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Choosing a Suburban

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bearkat, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. bearkat

    bearkat Newbie

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    First I would like to say that ya’ll have an excellent site here with tons of great information. I am new to the board and am just starting my search for a Suburban. I have narrowed my search down to the 1989 to 1991 year models simply because I like the body trim and grill of the later years. However, I am open to other years if they have some mechanical feature that places them above the later year models. I am also still debating on a 1500 or 2500. The Suburban would be replacing my 1997 Tahoe since I need more room. I would use the Suburban for a part time dd and for family trips. We take about four trips per year that are approximately 450 miles each way. There are also the occasional trips that are less than half that length.

    As for off road needs, I have another rig that I use as my primary trail vehicle and dd. The Burb would be for running fairly established Forest Service roads in the mountains and going on hunting trips. So it will see some light mud and rocks. I am thinking ¾ ton because I can see a 20’ or so camper in our near future plus being able to get lower gears without doing an r&p swap.

    After looking at some pictures here and reading many posts I think 4” lift and 35s will be my max. I like the idea of the rear shackle reversal and new Tuff County springs up front. It sounds like this setup will still give an excellent ride and good handling.

    With these uses and needs in mind, would you recommend a ¾ or ½ ton Burb? Are there any reason I should consider year models other than 1989 ~ 1991? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Bryan
     
  2. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    You seem like you have a good plan down except for the Shackle "Flip"... Do a serach, there are some threads on how they have ill effects on towing. Not good when haulin the family and towing a 20' camper. But other than that, it sounds good!
     
  3. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I would suggest a 3/4 ton. You've made some wise choices. Look for a '91 with a 4L80E if possible.
     
  4. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    I have an 89 3/4ton burb for my tow/driver, I'd recommend it for you. Mine needs a lot of work but I'm getting rid of my 97 2500 and going back to my Burb. Its been said many times about shackle flip and towing, the thing isn't so much the flip as it is the lift. Any vehicle with a lift isn't going to tow the same as a stock rig. At least with a shackle flip you still have the stock spring rate and all so you can tow with confidence. WHo can tell me the load specs of a set of tuff country or any aftermarket rear springs for that matter?
     
  5. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

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    If you're thinking daily driver and tow vehicle, I'd stick to no lift and smaller tires. I'm using my 91 Burb for DD duties and trips to the snow. I'm running 4.10s, 33" and the 4L80E trans. I love the trans for gas milage on the highway. I haven't towed yet and based on the power of the 350 in a 6000# truck, it's going to really tax the motor. The trucks pretty gutless right now, add a trailer and it's only going to get worse. Unfortunatly, 350 was as big as they went in 4x4 Burbs. You could go with smaller tires or lower gears, but then you start losing that great gas milage and taching the engine higher for all those daily driver chores.

    Forget the lift and the 35" tires if you think you will be towing. If you have the trailer and the rig you buy is sitting on stock tires, try towing before you do anything. Make some decisions based on that.

    Good Luck.


    Eric M.

    [​IMG]
    Doesn't look as mean as some of the Burbs out there, but it's a DD. I've got the "Other" truck when I want to look "Mean"!
     
  6. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    well good choices. i would say 3/4 ton for sure never hurts to have extra capasity. i love my burb (88) and the only thing that would want to make you go older is carbs, if you want to work on it your self witha carbed moter go older, if you like fi stick with the new ones.

    as i am sure you know if you have been reading this site is that you can swap the older style trucks front grill for the newer ones, if you cant find what you looking for and go older.
     
  7. djsblaze

    djsblaze 1/2 ton status

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    I just bought a new suburban, and had to make the same choice. I went 3/4 ton for no other reason than its "heavier duty". I figure bigger is better. Good luck with the new family hauler.
     
  8. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    3/4 ton for sure. No reason to skimp on durability....and everyone with a 1/2 ton that does any offroading or towing starts swapping parts to 3/4 or 1 ton. So why not just start with the stregnth you desire?

    Im a firm believer that 1/2 burb's shouldn't be built for anythign more than soccer moms.
     
  9. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    TBI 350 and 4l80e is not a good combination. My 95 K2500 had this combo and it was junk. 4.10 gears and it was completely gutless. I never towed a good load with it but I wasn't looking forward to the first time I had to. My 97 C2500 is a Vortec 350 with a 4l80e that thing is WAY faster, better accelerating, and better off the line than the TBI rig was.
     
  10. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    I recently bought an 89 2500 3/4 ton from another board member. He used it to pull his Blazer but he also swapped out the stock 350 and replaced it with a Vortec 350 with bigger cam. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet but if you plan on pulling a K5 or something similar you should step up to a 3/4 ton if possible
     
  11. timmay

    timmay Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I like the idea of the rear shackle reversal and new Tuff County springs up front.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I wouldn't use a shackle flip for towing.
     
  12. bearkat

    bearkat Newbie

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    Thank you for all the responses. It looks like a 3/4 ton is the way to go. I will definately look into lift choices vs. my towing plans before I make a decision.
     
  13. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    First off I am very impressed with your knowledge. Sounds like you did a good job searching and found lots of info. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    3/4 for sure. Any 89-90-91 is a nice burb. The one thing nice about the 89's is that it still has a mechanical speedometer.
     
  14. fourx4dazzle

    fourx4dazzle Registered Member

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    /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif One of my best friends has a rather capable 2500 91'suburban you can see what it does by going to www.vv4w.org look at pictures or go to bbo4 pic's. His tows fine, has a 8" front lift, new rear springs w/ rev.(stock) shackles (they are both bent) Off Road Design is r&d-ing stronger ones to sell to fix this little prob. He has gone to 1 ton front and 14 full float rear, best mod's when running larger than 35" tires. I feel a 454 would be better than a 350 but w/low enough gears it will pull just fine maybe 60or50 up a hill not 80 but look at the gas savings. Good luck, hope the pictures help. /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  15. ratzila

    ratzila 1/2 ton status

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    I started out with a 90 V2500. When you decide to go to 1 ton you won't have to buy new wheels /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif I also had a worn out 350 that has since been replaced with a 454. I could'nt be happier.The truck is too tall now to tow anything but it has all the power I need. /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif So the 3/4 ton would be a better platform to start off with. Good luck on findng a /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif
     
  16. tch777

    tch777 1/2 ton status

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    Some others might snub it but I would get a 3/4 with a 6.2 diesel. Hopefully it has a turbo kit on it or shop for a turbo 6.5 to drop in place of it. I looked for a diesel for a year before I settled on the 350.

    JMHO

    Tim
     
  17. smokkey1

    smokkey1 1/2 ton status

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    that burb is sweet /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
    what size tires is he running?
     
  18. Diesel Dan

    Diesel Dan 1/2 ton status

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    Bryan,
    PM'ed ya, looks like my sub is on the chopping block.
     
  19. bearkat

    bearkat Newbie

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    Thank you for all the info.! Nice pics of the Burb in the rocks! Dan, I will send you an email shortly.
     
  20. woody9

    woody9 1/2 ton status

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    sounds like you pretty much got it nailed down! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
    Luv my 91 1500 (with 14FF/4:10s in it). Searched 18 months when i was in colo for the right one. Never found it. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif Happened to be on a business trip to San Antonio, and tripped right over some, and flew back a week later to drive mine home! (93,000, 1 owner, garaged @ work & home!!, no rust! Sweet ride!! /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif) Intended light off road in Colo, but got transferred to WIS, and (no flames here!!) haven't found the kinda 4 wheeling i'm used to. WOuld take the other truck for that anyway, or would have until i had to put a plow on it!
    Suggest filling out your profile so we can tell you when we spot one 2 blocks away from ya! /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
    3/4 is mo' betta! remember a tranny cooler &/or temp gauge if setting up for towing (I pull a large TT with mine and love it!--- lost 2 rear 10 bolts before making the leap to 14 bolt!) Was almost a wash in mileage from 10 bolt/15's to the 14FF with 16" on it. Can sneak into double digits if i'm careful when towing!
    Keep us posted on what u find!
    Welcome! /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     

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