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Old 11-30-2010, 08:59 PM   #1
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Older Suburban

How about this for a tow vehicle for a 74 Excella 31'

1987 Suburban 4x4 2500, 350 motor and LS400 transmission and GM 8 lug Dana 60 axles?
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:16 PM   #2
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I had an '88 suburban with a 350 and a turbo 350 transmission (actually a better transmission for towing because the lower gears are lower) 3.73 gears, and towed a 24' Argosy with it. Would not have wanted to tow any more trailer, and I'd suggest at least 4.56 gears if you intend to tow your 31 footer. But, that's just my opinion.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:28 PM   #3
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In 1987 such a lashup would have been thought to be well-matched.

Standards have changed somewhat over the decades as power trains have improved. I believe the Chevrolet small block in 1987 was still carbureted and developed maybe 70% of the power and torque of today's 6.0 liter engines.

I personally do not find trucks of that era to have any meaningful "classic" character, and find that, even when purchase price is considered, they are more expensive to keep on the road than late 90s trucks built on the GMT 400 platform. Your tastes may differ, or perhaps you have an unusually fine specimen.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:01 AM   #4
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Thank you for your comments. Very educational.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:51 AM   #5
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I pulled my 31' Excella with a 1985 Suburban 3/4 ton with 350 engine. She was slow going up mountains, but overall she did fine. I had a new Douglas engine installed about 6 yrs ago, but not because the old one wasn't working. The new engine increased the gas mileage.

I will say that with the new technology and innovations of the late model trucks, the difference in towing is wonderful. When I go back to a trailer, I plan to upgrade my TV as well.

Love my burb though.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:04 AM   #6
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The '87 ought to have TBI, an early version of fuel injection (my folks had the 454 version to pull their Silver Streak). It's a heavy truck for a small motor, IMO. Electrical problems are the usual bug-a-boo on old vehicles, and expect that all rubber items need to be replaced, from weatherstripping to (importantly) body bushings, motor mounts, and other suspension/steering bits. Visual inspection is about worthless. Brake hoses, seals, etc. A no-rust, never wrecked vehicle is good to go with. But it's still a candidate for take-it-apart-clean-paint-and-re-attach.

The truck basics were the same from 1973 to 1991, so there ought to be plenty of suppliers for everything from windshield gaskets to electrical harnesses.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielB View Post
How about this for a tow vehicle for a 74 Excella 31'

1987 Suburban 4x4 2500, 350 motor and LS400 transmission and GM 8 lug Dana 60 axles?
1974 31-footers have a dry weight of just under 5,000 lbs. So, unless you are poorly hitched, or loaded with more than a couple thousand lbs of gear, why wouldn't it work? ANY V8 will pull that.

I know the 4.2L V6 in my Ford Freestar did a good job with our '74 Sovereign on the 4,000 miles we took it to FL and back...
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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I had a new Douglas engine installed about 6 yrs ago, but not because the old one wasn't working. The new engine increased the gas mileage.

Love my burb though.
Can you tell us a little more about Douglas engine?
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