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Old 06-29-2010, 03:44 PM   #1
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Suburban 5.7 owners

I have a 91 chevy 1500 truck that I plan to tow my 65 Ambie 4040lbs.for the time being. It's what I have currently.I have been told I should get an equalizing hitch and anti sway.
I am interested in a 99 year Suburban.Other than the closed in vehicle am I in the same ballpark of specs with the 1500 Suburban? both are 5.7s.
Am I buying anything going to the Suburban 1500 over the truck?Does 4x4 make any dif in ratings?
Would love a 3/4,but they got real pricey all of a sudden(like double or more the 1500.)
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:49 PM   #2
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Be aware of of couple of issues with 99 Chevy's. First is they are notorious for bad front brakes and warping rotors. I have 99 Tahoe and I am on the 3rd or 4th set of front rotors. This time I bought the super premium ones from NAPA and their best pads and so far have been happy. If you feel any vibration upon braking, you will have to fix it. Turning the rotors is a short term fix. Second issue is the transmission, 4L60E. I had to do a rebuilt at 65K and that was all miles with no towing. Lot's on the internet about problems with that tranny. The good news is that if it has been rebuilt in the last few years the aftermarket tranny parts manufacturers have beefed up the problem parts.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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The Suburbans are basically the same as the truck give or take the added weight and cost.

Generally 4x4 will lower the towing ratings due to the weight of the transfer case and front axle and diminish the steering performance somewhat. But then it won't leave you stranded if you park your trailer in the grass and have to leave on a dewy morning. Maybe not a problem in Texas.

There are 2500s out there but yes they usually are more expensive.
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:00 PM   #4
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I have a 5.7L '99 K1500 'Burb. It tows my 4000+ trailer with no problems at all. My tranny is the 4L60E - thus far no problems and I'm at 136K miles. YMMV.
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:21 PM   #5
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So basically I could go with the 1500 rather than the 2500 with the 454 and still be good?
I just don't want to be slapped all over the highway in a truck too light.I could go either way at this point but looking for best options between milage and stability.
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:38 PM   #6
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As 68Twind notes the 4L60e transmission is really not suitable for what you're doing.

The 2500 Suburbans of that era have the much heavier duty 4L80e transmission.
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:50 AM   #7
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Bob, your are one of the lucky ones on the tranny issue. The problem with that tranny was a whole series of those had valve body problems. The material that the valve body was made of was too soft and that cause premature wear in the bores where the pistons move. After a short while the shift pistons would start to stick due to the out of round bore. There was a fix that involve reaming the valve body and installing hardened sleeves. I did this to mine, a pain I might add cause I bought the reamer and did it myself. This gave me another 25K, but after that the reverse gear failed (the other big problem). That was over my skill level so I took it to a shop. The guy had 3 4L60e's on the bench when I took my Tahoe in. Said that and the tranny out of the Ford taurus paid his grocery bill.. Glad you are still running. Maybe yours was a later series of production.
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 TWind View Post
Bob, your are one of the lucky ones on the tranny issue. The problem with that tranny was a whole series of those had valve body problems. The material that the valve body was made of was too soft and that cause premature wear in the bores where the pistons move. After a short while the shift pistons would start to stick due to the out of round bore. There was a fix that involve reaming the valve body and installing hardened sleeves. I did this to mine, a pain I might add cause I bought the reamer and did it myself. This gave me another 25K, but after that the reverse gear failed (the other big problem). That was over my skill level so I took it to a shop. The guy had 3 4L60e's on the bench when I took my Tahoe in. Said that and the tranny out of the Ford taurus paid his grocery bill.. Glad you are still running. Maybe yours was a later series of production.
According to my VIN, my truck was made in August of '99, so it's one of the last '99s made. I also bought it with 65K miles on it - the PO may have had it rebuilt.
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:39 AM   #9
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Not a 99, but I have a 97 GMC Suburban with 377,000 miles. Replaced the transmission at 60,000, been running great ever since.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:11 AM   #10
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One of the best things, in the '96>'99 years, is the engines had the Vortec heads, along with a more direct fuel injection system, instead of the old throttle body unit,also they started using roller camshafts, those changes alone added ~55hp. Also, better mileage.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:34 AM   #11
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Does anyone know what year they went to the L480e trans?
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:47 AM   #12
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Our 1991 Suburban 2500 has 4L80E transmission. I have been told that was the first year. We bought it about a year ago with just over 100,000 miles on it. We had some shifting issues & replaced the throttle position sensor & it runs great. My understanding is that there were faulty electronic parts on the transmission - not sure if previous owners had those fixed. We replace the i/o sensors & wiring cable when the shifting problems first started.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:09 AM   #13
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We had a 99 1500 Suburban we bought used with 67,000 miles on it. It was a beautiful and comfortable vehicle, but almost immediately we had to contend with a load noise coming from the differential that couldn't be repaired/relieved with readjustments or synthetic gear oil. At 87000 miles the A/C compressor gave up. At 98,000 the fuel pump quit when climbing the grade west of Chattanooga on the interstate with semi trucks barreling up on us before I could get off on the shoulder. Along with the fuel pump came catalytic converter replacement. We pulled a 25ft A/S which was heavier than yours, the Suburban lacking in hill climbing power and dangerously slow when merging, especially an uphill on-ramp. I towed mainly in D-3 except when bogged down on hills, then in 2nd gear and maxing out at 35mph many times, with everything on the road passing me. Possibly the newer Suburban 1500 with the tow-haul feature would do better? Some have described the 1500 Suburban as more aligned with taking the family boat to the lake nearby about twice a year. As far as being happy with it for towing your trailer all over the country I think you would be happier with a more powerful motor and other strengths of a 2500. We kept our Suburban about $3000 too long before finally springing for a 2500 Duramax. The difference has been like night and day in overall towability. My two cents, Pat.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:35 AM   #14
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Including the Sub, that I have now, ('97 2500), I've had several 350s, the key to towing with them is 4.10 gears,,,,and keep the revs up. No,, they will not pull like a big block, but they do ok with the lighter weight trailers. I'll say again,,,4.10 gears.
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