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Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-06-2010, 7:14 PM Reply   
We're looking for a new (to us) tow vehicle for our 2002 SAN. I'm interested in a 2002-2003 Yukon Denali, but it seems that they're pretty hard to come by. On the other hand, there's a TON of Yukon XL Denali's on the market at (usually) a much cheaper price. What gives? And if any of you have any feedback on a 2003 Expedition Eddie Bauer (5.4L, 4x4), I'd love to hear that as well as those are the two major vehicles I'm considering right now.
Old     (nubb)      Join Date: May 2006       02-06-2010, 8:41 PM Reply   

When I bought my boat in 06 my tow vehicle was a 2004 5.4L Eddie Bauer Expedition which we had purchased new in 04. After towing for 2 months the transmission (only 40K miles) went south. It always seemed to struggle both before and after transmission melt down and replacement even though I was within the towing capacity. I never felt comfortable after that, so I went on a search for a SUV capable of towing with no problems. I reviewing specs on multiple vehicles I kept coming to the Yukon Denali and purchases an 03. Best decision I made. Most Denalis came with the Towing Package as well as the Autoride suspension which will adjust the rear end back to stock height when towing. Combined with a cushioned ball mount, Its hard to tell a boat is hanging off the back end going down the high way. Much better than the Expedition. In terms of the Denali and Denali XL, The XL is more family friendly in terms of space and probably more of them have been sold and traded in.
Old     (kmcginty)      Join Date: Sep 2005       02-06-2010, 8:50 PM Reply   
Get the XL, when we were looking, the XL's were more expensive. We ended up getting a sierra denali but I would skip the regular denali if i were you.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       02-06-2010, 9:49 PM Reply   
The AWD in the Denali is much better than having 4WD in most situations. The XL is nicer if the length and slightly bigger turn radius are not a problem.
Old     (koolmoe)      Join Date: Feb 2010       02-06-2010, 9:53 PM Reply   
No difference in the XL vs the regular Denali except length, rear cargo space, the ability to have captin's chairs in the 2nd row and 1 or 2 MPG worse in the XL.

I love our regular 02 Denali.
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       02-06-2010, 10:46 PM Reply   
Regular Denali.... Ours has quad buckets and it pulls my 07 Supra 24SSV just fine.

Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-06-2010, 11:04 PM Reply   
Thanks for the great feedback. That puts a lot of it in perspective. If it were up to me, I'd be in the market for a Duramax/Allison combination, but the wife wants an SUV and the Excursion diesels are out of our price range. I think I'm just going to have to be patient and find a regular Denali without a ton of miles on it. However, most of the ones I'm seeing are in the 85k-110k range and that makes me a little nervous. But it's only money, right?

John, I never cease to be impressed by your harem of vehicles. Very nice.
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       02-06-2010, 11:15 PM Reply   

It's a shame that GM didn't produce a Duramax powered SUV that's the size of a Denali. They definitely missed out on that market.

And yes, most GM SUV's I've seen with over 100K are falling apart. Door hinges squeaking, seats worn out, front steering and suspension parts worn out, you've gotta really look close at these things before you commit to buy if you plan to own it for any length of time.
Old     (koolmoe)      Join Date: Feb 2010       02-06-2010, 11:28 PM Reply   
our 02 denali has about 180k miles on it and still going strong. never needed a major repair other than a brake job.
Old     (mhunter)      Join Date: Mar 2008       02-07-2010, 5:02 AM Reply   
The XL is better for towing with its longer wheel base. I have never heard anyone complain about having extra space. Make sure it has a trans cooler and trans temp gauge. Just because it has a tow package it still needs a remote trans cooler.
Old     (njskier)      Join Date: Jul 2005       02-07-2010, 8:29 AM Reply   
I had an '01 Denali and now have an '07 Denali XL. Both great for towing, but as mhunter says the longer wheel base provides more stability and a smoother ride. The XL's around here are more $$ than the reg Denali, so I'd say get the XL if you can. The only downfall is it's a longer vehicle for parking, other than that it's a better choice. Also wakeboards fit better in the back of the XL. (no need to angle them)
Old     (consigliereg8r)      Join Date: Aug 2009       02-07-2010, 9:08 AM Reply   
We had a Yukon XL--best pulling vehicle we ever had. I have a Sierra Z71 and the Yukon pulled a lot better. The Denali XL should be great
Old     (consigliereg8r)      Join Date: Aug 2009       02-07-2010, 9:10 AM Reply   
We had Yukon XL and it was the best pulling vehicle we ever had. I have a Z71 Crew Cab that is not near as smooth as the Yukon was. The Denali XL should be great!
Old     (megsswm)      Join Date: Jul 2009       02-07-2010, 9:28 AM Reply   
We have an 04 Yukon Denali with a little over 140K on it and have never had a problem towing anything. I love the thing. It is a beast on the road and in the snow in our area. Up until a year ago I worked at a Ski area and never had an issue even when the roads had not been plowed.
We are hoping to get another 60k out of it before we have to shop again...The only issue we have ever had is the all wheel drive seems to go through brakes pretty quickly..pretty minor though
Good luck.
Old     (wakesetter101)      Join Date: Oct 2005       02-07-2010, 10:18 AM Reply   
The GM 6.0 engine is a real beast. One of the best engines made.

The 5.4 wont even come close to the 6.0 in pulling. Been there and done that.

(Message edited by wakesetter101 on February 07, 2010)
Old     (megsswm)      Join Date: Jul 2009       02-07-2010, 10:23 AM Reply   
Yes the 6.0 is awesome-except for the gas mileage, which we choose to ignore...because the rest of the truck is soo perfect for what we use it for.
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-07-2010, 10:41 AM Reply   
I think my problem is that I'm trying to find the "perfect" tow vehicle that manages budget, MPG as a daily driver, and tow ability. I'm sure such a thing doesn't exist, but I'm doing my best to find it. Another factor with the XL is that I have a curved driveway (90 degrees) that's shared with my neighbor's (his goes 90 degrees the opposite way) and I have to be careful how long the truck is if I want to get the boat out of the garage. In the summer, it won't be as big of a deal because I can leave it outside, but while our mini El Nino is passing through CA this winter, I need to keep the SAN in the garage.
Old     (duramat)      Join Date: Feb 2008       02-07-2010, 10:58 AM Reply   

Your gas aint going to change hardly squat so thats a mute subject.

And your only a foot or two longer, get the 3rd row seats and still have room for groceries in the back.

I had a 97 yukon and moved to the 3/4 burban and I dont regret it all. Yah it will turn tighter but so what, you'll make do with the XL
Old     (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       02-07-2010, 11:08 AM Reply   
A year & 1/2 ago, I bought a 2004 Yukon Denali with about 65,000 miles on it and LOVE it. I specifically didn't want the XL (too big) and liked the look of the smaller Denali better. It's not a daily driver, but I'm up to 80,000 miles now and going strong. Tows like a champ and I bought it specifically for the 6.0. Also love the trans cooler, trans temp gauge and adjusting/leveling rear suspension. The shorter wheelbase of the "regular" Denali has not been an issue with my Sanger V210.

Keep looking!
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-07-2010, 2:26 PM Reply   
So, it sounds like Denali is the way to go, regular or XL depending on whether you need the extra room or not. My follow-up question to you is, since our budget will only allow us to look at ones that are in the 01-02 range, what things do I need to be cautious of when looking at a tow vehicle with ~100k on it? Any specific things that are more prone to wear than others? My expectation is that with our smaller budget, we'll eventually have to put some money back into it, but I'd rather do it later.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       02-08-2010, 7:57 AM Reply   
Tranny, oil leaks and front end.

I would seriously go with the XL. My wife has an '03 Tahoe(I assume they are the same inside space wise) and the rear seat has zero leg room. I have a hard time getting my feet out.
Old     (brucemac)      Join Date: Dec 2005       02-08-2010, 12:45 PM Reply   
bought an 06 Denali XL new and it's been awesome. just over 50K miles and no issues. it's been a great rig for towing, roadtrips and the family. love mine.
Old     (lifetimewarranty)      Join Date: Oct 2008       02-08-2010, 1:41 PM Reply   
Paul - please don't tell me your wife makes you ride in the very back!
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       02-08-2010, 1:56 PM Reply   
Not the third row, the middle. I am less apt to get thrown out the windshield, or smashed from behind. I feel a little safer there
Old     (lifetimewarranty)      Join Date: Oct 2008       02-08-2010, 2:24 PM Reply   
My tahoe has incredible middle row legroom (1997 model).

The Subs have the same amount in the middle - everyone that gets into the middle in my tahoe always says how huge it feels (no pun intended)
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-08-2010, 2:44 PM Reply   
We don't have any kids yet, so having a TON of room isn't at the top of the priority list, but I can appreciate what it does for towing stability (longer wheelbase). I personally like the regular Denali better than the XL, but like I said, it seems that they're a lot harder to come by than the XL. Does anyone know if there's any visual inspection (other than shining a flashlight at the pan, tailshaft into the xfer case, and the housing where it bolts up to the block) for a transmission to uncover any problems? I mean, a transmission can shift great on a test drive and then crumble once you hook it up to the 5,000 lb trailer.
Old     (malibuboats4)      Join Date: Sep 2008       02-08-2010, 9:15 PM Reply   
^^^ Try to test drive it with the trailer
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-08-2010, 9:53 PM Reply   
I have the Avalanche (same as the XL) and my buddy has a Tahoe. The back seat is definitely not the same and the back windows go all the way down in the longer rig. I'm not sure how much longer the rear compartment is, but but I'd guess about 15" or 18".

When I test drove the Av, I took it home, made sure it fit in the garage (power collapsing mirrors are sweet) and then I pulled the boat around about 30 miles, up hills, down hills, thru traffic, etc.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       02-09-2010, 7:22 AM Reply   
The older body styles did have more room than the last style. I used to have a 99 Yukon and it had more room, and power(5.7 instead of 5.4).
Old     (lifetimewarranty)      Join Date: Oct 2008       02-09-2010, 7:26 AM Reply   
Mine is a 1997 - looks like the newer tahoes with 3rd rows may have the middle seats moved forward from where they were on mine (which is the same position as the suburbans)to make room for the rear seat.

Actually, I am glad to have found that out, as a newer Tahoe was on my short list for the wife. May have to go XL now.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       02-09-2010, 8:44 AM Reply   
Just so we are clear, I am not talking about the new body style, I am talking about the body style like the one in the picture above. The newer ones are a little better.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       02-09-2010, 10:25 AM Reply   
For many years we had both a Tahoe and a Suburban. Best of both worlds! My wife preferred the Tahoe to use as an everyday driver, easier to park, and just more fun to drive. The rear doors are cut up to accommodate the wheel wells, so getting in and out was not as easy as the Sub, but still fairly decent legroom. The Tahoe door design also does not allow the rear windows to go all the way down, which is something that always bugged me.

We would often take the Tahoe to local lakes, however, for long hauls, the Sub wins hands down. Granted, I've always had 3/4 ton Subs, so the comparison is much more than wheelbase, but just the huge amount of space behind the second seat, makes it much more suitable for trips. I do still miss that Tahoe though.

It all depends on what your needs are, either way you can't really go wrong.
Old     (witness140)      Join Date: Dec 2008       02-09-2010, 10:18 PM Reply   
Owned a 2001 Tahoe LT and now an 04' Burb LT. Tahoe was easier to maneuver. However - when we loaded it with people - there was no room for their stuff.

Now we have the burb and love it. Mine is an AWD model - just like the Denalis. Wouldn't want to own it any other way. Prefer my AWD Burb over the Autotrac Tahoe.

Tows our X2 acceptably with the 5300. If I did a lot of towing, I would want a little more snot under the hood.

Be nice to have the 2500 with the 6.0 liter and the 4L80E tranny vs the 4L60 or 65.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-10-2010, 5:14 AM Reply   
We have an '02 SAN that we pull with our '07 Denali XL. Funny thing is that I hear a lot of folks preferring the look of the regular vs. XL; both my wife and I strongly preferred the look of the XL when we bought ours. The extra space comes in handy all the time too. Just last weekend we were at Home Depot, had to pick up some 7 foot long pieces of trim to frame a window in my daughter's bedroom. Was able to get them in diagonally so that they didn't intrude at all on the kids in the back seat.
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-11-2010, 9:23 AM Reply   
Ok, I have two Yukon Denali's that I'm considering. Anyone have an opinion on these?

Option 1: 2004, 87k miles, 1st owner (or so he says), $14,900 asking price at used car dealer lmar%2C+CA+95324&listingtype=used&model=yukon&make =gmc&distance=50

Option 2: 2002, 96k miles, 2nd owner, $10,500 asking price, private party
Old     (megsswm)      Join Date: Jul 2009       02-11-2010, 9:45 AM Reply   
The 2002 looks really clean and well kept. and fairly low mileage for an almost 9 year old car.
Does the owner have maintenance records?
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       02-11-2010, 9:45 AM Reply   
I would go with the 2004 and offer him 12500.
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-11-2010, 10:07 AM Reply   
Meghan, yes, the owner has maintenance records.

Paul, I can offer the dealer $12,500, but I doubt he would take it. Retail book on the 2004 is about $16,500, depending on which book you use.
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-11-2010, 11:17 AM Reply   
Here's a better copy of the ad for the used one...better pics, too.
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-11-2010, 11:41 AM Reply   
Almost looks like the same rig to me. If 2 yrs & 9k miles is a big deal, tell the dealer you have another one in mind. Make him an offer & if he doesn't accept it, go with the private party. Doesn't look like you can lose in either case.

Having a mechanic look them over can't be a bad idea either.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       02-11-2010, 12:11 PM Reply   
Wow, they are certainly not holding value like they used to! Market must be flooded.
We sold our '98 Tahoe in '03 with close to 100k on it for $16,000 cash, and I sold my '91 Suburban in 2001 with 200k on it for $9,000

Both look like great deals to me.
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-13-2010, 4:37 PM Reply   
We ended up going with the just had a lot more features than the 2002 and was in really great shape. We're really happy with it so far. Monday will be the first big test when we hook the SAN up and head out to the lake. Pics will be forthcoming...

Thanks to all for the guidance!
Old     (witness140)      Join Date: Dec 2008       02-14-2010, 9:41 AM Reply   
If anyone is looking at grabbing one of these GM SUV's for towing, keep in mind the differences between the drivetrains. The Yukons and Denalis only had a single speed transfer case - so no 4 LOW. The rare tahoes and burbs that had the AWD option were outfitted with a 2 speed transfer case, offering 4 LO.

NR3 RPO Yukons and Denalis - Borg Warner 4481 case
NR4 RPO Suburbans and Tahoes - BW 4482

Not sure if the NR4 could be special ordered in 2004 Denali or Yukon to give a 2 speed case.

Personally, I've never had to use 4 LO in the AWD Burb since we bought the truck 32000 miles ago, but its there.
Old     (h2ohangtime)      Join Date: Aug 2002       02-15-2010, 7:27 PM Reply   
As promised, here's a look at the newly completed setup. It towed great today, and it's a kick to watch the Autoride air compressor kick on when it senses the extra weight on the tow hitch.

I'm SO glad the car shopping is done.

Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       02-15-2010, 7:33 PM Reply   
Nice rig Tony. I'm sure you'll love it for many, many miles.
Old     (nubb)      Join Date: May 2006       02-15-2010, 8:39 PM Reply   
Very nice. I always like how the autoride eliminates the rear sag. I'll share mine to show some Denali love.



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