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Old 05-02-2010, 08:06 AM   #1
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toddnich's Avatar
2007 28' Safari SE
Westlake , Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 34
Looking at a '79 Burb

Straight tow vehicle only. 3/4 ton, 454, 110K miles, engine rebuilt at 75K miles, new tires, shocks, brakes, looks like it was well maintained. One rust hole, some primer, solid frame. I will probably put 10K miles a year on it towing.

I have 2006 Durango with Hemi 5.7, plenty of power, Hensley hitch, but we are at max GVWR with passengers. Gas mileage is about 14 towing empty, 11-12 loaded. 90% GCWR when we're hooked up and full.

I'd like to hear from someone who tows with one of these old mules. I think I could get it for around 2 grand, and if I don't like it, could probably get most of my money back in the fall when snow plowing season hits here in Ohio.

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Old 05-06-2010, 08:38 AM   #2
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1973 27' Overlander
Wamego , Kansas
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 15
If I could find one of those in my neck of the woods for $2K I'd be all over it assuming everything worked on it. If it's a "Trailering Special" (and yes, they so branded them) so much the better -- that'd include things like a transmission fluid cooler. Assuming the rat motor's original it'll have a TH400 transmission which should be darn-near bulletproof given proper maintenance. If my memory properly serves, those old Subs so equipped were rated to tow at least 12,000-pound loads with tongue weights in the 1,000- to 1,200-pound range. Towing is what Chevy and GMC built those models to do.

Good luck!


"Ignorance I can deal with. Stupidity is a different matter."
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:12 PM   #3
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Elkhart , Indiana
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I had an 87 Burb 3/4 ton with the 454... 9 miles to the gallon... up hill, down hill, towing, not towing 9 miles to the gallon.... That being said... if I found another one like it for two grand.... It would be in my driveway! I loved that truck! It would tow a house down the road and not know it was there.
Have a great day!

TAC # IN 1 Air#27922
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:44 PM   #4
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
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I took my driver's license test in a 1979 burb lo these many years ago, and I worked on it extensively. It was the 1500 model however and had the 350 engine, not the 454. Largely the same truck.

You asked for advice, so at the risk of being blunt, I'll say that you're looking too far back in years and would be better off in the long run getting something newer. The rust problem will spread because the galvanizing in 1979 wasn't as good as 1990s and newer trucks, and it's not cost effective to patch or replace panels.

Nothing wrong with running the Durango heavily loaded if that's what you have. GCWR numbers don't mean that much and with the Hensley and a good brake controller you'll be fine.
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