Any GMT900 Suburban/XL 2500 builds here?

#16
Thanks! And will do.

I'll work on uploading some "as new" and progress pics to where the build currently sits and make this my build thread.

Maybe if a moderator reads this they can rename the title to "Matt's Giant Silver Unicorn Build Thread" :friday:
 
#17
So a bit of background... I've always had an offroad vehicle of some type, from Explorers to Wranglers to Cherokees to Silverado & Sierra trucks. My most recent vehicle was a nicely modified Jeep Commander. It was our go-to for trips to OBX, skiing, mountain biking, and local (legal) wheeling spots.

Well, 4 kids later and plans of buying a travel trailer sort of put a damper on the Commander's capabilities. With the 3rd row up there was essentially no interior cargo room, and with towing capacity just over 7k, our travel trailer options were extremely limited especially after factoring weight of passengers/cargo (as the kids grow anyway). There aren't many vehicles out there that can comfortable seat a family of 6+, and still be configured for everything from beach driving to towing a large travel trailer.

I knew what I wanted, and needed, but I also knew finding my "unicorn" was going to be a challenge. I searched NATIONWIDE for almost a year for a GMT800 or GMT900 Suburban or Yukon XL2500. Every time I found a truck it sold before I was able to get there.

Then I found her. She wasn't perfect, but damn near close. Every option I wanted, and none of the ones I didnt. The only thing that would make my unicorn perfect is if she was a Suburban instead of the Yukon, just because i dislike the GMT900 Yukon front clip... but that wasn't going to stop me.

The dealer was awesome, salesman text me pictures of the undercarriage and everything i requested, made the deal over the phone, gave them a deposit, booked an airline ticket, told my boss i was taking a day off work.... then a few days later left NJ at 6AM, flew to OH, dealer picked me up, test drove the truck, signed the paperwork (which was all prepped nicely btw), hopped in my new truck and drove ~600 miles straight home, nearly non-stop... i only stopped because my wife was getting mad at me and told me to get a coffee around 10PM even though I was less than 2 hours from home. But boy those were a looooong two hours!

So here's my Unicorn, on the dealer lot and then in my driveway (pic taken the next morning as I left for work... because I only took 1 day off)
 

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#18
The base for the build was always going to be a ~4" lift and i figured 33" tires would do it (if you've read the thread up to this point then this feels like one of the movies where you see the ending first, and get the story after).

Naturally I kept my eye on used tires, hoping to find that sucker that was talked into 33s by his wife for his Jeep, but then threw a 2" lift on and needed to go up to 35s.... and that's pretty much exactly what found. A set of almost new 305/60/18 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3's for less than the price of 2 new tires. I was shocked because I NEVER find deals like that :wings:

So now I had these big tires, and I only had my truck for a month or so.... I wasn't ready to lift it yet. Well I "was", but I needed to sell my Commander first, but wanted to use my Commander through the winter, sell in the Spring,then transfer DD duties to the XL2500.

IMG_0992.jpg

My buddy hooked me up with a nice set of wheels at a great price... the next question was how to fit them! Having owned a few trucks with similar suspension, and having run every type of lift imaginable, cranking the torsion bars were out of the question!

2016-09-03 17.43.49.jpg

No suspension lift, No cranking the torsion bars.... but being my 3rd GM truck I'm an expert at trimming!

Modified the front bumper brackets, cut and reshaped the sheet metal in the back of the fender, then used a heat gun to reform the plastic liner.... crossed my fingers and to my surprise (really), they fit without rubbing!

2016-08-21 11.29.12.jpg

20171125_150137.jpg

2016-09-07 23.24.08.jpg
 
#19
Hey Matt, I think I saw some of your posts on TahoeYukonForum. I'm in the same boat you were in not long ago, searching nationwide for a GMT900 Sub 2500 with the options I want. Rare is right, and they sell extremely quickly when they do pop up. Some day I'll get one. Looking forward to seeing yours with the Cognito and 35s.
 
#20
Hey Matt, I think I saw some of your posts on TahoeYukonForum. I'm in the same boat you were in not long ago, searching nationwide for a GMT900 Sub 2500 with the options I want. Rare is right, and they sell extremely quickly when they do pop up. Some day I'll get one. Looking forward to seeing yours with the Cognito and 35s.
Haha yup, same "Matt". I think this site is more welcoming to the offroad crowd lol.

Not sure if you've come across it yet, but there's a FB group "2500 (3/4-ton) Suburban/YukonXL Owners" and there's usually links to some nice ones for sale. There's actually a really nice 2013 for under $20k that someone just posted.... if I was still in the market id already have a deposit on it!
 
#21
Not sure if you've come across it yet, but there's a FB group "2500 (3/4-ton) Suburban/YukonXL Owners" and there's usually links to some nice ones for sale. There's actually a really nice 2013 for under $20k that someone just posted.... if I was still in the market id already have a deposit on it!
Yeah, I saw that one - it's a great deal for what it is, but it's a pretty base LS. I'm picky, I'm looking for a loaded LT with nav and moonroof. :D
 
#22
Any reason to not run 255/85r16's, they measure 33.4 inches if memory serves and should require no trimming.
Yes, they do fit. I bought my 2010 2500 Suburban with a 2 inch torsion key lift and 285/65-18's on aftermarket wheels, and they rubbed under mild compression while turning. Switched to 255/85-16's (Cooper ST/MAXX) on stock steelies, which are the same diameter, and they clear nicely. Personally, I actually prefer the skinnier look compared to what I had before (more industrial, less bro-truck), but I understand everyone has their own taste.
 
#23
Yes, they do fit. I bought my 2010 2500 Suburban with a 2 inch torsion key lift and 285/65-18's on aftermarket wheels, and they rubbed under mild compression while turning. Switched to 255/85-16's (Cooper ST/MAXX) on stock steelies, which are the same diameter, and they clear nicely. Personally, I actually prefer the skinnier look compared to what I had before (more industrial, less bro-truck), but I understand everyone has their own taste.
Let's see some pictures.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#24
I actually prefer the skinnier look compared to what I had before (more industrial, less bro-truck), but I understand everyone has their own taste.
I hear that. While I don't like the skinnier look, you have no clue how much i struggle with wheel selection as most are overly flashy/gaudy. I like simpler cleaner designs, but they're few and far between, and normally when I find one I like they dont come in the correct size or offset. I've contemplated going with the 17" Mickey Thompson Classic III to get the more rugged look back, less SEMA'ish.
 
#25
Getting back to the GSU (Giant Silver Unicorn)... after I sold my Jeep last year I used some of the money to upgrade from the factory running boards to AMP Research Powersteps. Probably not the best idea for overland type use as they catch less (like none at all) road debris, more moving parts, etc etc, BUT they come down lower when extended which helps the kids get in, which I guess is my way to justify these as more than a purely cosmetic upgrade :ylsmoke:

One thing they do well is make the GSU look like its lifted. I've had multiple incidents of people asking about the lift, most famously was at the scummy dealership service department when they tried to circumvent a warranty claim but using my "lift" as an excuse not to cover the repair. They sure felt like idiots when I told them to go take another look at the truck and call me back when they tell me which lift kit is installed. Tthe next call i got from them was "repairs are done" :rolleyes:... and yes, i verified they were done before leaving lol

On to the pictures..

Stock Running Boards

20170408_094235_zps7simhavg.jpg

AMP's retracted

20170408_145759_zps5seqmxfp.jpg

AMP's Extended

20170408_145644_zps54trchuk.jpg


Well that pretty much brings this up to speed with where my build currently sits. Tomorrow I'll be test fitting my wheels on a lift spindle, and I really hope they fit because my plans for Presidents Day weekend got cancelled.... so if I my current wheels fit, I'll be installing the lift that weekend, a month sooner than planned :jumping:

2017-06-15 10.36.42.jpg
 
#26
Let's see some pictures.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Here you go...

Old (285/65-18 Nitto Terra Grappler, installed by previous owner):
old-setup_web2.jpg
The problems were:
1. They rubbed in the front, and I didn't like them enough to want to cut into factory sheet metal to make them clear.
2. The wheels just didn't look right on a Suburban in my opinion.
3. The combination of the tire width and low profile made them tramline quite a bit on the highway.
4. They rode rough when inflated to pressures that would keep the TPMS happy.
5. With the low profile tires, I felt that the rims were vulnerable on rocky trails.

New (255/85-16 Cooper ST/Maxx):
new-setup_web2.jpg
I like this setup better:
1. They ride better.
2. They're more appropriate for trail use, even the mild trail work this truck sees.
3. They are the same overall height as the old setup, so no loss in ground clearance.
4. I like the look better - more purposeful, utilitarian.
5. Of course, they do scrub more if you corner aggressively on the highway, but one doesn't typically drive a 3/4 ton Suburban like a sports car, anyway.
(6. Yes, it towed the Bronco there.)

Funny that the only pics I could find have the rear hatch open! Apparently I take "campsite" pics, not "truck" pics.

Anyway, to bring it back and not highjack the OP's thread, these are great trucks. As you can see, we use ours for both camping by itself (I built a sleeping platform inside), and camping+towing the other toy. The trailer+Bronco are about 8k lbs, and the Suburban happily handles the load, even here in mountainous Colorado. If you want to do this with a late model truck, and you prefer the SUV body style (i.e. not a pickup), the Suburban 2500 is one of the few choices left.

Matt_: Please post pics when you get your lift installed, interested in seeing it!
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#29
Haha yup, same "Matt". I think this site is more welcoming to the offroad crowd lol.
.
Yeah, TYF is a great source for generic vehicle info but they are definitely more into the "slammed trucks on 26's with big sub woofer" type vehicles than off-road. :sombrero:
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
#30
Here you go...

Old (285/65-18 Nitto Terra Grappler, installed by previous owner):
View attachment 433389
The problems were:
1. They rubbed in the front, and I didn't like them enough to want to cut into factory sheet metal to make them clear.
2. The wheels just didn't look right on a Suburban in my opinion.
3. The combination of the tire width and low profile made them tramline quite a bit on the highway.
4. They rode rough when inflated to pressures that would keep the TPMS happy.
5. With the low profile tires, I felt that the rims were vulnerable on rocky trails.

New (255/85-16 Cooper ST/Maxx):
View attachment 433391
I like this setup better:
1. They ride better.
2. They're more appropriate for trail use, even the mild trail work this truck sees.
3. They are the same overall height as the old setup, so no loss in ground clearance.
4. I like the look better - more purposeful, utilitarian.
5. Of course, they do scrub more if you corner aggressively on the highway, but one doesn't typically drive a 3/4 ton Suburban like a sports car, anyway.
(6. Yes, it towed the Bronco there.)

Funny that the only pics I could find have the rear hatch open! Apparently I take "campsite" pics, not "truck" pics.

Anyway, to bring it back and not highjack the OP's thread, these are great trucks. As you can see, we use ours for both camping by itself (I built a sleeping platform inside), and camping+towing the other toy. The trailer+Bronco are about 8k lbs, and the Suburban happily handles the load, even here in mountainous Colorado. If you want to do this with a late model truck, and you prefer the SUV body style (i.e. not a pickup), the Suburban 2500 is one of the few choices left.

Matt_: Please post pics when you get your lift installed, interested in seeing it!
I'm liking it, I swapped in the factory alloys on my previous GM truck and have them on our current Yukon 2500.
 
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