Why so few GM Builds?

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
#1
Having been a member now for almost 2 years I find it very interesting to see and read about the vehicles other members "build" for their getaway vehicle. Needless to say there are some wildly varied tastes in what makes a good getaway (I did NOT say Expedition) vehicle. There is also a wide variety of budgets here for the build of their getaway vehicle from $100's of thousands of Dollars to the "Junque Yard Crawl" bunch on a limited budget.

One vehicle in particular that "I" would think is prime for the budget minded "Junque Yard Crawl" group from which to build a budget getaway vehicle would be the 4WD 95-99 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC cousin. Both were insanely popular on the road with the school mom bunch and their daddy. Both are now insanely CHEAP to purchase in comparison to other comparable 4WD vehicles. Sure they have some short comings with IRS up front HOWEVER size wise, power wise and comfort wise they can be compared to a Toyota Sequoia. The aftermarket for these Tahoe's and the newer models also is huge for new stuff and CL is full of parts for these model Tahoe's for those looking for "Previously Owned" aftermarket parts for a "Budget Build".

All this leads to my question:

Why are there so few builds of a 4WD Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC for getaway vehicle for those on a limited budget?
 
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#3
They are cheap to get into yes. But they are generally much more expensive to modify. You have to go higher in a given lift to clear a larger tire. You mention the Toyota Sequoia. That, itself, is the least popular within the Toyota crowd with poor aftermarket support.

I'll give you this. the GM rigs have it the best when it comes to aftermarket power-train support.

It boils down to Full-size, in the grand scheme in Overlanding, isn't popular. Though, our little part of this site has some of the most active members and number of posts. And if you do go fullsize, it better have a solid axle upfront. This is coming from a Ram 1500 Ecodiesel owner, which if it wasn't for AEV, I wouldn't have much of anything.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#4
Having been a member now for almost 2 years I find it very interesting to see and read about the vehicles other members "build" for their getaway vehicle. Needless to say there are some wildly varied tastes in what makes a good getaway (I did NOT say Expedition) vehicle. There is also a wide variety of budgets here for the build of their getaway vehicle from $100's of thousands of Dollars to the "Junque Yard Crawl" bunch on a limited budget.

One vehicle in particular that "I" would think is prime for the budget minded "Junque Yard Crawl" group from which to build a budget getaway vehicle would be the 4WD 95-99 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC cousin. Both were insanely popular on the road with the school mom bunch and their daddy. Both are now insanely CHEAP to purchase in comparison to other comparable 4WD vehicles. Sure they have some short comings with IRS up front HOWEVER size wise, power wise and comfort wise they can be compared to a Toyota Sequoia. The aftermarket for these Tahoe's and the newer models also is huge for new stuff and CL is full of parts for these model Tahoe's for those looking for "Previously Owned" aftermarket parts for a "Budget Build".

All this leads to my question:

Why are there so few builds of a 4WD Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC for getaway vehicle for those on a limited budget?
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There are at least two GMT-400 Tahoe builds on ExPo that I'm aware of, probably more.
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As to why the GMT-400 Tahoe is not more popular here, I can hazard a few guesses:
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First off, the Suburban is a better platform since it offer considerably more space and gets roughly the same MPG.
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Second, while the "bones" of the GMT-400's are pretty solid (5.7 V8, 4L60E trans, transfer case, etc.) these loaded up vehicles had a lot of "peripherals": Things like power seats, power windows, and various other electronic and electric doo dads that eventually fail and need to be repaired or replaced, often at high cost. Considering that these vehicles are dirt cheap, generally the people who own them don't take very good care of them (that's why they're cheap, duh.) They're not 100% necessary but very few people would want to drive a vehicle with no AC through the desert, for example.
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When faced with the prospect of having to sink a couple thousand $$ into a vehicle that you maybe only paid $1500 for, most people will choose a different vehicle.
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BTW you may notice there are very few GMT-800 Tahoe builds here, while there are quite a few GMT-800 Suburbans. Again, I think for what we do, the Suburban is a much better platform.
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If a person was handy at repairing or replacing the finicky "peripherals" a GMT-400 Tahoe or Yukon would make a great low-budget off road vehicle. In fact, I'd take a nice, low mileage, "soccer mom" Tahoe over a thrashed-out Land Cruiser any day of the week.
 
#6
The 1/2 ton's have failure prone transmissions, and front and rear differentials. The front suspensions do not do well when lifted. The 3/4 tons have much better rear diffs and transmissions but the front diff is still weak and front suspension is not off road or lift friendly. Put a straight front axle under them and fix the other shortcomings and they are great.
 

CrazyDrei

Space Monkey
#7
All the GM folks are out doing. Not sitting at home posting about what they wish they were doing. ��
Calicamper,

You have absolutely nailed this one on the head. We spend more money on gas then mods which do not exist for our trucks any we have to make ourselves. We spend more time on the road than at home waiting for parts while the truck is up on jacks. While a smaller truck is better for overlanding, we call the same activity car camping or just driving because this is what these trucks were built for.

I have traveled (read overnalded in this forum) in many vehicles my favorite to go solo or with one friend was a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder, but if you have more then two people there is no better vehicle out there than a Suburban unless you are a Toyota or a Jeep owner who like driving down the road looking like a Christmas tree with gas cans, testicle looking bags and roof top tents hanging off the truck.



This is what my pathfinder looked like when I took it all over North America from Key West to Prudhoe Bay to Happy Valley Goose Bay and everywhere in between.



And this is is what a 1998 Suburban looks like with 6 people in it and over 1,000lbs of gear behind the back seat while we spent 4-5 weeks traveling the country. Getting better miles per gallon and double the range of Japanese trucks.



Current overlanding rig, going back to the GMT400 platform the second my wife lets.

Just my 2 cents.
 
#8
The 1/2 ton's have failure prone transmissions, and front and rear differentials. The front suspensions do not do well when lifted. The 3/4 tons have much better rear diffs and transmissions but the front diff is still weak and front suspension is not off road or lift friendly. Put a straight front axle under them and fix the other shortcomings and they are great.
+1. The old 350's were not great either. At about 150-180K they need to be rebuilt IMO. The 5.3L is a great motor tho, good to 250-300K. I've driven a chevy truck all my life and dad always had a suburban growing up. Think the express van is a better platform than suburban tho.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
#9
+1. The old 350's were not great either. At about 150-180K they need to be rebuilt IMO. The 5.3L is a great motor tho, good to 250-300K. I've driven a chevy truck all my life and dad always had a suburban growing up. Think the express van is a better platform than suburban tho.
I was forced to drive 3500 Express vans for years. I have at least 600,000 miles behind the wheel of them. I won't let my family near them. Complete death traps. Worse built than russian cars. I'd take a Suburban 2500 over them every day. At least it's based on a truck chassis.

There's few (new style) GM builds for the same reason there's few GM's at the Powerline or Pipelines. Dodge and Ford have a better mousetrap for this style of rough fullsize truck use.

The Suburban leads the fullsize SUV market, but the number of people willing to sleep in the back of one is getting smaller and smaller. And so if you go trailer, then the trucks have the advantage again, and that market is dominated by Ford and Dodge right now. In my area, Suburbans are dying off and being replaced by crew cab trucks. Which is another GM weak spot. I don't see too many CC GM trucks out here.

Seems like GM is ignoring our market and concentrating on silly commercials for people with poor critical thinking skills. (Yay, we won another "initial quality" award! Lets see if we can bang a hole in the side of an aluminum Ford door with this new award!)

I love these:

https://youtu.be/zSBsq6HBBzw
https://youtu.be/9-M5xg2Uyxw
https://youtu.be/rZKUbzAdb7E
https://youtu.be/xTfS0nAgfuE?list=RDZK19lf8yVgU
https://youtu.be/ZK19lf8yVgU
 
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#10
I've wondered this too, in fact it wasn't that long ago that I felt like Scouts and Broncos were also shunned. The resale market started to rise for them and they subsequently became more popular here (from my perspective).

K5's and K10's etc have started to become slightly more valuable, but are still never EVER going to grace the cover of Overland Journal. I'm not sure why, I guess because they are too blue collar or common, but that is just my opinion. You can spend 100K on a K5 easily so I don't really understand it.

As for modern vehicles I stil don't get it. The Colorado/Canyon are crushing the Tacoma in off the shelf capability and features. The GMT-400 is a VERY capable platform that is cheap cheap cheap.

In the end I guess it's not a bad thing to be the "underdog" here. My truck is certainly one of a kind as are pretty much all of the GM's (and domestic's in general) on this forum... and that's ok by me.
 
#11
Calicamper,

You have absolutely nailed this one on the head. We spend more money on gas then mods which do not exist for our trucks any we have to make ourselves. We spend more time on the road than at home waiting for parts while the truck is up on jacks. While a smaller truck is better for overlanding, we call the same activity car camping or just driving because this is what these trucks were built for.

I have traveled (read overnalded in this forum) in many vehicles my favorite to go solo or with one friend was a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder, but if you have more then two people there is no better vehicle out there than a Suburban unless you are a Toyota or a Jeep owner who like driving down the road looking like a Christmas tree with gas cans, testicle looking bags and roof top tents hanging off the truck.



This is what my pathfinder looked like when I took it all over North America from Key West to Prudhoe Bay to Happy Valley Goose Bay and everywhere in between.



And this is is what a 1998 Suburban looks like with 6 people in it and over 1,000lbs of gear behind the back seat while we spent 4-5 weeks traveling the country. Getting better miles per gallon and double the range of Japanese trucks.



Current overlanding rig, going back to the GMT400 platform the second my wife lets.

Just my 2 cents.
May I ask why you want to go back?

I've owned 3 GMT-400's in the past and think its an attractive looking rig. I will be looking at a GMT-400 or 800 Suburban/Yukon in the next year or two.
 
#12
I'm all about my Suburban. For me it was the perfect vehicle after leaving the jeep world. Even my K2500, 454 with 410s gets 12MPG which is just a few under my old XJ.
 
#14
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I love my Tahoe! :D
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40 gallon fuel tank + diesel power + comfy interior = long distance driving comfort with minimal fuel stops, whereas my former Jeep TJ would have to stop for fuel 3 times as much, and was not very comfy for driving long distances.
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Casey
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
#15
I've wondered this too, in fact it wasn't that long ago that I felt like Scouts and Broncos were also shunned. The resale market started to rise for them and they subsequently became more popular here (from my perspective).

K5's and K10's etc have started to become slightly more valuable, but are still never EVER going to grace the cover of Overland Journal. I'm not sure why, I guess because they are too blue collar or common, but that is just my opinion. You can spend 100K on a K5 easily so I don't really understand it.

As for modern vehicles I stil don't get it. The Colorado/Canyon are crushing the Tacoma in off the shelf capability and features. The GMT-400 is a VERY capable platform that is cheap cheap cheap.

In the end I guess it's not a bad thing to be the "underdog" here. My truck is certainly one of a kind as are pretty much all of the GM's (and domestic's in general) on this forum... and that's ok by me.
The Colorado is crushing it over here as well. Finally a fresh design from GM.

I expect Tacoma's to finally come down in price.