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Old 03-08-2004, 04:24 PM   #29
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Color of tranny fluid

Yes I have read that when the color changes darker, then it is not as good for the tranny.

This truck's tranny fluid was med brown and not burnt smelling. I was not aware of the rings on the tissue test at the time.

It looks as if this 1999 truck with 137K miles has not had heavy towing done with it. ie: there is only the 4 wire trailer hookup, not the 7 wire round that we use.

I can check with a reputable trans shop and see what they say about flushing and filter change w/ high miles.

Finding a 3/4 Suburban is very difficult in South GA. After looking at 500 Subs on AutoTrader, I was able to write down only 26 2500s across the US for sale. That's about 5% of all Suburbans are 2500s. Most of those are on the West Coast. At best I can only find 3 within a 300 mile range.

So when I saw one here in Savannah, I was looking harder at it. I had 3 top mechanics at three different shops say it is fine except for the high mileage and low gas mileage (454cu in.)

I could pass on this one but the price is right for a '99 @ $11K

Thanks for your thoughts.
Steve
ps I did find that one 1999 with 72K miles was sold recently for $14,800.
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Old 03-08-2004, 05:32 PM   #30
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Found this interesting:

http://impalassforum.com/noncgi/ulti...c;f=4;t=004261

Eric
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:00 PM   #31
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Eric,

Thanks for the forum link. That was interesting. Sure sounds like more changes are good for the tranny. And may be better than using synthetics.

I'm still looking for some advice about this Suburban w/ hi miles.... what to do with a previously unserviced tranny.

Ideas? Steve
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:17 PM   #32
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Steve,

Take a sample of the oils in the truck and send them to be looked at by the compay listed in the link??

If it all checks out, then the burb should be cool. If not, you'll know before hand based on whats in the oil. The oil doesn't lie.

Just a thought...

Eric
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Old 03-08-2004, 08:26 PM   #33
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Ford F250 PSD

I had just done a bit of checking on changing the tranny fluid in my Ford PSD.

Here's a link for the do it yourselfer, which I'm not.

http://www.ford-trucks.com/articles/...hangingatf.php

Note what this says about the Mercon V fluid -- not to use in this Ford engine. (mine iis a 2000 7.3L PSD -- they tell me mine is the 4R100 -- but what do I know?)

John
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Old 03-08-2004, 11:18 PM   #34
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Steve

To be honest with you it's a hard call on the burb. If the mileage is mostly highway (which I suspect it is) you maybe okay with a fluid change. I haven't done a trans for a 454 so I couldn't even give you an idea at replacement costs. I'm guessing it's a 2 wheel drive since your down south. If the burb is real nice and what you're looking for, check with a trans shop and get a worst case idea of trans replacement or rebuild should the need arise. At least that way you will know what it would cost to have it repaired. If it were mine and I planned on do a lot of towing there would be no question I would change the filter and fluid, if it were mine, but thats something you'll have to decide for yourself. If you do purchase and in-turn flush I would recommend using a trans additive made by LUCAS. It is about the best on the market I've ever come across and cost around $8.00

Of course things don't always go right even when you do service regularly. My 5 speed trans drop 4 out of 5 gears in Jan. It only had 68k miles on it and it was serviced like clockwork. Sometimes things just plain go wrong. Of course I had to drive about 800 miles with only 4th gear working and towing an empty A/S to boot. By the time I got home there was little left to the trans. Only plus was it was interstate the whole way and only had to stop for gas 3 times. I figured a new tranny would be cheaper than the cost of towing my truck and the A/S 800 miles. Guess I should have gotten AAA. (I was thinking about it, but didn't)

Good luck

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Old 03-08-2004, 11:56 PM   #35
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A quality replacement transmission for a 3/4 Suburban will set you back around $ 2500.00 to 3000.00, labor included.
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Old 03-09-2004, 01:30 PM   #36
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Replacement Transmission Costs

Uwe, your costs are inline with a local repair shop if they do everything.

However, Sav'h Steve, if you are willing to order a TH-400 from one of the big parts houses you can get a professionally rebuilt TH-400 for less than $1000.00. And if you can install it yourself that's the total cost. If you want a local shop to do it add $400-700 to the cost. You get a reliable transmission with a nationwide guarantee for less than the local job.

If the truck appears to be OK, have the transmission shop run a pressure and function test on the transmission. If within parameters, buy the truck, enjoy it, and stash some cash for a trannie day (couldn't resist!) I know how hard it is to find a 2500/454 Suburban. If it looks good and runs properly, go for it! Remember, milage with an Airstream behind the truck will be in the 10.5 to 8.0 mpg range, but as I have read on this forum recently, even the small blocks and the diesels are not doing much better, if at all. However, without the trailer the mpg won't change much 12 to 10 mpg! Such is the life of a big block! Sure makes for low stress towing, though!!

Just a thought.
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:19 PM   #37
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Dinoburb, Eric, Whistler, and Uwe

Many thanks for your on line help!!
This is a really great 'support group'.

I talked to the best tranny shop in town this am and he said if there is NOT a lot of shavings and crud in the pan when I drop it, then it's probably OK. He didn't mention anything about a pressure and function test. Dinoburb, Do you mean function - like changing gears?

Oh, he said to change to synthetics should be done only on nearly new trucks (or fresh rebuilt trannys) like under 20K miles.

Since it will be used to tow my 25 Excella, it makes since to change tranny fluid and filter and hope that the change doesn't upset any crud. that was my bigest concern. Unless I hear that it is definitely best to just leave it alone and hope for best.

The knowledge that I could get a TH400 put in for $1500 or so eases my tranny jitters.

So I'm gonna call this owner up and make him an offer. My plan is to use this truck for two years and then buy a newer one. The one year newer 2000 Suburban 2500s with normal 50-65K miles are selling for twice what I can get this one for ($20 - 24K).
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:27 PM   #38
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Right Transmission?

My '84 Suburban C20 has a TH400, but I have no onboard computer.

Sav'h Steve: If I recall correctly, you are looking at a '99 2500. I'm pretty sure it will not have a TH400, but do not know what it has, or what a replacement will cost. Hopefully, someone else monitoring this thread will chime in.
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:47 PM   #39
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The 99 has a 4L80E, according to my trans guru.
Mine has a 4L60E. They're finnicky. My trans guy swears by them has them in all his vehicles. He was able to repair my trans for a stuck valve int eh valve body, where GM wanted to put in a new one at $ 3300.00
He got an updated solenoid, and off i went, $ 150.00 later. i was already checking which card was not maxed out yet......
These trnsmissions are not interchangeable with the Thseries, due to the computer and the electronics.
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:59 PM   #40
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Thanks for the knowledge!

They should call this place Airstreamforums University as I get a real, honest-to-goodness education here!

After reading this thread, I have an appointment at my dealer to flush the tranny both ways. Just in tme since I am at 21000 miles. Also, it is good to know that tissue test.
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Old 03-09-2004, 04:01 PM   #41
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Uwe,

You are correct. I got lost in my pre computer days. The 4L80E, is a TH-400 with overdrive and, of course, computer control. A very good transmission. It is, however, significantly more expensive to replace. Quality aftermarket rebuilds run $1700-1900 or so. The 4L60E is not nearly so robust and is found on small block trucks. Please no flames, it's just not as good a transmission as the 4L80E.

Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 03-09-2004, 05:09 PM   #42
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Dinoburb,

I'm completely out of my element here. Just listening to you experts talk....

I know that the 2500 has the 480LE tranny. Also know that the forerunner was the TH400.

Thought that since they were similar except for the OD and the computer extras, that maybe in a pinch the TH400 would bolt where the 480LE was and just not have the OD function.

Are you saying it is not a bolt on operation w/o OD? Not a big deal, just looking for a cheaper alternative if it ever came necessary.....

Steve
BTW... I've made the offer on the '99 2500 and waiting for the response----
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