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Suburban 2500 #4547096
10/18/17 10:40 AM
10/18/17 10:40 AM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,445
San Rafael, CA
dogememe Online content OP
dogememe  Online Content OP
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,445
San Rafael, CA
My next vehicle is going to be a Suburban 2500 because I need to tow my Escape and a bunch of stuff across the country when I move, once I fix up and sell the Dodge. Budget about $3k. I know I'm going to be going for a high mileage vehicle in questionable shape but I'm happy to do repairs and I don't care too much how it looks on the outside.

I'm trying to make two decisions: 1. small block vs big block and 2. 96+ GMT400 vs GMT800

I've owned many GMT400 trucks, 98 k1500, 96 yukon, 95 suburban, 99 suburban, 92 c1500 (all half ton small blocks) in all of those, the tbi trucks (95-) have never given me any mechanical issues at all, and every single one of the vortec trucks (96+) has had bad intake manifold gaskets during my ownerships. That said, I can change intake gaskets in a weekend and entire 5.7s are cheap. I don't want another TBI because I want OBD2.

I really love how GMT400s look and ride but steering and brakes are notoriously awful. I've driven a single GMT800 Suburban 1500 and steering and brakes were far better, and I'm assuming the GMT800 Suburban 2500s are better the same way.

The cheapest and most "economical" option in these vehicles is the 5.7L (if I go GMT400) and 6.0L (if I go GMT800). Primary benefit to this is not the 1MPG or so improvement but the price and ease of repair. Plus, if I get a GMT800 with 6.0L a few years down the road it could end up with a supercharger wink but that's off topic.

However, the bigger engines (7.4/8.1) get me a lot more power and torque stock with a slight hit in fuel economy. My biggest concern is reliability and cost of repair. I've heard they're all oil burners which doesn't bother me one bit (I check oil every fuel fill-up) but overall if the engine goes bad it's a lot more money and they're not as easy to find.

So, BITOG folks, help me out smile Thanks!


2010 Ford Escape 2.5 ~91K Miles: AMSOIL SS 5W-30, AMSOIL SS FE ATF.
1995 Chevy Silverado 5.7 ~277K Miles: Delo 10W-30, AMSOIL OE MV ATF.
AMSOIL
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547146
10/18/17 11:21 AM
10/18/17 11:21 AM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,091
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline
Nick1994  Offline
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,091
Phoenix, AZ
Why do you need to tow your Escape across the country? Just drive it.

What else do you need to tow?


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 88k Motorcraft Synthetic Blend 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 231k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: Nick1994] #4547163
10/18/17 11:33 AM
10/18/17 11:33 AM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,445
San Rafael, CA
dogememe Online content OP
dogememe  Online Content OP
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,445
San Rafael, CA
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Why do you need to tow your Escape across the country? Just drive it.

What else do you need to tow?


Uh, because rather than renting a cargo trailer to bring stuff I'm going to pack it all in the Escape, and I want a Suburban anyway, may as well make it a 2500 and get a 4L80E instead of another 4L60E that would be in a Suburban 1500 like I've had fail on me twice? But anyway, other than that one trip, I'm not going to be towing anything with the Suburban, just driving it.

Last edited by dogememe; 10/18/17 11:33 AM.

2010 Ford Escape 2.5 ~91K Miles: AMSOIL SS 5W-30, AMSOIL SS FE ATF.
1995 Chevy Silverado 5.7 ~277K Miles: Delo 10W-30, AMSOIL OE MV ATF.
AMSOIL
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547181
10/18/17 11:47 AM
10/18/17 11:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,307
New York City
SeaJay Offline
SeaJay  Offline
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,307
New York City
If it was me, I would try to get (within your budget) the vehicle that is in the best shape overall, and take whatever engine it comes with. Most of those engines will run longer than the body and accessories of the vehicle will last. Any of those engines will get the job done, though some better than others.

For example, if lots of work on suspension, steering, brakes needs doing -- sure you can do the work and save $$, but the price of parts adds up very quickly. good luck.

Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547182
10/18/17 11:47 AM
10/18/17 11:47 AM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,283
WI
HoosierJeeper Offline
HoosierJeeper  Offline
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,283
WI
I'm not very knowledgeable about GM trucks but I have heard lots of people sing the praises of the 6.0, they're still using it today even (I think?). I'd go for a GMT800.


15 Jeep KL Limited V6: Formula Shell 5W20
07 LR3 SE V8: Maxlife 5W30
05 Jeep KJ Limited: PHM 5W30
96 Jeep XJ Country: STP HM 5W30 (winter)
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547186
10/18/17 11:49 AM
10/18/17 11:49 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,046
Utah
CKN Online content
CKN  Online Content
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,046
Utah
You going to have VERY DIFFICULT finding one in your budget that isn't ready for the junk yard.

Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547198
10/18/17 11:58 AM
10/18/17 11:58 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,198
Campbellsville, KY
Alex_V Offline
Alex_V  Offline
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,198
Campbellsville, KY
I'd aim for as good a 350-powered GMT-400 as you can get. A 3/4 ton will get you the 4L80 which will respond better to much towing. That vehicle should handle towing 7,500 lbs. without too much stress, will be cheaper (to purchase and operate) than a big block, and though I acknowledge the GMT800's are good trucks they seem to be plauged by more electrical issues than the older ones.


To quote a friend, "Synthetics, man."

'85 GMC C3500, 454, 132K
'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 173K (totaled 2018, in rehab)
'85 Mercedes 300TD, OM617 turbo, 217K (wife's)
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547243
10/18/17 12:44 PM
10/18/17 12:44 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,091
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline
Nick1994  Offline
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,091
Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: dogememe
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Why do you need to tow your Escape across the country? Just drive it.

What else do you need to tow?


Uh, because rather than renting a cargo trailer to bring stuff I'm going to pack it all in the Escape, and I want a Suburban anyway, may as well make it a 2500 and get a 4L80E instead of another 4L60E that would be in a Suburban 1500 like I've had fail on me twice? But anyway, other than that one trip, I'm not going to be towing anything with the Suburban, just driving it.
crackmeup Hilarious reasoning.


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 88k Motorcraft Synthetic Blend 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 231k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547299
10/18/17 01:55 PM
10/18/17 01:55 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,416
Grand Rapids, MI
WishIhadatruck Offline
WishIhadatruck  Offline
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,416
Grand Rapids, MI
I have spent a lot of time behind the wheel of GMT-400's and 800's. I agree the GMT-400 1500 Suburban's had less than adequate brakes. The GMT-800's are clearly better. Better vehicles overall actually, although I also love the look of the 400's, especially the 2500's with the fender flares. . If you really want a 2500, then I think you'll find the 2500 400's have much better brakes than the 1500's did of that generation. You might want to find one to test drive before you dismiss them for the brakes. I think either generation would be a good option.

If you go with a newer 800, I think you could get away with the 1500 model and save a lot of gas once your move is over. They feel much better suited for towing than the older 1500's did. Better brakes and handling.

A newer GMT-800 with the 8.1L is probably out of your price range regardless of miles or condition. I love mine however.


1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon
2014 Cruze Eco Manual
2003 2500 Suburban, 8.1L
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547336
10/18/17 02:40 PM
10/18/17 02:40 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,614
North Carolina
Rat407 Offline
Rat407  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,614
North Carolina
There are a bunch of 2500 Suburbans around here. Prices start at $1,500 and go up to $10K.

I say go with a GMT800, I'm on the GM-Trucks forum a bunch and never hear much issues with the GMT800 and most really still like them over the newer platforms.

2500 Suburban with 8.1

Last edited by Rat407; 10/18/17 02:43 PM.

2002 Silverado 5.3 0w-20 AMSOIL
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547388
10/18/17 04:02 PM
10/18/17 04:02 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,811
Ottumwa, Iowa
jhellwig Offline
jhellwig  Offline
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,811
Ottumwa, Iowa
I would only get a gtm800 03 or later. Much better vehicle. The 8.1 was a good engine just an odd duck that was only made 5 years. The early 6.0 wasn't the greatest thing but they had most of the issues worked out after the first few years.

The brakes on a 2500 gtm400 suck as bad as the 1500. They are either questionable if they will stop it or way to strong. 95 was the new interior and last year of tbi. The tbi 5.7 isn't bad but it can't breathe. Obd 1 is easy to figure out. The vortec was better in the later years. Get rid of all the quick connects on the heater hoses. They like to leak.

I currently have a 95 2500 4x4 with the 5.7 with 150000 on it. It isn't in the best shape but is easy to fix and is a beast. I used to have an 89 2500 4x4 with the tbi 5.7. It was also a beast. I wish I still had it.


Sparks fly from my fingers.

1995 Chevy K2500 Suburban lt 5.7
2014 Toyota Sienna
1983 Chevy K5 350
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: Rat407] #4547389
10/18/17 04:03 PM
10/18/17 04:03 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,046
Utah
CKN Online content
CKN  Online Content
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,046
Utah
Originally Posted By: Rat407
There are a bunch of 2500 Suburbans around here. Prices start at $1,500 and go up to $10K.

I say go with a GMT800, I'm on the GM-Trucks forum a bunch and never hear much issues with the GMT800 and most really still like them over the newer platforms.

2500 Suburban with 8.1


His budget is $3,000.00.......

Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547474
10/18/17 05:46 PM
10/18/17 05:46 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 21,123
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 21,123
Upstate NY
Three grand is not a lot of money for any vehicle much less a Suburban 2500. You will probably spend another $1000 in fixing everything to make it long-trip ready.

What year did the in-tank fuel pumps get better in the GM vehicles? It was [censored] in my 1993 Suburban.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: dogememe] #4547538
10/18/17 06:44 PM
10/18/17 06:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 515
Fort Worth TX
TheKracken Offline
TheKracken  Offline
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 515
Fort Worth TX
My wife really wants a suburban or an excursion...didnt know there were that many options on these things!


2011 Prius 96k miles RLI 5w20
97 Toy T100 4x4: amsoil 0w20 242k Miles
04 Toy Sienna awd: Pennzoil 0w20 281k Miles
Re: Suburban 2500 [Re: TheKracken] #4547626
10/18/17 07:29 PM
10/18/17 07:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,046
Utah
CKN Online content
CKN  Online Content
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,046
Utah
Originally Posted By: TheKracken
My wife really wants a suburban or an excursion...didnt know there were that many options on these things!



Why would anybody want anything bigger than a Suburban unless your towing a LONG>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>trailer?

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