What to look for in a 94-98 truck?

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by shooter5635, May 24, 2012.

  1. shooter5635

    shooter5635 New Member

    Hey guys,

    I'm new here. I'm in the process of selling my 2000 Jeep Cherokee. Shes lifted and has been a complete joy, but she's a bit of a lemon and i need a reliable vehicle to get me back and forth to college.

    I'm looking at a mid to late 90's Silverado. I'd prefer it to have the z71 package. Are there any major issues or common problems i should look out for?

    I did absolutely zero research prior to purchasing my Jeep, and it bit me in the but. So, I'm trying to go into this purchase prepared.

    Also, what kind of highway mileage do you guys get with these trucks?

    Appreciate it!
  2. KyleZ71

    KyleZ71 Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts ROTM Winner

    Rust on the rocker panels, and rust in the back bottom of the cab. Common issue. My uncle has a 95 Silverado and averages around 14 mpg, but of course there are things you can do to improve the mpg.
  3. K15 Blazer Guy

    K15 Blazer Guy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    you and i are one in the same

    I just sold my 95 grand cherokee for my truck now!

    The jeep did great for a while... but yeah... i off-roaded a ton though so eventually it became a money well.
    When looking for any new vehicle you need to esablish wear, driveability, and emmediate repair needs.
    Look at the oils, all of them. from the power steering pump to the rear diff. this will tell you what kind of owner(s) is had. oil in the diff ans power steering is easiest to foget about.

    crawl all under it and inspect brake lines, and all connectors and blocks. same for fuel.
    check all seals for driveshafts and suspention parts. check tierod end play.
    wiggle the muffler/exhaust to see if it wobbles like crazy. if so, youll be chasing exhaust leaks forever.
    carefully see how the tires, pads, and rotors are wearing.
    look inside the oil filter cap for any gun around the rockers, and open the butterflys and examine the throddle body and the floor of the intake. should be nice & clean.
    with the engine running also take off oil filter cap. should be ZERO smoke and pressure (if you put your hand over it) also rev the engine and look at the tail pipe for bad smoke.

    for the test drive, note wheel positon and steering slop (if any). let go of the wheel to chech allighnment. brake- HARD both holding, and not holding onto the wheel. if it pulls rough to one side...... good negotiation to get it way less than theyre asking. make sure the seatbelts work, cruise controll, AC, volt meter is good, all that stuff.
    and above all, the transmission. oil is nice, does not smell burnt, shifts smooth, kicks down ok, etc, etc...
    for emmediate repair, coolant, belts, plugs/wire and eveything else above.
    does it start easy?
    does it idle low and smooth?

    I got mine for $2,000. has surface rust from salty roads, on the frame, but thats about it. engine looks like a crate motor, and transmission has been rebult once... i think......
    with a manual 5 speed i get 20 MPG highway going at 70 MPH with the cruise controll on. but that was FULLY loaded with all my stuff.
  4. Josh

    Josh Member 100 Posts

    I too had a Jeep 98 Grand Cherokee Laredo I6 auto. motor was a beast. rest was crap. on these trucks dont look at the obvious. take a jack n stands with you and jack it up wiggle the tires see if it will need bearings, ball joints, ties, pitman, idler check the brakes. theres not too much too worry about except for lower cab,rocker rust lol. these trucks are great. keep the oil changed and your tbi/vortec will run forever. my 94 5.7 is at 230,000 and runs flawlessly. plenty of power. tranny is just as strong on mine aswell. check all the things most wont look for. get yourself a mirror on an extension look for leaks, take air cleaner off check all sensor/wiring/TB. take a really long drive. make sure the oil pressure is sufficient. remember if you question if its enough its likely not enough. mine runs around 55 lbs criusin at 1500 rpm and about 38 at idle. i got 33s and my mileage is still decent
  5. jsmith4816

    jsmith4816 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    Cab Corners

    Much like what KyleZ71 said, the cab corners are a problem. I have a 94 and the rust has taken over but it was expected since I live in Michigan. Other than that, I am very happy with my truck and have no signs of getting rid of her even with the way gas prices are.
  6. K15 Blazer Guy

    K15 Blazer Guy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    yeah, but even rust is not a problem like it was in the 70s
    we have so many great rust stopping and sealing compounds available now, people in the 70s would KILL for these things lol

    wire brush/wire wheel, expencive rust sealer, primer, paint, sleep well =)
  7. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Extended cabs tend to rust in the rear cab corners. This is due to water leaking around the High Mount Center Stop Light. the drain holes in the bottom of the cab get clogged up with dirt and grime making it impossible for water to drain.

    The only difference between a Z71 and any other 4x4 is that the Z71 got Bilstein shocks and aluminum skid plates. If someone changed the shocks and didn't put the same ones back on, it ain't a Z71 anymore anyway, so don't pay any extra money for one. You can buy the sticker at the dealer if it has to say "Z71" on the bed.

    Mileage depends on far too many factors to get into here. Driving habits, how many miles are on the engine, how well the engine runs, tire pressure... etc. I get 20 to 22 in mixed driving, but I have a 4.3L V6 and a 5 Speed manual transmission. A V8 with a 5 speed might get you 18/21 and a V8/Auto might net you about 17/20 under ideal conditions. If it has any problems, it might get 10 down hill with a good tail wind. It all depends.

    The interior underwent major changes in 1995. The 96 - up got the Vortec Central Point fuel injection instead of the GM Model 220 Throttle body intake that was on the 88-95 models.

    Other known issues with these trucks are the intake gaskets. At some point, every one of them has or will fail due to the extended life coolant used at the time of manufacture. (Dex Cool). Jack the front wheels up off the ground and check the ball joints and suspension components. If they don't get maintained, they commonly fail. If the "Check Engine" light is on, find out why. Smell the transmission fluid if it is an automatic. Any burned smell whatsoever and I would advise you to walk away. That would be a 4L60 transmission and they are NOT cheap! Check the oil. Make sure it isn't black and nasty. Look for rusted brake and fuel lines. Check the power steering lines for leaks.

    Just go over it really well. I would also suggest that if you find one that you like, you should take it to a shop for a pre-purchase inspection.
  8. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    Transmissions are of issue on these trucks, if it has over 100k (and it will) see if the tranny has been replaced or rebuilt, of they say "no, it's original" RUN, don't walk! You will certainly be burdened with this issue. I had a 97 and it was a great truck, average fuel economy and decent power. The 350 Vortec motor is truly one of the toughest motors GM has ever sent down the line.

    Brakes, late 90s trucks eat brake pads when towing. Luckily they are inexpensive

    Electronics, 97 was the final year where there was no pass lock security system in the truck, 98 was the first year and as long as your truck hasn't had significant electrical work done, you probably won't have any issues

    Front end needs love, replacing the ball joints and tie rod ends are easy and worth while, get quality ones with grease zerts, all will be will there

    Cosmetics, everyone already mentioned problems areas...interior door handles like to break on these but they are easy to fix.

    I have owned a 97, 98, 02, and currently an 04. My 97 was the best GM product I ever owned.
  9. K15 Blazer Guy

    K15 Blazer Guy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    yes i too have heard of early 90s transmission recalls even...
    however, they are plentiful and a good rebuild will run you about 1,500...
    royal purple oil will help keep it happy for the longest. its a once every 100,000 mile oil anyway, might as well invest in it.

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