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'97 Tahoe random questions...


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So, I'm still on the verge of buying a '97 Tahoe. Its a little rougher than I thought... but I think a good cleaning and a little work will make it a decent ride.

First, when I was looking at the truck, neglected to check out the SPID. Once I got home, I found out that GM used 3 different whites for 1997. Anyone know (or know a site that lists) what color availability the Tahoe's had in 1997?

Next, what interior parts interchange between the 2-door and 4-door Tahoes? I assume the dash does... but it looks to me that the rear seat and front seats are special. I know I can get piecemeal replacement leather seat sections, but it gets kinda pricy.

I also imagine that the door panels (and doors for that matter) don't interchange. Or do they?

This truck has the tailgate setup, which I prefer. But the rear window is somewhat gouged. Do the rear lift glass parts interchange between the 2 door, 4 door Tahoe and Suburban interchange? I very seriously doubt I could fix the gouge.

The body seems fairly rust-free, but has a few spots where the paint is starting to get rust stained... and one spot where the paint/primer failed. I hate white, but I figured I could try to save/blend the paint to make it presentable... Or I may just paint the thing black, as its not full of dents.

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On these last of the 2 door Tahoes, does the backseat fold down or easily remove? When I was looking at the truck today, it looked like anything I would do to the seat would require tools.

Also, can these 2 door Tahoes store the spare tire under the body?

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Hey SAmadei,

Very Cool on the 2 door Tahoe. I myself have been kicking around the Idea of picking up a GT model as I loved the two door versions.

My understanding from owning a 94 suburban and having friends with 4/2 door Tahoe / Yukon's is that the tail gate is inner changeable and for the most part the front door panels. Interior becomes a mix as Chevy and GMC did their own thing but mostly used the same base parts. If you go out to any of the 3rd party GM sites that sell GM parts you will find the same part fits the 2/4 door Tahoe / Suburban's for the 93-99 model year. There are certain specific parts for each year but many of the core basic parts are interchangeable.

I have used the following to buy quality parts for my Suburban without paying dealership gouging prices.








I am sure you will be able to get the right parts at a reasonable price to fix up your 2 door Tahoe.

Good Luck.

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Well, I have a hand shake deal to buy it. Got it started today and it runs really smooth.

As far as fixing it, I have to keep the budget low for now. Its going to be a lot of cleaning and I'll likely have to pick-a-part for the interior parts that are too far gone.

Its weird, as its a LT, pretty much loaded on the inside... with 4WD and the Z71 option... but is SOOO plain on the outside. Nothing but white sheetmetal top to bottom, with a small chrome trim strip on the wheel wells. I expected lots of plastic add-ons, but they aren't there and appear like there never was.

I'm thinking that after I fix the small spots where the paint has let a bit of rust form on the outside of the fenders, I might do some sort of two-tone... maybe paint it black or silver below the belt line. Or I'll scuff it all down and send it to MAACO. LOL.

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A loaded LT like this would still be plain on the outside. The loading up of the outside was left to the GMC versions of these auto's or the rare chevy Tahoe GT.

One option is if you want to take it off road and withstand dents and dings and scuff's then from the belt line on down cover it LineX. I have a friend that actually covered his whole suburban in LineX so he did not have to worry about a scratched paint job.

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Interesting you bring that up. I originally thought this was a 2WD model.. which I would have likely gotten lowered spring for it.

As its a 4WD, I probably won't be taking it offroad much more than my rural backyard (which is still pretty overgrown), so that might be a solution.

In the meantime, I think I found a set of stock Suburban wheels/tires for the truck for cheap. The truck currently has some aftermarket wheels with LT265/75-r16s... but three of the tires are pretty bad... but I could see getting some maxed out tires later when I have a bit more cash. Thing is, I can't find a stock tire size for these trucks. TireRack seems to think it had 235/70-r15s on it... other sources say 245/75-R16 (which is what the Suburban set are).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Actually, it took me a week between other engagements and fighting with the flat tire, but I got it home Thurs night. Longest 10 minute drive in a long time.

Actually, the truck ran fine. It has 264K, but the engine runs strong and the tranny shifts nice and firm. Good acceleration. Brakes a little soft, but they likely need to adjust a bit more.

Problem I had was the front tire was flat and had come out of bead slightly. My air tank could only air the tire up about 75%... which would not seat the tire... and my electric pump could not keep up with the air leak at the bead. 20 minutes and the tire would basically be deflated again. Anyway, while trying to pointlessly fill it up, I ran the gas in the truck down dangerously low. Not having a decent gas can with me and fighting the cold and reduced hours at the local gas stations, I had a couple aborted take-homes.

Worse, I really couldn't fit a spare 31" tire in the Sunfire.

I finally just gathered all my little gas cans and put whatever old, weekwacker gas I had and I simply had to make two trips with my air tank to fill the tire and make a blitzkrieg run home. That worked pretty good, however, I failed to notice that I had a third tire that was low... and its was hot and pissed by the time I got home. Luckily, I didn't damage it too badly.

Once I got home and the tires were warm and flexible, I was able to air everything up to 40 lbs and all the beads reseated. Last I checked, they all were still holding air.

So now the long list on minor problems need to be addressed. Fix the heater blower... rear view mirror glass... side marker lense... rekey the locks (keys on this truck are severely trashed)... take it through inspection. Pick up interior parts... clean interior...

I really enjoyed driving it the short distance I did... I guess I should have picked one of these up years ago. I feel like I am going to get a lot of work done with this truck.

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So after driving the Tahoe a bit, I have to ask: How the hell do people drive these SUVs with the entire rear of the vehicle blacked out with tint?!?

I am a consummate mirror checker. I hit all my mirrors with a glance about every 10 seconds, even when driving straight ahead on the freeway. When my vision is used to the daylight, its super annoying to try to see through all that tint.

Its factory standard that all the '90s-gen 2-door Tahoes/Yukons/Blazers to have tint on all the windows behind the driver, isn't it?


So I was having trouble keeping the junk tires on the truck full of air. Once I finally got it home and aired up the tires properly and seated back in bead, the troublesome tires stopped leaking... but one different tire after a couple trip started leaking badly.
It would go flat in 8 hours and all the soapy water could not fine the leak (I also could not hear it). Last night in the snow, I topped up the tire and 30 minutes later, 3 miles from home, the tire deflated and shredded. Since I didn't want to freeze and since I valued the rim less than I wanted to get a tow (I still have no spare), I just got back in the truck and finished driving, albeit very slowly.

Luckily, driving with the wheel in the deeper snow, the tire carcass held up and the rim didn't get screwed... at least until I had to take a torch and giant crowbar and BF hammer to get the rim unstuck from the drum. Ugh. 2 hours in the snow and it came off... a little nicked on the backside, but again, these rims are aftermarket garbage.

What a day.

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Well, that and a backside leak... at the time, the tire was on the vehicle, so spraying soap on the back was hit or miss... but again, I would have expected to hear a leak that kills a tire in 8 hours. I did test the valve, but I didn't actually test the schrader valve itself... I suppose it could have been loose. Again, no noise. I suppose it could have been popping off bead once it hit a certain deflatedness.

I just have to chalk up this one to it being a tire going south quickly. No tire that goes from inflated to flat in 30 minutes is long for this world.

"New" used tire was $30 and is holding air so far. I'll have to accelerate my plans to get 4 matched tires. These LT265/75-R16s seem to be somewhat hard to find.

*ARGH!* I just remembered that I still have not checked the door sticker to see if these are the stock size with the Z71 option.

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My 94 GMC Suburban came like all with the normal dark tint and my wife or I have no problem seeing out of the windows and checking the dual mirrors. Now my Suburban came with what I believe is normal rectangle mirrors and have good vision.

Trust me that you will get used to looking out your corners and eventually come to thank that tint for toning down headlights and other bright light sources so you can still see.

One RECOMMENDATION, I put a pair of PIAA flood lights on the back just under the bumper so in reverse it lights up the world so you can clearly see what you want to back up to even a trailer. Backing up is the one hard part with tinting if you do not have decent flood lights.

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Maybe they added more tint to the factory tint on this one. Backing is not a real issue, aside from getting used to a "new" vehicle. If I can put the 26 foot straight truck into a loading dock with only side view mirrors, a Tahoe is a breeze. In any case, my eyes adjust (slowly) to the dark when I've turned around looking rearward. I think its driving forward, were I need to check for traffic or trouble behind me... then looking into the dark, my eyes especially can't adjust quickly enough, especially if I'm driving into the sun. I'd ignore the rear view and just use the sides, but I know its there and habits are hard to change.

I'll get used to it. I'm just surprised how much it tones down my vision. Things will be better once I replace the busted driver's sideview mirror.

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LOL.. still trying to get all the bird crap off it. I don't know what they are feeding these things, but all this precip we've been getting is not making a dent. At least the passenger side is kinda clean. I'm going to have to break down and take it to the self serve car wash and steam clean the outside. So much to do... no time.

However, I got my key fobs today... and while one vendor screwed up, the second one I purchased from threw in new cases... so I have a fob for the Tahoe. Too bad it only is working the rear hatch. Driver's side lock actuator seems dead and both doors seem to have binding linkage. Previous owner switched out the inside door latches by drilling out the rivet, but didn't put a screw in... so when you unlock the door, instead of moving the latch, it moves the inside door handle around. Lovely.

Will have to continue pulling apart doors to get this locking situation under control.

Funny, slightly related story... the other key fob is for the Sunfire. Yes, the Sunfire that's been in the family for 9 years. We've never had fobs. The car is a loaded convertible... 2.4, big wheels, TCS, steering wheel controls... all the "luxury" items a J-body would have (sorry no leather available in these). When the car was bought, it was 6 years old and it never occurred to us that the owner might have lost the fobs... so we just assumed that j-bodies didn't have keyless entry. So while investigating the Tahoe, I came across a reference that showed that Sunfires had trunk release cables... ONLY if there was no keyless entry. Well, there is no trunk release... So I checked the SPID and there is RPO AU0... keyless entry. I look in the trunk and there is the RKE unit and the programming pigtail. Damn!

In my family, we have no end to the questions. Can you do this? Can this be done? How do you make it that way? However, everyone once in a blue moon, you miss asking the RIGHT question, like "Why does the otherwise loaded Sunfire have no key fobs?"

The closest we can was when my mother once lamented "I wish the Sunfire had keyless entry". How close we were. Well, I finally have a key fob and I'm awaiting the car's return to program it.

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Sounds like you have partial night blindness. Just be careful, best of luck with it. :)

No, night blindness involves the rod cells in the retina becoming unresponsive. My vision is actually scary good (can read the bottom line on the eye chart if my blood pressure is not elevated)... and I can see in almost complete darkness, far beyond my friends... my issue, if you would call it that, is that my irises simply take a long time to open and close. So when I emerge from my cave, I'll stumble around like a dying vampire for 5-10 minutes before I can take it all in... sometimes, I can't... and have to resort to squinting or sunglasses during the brightest days. Same thing for night, once they dilate, they stay that way... I generally look away from oncoming bright lights to avoid getting ghosting in my main vision.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any pics yet?

I got these the other day... no driver side photo, as it was still covered in bird crap and I didn't feel like walking across the street.

Since then, its gotten a half-ass wash, I accidentally broke the antenna off (not a huge loss) and put a new side marker on.



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