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  1. #1

    Default shopping for GM full size, advice?

    I currently own a lowered 90 s10, i gave my head a shake, and decided i need a 4X4. I am looking for a 94-02 silverado/sierra. What ever truck i buy MUST have... 4X4, ext cab, no rust on cab corners, door jams, majority of the box. what i want it to have is... 3rd door, no rust at all, not the smallest rear end(i understand there were a few options when it came to the diff.), 5.7 vortec, reg box. what else should i look out for?

    i am currently looking closely at two trucks.
    -98 silv. ext. reg box, 5.7, no rust, 302km
    -02 silv. ext. reg box, 5.7, HD springs and shocks in rear, 245Km, was used to haul a trailer...

    advice as i decide on my newish truck?

  2. #2
    Legend tlperry68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Huntington Beach, CA


    I recommend the 1500 HD,
    Lower miles, heavier pay load and a bit newer. possibly fewer potentional problems.
    Good luck.
    Trevor - Huntington Beach, CA
    2007 GMC 2500 4X4

  3. #3


    I picked a 2003 Z71 last year with the 5.3 liter I am finally getting around to tuning it up now. It has 91K on it. It rides great its an ext cab.. No rust. I don't know if you have kids but the baby seats fit in with no problem.
    2003 Silverado Z71 Ext Cab 100K

  4. #4


    not the smallest rear end(i understand there were a few options when it came to the diff.)
    Are you referring to ring gear size or gear ratio?

    Basically you have three options as far as ring gear goes: 10 bolt, 8.5/8.6 inch ring gear, 14 bolt 9.x inch SF, and 14 bolt 9.x inch FF. 10 bolts were installed in most 1500's. Not sure about 1500HD's, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it has a 10 bolt. If you are referring to axle size, you may have to limit your search to K2500 or heavier.

    If you are referring to gear ratio, you'll need to get used to looking in the glove box for the RPO code list. There are several lists on the net with what RPO code goes with which gear ratio (it will start with a G). That will tell you what was installed at the factory, then you have to decide if the previous owner(s) would have changed the gear ratio. If in doubt, you'll have to pick up the wheels, and count how many times the driveshaft rotates for one rotation of the tires.
    '98 K1500 Suburban LS 5.7 L 4L60E NV246 ARB
    '92 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 4.0 L A4LD BW13-54 Trac-loc rear
    "My toys were the greasy cogs and springs and pistons that lay around all over the place, and these, I can promise you, were far more fun to play with than most of the plastic rubbish children are given nowadays." Danny in Roald Dahl's Danny The Champion of the World

  5. #5


    my bad, the 2000 is actually a sierra, and its a 5.3L.

    does that change anything?

    great explanation about the diffs and gears. what i meant was the size of the diff, not axle of ratio.

  6. #6


    So you aren't dead set on it being a 5.7 L, you'd consider a 5.3 L a suitable substitute? Are specifically avoiding the 6.0 L/7.4 L gasoline engines, or are they up for consideration as well? Is a diesel engine out of the question?

    How strongly would you consider something with a 10 bolt rear, or will the presence of a 10 bolt rear be a deal breaker? I reviewed your original post, and you didn't indicate if the specific trucks in question are 1500 or 2500 or 3500. A gasoline 1500 will have a 10 bolt rear. Until someone tells me differently, I expect a gasoline 1500HD has a 10 bolt rear, too. If the 10 bolt rear is a deal breaker, that means anything with a 1500 in it is probably off the table, which, if I assume correctly that both of those under consideration are half-tons, probably means neither is exactly what you want. Gut feel is that you are going to want to find something with a 2500 on it to get something that most closely matches what you describe in your list of "wants".

    If this doesn't eliminate either of the two specific trucks under consideration, I'm not sure which of those two I would pick. I've always been a little leary of buying something with that many miles that I know was used as a tow vehicle. It depends on how many "towing miles" and how heavy the loads (which is information that is rarely available/verifiable when purchasing a used vehicle). Towing puts extra wear and tear on the drivetrain, especially compared to a truck with a lot of "easy" miles (again it is often hard to verify "easy" miles). I don't see any advantage to one of those trucks over the other.

  7. #7


    they're both 1500's, as far as the differentials are concerned, i was more worried about the 98's and earlier. so the 10 bolt wont turn me away.

    i am staying away from anything bigger then a 1500, or 5.7 because i dont really need that big of a truck. most ill be hauling is a snowmobile in the bed, or a double width trailer. i would love a diesel, but its not really practical, all the extra maintenance cost and such when i don't even own a trailer.

  8. #8


    The biggest common issue I can think of on the late '90's Vortec engines is the intake gasket issue. I'm not sure what model year they got that issue figured out from the factory. By 300k+ km, I expect the intake gasket has already been changed once, so if they used the better gasket design, it should be ok. Be sure to check the coolant level and condition before purchase, so you can anticipate this if needed.

    Other than that, my '98 hasn't had any unusual problems that you wouldn't normally expect from something with a few miles on it. I don't see any special reason to avoid the '98 and older trucks if they otherwise check out mechanically.

  9. #9


    i went to see the 00 sierra today, drove over an hour each way out of the city to go see it. i didnt even have to get out of my truck to know i wasnt gonna buy it. there was a nice big 2"-3" hole rusted in the cab corner, something the current owner has apperantly never seen. the truck had a lot of rust of an 00 actually, waste of my time and gas it was.

    I got some more info on the 98. trani was rebuilt at 170kms, rear diff was rebuilt with a 14 bolt posi 40kms ago. was painted alittle over a year ago, im told it has no rust... ill believe it when i see it.

  10. #10


    i went to see the 98. pretty much no rust surprisingly. not much else to tell you about it. meeting with the bank today to get the final decision. wish me luck! got my fingers crossed. heres a pic of the truck Im really hoping to buy.
    Attachment 2442
    Last edited by kawasaki_kid; 04-27-2009 at 10:39 PM.

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