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Username Post: What should I be looking for in my 1st K1500?        (Topic#349968)
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-06-18 09:45 AM - Post#2726646    

I was hoping to get a K1500 sometime in the next 6 months as a backup vehicle.
This would be my first C/K1500 and I don't know much.
From the research I have done so far, it looks like the 97 or 98 models are what I am looking for since they have driver and passenger air bags, which will make others in my household feel like it is a safer vehicle.
Please let me know what you would be looking for if shopping for a K1500. I only have a couple thousand to throw at it currently, but should have another thousand or two over the next 6 months.
I grew up working on a used car lot in high school and am pretty good with replacing parts and performing maintenance. Hopefully that will help me find a good buy that I can fix up a little over time since this will be a backup vehicle that I will not be solely dependent upon as a daily driver.
I'm 40 years old, live in southern CA and won't be driving more than 10 miles a week on average, but will be taking it on old dirt roads at least once a month. Hopefully that helps provide some context.
I hope all of this helps you provide me with opinions on what you would look for and focus on for getting into the first GMT400.

Thanks!

My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
CowboyTrukr 
"7th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4014
CowboyTrukr
Loc: Salt Lake City
Reg: 06-20-09
03-06-18 10:32 AM - Post#2726652    
    In response to RideAlongside

Howdy and welcome to ChevyTalk.

Ideally, if you could find a 5.7, 3.73 gears with a manual trans NV4500, you’d have the power and the nearly indestructible transmission.

Second choice would be a 4L80E transmission.

Having said that, both options are rare. The 4L80E being the most rare.

The NV3500 manual is more common.

If you’re set on an automatic and can’t find an 80, then expect to have to rebuild the 4L60E soon unless it’s already been done. They seldom make it past 130K without a rebuild.

Greg

'95 K1500 Z71 EC Short Step 5.7L+0.040/NV3500
'00 Explorer XLT 4.0 V6 Auto
'94 K2500 5.7 NV4500 ECLB - SOLD
‘87 GMC S15 SCLB 4.3 Auto - SOLD

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Sir Edmund Burke


 
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-06-18 11:35 AM - Post#2726659    
    In response to CowboyTrukr

  • CowboyTrukr Said:
Howdy and welcome to ChevyTalk.

Ideally, if you could find a 5.7, 3.73 gears with a manual trans NV4500, you’d have the power and the nearly indestructible transmission.

Second choice would be a 4L80E transmission.

Having said that, both options are rare. The 4L80E being the most rare.

The NV3500 manual is more common.

If you’re set on an automatic and can’t find an 80, then expect to have to rebuild the 4L60E soon unless it’s already been done. They seldom make it past 130K without a rebuild.



Thanks Greg. That is exactly the type of info I was hoping for. Manual is out of the question unfortunately. I will need my wife to drive this rig occasionally and despite how often I tried to teach her to drive a manual transmission vehicle, she was not confident enough on the hills so we sold my last vehicle that was manual.


My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
Ryan53 
Poster
Posts: 44

Loc: South Dakota
Reg: 07-15-16
03-06-18 11:49 AM - Post#2726661    
    In response to RideAlongside

96-99.5 are all good years. Look for one with good maintenance records.

my opinion; miles don’t matter as much as rust.

If you have a coolant pressure tester take it with you and see if it leaks down. Common leaks are lower intake, crack right below the upper radiator hose, heater hose connectors. I’ve gone as far as popping off a valve cover to check how much sludge is built up.

Make sure you get to hear it cold start. Not uncommon for a knock before they warm up, if it gets louder as it warms that’s bad.

If you are going 4x4 the manual shift transfer case is better than push button, 3rd door is a great option. z71 has options like aluminum skid plates, better shocks.

1953 Chevy Belair 2dr sedan, 235/3speed 6volt
2000 (gmt400) K2500 CCSB 350/auto


 
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-06-18 12:28 PM - Post#2726666    
    In response to Ryan53

  • Ryan53 Said:
96-99.5 are all good years. Look for one with good maintenance records.

my opinion; miles don’t matter as much as rust.

If you have a coolant pressure tester take it with you and see if it leaks down. Common leaks are lower intake, crack right below the upper radiator hose, heater hose connectors. I’ve gone as far as popping off a valve cover to check how much sludge is built up.

Make sure you get to hear it cold start. Not uncommon for a knock before they warm up, if it gets louder as it warms that’s bad.

If you are going 4x4 the manual shift transfer case is better than push button, 3rd door is a great option. z71 has options like aluminum skid plates, better shocks.



Thank you Ryan.
Very valuable info.
You've really taken off valve covers before buying?
Not sure if I would let someone go that far on a vehicle I was selling, but it would definitely be really good info to have before buying.


My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
2plus2 
Member
Posts: 1155

Loc: Mission,BC
Reg: 02-03-05
03-06-18 03:38 PM - Post#2726677    
    In response to RideAlongside

Whats your budget?
The 99-07 trucks can be found cheap now and are alot nicer then the 88-98s

69 Canadian Pontiac 2+2
factory L48 350 Chev,TH350,PW,PT
99 Silverado RCLB 4.8 NV4500 14BSF 4.10's locker 6" Procomp 35 bfg m/t's 9k winch cutout flares
07 Town Car Loaded,Tinted,Getting Bagged


 
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-06-18 05:06 PM - Post#2726684    
    In response to 2plus2

  • 2plus2 Said:
Whats your budget?
The 99-07 trucks can be found cheap now and are alot nicer then the 88-98s



"I only have a couple thousand to throw at it currently, but should have another thousand or two over the next 6 months."

What does "alot nicer" mean to you?
I am hoping for it to be as cheap as possible to work on, replace parts, etc. while having a couple of air bags and OBD2.
The 1997 & 1998 5.7L seemed like the way to go on paper.
Thanks for your input!

My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
Ryan53 
Poster
Posts: 44

Loc: South Dakota
Reg: 07-15-16
03-06-18 05:51 PM - Post#2726686    
    In response to RideAlongside

Valve covers are easy to take off and with the rubber gaskets they use they seal right back up, that being said I wouldn’t do it if I’ve never done it before and wasn’t ready to fork over cash and buy unless the engine was filled with sludge from neglect.



99-07 are “A lot nicer” is a debatable phrase, lol

96-98 are getting harder to find, that aren’t beat up.

I’ve been looking for a crew cab short box gmt400 for years in good shape with no rust and finally found one, it just needed a engine!




1953 Chevy Belair 2dr sedan, 235/3speed 6volt
2000 (gmt400) K2500 CCSB 350/auto


 
454cid 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2943

Age: 45
Loc: West Michigan
Reg: 02-18-12
03-07-18 08:41 AM - Post#2726742    
    In response to 2plus2

  • 2plus2 Said:
Whats your budget?
The 99-07 trucks can be found cheap now and are alot nicer then the 88-98s



Eww, no way.

(Unless maybe you're talking about my front brakes, I've always hated them)


99 K3500 RCLB


Edited by 454cid on 03-07-18 08:42 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-07-18 09:35 PM - Post#2726816    
    In response to 454cid

Any other advice before I go looking at a few old trucks?

My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
Ryan53 
Poster
Posts: 44

Loc: South Dakota
Reg: 07-15-16
03-08-18 10:21 AM - Post#2726880    
    In response to RideAlongside

I’ve had the best luck buying stuff by looking on FB for sale groups, putting up ISO posts. Craigslist is fizzled in my area, mostly scams or junk.

Good luck, whatever you end up with there’s always something to fix or “improve”

1953 Chevy Belair 2dr sedan, 235/3speed 6volt
2000 (gmt400) K2500 CCSB 350/auto


 
JasonZ 
Ultra Senior Member
Posts: 11587

Age: 30
Loc: San Antonio Texas
Reg: 02-21-03
03-13-18 05:24 PM - Post#2727506    
    In response to RideAlongside

Dry compression, pay attention to your rear cylinders as they I believe the last ones to get oil volume. Inspect and study the spark plugs. After 50,000+ *Rebuild time* engines have a more tendency to burn more oil and obviously wear more.

Check the condition of all your fluids for your drivetrain. If you take the cover off or plugs out and it smells worse than cornchips and butthole, you're going to have issues later on. Some sooner than others and that smell will linger in your nose.

These are old trucks now but if you do indeed take care of them they will take care of you. You're less likely to find a cherry out truck. Be ready to spend some money for sensors bearings/rebuild. I have a 89 std cab. I'm rebuilding the whole front end. I'm not part of a throwaway generation lol.

Don't go BROKE trying to look RICH. Act your WAGE!!


 
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-13-18 06:16 PM - Post#2727511    
    In response to JasonZ

  • JasonZ Said:
Dry compression, pay attention to your rear cylinders as they I believe the last ones to get oil volume. Inspect and study the spark plugs. After 50,000+ *Rebuild time* engines have a more tendency to burn more oil and obviously wear more.

Check the condition of all your fluids for your drivetrain. If you take the cover off or plugs out and it smells worse than cornchips and butthole, you're going to have issues later on. Some sooner than others and that smell will linger in your nose.

These are old trucks now but if you do indeed take care of them they will take care of you. You're less likely to find a cherry out truck. Be ready to spend some money for sensors bearings/rebuild. I have a 89 std cab. I'm rebuilding the whole front end. I'm not part of a throwaway generation lol.



Thank you. I am deeply entrenched in this throwaway generation, but am resisting best I can. Part of that is buying things I can fix and keep going as it brings me tremendous satisfaction.
I will look out for those smells! That made me laugh pretty hard, but sounds like it is good advice.
Thanks again!


My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
runamukker 
Poster
Posts: 57

Reg: 01-01-18
03-14-18 08:12 AM - Post#2727564    
    In response to RideAlongside

When you look at the frame pay particular attention to the left front where the steering gearbox mounts to the frame,
it is a weak spot that rusts through. I hit a deer and it broke my frame, lol. There are 3 bolts that pass through the frame,
you can tell if its rusted especially if it rusts through.
https://www.chevytalk.org/fusionbb/showtopic.php?ti...

One other spot to look are the rear u-bolts that mount to the springs/rear end. The u-bolt plates accumulate sand/dirt and if it
does not get cleaned out will rust through the axle tubes
http://www.offroaddesign.com/catalog/uboltreversal ...

Don't pass up a truck if it has saggy doors. The pins on the hinges are easy to replace and you can tweak the doors if the
pin doesn't fix it. Them doors are heavy

Also don't pass up a truck with a cracked dash. The dash can be replaced - its kind of a job but worth it. The dash from 88-91
are direct bolt in, 92-94 are direct bolt in, you can interchange 88-94 (except blazer and suburban). The difference between
the older and newer dash (88-94) is the instrument cluster wiring harness,the heater ducts and speakers which you can
modify to make it work if needed. I don't know interchangeability of the 1995 and later dash when the design changed a lot.



.



'92 K1500 Blazer Z71 350TBI 700R4 , 253,000 miles
'94 C1500 Cheyenne WT 350TBI 4L60e , 565,000 miles


 
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-14-18 08:39 AM - Post#2727567    
    In response to runamukker

  • runamukker Said:
When you look at the frame pay particular attention to the left front where the steering gearbox mounts to the frame,
it is a weak spot that rusts through. I hit a deer and it broke my frame, lol. There are 3 bolts that pass through the frame,
you can tell if its rusted especially if it rusts through.
https://www.chevytalk.org/fusionbb/showtopic.php?ti...

One other spot to look are the rear u-bolts that mount to the springs/rear end. The u-bolt plates accumulate sand/dirt and if it
does not get cleaned out will rust through the axle tubes
http://www.offroaddesign.com/catalog/uboltreversal ...

Don't pass up a truck if it has saggy doors. The pins on the hinges are easy to replace and you can tweak the doors if the
pin doesn't fix it. Them doors are heavy

Also don't pass up a truck with a cracked dash. The dash can be replaced - its kind of a job but worth it. The dash from 88-91
are direct bolt in, 92-94 are direct bolt in, you can interchange 88-94 (except blazer and suburban). The difference between
the older and newer dash (88-94) is the instrument cluster wiring harness,the heater ducts and speakers which you can
modify to make it work if needed. I don't know interchangeability of the 1995 and later dash when the design changed a lot.



.




Thanks! Lots of good advice there and links as well!
Much appreciated.

My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
runamukker 
Poster
Posts: 57

Reg: 01-01-18
03-14-18 09:09 AM - Post#2727571    
    In response to RideAlongside

Forgot a little bit.

88-95 are ODB1 (I heard that some late 95 models were ODBII)

96-99 are ODBII
The GMT400 line ended sometime in 2000. Some year 2000 trucks are GMT400

The V8 350 engine changed in 1996 from TBI to vortec. Vortec engines have different heads and intake and were ODBII.

You can tell what original equipment came with the truck by looking in the glove compartment, there is an SPID label(service parts identification) with all the 3-letter RPO codes.
RPO codes list www.ibm-pc.org/balzer/RPO_Codes.pdf

1993 was the change over from the automatic 700R4 to 4L60e transmission (4L60e being computer controlled), as mentioned earlier
the 4L80e is the heavy duty computer controlled transmission.

.



'92 K1500 Blazer Z71 350TBI 700R4 , 253,000 miles
'94 C1500 Cheyenne WT 350TBI 4L60e , 565,000 miles


 
RideAlongside 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 9
RideAlongside
Loc: San Diego, CA
Reg: 03-06-18
03-14-18 09:34 AM - Post#2727575    
    In response to runamukker

So, with those OBD diagnostic options, engine options, and transmission options, which year would you personally choose and why?

Thanks!

My YouTube channel:
http://youtube.com/RideAlongside


 
runamukker 
Poster
Posts: 57

Reg: 01-01-18
03-14-18 10:00 AM - Post#2727583    
    In response to RideAlongside

I like the simpler the better so I would choose an OBD1 1994 or older. I prefer the pre-95 interiors,but those don't have the
airbags you are looking for.

Trade-offs between the older/newer are vortec 350 engine (or 454?), and heavier duty trans with the 4L80e automatic vs 4L60e automatic.

Also, the 4WAL brake system on the 92-94 K1500 Blazer, Suburban, Yukon (not C1500) trucks is horrible, GM had a class action lawsuit filed against them
until they litigated out and got dropped after warranty expired. Parts are no longer available for the 92-94 4WAL computer and servo.
That would be a good reason for you to avoid the 92-94 K1500 with 4WAL due to California and its crazy inspections.

.

'92 K1500 Blazer Z71 350TBI 700R4 , 253,000 miles
'94 C1500 Cheyenne WT 350TBI 4L60e , 565,000 miles


 
454cid 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2943

Age: 45
Loc: West Michigan
Reg: 02-18-12
03-14-18 10:25 AM - Post#2727586    
    In response to runamukker

  • runamukker Said:


Trade-offs between the older/newer are vortec 350 engine (or 454?), and heavier duty trans with the 4L80e automatic vs 4L60e automatic.



The transmission has nothing to do with which side of 1995 it was made. A 1500 will have the 4L60E and a 3500 will have the 4L80E, and I think the 2500 could be either, depending on if it is a light 3/4, or heavy 3/4.


99 K3500 RCLB


 
runamukker 
Poster
Posts: 57

Reg: 01-01-18
03-14-18 10:54 AM - Post#2727590    
    In response to 454cid

  • 454cid Said:
  • runamukker Said:


Trade-offs between the older/newer are vortec 350 engine (or 454?), and heavier duty trans with the 4L80e automatic vs 4L60e automatic.



The transmission has nothing to do with which side of 1995 it was made. A 1500 will have the 4L60E and a 3500 will have the 4L80E, and I think the 2500 could be either, depending on if it is a light 3/4, or heavy 3/4.




Good info to know, didn't know that the 4L80e was never an option in the 1500 series.

Did my homework (a little) Link is for reference about 4L80e,
http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge/transmissio ns...



.


'92 K1500 Blazer Z71 350TBI 700R4 , 253,000 miles
'94 C1500 Cheyenne WT 350TBI 4L60e , 565,000 miles


Edited by runamukker on 03-14-18 11:02 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
454cid 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2943

Age: 45
Loc: West Michigan
Reg: 02-18-12
03-14-18 04:04 PM - Post#2727618    
    In response to runamukker

  • runamukker Said:


Good info to know, didn't know that the 4L80e was never an option in the 1500 series.



I wouldn't say never...I don't know that for sure. It might have happened for some certain combination of options, but normally you will find the 4L60e in a 1500. The NV4500 (the heavy duty manual) was available in the 1500, but not common.


99 K3500 RCLB


 
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