I want to drive an '89 suburban 700 miles home, what should I know?

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Matt69olds

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Several people have mentioned Riadkill. Dave Freiburger has wrote several articles on his vehicle rescues.

He says as soon as he has possession of the vehicle, he hits the nearest pawn shop and buys a handful of cheap tools. No major expense, and who cares if you lose s bunch of harbor freight sockets? Look the truck over and if it looks good hit the road. I personally wouldn’t bother with a bunch of spare parts. As common as these trucks are, parts are easy to come by. I would seriously consider at least doubling your budget. I’m betting 500 bucks goes pretty quick, even if everything goes smoothly. Better to have it and not need it than the other way. Relax, enjoy the trip.
 

Ricko1966

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You know I keep looking this over and thinking. Grab basic tools you already have and go. It's not like you're driving to some barrien desolate place alone,you are in the USA with a chase vehicle that can take you to get whatever you need,if anything. I wouldn't spend a dime on anything I didn't already have,especially on your budget.
 
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Thesiger

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Yes @Ricko1966 It's going to be bare bones. (But probably should double my budget) Taking only tools I have at home, packed lunches, probably not actually do hotels and just sleep in the car. And once the 'burb is picked up each of us can sleep in a separate vehicle.

I will plan for failure and see success and an added bonus. If the truck is trash in person, I'll see the plan B truck, if no luck, I'll be set back 300 dollars in travel, but I'll count the whole thing as a vacation to see mount Rushmore instead. POSITIVE ATTITUDE FIRST!
 

Fight Milk

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I bought my first '89 Suburban sight unseen and road tripped it back from Oregon to Ohio and made a week and a half trip out of it, visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons along the way. I think it was about 3500 miles, all-in. Definitely expect some things to go wrong, and don't rush it. That western sun gets hot, so if the AC doesn't work, make sure the windows do!
 

SDJunkMan

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but I'll count the whole thing as a vacation to see mount Rushmore instead.
If you are coming through the Black Hills, I may be able to help if you run into problems, just depends on when you are going to be in the area, I will be out of town for a few days towards tbe end of the month.
 

Thesiger

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Oh neat, The truck is in Spear fish. I'd plan my route pretty much dead center though the full length of south Dakota, with deviations to see the sights depending on how smooth its going, Black hills would to awesome to see. thanks for throwing yourself out there, If this trip works out at all, I'll be sure to let you know when I'm passing though. If at all, I'd be thinking in 3 or 4 weeks assuming no surprise bills come up lol
 

roger0080

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"I want to drive an '89 suburban 700 miles home, what should I know?"

-> That it is nerve racking ...
-> Change the oil, check the fluid levels, belts, leaks, plugs, wires.
-> Drive it locally for 100-200 miles at road speed before you leave the big city so hopefully any problems show up before you hit the road, check oil consumption/smoking
-> Bring your tool boxes
-> Have a spare tire
-> extra oil, antifreeze
-> another person and vehicle

I did AZ to MN in November once (two PU's at once), nothing like getting to know your vehicle on the road, lol.

Good luck!
 
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geocrasher

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I drove my 88 Burb from near Olympia WA to Fernley NV, fully loaded with all of my personal belongings in the rig and in a 8x12 UHaul trailer. I've been tracking mileage since the move last year:

You must be registered for see images attach


It's my daily driver. If I were to buy a Burb sight unseen and drive it 700 miles, I'd pre-purchase a bunch of stuff on RockAuto and have it shipped to the Burb so that when I got there it was ready. Those things are:

Front brake hoses
Ignition Module
Radiator Cap
Thermostat
Rad hoses
U-Joints for rear driveline

When you get there stop at a Harbor Freight and spend $150 on tools including a cheap hammer. Get a few feet of heater hose, and some clamps from a parts house. Make sure you have a way to change a tire, and a spare. Check the front wheel bearings and tighten/lube as needed. A repack is easy as long as you have the hub tool.

Check the rear driveline for sloppy joints and swap them on the spot if needed. Toss on the new radiator cap and thermostat. Take two days to do the drive, don't push the truck super hard. Just relax and enjoy it. Budget $500 for fuel, $500 for parts/tools, $100 for a cheap hotel or AirBNB (my preference is AirBNB's) and $100 for AAA insurance just in case. This is how I did my trip, although I knew my truck better and knew what it needed. You don't, and that's a serious disadvantage. But you're going to have so much fun, no matter what happens you'll appreciate the experience :)

And by the way, the half the stuff I mentioned are things that I had to do before or after the trip, and in retrospect, I wish I'd done the U-Joints before the trip. I didn't end up having to do any work on the vehicle, thankfully, but when I got home it started falling apart in some areas, and its really showing its age.
 
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andybflo

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I did this once with an old Corvette. Drove 400mi. there in my wife's SUV. Jumped in car, told her to tail me home. Wanted an adventure in my new-to-me forty one year old (at the time, in 2010) toy.

Made it 140 miles, with the carb loading up for the last 50 or 60. Gunning it to clean the plugs, then letting her settle back down, load up, floor it, lather, rinse, repeat... Couldn't really talk to the wife, she just saw me launch into oblivion, and slow back down.

Pulled over, had AAA tow it to a friend's driveway who lived along the way. Lotsa food, beer, a good night's sleep, and a trip to U-Haul later, we're dragging it back home on a trailer behind my wife's at the time ML350.

If I had to do it all over again? I'd do the same. Fun to drive it, great stories, and we had a backup plan; my friend knew I was passing through, and the potential for a night in his spare room.

My cause? A pipe plug that would normally supply vacuum to the booster (she has manual brakes) worked loose on the intake manifold; carb wasn't getting a good vacuum signal, and it ran like poo. We went through the brakes/suspension/fluids/etc before deciding to drive her, obviously couldn't check everything.

Be prepared for the $1 item (like above) to getcha.

Was glad we had cash in reserve and time to spare. Don't do this if you have to be at work the next morning; trust me...

Still get made fun of by friends and the wife for it... ;)
 

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All good advice and fun sounding stuff.
If it’s gonna be a deal, start thinking about the important stuff. Idk how much $ the Burb is, but again if the owner won’t work with you then it’s a less good idea to trust your “gut”.
Get the rundown on the important stuff. Hoses, belts, leaks etc. when and what maintenance and repairs have been done recently. Age of tires, condition of brake system. What DOESNT work. Etc.
You can make a more informed decision if you know whether it’s an old pos just drug out out of the back pasture where it’s been since the turn of the century or something in decent running and driving shape with an owner who has taken care of some of the basic maintenance and repairs.

And not that it may be in your plan or budget but don’t be in a hurry to buy if it seems like more of a compromise than you’d hoped.
If you look further west (PNW) clean burbs are almost dime a dozen and far cheaper than comparable pickups out here. I’ve seen a lot of rust free running driving 4wd burbs out here for sale.
 

Albrigap

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Figure on driving it to the local oil change place. Have them change oil, filter, check all the fluids, air up the tires and also change the fuel filter. The 1st 100 miles will generally find any problems. If the belts look questionable, pickup a new one along the way. It is guaranteed that what you have for spare parts will be the wrong ones. That is due to Murphy's Law. Good luck on the trip and enjoy it.
 

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