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Old 05-31-2008, 01:15 PM   #1
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Suburban ability question

Here's a question for current and former Suburbaners.

We are considering going to a Suburban to pull our '07 25 FB. We'll need to pull/haul about 8,000 lbs.

We usually boondock so 4X4 is mandatory.

We a surrounded by and travel over big mountains all the time. Also much time on raggedy dirt roads in the desert.

We will buy used so we're looking for the best year/model for strong pulling, durability and longevity and the ability to go freeway speeds.

We are only looking at 2500's. MPG is not a core concern as this will be a dedicated TV.

Does anyone know if you can open a tailgate or barndoor model while hooked up?

O.K. folks don't hold back on your experience and Suburban opinions.
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:34 PM   #2
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I used to own a Suburban tow vehicle but I can only report that my barndoors would open fine while hooked up to the trailer. Mine was a 1/2 ton 2 WD, so can't comment on anything else.
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:45 PM   #3
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Cool Year 2000 and After

We've had several Suburbans since the early 90's, but really enjoyed the 2000 model with barn doors. Don't think either type door will be a problem. We have always traveled to the Rockies, ranging from New Mexico to Canada, each summer. Our model had the standard 6.0 litre engine, and always did a good job with the 1996, 28' Classic at 8600 lbs. Mileage wasn't bad either: around 10-12 mpg towing. Brakes were an issue on earlier models, but had no trouble with them on this model. I would prefer a model after 2000 based on our experience.

Driving a Chevy 2500HD now. Took a lot of years for my sweet wife to agree to a diesel, and I love the Allison transmission. Best of luck on your search!
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:58 PM   #4
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Barn Doors OK...

Before the Excursion, we had a '94 Suburban 1500 4WD to pull our older 25' trailer.. It was not very peppy uphill, with less than 200 hp and older pre-Vortec V-8.. Even with 2500, I wouldn't go back prior to 2000 or 2001 model years..

We found side opening "barn doors" easier to get in and out to load rear of Suburban (if you remove 3rd row seat, you can get a lot of stuff in there..) and we could open and close them OK if trailer was lined up straight behind truck. If angled sharply, it was more of a challenge, and propane tanks could block ability to open doors all the way.. Door hinges do have release to open them more than 90 degrees...
John McG
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:09 PM   #5
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Yes you can open the rear doors while hooked up.

If you load the RV to near max GVWR, if you are still looking for a good Burb, see if you can find an 8.1L. Higher tow rating. The 6.0L, at least in 04 was about 9300 w/ 4x4. I think the 8.1L went as high as 9800lbs?!

I love my Burb 2500 4x4.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Yes you can open the rear doors while hooked up.

If you load the RV to near max GVWR, if you are still looking for a good Burb, see if you can find an 8.1L. Higher tow rating. The 6.0L, at least in 04 was about 9300 w/ 4x4. I think the 8.1L went as high as 9800lbs?!

I love my Burb 2500 4x4.
Which one pulls the Grapevine or Siskitou's better. I'd hate to give up the diesel to have to go up those grades at 35mph.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:28 PM   #7
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The rear doors, both types, are common to all suburban & Tahoe models and their GMC twins. Excellent clearance with the elec jack tower. My experience is with the Hensley hitch which positions the AS to the rear compared to other hitches.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:44 PM   #8
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Suburban ability question

My current Suburban has covered nearly 200,000 miles (7400 VORTEC) with automatic four-wheel drive (10,000 pound trailer tow package). Most of the miles have been with either my Overlander (6,100 pounds) or Minuet (3,100 pounds) in tow. I really thought that I wanted the four-wheel-drive after a thoroughly enjoyable experience with the earlier (1984) Jeep Grand Wagoneer -- the Suburban's four-wheel-drive system has been a headache from day one -- every 12,000 to 15,000 miles (starting at 36,000 miles) the electronic control module for the transfer case has had to be replaced (a $700 plus cost if not covered by warranty). The last time that it went out, I had it repaired and haven't taken it out of 2-Hi since as I don't intend to have it replaced again.

My Suburban has the drop-gate and it opens with plenty of clearance with either of my coaches. The issue has been getting a Reese draw bar with enough drop to get the ball height correct for either of my coaches. Once my hitch fabricator was able to find the correct draw bar, my towing experience has been wonderful. Unlike my K1500 Z71 pickup, I have never felt that the Suburban lacked in performance or capability to tow either of my coaches over the highest of mountain passes.

Other than the repeated problems with the electronic tansfer case module, the Suburban has been remarkably trouble-free. I did have to replace the timing gear, chain, and tensioners at 190,000 miles, and then the crankshaft main bearing seals at 197,000 miles. Given the high mileage, I considered this normal maintenance rather than mechanical difficulties.

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Old 05-31-2008, 03:23 PM   #9
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Suburban

Have owned an 82 1500, 87 1500, 95 2500 and our present 99 2500 Suburbans. Last three had barn doors and as long as you are straight the doors will open. We love Suburbans.
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Old 05-31-2008, 05:28 PM   #10
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I have a 99 C2500 suburban w/7.4 engine, 4.1 Differential. Opening the the Barn doors is no problem hooked up. Though my Argosy is 24, thus relatively light. Towing it is almost like going without, have to look back to remember. Having really good brake controller makes enormus difference.

I'll let others hash through the controller issue, or do a search. It can get contentious.

If you go for an older 2500 sub, be sure to get one with 4L80 tranny. And then verify the ground wiring TSB.


The chassis/frame of the 2500 series is built huge. My previous ws a Chevy K20, had it for 20 years, was built like a tank.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:55 PM   #11
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We have had 01 and 04 Suburbans, loved them both, can't imagine a better all around vehicle.
Go with the 8.1 if you can find it.
My Wife insisted on the lift gate (not barn doors) as it would provide a "shelter" if raining (while changing clothes after hiking/biking/etc) know what? She was right...we had lift gate on both Subys. The barn doors have a bit of a blind spot also.
Front hitch for bikes, kayaks up top-great setup.
The "All American" setup; Suburban and Airstream. Doesn't get more classic than that...

Check out moosetags...he is on the loose right now. All they drive are Suburbans...

Thats our .02

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Old 05-31-2008, 06:58 PM   #12
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We pull our 2005 25FB with our 2005 Suburban 2500 6 liter 4x4 with Quadrasteer. We have pulled the Airstream over 30,000 miles with this TV. We have have pulled in all parts of the country and on all types of terrain. This TV really works well. We like it so much that we recently bought a 2004 Sub 2500 2wd Quadrasteer as a backup TV. We also had a '96 and an '01. Both of these great vehicle also.

Both our Subs have the 3.73 rear end. The 4.10 rear might pull a little better, but I haven't had one, so I can't comment. I've heard that the 8.1 liter pulls really good, but I've also heard that they have some maintenance problems.

We have the lift gates on both the '04 and '05. The cargo doors were discontinued after 2001. We don't have any problem open the Sub while hooked up, but we have a Hensley Arrow which gives us more distance.

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Old 05-31-2008, 07:17 PM   #13
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Moosetags,

I notice you're in FLorida. Have you pulled over the Rockys or Sierra's and if so how did that work out?
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
Moosetags,

I notice you're in FLorida. Have you pulled over the Rockys or Sierra's and if so how did that work out?
The Sub has pulled all kinds of severe grades pulling Lucy. Last spring, we spents six weeks in Wyoming and Montana with no towing problems. We are onour way home from Maine and New Hampshire right now. We did not have any problems with the grades in the White Mountains or in Northern Maine.

Brian
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