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PurdueGuy

80s or 90s suburban

11 posts in this topic

Alright, I'm almost convinced I'm going to buy a suburban. My vehicle needs:

people hauler:

I just moved to Idaho, and when friends/family come to visit I will need to pick them up at Salt Lake City (2.5hr drive). Thus, 5 or more comfortable passenger capacity needed.

stuff hauler:

Cuz sometimes you want to haul stuff. I'm currently tempted to get a kayak or something like that. Beautiful land out here in ID.

rough-road warrior

I want to explore the back roads of Idaho, which are generally dirt (though today I got my Saturn stuck in sand...) I don't want to have to worry about whether my vehicle can handle it. As a part of this, ground clearance is important due to roads that are basically two ruts, or if I accidentally venture into sand again. This pretty much narrows the field to trucks and truck-based SUVs. Also because of the rough roads, cosmetics are NOT important. I don't want an absolutely ugly vehicle, but blemishes will just be a part of life for the vehicle. I am not intending this to be a true off-road vehicle, but capable enough that it can get by if it happens to wander that way...

cheap:

I'm a tightwad, and this is an extra/occasional use vehicle. Definately below $10k. Probably more like $5k or below. Even cheaper is better - I don't mind fixing some things.

So basically I've come down to a crew cab full-size truck (GM preferred, Ford's ok, others if the price were right I guess), or a full-size truck based SUV. 80s suburbans seem to be pretty common out here, and are running around $1500. I can afford to fix some minor stuff for that, and I don't mind the styling. I'm currently eyeballing a loaded 86 GMC Suburban 1500 w/ 6.2L diesel. I test drove it today, and it's painfully slow, so I would likely consider a banks turbo setup down the road (about $2,200 and drastically improves performance).

If I don't find a good deal on a crew cab pickup, then it's basically 80s suburban + turbo kit later vs 90s suburban left alone

Thoughts & input?

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What about a Jeep or a first gen Durango? I always liked those.

If it's only GM you'll buy, then I'd say a `90s Suburban...hauls stuff in a closed space but has penty of room for said stuff...and can seat more if need be than a truck. Plus it's as capable as a pickup.

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Alright, I'm almost convinced I'm going to buy a suburban. My vehicle needs:

people hauler:

I just moved to Idaho, and when friends/family come to visit I will need to pick them up at Salt Lake City (2.5hr drive). Thus, 5 or more comfortable passenger capacity needed.

stuff hauler:

Cuz sometimes you want to haul stuff. I'm currently tempted to get a kayak or something like that. Beautiful land out here in ID.

rough-road warrior

I want to explore the back roads of Idaho, which are generally dirt (though today I got my Saturn stuck in sand...) I don't want to have to worry about whether my vehicle can handle it. As a part of this, ground clearance is important due to roads that are basically two ruts, or if I accidentally venture into sand again. This pretty much narrows the field to trucks and truck-based SUVs. Also because of the rough roads, cosmetics are NOT important. I don't want an absolutely ugly vehicle, but blemishes will just be a part of life for the vehicle. I am not intending this to be a true off-road vehicle, but capable enough that it can get by if it happens to wander that way...

cheap:

I'm a tightwad, and this is an extra/occasional use vehicle. Definately below $10k. Probably more like $5k or below. Even cheaper is better - I don't mind fixing some things.

So basically I've come down to a crew cab full-size truck (GM preferred, Ford's ok, others if the price were right I guess), or a full-size truck based SUV. 80s suburbans seem to be pretty common out here, and are running around $1500. I can afford to fix some minor stuff for that, and I don't mind the styling. I'm currently eyeballing a loaded 86 GMC Suburban 1500 w/ 6.2L diesel. I test drove it today, and it's painfully slow, so I would likely consider a banks turbo setup down the road (about $2,200 and drastically improves performance).

If I don't find a good deal on a crew cab pickup, then it's basically 80s suburban + turbo kit later vs 90s suburban left alone

Thoughts & input?

Oh I always wanted to go there, but sadly, I haven't made it there yet. :hissyfit:

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Only do '87 and up on these, the fuel injection makes all the difference.

I'd only go '92 and up if possible, the GMT400s are great vehicles and have about a million advantages over the previous vehicles which were still based on a design that debuted in 1973.

I've owned Chevy trucks of each generation from '68 forward ( no 900 yet), and I have to say each was better than the one before it.

Oh, and get a Suburban rather than the truck: it will work better for what you plan.

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yeah, the 'burbans are nice - the truck would have advantage basically if I wanted to haul something big and/or extra dirty. Like a 4 wheeler if I were to decide to own one (though it might technically fit in the burban, IDK, but it'd definately be tougher to do). Rear seat out & mid seat flat, though, that's a lotta cargo space! :)

I'm really getting to where I like the idea of getting a diesel. I can easily get an 80s diesel in decent shape for about $1,500, but it's so slow I'd pretty much have to get the banks turbo kit for it, which would add another $2,200. Round that off to $4,000, and that's a big chunk toward a newer one, which if diesel would already be turbo... so I gotta shop around & see what I can find. Or just buy an 80s one & live with it non-turbo for a year or two, then sell it & buy something better when financials like me better.

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87 and newer are the best because of EFI. The throttle body injection was pretty decent. Rode around in an 87 Suburban 4x4 a lot back in the day. It got 16-18 mpg on road trips. Had a 85 GMC pickup too. They engine was pretty weak until I revived it with a rebuilt 350.

Edited by biff
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Pre- Duramax GM diesels just basically suck, I wouldn't bother with one. But the EFI trucks really were great, and relatively efficient. The GMT400s that I had got really good mileage for 4x4 trucks. In fact, my 1990 3500 with an EFI 454 got better mileage than my 2001 6.0 2500 HD did.

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Any of the '73-'91 Suburbans are GREAT! The 6.2 Diesel was a dog, unfortunately, if you want to go diesel power, get the turbo'ed 6.5 But yeah, my prefererence is with the '73-'91s, parts are plentiful, the engines aren't horribly complicated to work on, and yes, the TBI units do make a difference, so I'd have to really say get a '87-'91 body Suburban. the biggest thing I like about that particular body style is that you can really do just about anything to them, there is a rather large aftermarket available for 'em.

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We used to have a 97 Suburban LT 1500. That was such an awesome truck. I really loved it, and while I welcomed the change to my mom's decision to get an X5 4.4, after driving it I really miss the suburban, and I think I'd rather drive the suburban over the X5 (which is a bad comparison because the X5 is worthless as a truck/anything hauler...the weekend after we got the X5 we had to rent a Suburban to go on a weekend trip because we needed something that would haul 5 people, a dog, and a bunch of $h! comfortably and easily...the X5 can't do any of that.)

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dont forget that the straight axle is always the best i owned a chevy with IFS and it sucked offroad it was always knocked out of alinement

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