Older model Expedition/Suburban recommendations?

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I am considering replacing my 98 Expedition 5.4 4x4 with a lower mileage lower rust vehicle. I want something that will tow a heavy trailer easily (14 foot cargo trailer, about 4-5K lbs loaded). In my price range (4500.00) I have been seeing mostly 98-05 expeditions with about 120K miles average. I am not opposed to Navigator or Suburban. Must have fold down flat seats for the way I load my truck for various jobs, when not trailering. Load leveling for the heavy tongue weight of my trailer would need to be considered as well. I have coil air bags in my 98 currently. Anyone have any experience and/or recommendations for a trouble free older model SUV?
 
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Old, inexpensive vehicle with an assurity it will be trouble free isn't going to happen. GM stuff is usually easier to work on and cheaper to fix when issues arise.
 
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They made 3/4 ton suburbans. IIRC you can tell them apart from the 8 lug rims. The unicorn you're looking for is a HD model that saw mallcruiser duty. I'm not sure how heavy a GM truck has to be to get the 4L80E instead of lighter duty 4L60E, but that, and steeper gears, would be desirable, as usual. Know your RPO codes when you shop and you'll find them in the glovebox or spare tire carrier. Ford tranny/ axle codes are similarly opaque, but on the door jamb sticker.
 
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If you can find a 1987-1992 3/4 ton Suburban with a 454, that would be a good truck. You should be able to find a decent one for $4500. These will be 454 TBI's...which are easy to work and tend to last FOREVER with very few problems.
 
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What about an Excursion? These are a step above the Suburban in size and weight capacity and they can be found pretty cheaply. Just a thought for you.
 

Fitz98

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I am curious TRAV. What is the vehicle you have that you think would be the right one for me?
 
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Fitz98

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I was considering excursion for quite some time, but every time I see a listing I see a laundry list of parts that have been replaced and was told by a former owner of one, that when parts do go bad, they are expensive. I haven't completely discarded the idea, just a little hesitant, mostly because I cannot tell if they are dependable, or if they break down a lot as they get higher in miles.
 

01rangerxl

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Originally Posted By: Fitz98
I was considering excursion for quite some time, but every time I see a listing I see a laundry list of parts that have been replaced and was told by a former owner of one, that when parts do go bad, they are expensive. I haven't completely discarded the idea, just a little hesitant, mostly because I cannot tell if they are dependable, or if they break down a lot as they get higher in miles.
Is that former owner of one a car person, or someone who had no idea what they were doing, but bought the biggest freakin' thing they could find? The Excursion is a full blown, heavy duty (as far as non-commercial vehicles) truck. A lot of things will cost more by default because they are for that platform. When you buy brake pads for an Excursion, you are buying parts that would fit an F-250 Super Duty...not run of the mill 1500 stuff. That said, if you wanted to buy an SUV with the goal of say hitting half a million miles with it, an Excursion is your best bet, hands down. Especially a 7.3. If you got a 7.3 and only half a million miles is your goal, you are short-changing the truck. A lot of people went out and traded in their Accords and Camrys on Excursions when gas was cheap 10-15 years ago though. Those people had no idea what kind of monster they were buying, they just wanted the biggest SUV on the block because SUV. Bigger trucks have bigger maintenance requirements though...just the way it is. Heavy duty parts will cost more. I think an Excursion is overkill for you, but if you wouldn't be opposed to owning an F-250, or a truck like that would appeal to you, check them out. If the idea of owning an F-250 is "no way, not happening" to you, then go ahead and skip the Excursion. While I like driving Super Duties a lot, to me they are slightly noticeably larger than an F-150/Expedition in operation/day to day use (F-150 feels like a Ranger in comparison), so if that's a minus, skip it.
 

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Thanks for that feedback. I like bigger vehicles personally, but I do have to consider that it is a daily driver as well and sometimes a family truck. I like a smooth quiet ride, which is one reason I am happy with the expedition, but feel the expy is just about right at the limit of the smallest vehicle I could have, both for cargo space and hauling. I had an E-350 diesel once and loved it mechanically and power wise, but now I am partial to more of a smooth and quiet ride. How about the V-10 Excursion, any experience with that? I don't mind paying more for regular maintenance, just don't want to get into something that will cost big bucks when/if it breaks down.
 

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The Excursion will be closer to your E-350 than your Expedition. In fact, the Excursion has the same tail lights if your E-van was a 1992 or newer model. grin In my experience, the V-10s are good, but they can spit spark plugs. I think it is much less common than on the 5.4L V8 though. With Excursions, my engine preference list would be this... 1. 7.3L PSD 2. 5.4L V8 or 6.8L V10 3. 6.0L PSD
 

CKN

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Originally Posted By: eljefino
They made 3/4 ton suburbans. IIRC you can tell them apart from the 8 lug rims. The unicorn you're looking for is a HD model that saw mallcruiser duty. I'm not sure how heavy a GM truck has to be to get the 4L80E instead of lighter duty 4L60E, but that, and steeper gears, would be desirable, as usual. Know your RPO codes when you shop and you'll find them in the glovebox or spare tire carrier. Ford tranny/ axle codes are similarly opaque, but on the door jamb sticker.
People who bought 3/4 ton Suburbans usually used them for a lot more than Mall duty.....
 
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We beat the mess out of our company 'burb 2500. It's an 07 with the 4 speed auto and 4.10s I like it. We also have a Yukon XL with the 5.3. It feels so underpowered compared to the Suburban. I do like the 5.3 Vortec over the 5.4 2v in the Expys though (this is coming from a Ford guy). They make their power sooner.
 
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Just a followup to this thread: 2004 (later year GMT800 chassis - multiplexed electronics, no piston slap, improved interior) 6.0L Gen III small-block V8 4L80E Transmission Auto 4WD, 4HI, 4LO, 2HI Transfer Case AAM 925 Front Axle AAM 950 (Semi-Float, 14 bolt) Rear Axle w/G80 Locker 4.10 Gears 9,500lbs. Tow Rating ...with 98k miles, for $3k? Yep, there is a 3/4-ton Suburban sitting in the driveway now!
 
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Between bouncing around off-road and all the rain, it's horribly dirty, but here you go: Additional details? Well, lets see... --Former fleet vehicle. Power drivers seat/windows/locks/mirrors, keyless entry, cruise, rear heat & a/c. Deep tinted factory glass. Skid plate, and heavy-duty trailering packages. Fortunately for me, these don't garner nearly the interest of a comparable pickup, so they slide under the radar. --Only a few, common GMT-800 issues: Oil pressure sensor Blower motor resistor Blown speakers All parts that are easy to source, inexpensive, and straight forward to replace. With those fixed, it's great, and passes all OBD tests (green light!) --When you think about "Suburban", what's the first thing that comes to mind...a massive/tough to maneuver vehicle, right? Well, come to find out (especially when riding on the stock tires), it's positively compact relative new HD trucks, and not that long either, with a wheelbase comparable to a regular cab/8ft. bed pickup. --The 4.10 gear ratio makes all the difference, putting this thing square in the middle of the power band at most any time. Even with only four gears, there aren't huge drops between them. Pulled around 5k the other day, and was thoroughly impressed with how it handled the load. From a dead stop you could tell that it was there, but once up to speed? Wouldn't hardly know unless you looked in the mirror. When towing, trans temp gets up to around 160°F running down the road. --The G80 is very nice. Start spinning a little, it engages with an audible thunk, and you're on your way. --Mobil 1 High Mileage 5w-30 is working great. Very smooth/quiet, no external leakage, and negligible consumption.
 
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We have the half ton, 5.3 liter, four years older model of that. Still has the tow package, but 3.73 gears and 265/75R16 tires. Can't complain at 240,000 miles. It's seen one transmission, one fuel pump, and the next major repair will be front hub assemblies and pads/rotors. I hit the mother of all Columbus potholes and it is groaning nicely at all speeds now.
 
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