Diesel Vs. Propane Vs. Gas - HDJ81 Vs. Suburban

Discussion in 'GM/Chevrolet' started by LCdreamin, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. LCdreamin

    LCdreamin

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    Ok, so I've pretty much concluded that at the moment I can't afford a nice HDJ81, although I can probably get a cheap one, but the chance of ending up with a POS is too great for me to risk.

    Now I'm looking at Suburbans, mainly because of they're size (Perfect for Surf trips, and I was always worried about the smaller HDJ81's), but I also can't afford to run around town in a big heavy beast with a 350 gas guzzler. The vehicle needs to be pretty much a daily driver

    I'm thinking about putting propane in a Suburban. I've also come across a diesel Suburban, although I know they still get ****ty mileage too, especially compared to a hdj81, but at least I can convert to bio diesel or the sort.

    The real reason I got hooked on diesel was because of the mileage figures I was seeing with the HDJ81's and the ability to run alternate diesel. Also the reliability of diesel engines (I hear toyota diesels are the best? what about the ones in suburbans?) Also the fact that there is no ignition is nice to know when fjording rivers.

    So I guess, if it comes down to a suburban, would I be better off with a diesel or dual gas/propane setup?

    Also, how are the Suburbans for 4x4? I'm no rock crawler, but I want to do more surf adventures exploring coasts and down to Mexico, so mainly sand and mud crossing rivers. No real mountain crawling.

    All thoughts and ideas appreciated
     
  2. gearguywb

    gearguywb

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    confused as h***
    What is the cost of propane for motor fuel there? The conversions are not cheap but when done right will last just about forever.
     
  3. LCdreamin

    LCdreamin

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    Well propane goes for $0.65 and gas is around $1.15, a propane conversion kit will run about $3500 installed. So on about 20,000km a year payback will be about 2 years
     
  4. Duane

    Duane IH8MUD Wookie

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    Interesting idea LCdreamin.
    I was actually kicking it around myself a bit ago what with the price of propane and the good prices right now on suburbans that people are trying to unload with gas at $1.10 per litre.
    Diesels run for a long time but so will a gas engine if looked after. A 350 engine pretty much, and a suburban as well, has to be one on the cheapest vehicles to fix because of the sheer volume of parts and common components. Diesels are costly to repair no matter who makes them. Price out a fuel pump or injector, perhaps a head and then you will see. Less parts in wreckers as well.

    Older models rusted worse, a solid front axle is easier to put a lift on than the independent torsion bar setups.
    I would buy a newer than 1988 model truck or 1990 model suburban when they changed the body style.
    Better seals in engine and tranny. The throttle body fuel injection was simple and robust. A 4x4 could get 17 or 18 on the highway. limited slip diffs common in the rear. 700R4 tranny had a low first gear, lockup converter and overdrive. 1996 I think they went to the 2nd generation electronics, the vortec, 4 O2 sensors rather than 1, multipoint fuel injection, more complicated and more to go wrong.
    Propane conversions might vary in quality. If one watches you can likely find one in a truck for cheap. Even a 1 ton had a 350 in it so an old commercial vehicle might be a source for the propane setup. Always be careful with parking a propane vehicle in an enclosed area though..any leak and you have a bomb waiting.
    my 2 cents
     
  5. kitb

    kitb

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    I run propane on my 60 at 1.95 a gallon and gt 10 miles to the gal.
    12 miles to the gallon on gas
    has a carbed gm 350 from a suburban in it
    I heard that the 1st generation gm diesels were garbage and there was a class action filed against gm for selling the P.O.S
    that's all I know this morning!
     
  6. Martin White

    Martin White

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    You're probably referring to the infamous 5.7 diesel. I wonder if anyone, anywhere has one that's still running?
     
  7. kitb

    kitb

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    figure anything out yet?
     
  8. LCdreamin

    LCdreamin

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    Ya.....I need more money!

    Its still so up in the air....for the time being I'm limping around in my '90 Camaro IROC (yes go ahead and laugh, I got it when I was 16). Let it sit for about 5 years so it's got some sore spots.

    What I need to figure out is if this trip is going to happen down to Baja, if so then I need a vehicle soon. Still thinking maybe a Delica, or a diesel truck/suburban. Really there are so many variables. Like if I'm going to use the vehicle after the trip or need it just for the trip. My financial situation isn't the best, I'm still a student so....

    ...Still want an HDJ81 though.....but also need to go away this winter......I think all this waiting around and learning is going to pay off one day.
     
  9. 95Rover

    95Rover

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    Suburban & Gas Mileage

    Father in law has a 2005 GMC Denali XL. He averages 15 mpg. Not a fast driver though either.
     

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