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SUBJECT: # 9432: What year was the best Suburban made?

Submitted by rock ( from FLORIDA on 8/28/03 12:20:00 PM

Any scientific data or reports that show what year suburban
had the best all around reliability and what year had the

  1. 8/28/03 1:41:00 PM Submitted by RedAllison ( from TENNESSEE says Hmmmmm I would say...
    The 92-99 3/4 ton models with the 454 V-8 are AWFULLY tough!!! (And awfully tough on gas as well lol.) But then again, I "built" a 89 GMC 1/2 ton 4x4 a couple of years ago that got things like a lift, WIIIIDE Mickey Thompsons (34x14.50x15), winch, bars from front to back and top to bottom and it already had 160k on it when I bought it to "redneckify". The truck is still kickin (tho it needed a transmission to make it to the KS ranch that it gets driven to a couple times a year during deer season). Another "toy" 4x4 burb I did up before that was a 87 with 150k on it and all it needed was a tranny rebuild and its still kickin today, both my old burbs were 1/2ton 4x4 with 350 engines. The old 700R trannies get weak around 125k and dont like towing in OD period. The heat will warp em up pretty bad. But if you keep a good cooler on em, have em flushed with synthetic fluid each season (a FULL flush including the convertor) and tow in Drive you wont have much problems with them.

    A suburban is simply built on a lwb regular cab GM pickup platform. Only since the remake in 00 did they put a different rear suspension setup on them than the pickups had (coil over/multi-link vs leaf springs). I know of several mid-late 90s 'burbs with the 6.5 Turbo Diesel that are still used daily with well over 200k on the clock. The only weak link in those trucks is the injector rails on the old 6.5 TD will crapout around each 80k mile interval. But other than that they pull hard and get 18-20mpg while doin so, thats ALOT better than most other burbs will ever see.

    I could go on and on about Subs, I love em and have had many of them. Had the Avalanche not been released, I would still have a burb today (the Avies are simply a sub minus the third row seat, replaced with a bed on the back).

    They arent the KING of tow vehicles by random luck! RA

  2. 8/28/03 1:45:00 PM Submitted by Gene Gauss ( from NEW YORK says Suburban
    I bought a new 2WD '76 'burban with the 350 engine, standard 4-speed transmission and drove it 228,000 miles in 16 years. Put a timing chain in it at about 120,000 as a precaution, a junkyard rear end at about 150,000, a clutch at about 180,000 (wife was tough on clutches), and one or two each water pump, alternator, starter, etc. Rebuilt the body twice in 16 years, and gave up on it only after the body rusted loose from the frame. Put the rear end and engine ln a '76 pickup truck I ran until 1998. Don't know if they ever made a better one mechanically. The body, however, was very susceptable to rust up here in salt slush country.

  3. 8/28/03 2:37:00 PM Submitted by Grnlgnd ( from ALABAMA says I would have to say
    Just based on my own personal experiences...1989-1995 have been the best full size chevy "everything." I have heard a lot about how great vortec is, but I've been through several pre-vortec 350s and as long as they got oil in 'em, they're about as bullet proof as they get. I'm not familiar with the new motors, the older (pre 89) or the diesels, but I have found that you can pretty much take whatever Red says to the bank!!! Good luck/ God bless!

  4. 8/28/03 3:50:00 PM Submitted by 40Indian ( from NORTH CAROLINA says '89 thru '95
    Agree with the others who listed this era. The newer engines have had constant head problems. The 350 is at its anti-pollution best during these model years. Some of those puppies run over a quarter mil. miles with no overhaul.

  5. 8/28/03 4:28:00 PM Submitted by Bib! ( from WISCONSIN says best Sub
    Any year with the 350 engine (5.7L) gets my vote. Had a 91 that we put 225K+ on and nary a problem.

  6. 8/29/03 9:21:00 AM Submitted by DonH from NEW JERSEY says Burban
    1990 4X4 1/2 ton w/350. 265K and still use it everyday. 2 transmissions, H/D brakes, 3 exhaust systems, timing chain (precaution), Blisteins and Micheliens. Front seat needs replacement or more duct tape. Tough Truck..

  7. 8/30/03 4:21:00 PM Submitted by Jeff Hahn from OHIO says I agree with 40Indian
    My 1994 Suburban will turn 100,000 miles the next time it leaves the garage. Except for a new radiator last year, she's been flawless. I am in no hurry to buy a new one.

    Jeff Hahn

  8. 8/31/03 11:23:00 AM Submitted by Fishmagnet from TEXAS says Also, '98 & '99 models
    The '98 and '99 models, prior to body style change were great years too.

    Tranny pans were enlarged to hold more fluid to help address tranny overheat issues in past model years.

    Despite that, they're basically unchanged from years past.

    Vortec 350 is a nearly 'bullet-proof' engine.

    My '98 Tahoe 4X4 LT has drug my BassCat all across TX to various tournaments. I follow maintenance schedule to the letter, and she looks and runs as good as the day I first drove her off the lot.

    I'm tempted to trade her in for a Yukon Denali, but can't justify dropping $50K for worse gas mileage and foo-foo accessory mechanical problems.

    Fish on!

  9. 9/2/03 9:22:00 PM Submitted by beartrap ( from GEORGIA says 98 or 99(whichever year they made the last 5.7 engine)
    can't comment on the suburban but the 5.7 engine is definitely superior to the 5.3 engine as far as towing...base that experience on owning a 98 GMC pickup with the 5.7 engine vs. current 2001 GMC with 5.3 engine...

  10. 9/3/03 10:51:00 PM Submitted by Ss ( from ILLINOIS says My 2001 Suburban VS, My '99 Suburban!
    I ownwed a 2001 New Body Style Suburban LS 4X4 with 3:73 Axle and because it was costing me so much, I now Own a 1999 Suburban LS 4 X 4 with Low Miles also with a 3:73 Axle... As far as towing I agree, the 99 5.7 Engine feels much better especially around town.. Also seems to get as good or better Gas MIleage. You guys need to realize though the 5.3 Needs to be given more throttle as it is a higher RPM Motor.. Regardless, the 5.7 is sooo quiet and feels so relaxed. I like the Roominess of the 99 Better, especially the middle and Definately the 3rd seat area.. The third seat in the 2001 Only seemed to fit kids, not adults. The 99 Has a Huge 42+ gallon tank which is great for trips.. Even with the Spare tire inside the back, It still seems to have more... I will give the 2001 a few good reviews though, It has much better brakes and does handle a bit better.. With all that said, I tow a Wide Aluminum Deep V with a total trailered weight of 3200lbs. I tow on flatter land and Light Wisconsin Hills Often... I can cruise My '99 In Overdrive at 70-72 mph at approx 2000 RPM all day Long and it never skips a beat. I will use Drive if I get into hilly areas.

  11. 9/7/03 3:42:00 PM Submitted by fish4bass ( from TEXAS says Best is....
    The year they went to 4 wheel disk brakes..... those drums are a pain in the rear!

  12. 9/8/03 11:47:00 AM Submitted by John ( from NEW JERSEY says 1990 gmc sle -suburban
    1990 4X4 1/2 ton w/350 GMC SLE Suburban. 248,000 miles AND STILL DRIVES LIKE NEW. Previous owner rebuilt engine and trans at 200,000. Tows my 19ft bass boat with ease. Of 6 different Tow vehicles this has been the most reliable and best towing. Should hit 300,000 in about two years. Minimal rust problems ,,just a great vehicle-no complaints except for poor fuel economy ( 13 mpg highway.) Don, My front seat just busted the other day,,,,,have it propped up with a wood block,,,good as new!

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