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Old 06-20-2011, 12:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Goin camping View Post
Seriously looking at an older burb to tow with. Several advantages, Cheap to purchase, repair and we can camp in it when we are off off road. The Burban will be a tow vehicle and an overlander so 4x4 and oversize tires are a must for our desert travels. For low purchase and parts I'd like to stay pre 1998 model year.
The problem you'll run into is that so many of the older burbs were scrapped in the cash for klunkers program, which has driven up the prices both for complete burbs of that era and for used parts, since the klunkers program didn't allow for any parts to be pulled. Consider somewhat newer burbs instead on the GMT800 platform (1999 up) which will have better used parts availability going forward unless the government starts another "klunkers" program.

Quote:
Do the 80's and 90/91 Suburban 4x4 with the 350 cid have enough power to tow a 25 FB up a mountain or do I need to go post 1991 and get the 454 cid?
I used to drive a 1979 burb with a 350 and it was quite sufficient without a trailer. I would think it would be too small for towing. They switched from a carb to TBI in 1987 which was supposed to help a little but I never drove one of that era. I do have a 1997 chevrolet pickup with a 350. By that time they had EFI and the horsepower and torque were much improved, and so that would be sufficient for a 25' trailer. I tow my 30' occasionally with that truck and it works out ok but not as nice as the 496.

Quote:
Do barn doors and tailgates open when hooked up?
In my 2004 I have the rear hatch that swings up and out of the way, also with a window that can be swung up separately. Both work without hitting anything on the trailer although I have a Propride hitch which adds about a foot of extension between the receiver and the trailer. Barn doors should work too but are overall more in the way and more fiddly to maintain. With an old-style flop down tailgate it will depend on spacing but will probably hit the tongue jack with a standard ball carrier in the receiver, with the pickup I can do it but again I have the propride so it's extended back a little.

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1/2 or 3/4 ton and why?
3/4 ton. The thing to realize is that many, many parts are upgraded as a part of this. Transmission, transfer case, rear axle, all four brakes, in addition to the wheel hubs and springs. While 1/2 ton trucks have been beefed up a little for towing in the last 10 years or so, the older ones were not.
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Please let me know what year your Suburban and trailer are. The weight of your trailer. Wether you have 4x4 or not and your overall experience and opinion.
2004 burb, 4x4, 3/4 ton, 8.1 liter (496 cid) engine. I am extremely pleased with everything but gas mileage but it's well worth the tradeoff for a conservative engine design with little to go wrong.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:48 PM   #16
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Oh, my trailer is a 2010 30' classic. It typically goes over the scales at 8000 pounds.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:31 PM   #17
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Thanks all for your thoughts and opinions. Please keep them coming.

Fyi and in response, 454's were not available in pre 1992 4x4's and as stated a 4x4 is required for this trucks dual purpose. Once you get into the late 1990's and newer models. The low purchase and parts prices go away.

Fortunately out here in the west $3,000.00 is the median price for good shape pre 92 4x4 suburbans. The newer ones with the 454 ci. engines from 92 to 97ish are around $3,500 for a rare diesel add another $1,500.

Since this rig will be a limited use vehicle the MPG of a 454 is not an issue.

So far it looks like a 92,93,94 4x4 burb with a 454 may be the way to go.
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Old 06-20-2011, 06:09 PM   #18
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Go with the 1994 as I think it was the first yr for 134a refrigerant and they put an I beam in the doors.
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Old 07-05-2011, 07:11 PM   #19
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Can you place a 12 to 14' aluminum fishing boat atop the AS
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Old 07-05-2011, 07:16 PM   #20
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:07 PM   #21
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Just bumping this for more experiences and opinions.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:43 PM   #22
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Questions for Suburban TV owners

Greetings Goin camping!

The best overall tow vehicle that I have owned is my 1999 K2500 Suburban with the 7400 VORTEC. Model year 1998 was abbreviated with the 1999s being introduced in early 1998 -- mine was a special order in February 1998 with delivery on April 21, 1998. If I had it to do over again, there is only one option that I would change and that would be to skip the four wheel drive option.

Beginning at 36,000 miles, the four wheel drive on my Suburban became a nightmare. The Lucas Electric electronic control module for the transfer case failed for the first time - - - it then proceeded to fail at 12,000 to 15,000 mile intervals. When the part fails, my dealer has replaced it under warranty if it was in place less than 12 months and no more than 12,000 miles -- if it doesn't fit those parameters the replacement runs in excess of $750. Now, at 199,000 miles, the transfer case is failing and at $2,500 for a warrantied replacement it just doesn't make sense to spend on something that has never been reliable. I have arranged to have my mechanic remove the transfer case and make the modifications necessary to eliminate the four wheel drive.

I can't fault the motor in any way. It has only required one major tune-up at this point (199,000 miles), but it is just about time for its second tune-up. The water pump failed at 140,000 miles, fuel pump at 180,000 miles, and rear main bearing seal at 178,000 miles. The transmission has only required regular fluid and filter changes at 30,000 mile intervals, and the rear differential has been serviced at the same time. Its front disk brake pads need replacement at approximately 60,000 mile intervals -- the rear drum shoes have only been replaced once. The truck is still running on its original starter and alternator.

The economy of the VORTEC 7400 shocked me at first. Even with the 4.10 differential, it returns 14 to 16 MPG solo on the highway -- and 10 to 12 MPG when towing either of my Airstreams -- '64 Overlander (6,100 pounds) -- '78 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre (3,200 pounds). Urban driving usually returns between 9 and 12 MPG whether towing or not. This truck out performs my 1995 K1500 Z71 Chevrolet pickup with th 5.7 liter and 3.73 gearing in all measures of fuel economy -- that truck rarely saw 12 MPG whether solo or towing -- I did have a couple of tanks on the highway at 16 MPG at a constant 55 MPH solo.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:35 AM   #23
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I have a 1995 K2500 extemded cab P/U 6.5TD . Head gasket blew at 170,000 miles. We rebuilt the motor and it now has 244,000 miles total on the truck. Havent rebuilt trans but I have changed fluid/filter 3 times. Overall it has been very dependable. I have pulled many types of trailers with it including a 30' Fleetwood TTrailer. The 4WD has a shift lever on the floor that manually shifts the transfer case. There is an electronic module that locks the front axle when 4WD is selected. These modules do fail occaisionally. I found a vendor who sells a cable that replaces the module allowing manual operation of the front axle lock.

4x4 Posi-Lok Positive Axle Engagement System for Chevy/GMC K-Series 4x4s

It has worked reliably for years. An added benefit is the ability to use 4low w/o locking the front axle if needed.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:47 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Hoosierdaddy View Post
I have a 1995 K2500 extemded cab P/U 6.5TD . Head gasket blew at 170,000 miles. We rebuilt the motor and it now has 244,000 miles total on the truck. Havent rebuilt trans but I have changed fluid/filter 3 times. Overall it has been very dependable. I have pulled many types of trailers with it including a 30' Fleetwood TTrailer. The 4WD has a shift lever on the floor that manually shifts the transfer case. There is an electronic module that locks the front axle when 4WD is selected. These modules do fail occaisionally. I found a vendor who sells a cable that replaces the module allowing manual operation of the front axle lock.

4x4 Posi-Lok Positive Axle Engagement System for Chevy/GMC K-Series 4x4s

It has worked reliably for years. An added benefit is the ability to use 4low w/o locking the front axle if needed.
That is a very helpful bit of info!
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:26 PM   #25
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Suburban bagged

We did the deal and picked up a 2001 2500 burb with a tow package and a 8.1 engine. I'm thinking that should do the job.

I really like that it has a trans temp guage. Now to get mirrors and off road tires and rims.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:29 PM   #26
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Good choice, is it white?



Chevy Suburban 1992-1999 Black Manual LED Signal Towing Mirrors | Chevy Suburban Towing Mirrors

These are pretty close to the factory mirrors on our Burb.

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Old 07-26-2011, 09:48 PM   #27
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Good choice, is it white?



Chevy Suburban 1992-1999 Black Manual LED Signal Towing Mirrors | Chevy Suburban Towing Mirrors

These are pretty close to the factory mirrors on our Burb.

I was atually looking for a white one but ours is Pewter.

Those mirrors are fantastic. We'll be getting a set of power ones. It'll just be easier since the Mrs. will be driving it too.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:57 PM   #28
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Going Camping,

We absolutely adore our 8.1 suburban 4wd. It tows my safari 30 like a utility trailer. Before this suburban I had a 6.0 and while it was fine the big block is just so well suited for towing I could not recommend one enough. Mileage towing is the same as the 6.0 but the power is awesome. We have the 4.10 gears.

I only use mine for towing (touareg TDI is my daily driver) so I am trying to keep the miles down on it, the new suburbans just do not have the options of drivetrains and axle ratios. Don't be worried if it uses just a bit of oil. I pamper mine and it uses 1/4 of a quart every 1500 miles. Some people's use more, GM says up to 1 quart per 750 miles is acceptable!!

Have fun,
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