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High Mileage Suburbans

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  • doorishdoorish Posts: 1
    i have a 1999 suburban 1500, that had a 5.7 vortec that is now gone, i was wondering if a 1997 350 v8 suburban engine would work, or do i have to stick with 5.7 only from only a 1999, or is a 5.7 vortec, the same as a 350 v8?
  • I have 99 that I bought brand new in 2000, I just turned 485K on it, still working great

    good luck
  • Wow! My mechanic says that the 92-99 represents the longest-lasting Suburban body style ever produced. Industrial strenght 350 cast-iron engine and built really well from tip to toe. So, you may make a million!

    My 2003 just passed 98k and I am seeing lots of signs of aging, nothing that will ground it - just little things (well one big thing - the front differential is spitting up metal shavings and we are changing the gear oil every 2k to see if it stabilizes - if not, that's about $2k).
  • 2001 LT 4x4 99K - has a high idle and shifts late and hard when hot. Suggestions would be most appreciated.

    Wife wanted a knew suburban, so we went shopping the other day. There are some decent deals out there for low mileage used suburbans, but would still mean payments for us. Prefer to fix the one we have and drive it as long as possible.

    I've enjoyed reading this thread and hope that it picks up as well.
  • annmomof6annmomof6 Posts: 1
    I have a 95 suburban 260,000 + miles and other then normal maintence and few typical issues of things just waring out this dang thing wont die. lol. yes original 350 engine. purrs like a kitten. I love this thing!!
  • I bought my '03 Suburban new, just turned 205k with no issues other than maintenance stuff. I've been shopping for something with lower mileage, but I think I've just decided that I'm keeping it for the duration. I just can't justify the money when it's been such a great truck, and shows to signs of slowing down.
  • ramjet2ramjet2 Posts: 6

    I last posted this here in 2008: "My 2002 1/2 ton 4x4 Suburban LT now has 159,000 on it and we bought it new Dec '01."

    Now our Suburban, named "Hammerwhang" has 260,000 on it and it's still running perfectly and continues to be our lowest maintenance vehicle out of 40 that we've owned and also the most reliable.

    Since my 2008 post, I've continued to change the oil about every 13,000 miles, optimizing the runtime of the Mobil 1 EP synthetic oil by having Blackstone perform their excellent spectroanalysis after each oil run and it continues to run very clean. This service has been key to saving money on filters & oil (even though synthetic oil is expensive) and it's also given peace of mind about the internal status of the 5.3 engine.

    Routine maintenance aside (which I mostly do myself in my home shop), in the last 6 years I've replaced the control arm & idler arm, the alternator and one window lift motor ($50 new on eBay, took 45 minutes). That's it. However, this month I'm going to replace all the moving parts in the front end for its first-ever rebuild: Hubs with ABS sensors, CV shafts, axle seals, tie rod ends, all 4 ball joints, and bump stops. I'm having this work done rather than do it myself because it's just a little outside of my expertise and I have a guy who's done hundreds of these and runs his own small shop @$50/hr. I will also replace the 4 shocks on the Autoride suspension for the 2nd time. This will all cost about $3,000 but when you consider that the entirety of repair bills only come up to $4k in the last 6 years/101k that's only 4 cents/mile which is cheaper than any other car we've owned. In fact, even if I include regular maintenance items it only totes up to 6 cents/mile.

    As always, we keep the truck inside, drive it ~15k/year nowadays, mixed city & highway. Several times per year we fill the cargo area up in a way that no other regular vehicle can match and we occasionally tow our 5,000 # travel trailer. The Sub's been around all 4 corners of this great country several times, it's moved our kids and businesses, handled countless errands short and long, taken my wife & I on memorable trips in fabulous comfort and has never let us down save for the minorly inconvenient alternator failure at 255k miles.

    I hate that GM wrecked the cargo area design on the '07 series Suburban, which in my opinion removed much of the "U" from this amazing icon of an SUV, and the '15's are no better and perhaps worse (yes I've driven one and loved everything else about it but I refuse to spend $75k on an ill-designed-cargo-space S_V).

    We fully intend to drive our '02 Sub to the end of it's useful life, or ours, whichever comes first. I will fix whatever it needs and run it forever and then will it to our kids because it's the last of the Great American SUV's. They just don't make them this way anymore. If I lost it somehow, I'd look for the best same-series '06 and buy it immediately.

  • penzfanpenzfan Posts: 16
    Love my '06 Black Suburban. Mileage is currently at 157,000 and that 5.3L still purrs like a kitten.
  • kapie9969kapie9969 AZPosts: 3
    The fuel pump problem is most likely from running low on fuel too much.The fuel is used to cool the fuel pump.
    Yeah i know,I don't remember this problem years back. I guess fuel injection needs a better pump. I would consider going crazy on filters. Aftermarket fuel and transmission filters could save big money. A bypass filter for the engine and a filter for the power steering also. Leave the stock air filter box on and the paper filter. Change the brake fluid and go over wires and connectors.Think about how much a new vehicle costs. Add in that Suburbans really haven't changed much over the years. I write this after much research and the thinking about what year Sub. to buy. I think of them as a big four wheel drive station wagon for the family,That can tow good.
  • unc234unc234 Greensboro, NCPosts: 1
    Hello,

    My family is looking into buying a 2007 Suburban with 148k miles on it. We like it, but are worried it may not last as long as we think it will. How long do usual Suburbans last, both mileage-wise and year-wise?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    There's no way to answer that, because unlike new cars, which are all the same out of the box, used cars are all different. So 148K on one car may not be a cause for serious concern, but 148K on another example of the same used car might foretell utter disaster. You can see this by the previous posts.

    High miles is high miles, be they "city" or "highway"--all those parts have been going round and round a long time.

    Statistically (like with people), there is a limit to longevity. With a gas engine car, the life expectancy is around 175K to 225K. As with people, one that has been well taken care of has a better chance of making the far end of that spectrum, or even exceed it; a neglected one might be all washed up even before life expectancy is reached.

    The best advice I can offer is:

    1. Ask to see any service records
    2. Get a CARFAX report
    3. Take the vehicle in for a pre-purchase inspection
    4. Make your offer on the price based on proper deductions for high mileage.

    Suburbans can run a long, long time. Could it run to 248K? Sure. Some people here have achieved that. But that's probably not the norm--at least not something you could count on.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • I have a 2009 suburban. I was thrilled last week when it hit 115 thousand miles. Yes over the years I survived cutting my hand from the door opener latch and replacing hubs when the bearings went bad. Not replacing for 1200 dollars the electric heated driver seat. But wow I never had a car make it past 100 k miles.  My excitement was short lived as a day later cylinder #6 lifter failed to lift.  Engine was shaking wildly. Turned it off immediately and flatbed  it to dealer.  Estimate $5800.00 and no promise that there would not be more engine problems.  You all know the cost of a new one so since it has a perfect frame for $7100.00 I get a new gm engine with 3 years or 100 k mile warranty.  I said okay.  Time will tell, do you all think my decision was a mistake?




  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    edited April 2016
    Bit of a tough call - that's a lot of money to throw into old iron.

    Old friend of mine rebuilt his Suburban back in the 90s and spent almost $10,000 doing so. We all thought he was crazy. He went on to drive that one for another decade before replacing it with a newer, high mileage one he found in LA.

    I convinced my wife that our last minivan could go to 200,000 miles. It did, but the last 8 months was expensive and painful.

    All in all, I'd rather go with a crate engine with a warranty as you did than a shop rebuild.

    Good luck!
  • knox206knox206 Posts: 2
    I have a '99 gmc suburban with a 5.7 engine, 3.73 rear, with 245,000 miles and counting. Transmission still holding up well. Just hauled a 5,000 pound trailer from NJ to Missouri, back to North Carolina and then back to NJ. About 3,000 miles in 6 days. Love that thing. Would love to get it to 500,000 miles. It creaks and squeaks here and there. I don't consider those flaws, just character. A new one would be nice but price tag is a bit out of my range.
  • knox206knox206 Posts: 2
    I said 245,000 miles. It's actually 254,000 miles.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    edited June 2016
    You're more than half way then. :)
  • tagabultagabul Posts: 1
    Hello All,
    I'm shopping for a used Suburban (or Yukon XL). I was reading some reviews and it said the years around 2000-2005 have been good ones for this vehicle. Other than liking the ride and space it offers, i am no expert on these vehicles. I don't mind high miles but not terribly high like way over 200k. I like doing my own car work whenever possible so I would like the normal wear items to be doable for DIY such as oil change, brake work (pads and rotors), tune ups (spark plugs), shocks. I've been spoiled with my Honda Accords that are practically trouble-free.

    Since I have not owned an older vehicle like I plan to get I am a bit apprehensive thinking that I will be spending more time fixing something than enjoying the vehicle. Many GM vehicles seem to have idler arm and steering linkage issues. Does this mean that once they are fixed that they will not recur? I've also read engines and transmissions being replaced. I had a coworker who had to replace the instrument cluster in his suburban.

    These issues are all foreign to me bc of having Hondas and Toyotas that are trouble free. Although for a while, I kept 3 1980s Mercedes 300D diesels. They all required some TLC but those were 20-30 year old vehicles. But never any engine or transmission problems.

    Whatever you can share about these vehicles I would appreciate. And what you whould be checking if you were looking at one. Thanks
  • I have a 99 K1500 that I ordered from the factory in 98. GM workers went on strike 4 days after ordering. It was delivered Oct 98. This was the last year of the 5.7L Vortec. I currently have 382,000 miles. This is a daily driver that has not been used as a "work" truck. My daily commutes have never exceeded 25 miles round trip 4 days a week. It is also my fishing, camping, snow ski vehicle that are up to 600 mile round trip runs. Motor is original but did have to have transmission rebuilt at 250,000 (sun gear where you lose Rev & 2nd). Rebuilt by an Aamco and same part failed in 30,000. They would not stand behind work/part telling me that they could not even tell me where they got the part from. When I told them that I was considering having an independent mechanic rebuild, they asked me if he had the same year warranty which he did. His next question was if the independent would be around in a year. My response was that he has been at same location since 1969 and the 2 guys at their shop I dealt with are no longer there after 18 months. I had front differential repaired at 95,000 under my 100,000 mile extended warranty. Other repairs have been intake manifold gasket, water pump, oil pump, fuel pump, idler & dummy pulleys, radiator where the metal line meets the radiator at the top drivers side, mufflers, catalytic convertor, O2 sensors, EGR valve, PCV valve, mass airflow sensor, thermostat, shocks, battery, tune up(plugs,wires & points, driver & passenger door internal & external door handles, left rear barn door handle, center console latch. 2 deer damage repairs. Mountain driving is tough on the brakes so multi changes. Lifters and rocker arms are very quiet. I just had front seats reupholstered this week. That distance is the equivalent of to the moon and over halfway back!

    Keep 'em Rollin.
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