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March 15, 2022

Reflections on a '92 C1500 Suburban

 This is a 1992 C1500 Chevrolet Suburban. I bought it in 1995 and finally sold it to a private party in 2006 or 2007.

I bought it in Florida where 2 wheel drive trucks were more common than they are in Connecticut and Pennsylvania where I moved while owning the truck. A 4 wheel drive version would have been preferable, as this — big and heavy as it was — was surprisingly prone to skidding and spinning in the snow. We learned to carry a bag of kitty litter in the back during the winter. A small amount sprinkled under the rear drive wheels would sometimes be enough to get us back on the road.

Why was it good?

Room. Lots of it. You’ll see from this picture that it had a full bench seat up front instead of the two optional “captain’s chairs.”

This means it could seat 9 adults in comfort. I mean, real comfort. The third row seat, while it was a little tricky to get in and out of, was a full bench seat with about as much foot room and width as the middle seat. Quite comfortable for adults.

Aside from that, there was a cavernous storage area behind the third row seat that could swallow just about any amount of gear.

The importance of an abundance of space can’t be overstated when you’re doing long road trips with three small children and a dog or two. The truck was so big the kids could be physically separated when needed instead of being scrunched together all the time. This made long trips a lot more bearable.

The engine was a 5.7 liter “small block Chevy.” An absolutely classic engine, strong, reliable, smooth — hard to beat.

Fuel economy wasn’t a great strength, but this was offset by a 46 gallon fuel tank. This gave it a range of about 700 miles, which is plenty enough for a long day’s drive.

We were getting along just fine until year 10 when the transmission failed. We had it rebuilt but ultimately decided to replace the truck with a Ford Expedition — a somewhat smaller truck. The Ford handled better (much less body roll) and had a very capable 4 wheel drive system. But there was very limited third row seat room and virtually no storage space behind the seat. (You can just see the Ford’s grille through the Suburban’s windshield in the photo above. We had both of them for a few months.)

Sadly, I learned the truck’s transmission failed again — just 13 months after the new owner bought it. The repair was no longer under warranty from the transmission shop so there was nothing we could do for him. I don’t know what happened with that truck.

Our family hauler for 11–1/2 years, I’d say it was great.

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