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Decisions, decisions

This is a discussion on Decisions, decisions within the GM Trucks forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I can not even count how many times in my adult life I have encountered a issue that made me ...

  1. #1
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    Decisions, decisions

    I can not even count how many times in my adult life I have encountered a issue that made me say man I wish I had a truck. Well my family and I are in a pretty comfortable place right now and I thought maybe its time to buy a back up vehicle incase our main DDs need repairs. I then thought why not kill two birds with one stone and get a truck as a back up DD incase i need to move or haul something... plus I hunt and I usually have friends who have off road vehicles but I wouldnt be opposed to having my own.

    Anyway I have been looking for trucks in the 3-6k range and there are A LOT of them out there in that range. But I think my buddies are offering me the best deals. I need some help deciding.

    First buddy has a 1995 sierra extended cab 2 door 4x4 6.5 liter turbo diesel. Truck has 181k miles on it. Has some new parts like ball joints, lifter pump and the expensive pump that is right before the engine. Has a dent in front left fender, a little rust on the bottom areas(pretty much all WI trucks do). Leather interior and the front seats are worn in some places. He has it for sale for 5k he would sell it to me for 3500.

    Second buddy has a 2000 Silverado 1500 Z71 extended cab 3 door. Has 102k miles, cloth interior, a couple little dents here and there. 5.3 liter v8. Same small surface rust in some of the bottom areas. No real repairs to speak of other than regular stuff, like brakes, newer tires. He has it up for sale for 6 or 6500 cant remember he would let me have it for around 4k.... I think he said 4200.

    I do not have anything to haul on a regular basis. Let me know what you guys think and why? Or if you know of any good deals in the Milwaukee/ South eastern WI area. Thanks
    Last edited by Zinergy; 02-01-2012 at 01:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Your dealership guy konigandy6's Avatar
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    My vote is for the 2000 1500.

    The 5.3 is a reliable, proven drivetrain with plenty of power and decent on fuel.

    The 6.5 is a better towing motor but is a turd as far as performace goes. Plus they sound like someone is shaking up rocks in a coffee can.

  3. #3
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    not sure where you hunt at but that 4x4 might come in handy at some point......I would never own a 2 wheel drive because of the trails I go up to get to my stands. Gas burner would probably be cheaper in the long run and easier to maintain. Even though I'm a newly converted diesel person I would probably have to get the gas burner if you don't need the 4x4. I can't imagine it not coming in pretty handy in the winter up there. Ok....changed my mind. I'd get the diesel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by konigandy6 View Post
    My vote is for the 2000 1500.

    The 5.3 is a reliable, proven drivetrain with plenty of power and decent on fuel.

    The 6.5 is a better towing motor but is a turd as far as performace goes. Plus they sound like someone is shaking up rocks in a coffee can.
    I will not be modding either vehicle unless its for better mpg or reliability. The 6.5 is not a good engine to mod but I hear great things about its reliability.

    Thanks for your input
    Last edited by Zinergy; 02-01-2012 at 02:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    not sure where you hunt at but that 4x4 might come in handy at some point......I would never own a 2 wheel drive because of the trails I go up to get to my stands. Gas burner would probably be cheaper in the long run and easier to maintain. Even though I'm a newly converted diesel person I would probably have to get the gas burner if you don't need the 4x4. I can't imagine it not coming in pretty handy in the winter up there. Ok....changed my mind. I'd get the diesel.
    Both are 4x4s, the 5.3 liter is a z71 off road package truck. I like diesel, I like the better mpgs, reliability and ability to pull a small house. But I am afraid of its high miles and cost of parts/ fluids/ filters for those trucks. Not to mention diesel seems to be getting further and further away from gas prices. I remember in 2004ish diesel was cheaper than gas and yo ugot better mpgs now its usually 10% higher. Although it will most likely not be my DD... unless I enjoy driving it that much. I know the engine will probably be good for another 200kmiles but the rest of the truck won't last that long.
    Last edited by Zinergy; 02-01-2012 at 02:42 PM.

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    both being 4x4's then I would like to change my answer back to the 5.3. That engine is just as reliable as the ls1, it will be familiar if/when you have to work on it, it'll be cheaper to own, and the biggest reason is the rest of the truck is 5 years newer.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    5.3 truck no question. The newer platform is so much better, not to mention the 6.5 diesel is pure meh. And you probably wont get better fuel economy with it than the 5.3, not to mention how much more diesel fuel is.

  8. #8
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    only time diesels make more sense is if you're gonna tow on a regular basis. My duramax kicks ass mpg wise towing the 5th wheel. It would kill me towing that with a gas burner. Not to mention shitting it's guts out pulling it up hills. On the way to VA beach last year a few of those hills were long and nasty in VA.

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    Thanks for the input guys I think I am leaning towards the 5.3 liter as well. For some reason my head just doesn't want to totally leave out the diesel even though I know I have little use for it.

    As for the 6.5 liter, its not gonna win any hp competitions thats for sure but its a solid reliable engine that can go forever and usually gets the job done. He is selling it because he just picked up a 04 duramax.

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    Your dealership guy konigandy6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinergy View Post
    Thanks for the input guys I think I am leaning towards the 5.3 liter as well. For some reason my head just doesn't want to totally leave out the diesel even though I know I have little use for it.

    As for the 6.5 liter, its not gonna win any hp competitions thats for sure but its a solid reliable engine that can go forever and usually gets the job done. He is selling it because he just picked up a 04 duramax.
    Reliable yes... unless you get any water in the fuel, then plan on spending a buttload of cash on a new lift pump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by konigandy6 View Post
    Reliable yes... unless you get any water in the fuel, then plan on spending a buttload of cash on a new lift pump.
    Modern diesel should have no problem with water in the fuel.
    The lift pump was just replaced and I ordered it through my autozone business account, 89.99 with my discount. So its not that bad, now the pump/ecu that is after the lift pump but before the engine was 1,165 after my discount. That is one expensive pump.

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    Your dealership guy konigandy6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinergy View Post
    Modern diesel should have no problem with water in the fuel.
    The lift pump was just replaced and I ordered it through my autozone business account, 89.99 with my discount. So its not that bad, now the pump/ecu that is after the lift pump but before the engine was 1,165 after my discount. That is one expensive pump.
    That must be it... I knew it was one of the pumps....

    I'm diesel illiterate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by konigandy6 View Post
    That must be it... I knew it was one of the pumps....

    I'm diesel illiterate.
    Yea I do not remember what its called either but it is crazy expensive. It was 1400 before my discount and that is a re-manned one.

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    I think you guys are talking about the cp3

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    I like the diesels purely from a towing perspective, but I'm not liking the crazy diesel fuel costs.

    I'd only consider a diesel if it's a Duramax, and if you plan to do ALOT of towing. Otherwise I couldn't justify the cost of owning one.

    The little 5.3 pickup will treat you good.

    I recently went through the same dilema. I still have an old 79 1 ton chevy I use to haul things, and I pull a 28 foot enclosed with it occasionally. The 454 spun a bearing last summer. Right away a light went off in my head and I thought DURAMAX
    But I only pull my trailer 3-4 times per year, truck spends most of it's time just sitting in the garage, sometimes for months. Then I looked at prices for 3-4 year old Duramax's that didn't have a million miles and got very turned off. I just couldn't justify it for what little I tow. Then I looked into rebuilding the 454.
    Ultimately I just decided to buy a 502 GM crate engine for $6k and drop it in my truck. Dyno'd at 537 ft lbs. at 3100 rpm, and makes over 500 ft lbs. from 2600 to 3800 so it has diesel like torque (circa 01-02 duramax, not the new stuff ) and it yanks my 28 foot enclosed around with authority, love it.
    Of course a duramax has a ton more potential with tweaking, but that's even more money on top of the cost of the truck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    I like the diesels purely from a towing perspective, but I'm not liking the crazy diesel fuel costs.

    I'd only consider a diesel if it's a Duramax, and if you plan to do ALOT of towing. Otherwise I couldn't justify the cost of owning one.

    The little 5.3 pickup will treat you good.

    I recently went through the same dilema. I still have an old 79 1 ton chevy I use to haul things, and I pull a 28 foot enclosed with it occasionally. The 454 spun a bearing last summer. Right away a light went off in my head and I thought DURAMAX
    But I only pull my trailer 3-4 times per year, truck spends most of it's time just sitting in the garage, sometimes for months. Then I looked at prices for 3-4 year old Duramax's that didn't have a million miles and got very turned off. I just couldn't justify it for what little I tow. Then I looked into rebuilding the 454.
    Ultimately I just decided to buy a 502 GM crate engine for $6k and drop it in my truck. Dyno'd at 537 ft lbs. at 3100 rpm, and makes over 500 ft lbs. from 2600 to 3800 so it has diesel like torque (circa 01-02 duramax, not the new stuff ) and it yanks my 28 foot enclosed around with authority, love it.
    Of course a duramax has a ton more potential with tweaking, but that's even more money on top of the cost of the truck.
    what kinda mileage you get out of that 502 towing? I get 12-14 towing 10k+. I agree though that if you only tow a little bit and shorter type distances you took the right approach. I towed mine to VA beach and back last year and am doing it again this year. I'd have to sell off a kidney to buy fuel if I tried that with a gas motor. I also tow that camper to the woods every weekend during the fall and out to PA a couple times a year. For me a diesel was really the only option.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Ha, I don't have completed number for you but here's what I know so far.

    When I towed that 28 footer accross the country with the old 454 I was getting 10 mpg. I had it loaded to nearly 10,000 lbs. Trailer empty is 4600 lbs, 4100 lbs. chevelle in there, full size tool box loaded with tools, generator, air compressor, sons go cart etc... You get the idea Probably over 10,000 lbs. but I'm afraid to know for sure.
    With 3.73 gears and no overdrive I was buzzing it 2800 rpm the whole way so I can't complain about the mileage too much. Good ole truck never skipped a beat.

    10 mpg isn't great but I was asking alot for that old 454 with 100,000 miles on it It was getting 14 mpg highway empty though with that 454.

    The 502? I've only towed the trailer around town since the engine was installed so I don't have a mileage figure towing, it's just been all stop and go and I haven't filled it up while towing,,,, but the truck empty and driving around town in stop and go I'm getting between 11-12 mpg with the 502 and got 13 mpg highway empty. It seems I've lost about 1-2 mpg with the new engine, just judging by the city driving I've done with it. It has dual 20 gallon tanks though

    So you might run out of kidneys

    But like you mentioned, I really don't tow all that much to matter. That is ultimately what kept me from getting the diesel.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 02-02-2012 at 06:15 PM.

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    I've seen 15 and 16 in spots with nice level highway. The problem with the camper is it's height.....it's like towing a big wind plow behind you. I do have the lower profile front on mine but you definitely catch some wind. If I get behind a semi I get beat to death with his wash....drives me crazy. I'll either slow down more and let him get further ahead or go ahead and pass him. Going out to VA there were 2 spots that had these big long hills....like 3 miles and 5-7% grade. I was watching my temps climb all the way to the top. Then you get on the other side and the trailer chases you all the way down the hill.....not a fan of those hills either.

  19. #19
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    I've seen 15 and 16 in spots with nice level highway. The problem with the camper is it's height.....it's like towing a big wind plow behind you. I do have the lower profile front on mine but you definitely catch some wind. If I get behind a semi I get beat to death with his wash....drives me crazy. I'll either slow down more and let him get further ahead or go ahead and pass him. Going out to VA there were 2 spots that had these big long hills....like 3 miles and 5-7% grade. I was watching my temps climb all the way to the top. Then you get on the other side and the trailer chases you all the way down the hill.....not a fan of those hills either.
    That's great mileage on flat roads, I can't touch that. Those diesels are definately awsome tow rigs.
    Oh wow, I here ya. I don't like the semi's either. I got around them and the wind would just buffer me around. Unfortunately the front of my enclosed trailer is nearly flat and stands a good 4 feet above my truck and is the maximum 8' wide allowed, I can watch the metal panels flex back and forth from the wind hitting the front of the trailer, so it's not doing me any favors either.

    The hills are where those diesels shine. We really didn't hit many hills until we came into Albuquerque, but the bad ones were here in AZ, they are the kind of hills where they post signs telling cars to turn off their AC before climbing, because even cars overheat trying to climb this mountain. Going from 1200 feet up to 6,000 feet over a 7 mile stretch. Not sure on the grade but it's steep and very long. That old 454 got pretty hot while climbing, I maintained about 50 mph (throttle floored ) and it took what seemed an eternity but was actually about 8-10 minutes with the throttle wide open,,,lol, was passing semi's in the slow lane and it was 105 degree outside that day. U-haul moving trucks and several other trucks were pulled over half way up with steam coming out. I was really worried but I wasn't about to pull over. I was either going to make it or blow it up,,,lol. Thankfully that 454 was a little loose, it got hot (pegged the gauge) but kept on chugging, It was asking alot from that old truck. These mountains around here are pure agony when towing.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 02-02-2012 at 06:47 PM.

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    Your dealership guy konigandy6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    That's great mileage on flat roads, I can't touch that. Those diesels are definately awsome tow rigs.
    Oh wow, I here ya. I don't like the semi's either. I got around them and the wind would just buffer me around. Unfortunately the front of my enclosed trailer is nearly flat and stands a good 4 feet above my truck and is the maximum 8' wide allowed, I can watch the metal panels flex back and forth from the wind hitting the front of the trailer, so it's not doing me any favors either.

    The hills are where those diesels shine. We really didn't hit many hills until we came into Albuquerque, but the bad ones were here in AZ, they are the kind of hills where they post signs telling cars to turn off their AC before climbing, because even cars overheat trying to climb this mountain. Going from 1200 feet up to 6,000 feet over a 7 mile stretch. Not sure on the grade but it's steep and very long. That old 454 got pretty hot while climbing, I maintained about 50 mph (throttle floored ) and it took what seemed an eternity but was actually about 8-10 minutes with the throttle wide open,,,lol, was passing semi's in the slow lane and it was 105 degree outside that day. U-haul moving trucks and several other trucks were pulled over half way up with steam coming out. I was really worried but I wasn't about to pull over. I was either going to make it or blow it up,,,lol. Thankfully that 454 was a little loose, it got hot (pegged the gauge) but kept on chugging, It was asking alot from that old truck. These mountains around here are pure agony when towing.
    Busting out my highschool trig... that is a 7.46* pitch, which would make it around a 13% grade. Does that sound right?

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