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Old 10-23-2012, 12:30 AM   #26
mug23
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I bought a 1995 Chevy Suburban 6.5 turbo diesel 2wd with 3.42 gear for $2400 and I LOVE my truck. It now has 297,000 miles on it and it's still running perfect. Starts right up on sub freezing temps on the first crank with a little smoke and the only problem that have giving me was the lift pump going out on me which is very common on these trucks.

Now, I have few mods on my 6.5 like a ebay hx40 turbo plus a tune and I'm getting well over 20+mpg not towing and still gets very good mileage while towing with good power. If the engine does go, I can easily pick up a military Hummer 6.5 turbo diesel long block through the GOV re-power program where they replace the motor at around 40K miles which on these motors, are consider not even broken in yet.

Anyways, with the Suburban, I can put all my tires, tools and whatever inside and with so much room, I can even sleep in it if I want it too. The truck has been very reliable for the past 2 years I have own it and I'll have it for the next 5 years for sure. They are now cheap to get if you look at craig's list.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:04 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowIMg
I'm going to be a voice of dissent and say with a $2000 budget for a tow vehicle, buy a set of street wheels/tires and some pillows to sit on. The gap in $2000 to say $4000 is pretty huge in terms of this kind of vehicle. I think at $2000 you're going to buy a big pile of troubles.
That doesn't work when the car is gutted, has one seat, a cage, and no room for spares or a passenger. Oh and isn't street legal or plated and registered.

I would honestly be more concerned about driving my track car or autox car 200 miles to an event than towing one of them with a 1999 E150 with 130,000 miles on it. I don't understand why this seems to be a big deal to everyone.

But anyway, ill keep an eye out for a turbo diesel suburban, see if I can find something good.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:59 AM   #28
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That doesn't work when the car is gutted, has one seat, a cage, and no room for spares or a passenger. Oh and isn't street legal or plated and registered.

I would honestly be more concerned about driving my track car or autox car 200 miles to an event than towing one of them with a 1999 E150 with 130,000 miles on it. I don't understand why this seems to be a big deal to everyone.

But anyway, ill keep an eye out for a turbo diesel suburban, see if I can find something good.
Well, I don't think it'll actually be an issue -- but if your budget is really $2000, I just think it's going to be blown fast after you get it. Trucks like that need work, and frequently. It may be a lot of little $50 things, but they're there.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:25 AM   #29
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I only skimmed, so if you already mentioned this, sorry.

What is the weight of the vehicle you're towing and what is the weight of the trailer you're pulling? Open trailer?

I was the king of "make absolutely everything lighter" when I started out pulling a racecar. I put my CRX into prepared so I could legally strip out every ounce that I possibly could (400 pounds removed from an 87 CRX-Si). I also ordered a custom built 14' aluminum trailer (their shortest is 16, but they agreed to build a 14 for the same $$ to save me 200 pounds). So I had a 900 pound trailer and 1600 pound car. Of course, I had the absolute worst tow vehicle ever.....an 02 Jeep Wrangler.

For towing, look for more than just the engine. Wheelbase is really important. So just don't bother with stuff like a Wrangler or Explorer sport or something. Ok....I'm the only one who does that....but needed to be said.

What else can you use the vehicle for? I plow my driveway with something, so combining towing with plowing has worked well for me. I have a family and we go on vacation, so getting something with a bunch of seats works well. I also sometimes daily drive the tow vehicle, so I upgraded to a nicer truck (when I'm not driving my son's CRX). If you can lighten the load, even an explorer will work. (what I have now).

If you get a larger vehicle, look into forums directly related to them and look for the weak spots. KC pointed out how his pick em up truck self destructed, immitating an Audi at 50k miles. I had a Yukon XL (4.8L V8, 4x4) and it was great at towing, passed for plowing and was the best family vacation hauler ever. The problem was that it was a GM so the hard brake lines all rusted through and popped, the power windows stopped working and the AC died. It's the kind of things that you can live without, but if you want everything to work, it'll nickle and dime you to death.

The simpler, the better. 2 wheel drive is simpler, right? Yah....it is. Pickups are cheaper than SUVs and cargo vans, right? Yah, they are. You can get a reasonable F150 2wd and it'll work just fine. The longer the better, so spend an extra $200 and get extended or crew cab. A good trailer brake controller, set up well is critical. They really do help.

Personally, I'd look for a decent used Ford with something other than a 5.4L and be done with it.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:39 AM   #30
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the hard brake lines all rusted through and popped ... It's the kind of things that you can live without
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:26 AM   #31
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Ahhh...a 5.9 Cummins in a Suburban would be glorious!
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:29 AM   #32
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How far/often are you towing?
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:36 PM   #33
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Well, I don't think it'll actually be an issue -- but if your budget is really $2000, I just think it's going to be blown fast after you get it. Trucks like that need work, and frequently. It may be a lot of little $50 things, but they're there.
I had a $900 1995 F150 with 130k on the clock that I regularly drove on 500 mile weekend trips. So I'm familiar with the maintenance & commitment involved. Which is also why I'm not too worried about it. I know it'll need to be looked over and fixed regularly, but I don't mind if it saves me a few grand since I'll only be driving it twice a month usually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846 View Post
I only skimmed, so if you already mentioned this, sorry.

What is the weight of the vehicle you're towing and what is the weight of the trailer you're pulling? Open trailer?

I was the king of "make absolutely everything lighter" when I started out pulling a racecar. I put my CRX into prepared so I could legally strip out every ounce that I possibly could (400 pounds removed from an 87 CRX-Si). I also ordered a custom built 14' aluminum trailer (their shortest is 16, but they agreed to build a 14 for the same $$ to save me 200 pounds). So I had a 900 pound trailer and 1600 pound car. Of course, I had the absolute worst tow vehicle ever.....an 02 Jeep Wrangler.

For towing, look for more than just the engine. Wheelbase is really important. So just don't bother with stuff like a Wrangler or Explorer sport or something. Ok....I'm the only one who does that....but needed to be said.

What else can you use the vehicle for? I plow my driveway with something, so combining towing with plowing has worked well for me. I have a family and we go on vacation, so getting something with a bunch of seats works well. I also sometimes daily drive the tow vehicle, so I upgraded to a nicer truck (when I'm not driving my son's CRX). If you can lighten the load, even an explorer will work. (what I have now).

If you get a larger vehicle, look into forums directly related to them and look for the weak spots. KC pointed out how his pick em up truck self destructed, immitating an Audi at 50k miles. I had a Yukon XL (4.8L V8, 4x4) and it was great at towing, passed for plowing and was the best family vacation hauler ever. The problem was that it was a GM so the hard brake lines all rusted through and popped, the power windows stopped working and the AC died. It's the kind of things that you can live without, but if you want everything to work, it'll nickle and dime you to death.

The simpler, the better. 2 wheel drive is simpler, right? Yah....it is. Pickups are cheaper than SUVs and cargo vans, right? Yah, they are. You can get a reasonable F150 2wd and it'll work just fine. The longer the better, so spend an extra $200 and get extended or crew cab. A good trailer brake controller, set up well is critical. They really do help.

Personally, I'd look for a decent used Ford with something other than a 5.4L and be done with it.
I'll be towing a roughly 3000lb car or a 2500lb car. The open trailer I'll be using is roughly 2000lb. I may eventually spring for an aluminum trailer, but it isn't in the cards right now unless I find a deal. This vehicle will mostly be a trailer hauler. Maybe some home depot trips, etc. But main function will be that.

I appreciate the tips Jack fffrr. I am shooting for 2wd, and I don't mind dropping $2200 if it gets me into a better truck, but why other than a 5.4L?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjrutzky View Post
How far/often are you towing?
I'll probably be towing twice a month from May to Octoberish. Only longer trips will be 600-700 mile round trips (1 or 2 times per year). Normal trips are 250 miles round trip or less. I would figure on ~4000 miles per year on the higher side.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:36 AM   #34
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So how many miles are too many miles on a chevy diesel?

http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3332360801.html
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:55 AM   #35
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So how many miles are too many miles on a chevy diesel?

http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3332360801.html
That looks like a very nice and clean truck. 96 year I believe has the ERG emission system is a little bit harder to mod. Just make sure it's a F VIN code not the S code but either one should be fine as most people will want the f code.

I have a 95 6.5 2wd c1500 Suburban with 297,000 miles on it and I add like a quart of oil every 4-5K miles. It's starts right up every time even when it's cold. I have done many mods on it. I love my truck and very very useful even when I'm not towing. Just make sure to check for frame rust, the PMD is mounted out of the engine bay and check out the forum link below, it will give you a list of what to look for in the FAQ section.

Here's a link to The Diesel Place forum and there are tons of people that are very knowledgeable on this motor.

http://www.dieselplace.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=21

http://www.thetruckstop.us/forum/for...iesel-Engines&

Last edited by mug23; 10-24-2012 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:17 PM   #36
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That one has 500k on the clock though...
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:59 PM   #37
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500K for that price??? no way...

Alternatively, it seems like that truck has a very clean body and if you can pick it up for like 1K to 1.5K since it's so high mileage, you can go to the link below and get a military Humvee take off's with mostly like 40K miles on those motor and just swap out the long block. If you can do that, you will have a very nice truck that will last you a long time.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-5-HUMV-DIE...07?refid=store

http://www.teds-trucks-and-stuff.com/
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:31 PM   #38
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With only a 2k budget you wont have much options and will be rolling the dice. Im sure after looking for awhile youll end up with something half-way decent but I'd spend alil more and get something nicer.

for 4-5.5k you can get a 2000-2005 tundra with way under 200k and will do everything you need. They last forever and very easy to work on. I had a 04 5-speed, 2x4, V6, reg cab, long bed. I towed a car over 2.5hrs in the snow, on PA turnpike with some hills easily. Right before I moved out west I sold it for 4600 w/ 150k on it

Im looking at a 05 4-door, auto, V8, Limited, w/ 150k for 8k right now.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:15 PM   #39
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Yeah 2K budget is going to be hard to find anything.

I bought a 2000 F250 Diesel back in like 2007 for $7000 with around 120K miles on it. It was cheap because it was a base model 6-speed with no LSD. It was great because whatever I towed it felt like I wasn't towing anything. The only issues I've had with it were a seized caliper and a burst hard brake line. Thankfully the brake line happened while in a parking lot. The biggest issue with the truck like others have said is unless you have a cap it's a PITA for bringing stuff with. It has around 190K miles on it now and doesn't seem like it's going to quit anytime soon.

I have also towed with a non-diesel E250 van as well and it worked better than I thought it would. The nice thing about it like others have also said is the ability to store stuff and even sleep in it if you want.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:18 PM   #40
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With only a 2k budget you wont have much options and will be rolling the dice. Im sure after looking for awhile youll end up with something half-way decent but I'd spend alil more and get something nicer.

for 4-5.5k you can get a 2000-2005 tundra with way under 200k and will do everything you need. They last forever and very easy to work on. I had a 04 5-speed, 2x4, V6, reg cab, long bed. I towed a car over 2.5hrs in the snow, on PA turnpike with some hills easily. Right before I moved out west I sold it for 4600 w/ 150k on it

Im looking at a 05 4-door, auto, V8, Limited, w/ 150k for 8k right now.
That's not true for my area. The going rate for a 2000ish tacoma with 130-150k miles is around $7-$8k.

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/cto/3304053606.html
http://delaware.craigslist.org/cto/3302056113.html
http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/cto/3327693482.html

That's why I'm in the situation I'm in. I can search for a few months and find a decent truck for $2k, I've had OK luck before. Spending an extra $2k doesn't seem to get me into a much better situation.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #41
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500K for that price??? no way...

Alternatively, it seems like that truck has a very clean body and if you can pick it up for like 1K to 1.5K since it's so high mileage, you can go to the link below and get a military Humvee take off's with mostly like 40K miles on those motor and just swap out the long block. If you can do that, you will have a very nice truck that will last you a long time.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-5-HUMV-DIE...07?refid=store

http://www.teds-trucks-and-stuff.com/

You guys see what I mean about over priced trucks in my area yet? But thanks for the link. If I find a good deal on a suburban with a high mileage turbo diesel engine, I'll definitely go that route.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:41 PM   #42
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On that Suburban, definately look over the links mug provided. There are trouble spots with these motors and should be asked about.

The pump mounted injector driver (PMD) is known to die a quick death unless they've been relocated from the fuel pump. The optical sensor can also crap out and send the ecu into "low resolution" mode along with a CEL. The Lift pump is suspect, as mentioned...but easily replaced. Glow plugs have been known to be more of a maintenance item than other makes. A boost controller and/or reflash is most likely present, but if not, will make a huge difference.

Obviously, at 500k....suspension parts will be suspect unless they've already been addressed. I'm certain you can talk the guy down, especially armed with questions on the above items which WILL fail if not addressed.

Jay
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:11 PM   #43
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I sent an email, but I doubt he'll be talked down $2k. We'll see what happens, but I would DEFINITELY be on my back crawling under the suburban before any cash was exchanged. A 500,000 mile chassis scares me a bit though...

Thanks for the tips Jay, if I find another one for a deal, I may have some more questions for you.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:40 PM   #44
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That's not true for my area. The going rate for a 2000ish tacoma with 130-150k miles is around $7-$8k.

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/cto/3304053606.html
http://delaware.craigslist.org/cto/3302056113.html
http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/cto/3327693482.html

That's why I'm in the situation I'm in. I can search for a few months and find a decent truck for $2k, I've had OK luck before. Spending an extra $2k doesn't seem to get me into a much better situation.
Yes you can I sold mine for 4600 in nj...but it will have 150-200k which is better then 500k

http://southjersey.craigslist.org/cto/3350559361.html
http://southjersey.craigslist.org/cto/3306798434.html

Here's two after 2mins of searching. I just don't trust American made trucks with over 150k and any car with 500k is going need lots of work in near future unless a lot was replaced.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:51 PM   #45
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Those 6.5 turbo diesel motors are pretty reliable if you do the maintenance on it. They do have few quarks but they are very economical trucks as they have one of the best fuel mileage for a diesel in that weight class. Also, the 4L80 tranny is pretty beefy too. If you can get the NV4500 5 speed manual trans is very reliable too.

The 97 "506" engine block is the one you want to avoid if all possible as they are know to crack from poor casting from GM. The AM General Optimizer 6500 is the ultimate 6.5 block you want but the link for the Humvee block on ebay is the other one you want for half the price of the Optimizer 6500 block.

My 95 block is one of the better block from GM before they went oil squirters on the 97 block which cause weak internal and therefore, possibility of cracking of the block. At 298,000 miles, I just upgraded to a chinese knock off hx40 and boosting way past the factory boost limit without any problems. But if you want to go over 20psi on these blocks, you will need to do ARP head studs and W/M injection.

Good luck finding a clean 6.5 TD truck. You'll like it and it's one of the best bang for your buck diesel out there.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:26 AM   #46
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Yes you can I sold mine for 4600 in nj...but it will have 150-200k which is better then 500k

http://southjersey.craigslist.org/cto/3350559361.html
http://southjersey.craigslist.org/cto/3306798434.html

Here's two after 2mins of searching. I just don't trust American made trucks with over 150k and any car with 500k is going need lots of work in near future unless a lot was replaced.
The first one would probably be do-able. Second one is still way out of my price range. But I'll keep it on the list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mug23 View Post
Those 6.5 turbo diesel motors are pretty reliable if you do the maintenance on it. They do have few quarks but they are very economical trucks as they have one of the best fuel mileage for a diesel in that weight class. Also, the 4L80 tranny is pretty beefy too. If you can get the NV4500 5 speed manual trans is very reliable too.

The 97 "506" engine block is the one you want to avoid if all possible as they are know to crack from poor casting from GM. The AM General Optimizer 6500 is the ultimate 6.5 block you want but the link for the Humvee block on ebay is the other one you want for half the price of the Optimizer 6500 block.

My 95 block is one of the better block from GM before they went oil squirters on the 97 block which cause weak internal and therefore, possibility of cracking of the block. At 298,000 miles, I just upgraded to a chinese knock off hx40 and boosting way past the factory boost limit without any problems. But if you want to go over 20psi on these blocks, you will need to do ARP head studs and W/M injection.

Good luck finding a clean 6.5 TD truck. You'll like it and it's one of the best bang for your buck diesel out there.
I'm starting to lean this way. Doesn't seem to be a whole lot of them in my area, but I'll definitly keep an eye out.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:59 PM   #47
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i never thought about a van til i saw this thread. local to me there is this:

http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/cto/3353092632.html

i will need to look around for a nice car hauler next spring.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:37 AM   #48
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Dang.....where was that when I was looking????? I'd have flown out and drove it home!

Jay
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i never thought about a van til i saw this thread. local to me there is this:

http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/cto/3353092632.html

i will need to look around for a nice car hauler next spring.
Hold Fast: I carry a spare PMD, harness cable and optical sensor in the cubby at all times....just because they are so prone to failure. That's a GM electrical deal though. I went with a HX35W instead of the HX40II as mug did.....Both are great improvements over the stock GMx turbo. Supporting mods are a must though.

Jay
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:42 AM   #49
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If you are tall consider the poor seating area in the van. I rented an E350 people hauler to take a group of kids to an amusement part that was a 3 hr drive.

Front seat room was terrible. No legroom and the left side highly compromised by the wheel well.

I thought about a van back in 09. But the crew cab truck w/ a cap was a much better choice imo. I've used the truck often to haul things the van could not (oversize items, dirty items etc)
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:13 PM   #50
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If you are tall consider the poor seating area in the van. I rented an E350 people hauler to take a group of kids to an amusement part that was a 3 hr drive.

Front seat room was terrible. No legroom and the left side highly compromised by the wheel well.

I thought about a van back in 09. But the crew cab truck w/ a cap was a much better choice imo. I've used the truck often to haul things the van could not (oversize items, dirty items etc)
What year was that E350? I have a 95 E350 turbo diesel and have no leg room problems. The Chevy and Dodge vans I checked out had more leg room issues than my Ford (I also had an 88 E350 with no leg room issues). I love my diesel and it wasn't a bad choice when I bought it 10 years ago (175,000 miles on it now) but if I was buying again/newer, I'd probably go gas. But it would definitely be a van and a 1 ton. Personally I'd never tow with any 1/2 ton vehicle. Just take a close look at the weight/size of the tow vehicle compared to what you're towing.
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