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Old 10-03-2010, 10:34 AM   #1
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LiLNomad's Avatar
2007 25' International CCD FB
Northridge , California
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 460
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Got My Tow Vehicle!!!!

Hi Everyone,

I picked up my tow vehicle yesterday and had it detailed. I love it already! Its a 96 Chevy Suburban Barn Doors 7.4 V8 36k original miles!! The previous owner towed a horse trailer so I have the brake controller and im all set to roll. Since my daily driver is a VW Rabbit FOR YOUR SAFETY PLEASE avoid all Curbs, Sidewalks, Walkways, Highways, Byways, Dirt Roads & Walmart Parking lots and various dirt lots during the next few months as I learn how to drive this truck and tow!
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Great rig...just head out on several of your 'freeways' down there, most any time of day for some 'lane changing' exercises...

If you try to cut anyone off, I'm sure you'll hear about it from all the loud 'honks'...

Make sure you have some extended mirrors to check things out, and you'll be fine...I'll stay away from So-Cal for a while, till you've got it down pat...

Have fun...Ray

Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Got My Tow Vehicle!!!!

Greetings LiLNomad

I think that you will learn to love your Suburban. My Suburban was purchased new in the Spring of 1998, and I have covered 199,000 miles with it in the ensuing years. It is a capable tow vehicle, a wonderful tour vehicle for a group of friends, and the visibility from the driver's seat is fantastic! I second Ray's suggestion of the advisability of trailer mirrors for your Suburban. I tried several different varieties prior to deciding upon a set of McKesh trailering mirrors - - - I now use them whenever I tow anything regardless of which towcar/trailer combination I am using.

Good luck with your new rig!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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Hi LiLNomad,

Nice truck! I bet it'll do ya a good job. I have a similar one but mine has a baby engine. I've only had mine a year and a half. I've never towed with it yet. I have a '87 Chevy Silverado that I do use for tow and go. I've only ever towed an Airstream a couple miles. That was bringing it home. Since then I've been doing deferred maintenance, making repairs, replacing fixtures, and slowly going broke.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:29 PM   #5
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1976 Argosy 24
sun city , Arizona
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Nice looking Sub. I learned to drive on the Los Angeles freeways in a 1966 Volkswagon, way back when. Of course, they are probably twice as crowded now as they were back then. But just take it slow and celebrate every achievment. = )
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #6
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Fort Worth , Texas
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(I've owned a number of older cars -- much older than your truck -- as daily drivers, so one lesson to learn is to treat all problems systematically, NOT component-by-component. You'll just have to do the same thing over to get to the next problem to arise. Ignore me if you already know this, any of this).

15-years is the point where both dealerships and parts store chains let inventory go low . . the vehicles this age are considered to be at end-of-life. Find an enthusiast board to research maintenance and repair questions.

Upgrade it with a MAXBRAKE brake controller. And MICHELIN LTX M&S tires, plus BILSTEIN shocks. I'd also put polyurethane (greaseable) bushings on the anti-roll bars.


Headlights deserve new housings and a relay-driven harness as well as new lamps.

Check voltage at trailer harness connector (age gets the terminations on both ends; corrosion). Exterior lamps can be upgraded with LED (bulbs) as they all wear down (dim) before they wear out.

Low mileage is great, but 15-years is 15-years, so keep a close eye out. Expect that the first 10k miles is re-setting the mechanical to your way of driving, use, and conditions; it's another form of break-in.

I'd be expecting to replace all fluids, hoses, hose fasteners, filters, etc. Suspension and body bushings deserve a long look, as do ball-joints and steering gear. (Same with door & window seals). I'd also do all service recommended past 100k miles.

A longer wheelbase vehicle makes clear that the vehicle does NOT make it's turns off of the front axle, it is when the rear axle begins the turn that it actually begins to move to another path so expect to make the cuts "farther along" than you may be used to. Keep an eye on tires, especially RR.

Good luck

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 12-cpm solo, 19-cpm towing (fuel)
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:01 PM   #7
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1962 16' Bambi
2001 31' Limited
1985 29' Sovereign
Jenison , Michigan
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Very nice "Burb"..........We have a 99, 3/4 ton, same engine, with 50k (4x4) it......great tow vehicle. During Michigan winters it is stored in a heated building.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:57 AM   #8
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Looks like a good choice for towing your Tradewind. I have an 08 Tundra and my daily driver is a 3 series BMW, so I understand your problem in driving this beast. You just have to spend time behind the wheel to get used to it. My only comlaint with my Tundra is that it is "HUGE". Parking it is even worse than driving it. All the new TV's are huge though. It does not even matter if they are 1/2 or 3/4 ton.

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Old 10-08-2010, 08:19 AM   #9
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Dearborn , Michigan
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love those 'burbs!
A family of eight, blogging all things camping from our Airstream
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:07 PM   #10
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Rockville , Maryland
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Originally Posted by RV H-D Lady View Post
I learned to drive on the Los Angeles freeways in a 1966 Volkswagon, way back when. = )
How about "FOUR" times as crowded - even with some new local freeways and toll roads - "Los Angels & Orange County" have gotten sooooooo bad....

But back on topic - Nice Tow Rig

John "JFScheck" Scheck
2015 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL
2015 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 XL Chassis with Mercedes BlueTec V6 Diesel
**I Love U.S.A.**
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Old 10-09-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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Tucson , Arizona
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LilNomad, Congrats on the new TV. I have a 1995 3/4 Ton Burb with the 5.7 engine and 4.10 rear and 217,000 miles. I think you will find your truck is a very capable tow vehicle if you take good care of it. Since you said it has 36,000 miles and has done some towing, I would advise servicing the transmission if it has not been done recently. You probably have either the 4L60E or 4L80E trans. I am guessing the 4L80 since you have the big block? If you do, you will find that it is a very duarable trans. I have the 4L80 and it is fantastic. Good luck with the truck.


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