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View Full Version : Tow vehicle questions -- Chevrolet related


strad
06-06-2010, 03:57 PM
I figured I'd ask the forum. Don't have a boat yet, but with the birth of twins (already have a two year old) I'd like to replace our smallest vehicle (a 1997 BMW 328is) with a Tahoe or Suburban. My father in law is an auto body guy, which gives us the ability to buy a wrecked one and fix it properly for much less money than an equivalent non-wrecked one. I've been browsing a bit, and it seems that people pretty much drive the wheels off their SUVs -- most of them in the age range (2001-2003 or so) seem to have around 160k miles or more. How long does the drivetrain last in these given good maintenance? I grew up with Suburbans, but haven't driven one or been around one since 1991. So I'm out of the loop. And while we're at it, what options do I need to look for to ensure good safe towing of around 3500 lbs without destroying things like the transmission?

Matt L.
06-06-2010, 06:07 PM
Personally, I'd go with a 2001-2003 3/4 ton 6.0L Suburban. My tow vehicle is a 2001 3/4 ton 8.1L 4X4 w/ 4.10:1 gears, but I'm pulling really heavy at times (10K+). At 115K I've had no drive train issues. Up to 110K miles I spent a total of $265 on repairs. I've also had a 2001 3/4 ton 6.0L for a work truck and it had plenty of towing power.

Look for a lightly used and well maintained one and you won't regret it. If you find a wrecked one to fix up it will likely have been cared for just about as well as it looks.

The 3/4 ton Burbs are just so much better built. Massive brakes, and over sized everything where it needs it. The 1/2 ton version feels very under built to me and as a result will just wear out faster.

With a Tahoe you won't have enough room for road troips with the kids, we had a very sweet 97 that we sold after getting the Burb. Add another kid and/or firend and a Tahoe will get tight real fast and have no cargo room.

Later,

Matt

ShamrockIV
06-06-2010, 06:21 PM
i love my 03 4x4 yukon xl. fits all the kids and will tow anything i need to!

1redTA
06-06-2010, 06:53 PM
Alot of the old body style chevy trucks will need the tranny (700r4 and 4l60e) rebuilt around a 100k miles they are tough trucks and will def serve well with proper maintenance

ShamrockIV
06-06-2010, 06:56 PM
Alot of the old body style chevy trucks will need the tranny (700r4 and 4l60e) rebuilt around a 100k miles they are tough trucks and will def serve well with proper maintenance

wow thanks for the negative vibes man!!

strad
06-06-2010, 08:17 PM
Look for a lightly used and well maintained one and you won't regret it. If you find a wrecked one to fix up it will likely have been cared for just about as well as it looks.



Yeah you're right about it being a gamble. It's also true that many of them were well maintained but had the unfortunate experience of being in the wrong place at the wrong time -- hence the wreck. I've owned 4 salvage vehicles now, and three of them seemed to be mostly up to date on maintenance. Nice cars. The fourth one had been neglected in a lot of ways, but they apparently changed the oil religiously -- the valve train on it was clean as a whistle.

I am leaning toward the suburban because it has a lot more space without a fuel economy hit.

ProStar190Fan
06-06-2010, 09:09 PM
You wont go wrong with the 3/4 ton, but i have a 1/2 ton 2001 yukon and absolutely love it. Just normal oil changes for it with a new alt at 160,000 but other than that its perfect. I cannot comment on the trans since i got a new one at 143,00 (Father accidentally drained trans fluid instead of oil and blew the transmission).

If your looking at a 2003+ you may want to keep an eye out for quadrasteer with the 3/4 tons.

1redTA
06-06-2010, 10:57 PM
wow thanks for the negative vibes man!!

sorry, It happened to me and a few freinds the sun or planetary gear was diff on older models 3 gears versus 5 put a corvette servo in it will help also

Thrall
06-07-2010, 09:14 AM
You're on the right track. I'd take a hi mile GM over a Ford of the same vintage. Took a 1990 GMC 1/2 ton pickup from 60k mi when I bought it to about 160k mi. Sold it to a rancher who proceeded to put a GN hitch in it. Saw it about 3 yrs later, said he was up to 220k and still hadn't touched the drivetrain. Orig engine, trans (5speed), and axles.
That said, I'd still budget for a major component or 2 between 150 and 200k mi.

cmw
06-07-2010, 09:28 AM
I have two Tahoes and love them. A "95" and an "07". Both pull the boat great, and no major issues with either. Went for the Tahoe because it is great around town. The 07 turns on a dime and is a great size for parking lots. I saw the comment on not enough room on trips. We have a Thule roof top carrier and everything goes in it. We have six seats to relax in and still have room behind the third row. The two kids switch around when they want. Suburbans are nice, but just didn't need that much room for day to day driving. We bought the 07 because the 95 held up so well. It is a 4X4 and has seen time off road. Actually the 07 sits in the garage all week and only gets out on the weekend. That's how well the 95 works.

maxpower220
06-07-2010, 12:37 PM
Since you said proper maintenance, you should not have any problems with a powertrain until well into the 150k or more. Problem is, most people don't replace anti-freeze, transmission fluid, and axle lube as per the scheduled maintenance plan. If the tranny fluid is changed every 50K, there is no reason that the 700 series trannies won't last.

My 02 Avalanche was a great truck with no issues for the 100K I put on it. So far, issues with my 09 Avy either, put I like the 6 speed a lot.