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toddnich 07-05-2010 08:14 AM

88 Burb vs. 06 Durango
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Ok, here's the story..

I have an '06 Durango that we've been towing our 07 28' Safari with for the last 3 years. It has a 5.7 Hemi, and we have a HAHA. We get 12-14 mpg, and it has plenty of power to get on the highway, through the mountains, etc. The only problem is that we are near GWCR, and the Durango gets pushed around by the trailer sometimes (over bumps, especially).

On a recent trip, we bought a '76 25' International Caravanner (another thread) that was paired with a near-mint 88 Suburban 2500. It has 3k miles on a new 7.4 engine, never seen snow, not a spot of rust, undercoated, etc. It looks like a new truck, almost. When pulling the trailer, it's as if there is nothing behind you. But... it gets 8-9 mpg and does NOT have the power to accelerate or climb as well as the Durango (believe it or not). It is still very capable and stable, however.

So, now I have to decide which to keep. Maybe I'll keep both for fun :) Thoughts?

rangebowdrie 07-05-2010 08:51 AM

Really nice looking 'burb. Yeah,,,,, back in those days, even the 454 was only rated ~240 hp, maybe a little more.
However, a new GM 502 HT crate engine (designed for towing), has over 330 hp, and over 500 lb.ft. torque, and bolts right in. But the milage will still suffer.
I'd still keep the 'burb,,,,, keep both, never hurts to have more than one vehicle.

Jammer 07-05-2010 08:54 AM

Nice looking old 'burb ya got there.

In the late 1980s I had a 1967 Buick for a daily driver, which, similarly, 20-some years old and in good shape for its age. It can be done.

There are three things to consider. One is that you have to be absolutely sure of the mechanical condition of everything. With any tow vehicle, brakes, steering, and suspension are vital, and you owe it to yourself and everyone else on the road to have all four drums pulled for a thorough look-see. Then a careful look at other things that deteriorate with time, like hoses and brake and fuel lines, if they weren't all replaced with the engine overhaul.

The second thing to consider is that parts costs do start to go up on many older vehicles as the inventories become depleted.

Finally, the 'burb predates the oxygenated fuel era and may have a carburetor, and so you should be prepared for the possibility of fuel system problems resulting from that.

The 7.4 as installed in the trucks of the day was not known for its power so much as the higher torque and improved horsepower at low RPM. The benefit is that you can go up a hill at wide-open throttle without having it sound like you're sitting next to a jet engine.

Distantdrummer 07-05-2010 09:18 AM

What is the milage when not towing?
Anyone know what 7.4 equals in cubic inches of displacement?
Do you happen to know the gas tank capacity (capacities) ?
and is it fuel injection or carbed?

BTW why was the engine replaced? How many miles on the first one?

Road Ruler 07-05-2010 09:19 AM

Hard to believe you are getting pushed around with a Hensley. You are not far from Ontario. Suggest you drop into Can Am (towing specialists) and get your connection, adjustments, etc checked out and set up.

There is a guy in this forum towing a 34' with a Durango/Hensley and it seems to work for him.

NJtoNC 07-05-2010 09:46 AM

sweet 'burban! we tow w/ an 84 diesel. just replaced the fuel pump, belts, and will be looking at brakes soon. the diesel gets much better mpg - 24-26 when not towing. and currently diesel prices are comparable to premium gas (cheap in jersey! around 2.85?). anyway, i vote for the suburban :)

toddnich 07-05-2010 10:14 AM

It's fuel injected.
The Durango takes the bumps from the Safari, but rolls down the road and stops on a dime with the Hensley and Hensley brake controller. It's called "porpoising" by some, and it's not a huge problem, but nonetheless you know that you are towing. With the Suburban, nothing, and that's with a friction sway bar.

I think there are pros and cons to both setups. I'm leaning toward keeping both.

richinny 07-05-2010 10:14 AM

what gears are in the burb?

2airishuman 07-05-2010 11:41 AM


Originally Posted by toddnich (Post 867897)
...The only problem is that we are near GWCR...

check the numbers for the oldburb...

i suspect you are NEAR or over the gvCwr for it as well, even as a 2500...

you may not FEEL it because of the longer wheel base and 3/4 ton bits.

clearly IF space and maintenance and WEAR from towing aren't issues,

keeping both would be nice.

BUT that old burb will never be in better condition than it is right now.

so selling it to an enthusiast now, before using it much does make some sense.

there are a lot of modern vehicles that can tow the 28 and will get better fuel economy.

having a real TRUCK and 1 suv is a broader combo than 2 suvs...


Road Ruler 07-05-2010 12:26 PM


Originally Posted by toddnich (Post 867944)
The Durango takes the bumps from the Safari, but rolls down the road and stops on a dime with the Hensley and Hensley brake controller. It's called "porpoising" by some, and it's not a huge problem,

I think there are pros and cons to both setups. I'm leaning toward keeping both.

Auh, porposing. Had the same with our Nissan van towing the 23'. A set of Gabriel Brusier HD shocks on the rear solved the problem.

MrBeast 07-05-2010 12:57 PM

Your 88 burban if it has the stock engine has a 454 CID TBI FI setup, there is actually one heck of a lot you can do with this setup, If you dont have to worry about smog where you live, I would start by gutting the smog system and upgrading your exhaust to 1 7/8" headers with 3" pipes back to mufflers, and 2 1/2" pipes out the back, also include an H pipe, the engine will breathe much better.

I would also seriously look at upgrading to what is called an "RV Cam" it is a camshaft that they used in motor homes to give them more umpfh going up hills. It will make more torque. At that time id upgrade to a Aluminum intake and get rid of your stock restrictive air filter and housing for a good K&N element at least 4" tall.

Next you will need to tune your TBI so as that it will keep up with the cam and it will make good power and be opperating at peak efficiancy, check out DynamicEFI they have everything you need to tune your TBI and they also talk about how to up your fuel pressure.

The next thing to look at is your transmission, right now you probably have a TH400 that does not have overdrive like your Durango does. You have a couple of great options here, in late 1990 they started using the 4L80E which is simply a TH400 with a .73:1 overdrive that is electronically controlled. I would strongly recommend upgrading to this transmission, or you may also consider an NV500 which is an easier swap and it is a manual with a granny gear that will help you get rolling with a big load on the back.

Another option that is a very easy install would be a gear vendors overdrive, Gear Vendors Under/Overdrive Chevrolet/GMC 2-Wheel Drive 3-Speed Automatic.

The nice thing about em is you can split each gear, so say you cant climb a hill in 3rd, you can split halfway between 3rd and 2nd with the gear vendors box and get up the hill a bit faster.

For me I would choose the burban any day over the durango, that burban is a tank and as a tow vehicle it is completely in its element. Set it up right so its up with the times and I think you will be very happy with the burb, not to mention you can do a lot more with it than the durago.

toddnich 07-06-2010 12:22 AM

Thanks for the input
I spent the day cleaning the newest members of the family today, and I don't have the heart to break them up. I think I'll keep the International and the Suburban together, then take the Safari and Durango to Ontario and see if I can tweak that setup. Thanks for all your input.

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