Suburban vs suburban

zachammer85

New member
Thanks for the many responses everyone. I like the styling and simplicity of the square body but finding them in Alaska in acceptable shape is a treasure hunt. I'm leaning more towards the gmt 400 style as it has modernish features, comfort, and they are extremely plentiful up here. Not to mention most of the parts are interchangeable with the pick up truck counter parts. I also have kids that'll travel with me sometimes and they'd appreciate the comfort. There's a couple of them out here with the 6.5 diesel for sale. I'm hesitant to get one since they're finicky I've heard.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Frogprince

Observer
If you go with a GMT 400 there are a few things I can say about the maintenance on mine.

  1. Shaking Fuel Gauge - Was told by several people this is caused by a bad sending unit and it is time to replace the pump. I have done this twice and it still shakes. More looking into it is the stepper motor that is bad on the dashboard. It works it just shakes. So if you see this I wouldn't stress about it.
  2. Power Steering Lines - K2500. I had this happen while out hunting. They decided for a cooler to run the lines from the pump down the frame, in the frame, and finally back up to the steering box. Mine rubbed against the oil cooler lines and started leaking 2k miles from home. I would check these and see if there is damage and if not maybe put a rubber sleeve over them
  3. Intake issues - Gather the later Vortec engines (mine) leak antifreeze from the intake. Mine started once again 2k miles from home. I have kept it topped up on coolant but looking at having it done.
I went in knowing some of these are just the normal ownership. The first two caught me by surprise. I replaced my pump (it was the original) and I still had a shaking gauge. Frustrated I left it alone for months till I went to fix a gas leak and it broke during removal.

Overall it has been a great beast. I have taken it camping several times, towed a trailer to Colorado and back with it. While it was in Colorado we fit two elk inside of it, and a tarp can easily cover up the back. I don't use the 3rd row but have when my family is in town. I would consider a Excursion but they where out of my price range.
 

zoomad75

Observer
Being a 97 it may have both speed sensors in the 4L80e already. The transfer case output on some of them was just used for the speedometer. I've seen it that way in 95-97 4L80e trucks. Naturally, the 97 4L80e I bought doesn't have the rear sensor ring installed inside.

Problem with the early NP241s is they don't have the 3 wire 4wd switch and pawl inside to tell the pcm when you're in 4 low. Easily solved with a switch on the dash but it's easy to forget to flip it on or off in the moment. That's how my 1990 is setup now and its annoying enough that I'd like to find a 4L80e with both sensors so it will shift correctly no matter what range I'm in.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
I've got a buddy with an 84 suburban we are swapping this exact drivetrain into actually. L29 with a 4l80e. I sold him the trans and it is a 98 that lacks the tone ring for the rear sensor. Most of what I've found is the later 4wd versions of the 80e dropped the rear sensor for the VSS sensor in the t-case so the speed value is still accurate regardless of it being in high or low range. The trans still needs a signal for 4lo but our plan is just to put a switch on the shifter that grounds the circuit when the shifter is pulled into the 4lo position so you don't have to remember to flip the switch or not. The shifter itself would close the switch and once shifted back to 4hi or 2hi the switch would be spring-loaded to open.
 

zachammer85

New member
If you go with a GMT 400 there are a few things I can say about the maintenance on mine.

  1. Shaking Fuel Gauge - Was told by several people this is caused by a bad sending unit and it is time to replace the pump. I have done this twice and it still shakes. More looking into it is the stepper motor that is bad on the dashboard. It works it just shakes. So if you see this I wouldn't stress about it.
  2. Power Steering Lines - K2500. I had this happen while out hunting. They decided for a cooler to run the lines from the pump down the frame, in the frame, and finally back up to the steering box. Mine rubbed against the oil cooler lines and started leaking 2k miles from home. I would check these and see if there is damage and if not maybe put a rubber sleeve over them
  3. Intake issues - Gather the later Vortec engines (mine) leak antifreeze from the intake. Mine started once again 2k miles from home. I have kept it topped up on coolant but looking at having it done.
I went in knowing some of these are just the normal ownership. The first two caught me by surprise. I replaced my pump (it was the original) and I still had a shaking gauge. Frustrated I left it alone for months till I went to fix a gas leak and it broke during removal.

Overall it has been a great beast. I have taken it camping several times, towed a trailer to Colorado and back with it. While it was in Colorado we fit two elk inside of it, and a tarp can easily cover up the back. I don't use the 3rd row but have when my family is in town. I would consider a Excursion but they where out of my price range.
What engine do you have? I'm looking at one now with the 454. It's a 1997 model. Very clean looking but needs some front suspension work typical for a 200k mile truck. He said it is leaking a bit of oil, not sure where and a little power steering fluid leak. Only wants 1200 for it. Might offer him 1000 if everything else checks out.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Frogprince

Observer
My 1998 would be the same. It is a 454 Vortec.

Mine is leaking from the Valve cover gaskets for oil (common), the other common leak is the oil cooler lines seep at the connections between the rubber and metal transitions.

I paid 3k for mine last year with 200k mile on the clock. So if the rest is in good shape 1k is a great price.
 

thebmrust

Member
If you can afford the $4k, then spend it. If you can’t afford $4k, then maybe the $600 isn’t a value either given all it will need.
 
Top