The transmission would make a funny buzz when the torque converter would lockup. After doing to research, I learned that the fluid might just need changing. I changed the fluid and the problem went away. Another problem popped up and it turned out the filter had fallen into the pan and the transmission was sucking air. This caused the engine to stall when I put it in reverse. Here again all it needed was a new O-ring on the filter. There was nothing in the pan at all so I feel pretty good about the general condition of the transmission. I have put about 10k on it about half of it towing and so far so good. It had 94 k on it when I bought it. If I went to a transmission shop I bet I would have walked out of there with a new transmission.

You really don't want a truck what was owned by a cowboy that tried to kill the truck just being a redneck. You want one from someone who rarely ever uses the 4WD and rarely tows with it. From the looks of it, my Excursion was used a a mom vehicle. I also added a large factory oil cooler from the 6.0L version of the Excursion and my transmission temps never get above 180F pulling up a mountain. Another thing that can help is getting a scan gage to monitor transmission temperatures etc. Many times you can save a transmission just by down shifting or getting your foot out of it.

Perry
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:43 PM   #13
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any idea of fuel mileage at 55mph on mostly flat-ish terrain in my region pulling 30' flying cloud airstream?
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:46 PM   #14
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A lot can be told by pulling the pan on a transmission and looking for junk in there. I took a risk when I bought my Excursion. The transmission would make a funny buzz when the torque converter would lockup. After doing to research, I learned that the fluid might just need changing. I changed the fluid and the problem went away. Another problem popped up and it turned out the filter had fallen into the pan and the transmission was sucking air. This caused the engine to stall when I put it in reverse. Here again all it needed was a new O-ring on the filter. There was nothing in the pan at all so I feel pretty good about the general condition of the transmission. I have put about 10k on it about half of it towing and so far so good. If I went to a transmission shop I bet I would have walked out of there with a new transmission.

Perry

no doubt...im very lucky my dad has been a mechanic his whole life...he has a lift at his house now and everything....he will do all work on my ride.
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