Suburban/Yukon XL vs TB EXT

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
It looks like there have been several questions asked but I didn't find a lot of what I was looking for.

We currently have an 03 TB EXT LT i6 (what i will call the base model). We are to the point of purchasing a Suburban/XL within the next month or so..

We have been doing more camping lately and plan to take more trips where the kids may bring a friend.

Part 1 - My observations;
Power- From what I have gathered, a 5.3l would be the ideal move as it will not decrease our current mpg of the TB but still give us the added power/towing capability if/when needed. We have considered just getting an EXT with the 5.3 but can't make more cargo space.
Cargo- Quite a bit of space behind the 3rd row vs the TB. Fold the seats and it increases substantially.
Options- There is a fair amount of options available on the sub/xl that is offered if we went with a different TB.

Part 2 - Questions;
Maintenance- Is there anything I can visually look/feel for when test driving or just giving a visual inspection? We are looking at dealer only, not that it means much these days.
Power- The 6.0 and 8.1 seem over kill. Am I looking at the 6.0 wrong, should I consider? We do not have any trailers, campers or the such. It is a future goal but not in the near future to have a camper. Tents are more than adequate (unless you ask the kids who have been spoiled with their grandparents 5th wheel lol).
Cargo- Self explanatory.. right? lol
Options- Is there any to maybe avoid (more problem than it's worth)? XL or Suburban (Doesn't seem to be any real difference)?

Anything I am missing? Please feel free to give pros/cons for either.


The current Suburban we are going to look at Sat has;
Mileage- 153K
Engine- 5.3
Drivetrain- 4x4
Options not on TB- Moon roof, Leather, steering controls, dvd package, heated seats, pass captain chairs, bose sound (from pics)


The dealer we will be going to says they will probably have an XL with the same everything but 110K miles.

Thanks,
Outlaw
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
I don't recall the size of the cargo space in the TB EXT but we just bought a suburban and the depth is not quite as deep as my SWB TB. It is wider though. The only reason I would notice is my wife is temporarily in a wheelchair and in the TB it would fit just backing it straight in the cargo area and in the Suburban it will not quite fit that way.

The one we bought is the LTZ, it might be the nicest vehicle I have ever ridden in. I used to think I didn't like bells and whistles but that was before I had bells and whistles. The Bose system with DVD is like you are sitting in the movies. The screen itself leaves much to be desired but the sound is awesome. My favorite feature besides the space is the remote start.

Ours has the 5.3 and I would say it is as least as peppy as our SWB TB, maybe more but if you get on it, you can feel the torque management.
I will say thought that it really fills up a parking space compared to the TB.

Driving down the road though you don't really realize how big it is.

It was a great purchase for us being I haven't checked the gas mileage yet :smile:

I would say drive it, load the kids/car seats in it and try it out.
 
Feb 24, 2012
133
I love my 8.1 Yukon XL. It's bulletproof and tows like anything, but if you aren't going to tow the 5.3 is plenty to haul around a 'burb. You have no need for a 2500 or 6.0 either. The 5.3 is more than good enough.

When you get into 2500/3/4 tons and start comparing the 6.0 to the 8.1 you basically get the same milage with an extra 100 lb ft of torque. The 6.0 will do the job, but it has to work harder and wants to rev higher, so the milage stinks. The 8.1 loafs along easily doing it's job so the mpgs end up being pretty much the same.

(shameless plug - I am selling my 8.1 Yukon! http://gmtnation.com/f98/fs-2005-gmc-yukon-2500-slt-8-1-a-5939/ )
 

BO TIE SS

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,497
navigator said:
we just bought a suburban and the depth is not quite as deep as my SWB TB.
That's because the SWB Trailblazer doesn't have the 3rd row. If you remove the 3rd row from your Suburban, you'll see how much more room there is compared to the Trailblazer. :undecided:

deekster_caddy said:
The 5.3 is more than good enough.
:iagree:

Even if you do tow there's plenty of power. The previous owner of my Tahoe drove it 1100 miles to Florida every winter. (2200 round trip) He pulled a Mini Cooper on a trailer down with him. Had no problems at all.

I've towed a small camper. (17') Hardly knew is was back there.
 

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
Sorry for the delayed reply.

Thanks for all the info.

We went to look at the Suburban and will likely be getting the Yukon XL they hadn't even listed yet. The guy who I am assuming owned the small dealer was awesome. Didn't even have to haggle and was generous with the trade in of our TB. My dad went with us to help look it over.

It was fully loaded but didn't have a working radio... XM worked though. lol

The XL was in better shape with 43K less miles and once said and done, is only about 1k more than the suburban.

Since we had some snow last night, it let us try the 4x4 and get a decent test drive.

I noticed immediately;
the seats "hugged" you
road smoother
more torque on acceleration (was assumed but nice feel)
On acceleration, the engine didn't scream like the 4.2 and was kinda weird, lol
About double the cargo space behind the 3rd row than the TB
easier to change spark plugs/wires

A few pics of the truck we will hopefully have friday.

17b6ls.jpg


2yud9xz.jpg


1fizbm.jpg


2s1r806.jpg


TB sneaking in the picture
34sjsxt.jpg


Outlaw
 

BO TIE SS

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,497
Very nice. You'll like the color...it hides dirt well. :biggrin:

So, I'm guessing '05 - '06?
 

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
Thanks. Haha I didn't even think of that but I had a care that was similar in color and it was nice not having to wash it every other day... And I wont miss the black TB for that reason alone. lol

It's actually an '03
 

mnypitTBEXT

Member
Jan 29, 2012
133
This is a choice i have been toiling with lately too. My wife didnt want such a huge vehicle, so that is why we origionally bought the EXT. Ours has a 5.3 with 3.73 rear though, and it is absolutely loaded with the LT package, and has lots of power. If you plan to tow, remember the 5.3 then needs to haul that extra weight of the truck plus your load. That would be my only concern, as when I tow my 23ft boat, I can really feel in the acceleration. Otherwise it tows beautifully. The wife recently got another car, so she no longer drives it, so the hunt was on for something larger.

The reason I think we are not going to get the Suburban is because I cant find one in the same condition as mine for a similar price. I have maintained our EXT beyond what is necessary, and I fear what others have done, or not done, to theirs. Ours tows fine other than struggling a bit, so my thoughts are, I am going to get a tune, maybe a CAI and exhaust and see if it still struggles. I say struggle, but it really doesnt. No where near as much as my buddy's Grand Cherokee with the Hemi, or my Dad's Navigator Mark LT. They struggle!

Overall, if I could find one as nice as our TB, I will probably buy it, but I am not going to settle. Our TB is like brand new, and I am not taking less.

Enjoy your newly acquired GMT, I think you are going to love it.
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
I am glad to see this thread, I have been thinking about this for a couple weeks and was getting ready to start my own post just like this.

Tracey and I recently found out we were going to have a baby, our 4th, which means that our 5 seat vehicles will no longer work for us. I am dead set against getting another van, I have had two and they were nothing but trouble and impossible to work on. Besides that the average gas mileage for domestic mini vans is 19-24. We have recently been looking at EXT Envoys and Trailblazers, even came across an Isuzu Ascender Limited. I am concerned about the last of space behind the rear seats on them and don't feel it would be enough for all of our bags, including all the baby crap, that we would have to take on a trip. Because of all this I am starting to lean towards an upgrade to the 360's big brother.

Thanks for all the great info here, it has been helpful.
 

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
We wish we had the extra room of the xl today for our trip. Loaded up myself, wife and 4 kids. Cargo barely made it. Cooler, large duffle, a back pack and 2 med size luggage cases. There was also bags under the kids feet and between them... the burb/xl would prob have held it all behind the 3rd row. I had to down shift several times uphill too.

Sorry to keep short. On my phone. Thanks for the info and glad the post could help.

As for the condition issue mnypit, all i can say is; just keep looking.

Congrats Regulator! As for my opinion. I would skip the ext. It has served us well as a family of 4 but i couldn't see it doing a family of 6 plus all necessary cargo unless you went rack mounted which wasnt an option for us.lol

Outlaw
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
I went through this same issue when I got my second current 360. We were getting rid of the 7 passenge van and so sought an suv that could tow our boat with the same passenger capacity. I only wanted the new body style 2007 and up Tahoe/Yukon but the issue was that to get the low mileage that the 9-7x had (55k miles) and every single option that the 9-7 has (literally everthing offered except the 6.0) the price was more than double. So what we figured was we'd make due with no third row seat vehicles in the fleet and keep the difference. Now we never have to be the ones to drive the groups of kids and really the big drawback is when we go on a boating vacation for a week and end up having to put things like golf clubs in the boat since the gmt swb is totally packed. That said then for our family of 4, we are only affected in the summer and even then the boat can accomodate a lot of extra stuff. The 5.3's we have had in all three of our GMT's have pulled well for us. You don't realize the value of a v8 until you slap a heavy load on the hitch and of course it doesn't whine and wind up like the 4.2 by comparison. Every day of the week I would prefer a Yukon Denali swb but the cost just didn't make sense for us.
 

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
Jkust-
I would have liked to go with the '07 and up, if like you said, the price wasn't crazy. The SWB aren't cheap either.

I don't know that I would want to a SWB after having the EXT just because of the space it can offer. In the burb/xl anyways, just pull the 3rd row out completely and you now have an extended SWB, lol Seat the same (unless you have rear captains) with double the cargo.

We are now owners of the '03 Yukon in the pics above. Let me just say... I cried a bit lol. For the first time, the gas station pump shut us down at $75 and I had to put in another $26 to fill up. Typical dealer leaving the tank empty.

Just a few minor (imo) to fix;
Drive mirror glass may need replacing. Issue- Looks like a glue/"burn" from behind the glass as well as it being "foggy" but not rubbing off.
DVD player (after market) not working. Issue- No sign of power.
AM/FM tuner doesn't work. (SiriusXM works nicely though). Issue- Just static when on AM/FM. We had planned to replace regardless of operation.
Rear window defrost needs re-solder. Issue- One of solder points for wire came undone.

For what they gave us as a trade-in. I'm not going to complain too much about whats wrong. So far so good though. I can honestly say I do not miss the scream the 4.2 had to do to accelerate or pass. Nice low growl sounds good. lol

Outlaw
 
Feb 24, 2012
133
Outlaw, here's a little help...
outlaw said:
Jthe gas station pump shut us down at $75 and I had to put in another $26 to fill up. Typical dealer leaving the tank empty.
I go inside the station and give them my card. Some pumps will preauth to $100 or $90 but most only do $75. Abnoxious as heck, especially with a 36 gallon tank. The station cashier knows me now and just turns the pump on when I pull in... but when I'm away from home just go inside. I want my fillup to be on one swipe because we get a discount from our local grocery store but the points only apply to one purchase of up to 35 gallons. (We usually get about $1.00 off/gallon!)

outlaw said:
Just a few minor (imo) to fix;
Drive mirror glass may need replacing. Issue- Looks like a glue/"burn" from behind the glass as well as it being "foggy" but not rubbing off.
Sounds like cheap replacement glass that's separating, best bet is to replace.

outlaw said:
AM/FM tuner doesn't work. (SiriusXM works nicely though). Issue- Just static when on AM/FM. We had planned to replace regardless of operation.
Check that the AM/FM antenna is connected! It's a different wire than the XM antenna.
With the aftermarket rear DVD player - somebody may have been in there tinkering and something got unhooked.

outlaw said:
Rear window defrost needs re-solder. Issue- One of solder points for wire came undone.
I repaired this about 6 times on my YukonXL before giving up. With rear heat it's very rarely an issue that can't be solved with a squirt of de-icer washer fluid. Replace the rear window if you want the fix to be permanent. I tried silver solder (factory TSB) and even the Frost Fighter epoxy with new clips and none of it holds more than two uses. Now I'm hoping something breaks the rear glass so insurance will replace it for me.
 

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
deekster_caddy said:
Outlaw, here's a little help...

I go inside the station and give them my card. Some pumps will preauth to $100 or $90 but most only do $75. Abnoxious as heck, especially with a 36 gallon tank. The station cashier knows me now and just turns the pump on when I pull in... but when I'm away from home just go inside. I want my fillup to be on one swipe because we get a discount from our local grocery store but the points only apply to one purchase of up to 35 gallons. (We usually get about $1.00 off/gallon!)


Sounds like cheap replacement glass that's separating, best bet is to replace.


Check that the AM/FM antenna is connected! It's a different wire than the XM antenna.
With the aftermarket rear DVD player - somebody may have been in there tinkering and something got unhooked.


I repaired this about 6 times on my YukonXL before giving up. With rear heat it's very rarely an issue that can't be solved with a squirt of de-icer washer fluid. Replace the rear window if you want the fix to be permanent. I tried silver solder (factory TSB) and even the Frost Fighter epoxy with new clips and none of it holds more than two uses. Now I'm hoping something breaks the rear glass so insurance will replace it for me.


Thanks for the tips. Hopefully for the future fuel ups, this wont have to be often. By that I mean filling up before it's needed, not implying fuel costs will go down. lol

Looking at the mirrors online.... daaanngg they aren't cheap lol. The mirrors on this truck have more options than my car. lol

For the stereo, that would be my first guess. See DVD player below.

DVD Player - Looks like some jackwagon installed it. lol. There is duct tape wrapped around wires, bare wires where the insulation has been striped and a couple wires that appear to have been ripped out of where ever they went. Also, it is wired to some type of harness with a Y in it. One end looks to still be connected somewhere on the pass side, the other goes to a 6-8pin connector that isn't plugged into anything. I didn't investigate any further.

I don't believe we needed the rear defrost for the EXT either for the same reason. Hopefully we can just get re-soldered so it is at least attached. With the other "fixes" needed, The rear glass replacement doesn't make the cut.

To top it off, the other day, the heated seats weren't working at all. I did read it was a fairly common issue but appeared they would still turn on for a few seconds before shutting off. Ours would just not turn on at all. Today, they appear to be working normally.

Outlaw
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
outlaw said:
Thanks for the tips. Hopefully for the future fuel ups, this wont have to be often. By that I mean filling up before it's needed, not implying fuel costs will go down. lol

Looking at the mirrors online.... daaanngg they aren't cheap lol. The mirrors on this truck have more options than my car. lol

For the stereo, that would be my first guess. See DVD player below.

DVD Player - Looks like some jackwagon installed it. lol. There is duct tape wrapped around wires, bare wires where the insulation has been striped and a couple wires that appear to have been ripped out of where ever they went. Also, it is wired to some type of harness with a Y in it. One end looks to still be connected somewhere on the pass side, the other goes to a 6-8pin connector that isn't plugged into anything. I didn't investigate any further.

I don't believe we needed the rear defrost for the EXT either for the same reason. Hopefully we can just get re-soldered so it is at least attached. With the other "fixes" needed, The rear glass replacement doesn't make the cut.

To top it off, the other day, the heated seats weren't working at all. I did read it was a fairly common issue but appeared they would still turn on for a few seconds before shutting off. Ours would just not turn on at all. Today, they appear to be working normally.

Outlaw


Funny how I used to love the pre 2007's until the body style change. Just insatiable. The thing about the Tahoes and suburbans that I found was that they were the car that always got driven daily and up to the lake on the weekends so had higher miles and heavy use. It was uncommon to find a really low mile 2007 for any price when I was shopping not that I could have bought one. Add in that yours is 10 years old and probably had a couple previous owners and I can see the few above issues you are dealing with. End of the day the suburban/Tahoe is a superior vehicle to our GMT's but command a superior price. I love the higher ride and more truck like feel of your truck when I need it for truck stuff like towing. I agree on the v8 power...it never screams and I've yet to run out of torque even with 4,000lbs hooked up.
 

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
Jkust said:
Funny how I used to love the pre 2007's until the body style change. Just insatiable. The thing about the Tahoes and suburbans that I found was that they were the car that always got driven daily and up to the lake on the weekends so had higher miles and heavy use. It was uncommon to find a really low mile 2007 for any price when I was shopping not that I could have bought one. Add in that yours is 10 years old and probably had a couple previous owners and I can see the few above issues you are dealing with. End of the day the suburban/Tahoe is a superior vehicle to our GMT's but command a superior price. I love the higher ride and more truck like feel of your truck when I need it for truck stuff like towing. I agree on the v8 power...it never screams and I've yet to run out of torque even with 4,000lbs hooked up.

Whooops it's been a few days. :smile:

I agree, the 07-08 models I had found were crazy. lol. I had found an 07 or 08 with 225,ish miles on it for $14K... umm... not lol.

I agree, you can't really beat the space they offer which makes sense why there were the vacation/trip go to vehicle. I can understand and even tolerate the normal wear items like the heated seats and rear defrost. They aren't cheap to fix but like you said, they come with the truck. We did buy it knowing that some of the stuff needed fixing so I can only blame myself there (but im not upset/mad about that). It was when we looked at the wiring for the "DIY" disaster someone did that I got...flustered seems like a safe word to use. lol. I only hope the whole head liner doesn't need to come down... which I may find out this weekend if time permits.

When he did the vin lookup, I believe we were the 3rd or 4th owner with no accidents on record.. The no accidents was more key here. With 110K, it's price to mileage was within a reason compared to some of the other vehicles I had looked at.


The higher ride / truck like feel takes some getting used to after having the TB. My daily is "little blue" in my garage.. a vw jetta, driving that yukon is quite a change to say the least, lol.

Having the added towing capability over the TB has a comforting feeling knowing if and when the time comes, we won't have to worry.


Maybe I should start a new post, but whatcha think about blacking out the chrome with plasti-dip or black vinyl? It doesn't look bad with the chrome, I am just not a fan of it and want to be able to bring back to stock if needed. Bumpers, grille surround and door moldings.


Thanks,
Outlaw
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
I don't know about the plastidip...I'm a fan of chrome to be honest. My 9-7 is mostly blacked out from factory with only hints of chrome and I wished it had more like some of the high-end crossover suv's have.
I could see the rims but that I gotta think doing the chrome bumper is too much and again just a little use and I can see the front bumper getting gouged.

Try a little photoshopping and see how it'd look.
 

outlaw

Original poster
Member
Dec 27, 2011
96
Maybe a photochop on a larger image would look better for an example? lol

This is my version using good ole paint... No photoshop or skills with it if I did. :sadcry:

6dwd8j.jpg


Using paint on the rims and mirrors (not sure if a good idea) would look horrid. I didn't see a thread for "get your photoshop here" or anything like that. Looks like people just starting their own thread requesting it.

Outlaw
 

tblazerdude

Member
Dec 4, 2011
321
About to pick up a meticulously maintained 01' Suburban with 177k. $4,000. Were your investments good ones?
 
Feb 24, 2012
133
tblazerdude said:
About to pick up a meticulously maintained 01' Suburban with 177k. $4,000. Were your investments good ones?

Wow, this could be a "Where have they gone" thread. I haven't visited the site in a long time. I sold my 2005 3/4 ton YukonXL last year to my father who tows a 26' TT with it. It's been a great truck for him. I met him in Michigan this summer and drove it back to Florida for him, towing the TT. Did the trip in 3 days by myself, pushing it a bit, keeping the speeds high. Let my dad fly back with stepmom as she was having other issues. Boy was I glad to have the 8.1 doing the pulling, the hills on I-75 in TN and KY were brutal! But as far as getting the job done, there's nothing like it. Got about 7 MPG pushing 75 at times with the big trailer. Mostly kept to 65 but I found it shifted too much. If I pushed it up over 70 it wouldn't shift as much, was actually much more comfortable to drive.

A little more story...

As far as having the right machine for the job, the other reason I drove it back is because he was having problems FALLING ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL... whoops. He went off the road more than once. On the last one I'm pretty sure he made the truck and TT go airborne when he dipped into the ditch on the left side, then caught somebody's driveway rise at 55 as he was coming back onto the road. The trailer frame was buckled a little bit. If he had been in any lesser of a truck I doubt he would still be here to tell us about the issues.

The other time he went totally off the road was at the beginning of his trip, on I-75 in Florida. Dozed off, went down off the right side onto the grass, started to tilt down the embankment when he woke up. He had enough sense to hit the gas instead of the brake, and fortunately he decided to drive with the 4WD in Auto mode. When he cut the wheel left and started to climb the hill, the trailer tried to push the back end down. He felt it start to slide, then grab as the front wheels engaged and pulled him back up onto the road. All at 70 MPH!!!!! Again if he had been in any lesser of a truck, what a mess it could have been.

So the next question is, why something as big as a 'burb? Are you towing? Do you justify the extra size/capacity? The only reason I went with the Yukon XL was my intent to get a travel trailer and tow with it. Since using a TT didn't work out for my family, I sold the truck. I use my '73 Buick LeSabre to tow my car trailer when needed - it's basically a 1/2 ton pickup chassis underneath. The '73 used to tow a 30' Travel trailer when my uncle had it!!!

edit - to your original question? Yes, it was definitely a good investment!
 

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