So you want to buy an old Tahoe/Yukon?

Disclaimer: Links on this page pointing to Amazon, eBay and other sites may include affiliate code. If you click them and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission.

Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Posts
33
Reaction score
14
Location
SE Connecticut
Hey guys,

About 3 months ago, I bought a 2003 Yukon XL to use as a 3rd vehicle. Over the course of those couple months, I have driven it regularly to work the bugs out. I thought I would post my list of findings so the next guys could have an idea what to look out for.

One note: this truck had about 200k miles, 5.3 4x4 SLE (basic, few options) and no real rust except for some bubbling near the passenger rear rocker. Frame, interior, under hood initial inspections were all relatively clean, so that's the baseline I started from.

Here are 3 categories of things I fixed or changed. The first is the category that I would think you should look into or may expect to have to repair on a truck to keep it running. If you're short on cash, this is the list I would focus on. The second list are those things you probably should take care of to improve safety, drivability, ease of use and reliability. The last list is a short group of things I improved on the truck but were in no way needed. By the way I'm not a mechanic, just my personal opinion from my experience with exactly one, old truck that seemed to be cared for in a pretty average way. Maybe it will help the next guy:

Things the truck needed to have fixed/maintained:
  • Rotted Steel brake line
  • Transfer case encoder ring – failed giving “Service 4wd” signal
  • Intake manifold gasket failed – p0300 code
  • Transmission filter and service
  • Rear end service, replaced corroded bolts and cover
  • Transfer case service
  • Front differential service
  • Engine oil service
  • Alternator whining, replaced
  • Replaced all 4 tires
  • Serpentine belt, pulleys and tensioner
  • Flushed coolant
  • Upper and lower radiator hoses, thermostat
  • Flushed brake fluid
  • Spark plugs, wires
  • PCV valve
  • Windshield washer pump – leaking – replaced
  • EVAP valve – broken with CEL - replaced


Things I could have lived with but addressed proactively:
  • Replaced all calipers and rubber brake line hoses to calipers. They looked ok but figured I would get in front of any failures.
  • Inner and outer tie rod ends – too easy not to replace preventatively
  • End links had failed, replaced
  • All 4 speakers inside the cab blow, replaced them
  • Oil pressure sending unit leaking, replaced
  • Oil cooler block off plate gasket leaking, replaced
  • Exhaust manifold bolts broken, installed clamps and new bolts before any more broke off
  • Transmission lines seeping at crimps, repaired and installed transmission cooler
  • Power steering lines seeping, replaced
  • Rear tire hoist rusted and steel wheel deteriorated, replaced assembly and wheel
  • Front axle seals seeping, replaced
  • Brake backing plates – rear – deteriorated. Replaced with 2 piece from Dorman
  • Steering intermediate shaft and bearing collar clunking – probably could have lived with it but needed replacing and enhanced drivability and steering
  • Center console lid – broken off at hinge, replaced
  • Fog lights – broken and destroyed, replaced
  • Daytime running lights and plugs – burnt and destroyed, replaced with LED
  • Rear defrost non-functional, needed repair kit
  • Rear lift gate and rear window pistons, failed and replaced
  • Rear view mirror circuitry – solder joints failed and caused temp and compass to fail intermittently – replaced
  • Hood ground strap
  • Head lamp restoration/polish
  • Lifter Valley Gasket


Things I upgraded for functionality

  • Head unit and back up camera
  • Internal LED replacements for courtesy lights
  • Floor mats and cargo mats
Where have you currently been getting most of your parts?
 

Scott in AZ

Full Access Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2023
Posts
189
Reaction score
323
Location
Arizona
Driving thru our neighborhood this evening saw neighbor w garage door up getting mail and inside was a Yukon GMT800. We chatted a few minutes about our trucks. Turns out hers is a one-owner 2005 Arizona, darn near mint SLT, with 45K miles on it. Forty-five. Asked if she wanted to sell it on the spot, she said no way. But I’ma take the long road on this one. One day….
 

S33k3r

Full Access Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Posts
2,219
Reaction score
2,910
Location
Dallas, Texas
Driving thru our neighborhood this evening saw neighbor w garage door up getting mail and inside was a Yukon GMT800. We chatted a few minutes about our trucks. Turns out hers is a one-owner 2005 Arizona, darn near mint SLT, with 45K miles on it. Forty-five. Asked if she wanted to sell it on the spot, she said no way. But I’ma take the long road on this one. One day….
If she's cute and y'all are single, get it in the divorce... :Big Laugh:
 

whyhelloofficer

TYF Newbie
Joined
Apr 26, 2022
Posts
6
Reaction score
6
Is there any other vehicle in its early twenties that is a better bang for the buck than a GMT800?
My '02 is about to roll over 270k. I bought it 6 years ago with 199k. Still one of the most reliable cars in my driveway.
Can't think of one! Besides missing some modern technology, which I don't really care for or need, I think it's a great vehicle even today.
Call me old and cantakerous -- I kind of prefer the lack of modern amenities. My '02 isn't overly spec'd out, so there isn't much to go wrong.

I would kill for the ability to retrofit some climate controlled seats, and absolutely loathe that all of the HVAC is controlled by foam stuck to plastic doors that continue to create headaches -- the Truck's ability to ram into shopping carts, haul what I need, tow, and carry two kids is second-to-none for the price.
 

S33k3r

Full Access Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Posts
2,219
Reaction score
2,910
Location
Dallas, Texas
My '02 is about to roll over 270k. I bought it 6 years ago with 199k. Still one of the most reliable cars in my driveway.

Call me old and cantakerous -- I kind of prefer the lack of modern amenities. My '02 isn't overly spec'd out, so there isn't much to go wrong.

I would kill for the ability to retrofit some climate controlled seats, and absolutely loathe that all of the HVAC is controlled by foam stuck to plastic doors that continue to create headaches -- the Truck's ability to ram into shopping carts, haul what I need, tow, and carry two kids is second-to-none for the price.
No need to kill. The technology exists to retrofit seats like you want. Just have a thick wallet. If you do it yourself, I am sure it is in the mid to high $100s; if you pay someone, likely $1-$2k.
 

whyhelloofficer

TYF Newbie
Joined
Apr 26, 2022
Posts
6
Reaction score
6
No need to kill. The technology exists to retrofit seats like you want. Just have a thick wallet. If you do it yourself, I am sure it is in the mid to high $100s; if you pay someone, likely $1-$2k.
You piqued my interest --
This was the most legit kit I found that wasn't on Alibaba/eBay or a Chinesium/Amazon Pad that you plug into a cigarette lighter:

I won't lie, that seems incredibly straightforward. I bet I could find some NBS Seats for relatively cheap, and retrofit the seats with new covers to minimize downtime.
 

S33k3r

Full Access Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Posts
2,219
Reaction score
2,910
Location
Dallas, Texas
You piqued my interest --
This was the most legit kit I found that wasn't on Alibaba/eBay or a Chinesium/Amazon Pad that you plug into a cigarette lighter:

I won't lie, that seems incredibly straightforward. I bet I could find some NBS Seats for relatively cheap, and retrofit the seats with new covers to minimize downtime.
In honesty, I want to do this too. However, the diesel swap and supporting mods, plus needed maintenance own the budget at the moment.
 

Aquamania001

Member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Posts
52
Reaction score
97
Driving thru our neighborhood this evening saw neighbor w garage door up getting mail and inside was a Yukon GMT800. We chatted a few minutes about our trucks. Turns out hers is a one-owner 2005 Arizona, darn near mint SLT, with 45K miles on it. Forty-five. Asked if she wanted to sell it on the spot, she said no way. But I’ma take the long road on this one. One day….
WOW! That is a great find. Definitely take the slow road with her, but I bet she already knows what she has.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
128,334
Posts
1,797,642
Members
91,108
Latest member
Connorhtx

Latest posts

Top