33k Mile Family Hauler: 1985 Chevy Suburban

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When you consider how little the basic formula of the Chevy Suburban has changed, it’s not surprising that the older models are still incredibly loved. This 1985 example comes with just over 30,000 miles and features original paint and zero alterations from stock. The body looks great and three rows of seating is just what the doctor ordered for a vintage family truckster. Find it here on eBay with a $10,999 Buy-It-Now and listed near Portland, OR.

Barn doors are one of the SUV’s best features and it’s a shame we don’t see more vehicles with them. Despite their propensity to get caught by a fierce gust of wind, there’s no evidence of major cosmetic damage of any kind. The Pacific Northwest is particularly kind to vintage vehicles, and many folks still daily drive rigs like this around the Olympic Peninsula. All the chrome bits look completely presentable here, as do the factory running boards.

The interior is in outstanding condition, with unmarked cloth seating surfaces and carpets. Door panels show no signs of deterioration, and wood trim looks quite tidy. The Suburban’s power features all work as they should and the seller notes a smooth shifting automatic transmission paired to a venerable 5.7L V8. As a 4WD Suburban, many of these lived their lives at the mountains, but this one appears to have escaped a lifetime of snow and salt-covered roads.

Barn doors open wide and proud to swallow all of your gear with ease. There’s little evidence of the cargo hold being used ruthlessly by its owners, recklessly shoving suitcases and antique store finds across the vintage carpet. Nope – condition is outstanding throughout, and the asking price seems reasonable if the low miles can be proven. Give me one of these over a modern CUV any day of the week.

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  1. TimS

    I’m inclined to think it’s 133K miles and everyone had to take their shoes off and there were floor mats everywhere and don’t even think about eating in Dad’s/Granddad’s truck under penalty of death or worse.

    Like 11
  2. poseurMember

    What a stunner! Haven’t seen a ‘Burb of this vintage looking this sharp in at least 25 years. Definitely an OCD owner!
    Apparently these are appreciating fast & strong (per Hagerty fwiw), even more so than their 2-door Jimmy/Blazer twins which I find quite strange given that I own a pair & greatly prefer their look, maneuverability & off-road prowess. Regardless, given the $70k-ish buy in on new Yukons, Tahoes & Burbans $10k seems like a no-brainer

    Like 12
    • Country Joe

      A LS/4L60 swap would make this a great daily driver.🤔🤔🤔😉😉😉

      Like 0
  3. John M.

    I concur with Tim S. about the Suburban having 133,000 on the clock but however, the truck’s impressive overall condition makes it look like that it has seen only 33.000 miles during it’s life.

    Like 2
  4. Alex D

    Nice looking truck but the BS meter is pegged on that mileage. You are not going to get that amount of wear on the seats and brake pedal at 33000 miles.

    Like 3
  5. Bob S

    Does anyone know if the truck is a part time, or full time 4 wheel drive. If I had any sense, I would buy it and save me having a big truck and a AWD van. The problem is, that I could never let go of my 454 powered 3/4 ton beater.
    I always liked the styling of these trucks, and this one looks to have been well cared for, particularly in view of the fact that it is a 4 wheel drive.

    Like 1
    • Steve

      Judging by the front hubs, this one was full time 4wd, but the aftermrket still produces conversion hubs to disconnect the front axle. They save wear and trar and improves gas mileage.

      Like 5
    • Dirtymax

      It’s part time 4wd. I believe GM stopped using full time 4wd in 1979. I’ve had a few of these and must say the barn doors are a must

      Like 2
      • Bob S

        I have a full time New Process 203, and converted it to a part time unit with locking hubs. I couldn’t remember exactly when GM went to the 208 transfer case, but I know there were a lot of complaints with front tire wear and fuel consumption with the 203 unit.
        Thanks for the info.

        Like 2
  6. Josh Smith

    I was given his 1984 model by my father, and around 135,000 miles both the engine and transmission were rebuilt. It had been driven by my parents gingerly with full maintenance with it never going over 55 mph with or without the camper. It did pull a camper, and I note It also had the same trailer hitch. I was told that rebuilds are normal around that mileage. So buyer beware is all I can recommend.

    Like 2
  7. Steve

    This one reminds me of the 82 silverado suburban my dad bought around 84. It was a 6.2 diesel and we put over 300k on it. It was the same carmine red but a lighter silver in the middle. It had a tailgate and power rear glass instead of barn doors. It was a royal PITA!

    Like 1
  8. Dirtymax

    Anytime Bob s. I may not know much but I know 73-87 GM trucks I’ve owned 20+. Great plow trucks btw. Only own 1 now and it’s a 2wd hot rod lol

    Like 2
  9. Bob S

    Interesting, I had the 76 Blazer running gear behind a 454 in a 55 Cameo. I have since gone back to a stock 55 front end and am installing a 9 inch in the rear. It was a good, reliable setup, and yet everyone I knew, badmouthed the 203 case.

    Like 0
  10. Camaro Joe

    That’s a really nice truck, but I don’t buy 33,000 miles. Even if it’s 133,000 miles that’s 4,000 miles per year. It looks like a beautiful truck that somebody detailed the hell out of it. There’s no way a 33 year old motor looks like that if it hasn’t been touched up.

    The barn doors are the only way to go with a ‘Burban. My first one had a tailgate and it was always a problem. It was a work truck and one of our clowns hit the edge of the glass with a fork truck trying to load a pallet in the back. It was a southern truck with deep tinted glass, I remember the bill was over $500 to replace it in the early 1990’s. Stick with barn doors.

    This truck has part time 4WD and hubs for sure. All wheel drive was gone by 1984. I remember the “Chinese Fire Drill” running around turning the hubs in at a red light. It was fun in the 1970’s, not so much fun today.

    I really want it . . . . but I already have two restored 4WD vehicles that I can’t drive in the Northwestern PA rust belt winter (43 Ford MB Jeep and 84 Chevy K-10 short bed) so I probably have to pass. Besides, the dash pad is cracked in two places, that kills it for me.

    Like 2
  11. Tommy T

    If my memory serves me right. Them are vacuum operated locking hubs. I replaced a set in my friends 85 1/2 ton with manual lockers from Warn. Easy conversion. His burb had the 6.2 diesel. What a beast in the Midwest snow.

    Like 3
    • RR2carrier

      Vacuum front drive was S-10,these are mechanical,pull transfer case lever into 4WD and the rotating axle shafts would automatically lock the hubs up,lever back to 2 WD,back up 8-10 feet the hubs unlock,nylon bushings would melt then you’d replace them with manual hubs

      Like 1
  12. Donald Gent

    Quite possible the pinnacle of design for the square bodies. What a beauty. So I’m surprised there isn’t a market for 33k wear brake pedals. Why wouldn’t someone who is trying to pass this off as 33k, not take the time to replace obvious parts like this. I’m not advocating dishonesty, just noting the sloppy job being done at it.

    Like 2
  13. dirtyharry

    Nice truck, but I would say it was once wrecked. None of the doors fit, everything is a little tweaked. Check out the passenger/driver doors from top to bottom and front clip for example. Yes, GM did a terrible job with body lines when new, but this is worse than that. And the door hinge pins shouldn’t have failed if it is low mileage (it isn’t, what a freakin joke). Having owned several, I know they are tough and easy to repair. They also ride like a horse drawn wagon with leaf springs all around. This is my V-10 with 310,000 California miles.

    Like 3
  14. Gay Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking Suburban. I remember when the Chevy/GMC Suburban looked like this. I find it more attractive than what’s sold today. I’d buy one if its mileage was low, say around 20,000 mileage at minimum. I’d also upgrade the engine to a 6.5 litre Detroit Diesel Turbo.

    Like 0
  15. Dixiedog

    Never had “factory running boards” . These are aftermarket.

    Like 1
  16. Camaro Joe

    Tommy is right about the vacuum operated locking hubs. My 82 Suburban had them, it was the only one I ever saw. They didn’t work very well and most of them were replaced by Warn hubs early on. My truck came from Richmond VA so the hubs didn’t get much use before I brought it to PA. I forgot they existed.

    Like 1
  17. Camaro Joe

    Since it’s still for sale, I thought I’d add one more thing to consider. Those motors had a plastic timing gear. It lasts well over 100,000 miles, assuming regular oil changes. But if this is 133,000 miles it’s due for a timing chain and gears. Also at various times from the 1950’s to 1980’s Chevy had cam shaft wear problems.

    It was a simple heat treating problem that caused a couple cam lobes that weren’t hardened to go flat. They would figure it out and not make the mistake for 4 or 5 years, then somebody had a “better” idea and it came back more than a couple times. I knew a guy who had a 1981 model SBC that went bad, so I know it was happening in the early 80’s.

    Most of the bad ones went flat in the first few years, but some had problems at higher miles. I’d figure on putting a new cam and lifters in it while changing the timing chain and gears just to be safe.

    Like 3
  18. Adrian

    I just bought this exact Suburban off eBay, and it does in fact have 133k miles on it as indicated by the AutoCheck report which I bought.

    I figured 8 grand (what I paid for it) for a FWD vehicle in that good of condition, even if it has 133k miles on it, was a tolerable deal and I expect to use it to pull a small RV or trailer with my motorcycle on it.

    So, I’ll let you know what I think about the vehicle after I receive it which will be in a week or so.

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      Going in with eyes open is the only way to do it. Looking forward to updates!

      Like 1
  19. Adrian Lovell Crane

    The Suburban arrived yesterday. I am very pleased. I will write more soon but I’ve been with my 19 year old daughter all day and I’m bushed but suffice it to say, this vehicle was truly a barn find.

    The winshield wipers were totally dried out as if they had not been used in twenty years. The inside smelled like it had not been used in twenty years but started smelling way better after a night with the windows down. A mouse nest blew out of the bottom vents along with the mouse who was skeleton and leather. Seriously. I will post that photo next.

    The doors need to be adjusted as after 133k miles, they sag a wee bit (giving the appearance of the vehicle having been in an accident) and don’t close like the doors on my Mercedes S55 AMG (insert winkie here; I do own an S55 AMG however i don’t expect the doors to ever sound the same when closing.).

    My daughter whose Mercedes C320 is in the shop, saw the Suburban and decided her and her great Dane needed it so I gave it to her for a while.

    By the way, this is the third and last time I am going to try and post this; every time the photo comes out mis-oriented….and…..it’s not me.

    Like 1
  20. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Here ya go. Looks like the paint program fuzzed the clarity just a bit.


    Like 2

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