Questions for the Suburban/Yukon XL owners out there...

#31
I should point out that except for cosmetic details like paint, wheels and the luggage rack, you don’t need a Z71 to get most of those features.

My LT has the 3.73 gears, the G80, and skid plates.




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Didn't know the skid plates ame on non z71 trucks. What about the taller rear coils?
 
#32
No, it's an actual locker. When one wheel spins 100 rpms more than the other, forward or reverse, it locks in. It will not lock and will unlock at speeds greater than 30 mph.

The 10 bolt version is known to be weak if you hammer on it. When people start talking axle swaps on here it's usually to get a stronger unit.
I've considered bigger axle for this reason but have decided against it because I'm just not that hard on my stuff.
You had me curious so I found a video that showed how the G80 actually works. Sadly I am disappointed. It using clutch plates and steels to do the actual torque transfer. To me that is a wear item just like the transmission. While the average driver that drives mostly on pavement in warm climates will see very little wear. Those that live in colder climates and use their vehicles off road will see wear. Most of us service our own vehicles. I don't see most users able to pull and rebuild a differential. I can do it I have to tools to make sure it is accurately installed.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
#33
It's not bad, until it fails. It's called the gov bomb for a reason.

Put a Detroit Truetrac, Detroit locker, or Yukon grizz locker in it's place. (depending on the year and what axle)
 
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#34
I have a 2002 Suburban 1500 5.3 4x4. I can't say enough great things about it. There is a LOT of cargo room even with the 3rd row seat in use. Plush ride. Solid performance with mild trails/forest service roads. Rear air that will freeze you out in two minutes. As easy to modify for light offroad use as any other 1500. Take the rear seat out, lay the second row flat, and you have a full size half-ton pickup with a climate controlled bed.

The best I do on the highway at 75-80mph is 15mpg. That's with all five of us plus the dog plus cargo (which is all inside). When I tow anything, it's a small utility trailer that I don't even notice behind me even when it's fully loaded down.

And regarding reliability...my Suburban seems to be indestructible. We're currently at 257k miles on the original motor & transmission. I have half a mind to find another '02-'06 1500 Suburban with low miles when mine finally gives up (if ever).
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#35
Didn't know the skid plates ame on non z71 trucks. What about the taller rear coils?
Skid plates, yes. Taller coils, no.

HOWEVER, Z71 coils are available for about $50 on Amazon. Back in 2016 a fellow ExPo member helped me swap out my tired LT coils for brand new Z71 coils. We also swapped out the tired factory shocks for Bilstein 5100's.

BTW here's a comparison between the LT coils and the Z71 coils:

2016_0924_144612AA.JPG

The total cost of the lift, new coils, 4 new shocks, keys for the T-bars, and extended front sway bar links, was around $450 and most of that was the shocks (4 x shocks @ ~$80 each. I think if you shop around you can get them cheaper but I was in a hurry.) Except for the fact that my T-bar keys were rusted in place and had to be busted out with an air hammer, the suspension lift was a fairly easy afternoon job for 2 people.

One nice thing about domestics, they are pretty cheap on parts. My alternator went out last year coming home from a camping trip. My 2nd battery saved me and kept me going until I got home. Once I got home, finding a replacement alternator on a Sunday afternoon was easy and for less than $150 and maybe 30 minutes worth of work I had a brand new 145a alternator on my truck.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#36
And regarding reliability...my Suburban seems to be indestructible. We're currently at 257k miles on the original motor & transmission. I have half a mind to find another '02-'06 1500 Suburban with low miles when mine finally gives up (if ever).
It's funny, I've really been thinking about getting a new vehicle and the new F-150's and Ram 1500's are pretty nice. But the Scotsman in me can't stand the idea of getting rid of a vehicle that still runs so well (and best of all is PAID FOR!)

I know it sounds terrible but there's a part of me that is kind of "hoping" for a catastrophic failure so I can justify getting a new vehicle. But seeing as how I've already had the most failure-prone component (the 4l60E transmission) rebuilt, the likelihood of another serious failure is remote. Even if the fuel pump were to fail (KNOCK WOOD!) it would be a ~$1000 repair.

Which sounds like a lot until you consider that any new vehicle I purchase is likely to come with ~$500/month payments for at least a few years, so really the cost of fixing the fuel pump is the same as 2 car payments!

I don't know that I've ever heard of the 5.3 V8 itself failing.

Plush ride. Solid performance with mild trails/forest service roads. Rear air that will freeze you out in two minutes.
Yes, the ride is quite nice. My sister and brother-in-law borrowed the Suburban last year to move a bed and when they brought it back, they were impressed by how comfortable it was. My B-I-L was particularly impressed by the seats and I said to him "It's like driving your living room couch down the freeway."

He corrected me and said "no, it's like driving your ENTIRE LIVING ROOM down the freeway." :D

WRT the AC, we have recently had a bit of a heat wave here in CO and we also have our 15 year old grandson staying with us. Yesterday we had to run an errand and when I said we were taking my truck instead of my wife's Honda CR-V he said he was glad to hear that because the AC was way better than the AC in my wife's car!
 
#37
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Didn't know the skid plates ame on non z71 trucks. What about the taller rear coils?
Lykos,

The more I read and cotribute to this post the more amazed and weirded out I get about my truck. 2000 k1500 LS with factory tow package which includes leather seats, tans cooler, skid plates, G80, longer coils.

Seems that there were so many options available on LS, LT and Z71 suburbans that just about every combination rolled off the asembly line and is a matter of identifying the RPO codes you want when looking for a truck with specific features.

I got lucky with my 1500 and nearly 5 years and over 150 miles would not trade it for a gmt800 but would replace it with another 1500.
 
#38
I don't know that I've ever heard of the 5.3 V8 itself failing.
I haven't either. Between a very small leak at the rear seal and a bit of oil consumption, I add a quart about every 3K miles. But other than that, it has been rock solid.

He corrected me and said "no, it's like driving your ENTIRE LIVING ROOM down the freeway." :D
Ha! With three bench seats and seat belts for NINE PEOPLE, mine actually seats more than my living room.
 
#39
I have an 02 2500 with a supercharged 8.1 I'd imagine the fuel consumption is only a little worse than a stock 8.1.. when I first got it I checked my mpgs and my worst was 6mpg with a 4-5k trailer all around town(was moving to a new house) and It was that bad because i have a heavy foot and have to beat all the Honda's at stop lights. I then took an unloaded trip on the freeway about 80 miles with a little around town and got 11mpg at 80ish mph plus the few miles around town. My best mpg that I checked was when I took my family camping in the uintas. Loaded with me, wife, 2 kids, 2 dogs pretty full cabin of stuff and a 2-3k tent trailer I got almost 15.5mpg through the canyons.. was about a 4 hour drive not sure on miles.. I picked the 2500 for the larger towing capacity I've done loaded dump trailers, 4dr duramax on a construction equipment trailer. 30ft camp trailer and a bunch of smaller trailers/cars. I haven't found something I wasn't comfortable dragging around. I also wanted the stronger transmission than the 1500 model. I've had buddies go through the 4l60s a few times and I just didn't want to worry about it. If you plan on doing any real towing I would recommend a 2500. the mpgs between the 1500/2500 aren't that big of a difference when you start loading them I would go bigger and not worry about over loading the 1500 when your wife decides she wants a good sized camp trailer.. or if you want a compromise get a Yukon/Yukon XL Denali. 6.0 And a 4l65 on a 1500 frame. Or a Cadillac is the same too..
 
#40
Well let me some of yours first! I have a 2000 Suburban 1500 2wd with a 5.3 that is LOCKED UP. It has 150,000 miles and I assume they are very hard and not taken care of miles. I stole it from a crack head mom that needed bail money for $1000. It was running barely when I got it. It was running extremely rich and throwing codes like crazy.

Someone had tried to pull someone else that was stuck, by using a chain. As usual in these cases the chain broke on the stuck vehicle and slammed into the liftgate and back window. Nice chain impression on lift gate, broken window, and bent bumper. Remember now these are crackheads. I replaced the liftgate (same color) and window from local pull-a-part for $100

Interior is intact but nasty as hell. Going to pull seats and attempt to deep clean carpet.

I decided to drive it a couple of days before digging deep into the rich running condition. I am afraid that I made a major mistake in doing that. I stopped at the local parts store to pickup some replacements for all the burned out lamps and have them read all the codes for me. It was running rough like it had been everything including oil pressure and temps appeared good. Shut it off, go inside and get my lamps. counter guy reads the codes for me, bad O2 sensors. Go to leave and when I hit the starter engine started to spin then a pop and starter spun free. Couple more attempts to start and all I got was free spin on starter. Broke bendix. Did the parking lot starter swap. Yuck never again. Guess what new starter just grunts. Crawl back under loosen starter bolts, starter works. Tried turning motor by hand with no luck. I was ill, mad, and wet as it had started raining by this time. Towed it back home and parked it till I feel like being beat up by a Suburban.

My diagnosis is that the overly rich condition washed cylinders down and possibly contaminated the oil. I believe that when it popped when I tried to start it, it spun briefly backwards, breaking the bendix on the starter. Either it is a piston locked because of rings or one of the bearings had spun due to contaminated oil and showed no problems till it spun backwards and overlapped the other half of the bearing.

TL/DR: locked up due to broke ring or spun bearing.

Sometime this summer I will get out there with a long breaker bar, pull the plugs, and try to free up motor by turning it in either direction. If I find that it is terminal, I will be going to local pull-a-part for another 5.3 but will also pick up a 4L80 transmission to be rebuilt. Do a gasket and seals and knock sensors change on salvage motor. Replace motor and transmission with a small wiring change and reflash. Then I can enjoy it will I do the originally intended mods. It has factory tow package. I haven't checked all the build codes, so do not know how equipped underside is.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#41
^^^ well, anything will break if it's abused, even a Toyota. ;)

Seems like the one you got was beat like a rented mule. :eek: I have to say, though, I admire your commitment. (y)

WRT to the 4L80 swap, there are a few writeups on various GM forums. Assuming yours is 4wd I believe you do have to move the T-case back beacause the 4L80 is a few inches longer, but it is do-able. EDIT: I guess I get a zero for reading comprehension. :giggle: With a 2wd you should be good to go.

Or if you really want to trick it out, somebody over on the Tahoe/Yukon forum actually did a 6 speed manual conversion o_O (although I'm pretty sure that was a 2wd Tahoe.) Since the MT was an option on the GMT-800 pickups, I believe there are places to hang a clutch pedal and I think (not 100% sure) that the clutch uses the same master cylinder as the brakes.

I don't know how much $$ you want to sink into it, but I have to say, a 2wd 'Burb with a crate motor and a 6 speed manual would be a pretty cool people-mover!
 
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#42
Dollars isn't so much a problem as is the time and space. My good old Bronco sits with a 460 and a ZF5 speed. Yeah it is the fun vehicle in the bunch. Suburban is more for comfort and space. I do wish it was 4wd drive but for the price I couldn't pass it up. The body is solid and chassis seems to be ok but needs a good inspections for worn parts. Plans for it is a TruTrac in the rear, ZL1 springs in the rear with keys upfront. I haven't decided on tires yet just whatever the basic springs and keys give me for tire clearance. Needs a roof rack and a storage drawer setup with a fridge and kitchen. Just something me and mom can get in a take off to the mountains and tow a 18-20 foot camper.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#43
Dollars isn't so much a problem as is the time and space. My good old Bronco sits with a 460 and a ZF5 speed. Yeah it is the fun vehicle in the bunch. Suburban is more for comfort and space. I do wish it was 4wd drive but for the price I couldn't pass it up. The body is solid and chassis seems to be ok but needs a good inspections for worn parts. Plans for it is a TruTrac in the rear, ZL1 springs in the rear with keys upfront. I haven't decided on tires yet just whatever the basic springs and keys give me for tire clearance. Needs a roof rack and a storage drawer setup with a fridge and kitchen. Just something me and mom can get in a take off to the mountains and tow a 18-20 foot camper.
Sounds like a good plan. (y)

If you like the bigger Z71 roof rack, I've heard that the rack is a straight bolt on (assuming yours had some kind of rack - I don't think I've ever seen a GMT800 Suburban that didn't have one.)

WRT the drivetrain, if the engine is shot anyway, why not just pick up a 6.0/4l65E from a 2wd Yukon or Escalade and put that in? Woudln't it be a pretty straightforward bolt in? That would give you more power and a (slightly) beefier transmission without having to jump through the 4L80 hoops.

I would have favored a Yukon except that the Denali model was only available with AWD, not true 4wd. On a 2wd that's a moot issue.

EDITED TO ADD: If you're adding a fridge, putting a 2nd battery in is pretty easy. I've been running a dual battery system for about 18 months now and it's worked great both to support the truck fridge and to "back up" the main battery.
 
#44
Just remember whatever motor I pick up has to be a 2004 or prior as there was a change made internal on the engine as far as the number of pulses from crankshaft. Went from 24 pulses/rev to 58. This would require a completely different harness as sensor location changed too and the ECU reflash. The upgrade from 4L60 to 4L80 only requires repinning two or three wires on the transmission harness connector. Yes it takes a simple tool to remove the pins. I already have that. Delphi connectors. The transmission controller reflash is simple with the right software and interface. Easier to do the trans swap than the engine upgrade. Happy with the milage and the toque of the 5.3. I also have a 2000 Silverado 1500 with the 5.3. With towing in mind the 5.3 offers plenty in stock form and even more with mild mods. The transmission is the weak link. I thought the 2nd battery was an assumed automatic upgrade for every owner LOL.