We are a four-kid family. I campaigned for a while to get a full-size van after we realized that our 2008 Sequoia was not quite big enough. We settled on the “Dadburban”, a 2017 Chevrolet Suburban Premier, last spring. It is not the ideal off-road Suburban since it is not a Z71 trim, but it is a fairly nice example. It came with WiFi, seating for seven, 39.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, roof crossbars, 22-inch wheels, and Michelin tires.
As a test, we drove the Suburban to Montana last summer.
Almost Fully Functional
Glacier National Park is an amazing place. Montana in general was pretty great. The first accessory for the Suburban was the already purchased Yakima Skybox 21. I love to hang out in the woods which means traversing some fire roads. So, the 22-inch wheels are not great for airing down the tires, and the Premier’s ground clearance is listed at 7.9 inches.
But that is a load of crap. The front air dam is only ~4 inches off the ground. It has scrapped everywhere in town and on the normal gravel road to the cabin in Montana. I do not air down often, but I want to be able to if the situation presents itself. So, I have been looking at 18-inch wheels as another upgrade.
We continued to tour around in the Suburban. But there was a road in Montana that I wanted to drive to check out an alpine lake, but we did not because of the low-profile tires and the limited ground clearance on the front. I even trimmed the air dam once we returned home and it still drags in some parking lots. I’m going to need a solution to raise the front end. The Z71 front bumper cover is ~$500…
If you’re wondering what the back of the Dadburban looked like after four kids lived in it traveling to and from Montana (40+ hours in the truck).
All Terrain Upgrade
More recently I grabbed some Z71 takeoff wheels from a 2017 Silverado and added Vredestein Pinza AT tires (275/65R18).
The tires handled the 1,300 miles round trip out and back to Colorado like a champ. I have experienced the BFGoodrich KO2 and the Toyo Open Country ATIII. Both are great tires, but I wanted something with the sidewall rigidity and strength, but without the more aggressive tread pattern. The Pinza ATs are exactly that. The tires are as quiet as a standard all-season tire around town. The only time I noticed more road noise was on weird stretches of the interstate where the pattern of the concrete would have produced a different noise with the all-season tires as well.
On certain sections of I-70 in the mountains, there was distinctly more noise, but the presence of snow, road salt, and the rougher mountain interstate were responsible for much of that. On the trip home, without winter weather conditions, the all-terrain tires were completely unnoticeable.
I did not have the opportunity to tackle any more aggressive terrain. The snow/ice-covered roads of the Rocky Mountains were not an issue for us.
Hopefully, we’ll get back out there shortly. I’ll definitely be taking my Maxxtrax traction boards just in case. And I’m going to talk with the crew at Trails Off-Road about finding some spots that the Suburban can handle without risking the bodywork.
The next modification is probably a leveling kit and/or black tow hooks for the Dadburban.
Leave a Reply