93gsxturbo HalfDork
11/26/11 4:48 p.m.

I just sold my 1996 Dodge Ram Cummins Diesel today, and am really missing it already. Unfortunately, it had to go. It had been eaten badly by the tin worm, professionally patched, but was getting soft again. Another winter and it would have turned my $7500 truck into my $4500 truck.

So I am on the prowl for another trucklike vehicle to daily drive. I rarely used the bed of my truck for much that couldnt be done in an SUV, and really have a hankering for some more GM products in my life. I am torn between a regular length Tahoe or Yukon or a Suburban/Yukon XL.

I am thinking the the winner is a 2003-2004 Yukon XL Denali. They are cheap, $10-12k for one with a little over 100k miles, fully loaded, full of 6 liter goodness, and look pretty mean. Certainly better looking than a same year Escalade. The only downsides I see to it is I may miss my truck for doing trucklike things.

Any reason to run far and fast? Anything else I should consider? I can't stand the way the Ford Expedition looks, and if I got an Excursion it would have to be diesel, and thats a tall order in my price range. The Durango is too much of a cute-ute. Should I look at a Land Cruiser? G-Wagon? Anything else?

Stealthtercel HalfDork
11/26/11 7:27 p.m.

I don't think it's any reason to change your mind, but you might want to check out this at some point. As always, people here (well, not me, usually, but other people here) know everything about everything.

todd900ss New Reader
11/26/11 7:49 p.m.

IMO the XL is a little long for daily use, I like the standard version. Is it AWD? If so some of them had problems with the front differentials eating bearings and ring/pinions. Otherwise great trucks with proper maintenance.

ls1fiero Reader
11/26/11 9:11 p.m.

Our 03 Yukon XL has been an exceptionally good vehicle. I sat in the back with the kids on the way to Thanksgiving and watched a movie. Very pleasant living... 130k with very basic maintenance. Runs and drives excellent still. If you have kids or stuff then the XL is a must. It is hard to find fault with the 5.3 for daily driving..


TRoglodyte HalfDork
11/26/11 10:52 p.m.

If you are looking at, or even considering, A Rover, come back when you get sober.

admc58 Reader
11/27/11 8:14 a.m.

I currently own a 2004 Yukon XL with 115,000 miles.

I've been buying Suburbans/Yukon XLs for the last 13 years. I buy them at 100k and drive them to 200k miles. Mostly I've only had to do water pumps & alternators. Had to replace a Trans only once in that time.

Note: Never force the downshift when towing with a 700r4, always pull down a gear when climbing. Unlocking the torque converter in OD generates a ton of heat and the factory cooler is bypassed when in OD. I even stick to this rule on my 4L60e trans.

If you have family w/kids or plan on towing I would only get the XL (long) The length is only 18" longer and I will bet money it is still shorter than any extra cab truck. The extra length for packing & hauling is wonderful.

Fun fact about the XL 2x4 versions...They are 50/50 weight balance...talk about fun on the race track!!! With an LSD diff and the Autoride shock option you can place the truck about anywhere you want and really scare the ____ out of the 3rd row passengers when the rear moves over to take a set at turn-in.

I did the Auto Show in Motion for GM when the 2002 models all came out and we had all of the SUV's to play with as well as the competitors. We had one Yukon delivered that only had 2x4 drive w/LSD and it went EVERYWHERE that the 4x4 & AWD trucks could. They were dragging the frames in mud and pushing a bow wave in the water. Braking was the same in slick, wet mud but ALL of the 4wd/AWD's would accelerate faster and then over run the brake zones.

The short versions...Tahoe/Yukon tend to be a little light in the rear during heavy braking in turns with some trailing throttle oversteer that can cause control issues.

Denali...More weight, minor interior differences, AWD costs you MPG ALL of the time.

If you are not towing heavy trailers all the time I would get the 3.08 diff for better MPG.

Must have's -Towing package -LSD -Convenience group option -Power seats on both sides

Hope my ramblings help with your decision.

11/27/11 8:29 a.m.

Solution - buy one

blizazer Reader
11/27/11 8:36 a.m.

The Suburban / Yukon XL in that time range were available with 4 wheel steering. I think its a must have.




fifty Reader
11/27/11 11:03 a.m.

I"m looking at the same years also, prob in the Tahoe size. Prices around $10 - $12K seem to be the norm.

Question: is there a way to see what options come on a particular vehicle (LSD, rear gears etc)? Is it printed anywhere on the vehicle, or can I research the VIN?

EDIT: n/m - found it on Google: http://pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Chevy/specs/

RPO Codes

GM uses a 3-digit code, called an RPO (an acronym for Regular Production Option), to identify the options with which a specific vehicle is built. They are listed on a label or sticker called the Service Parts Identification (SPID) label. On late-model GM trucks this label is found inside the glove box. Some of the most famous RPO's are Z28 (performance package found on Camaro's) and LS1 (specific type of V8 engine).

By recording your RPO's and looking them up in a reference table you can identify the options with which your vehicle was built. RPO Master List

Gearheadotaku Dork
11/27/11 5:36 p.m.

Nothing wrong with GM's fullsize utilities. If you're concerned about not having a truck bed, get a good floor liner and some extra blankets to protect the interior from greasy stuff, and for the few times you need to haul a load of dirt or something huge, just rent a trailer.

admc58 Reader
11/28/11 11:23 p.m.

Quadrasteer is a way cool thing...However you are looking at a 3/4 ton leaf spring rear suspension, heavier frame, & larger brakes in the front with a significant weight penalty. I believe that they were only available with the 6.0L so there will be an MPG penalty also.

Fun fact: I did a training & certification program for the GM truck engineers to qualify for their "High Speed" test track licenses many years ago. One of the trucks they supplied for us was a late 90s Extra-cab long-bed with the then un-named "Quadrasteer" system installed. The kicker was that they could modify the settings on the system with a lap top and you could turn the system on/off with a single button.

The time to drive the fully loaded to max-GVW truck around a triangle with 100' sides was about 18sec with the system off...with the system on lap times went down to almost 16sec and you almost never hit a apex cone.

What was really fun was changing the crossover (zero) point between opposite-steer (low speed) and parallel-steer (high speed). Normal is about 45mph for the crossover but if you moved the point up to 65-70 the truck was a hoot in the auto-x and really came alive.

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