Why so few GM Builds?


Teabaggin' Dragon
My 1999 GMC Yukon 1500 was a $2000 Craigslist find, obtained at about 208K miles in November 2015. It had lived a tough life with the prior owner, starting out in the AZ desert and then carting Boy Scouts and a light trailer from Indiana to Wisconsin on a regular basis. I grabbed it with the intention of making it camp-out capable first and then heading towards more serious expedition use.

After my initial investment in basic wear and maintenance items was under $500 (radiator, fluids, belts, hoses, light bulbs, etc...) I was pretty encouraged. I'd started to save up for lifts, tires, racks and bumpers when the gears in the rear end ate each other. Further analysis determined that the axle bearings were gone as well, so I was looking at a whole new rear end. Even with junkyard parts I was facing at half the cost of what I'd paid for the whole truck, and gobbling up my whole improvements bankroll. Plus, once that first failure happens, you can't help but start to look at what you are living with / putting off that really needed to be addressed... holes in the exhaust and muffler, trans slipping between 2 and 3, AC struggling... it stopped making sense from a $$$ standpoint. I let it go to the shop owner's cousin for $500 in April of 2016.

I loved the styling of the GMT400 platform. The barn doors were the best part. If I can find a GMT800 with barn doors, I may give that a shot... I feel like I'd be more prone to continue to invest in something powered by the LS than the 5.7L just because of all the drivetrain support available. I don't hate the idea of having to come up with some of my own bits - fab is part of why I want to tackle this kind of project. I just didn't want to go throwing money down the pit if the drivetrain was going to start dying on me.

Maybe if I was confident I could swap a rear end on my own I'd still have it, and y'all would be reading my camping threads.
GM IFS (8 lug at least) is neither as complicated nor weak as people on the internet say. I have stripped my 2003 Yukon XL 2500's front end down to the frame, everything came out including the diff and every steering part and I replaced all wear parts (and much more). It was really straightforward, I did everything single-handedly in my driveway with standard 'front-end' tools. I also have a solid axle ZJ and I have done a full front suspension/steering refresh before and that was a lot worse of a job than the IFS truck, but then again that was working on it single-handedly too. On my Yukon I would rather not have an aluminum clamshell front diff but if you are actually handling one, it is a very substantial piece and I'm not too worried about it blowing apart. Clearly a Dana 60 is much stronger but I don't need a Dana 60 for what I intend to do with it.
I take my 08 2500 duramax CCSB everywhere. Its fitted with a 52gal titan, the kryptonite steering kit a level and some fox 2.0s This truck has done everything I've asked of it and I've asked a lot. The modes were pretty simple to install. I've been very pleased with their performance. Having a 900 mile range is the best mod I've done. Having driven an 1500 and a 2500, I prefer the later. It just feels more solid plus I don't mind the stiffer ride and the 6.6 is beauty


To Infinity and Beyond!
Not in Texas they don't lol!

Check sales numbers on HD trucks, they are no where near Ford.
The sell more Fords in Texas because the Fords drive like TRUCK'S and work like trucks instead of driving like cars that the 1500 GM Suburban/Tahoe's (Woman Urban Assault Vehicles) do and that were being discussed at the time of that post.
My only gripes with the modern (2007+) GM trucks is that they still have the problematic AFM (the system that shuts off 4 cylinders while cruising) and the CCSB trucks still have pathetically small gas tanks (26 gallon with no bigger option AFAIK.) The AFM and gas tank alone are enough to push the Ford F-150 to the top of my list when shopping for a replacement for my Suburban.
this is certainly just just my opinion... but those reasons would not be enough to keep me from buying a nice LS powered GM. AFM is relatively easy to disable in hardware and software. The gas tank .... fab or get one fabbed exactly how you like. While I kinda like newer Fords, I dont personally feel the power plant is on the same level.
Its a few things, I think the full size GM/ Chevy are underrated. Read about my 2004, it's been a great truck. as have the other 6 my various family members own. And it has done a lot and keeps going over 200k now. My brother and sister in law are driving theirs on the pan am currently. The full size GM/Chevys are on the forum though, just have to look a little harder. And also a fair amount who own them and use them, but refrained from starting a thread.

people don't think they are " cool", don't have the look- which is probably the biggest reason.
not the easy to find aftermarket support for " easy bolt on shiny things, ", Parts though are easy to find.
The IFS people assume is a problem, but there are a lot of rigs that have never had a problem with it as long as its maintained, like any other mechanical thing ever.. Ive never had a problem with mine, and did absolutely nothing to it until after 200k. My truck was used HARD for the first 100+K, like all of the farm and ranch rigs.

And just the full size aspect, people are afraid of it. You have to be more in tune with your truck and a better driver in my opinion to take the full sizes some places- but its doable. They will do a lot stock, and dont need that much done to them. Just my 2 cents.
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The sell more Fords in Texas because the Fords drive like TRUCK'S and work like trucks instead of driving like cars that the 1500 GM Suburban/Tahoe's (Woman Urban Assault Vehicles) do and that were being discussed at the time of that post.
LOL, Not really a breakthrough in automotive design to build a truck that drives like a semi, but without the airride seats.

Just the other week I pulled out stuck 3/4 ton Dodge 4x4 cummins with lift and tires with my sedan,...... oops I mean bone stock 2018 Z71 Crew Cab that rides like a sedan, on first pull. There were plenty of Fords around.....not helping, not that I blame them when they have a truck made out of aluminum......
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I wouldn't touch a ford 6.0 with a twenty foot pole(unless you spend to 5-??k to "buletproof" it), my friends' experience with them towing our racecars really swayed my thoughts on any of their new engines. All of them either went to chevy or went back to the old 7.3. One is in a new ecoboost and loves it, waiting to see what the reliability is like.

Other than the AFM on the chevy's(which is a pulled fuse from being disabled on some or a quick disable) I have't seen a single 5.3, 6.0, 6.2 or 8.1 die at less than 250k miles. Drive in any suburban area, you still see GMT800's everyday driving around with 200k+ miles with no problems, and those "soccer moms/dads and teenagers" are harder or running gear than anybody I've seen. Everyday, full throttle from lights on cold engines for their 2-5 miles commute).

The 2500(Gmt800)and 2500/HD(PU) gasserand diesels are as close to bullet proof as you can get.. For apples to apples when comparing to F250 or super duty, you have the compare to them, not a 1500. The IFS are possibly a weak point, if you can call it that, but saying that I would so much rather drive the IFS on washboard than the solid. Also the IFS seem to be almost as strong as a Dana 60, so if you break it, it's really your driving style and not the diff, they are strong enough, "rock crawling" aside of course

For the 1500 GMT 800 and 900, goodluck comparing for the price point. You can throw $$$ into a GMt800 or 900 and make it everything and more than a 2500HD PU or Ford equivalent, and it will be 10 times the "truck", but that is with anything and modiying. The gmt1500 just is an incredibly good cheap base to start with. I love that my 1500 "soccer mom" suburban w/ a six inch lift, coilovers, 14 bolt,9.25 and 35's drives like a sedan on road, yet has more travel than a Raptor. In total, probably paid less than the down payment on a used 2500HD or F250. I can also see the appeal of just wanting to spend the money and out the door that have something that will do the job, through the years and generations both have made good models, for the used ~2000-2015 markets, the chevy gassers are really hard to beat for the price point, the older F250 diesels, the same can be said, just harder to find with reasonable mileage and condition now a days.

For the new crop of tucks, too little time to tell if these turbo gassers etc have the legs for a long life. If buying newer I would stick to a 5.3/6.0 chevy and disable AFM.
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Viking with a Hammer
Doesn't count.

Pre-'80s Chevy trucks are perfect for this stuff. Everyone builds them. This is the new-age GM disappointment thread, that stems from the simple fact that the old 1980 GM were great rides, especially a Suburban with custom built bigger axles.


Expedition Leader
Our 2003 Yukon XL 2500 just rolled 142k miles and we plan to keep it for a really long time, and while we do love it as our road trip rig and for towing our boat it will never be our trail vehicle, although it does get mildly abused during hunting season. There are just too many other vehicles that are better adapted to real trail use without needing to "upgrade" as much.


Expedition Leader
Doesn't count.

Pre-'80s Chevy trucks are perfect for this stuff. Everyone builds them. This is the new-age GM disappointment thread, that stems from the simple fact that the old 1980 GM were great rides, especially a Suburban with custom built bigger axles.
Ow come on! I have an aftermarket grill and one ton axels... Give me a break...

Yeah the GM stuff is pretty weak. I guess that's why I only have 329K miles on the stock drivetrain, including the IFS front end. I guess doing miles and miles of trails in Arkansas and Colorado just haven't been tough enough to find the ticking time bombs of my rig! :D :D :D

And yes, I actually DO use my rig!



This OP's question has a simple answer: Weak sauce 1/2 ton IFS!

Some guys run them and never have any problems. Most guys have problems. Now that almost every GMT-400 4x4 out there has been subjected to decades of high school hand-me-down drivers they just aren't reliable any more (nto that they were that great when they were new). The newer gen 1/2 ton trucks aren't any beefier.

My dad has an 04 Z-71 Suburban with almost 300k on the ticker, it's had to have a transfer case and front diff in a life of almost exclusively highway miles. I think it's coming up on having the rear end done. My ‘84 K-10 ‘Burb has 750k on it with no major engine work, a few transmission rebuilds, and two rear end rebuilds. The newer trucks just won't hold together for that many miles...

Most of the guys running the newer 2500 4x4's Suburbans aren't calling any attention to themselves. Most of them probably don't even know that they're “overlanding!” Throw on a good set of tires and no further mods are necessary. Just toss in whatever you think you'll need and go!