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Old 11-04-2015, 08:22 AM   #1
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Suburban 2500 for 27FB or others to consider? Trading down.

I currently have a 2012 Suburban which I bought last year with very low miles and thus paid a premium for...not planning to use with the Airstream. Since then, we put about 25k miles last year with the AS.

We have other cars we drive during the week, so this has ended up being just an expensive tow vehicle that we are depreciating rapidly. Plus, want a little more power. The 1500 has a bit of a time in some of the hills we travel (Tennessee).

Considering a 2003 2500 with 100k on it. That's not much mileage for the year and would allow us to pile on some miles and not really depreciate the thing. But I know not to look at the MPG while towing.

Anything else I should consider, vehicle wise? I know the F-250s are great, but with 2 boys and a dog I like having the extra interior room.

As always....appreciate you guys!
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:37 AM   #2
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If the 2500 has the same engine you are not getting more power only more payload. In fact the 2500 weighs more than the 1500. Now if you are talking diesel, that's a whole different ball game.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:40 AM   #3
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The 2500 suburban used to be THE tv for air streams.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:44 AM   #4
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The 2500 is very different than the 1500, even if it has the same engine. Everything from cooling to braking is beefed up.

HP is not everything.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:57 AM   #5
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We have a 2005 3/4 ton Suburban. We also had a 2004 3/4 ton Suburban. We towed our Airstream 25FB well over 100,000 miles with these two suburbans. These tow vehicles have done an admirable job in all conditions all over the country. Suburban 2500's have the 6.0 liter gasoline engine. Overall MPG while towing is around 10 MPG.

Our 2004 now has 120,000 miles on it, and is now being used by our oldest son to tow his SOB. We still have the 2005, which now has 140,000 miles on it. It is still active as our winter tow vehicle. Our current primary tow vehicle is a 2011 Silverado Duramax 3500.

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Old 11-04-2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
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The 2500 is very different than the 1500, even if it has the same engine. Everything from cooling to braking is beefed up.

HP is not everything.
Agree completely, but I just wanted the op to know that just getting a 2500 doesn't necessarily mean a substantially more powerful engine unless it us the diesel. Thanks for the input and clarification. In fact if I were looking for anew tv, a used 2500 with the 6.0 would be my choice. A suburban, of course.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:12 AM   #7
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The 6-litre motor (which I have) has significantly more hp and - more importantly - more torque than the 5.3-litre motor.

It is not like a diesel, but you will feel the difference.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jholder View Post
Considering a 2003 2500 with 100k on it. That's not much mileage for the year and would allow us to pile on some miles and not really depreciate the thing. But I know not to look at the MPG while towing.

Anything else I should consider, vehicle wise? I know the F-250s are great, but with 2 boys and a dog I like having the extra interior room.
We ordered our 2500 Suburban for trailer towing. Things we looked at were differential ratio, heavy duty towing package, and 'E' range tires. Back in that day (1990) 'heavy duty towing package' meant the rig had heavy duty flashers, was prewired for trailer brakes and trailer charge circuit, had extendable mirrors, and a three speed automatic (because GM had so many warranty claims on their 4 spd overdrive automatic they wouldn't put it in a vehicle ordered with tow package). And 2500 meant bigger brakes.

We had to add a deeper cored radiator and oil and transmission coolers.
Gas mileage sucked.

So, if this 2500 you are looking at is set up for towing, go for it. But if not you may have to modify it to get good towing performance and the differential ratio almost certainly wont be optimum.

If it is not set up for towing you might consider a 'state of art' tow vehicle which will have a trailer haul mode, better torque at all speeds, appropriate differential ratio, compression or other engine/transmission based braking, possibly (depending on make) automatic sway control, and better fuel economy.

Way more money, but newer is way better for your towing needs.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:51 AM   #9
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I've heard good things about the 6.0 L engine. Another option but perhaps more difficult to find than the 6.0 L engine is the 7.4 L and 8.1 L big block engines in a 2500 Suburban or full-size Chevrolet/GMC truck.

Late 1990s Suburbans and trucks were available with a 7.4 L big block engine that typically comes packaged with the 4.10 rear differential as well as the towing package. In the early 2000s and through 2006 (I think) the 2500 Suburban and trucks were available with the 8.1 L engine with 4.10 and towing package. Fuel mileage for both engines is in the 10 MPG range. A little better when not towing, a little worse when towing.

I've never towed with a 6.0 L engine but I know the 7.4 and 8.1 L will do a good job!
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:11 AM   #10
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No opinions here......

Just experience with two Burb BB's.....

1995....



2006....



If equipped properly any Burb will do just fine....oh cr@p, is that an opinion?

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Old 11-04-2015, 10:18 AM   #11
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The "Great White" doing just fine!
1996 2500 2wd 350 Vortec with the wrong gearing! Just turned over 140k. Not bad for almost 20 years old. Galvanized body helps.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:41 AM   #12
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As always, you guys are so helpful. So you feel I will notice a significant difference in my 1500 vs the 2500?

Also--does the 2500 come standard w brake controller or will I still use my add-on controller?

No one really mentioned straying from the Suburban, so sounds like it's still the best fit!
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:24 AM   #13
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Well, you said in your original post that you were considering a 2003 with ~100k miles on it. If you are comfortable with this age of vehicle, I might suggest you take a look around for a comparable Ford Excursion. A friend of mine who has one describes it as a "living room on wheels," and the diesel engine may be just what the doctor ordered for towing.

Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:12 PM   #14
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Quote"Considering a 2003 2500 with 100k on it. That's not much mileage for the year and would allow us to pile on some miles and not really depreciate the thing. But I know not to look at the MPG while towing."Quote

What engine do you have in each vehicle? You would want at least the 6.0 gas engine if the 8.1 isn't available. I have a 1999 GMC 2500 Suburban 4x4 with the towing package and the 7.4 gas engine, 3.73 axles. Bought it new and now its 147K miles and going strong. Have done the upkeep because they are keepers. The big block engines have a very strong and fairly flat torque curve; 410 at 3200 and that makes a difference on hills. Diesel would be nice but GM just won't put them in the Suburbans anymore. Good luck on making a tow vehicle swap.
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