Suburban vs Excursion for Family of 8

ogre

Member
Again, I love the space of the big full size vans and the option to go 4x4, but again, the cost would push it to $40k-$60k+ depending on buying used or new with the conversion.

I can see a new van going for the prices you listed.
However a used Ford econoline can be had for 5k - 15k depending on year models.
4x4 conversion can be done by you for 5k - 15k depending on equipment and, diy vs shop.
So a 4x4 van can be had for 10k - 30k+ depending how you set them up and the price of the van you go with.


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phsycle

Adventurer
Not sure why people keep bringing up vans when he clearly said it’s not for him.

Vans are nice. Plenty of space. But cost would be issue #1. And for me, the biggest issue is the parts availability for maintenance and repairs, especially out in the podunks. I’d prefer to be able to go into any parts store to get parts that are readily available. Not sure if that will happen with a highly modified van. I also had a friend that had one converted to 4wd, then sold it after one issue after another. Maybe it was install error, but for one-off vehicles like that, it’s not uncommon. Some people are handy and don’t mind laying down on dirt hours on end fixing whatever issues pop up. Not me.
 

BayMonty

Member
So I’ve got an update!

A few posts back I mentioned that I’ve decided on a Suburban. Parts are easy to come by and cheap. Most any repair shop is familiar with the platform. The vehicle will not be a daily driver. I expect to put maybe 4000 miles per year at the absolute most...just to keep the fluids moving and the mechanicals fresh. It’s going to be the family adventure/camping vehicle and possibly pull a light pop up tent trailer, or base camp off road trailer. Nothing heavy. I plan to keep this in the family for a long time.

I’ve always loved the GMT400 Suburban’s. The box body, the lines, etc.

So I’m picking up a 97 GMC Suburban K1500 SLT tomorrow. Over the last few days I’ve looked at 3. Two 99’s and the 97. Exterior is a 9/10 and the interior is about a 7.5/10. It’s got the barn doors I want and it was a one owner local vehicle that was religiously serviced at the dealer. Downside is it has 180k miles but it drove really nice, no leaks, 4x4 engaged and drove well, just an all around solid Suburban. New tires on stock wheels, battery, and front brakes as well.

I’ll post some pics tomorrow when I pick it up.

Oh yeah...we agreed to $2800.

All the rest of the budget will go to some nice upgrades (4-6” lift, steering/suspension, off road wheels/tires, rack, miscellaneous stuff, and leaning towards the Taxa Woolly Bear base camp. I think I can pull it all off for around $20k.


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BayMonty

Member
908d492e0c8f2833c0f99dd8abd64141.jpg


Picked the Suburban up tonight. Anyone from NorCal can recommend a great shop in the North Bay or Sacramento area?


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calicamper

Expedition Leader
Nice!!

Here is some good tbi info.


I would skip the 4 to 6in lift., just throw a set of keys in the front, with fox shocks all around, and some air bags in the back. Throw on some 285s and a roof top box and run it.
Especially if your packing 6+ butts in it! Its one thing to lift trucks and drive solo or 2-3 people around. Its a whole different deal with 6 people. The stock burb with quality tires is pretty great all around rig. Lifted and full of bodies I have seen far to many on their lid between North and South I5 in recent years. Keep that family safe, drive a safe vehicle?
 

BayMonty

Member
Especially if your packing 6+ butts in it! Its one thing to lift trucks and drive solo or 2-3 people around. Its a whole different deal with 6 people. The stock burb with quality tires is pretty great all around rig. Lifted and full of bodies I have seen far to many on their lid between North and South I5 in recent years. Keep that family safe, drive a safe vehicle

Thanks for your advice calicamper. Very true. I want a very reliable and safe rig, but also have it capable enough to get through certain situations. With it having a long wheelbase and the butt sticking out, more clearance is needed to get through steeper approaches and exits. The stock clearance isn’t high at all. A minimum 3-4” lift, in my mind, is needed. I won’t be crawling, but even with a decent incline, more lift is almost a necessity.


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xjchad

Member
Monty,
I loved reading this thread and seeing your success at finding a good rig!
My wife and I have 6 kids also, ages 2 to 12. I'm in the same boat and looking for a Suburban. We already have a GMC 12 passenger van so this will be my daily driver (short commute) and adventure/camping/hunting/fishing rig. I'm looking at a couple 97-99 rigs right now, and really close to pulling the trigger. Looking forward to seeing how your build goes!
 

BayMonty

Member
Monty,
I loved reading this thread and seeing your success at finding a good rig!
My wife and I have 6 kids also, ages 2 to 12. I'm in the same boat and looking for a Suburban. We already have a GMC 12 passenger van so this will be my daily driver (short commute) and adventure/camping/hunting/fishing rig. I'm looking at a couple 97-99 rigs right now, and really close to pulling the trigger. Looking forward to seeing how your build goes!

Awesome! Looking forward to seeing your rig as well. Getting front end straightened out today. Will post pics soon


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toastyjosh

Adventurer
Here are some useful links for the both of ya!
https://www.gmt400.com/threads/gmt400-lift-guide.176/
 

BayMonty

Member
Here are some useful links for the both of ya!
https://www.gmt400.com/threads/gmt400-lift-guide.176/

Thanks toastyjosh!


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BayMonty

Member
03396c6f8c44e0ebdbc02c2c49a3de1f.jpg

Not too bad underneath. Original owner had this it’s entire life in the South Bay/San Jose are all it’s life.


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