Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-10-2004, 10:53 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9
Question 454 tow vehicle?

Hi all,

I'm looking to get a budget tow vehicle. right now I'm looking at a carburated 454 suburban 2wd 3/4 ton w/ the 3spd auto trans & 3.73 rear gears.
Does anyone have experience towing with these?
How bad are the brakes? I plan on using electric brakes.
Also, my main concern is mileage. How bad is it really with one of these? I don't really plan on towing faster than 65mph and my future trailer I don't expect to be more that about 6500lbs, maybe a few extra hundred pounds w/ suplies etc.
Can I easily get 10mpg? or is it more around 8mpg? Its mostly flat around here but occasional hills. I suspect the carburator, 3spd non- lockup converter are two big strikes against mpg. I really want a 3/4 ton though.
I found a really good candidate (I mean unbelievably clean & solid) but I'm wondering if I should wait until I find a TBI 350 or maybe 454 3/4 ton.
__________________

__________________
y5e06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2004, 10:55 AM   #2
3 Rivet Member
 
FireFighter's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
bay city , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: 1970 31' Sovereign
Posts: 155
Images: 9
Tbi

I would hold out for the TBI they run so much better than the carb.
__________________

__________________
FireFighter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2004, 11:13 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
LOST , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,193
For a couple of years around 88 and 89 you got TBI with the 400 trans. The locking converter and OD will have better mileage and less engine wear. I would also keep looking.

John
__________________
74Argosy24MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2004, 12:06 PM   #4
3 Rivet Member
 
dinoburb's Avatar
 
1982 34' Limited
Tidewater , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 186
Hi!

I tow with a similar vehicle, however, I have a 4:10 rear. Towing 7K# milage is 9 and not towing milage 11. The TBI/lock-up transmission will show most milage improvement in the non-tow mode. The brakes are fine, in fact my first tow with my Suburban was over 500 miles and the trailer had no working brakes! The truck handled the extra 5500# well. That was my first time towing anything and I had a very old Tekonsha (1980's) controller than really told me nothing. I have since upgraded to the Prodigy controller with it's internal self-check system and always know if I have brakes or not.

The 454 is a strong engine that can be modified for more torque and horsepower is necessary. With trailer weight you plan on towing, the Suburban you have your eye on should be excellent.

Enjoy.

Take Care,
__________________
Old trucks and old trailers . . . a comfortable combination!
AIR 1446
W5CDR
A-6E All Weather Attack Driver, BUFF
USN Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Ret.
'91 Suburban R-2500 w/BBC
'78 Honda GL-1000
'72 Triumph T-100R Daytona
dinoburb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2004, 12:27 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
59toaster's Avatar
 
1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,197
Images: 22
my Fuel injected 88 gets about 10.5 towing at 65mph. That was a 5600lb load of a Toyota truck on trailer. best ever was just truck and it was 11.5. My wife DD's it and it gets 8.6. That's short hops to the grocery store no hwy.

The truck is R20 (3/4 ton) 454 with TH400 and the Full floater 14 bolt with 3.73 rear end. Other then brake size that it the same axle the 1 ton single wheel trucks got.

Go with the Fuel injection. The mid 80's Carbs are a pain. If your going car I would say go older like 82 ond older. In 91 the 4L80e was available. Those would pull 13.5 empty.

These engines are low RPM. The fuel injected motors make 385lbft of torque at 1600 rpm They will pull a house off it's foundation.

They DO NOT like high rpm. their sweet spot ends at 2500 RPM (about 65mph). Over that they start using a lot of gas and running warm. I am a gaget freak and I have added temp gages to both transmission and engine oil. At steady 65 mph with cruise control on and 5600lb of trailer behind it it will run all day long in 85degree ambiant temp with the A/C on and loose on 1.5 mph climbing most hills. The Engine will run 195 degrr coolant, oil temp will be 210-215 and tranny temp will be about 185.

At 3,000 rpm EMPTY it will run 200 degrees engine, Engine oil will hit 290 degrees and the tranny will run 200-210. Exit the hwy and stop on the ramp and the engine will come up to 210-215 the AUX cooling fan is on and it will take it 3-4 miles of low speed driving to come back down.

Truck has 84k on it, new radiator and extra Tranny cooler.

Only other thing to warn you about is make no mistake. It's a TRUCK. The 1/2 tons ride pretty cushy but the 3/4s are stiff. 500lb of tounge weight on the hitch only cause the rear to loose 1 inch of ride hight and the front to come up 1/2 an inch. With my WD hitch hooked up the truck rides 1/4 inch low in the rear and stock front. Have kidney belt ready for rough roads. LOL

__________________
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
59toaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2004, 12:52 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9
Toaster, Your truck sounds almost exactly like the one I'm looking at right now. It has the 3.73's and the 14bolt fully floater rear axle. The thing with this one is it has 50K ORIGINAL miles! Owned by an old lady who just drove it around town, making it very hard to pass up. I was contemplating whether it would be worth it to swap on a Holley projection TBI unit, fully programmable. $1400 from summitracing.com. That would probably only gain a couple mpg if I could get a spot-on tune.
I'm not worried about the truck like qualities, I have a daily driver caprice to take care of those chores.
I'm going to look at it tonight. The current owner says he drove it 130 miles and only used 1/4 tank according to the guage, if that even reads correctly. thats 13mpg so I would guess/expect 10mpg towing 6000lbs. The 3.73's make it a bit better for that than 4.10's. All my other chevrolet fuel gauges read way off, so who knows.

if this were a 'normal' condition truck I'd pass, but its so dang straight & clean w/ ridiculously low miles I'm not sure I can help myself.
__________________
y5e06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2004, 01:15 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
59toaster's Avatar
 
1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,197
Images: 22
Wow even lower miles then ours! We bought ours a year ago from another Forum member, Ira Iberg. He owned it since it was two. We bought it a year and a half ago and it had 72k on it. We have run it to Florida three times and I used it as a DD (44 mile round trip) for about 6 months before the gas prices got out of hand. The wife and I swapped since she didn't rack up miles like I do. I drive the honda now.

It's purpose was to move their Airstream and other then that it sat in a carport. It's in wonderful condtion and he took great care of it. I feel fortunate to have found one in such good condition but age will catch up with anything. The radiator was replaced not long after I bought it because it was running a little hot. Deposits had started to form so I just replaced it. It went 15 years and that's not bad.

A lot of the coolant hoses were original so I went through and replaced all of them as well. Had some problems with the plastic vacuum lines cracking that gave it a serge...again, just age. bad gasket on the throttle body created another vacuum leak. That was from a mechanic cutting corners and not replacing it with new then anything Ira did. Other then that is had been really great truck and can't wait to get out 59 restored and start traveling with it. I decked it out with the roof rack for bikes and I want to get a EU2000 honda Generator and it will ride up there as well.

The headlights STUNK! those Hella Ralley 1,000 racing lights fixed that. Thats what Ramlly race cars run. The aux lights are all tied into the trucks lighting. The little driving lights are on with the low beams and go off when the high beams kick in. The mosters come on with the high beams and it's like turning on the sun LOL. I'm sucking 440 watts of power on highbeams ahahaha.

Sounds like you have a line on a very good truck. Just expect to put a little money in there even with the low miles. Sitting is just as bad in some cases.

I would not spend the money on the Projection unless you just want to. It would take forever to make it up in fuel savings. If it is a Mixture solonoid Quadrajet and it's running ok then go with it. If the carb starts having issues and your not one to rebuild it yourself then I would replace the Quad with one for a 81 or so that will predate the Mix solonoide but still have electric choke. All the rest of the emissions connections will be the same so other then leaveing a unused electrial connection nothing else needs to be changed.

Good luck and look forward to seeing some pictures.
__________________
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
59toaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2004, 01:26 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9
I am expecting to have to do some initial work.

I'd plan to replace all the hoses & coolant flush, all new vacuum lines, new brake pads (high friction), completely flush brake fluid, rear diff flush, tranny flush & filter, oil change, and basic tune up. I'll probably need a brake controller too. I think it has a tranny cooler and an oil cooler along with an electric fan and headers (supposidly factory exhaust headers).
I'm familiar with the M/C solenoid quadrajets. I also have an '87 Monte Carlo SS that has a 750cfm quadrajet w/ all the emissons stuff, its bone stock. That car runs pretty good too. the electric quadrajets are a pain to rebuild, if you send it out it will cost about $400. Yes, older quads or even holleys are much cheaper. You can get an electric choke 650cfm holley for under $300 new at summit or Jegs.

Thanks for the replies so far!
__________________
y5e06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2004, 12:08 AM   #9
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9
$2200 '86

Well, I bought it anyway.
It will serve the purpose I need it for. I got tired of looking and I know this drive train is way low mileage. I also felt a bit like gambling so I got it in hopes of going against all others experiences.... hoping for better mpg's! I topped it off before leaving. I drove it home 123.7 miles and filled up w/ 10.759 gallons.
thats right at 11.5mpg.
the drive was almost all highway, slowing in a handfull of small towns and hitting a few stop lights. I varied between 65-69mph on the highway using cruise most of the way. Truck was completely empty. Temps were in the mid '80's. I'm betting I can improve 0.5mpg with a complete tune up; plugs, wires, cap, rotor, filters, and tankfull or two of engine cleaner. If I can get 10.5mpg towing 6000lbs I'll be ok.
Maybe I'll sell it to a forum member later when/if I ever step up to a power stroke
go here if you want to see a few pics from the previous owner
http://www.fullsizechevy.com/forum/s...hreadid=119391
__________________

__________________
y5e06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Which is best tow vehicle Van or Sedan? Mr Jody Hudson Tow Vehicles 10 10-06-2016 10:14 PM
Tow vehicle advice needed.... crazylev Tow Vehicles 86 04-27-2007 07:11 PM
"New" Tow Vehicle!!! 66Overlander Tow Vehicles 22 02-28-2006 06:46 PM
Suggestions on new tow vehicle Diana Langley Tow Vehicles 3 07-08-2003 08:31 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:04 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.