Extra Tall Options

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
I'm with you 110%. I'm really bad about over engineering things. We discussed the pros, cons, and other at length. Essentially, it was decided that, for the budget we're playing with, it'll get the job done nicely. If and/or when it doesn't, it'll be addressed at that time. Part of the timing of this buy is that he and his wife share a car (they both work the same hours at the same university, so there's really not much of a reason for two cars), and their car was totalled a few weeks back. I lent them my BMW 330i to drive around while they find something, but they're eager to get back in their own car. It would very likely take several months to find a 2500 half as clean as this 1500, and honestly, I've gone through a lot of cars and made money on all of them exclusive of gas, insurance, and one that got totalled. If we needed to, we could turn it around if and when he finds a good 2500 and probably make a few bucks. Low risk.


It's a 350, but I don't recall the year off the top of my head. Post-1997 and Pre-2000 or whenever they switched to the LS blocks. The search strategy was to find everything on CL from private sellers that fit the criteria, then stack appointments until we find a keeper. We looked at a dozen or so Suburbans last weekend, and they all bleed together in my head.
Ah, OK so it's a GMT-400 with the 5.7. Good choice, I think, especially if they got it for a decent price. Barn doors will add a little to the resale value if it has them, although IMO the GMT-400 tailgate system was the best one with the lift + drop gate so you actually have a tailgate to sit on. My GMT-800 has the one piece lift gate and I know when camping a tailgate is a nice thing to have.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Speaking of GMT-400 trucks, your friend will like this: One of my Facebook friends, a woman that we sometimes camp with, is semi-retired but also works as a "pilot car" driver, escorting semi trucks with wind turbine parts all over the west. Her pilot vehicle is a ~ 1995 ish 4wd Tahoe (so basically the same running gear as the 1500 Suburban of the same generation.) 5.7, 4L60, etc. She sometimes uses the Tahoe to tow her small travel trailer.

She just notified me that her Tahoe has a little over 450,000 miles on it, all on the original engine and transmission! And it's still going strong. :Wow1:
 

86cj

Explorer
Yup on the van. It would be super ************, but I think it would be a ton of work and a lot of down time to scrounge up the parts from yards within such a tight budget. If it were just the axle swap it would probably be able to squeeze in, but the 4WD conversion sorta breaks it (transmission, transfer case, the axle, AND likely two custom driveshafts...). Plus, he's heard me bitching and moaning about how annoying it is working on vans from when another friend of ours had one a while back. Adding that to what's already likely to be a steep learning curve doesn't sound appealing.

He's dubious of the truck shell idea, but might be interested if we can open it up to the cab somehow. I have ideas, and they're a touch on the crazy/redneck side of things. To be discussed with him sometime soon.




Yup... Until recently, I've dabbled exclusively in cars older than myself. I don't usually pay much attention to the mileage. If compression and oil pressure are good (or rebuild parts are cheap), I can fix pretty much anything else over a typical weekend. I buy and sell cars a lot (I get bored easily), and know what to look for to avoid expensive mistakes or to add to the baselining budget. The safety features mean 97 and newer, and that means, like you said, not a ton of options... The late-90s/early-00s kinda sucked for fun cars... 200K+ miles seems to more or less be what we're looking at across the board, and we can deal with that.




His wife doesn't like the ground tent idea. RTT seems to be a bit of a turnoff. It's kinda inside or not at all from what I gather.

I think the short cab/long bed truck might be worth entertaining... Single cabs seem to be adjusted down on the market, and if my bed/cab joining scheme passes muster, it might work out pretty well... If it doesn't come with a shell though, that might be a bit of a challenge to get in the budget after mechanical baselining and running gear...

BTW, I grew up in Rockwall.


Do any inhumanly tall people out there have any experience with the RTTs? The last time I looked, they were super expensive. I looked yesterday, and there were some available for under $1K, and a TON more options. I've never slept in one, and even if I had, I'm pretty short by 21st century American standards... If RTTs were to be deemed acceptable, that would open up a TON of options.

Aside from the larger Excursions, is there anything of similar length to a Suburban? I thought Sequoias might be since they're essentially enclosed Tundras, but it looks like it's probably a good foot shorter in reality. Same with Nissan Armadas. I've been wracking my brain, but nothing has fallen out my nose yet... Outside the box is totally cool too if it works... M1028 (save he's seen my cracked 6.2L with only 30K miles, and no airbags), ambulance,... there has to be other crazy options...
Sound like a Suburban is on you radar they are great, some of your comments are exactly where my head was. I was ready to buy a 3/4 ton suburban until I started the comparing spec sheets. My AWD 1500 Van is an inch or two shorter, has almost the same drivetrain as any GM 1500, is only a little taller than a 3/4 ton Sub, has a better seating position for wheelin, a low range transfer case bolts right in might not even need new driveshafts, has a higher GVW than alot of 1500's. As far as actually camping or sleeping I was ready for a RTT or sleeping inside, RTT wiggles to much and night pee can end in a big doctor bill and or physical therapy, got a dog and a ladder? Sleeping inside? Get ready to put all your stuff out in the rain or let the critters tear it up even if it does not have food in it, some of them dont seem to trust their nose. A van is in a whole different world for living on the road, I can sleep without moving a single tote, I can use a porta potty in a traffic jam. Finding one in your price range would be tuff and it will be a little less tough on the trail, I made the compromise and love actually camping out of it, great to live with but not perfect.


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spectre6000

Observer
Affirmative on the classification/engine and affirmative on the barn doors. I suggested we make that a target attribute, albeit low priority in light of budget, etc. I may have more details to share after the deal goes down. It's not that I'm really afraid of the deal getting sniped or anything, I really just overloaded on Suburbans and can't remember much in the way of details on any particular one save that this one was the only one that didn't need a RMS and a few other mechanical notes.
 

ak_cowboy

Observer
Is a pass through on a truck a requirement? A 2000-up F250/350 gets an 8 foot bed, V8, V10, and diesel options; solid axle 4wd; large aftermarket; and good payload.

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spectre6000

Observer
I don't know that a pickup truck ever sounded quite attractive enough either way. If it were me though, it would be. I've done it both ways, and being able to just crawl into the back and crash after a long day without having to get out in the rain and such is extremely attractive. Keeps everything cleaner, keeps people more comfortable, more privacy, etc.

About to walk out the door to go do the deal. Wish us luck!
 

Yroundrdn

Observer
We were in the same spot after my XJ build. It would go anywhere but everywhere I went, I could get a much larger and more comfortable vehicle there as well. Trying to carry so much in so little space got old quickly. So when I found a 97 Sub with the G80 LS rear, 410 gears etc, I jumped on it. It came with the 454 and the HD trans, large radiator, armor, large tank, etc. From what we have planned, this thing will be more than enough for us to live out of with plenty of comfort. I like the "feel" of the XJ and my 90s Bronco in the dirt much better, but I just can't pass on the convenience and the HD components of the 2500.
 

SwampStomper

New member
Probably not what you want to hear, but Land Rover Discoveries have a ton of headroom, the interiors are decent, 2 airbags, good offroad. Only downside, which is also an upside because you can find them cheap, is that its a land rover discovery and the motor will probably need work. But with a 7500 dollar budget I reckon you could buy/build a reliable truck.
 

spectre6000

Observer
I suggested Discos very early on. He's new to wrenching, so the extra fettling was undesireable. I've always had them on my radar personally, but there was always a better truck available at the time within my budget. Also, not sure about the 6'5" inside camping aspect...

Regardless, we're in the strategizing phase for the new '99 Burb. Figuring out what direction we're going with the suspension and ordering parts for baselining. Should go down next weekend... I think.
 

lt1fire

Adventurer
At 6'8 I can understand the need for a larger vehicle especially if you are going to sleep in it.

I've had three vehicles that fit the bill.
92 land cruiser - the 91-92 had non power seats so had more leg room than the later 80 series. If I completely took the second row out (not just folded them up) my wife and I could sleep in the back comfortably.

95 Suburban 6.5 diesel - tons of room but not as good off-road as the cruiser

90 Suburban - tons of room and cheap

But you say they want dual airbags so all of those are out.

The budget is a little low for most newer vehicles and it really depends on the terrain he plans on traveling for how capable the vehicle is but id say his options are

100 series cruiser
Sequoia
Suburban 96 and up
Excursion ... hopefully with a diesel
Any number of trucks with a 8 foot bed and bed topper
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
At 6'8 I can understand the need for a larger vehicle especially if you are going to sleep in it.

I've had three vehicles that fit the bill.
92 land cruiser - the 91-92 had non power seats so had more leg room than the later 80 series. If I completely took the second row out (not just folded them up) my wife and I could sleep in the back comfortably.

95 Suburban 6.5 diesel - tons of room but not as good off-road as the cruiser

90 Suburban - tons of room and cheap

But you say they want dual airbags so all of those are out.

The budget is a little low for most newer vehicles and it really depends on the terrain he plans on traveling for how capable the vehicle is but id say his options are

100 series cruiser
Sequoia
Suburban 96 and up
Excursion ... hopefully with a diesel
Any number of trucks with a 8 foot bed and bed topper
The guy already bought a 99 burb.
 
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