bgkast PowerDork
4/24/21 12:51 a.m.

Today I picked up the new daily driver/family hauler/tow pig. It's a 2013 Suburban 2500 4x4 that was formerly used by the Oregon Department of Transportation  bridge inspection dive team. I got it at surplus auction for a bit over $10k after fees. It was pretty dirty inside and out. I'm not sure it had ever been washed. It seems to be in good shape mechanically and I think it will make a good rig. It has 222,000 miles on it and just under 5000 run hours, which works out to about 45 mph average, which makes me think it's lived most of it's life on the highway.  Here are some pictures from the auction.




The scuba tank rack has to go to make way for 3rd row seats. It's pretty crusty from salt water off of the dive gear.


I picked it up from the surplus yard in Salem and headed home.

I spent the afternoon scrubbing and after a whole bottle of interior detailer spray it's halfway presentable. This is by far the newest car I have owned. I'm still getting used to having a backup camera, bluetooth and TPMS (that is currently not working).

My plans are to fix the minor issues, clean and clean some more, and maybe some new tires and shocks. I'm hoping to get a travel trailer to pull with it for some family camping trips. I will post some pictures after the first round of cleaning soon.


garaithon Reader
4/24/21 4:53 a.m.

Awesome find! 2500 Suburbans are tough to find at all, let alone with a scuba rack! Haha. Happy hauling!

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
4/24/21 6:30 a.m.

6.0 right? DOD is the devil. I love the GMT 900 platform. My truck is a 2007 NNBS that has suffered from terminal rust, but I love the way the truck drives and the interior. Looking forward to this. 

bgkast PowerDork
4/24/21 9:50 a.m.

It's an iron block 6.0. No Displacement on demand on the 2500s. The 2500s are pretty rare but most Government Suburbans seem to be 2500 models, so surplus auctions are a good way to find them.

bgkast PowerDork
4/24/21 11:14 p.m.

Well after a full bottle of meguiars interior detailer, another full bottle of upholstery cleaner and lots of elbow grease the interior is now clean enough to be livable. The Scuba rack was scrapped and half a rear seat from craigslist was installed.

This thing was so dirty it's going to take another 2 or 3 time over to get it fully clean. Most of the interior panels have been scrubbed 3 times. I only did the back once and you can see the difference.

After the rack was out and I was cleaning out the back I found a few areas that need attention. First there is a bit of rust starting in the low spots on the floor due to saltwater from the dive gear. The rear lach area is especially rusty.

More alarmingly the weight of the tank rack caused a stress crack in the floor where it was bolted down.

I think the best way to fix this will be overlapping tack welds followed by seam sealer, but am open to other suggestions. I'm going to order some light colored rust stopping paint and a new latch for the rear hatch too.

bgkast PowerDork
4/27/21 3:25 p.m.

I found 2007 in the junkyard, but it had already been picked over pretty well, despite only being out for a week or so. I did grab a new rear latch and some cargo hooks for $6 though. Several hours later I had the old latch chipped out and I earthed from its rust cocoon, but the torx holes on the old bolts are damaged and rusted solid. I ended up stripping one out. I think I could extract them with several more hours of grinding and cursing, but I think for now I will just treat the old latch with POR 15.

I also changed the oil and air filter and got some plates on it. 

These are my second favorite plates I have been assigned, the only ones that are better are the WTF plates I had on my Yaris. 

New shocks and thule keys are on the way, along with some POR 15. I also need to get a TPMS sensor replaced.  My old Land Cruiser sold today, so this is my main mode of transportation now.

bgkast PowerDork
4/27/21 10:34 p.m.

After another wash it's finally approaching normal levels of cleanliness. Pro tip: if you drive a white car through road tar don't leave it on the car for several years. If you do though, gasoline and elbow grease will get it off.

bgkast PowerDork
4/30/21 11:43 a.m.

New shocks arrived yesterday, so I threw them on. It's nice having a tall vehicle, I didn't even have to remove the tires. 

Old and busted:

New and shiny:

It rides way better on the Bilsteins. No more wallowing bouncy ride. It's now at the tire shop to have a TPMS sensor replaced so I can get rid of the annoying dash warning. Today marks 1 week of ownership and it's come a long way!

iansane Reader
4/30/21 12:14 p.m.

Nice score! I really like that chassis.

MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
4/30/21 2:41 p.m.

Looks like a great find for a tow vehicle! Did the door panels clean up OK?

bgkast PowerDork
4/30/21 3:17 p.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt :

The door panels cleaned up to look new. I still need to address the broken drivers door pull, which will mean replacing the whole door panel or a more redneck fix like epoxying in a rod and wrapping the handle in paracord.

I just picked it up from the tire shop. $65 later and no dash lights.  My arms and back are a bit sore from last night's shock wrestling match. It took me far to long to realize I could jam a  screwdriver into the shock bolt hole so I didn't have to muscle everything into perfect alignment and try to hold it there while I shoved the bolt in. angry

bgkast PowerDork
5/2/21 9:41 p.m.

Everything mechanical seems to be sorted for now, so I did a few cosmetic modifications. First a quick sticker that's a nod to this beast's name and it's past life.

I'm not a poser, I do have my diving certification.

On the front end I put some white vinyl on the bow tie. I also saw a new Silverado the other day with red tow hooks that looked sharp, so I painted mine for a hint of color on the front end.


The satin red I used was a bit darker than expected, but it looks good. The lighting wasn't cooperating for my pictures.

I'm planning on whiting out the rear bowtie too, and also blacking out the chrome surround and Suburban script. I need to do round 4 of cleaning before I do though, there is still grime around the letters.

bgkast PowerDork
5/6/21 4:02 p.m.

Yesterday the paintless dent removal guy came out and popped out the dent in the tailgate and a few door dings. It's not 100% perfect, but it looks great from 5 feet like the rest of the truck. 

Here's a better picture of the red tow hooks. I'm liking the look.



2002maniac Dork
5/6/21 4:32 p.m.

Nice truck! I imagine your license plate being "BYE GAS"

JeremyJ Reader
5/6/21 4:33 p.m.

Ever considered just removing the lettering? It's easier than blacking them out and IMO it looks a lot cleaner. You've done a great job cleaning this thing up so far. 

bgkast PowerDork
5/6/21 6:28 p.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

Thanks! I've thought about removing them, but have always wanted to try Plasti dipping something so I thought I would try that look out first.


bgkast PowerDork
5/6/21 6:30 p.m.

In reply to 2002maniac :

True! It's fuel mileage has been far exceeding my expectations though. I figured out how to reset the fuel mileage counter last week and have been averaging 14.3 MPG. Pretty good considering my Land Cruiser averaged 10 to 11 in similar driving and had WAY less power.

bgkast PowerDork
5/28/21 1:41 p.m.

Two weekends and two road trips in the Suburban. The first one was about a 3.5 hour drive with all the kids to see my Family. The Suburban did great and didn't miss a beat. The way up we took back roads and averaged 17 MPG! On the way home we took the freeway which dropped the overall trip average to the 16.7. Not too shabby.

Last weekend we rented a travel trailer and took a 3 hour drive to the coast. The Suburban pulled the 5500 lb trailer easily. On level ground it would pull 6th, slight grades it would drop to 5th and steeper grades it would pull 65 in 4th. The tow/haul mode did great at downshifting for engine braking down grades. We averaged 9.5 MPG with the trailer.

I'm now sitting at Copart to look at a larger version of the same trailer that has some damage to the sides skins. Wish me luck!laugh

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