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need opinions on towing with 1/2 ton 90 Burb

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BranndonC, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. BranndonC

    BranndonC 3/4 ton status

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    I've been looking for a tow rig for a while now and just today i drove past a 1990 suburban 1500, so i call the sell down, he opens it up and it looks great inside, like new interior, power everything, i mean perfect. Anyway he wants 2000 for it and thats not a problem, i just want to know if a 1990 1500 burb can tow say 8-9k ok.

    it has stock 31's on it and was very well taken care of.
    i'm so excited /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif if it tows my truck fine i'll call the guy tongiht and tell him its sold. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  2. SUBFAN

    SUBFAN 1/2 ton status

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    If it is like mine, with a weak a$$ TBI and 3.42 gears, I would have to say no way.

    I would shop some more, or plan on upgrading this one too....
     
  3. BranndonC

    BranndonC 3/4 ton status

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    i could re gear if i had to, but 2k for a burb with great interior seems really good concidering i paid 7k for my blazer
     
  4. skratch

    skratch 1/2 ton status

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    They can hack it if they're geared right. ie 3.73's like mine had stock.
    But your still pushing it.
    The TBI 350 isn't the best choice for towing in a Burb and they really don't have the brake's to do the job in half ton form. Now if you wanted to get it, swap in a 14FF with 1 ton brakes and do an 8 lug conversion out front to up the rotor size, it'd be a much better tow rig and at a good price.
    I'd kill to find a '90 at that price around here.
     
  5. BranndonC

    BranndonC 3/4 ton status

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    yeah i'm thinking i'll do at least disc brakes rear and gears if needed, but i'm still looking for a little more input before i call the guy back and tell him i'll take it. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  6. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    yeah i'm thinking i'll do at least disc brakes rear and gears if needed, but i'm still looking for a little more input before i call the guy back and tell him i'll take it. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Okay, I think the obvious is being overlooked here.......

    What rearend are we looking at? Are you willing to replace that weaka** 10 bolt?

    And what transmission does it have? Automatics pretty much suck for towing and there's no way I'd even consider towing something like a K5 with a small block with an automatic.

    Now if you are interested, I know where a '90 1 ton, SRW, 454, 400 tranny crew cab Chevy 2wd is sitting for $4000. That would be a little better......If interested, drop me a PM, I have the dealer's card.
     
  7. BranndonC

    BranndonC 3/4 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]

    Okay, I think the obvious is being overlooked here.......

    What rearend are we looking at? Are you willing to replace that weaka** 10 bolt?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Why would the 10 bolt matter if its a on street truck only anyway? cant the 10 bolt hold up to the towing? if not i can get a 14FF for it.

    [ QUOTE ]

    And what transmission does it have? Automatics pretty much suck for towing and there's no way I'd even consider towing something like a K5 with a small block with an automatic.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    3 speed over drive, i woulda thought 700r4 but itnt r4 4wd only? so not sure there

    [ QUOTE ]

    Now if you are interested, I know where a '90 1 ton, SRW, 454, 400 tranny crew cab Chevy 2wd is sitting for $4000. That would be a little better......If interested, drop me a PM, I have the dealer's card.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    i appreciate that but one of the bennifits of the burb is i can camp in it on trips. also for 2k i could make it much better
     
  8. bigburban383

    bigburban383 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    If it is like mine, with a weak a$$ TBI and 3.42 gears, I would have to say no way.

    I would shop some more, or plan on upgrading this one too....

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Same here, my stock driveline with 33's, it had a hard enough time towning itself down the road. I now have 35's, a 14BFF with 4.10's and a 388 in the making. It will be a hauler when I get some 4.88 gears.
     
  9. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Why would the 10 bolt matter if its a on street truck only anyway? cant the 10 bolt hold up to the towing? if not i can get a 14FF for it.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    You've already got what, a 6K pound truck, then pulling twice it's weight; I wouldn't. I don't look at anything under 3/4 ton for consideration for towing, it ain't happening. That's too much load for a 10 bolt in stock semi-float mode.

    [ QUOTE ]
    3 speed over drive, i woulda thought 700r4 but itnt r4 4wd only? so not sure there


    [/ QUOTE ]

    It's a 700. Again, that's a lot of weight. As much as I love them, there's no way I'll tow that much with one, even with a super duper cooler on it. Heat kills trannys and towing that much weight is going to generate a lot of heat, especially when you hit hills. Just a little tidbit, my K5 is on it's second transmission. It was replaced a few years before I bought it. From all indications, the previous owners towed with it, probably a boat. Hmmm......400 series tranny, yeah maybe but towing is more stress on parts.

    Finding a decent deal on a decent tow rig out here in CA is almost impossible. Depends on how cheap you want to go. Like I said before, I only consider 3/4 ton and above for towing, and I don't want a automatic, therefore I'm screwed.

    I looked at a '90 Ford 3/4 Diesel a few weeks ago. Setup with 5th wheel, body had some minor damage, needed tires and had an automatic. Owner wanted $7K, Kelly said $4K and that was high. I can guarantee ya that there's no way I could have talked that guy down. He'll get his price.

    If you are serious about getting a serious tow rig, talk to crawlin73 and ask him how he got that purple beast of his, it might help ya.

    And don't look at just Subs either. You can get a camper shell for a P/U and go from there, or be like one of the yahoos here and get a pimp daddy camper for your tow rig and stay warm and have all the fun stuff like sink and stove.
     
  10. bryguy00b

    bryguy00b 3/4 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    3 speed over drive, i woulda thought 700r4 but itnt r4 4wd only? so not sure there


    [/ QUOTE ]


    nope, 700's are just as comon in 2wd. they also used them in caprices and many other cars/vans
     
  11. woody9

    woody9 1/2 ton status

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    Yes it will! ONCE! (and not for a long distance!!) /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
    I pull a #,000LB camper with my 91 (not giving the number in case the weight police are watching).. but the week after i got it home from the dealer, i shelled (and i mean SHELLED!!!!) the limp-#ick 10 bolt! (3:42). Locally, little to be had to be a DIRECT MATCH (3:42, posi, etc).. so, about 200 miles each way, and $1K later.. (oh, and some assembly required too! that was OVER THE COUNTER price!!).... it's in.
    about 3 more trips (of any distance) and i discover a rear wheel oil seal leak. I don't have the time so i take it to the local wrench-house. They call that afternoon, and say they had a problem! They couldn't get the "C" clip out!
    Well, long story short... it was another $400 for a replacement axle (twisted splines).
    That was it!
    Went on a 14FF hunt!
    Found some 4:10s (with MEGA rear brakes!! 13")... and now, those axles live happily ever after under it! (axles- $200; new brake parts & drum: $350, new 8 lug rims/tires - $550)...
    It tows much better now! (4 row radiator, tranny temp gauge & cooler too btw).
    Sweet trucks in the 1500! Only so-so for towing.
    Hold out for a 3/4 ton if ya can!

    Just my $$00.02 worth. Your mileage may vary.
     
  12. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    I tow a 28foot travel trailer with my 75 burb (1/2ton D44/12bolt)it has 4" lift, 33's tired 350/TH350/203 and 3.08's /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif yeah towing is a little slow going up hill's, but I've never had a problem towing this way in the 2 yrs that I've owned it. But I am swapping to 3/4ton and 4.10's as soon as I finish redoing the axles /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  13. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    I guarantee that a 1/2 ton Sub is not factory rated to tow anywhere near 9k. My '03 2500HD is only rated at 9,800 lb. towing capacity with the 4.10 gears and towing package.

    The engine is the least of the worries when towing. I'm sure the 350 TBI won't be able to pull mountain grades at 70 mph towing that much but it should be acceptable and get to from point A to point B.

    The Sub platform is good because you have the wheelbase and weight, the downsides are the 1/2 ton axles, transmission, springs, and brakes......which will give you biggest issues when towing.

    - 10-bolt rear axle - there is really no way you can expect this axle to last very long when towing that much. There's a reason the manufacturers put 14FF, Dana 70's, and Dana 80's under 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks...even 2wd trucks that never see off-road.

    - 700r4 trans - again, it's not designed for this type of use. If you put a big cooler on it, tow in drive, and keep an eye on the temperature it might last a while.

    - springs - the 1/2 ton springs are just way too soft to safely control that much weight. Several years ago a company tried to use an 1/2 ton Burb to tow a large camper trailer. I'm not sure of the total weight, but definitely less than 9k, and it was completely unsafe to drive in stock form because of the sway. We installed 3/4 ton springs, HD shocks, heavier tires, and a weight distributing hitch with dual sway control just to make it reasonably stable.

    - brakes - 1/2 ton brakes, especially those found on a '90 model, are just barely adequate for the truck itself. Even with good trailer brakes you probably won't have very good brake performance and risk brake fade if you travel in really hilly areas.
     
  14. sandracer0004

    sandracer0004 1/2 ton status

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    id like to chime in here on this subject as i have the same,

    89 burb, and a 04 28' toy hauler, weights 7k empty!
    I have upgraded following
    3/4 ton d44,
    corp 14 (both with 4:10 gears)
    rear disk brakes.
    3/4 ton calipers, 3/4ton proportion valve,
    3/4 ton springs, with 1 ton overloads.
    trailer brakes.
    dual shocks,
    air bags.

    once you upgrade the suspension you will def want to upgrade the motor,
    i have 6" lift with 36" tsls and it def work to get it to 55, and 70, i think i could prob get to 70 in about 10 miles! o and i have a 700r4 in good condition, (well see how good after a few trips!)

    If i where you save your money, get a 3/4 ton truck, and find a big block. thats what im doing, but ive already spent enough now i could have just bought the truck and been done.

    (guess the old adage built not bought is still pounded in my brain!)
     
  15. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    1/2 ton means 1/2 ton brakes, suspension, and axles.

    no dice. 3/4 is pushing it with our rigs.
     
  16. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    he's talking about a burb, not a blazer
     
  17. woody9

    woody9 1/2 ton status

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    Sandracer,
    seems we've taken our 1/2's about the distance, but the other fine print is that the FRAMES are also different between the 1/2 & 3/4s... a strenght/thickness issue, and short of a body-swap, that will always leave the 1/2 ton a bit short...

    Then again, a liberal application of $$$$$$$$$$$ can solve most any problem! /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  18. SUBFAN

    SUBFAN 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    - brakes - 1/2 ton brakes, especially those found on a '90 model, are just barely adequate for the truck itself. Even with good trailer brakes you probably won't have very good brake performance and risk brake fade if you travel in really hilly areas.

    [/ QUOTE ]



    Definately agree here /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif
     
  19. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    And what transmission does it have? Automatics pretty much suck for towing and there's no way I'd even consider towing something like a K5 with a small block with an automatic.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    You need to borrow my C30 sometime then. It's worn out, but it'll pull ANYTHING you've got the balls to hook it to, and do it safely, it just won't do it fast.
     
  20. u2slow

    u2slow 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    want to know if a 1990 1500 burb can tow say 8-9k

    [/ QUOTE ]

    /forums/images/graemlins/histerical.gif /forums/images/graemlins/histerical.gif /forums/images/graemlins/histerical.gif

    I laugh only because you're asking. I wouldn't be if you were actually towing.

    According to this '89 Suburban brochure, you're good up to l1,000lbs with 3.42, or 12,000 with 3.73 COMBINED truck & trailer weight WHEN it has the trailering package.

    http://brochures.slosh.com/1989/burb3.jpg

    [ QUOTE ]
    don't look at anything under 3/4 ton for consideration for towing

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Agreed. I've experienced a couple of hairy incidents (near miss type) that made a lasting impression. I now keep my trailer weights well under the maximum. For the same money you should easily be able to find a truck with less bling and more towing capacity.
     

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