1989 Chevrolet Suburban Silverado 1500 6.2 liter V8 diesel from North America


A big, rugged, indestructible beast


Transmission went- but it had suffered a lot of punishment.

Problems with axle and with steering gear, probably due to cruel and unusual punishment.

Very badly rusted-out by now.

The electric door lock system is now kinda goofy.

An assortment of minor repairs, but surprisingly few considering. Overall, extremely reliable.

General Comments:

Several people have, independently, dubbed this truck "The Beast". It's a good name for it.

It's huge- ample room for 9 passengers and huge cargo space, especially if the back bench is removed. There's also a big luggage rack and a trailer hitch. Fortunately the huge, rather loud diesel engine provides plenty of power.

It's built like a tank. I don't know about today's Suburbans, but this is the sort of vehicle used by ranchers, archaeologists, oil prospectors, and such. This one was driven extensively in Central America, part of the time carrying a heavy trailer, over steep, often horrifically potholed mountain roads, some of which had been reduced to jagged shattered asphalt by floods. It was also driven on narrow dirt tracks and once ended up axle-deep in mud and large rocks.

Another time it I kid you not had front wheels fall into a 10-ft hole in the road.

It's a good car for road trips- roomy, smooth, and powerful.

Gas mileage is not great, but good for a vehicle this big. The diesel gets about twice as much MPG as an equivalent gas engine, so it's about comparable to a full-size sedan. In ideal conditions it gets 24 MPG highway.

This thing doesn't need much in repairs, although those repairs that are needed can be costlier because everything is so big. The huge tires for example are about $500.

By now the thing has 320,000 miles on it and still runs good, although it is now possibly one of the ugliest vehicles I have ever seen. The durability of this vehicle is truly impressive. It has only left us stranded once, and that was due to defective diesel fuel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd June, 2006

1989 Chevrolet Suburban R250 Silverado 454 from North America


Use it for everything, if you can afford the gas


The alternator was known bad when we bought it, and we had it rebuilt. Also, the paint was peeling, so we had it repainted.

Since then we have had to replace every part of the cooling system except for the water pump. This includes the hoses, radiator, fan clutch, heater core, and thermostat. It had an overheating problem, and it was mostly due to the fan clutch. The previous owner did not maintain the cooling system very well, so all of these problems are not entirely the fault of the vehicle.

The air conditioner does not work very well, and will probably need a new compressor soon. It uses R12, so I have put this off because of the cost of a retrofit to R-134A.

We have also had some problems with the electrical system. It was intermittently not starting. Then one day it would not start at all. We had it towed home, and it turned out to be a bad contact on the starter. I removed a wire, put it back on, and everything has worked fine since then.

General Comments:

There is nothing like a Suburban for hauling kids, luggage, groceries, or whatever you need to haul. It has so much room in it, my wife doesn't want anything else. It is great for camping trips, long road trips, big shopping trips, etc. It is also very comfortable, though a little bit on the noisy side. The only vehicle that can compare is a Ford Excursion or a full size van.

This vehicle is very powerful, and can haul a huge load. However, with that power comes very expensive repairs and low gas mileage. The repairs are expensive because the parts are heavy duty. Heavy duty parts in general are larger, require more metal, and cost quite a bit more money. Even the tires will cost you more than your typical SUV because they are very large E load range tires.

I do some of my own work on this car. Doing an oil change is easy because you can crawl right under it without even jacking it up. However, reaching many parts under the hood is very difficult. The engine is so large, that even changing the spark plugs is a huge chore. I usually have to get into the engine compartment just to reach the back spark plugs, and I am over 6 feet tall! On the bright side, the engine compartment is not packed with stuff, and Chevy uses a serpentine belt, making the belt a cinch to remove and replace.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th April, 2005

1989 Chevrolet Suburban k2500 350 from North America


A rough truck not a SUV


I did a general tune up, brakes, shocks.

General Comments:

This Suburban is scary to control compared with my 1994 Silverado truck. I feel that the ride is very rough and the steering is too soft. I have to pay more attention when I drive. After 1992 the Suburbans are better.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th October, 2002