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mzimme
04-19-2013, 03:28 PM
Thinking of picking up an older suburban (99-02 ish) for a boat hauler specific vehicle. I know there's a body style change in there, I think in 01, but anyone have any experience towing with these? I'll be pulling 5k max with it, and usually much less, but I want the long wheelbase.

What motor should I avoid? Some have the 5.3, and some have the 5.7. If I can find a 2500 with the 6.0L in my price range, that'd be great, but I'm thinking the 5.7 is what I'll end up with. Also how are the trannys? My parents had a '95 and the trans went out at 180k. Is that about normal? Any other things to look out for?

Give me the rundown TTers.

02ProstarSammyD
04-19-2013, 03:45 PM
Can always buy my yukon with the 6.0.

With all seriousness I love my 6.0. Have 120k on it and not a thing has had to be done besides routine maint. It pulls like there isn't a boat and when I pull with a buddies 5.3 its a big difference.

tgreenwood
04-19-2013, 03:54 PM
I had a 1999 Suburban and all I have to say is be careful of the brakes. I want to say 99 was the last year with front disc and rear drum brakes and it had the older body style. I even put cross drilled performance rotors on mine and the thing did not stop. I had an accident resulting in me selling the truck. If I were in any other car I would've been able to stop but couldn't in my suburban. When you add pulling a boat to that you just have to be careful.

captain planet
04-19-2013, 03:54 PM
Thinking of picking up an older suburban (99-02 ish) for a boat hauler specific vehicle. I know there's a body style change in there, I think in 01, but anyone have any experience towing with these? I'll be pulling 5k max with it, and usually much less, but I want the long wheelbase.

What motor should I avoid? Some have the 5.3, and some have the 5.7. If I can find a 2500 with the 6.0L in my price range, that'd be great, but I'm thinking the 5.7 is what I'll end up with. Also how are the trannys? My parents had a '95 and the trans went out at 180k. Is that about normal? Any other things to look out for?

Give me the rundown TTers.

http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=20006

Here is the history with mine. When I'm towing I love it. When I'm not towing I would rather drive anything else.

Body change was in 2000. 5.3L started in 2000. If you get one with the Autoride system on it, check to see if it has been changed or if the shocks have been changed. If not, it will be in your near future. You can also include u-joints in that list. None of any of that should surprise you with a vehicle of that vintage. If it is in an area where they use salt you can also plan on new brake lines and fuel lines. That little gem was $700 last year.

The other problems I have had have been minimal/low cost. Fuel pressure regulator, fan speed module, headlight wire failure, were all low cost.

I guess I can't complain...the thing is 13 years old in OHIO where salt and brine solution are used for 4 months a year and the thing is a daily driver for my wife.

I'd sell you mine.....but it has been paid off for 4 years now. Nothing better than a free vehicle. 140K and counting

Ski-me
04-19-2013, 04:01 PM
Can always buy my yukon with the 6.0.

With all seriousness I love my 6.0. Have 120k on it and not a thing has had to be done besides routine maint. It pulls like there isn't a boat and when I pull with a buddies 5.3 its a big difference.

So, what's your mileage?

I also have a 3/4 ton 2004 and really haven't had too many repairs. I have the 8.1 (3.73 gears) and obviously, tows awesome! Gas is about 12 MPG though average. Towing the boat at 75MPH I get around 8-9 MPG.

Issues I've had at 105k, fuel pump replacement, both front wheel bearings, and I'm pretty sure they are now going out again. However, I do have larger tires (305's) that can contribute to the wheel bearing wear. Engine, tranny, rear end are great and very solid. Normal oil consumption is 1 quart per 2500 miles and has been that way since I bought it with 18k.

4 wheel disc came on 2000+ trucks.

mzimme
04-19-2013, 04:11 PM
So should I just not look at the 5.3 at all? I'm not going to be towing across the country by any means, but I'll probably take trips up to maybe 6 to 8 hours away occasionally. Will it handle that?

captain planet
04-19-2013, 04:21 PM
So should I just not look at the 5.3 at all? I'm not going to be towing across the country by any means, but I'll probably take trips up to maybe 6 to 8 hours away occasionally. Will it handle that?

The only issue I have with the 5.3 is it has had 'piston slap' since about 80K. Just let it warm up and it goes away. I've been told the 6.0 also has piston slap as well.

When I tow I'm nice to my truck and don't try to make it go 75 mph up hills towing my boat so I may not be the one to speak to regarding power. It has been enough for me. I was pleased with it's performance towing my boat to Columbus last year for the Buckeye Bash.

pmkkdx
04-19-2013, 04:32 PM
our last one was a '94 with the 6.5L turbo diesel (no, not the POS 6.2L) 3/4 ton with 4.10. We bought it new in '94 and drove it until both kids went off to college, upgraded to a '06 4runner since we weren't towing a bunch of kids to soccer/dance/basketball/etc (wife wanted something smaller & more manuverable). Anyway, we sold it with about 230k miles, it got 18-18.5 mpg average empty & 16+ towing boat ('83 S&S) or various small trailers up to our 28' travel trailer. Had to go thru the transmission at about 180k, injection system was replaced 3 or 4 times while under warranty, it ate batteries (had at least 7 pair replaced, all within their warranty) but I think that was due to the extremely high output alternator overcharging/boiling them dry. We loved that thing and it was very reliable (once Chevy got the bugs worked out of the injection system). I am not sure when they stopped putting those in the Suburban though, but it was a heck of a vehicle for us for the 12 years we had it.

CantRepeat
04-19-2013, 05:38 PM
I've towed with my 91 for a long time. It's also a great rec toy.

I put a GMPP 383 so it tows the X30 just fine.

http://www.mikesell.net/burbwoods.jpg

http://www.mikesell.net/burb/subboat.jpg

http://www.mikesell.net/burb/sub.jpg

http://www.mikesell.net/images/30.jpg

jhall0711
04-19-2013, 06:20 PM
I think the 5.3 is a great motor. For pulling the skier you have you wont even feel it. My buddy has an 02 1500 Suburban with 5.3 and pulls a 30 ft. camper with it. The motor has proven to be reliable but as CP stated there is some piston slap with the pre 04 models. The problem was fixed after that. It is not a real issue, it was just a result of too short of piston skirts which made some noise at start up.

The things have a ton of room and ride like a dream in my opinion.

Big Dogg
04-19-2013, 07:06 PM
Just to reverberate what CP stated, as soon as my 2000 Tahoe and 2002 Yukon XL broke that 80-90,000 mile mark the piston slap started. It is significantly louder during the colder months of the year. Honestly mine sounds more like a diesel. Also watch the 4L60E transmission, especially with towing. I broke the sunshell gears in mine and it was approximately $2K to fix. Here is a link to a website that tells you about the common signs and symptoms of the 4L60E transmission issues.

http://www.twincharlotte.com/transmission-repair-blog/bid/28391/30-Common-4L60E-Transmission-Problems-Repair-Charlotte-NC

Otherwise you have the little quirks of GM products. I seem to have to replace a power window motor about every 3-4 years. My Yukon XL is leather and needless to say GM's leather is not the best. Even with diligent maintenance (think MCOCD) and conditioning it, it still cracks and peels. Pulling at highway and interstate speeds with my boat, I have to aim for 65mph on the highway or 75mph on the interstate. If in between those speeds, the transmission is always kicking back and forth between gears in towing mode. Therefore, it kills fuel economy while pulling. On my 1 hour pull each direction, the best I can get is 10-12 mpg. Great trucks and I love mine. I still love the body design on the 2000-2006 models. Good luck with your purchase.

zsqure
04-19-2013, 11:03 PM
The 6.0 in the 3/4 ton should come with the 4L80E transmission, that may last a bit longer if it has not been abused already. Look for the right things such as tow package (extra trans cooler), z71 suspension package, correct load range tires on all 4 corners, g80 or 60 (limited slip) rear end cant remember what its called. Really be careful choosing the 5.3, some years had oil consumption issues. 4 wheel disc brakes should be a must have since you are building a wish list.

madcityskier
04-19-2013, 11:45 PM
MZ, contact Dan J. through the MasterCraft project, he's got a great condition one for what I think of as a very reasonable price. Even has a MasterCrafy decal already if I'm not mistaken. You could tow both f your boats with it, no problem.

XtwentyNot
04-20-2013, 11:26 AM
Get a 2500 with the biggest engine available, that way you get a real truck with big axles, big springs, big brakes, big transmission, big radiator, and a big transfer case (4x4).

With the 8.1 you get the bomb proof 4l85e Trans that has upgrades racers were doing to almost bomb proof 4l80's from the factory.

1500 vs 2500 suburban are two totally different animals.

mikeg205
04-20-2013, 12:00 PM
May Bert would part with his deuce and a half ;) - should tow no prob... ;)

Jason.H.
04-20-2013, 12:07 PM
I have an 02 5.3 tahoe with 170k miles and it runs like new. Minus some piston slap on cold start. gas mileage is 11-14 towing and 15-17 not towing. It tows my little tristar 190 like its a john boat

woobiedmd
04-20-2013, 01:09 PM
Definitely go for newer. As other people have said, the'99 had drums in rear, ate front pads every 15K and didn't stop very well. I still own an '01 Suburban with 162K. Normal maintenance plus a fuel pump at 80K. Didn't change the pads/rotors until 120K! Kids drive it now. Wife liked the older body style so she has an '05 Yukon XL with 80K. The 5.3L is OK, not too bad on gas and you can haul anyone/anything. When the zombie apocalypse hits, I'll be ready!

mzimme
04-22-2013, 09:34 AM
Thanks for all the info... I think I'll probably look for a 00+ model to get the 4 wheel discs. If I can find a 2500 within my price point, that'd be great. If not, I think I'll look for a 5.7.

Jerseydave
04-22-2013, 11:35 AM
I had a 2000 3/4 ton Suburban 6.0. Bought it back when I had my Formula 303SR1 and it pulled it ok. For what you tow it's plenty, not a nice daily driver though (poor mpg, rides rough)

I more recently had a 2007 suburban 1/2 ton, 5.3 liter. Pulls the X-star ok, better for towing my Prostar 190. Any 1/2 ton 2000-newer would be my suggestion for you. Mine got 13mpg towing the Prostar, 17 solo (both hwy)

93577

SKIBUMM
04-22-2013, 11:43 AM
I have a 2003 yukon with 180,000 miles and I have replaced the waterpump and the exhaust manafold bolts and a brakes and battery. It has the 5.3 and tows well. I have zero complaint with this truck and it owes me nothing. My wife will not let me get here a new one as she loves it.

CruisinGA
04-22-2013, 12:20 PM
My family had three 5.7L suburbans in the 90's.
Each had 2 transmissions while we owned them and one had 3 transmissions. The 4l60E is a piece of junk.

During that time I got in to Land Cruisers, and my entire family switched from Broncos & Suburbans to Land Cruisers & 4runners and we have not had a single transmission failure since. :D

aquaman
04-22-2013, 12:33 PM
My family had three 5.7L suburbans in the 90's.
Each had 2 transmissions while we owned them and one had 3 transmissions. The 41l60E is a piece of junk.

During that time I got in to Land Cruisers, and my entire family switched from Broncos & Suburbans to Land Cruisers & 4runners and we have not had a single transmission failure since. :D


4 Runner traded for LandCruiser 12 yrs ago.....now on my 3rd LandCrusier......great vehicle.

Get 19-20mpg highway when not towing.

mzimme
04-22-2013, 03:06 PM
Yeah, land cruiser is out of the budget unfortunately. I need to be able to tow a 3400lb dry boat plus gear/trailer/fuel weight so a 4runner is just about maxed out on tow cap. This will be used to pull a 20 foot vdrive mostly, and I want it to be able to go on the highway pretty well. Suburbans are cheap and there's a ton of them, so that seems the best route at this point.

CruisinGA
04-22-2013, 03:16 PM
I towed our '01 X9 with '93 FZJ80 Land Cruiser on 35's a few times. Besides not being able to get out of it's own way, it towed fine :D

Seriously- you can find '98 and '99 100 series land cruisers (4.7 V8) down around $7-8k. My roommate bought my dad's old '98 and it now has 250k. First non-schedule maintenance was a CV joint at 230k. It rides and drives better than my '06 Tundra with more than 3 times the miles.

Sorry if I'm distracting from the goal of the thread... The 5.3 and 5.7L engines are great, I just hate the rest of the truck.

mzimme
04-22-2013, 03:21 PM
I towed our '01 X9 with '93 FZJ80 Land Cruiser on 35's a few times. Besides not being able to get out of it's own way, it towed fine :D

Seriously- you can find '98 and '99 100 series land cruisers (4.7 V8) down around $7-8k. My roommate bought my dad's old '98 and it now has 250k. First non-schedule maintenance was a CV joint at 230k. It rides and drives better than my '06 Tundra with more than 3 times the miles.

Sorry if I'm distracting from the goal of the thread... The 5.3 and 5.7L engines are great, I just hate the rest of the truck.

What I'm attempting to do here is sell my Jeep XJ and just use that to purchase a different tow vehicle. I'd like to keep it around 5k or less. I know that's a terribly low budget, but the only thing this truck is going to do is tow a boat and get me through a couple snowy winter days a few times a year. I'll put less than 2500 miles on this in any given year so gas mileage and any other daily driver aspects of the vehicle are not a deterring factor. I just want a tow beast that won't be an eye sore in front of the house. I found an 01 'burb 2500 for $4500 with the 6.0L in it. 211k miles, but if I could get him down to 3800-4000 for it, I'd probably pop on that.

Voodoo
04-22-2013, 03:24 PM
We found Suburbans (had two) insufficient for our needs. Also blew out a tranny on a '98 model. Went with the diesel Excursion -- a different class of vehicle altogether, if you need that sort of capability. 18mpg empty, 15-16 mpg loaded.

drschemel
04-22-2013, 03:32 PM
Sounds reasonable. I traded my 01 Yucon XL with the 6L motor at 198K. It still ran strong, just was starting to drip a little oil. Pulling power shouldn't be a problem. If you have "autoride" that isn't working, there is a source to deactivate it and replace it with bilstein shocks. At some point, an old high mileage truck is going to breakdown - probably without warning and at a most inconvient time. Doesn't matter if it is a toyota and someone else has 300K miles on theirs or if it is a GMC. It's just going to happen and that's the risk you take driving a high mileage truck.

CruisinGA
04-23-2013, 12:40 AM
Sounds reasonable. I traded my 01 Yucon XL with the 6L motor at 198K. It still ran strong, just was starting to drip a little oil. Pulling power shouldn't be a problem. If you have "autoride" that isn't working, there is a source to deactivate it and replace it with bilstein shocks. At some point, an old high mileage truck is going to breakdown - probably without warning and at a most inconvient time. Doesn't matter if it is a toyota and someone else has 300K miles on theirs or if it is a GMC. It's just going to happen and that's the risk you take driving a high mileage truck.

You are on the money.

I might be a little biased.... :D

x-swagger
04-23-2013, 10:32 AM
I have an '03 with the 8.1L 496 in it. It's awesome, pretty fun to tow an X-45 with the same engine in it too.
Gas mileage, however, is awful.

dsword
04-23-2013, 10:58 AM
We have a 2002 with the 5.3 liter motor. The motor pulls well down low. No problem pulling an XStar up a fairly steep launch ramp. Loses power up long hills. But we put on 35 inch tires and have not re geared yet.

David Sword

Traxx822
04-23-2013, 11:15 AM
Having 35" tires isn't that big a of a difference in means of power or gas mileage (unless you have swampers). Not trying to offend anyone but the GM 5.3 is underpowered IMHO.

I have always had either the GM 5.7 or the 6.0 and neither are underpowered and can gain plenty of needed speed up the longest and steepest of hills/mountains.

I wouldn't go any smaller than that in GM.

jhall0711
04-23-2013, 02:30 PM
Yeah, land cruiser is out of the budget unfortunately. I need to be able to tow a 3400lb dry boat plus gear/trailer/fuel weight so a 4runner is just about maxed out on tow cap. This will be used to pull a 20 foot vdrive mostly, and I want it to be able to go on the highway pretty well. Suburbans are cheap and there's a ton of them, so that seems the best route at this point.

Used to pull a 20 ft v drive? Sounds like you have opted to keep the Supra instead of flip for another MC?

mzimme
04-23-2013, 03:24 PM
Used to pull a 20 ft v drive? Sounds like you have opted to keep the Supra instead of flip for another MC?

For now, that's what I'm thinking.. yeah. I just don't think I can get into a boat as new and with as many options for as cheap as I got into the Supra. I'll only have a ~10k loan on the supra, so I'll never lose any money on it even if I kept it for 10-12 years. I'm still young, not married, no kids, etc. so my idea is to enjoy this one for a few years until I'm in a position to have a lot of equity built up to put into another MC, and upgrade later. Even in a few years I'll most likely make 10 grand off this boat, so it just makes sense right now. A comparable 2006 model of the MC v-drives puts me in the 40-50k dollar range. I'm in for 17,500 total on the Supra. That's hard to turn away from.

I'm back and forth on it every day. I really love the S&S, and keeping the Supra means I need to get rid of the MC. It's such a pretty boat, but I feel the Supra will do the things I want to do much better, and on top of that I can bring 9 other people with me and still have room to store stuff.