Suboverland

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dhuff

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Anyone here had direct experience with a small company out of Twin Falls, Idaho called Suboverland ? It was founded by a fellow who turns older 4WD Chevy Suburbans (and GMC Yukon XLs) into simple, basic campers. He seems to have started with the 9th Gen (2000-2006) models but has branched out. The prices are quite reasonable, relatively speaking, and he really seems to love what he's doing. 

There's a website and a Youtube channel for more info.
 

AeroNautiCal

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Thank you for posting this, the owner is genuinely committed to offering good vehicles which he's checked over before and after buying, upgrading and outfitting.

He's sticking to one thing and doing it well, something which can only benefit his customers, whom can be certain of what they've bought.

Its nice to see someone so positively motivated to do what he's doing.
 

crofter

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The built out SUVs look like a quality build. I am  surprised that the dometic fridge is running off a 100 watt panel.
-crofter
 

highdesertranger

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If it's a 12v compressor fridge I am not surprised at all. I ran 2 Engels off of two 80 watt panels and two el cheapo marine batteries for years until I upgraded my solar. Highdesertranger
 
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Anyone here had direct experience with a small company out of Twin Falls, Idaho called Suboverland ?
YES! I've had an ongoing conversation with the owner for the last month. He has answered all of my questions, and I decided to go ahead and get on his waiting list. I am very excited. It will take a year, but this gives me something to look forward to, and also frees me from the endless hours on Autotrader sifting through rusty garbage.
 

KuxW04

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I watched a bunch of their videos, their work looks of good quality, but buying a 20 year old vehicle with 200k miles for $15k - $20k + is where I have an issue. A 20 year old vehicle is on its last leg, regardless of brand reliability. Are Suburbans known for reliability ?

IF - you replace the engine and transmission with new or quality rebuilt - maybe that would be a good option, but we are talking about $10k - $15k more.
 

bullfrog

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Older Chevy trucks and Suburbans shared or were easily adapted to use similar parts for most years between 1972 thru 1991 so it was was easy with so many parts available to keep them on the road cheaply. Even today many older trucks and Suburbans are easily adapted to use newer components. Their biggest disadvantage is usually because they in most cases get around 10 to 12 miles per gallon of gasoline. A 250 mile trip is 25 gallons and at $5 a gallon is $125. You could go over 1,000 miles in a Prius on the same amount of gasoline, have built in climate control and a tent that would give you about the same amount of space. Old Chevy Suburbans are great if you are not traveling far often and on remote dirt roads. My 44 gallon fuel tank gets me right around 400 miles usually before I start looking for a gas station. I usually drive less than 7,000 miles a year so 700 gallons at $5 a gallon is $3,500 a year or about $300 a month allows you to move every 14 days a 100 to 200 or so miles and make a couple trips to town while towing a trailer/camper that allows me to bring my Samurai which gets 25 miles per gallon saves me doing expensive town trips. My electric bike makes all trips under 6 miles easily but only when I can cheaply recharge the battery.
 
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So I've had my Suboverland-sourced Yukon XL Denali for a little over 4 months now. With the price increases on his builds, plus the awful exchange rate on the Canadian Dollar, I opted to just get the "base" vehicle plus a mattress. So that was a little disappointing. But after 5000 miles, I'd say it's a dependable ride. The only issue has been a coolant temp sensor, which had caused us some panic with dash warnings, but turned out to be a simple repair. And it's completely rust-free, which is unheard of up north and the main reason I was willing to travel so far to get it. The mileage on our cross-country road trip was 16 MPG, so I can't complain. To do it over again, I would choose a regular Suburban instead of the Denali, because many of the 17-year-old Denali features either don't work (Bose audio, steering wheel controls, DVD) or have been removed (air ride suspension), so why pay an up-charge?
With the massive cargo space, it has been good for camping trips. There isn't a lot of headroom, but you can sit up comfortably on the mattress. It was also perfect for helping my son move into his apartment recently.
Was an SUV the right choice for camping? Maybe! Good enough for right now anyhow, and it will help us learn what we like and don't like.
 

bullfrog

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There are lots of variables between basic and modern complex vehicles. Almost everything today will be more efficient using complex computer controlled fuel injection rather than mechanical carburetors especially as the mechanical parts start to wear. I like my older vehicles mainly because they are much cheaper to buy and easier to fix than new trucks but for basic transportation to do supply runs when the electric bike can’t do the distance we always use the newest of our vehicles ( 2002 Toyota Sequoia with 275,000 miles Lol!!!) with air conditioning, cruse control, automatic transmission and power everything that gets almost double the miles per gallon of our 25 to 35 year older vehicles. Many older vehicles not only did not have air conditioning, power steering, power brakes but things like a passenger seat and heater were options. Most were not suited for the 80 mile per hour speed limits for several hours travel between the south western cities if you need to get somewhere before dark as their lighting and brake systems are not adequate for those speeds. As I get older it would be a hard decision to make to choose one vehicle only to have! Right now I’m having to deal with explaining to young mechanics how to fix my 1987 Suburban! If they made a cheap one ton Toyota I could afford I would probably buy one, until then I’ll stick with my modified Suburban.
 
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LargeMarge

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I think that basic is better, whatever your vehicle. More bells and whistles = more things to go wrong = more maintenance $.
.
This's our experience, too.
.
2003, for our ExpeditionVehicle, we built with:
* zero plumbing
* two 12vdc dual-outlets along each wall.
We have zero built-in water pumps and zero hidden tanks concealed behind zero built-in cabinets.
We have zero built-in 120vac.
.
Our heater is modular, usually stashed out of the way.
Our kitchen, same.
Our shower, same.
Our several inverters -- multiple, cheap, easily replaceable.
.
What else... zero heated floor, zero forced-air furnace, zero entertainment-center with optional wine-chiller and electric fireplace 'up-grade'.
Hardly any chandeliers or marble countertops.
Somehow, we manage to manage without a heated towel-rack awaiting our exit from the recirculation soaking-tub.
.
We engineered our rig after a half-century of make-do camping in lesser rigs, perpetually fixing their equipment.
Between fixing equipment, we worried about the next equipment failure, fluids soaking the carpet and upholstery, unscheduled explosions and odd odors suddenly requiring a hasty evacuation while speed-dial Trained Perfesserionerals were consulted.
And that tends to harsh our mellow.
.
The kicker:
* No! Holes! In! The! Roof!.
 
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