5.3 vs 5.7

I am moving to Alaska and after much research have decided to buy a Suburban. Now I am trying to decide between a 98-99 for appx $9000 or a 01-02 for appx $16000. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
P.S. Which gets better gas mileage and would adding a K&N Air Filter and a computer chip increase mileage?
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Go with the '98-'99...Better looking, more power, better built, more accessories(if you want add ons)... I don't know if I could ever trust the 5.3/6.0/even the 8.1 with all the little idiosyncrasies and problems associated with them...I would definatly lean towards the older 'Burban!
That's just my opinion...I could be wrong! I'm sure plenty of people will say I am...

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"Shades" wrote:

Any old style burb made 97 and later has the newer Vortec 350 which is a very proven and reliable motor. I still have a 89 4x4 burb that I bought new and it is still great today even with a dozen cross country trips on it (173K miles) and some time in MT were it was below minus 40 at times. They made those up to 91 and they were TANKS and well built structurally. With each new model there is more to go wrong and less metal and more plastic. In my book the last of the more modern yet fairly sturdy burbs was just before they changed over to making them on the Silverado chassis around 2000. I got 19mpg out of mine last week on a 300 plus mile trip at 65 mph with AC on. (it has the 350 TBI engine with a 700R4 that is all original too though it came with HD trailing package and a engine oil cooler too) I am planning a 1500 mile trip for vacation in it in a few weeks to Atlanta and South Carolina and to take it to Colorado next year again (it was there for several weeks in 03). We just use it for traveling now and I plan to keep it at least another 6 years until kids are done with college. It is still pretty cherry and its R12 AC will still nearly blow "snowflakes" too on the hottest days. It has NEVER failed use on a trip in any weather at any time and it has been some place that it would have been bad news to break down too.
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I know the 5.3 has alot more power than the 5.7. The difference between the two seemed to show in towing. The 5.7 didn't have a problem towing my Travel trailer (6800 pounds) through the canyons, but my 5.3 seemed to pull it alot better. I did have Magnaflow exhaust, and a K&N Air Filter on it. 5.7 would beat me on the drags through the first few gears, but I would take him after I hit the end of 2nd. Both are decent, but if you can find a 98-99 for 9,000 and it has low miles, you might as well get that!! Not a whole lot of difference between the two. But then again, I traded mine in for a 2005 GMC Sierra Duramax.
Shane

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Thanks all for your replies! I have been test driving the 5.3s and 5.7s back to back and I definitely notice the more responsive power of the 5.3. However, the factor that I like the best is that the 5.3 Suburban seems more nimble than the 5.7. This seems to me to be a big safety factor in terms of accident avoidance. What is your experience and feedback on this topic? Is the 5.7 Suberban nimble enough to manuever in extreme situations?
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Per Kev7:

My 1998 pretty much defines "nimble" by what it's not.
The brakes are especially bad. Grossly inadequate in my opinion.
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PeteCresswell

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"user" wrote:

Your vehical must be the exception not the rule because I have driven a LOT of P/Us from 88 till 99 and burbs from 92 to 2000 and they were great handlers but most of them were 4x4 too. I friend on mine just got a new 05 HD2500 and I test drove a few of them too with him and various models and I found them less crisp than my 2000 K3500 Classic in handling and a bit mushy because it seem that GM is place more focus on ride than firmness and load carrying. WHen he went to tow his 8k enclosed trailer with its 1000 lb plus tongue weight it felt mushy or a 3/4 HD but not on his old 1 ton van than had a 600lb light GVW too!!!! We had to add a leaf to each rear side to a brand new 3/4 ton truck that should have been there from day one. It came with same amount of leafs than my old 1/2 ton 4x4 burb did!!! GM used to be a lot more generous with springs.
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Couldnt agree more with the older burb. I would definetly choose the older one for the low end grunt. Lets face it they aint light and when you get a load of people or even the added weight of a trailer empty youll wish you had the 5.7. I have a 5.3 4X4 burb and its great empty. where i can tell the diiference between mine and my dads is when we have full loads. he will walk from me from a light with the exact same trailer with the exact number of bales of hay on. 5.3 has more power, but 5.7 has that extra kiss of torque i miss.
SnoMan wrote:

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"Kev7" wrote:

The 5.3 is not a bad engine but while it has a a lot of power for its size above 3000 RPM, it does not have the low end grunt ( below 3000 rpm, to get a load moving) that the old proven 350s do and the 350s are simpler to fix too electronic wise on engine. (you must remember with little change the 350 was made for over 30 years and is a VERY proven and durable design, the search for better emmisions and lower prodcution cost gave rise to the new 4.8/5.3/6.0 engine series) I have towed a 10 k plus trailer a few times with mine and it did okay and was up to my needs but I would not want to do that with a 5.3 because you wuld have to carry a higher average RPM to pull the same load because the 5.3s torque peaks at a lot higher RPM (about 4000RPM vs 3000rpm for 350) and its peak HP rating is also above 5000 rpm to which is on little value in a tow vehical. Also, starting around 2002 or so GM went to drive by wire with all trucks though some models got it a lot sooner, the gas pedal is not hooked to air valve/throttle plates, only to a sensor/reostat to hools to ECM and ECM drives a servo that controls throttle. All 350s were always directly conected and one less thing to go wrong with age. THe 92 to 2000 burbs are very nimble and about the same as a later models as far as I can tell, the 91 and earliers models were not as nimble. If you drove a 92 thru 2000 that did not feel as nimble I would think it was more a factor of tire type and pressure than anything else. I have a 2000 K3500 with a 350 which is based on a chassis design simular to what was used in 92 to 2000 burbs and it is VERY nimble, and surprizingly so, even still pretty nimble with a 700lb plow hanged off the front of it at times. THe 91 and old model were really trucks more than anything, the 92 through 2000 were somewhere between and car and a truck and the lastest models are far more car than truck and do not even have full metal bumbers and given that you want to go to AK, proven performance and sturdiness is important too. Those electrons dashs and gadgits are neat when they are new but can be a pain when they get old and quite at the wrong time. Out on the fronteer, you want to keep it simple too.
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From my experience, the 5.3 will give better mileage. I own a '99 with the 5.3 and I drive a '99 3/4 ton at work with the 5.7. Mileage is dismal with either when towing heavy loads but the 5.3 is definitely better. Both trucks have comparable mileage on them, roughly 60,000 miles. The 5.3 has needed a new fuel pressure regulator once(common problem). The 5.7 needs a new intake gasket(leaks anti-freeze-also a common problem with the 5.7) I prefer the 5.3, but the difference in price would buy a lot of gasoline. H
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Thanks all for your replies! You all have been a great help! I think that I have decided on the 99 5.7.
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Thanks all for your replies! You all have been a great help! I think that I have decided on the 99 5.7.
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"Hairy" wrote:

I would no promise better MPG with a 5.3 because it can go either way and if he tows the 5.3 could do worse MPG wise. A engine delivers its the most horse power hours per gallon of fuel consumed when it is at its VE peak (Volumetric Efficency) which is also when engine reachs its tourqu peak too. I have drive several 5.3s and had loaners for several days twice with them and while they are peepy if you keep them above 3000 RPM of more, the old 5.7 is stronger at 3000 RPM and below where you need the torque to get load moving. Also the 350 is well proven with a long proven track history while the 5.3 has been troubled with piston slap/knock problems (do to loose production tolerances because if you read the OEM specs for ew 5.3 vs an 5.7 you will find that GM increased the "aceptable" piston clearance with 5.3 to reduce prodution loss for rejects and to allow more bores to be cut out before the boring tool needs to be replaced because greater run out is allowed) It has bee a proble up until at least 03 models though not all have the probelm, a lot of them develope it later and the 5.3 was the worst about it. If you buy a 350/5.7 powered burb there will be no surprises several years from no and less electronid stuff to go bad (including the drive by wire) in the extreme cold you can see there in AK. I live in MT for a while were 40 below was fairly common at times and you want a simple relaible vehical in those climate that have less to fix or replace when they get older. I have a 16 year old 350 that saw that cold weather and still have it today and it is still quiet and tght 16 years and 173k miles later. Keep it simple to keep it reliable in extreme climates.
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SnoMan wrote:

You know, Snoman...it wouldn't be so bad if you were giving correct information...but you aren't. The new generation v-8's are superior to the old Vortec engines in reliability. You wouldn't know this, as you don't work with them day in and out. Intake manifold gasket leaks happen to all the Vortec engines, it's not a matter of "if", but "when". The worst you can say about the new generation engines is the piston slap noise, but it's certainly not for the reasons that you lay out. What manual are you looking at? I can quote you the clearance specs right out of the Service Information that we use at the dealership. The new generation engines run lower clearance right from the factory. The problem is not a clearance issue, but a piston design issue. Please don't spread old wives tales around the internet...there are already far too many of them around.
Ian
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stay away from the K&N. You can look at a number of old discussions on how it increases air flow by reducing the level of filtration. You don't want to allow more dust and salt grains into your engine.
Kev7 wrote:

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