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Old 04-13-2016, 10:27 AM   #1
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3/4-ton Suburban vs. Ford Expedition

Looking at tow vehicles and I'm curious to get people's thoughts on the 2500 Suburban vs. Ford Expedition (not EL). Properly equipped, each can tow approx. 9000 lbs. How might they compare in power, fuel mileage, safety, towing performance, etc.?

I don't yet have a TT yet but I'm looking at models with a GVWR of approx. 7000 lbs. and 25 - 30 ft in length.

Thanks in advance for input.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:07 AM   #2
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I should add that we have kids with more on the way (hopefully). Plus gear. A 3/4 ton vehicle has more appeal for those and other reasons. Still, I wanted to get others' perspectives.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:18 AM   #3
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We have a 2010 Expedition 4WD with the 5.4 liter 310 hp engine and the 5R110 transmission. It also has a 3.73 differential ratio. We regularly tow and equipment trailer with a 10,000 total capacity. The trailer length is about 15 feet, but I've never measured the exact length. It was originally built to carry an 8,000 lb. Bobcat skid loader.

The load including the trailer is usually in the 5,000 to 7,000 lb. range. The truck has no problems pulling the load and gets between 15 and 16 mpg doing it if we stay under 60 mph. It handles the load well, and the ride in the truck is comfortable.

I don't know if it's an option on the newer models, but in 2010 you could get automatic air leveling suspension all around for towing heavy loads. Ours doesn't have that option, but still doesn't sag at the rear when pulling the trailer.
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:16 PM   #4
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The challenge for us is that the vehicle for towing a TT will also be the vehicle my wife uses to get around town. Might not be used daily but nearly.

So, the Expedition is appealing because of better mileage than a 2500 Suburban.

I anticipate towing the TT quite a bit during the summer and in the spring/fall shoulder seasons before it gets bitter cold at night.
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:33 PM   #5
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Farwest,
We've been towing our 2012 Evergreen Element 26-SRLwith our 2012 Expedition Limited (3.31 rear end, 5.4L V-8 310 Hp, 365 ft-lbs torque, 6-speed automatic tranny) for four years now. Our Element most likely weighs in at around 6,000 pounds, fully loaded with water in the tank.
I keep the cruse at 65 most of the time. We get about 12.9 mpg towing on a good day. This is pretty much a dedicated tow vehicle, so I can't tell you what our mileage is around town or on the highway without our camper hooked up.

We love the comfortable ride in the Expedition. It has third row seating, which we normally keep down for additional cargo.
Hope this helps in your decision making.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:05 PM   #6
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Suburbans are only gas and I bet you don't have anything old enough to be a diesel and the excursion has the v8 v10 and the 7.3 diesel if you found a 7.3 excursion I'd take that in a heart beat if not I'd try to find a big block 2500 suburban over a ford gas motor
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:43 AM   #7
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I looked at both 3/4ton SUV's, the Surburban/Yukon and the Excursion...plus the Expedition when I was tow vehicle shopping.

The Expedition was a quick pass when you start looking how it's built. It is NOT heavy duty by any means. Independent rear suspension, 1/2ton-ish components, and very problematic air suspension on some models. It was made for comfort not regular towing! The 5.4L V8 was the most lifeless engine I have ever owned...I had one in my 01 F150.

So that left me with the Excursion and the Burb/Yukon 2500. I have ZERO interest in a diesel, so I'm sorry if I've offended any diesel fanatics but my gripes could be made into another post. Ruling out the 5.4, that leaves you with the 7.3/6.0 diesel or V10 for the Excursion and the 6.0 or 8.1 for the GM platform.

Diesel Excursions are PRICEY compared to the gas hog V10, but that V10 has the torque! I found very few V10 Excursions that I could live with in my search, as most had completely trashed interiors. Mechanically almost all I came across were solid though.

2500 Burb/Yukon...it's what I bought. The 6.0 gas engine has power and torque...doesn't feel lifeless like the Ford 5.4. However, the 6.0 doesn't make peak power off idle. Around 3000rpm is the magic spot for the 6.0 and I have no problem with that. You will find more 2500 Burb/Yukon's with the 6.0 than anything! The 8.1 is filled with low rpm goodness, but it has a few drawbacks. They are HARD to find, drink gas like the Ford V10, and have poor oil control rings. 8.1's normally consume oil...not so much a bad thing, but something to keep your eye on.

I tow with an 03 GMC Yukon XL 2500. 6.0 gas engine, 2WD, with 4.10 Eaton auto-locking rear end. The SUV has over 300,000 original miles on it, motor and 4L80E trans included. It burns no oil, but does have a very slight weep from the oil pan gasket. I keep the trans fluid changed every year with Dexron 3, not Dex 6 like GM says to upgrade to. I have cloth interior with power front seats and a fixed center console. Both rear rows are benchs, no 2nd row captain's chairs. 8 of us just came back from a 4 day trip to Disney and no one complained except they wished we had taken the TT instead of staying in a hotel. I averaged 13.2mpg for the entire trip...that was with quite a bit of 75mph+ driving on the return leg. My wife drives this DAILY and I'm sure she drives more than your wife will.

I've been a Ford guy my entire life when it comes to trucks, but GM got it right with the 2500 Yukon and Suburban. Good luck with your search as it took me 2 months of almost daily shopping to end up with the truck I have.
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Old 04-14-2016, 10:39 PM   #8
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Thank you all for weighing in and sharing your experiences. I truly appreciate it.


I have no doubt the 2500 Suburban is an awesome towing vehicle. The challenge I face is that our tow vehicle also needs to be the daily runner for the wife and kids. Right now we have a 1500 Suburban and my wife would prefer to downsize a bit. She really likes the Expedition. So, as all married men can appreciate, I'm in a pickle: need to tow and need to keep the daily user happy. An Expedition w/ tow package, and then a trailer that isn't too big/heavy, might be the compromise approach.
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Old 04-14-2016, 10:43 PM   #9
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I second the 2500 burb/yukon. However look long and hard for the 8.1. It is a monster compared to the 6.0. The 13.2 Doug stated above is actually slightly less than my avg empty Hwy fuel economy of 13.8 mpg. I had 3.73 and 2wd so maybe that helped. Pulled a 9200lb 35ft TT from Texas to California and back to New Mexico without a hiccup and over many mountain passes. Fuel economy ranged from 6.6 to 9.1. It used 1/2 quart of oil between 5k oil changes on synthetic blend. Turning radius as a daily driver is a non issue. Turns just as good as our 1/2 burb. I did sell it for a diesel which has been superior but that 8.1 yukon has been my favorite vehicle I've owned. Only would've been better if the duramax was in it.
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Old 04-14-2016, 11:33 PM   #10
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2500 for the win.

e350 Diesel van for a bigger win.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farwest View Post
Thank you all for weighing in and sharing your experiences. I truly appreciate it.


I have no doubt the 2500 Suburban is an awesome towing vehicle. The challenge I face is that our tow vehicle also needs to be the daily runner for the wife and kids. Right now we have a 1500 Suburban and my wife would prefer to downsize a bit. She really likes the Expedition. So, as all married men can appreciate, I'm in a pickle: need to tow and need to keep the daily user happy. An Expedition w/ tow package, and then a trailer that isn't too big/heavy, might be the compromise approach.
I'm a married man with 5 kids and 1 grandson...4 of those 5 are still at home and 3 of those 4 can't drive yet. My current choices of vehicles to drive is my wife's Nissan Versa or the 2500 Yukon and my one way commute to work is 34 miles...I think it's a no brainer as to what I drive to work. So she drives the Yukon everyday and honestly probably drives more than I do in a day with her endless piddling, shuttling kids, and going to work. She missed her Versa at first, but now she won't give up the Yukon for anything!

I understand compromise, as I've been married 25 years...but the safety of my family by having an adequate to more than adequate tow vehicle outweighed my wife's initial complaints. I didn't NEED a 3/4ton to haul everyone and our first camper, but man am I glad I already had one when we just bought this new one! Honestly you could probably pull our new camper just fine with an Expedition, but you would never make it up the mountains and you will DEFINITELY feel the difference the first time you hit the brakes!

I'm in firetrucks built by the lowest bidder for 1/3 of the year (24 on/48 off)...most of those trucks are built on undersized chassis' and are 800 to 1000lbs over weight (or more!) by the time my crew and I are on board. How much more would it have really cost to step up to the next higher rated chassis?

Sorry to sound like Safety Sam but I only like living on the edge at work, not with my family in the truck on the way to the next campground.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:28 AM   #12
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When I was looking to buy my first travel trailer. I knew I needed something to tow it. With three kids and a grandchild, plus their friends I knew a truck would not fit the bill. The only two suvs that I would even consider were the Excursion and the 2500 Suburban. I ended up with an 01 2500 Suburban with the 8.1. It does go through the oil like everyone else has mentioned so I just keep an eye on it. Gas mileage is around 10 towing or around town. I was going to use this as just my tow vehicle because I also have a Jeep Grand Cherokee. But after driving the Suburban, I quit driving the Cherokee. As a matter of fact I'm selling the Cherokee because I love driving the Suburban. Basically the Suburban 2500 is a great all around vehicle to have. Rides nice, tows great, fits a lot of people, and is fun to drive. Also, the wife really enjoys driving it to. Good luck with your search
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by farwest View Post
Thank you all for weighing in and sharing your experiences. I truly appreciate it.


I have no doubt the 2500 Suburban is an awesome towing vehicle. The challenge I face is that our tow vehicle also needs to be the daily runner for the wife and kids. Right now we have a 1500 Suburban and my wife would prefer to downsize a bit. She really likes the Expedition. So, as all married men can appreciate, I'm in a pickle: need to tow and need to keep the daily user happy. An Expedition w/ tow package, and then a trailer that isn't too big/heavy, might be the compromise approach.
The Expedition is an excellent choice. It is built on the F150 chassis and is more than capable of towing your trailer. It's essentially an enclosed 4 door F150. The engine isn't "lifeless" when coupled to the 5 or 6 speed transmission and a 3.73 rear end. If you drive reasonable speeds you should get in the high teens to low twenties when not towing. When towing I would expect more like 15 mpg. Make sure you order the 3.73 differential ratio. It's an option separate from the trailer towing package. The air suspension package did appeal to me, but due to the cost we passed on it. As it turned out the truck handles all our cargo and the trailer well without it.

In the past I've had both 1 ton and 3/4 ton Chevy trucks. They both did the job, but neither of them would fit in the garage. The Expedition easily fits in the garage so you don't have to load it in the rain and snow, or spend 10 minutes scraping the ice off the windows before you can drive it.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:33 AM   #14
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i get 11-14 towing 9500lb boat with my 2002 excursion ,love it v-10 no issues.just a little soft in the rear ,bags might help
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