Bad news…I’ve got a sinus infection. Good news…it gives me an excuse to recover at home away from work and spend some time doing what I enjoy, rambling. Today’s rambling will be an update on our Duraburb in an attempt to give you our long term test. We have owned the Duraburb now for about 6 months and put 18K miles on it. So….
WHAT WE LIKE: The fundamental concept of a vehicle that can “dual-hat” as an everyday family car and a long range tow vehicle, which can get us where we need to go and back again.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The above scenario is split 75/25, so most of the time the truck is our “grocery-getting-family-hauler”. Therefore the scenario of pulling our trailer across this great country doesn’t happen as much as we would like it to. What does that mean? Simply, it means that the wife has to endure some utilitarian side effect. Here is our current list of long-term side effects from having this “do it all truck”.
- SIZE: The thing is big, most of the ladies the wife talks to, to include the wife herself, would prefer something more in line with a Tahoe’s wheelbase. The stretch of the Suburban makes it difficult to get into most parking places, but what makes this different than most suburban’s is the extra height. The wife is confident 99% of the time driving the Duraburb. However, she still finds herself in uncomfortable driving situations specifically at parking decks/garages or historic downtown areas where there might be narrow roadways.
- STEERING: The ease of steering this truck is night-and-day different from its half-ton siblings. The steering is much heavier at slow speeds, which exacerbates the later-problem of trying to park or drive in parking decks. However, the tradeoff is the truck tracks very easily at speed, especially on the highway. We don’t have many issues with the roadway dictating the direction of the truck.
- RIDE: It is rough…at least when it is unloaded. The stiffer leaf springs and torsion bars make the ride rather jarring on pot-hole roads and construction zones. Caveat, when the truck is loaded down, it rides like a Cadillac.
- NOISES: Not so much engine noises, more suspension related. The tucks makes some pretty loud noises when the suspension is under stress. Think of a UPS delivery truck at 5 pm trying to wrap up the days deliveries. Now imagine there is a speed bump between the truck and the last delivery, the same resulting noise you would expect the UPS truck when hitting the speed bump at Mach-Oh-my-God, is the same noise I hear when I hit a pot hole or bump at speed in the Duraburb.
WHERE WE WENT: We’ve logged about 200 miles dragging the family out to the farm. There, we encountered our first actual need for having 4 wheel drive, after 5 days of rain, we drove our truck off the road to our campsite and immediately were met by some classic Georgia red clay lack of forward momentum. The 4 wheel drive got us back out, but our camping was relegated back to the drive way. We then did a couple of weekend getaways to some historic Florida town navigating some narrow streets. For the most part the Duraburb was our holiday run around vehicle, driving from house to house and filling up all the seats with kiddos and relatives. It performed flawlessly and it also kept the stingy foreign sedans from making up their own rules of the road, but that’s a different story.
WHAT WENT WRONG: As of today, nothing. The tires are due for a rotation and I spilt some oil on my pants doing the oil change. On a side note, if anybody has some suggestion on any diesel fuel additives to keep injectors clean and clean up exhaust please send me a quick comment below.
STATS: Our mileage is still hanging in at 18 MPG around town and unloaded, we are still seeing north of 24 MPG on the highway (~24.7 MPG @ 65 MPH). That is better than our previous 6 cylinder Toyota minivan, and with the way diesel prices have been going, this has been an all-around win.
CONCLUSION: That’s it in a nut shell. With the small number of first-world problems we have encountered so far, we are still thrilled about our Duraburb! If you have any specific questions please throw them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them!
**UPDATE June 2016**
Duraburb gave us a call the other day and asked if we could clear up the prices on our Blog. To help those interested and to be as transparent as possible here is the break down of the prices.
Donor Truck: $11K
That put us at ~$25K for a Duraburb conversion, but this was almost 2 years ago when we paid the deposit. Talking with other interested Duraburb owners, the current build cost has gone up slightly. Rightfully so, as a Duraburb vehicle is NOT made on a mass production line. Specialty parts and skilled labor continue to increase like everything else.We would like to finish by saying…this is an art that Eric and his team have perfected and you won’t find a higher quality level of work, knowledge, or professionalism anywhere else.
We will be posting our 1 year review in at the end of September, as of now we couldn’t have asked for a better vehicle. Please feel free to ask anything in the comments below.