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-   -   Best towing SUV for reliability (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=795906)

rexlex01 10-14-2012 7:23 PM

Best towing SUV for reliability
 
Boat weighs 3800lbs including trailer
Looking at comparisons of PRE-2000 tahoe/yukons vs 2001-03 same.
Also looking at Jeep GC PRE-2000 I6 vs 8
and Ford Expedition PRE-2005

Only will use 9 times a year for towing and about 20 times in the winter for bad weather.
Decent mileage also
Something about $5k or below. ( that ought to eliminate all this diesel and '07 - '10 talk that I cannot afford.

rio_sanger 10-14-2012 8:22 PM

find a '98 4x4Tahoe, 3.73 rear end, 5.7 vortec, add a leaf and you're good to go...

rexlex01 10-14-2012 8:22 PM

been told the 5.7 is pretty bulletproof but consumer reports does not think so.

rio_sanger 10-14-2012 8:28 PM

I put 220k on a '91 350 (5.7) and 175k on a '98 with no problems and lots of towing at least 5000 mi per year

boardman74 10-14-2012 9:00 PM

350 motor is a pretty solid engine. I think alot of boat owners on here might agree!!!

rexlex01 10-15-2012 7:02 AM

what about the 4.8 or 5.3 in the 2000+ ?

lifetimewarranty 10-15-2012 8:11 AM

My '98 tahoe has the 343 gears but tows just fine. It has been super reliable and comfortable also. I'm sure if I geared it I'd probably be amazed at the power - at least that is what people say...but like I said, I don't have any problem towing.

The tahoe's are decent on bad roads(ice, etc) but I'd suspect the jeeps are way better (traction control is pretty awesome on the jeeps)

As far as fuel economy goes, I was getting 18-19 with a stock 1998 tahoe which is about 1 less than the jeeps were rated I believe (with the V8)...and the tahoe's have WAY more room inside. 3 big adults can fit in the back seat easy.


I'd be tempted to recommend the newer ones since they have a nicer interior, 3rd row seating option, disk brakes and coil springs as well as real (I think) traction control...but I can't say anything really negative regarding mine either. I'd go with the 5.3 though on the newer ones.

cedarcreek216V 10-15-2012 8:18 AM

I had a 2003 Z71 Tahoe with the 5.3 and put 175,000 miles on it with a lot of towing and it was great. Only problem was once it started having problems they kept coming.

saberworks 10-15-2012 9:53 AM

I had a 2000 Expedition w/5.4L that towed pretty well. It had 4wd auto all the time which meant it kicked in when wheels slipped, it was great great great in the snow and ice. Were you towing anything a lot heavier, I wouldn't recommend it, but 4k is not too much. I sold it to my sister at 180k and she's still driving it around. No real problems: plug change isn't that fun but made a huge difference, exhaust manifold studs sheered off passenger side, easy fix. The thing had electric windows, locks, seats, front/rear climate control, front/rear radio controls, etc., never had a problem with any of it.

bhyatt_ohp 10-15-2012 10:00 AM

Pre 2000 Tahoe - I own a 1999 2 door Tahoe with 175k miles on it. Stock engine, transmission, transfer case, front and rear gears all work just fine. The truck tows very well even with the 3:43 gears that I have. Stopping while towing is mediocre at best. Maintenance can be fairly substantial on these depending on mileage and how it was taken care of by previous owners. The 1996-2000 Vortec 5.7 is known for intake manifold gasket failure (coolant leak). Most of these should have been repaired with aftermarket gasket sets, but always ask the seller if the intake gaskets have been done. If not, thats about a $500 job at the shop, $150 in parts and 10-15 hours of your time if you do it yourself like I did. Door handles break quite frequently on these as they are made out of cheap pot metal. I have had 2 door lock actuators go out in mine in the last year. It is getting older though and is still a great truck. I would second the add-a-leaf rear spring if towing with single axle or if you have any lead weight in the boat. I find gas mileage at 14mpg at best, better to expect 13.5mpg. I run 315/75R16 All Terrain tires. There is no way a 5.7 1996-2000 tahoe is seeing 18-19mpg unless they are running non ethanol fuel, super small street tires, its 2wd and driving 55mph a long distance.

2001-2003 Tahoe with a 5.3l wont' have the power or torque of the 5.7, but is a little easier on fuel maybe 16mpg? I know a guy that got 275k out of his 2001 Tahoe towing very frequently. Motor finally blew at 275k. The 5.3l is a good motor, no intake manifold issues like the 5.7l, but not as much power.

Jeep GC is a great choice as well. GC with I6 in the family, 190k miles with towing, one transmission rebuild, one electric cooling fan replacement, other than that and a few power window regulators, a very reliable SUV with consistent 18mpg non towing. The 4.7L V8 that is available is a pretty good motor as well. Wife has one in her 04 Durango and we've got 100k trouble free miles out of it. The GC with 4.7 will suffer on mpg, expect 15, 16mpg tops.

Don't know much about the Ford Expeditions, but from my short time working as a tech at a Ford dealership in 2005, I would never own one. I saw several come in on warranty claims with locked up or knocking motors.

saberworks 10-15-2012 2:14 PM

The "newer" 5.4L had (2004, 2005 in the F150s I think, not sure when they were put in the Expedition) had terrible "cam phaser" issues which made the motor knock louder than an old diesel (~$1500 repair at dealer). Also the later 3v ones have issues with the stock 2-piece spark plugs breaking off when you try to remove them ($450 or so for a plug replacement at the dealer, plus $xx for each that breaks off, ugh). They also had issues with failing fuel injectors (stick open, which causes severe engine damage). On that one, Ford extended the warranty for that specific issue to something like 120k miles, but of course, that doesn't help you beyond that, and there was never an actual recall to fix the actual problem. So yeah, I wouldn't recommend the 2005+ ones, which is when I think they went to the 3v/cylinder.

Thrall 10-15-2012 2:22 PM

IMO, you're best bet is exactly what you're looking for, the 92-2000? GM full size, tahoe, suburban, Yukon.
I've had 5 pickups now from that era over the years and they've been about the most reliable vehicles out there (comparatively speaking, price/age of course). In fact just bought another '94 Chevy pickup, for cheap because it wouldn't start. $300 later I have a $3-4k truck for less than $1500.
When they do need repairs, they are someof the simplest/cheapest to repair as well.
$5k will be a higher mileage one as the few low mile creampuffs are still fetching more than that.
FInd the cleanest one you can get and it will do what you need.

By the same token, my buddy has a 95? Jeep GC, 5.2L with over 160k on it. Uses it daily as his commuter/beater car. He bought it used with around 100k mi. It's been very reliable for him as well. I borrowed it last year and put about 1000 highway miles on it and it ran great, 15mpg with 33's and a lift.
I'd still find a GM though. Can't beat the simplicity of them. Don't think they offered any of the suv's with manual trans, but if you could score a crew cab 93 and up, 5 speed, they have a NV4500 trans. Pretty bulletproof combo, 350 engine, NV4500, NP 231 or 241 t case and GM axles.

phatboypimp 10-15-2012 2:58 PM

I had a 2001 Tahoe with the 5.3L and towed my boat 240 miles round trip nearly every weekend during the season. It is a dog up the hills but since you tow so little it will be perfect. I still think that Tahoe was the best vehicle I have ever owned and by far the most comfortable. I got rid of it at 75K because I felt like I was asking that little motor to do too much. When it was 100+ degrees out and we had a car full of people running the AC it would get really hot. I moved up to the 6.0L.

The brakes were horrible. There were a number of times I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stop but as long as you know its limitations you should be fine.

migs 10-15-2012 3:06 PM

My 06 Yukon 5.3L - has 96,000 miles as of this weekend. Has towed a boat every weekend (150 miles round trip) from March-November since I brought her home. She is still on the same set of brakes, and i just changed the tires last year. Same Tranny :)

rexlex01 10-24-2012 6:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rio_sanger (Post 1789577)
find a '98 4x4Tahoe, 3.73 rear end, 5.7 vortec, add a leaf and you're good to go...


Please explain why the 3.73 rear end and why a 1998 and not a 1999.

cadunkle 10-24-2012 1:30 PM

'78-'79 or '82-'85 Bronco would be my choice if I had to do a SUV. Possibly a Centurion conversion Bronco '80-'85 if you want something with more room inside. '78-'79 you'd have a chance of finding one with a 460, otherwise you're looking at 351m or 400 for '78-'82 and either 302 or 351w for '80-'85. I'd suggest a manual trans for better MPG. Typically these trucks would have a NP435... indestructible. If you want overdrive a ZF5 is a bolt in swap, though not nearly as strong as a NP435. Also note I avoid '80-'81 as the frames are "swiss cheese", many large holes drilled along the frame to make them lighter and meet government fuel mandates. '80-'81 Ford trucks are not suitable for towing, off road, or hauling anything around unless the frames are plated or boxed.

Thrall 10-24-2012 2:12 PM

cadunkle, you crack me up!
Guy asks about 90's-early 2000's SUVs and you reccomend a 78-85 Bronco! With a 460 nonetheless! Did you miss the part about decent mileage? Besides, not too many people want to ride around in a smelly, rattly, loud 30+ year old car. ANd if they're nicer than that, they command some $ because they are restored.
Same as the commuter car thread. Dude is asking about which newer car would suit him best and you opt for a '68 Galaxie to reccomend!
I guess old FOrds are your favorite vehicles and that's cool, but your answers are like the guys that can't get past diesels everytime someone asks about a pickup.

On a similar note, ck out the Seattle Cragslist, barter section IIRC. Someone has one of those 460 Broncos "towing special" or something like that for sale. Pretty cool rig. Didn't know they offered the Bronco's with big blocks until I saw that for sale.

rexlex01 10-24-2012 3:21 PM

Which of these would you look at for the money and cheap. http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/se...asc&srchType=A

cadunkle 10-24-2012 8:21 PM

Thrall... Dude said under $5k and reliable, not new, luxurious and with weak suspension and driveline like new "trucks" that are basically cars.Nothing smelly, rattly or loud about a '78-'85 Ford half ton. If it smells, clean it... if it rattles, tighten it... if it's loud put a muffler on it.

As for a commuter car, I merely mentioned I drove my '68 Galaxie for many years 140+ miles/day. A Galaxie is a luxurious smooth comfortable and quiet car. It's up with the best of them for long drive comfort. For economy, a Falcon or Fairlane would be more appropriate though. Hell, a Falcon in stock trim will get you 32 MPG if you're more concerned with MPG than comfort. Not that a Falcon is uncomfortable. I drove my '63 with 144 and three on the tree every day for a while and saved a bundle on gas.

wakescene 10-25-2012 10:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rexlex01 (Post 1791020)
Please explain why the 3.73 rear end and why a 1998 and not a 1999.

The 1998 was the last year for a specific engine configuration in the Vortec 350 line. 1999 brought some changes and therefore some minor problems with reliability. Not to mention that 1999 was the first year for GMT800. (1999 2dr Tahoe/yukon not incld). The first model year for changes like this tend to not be as reliable.

mark197 10-25-2012 10:30 AM

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hn...285107349.html

Pretty sure this is a 2500 series with those wheels. If so buy this one and be done.

polarbill 10-25-2012 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wakescene (Post 1791235)
The 1998 was the last year for a specific engine configuration in the Vortec 350 line. 1999 brought some changes and therefore some minor problems with reliability. Not to mention that 1999 was the first year for GMT800. (1999 2dr Tahoe/yukon not incld). The first model year for changes like this tend to not be as reliable.

Didnt' they change the yukon and tahoe, including the 4 door, to the new style(GMT820) in 2000? The 1999 4 door tahoe was still the GMT420 just like the 1998 wasn't it? Also, didnt' all the 95-99 GMT420 Tahoe's/yukon's use the L31 Vortec 5700? What differences were made to the engine if any?

polarbill 10-25-2012 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark197 (Post 1791240)
http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hn...285107349.html

Pretty sure this is a 2500 series with those wheels. If so buy this one and be done.

Those are just the 2000 Z71 tahoe wheels aren't they? The 2000 Z71 was actually on the older platform(GMT420) that had the 5.7L while all other trim/optioned 2000 Tahoe's where on the newer GMT820 platform and had the 5.3L.

wakeboardingdad 10-25-2012 11:39 AM

The 5.3 does not have the torque of the 5.7. It wants to rev a little bit more to make the power. My Trailblazer, with 3.42s, pulled our 6000# RV without issue, but I kept it out of OD. BTW, the older 4 speeds (mine was a '04) are just 4L60s which are not great. Put a cooler on it, keep it out of OD and you should be fine with that load.

kenteck 10-29-2012 11:57 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I got this 99 for 3K, does just fine, no issues, great for something cheap, 12 mph when towing on freeway @ 65mph

wakescene 11-11-2012 6:43 PM

Brett,
It depended on the model, and the config/options. Some did keep the GMT400 others starting in 1999 got the GMT800. It was fully phased out by 2000. 1999 was a change-over year. I do know that only the 2Dr Tahoe/Yukon stayed GMT400 thru 1999 as 99' was the last year of prod for that bodystyle.


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