Chevy C/K Pickups (1996 - 1999)

powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
I just wanted to start another topic devoted to
the C/K pickups with the Vortec engines. Our
original topic "'97 Chevy Silverado Complaints" was
killed because it had the word "Silverado" in it.
They grouped it with the "Chevy Silverado" topic
which is all about the new trucks.

Note to administrators: The C/K trucks had the
Silverado package as an interior option, but are
completely different than the new Silverado truck.
The engines available for the half-tons were the
5.7L, 5.0L, and 4.3L. The 7.4L and 5.7L are still
available, but only in the HD trucks.

Anyway, just to start converstation, I'll start
out by saying that I prefer the 5.7L over the 5.3L
because the latter has less horsepower at normal
driving rpms (< 3000). Real world gas mileage
appears to be about the same too. Plus, the 5.7L
seems to respond better to headers, and performance


  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    I also think the looks of the C/K's are much more
    pleasing than the new ones. The GMC C/K's front end is particularly nice looking. In fact, in the
    truck magazines, there are ads from companies that make a conversion from the normal Chevy C/K front
    end look to the GMC look but with the Chevy Bowtie
    instead of the GMC emblem. So I must not be the only one who likes the GMC looks better. Comments?
  • budlitedude3budlitedude3 Member Posts: 14
    Get over the past and on with the new. Silverado Rules! C/K is a nice truck but lacks many options, like 4 doors, autotrac, larger choice of suspensions, just to name a few.

    I totally disagree with you about the 5.3l and performance mods. GM has greatly bottled the capabilities of the 5.3l to meet emissions. It is a known fact that the 5.3l has just as much if not more capability than the outdated 350 engine.
    Not to mention the fact that the 5.3l is built much more durable with 6 bolt mains, failsafe cooling system, much better oiling system, etc.

    The 350 was a good engine, but it needs to move over for the new King of the mountain.

    Don't believe everything you read about the torque curves. Not all the torque curve is revealed by one marketing stat. If you look at the facts, not pictures, the torque curve of the 5.3l is much flatter and is only 15 lbs less at every point up to the 350's peak at 3,200 rpm. Another thing you don't always see is that the 5.3l goes from 310 lbs torque at about 2,900 rpm to 325 lbs torque up to 5000 rpm before starting to drop. The 350's torque is less than the 5.3l peak torque and starts to drop around 4000 rpm. So if you look at the whole band, the 5.3l actually has the much more useful rpm band and it especially shows when towing at highway speeds.

    In addition, I have never personally experienced nor heard of anyone that ever got better than 17 mpg combined city and highway. Most actually see about 15 combined. I continually get 18 combined city and highway, almost 20 on all highway trips.
  • redsilveradoredsilverado Member Posts: 1,000
    you're a complete idiot. almost as bad as that
    LURD(tim) on the silverado page. i have a 2000
    silverado but, you won't find me insulting
    someone with previous year model. i've seen you
    on other topics and i've just got to say that
    you're the biggest IDIOT yet next to o'l LURDBOY.
    maybe you are LURDBOY.

  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Member Posts: 4,157
    Friends everywhere Red...

    and you still only have one sad.

    I think everyone in this chat room feels you get dumber and dumber with each post.

    Let me guess.....I'm just a lurd..

    get a new line...and maybe a new truck? would make all of us Silverado owners look a little bit better if you drove a dodge or something else other than what we drive.

    Lighten up and get that load outa your shorts...or is it a Lurd...and not a load?


    - Tim
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    Sorry but you're wrong about the 5.3L having a higher peak torque. The 350 has 330 lb-ft at 2800, while the 2000 5.3L is 325 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.
    You'll get no argument from me about the 5.3L being much better above 3200 rpm. But, how often does the average driver take his/her truck there.
    When I'm climbing a hill, the truck downshifts out of overdrive and the rpm's go to ~2500-3000 rpm depending on my speed. That's exactly where the 350's torque peak is, and you really feel it.
    Regarding fuel mileage, my truck is an ext-cab Z71 with 3.73 rearend 4-sp. auto, and of course the 5.7L engine and I consistantly get in the 19's with my daily commute to work. In fact, I take very careful records and I haven't gotten less than 19 since April of '99. In the summer I've gotten 21 mpg.
    Looking at the "2000 Silverado MPG" topic, I'm seeing an awful lot of 14's and 15's. Granted, some of the trucks are not fully broken in yet, but the real problem is that you have to wind the engine out to get the power, and that kills mileage.
    I like the new trucks, don't get me wrong, but I also like torque and the 5.7L has more useable torque. And also because it's not near it's peak potential like the 5.3L (which is to the 5.3L's
    credit), the 5.7L responds better to headers, cat-backs, and intake mods. That is, the 5.7L has more hidden potential.
    I just like the C/K's better for now.
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Member Posts: 4,157
    Still am..

    But I always stuck with 350 or when the 350 was not available any more....It had to be 6.0 this time around.

    Doesn't get 19MPG....but who cares?...we are young right?

    The 5.3 did have a lot of pep....but it just ain't right for me...ya know?

    - Tim
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    Hi Tim,
    I agree, the 6.0L is great. Now if they would
    just make it an option in the 1/2-tons....but that'll never happen because of the CAFE requirements.

    I don't dislike the 5.3L, in fact, it's very fun
    to drive with all that high-end HP, I just think the 350 has some advantages too.
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Member Posts: 4,157
    GM's rating already sux..(why do you think they offer so many S-10's for $69 a month?)..and if the 6.0 was in the 1/ would really suck!..

    Everybody would get it....being in a 3/4..less people will get it...and the fact that an 8600GVW truck does not fall into that class anyway...makes it so they can get around the laws. Ever notice the MPG is not given for 3/4's?..they don't have to give it.

    As mentioned also turned me on to the whole 3/4 spectrum...and made me realize that for me...I had been buying the wrong truck all these years....but we have had this discussion already.

    Good Luck

    - Tim
  • z71josez71jose Member Posts: 22
    I haven't seen the new body-styles in Mexico,
    but the C/K style Chevy for the Mexican market had the GMC front end with the bowtie in the middle.
    Go to and you'll see what I mean.
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    Thanks for the link. I couldn't find any pictures
    of the c/k trucks. It doesn't help that I don't read spanish. Every time I clicked on something that looked like a c/k link, the link didn't work.
    But anyway, I've seen them converted in magazines and they look sharp. The bow-tie looks better than the GMC emblem.
  • anonymousanonymous Member Posts: 314
    my salesman went from a 1987 stepside to a 1998
    1500 ex cab sh bed which is a real creampuff.
    this thing is flawless. 350 runs peerrfect!
    only problem is that when driving on freeway with
    expansion joints(goota luv 'em) he says it
    bounces like crazy. told him i knew who to talk
    to about it and would let him know if anything
    could be done to help make ride less bouncy.
    right now he's trying some wieght in the bed,
    4 25 lb. bags of sand.

    any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    like this topic too, C/K series is far from

  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    I'm glad you brought the C/K topic back. I prefer the older style over the new. I like how they look better than the new. Granted the new truck has many new features and improvements but I'll let other people find out what the weak points and problems are. I have a 98 ext-cab Z-71 thats pretty well loaded and has been a very reliable truck. I plan on keeping it for quite awhile.
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    Same truck as mine, same year and everything. Glad yours is still doing fine. How many miles on it? Mine is just about to turn over 16,000, and I haven't had one problem yet. Many of the critics have complained about the flexing, squeaking chassis, but my experience has been the complete opposite. It feels really solid and sturdy. Many of the passengers that I've taken with me, have commented on how smooth the power is. One big plus is the gas mileage. Who would have thought a few years ago that you could get 19-20 mpg in a full-sized, gas-powered 5.7L V8, 4x4?
    Anyway, glad you found the new topic.
  • redsilveradoredsilverado Member Posts: 1,000
    i was sure hoping to get some advice from you but
    i guess i might have to look to another forum for
    the ride problem for my salesman, we sell Dupont
    Corian and on occasion he carrys delicate samples
    to our customers. that is why we're looking for a
    solution for his problem.

    anyway i'm sorry you could not help us and good
    luck with this new forum. i hope it does die off
    like the last one due to lack of interest.

    thanx, red
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    what kind of tires and shocks does he have? Also, I didn't think that Corian was delicate...

    My problems on the expansion joints were taken care of by switching to edelbrock shocks and changing tires...
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Member Posts: 4,157
    have 16K on a 98...

    had the 00 8 months's got almost 14K miles..

    Oh well....

    - Tim
  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    My truck has about 17,400 miles on it. I had a few problems with mine in the beginning... Bad frontend alignment, leaking power steering gear, leaking master cylinder, leaking gas tank, bad lower steering shaft and now a slightly leaking oil cooler line. The truck has the 2-3 shift clunk and crappy brakes but I've learned to live with this. I havn't had it in the shop for over a year now. I wish I could get the mileage that you are getting. I only get about 15 mpg right now with mostly intown driving. I run synthetic oil in the engine and soon will put it in the differentials. I also installed the high capacity AC-Delco air filter and a Borla cat-back exhaust system. Thats all I plan on doing on this truck
  • stevekstevek Member Posts: 362
    I have a '97 K1550 Z71 with the 5.7L Vortec. No problems the truck runs great until a couple of days ago when a knock started at idle or under acceleration (it cruises great, getting 17+ MPG combined). Several mechanics (including dealers) told me that the engine is "blown". The knock is at the lower part, possibly a bearing. They say I should put a brand new engine in. Although the truck has 90K miles on it (all highway, commuting and the oil changed reliogiously every 3K) this should of not occured. I am calling the Chevy 800# (I know good luck....hehhee) see if they can help me on this. A new motor installed is 4K. Any comment advice?
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    We have an '89 Buick LeSabre that we drive a few times a week to reduce the mileage on our newer vehicles: '98 truck and a '96 Impala SS.
    The Impala only has 17,600 miles on it. It's well worth the extra insurance cost (only liability) to keep the '89 around. My wife and I also work at the same place (different buildings, thank heavens!) so we're able to car pool, which also saves miles.
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    Thanks for the info. I must have been really
    lucky, because my truck has been totally trouble-free (haven't even seen the dealer since I bought it, I do all the maintenance myself) and I have some light mods (headers, cat-back, K&N, ram-air). The hard tonneau cover really helps the mileage, and I'm pretty light on the pedal.

    Sorry to hear about your engine. That's a bit scary. How does the power feel. I imagine the knock sensor is retarding the timing so you're probably losing some power from that if nothing else. If it cruises great, are they sure it's a bearing? Wouldn't that be an "all the time" thing? Well, it sucks that it gave out, but $4K
    for a new engine is a lot less than buying a new truck. Plus your truck's value will go up some to compensate for that (as long as you keep all the documentation and sell it yourself instead of trading it in when the time comes). I know I'd pay more for a truck with a newer engine.
    Just dreaming out loud: At the end of the year, GM is putting a 325 hp 6.0L in the 2001 Denali/Escalade. That means it's fair game to swap it into a 1/2 ton truck. I wonder what the price differential would be (and can your truck wait that long?) to put it in. That 6.0L has considerably more torque/displacement than the 5.7L (which is already pretty impressive) AND more displacement. I imagine that would cost around 10-15K, though, because you'd need all the computer and emissions for the 6.0L (and maybe the HD tranny). But, you'd have a hot-rod, stump-pulling, one-of-a-kind, better-looking-than-new truck for that 10-15K.
  • anonymousanonymous Member Posts: 314
    maybe that budlitedork was right, give it up. i
    mean you don't even have the decency to reply to
    ones question. it wont't be long before this
    topic is archived or tossed completly also. see

  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Member Posts: 4,157
    96 Impala eh??

    I thought about one of those...

    around here they still bring damn near what they costed new!

    Nice car....but it just wouldn't be a truck...

    I already have a summer car...and 2 cars and one truck just doesn't make 2 cars the wife has...4 is enough for 2 people..

    I always said there are only two 4 doors I would ever buy....and Impala SS and a Suburban..

    (4-door Silverado don't count.....real doors)

    - Tim
  • stevekstevek Member Posts: 362
    If I replace that engine the only place that truck goes from my house is the junk yard, I will get my money's worth. 3 different dealers told me that a new engine is called for. The truck runs great, no power loss, just a lot of knocking noise, which incidentaly misses beats once in a while then comes back. Camping season is coming up and I don't want to break down with the trailer, otherwise I would just run it until it stops.
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    I don't know the answer to your question. Sorry.
    When I first read your question, I didn't know the answer but I didn't have time to write. Then the next time I checked this topic, it didn't show your question so I forgot all about it. I didn't
    mean to ignore you.

    I'll work on my manners if you'll work on yours.
    Your last reply was a bit rude.
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    The Impala is a very fun car. You're right.
    They're going for very close to what they cost new. Brand new they cost $26,192 with every option including destination. There was no coming
    down from MSRP. They were way too hot. Many people paid more than MSRP. Now, if you find one with less than 5K miles (they're out there) you'll pay about $26-29K. Finding a good one with around 30K miles is fairly easy, you'll pay about $22-23K.
    I got mine about a month ago and got the deal of the century. It had 15K miles and lots of performance mods (headers, cat-back, 3.42 gears,
    cold-air kit, hypertech,...) and I got it for $21K. Of course I had to travel 6 states away to get it, but it was worth it. The drive home was a lot of fun. It goes from 60 to 90 in an instant which makes passing, merging, etc. a breeze.

    "If I replace that engine the only place that truck goes from my house is the junk yard, I will get my money's worth."

    Does the "If" mean you're considering other options? (i.e. getting a new truck?).
    If you do get it replaced, let us know how it goes. I'm interested to see how smoothly something like that works. Good luck!
  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    There was a TSB out about startup knock on the 96-98 5.7L. I don't know what it is at this time. You might just try replacing the lower bearings. I did this once on a 72 LTD that had rod knock and low oil pressure. This fixed it right up. no more knock or low pressure and we didn't even pull the motor or turn the crank, just dropped the pan. Car was still running good when I got rid of it a couple of years later.
  • redsilveradoredsilverado Member Posts: 1,000
    rude? it was more like i put my foot in my mouth.
    sorry about that, i tend to be impatient. i do
    need to work on that.

    thanks anyway for your reply. i guess i did'nt
    give you much to go on. Obyone asked about tires
    and shocks. i'm know that the shocks are stock
    (original) and tires are firestone. still not
    much to go on. other than the bouncing on freeway
    exspansion joints the truck runs great.

  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    Got a &#146;98 Silverado, ExtCab, K1500, ShortBed, 5.7, in the dark blue (039?) and I also have the pronounced expansion joint buck. Pmetric BigZero BigFoots and stock Bilsteins. I like everything else about the truck except a transmission failure 7 weeks after purchase on 12/31/99 with 47K miles. Dealer paid… all is well. I went out on a dirt-road trip (Gerlack to Pyramid Lake - + or &#150; 60 miles) yesterday and was extremely amazed at the smoothness. Far better than my old 2002 would have done. More weight and bigger tires make a difference. Suspension differences too.

    I will put in different shocks and report back.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    It's a good idea to lose those Bilsteins
  • 97ltz7197ltz71 Member Posts: 9
    hi guys

    Just bought a used '97 silverado 4WD loaded Leather, Z71, the works. 33500 miles. I'm wonder if anyone knows where i can find what the option codes mean? I got them out of the glove box, but the new (2000) codes don't seem the same.

    Also wonder about a repair manual. Buy the GM one or go with a Chilton or Haynes?
  • 97ltz7197ltz71 Member Posts: 9
    The '97 truck has the 5.7 v8, 4sp auto and 245/75 R16's. It's extened cab not sure about the gear ratio or if it has locking differential?
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    Welcome to the land of the C/K, and congrats on getting your new truck. Regarding option codes,
    did you try looking at the 2000 HD trucks options. They're still the C/K's (not the new body style, so some of the option codes may be the same). Another thing is that I still have my brochure from '98 (my truck is a GMC, but I have both the Chevy and the GMC brochures). I don't know if they'd have changed from '97 to '98, but if you list the option codes that you're curious about, I can look them up for you and see if they make sense.
    Most Z71's are ordered with the 3.73 gear ratio and the locking differential, but not all of them.
    To test if it's a locker you can raise the back end and see if both wheels turn when you put it in gear. There's probably a way to tell by looking at the differential, but I don't know it off hand.
    Keep us informed on your performance, mileage, quality, etc.
  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    Obyone.. Lost the Bilsteins… There is a difference that confirms that the Bilsteins were worn. However, the cement highway bounce is still there. I want to believe that it isn&#146;t as hard, but I don&#146;t know if that is actually true. Guess it&#146;s part of the truck territory.

    I have only found one source (in LasVegas, I think) for the &#147;Velvet ride&#148; BFGoodrich devices that was mentioned earlier somewhere. Anyone else find a source? How much?
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    What kind of shocks did you replace the Bilsteins with?

    For the record, I have a 3/00 Silverado xcab 2wd 1500 loaner for the past two weeks. On the concrete freeway with those expansion joints, I get absolutely no bounce. And this is with those damn Tenneco stock shocks and 235/75R16 Goodyears. Only thing I can figure out is that this truck is made in Canada...
  • 97ltz7197ltz71 Member Posts: 9
    I did the 2000 c/k truck check and if the codes are the same it has a 3.73 rear and locking rear. I also had a chance to fool around in the mud over the weekend and both rear tires spin in the mud. The 4WD seem to work really well and i did the first fill up 23 gallons for 360 miles (15.65 MPG) but i towed a jet ski about 100 miles, playrd in the mud, towed some farm equip, road hunted, and drove on a lot of hilly dirt roads. I couldn't be happier with the truck. Wondering if there is a low fuel light/indicator. The fuel guage was on E, but i didn't get anything. Aslo any word on the best service manual?
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    service manuals: Chilton and Haynes. I figure, they'll complement each other. I got the Chilton's from JCWhitney for 50% off. I also ordered headers and cat-back exhaust at the same time, so it didn't cost any extra shipping.
    There IS supposed to be a low fuel indicator light according to the '98 owner's manual, but mine has never come on (it's also supposed to come on during the engine startup test and mine doesn't). I should have it fixed under warranty, but I never let my gas tank go much below a quarter anyway (otherwise the fuel-pump can become unsubmerged and burn up since the fuel is it's coolant) and I'd rather not have some lacky technician taking apart my dash to replace the bulb.

    P.S. The headers and cat-back exhaust really improved the power (especially the headers).
  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    Go to and you will find the dealer type manuals.
    The '98 C/K that I got is a four volume set, each is about two inches thick. Much more detail, and specific to your model year.
  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    Obyone. I got a pair of Gabriel Gas VST shocks that are supposed to have the self adjusting thing. At about $25 each from JCW, I figured I would find out if the Bilsteins were worn out as suggested by the Big-Zero folks.
    I don't expect them to last long, but by the time they are done, I'll have a better idea what to replace them with. Cheap is sometimes OK. A same or similar shock is sold locally for close to $50 each.
    This weekend, my wife and I will drive down to UCLA to collect our daughter and her "dorm stuff". There may be enough weight comming back home to indicate whether I should carry a couple sand bags in the back end to smooth things out.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    I picked up this link from the Silverado vibrations topic. Looks like you can dump the sandbags for these. Priced about right...think I'll probably check them out.
  • 97ltz7197ltz71 Member Posts: 9
    I picked up a chilton's total car care for $9.99 at Kmart (on sale).

    The link doesn't weem to work? Got another address and is it the same as the book in the back of the manual from Chevy?

    Where are you guys getting headers and cat-back exhaust? Any gas mileage changes?
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    The link is
  • 97ltz7197ltz71 Member Posts: 9
    thanks for the address.

    The manuals are $120.00. The back of the owners manual has a shop manual for $90.00 Same, Better, worse?
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    back of the owners manual. The $120 for the Helm's is worth the money. I just loaned it to my dealer to help them sort out my vibrations...BTW, the Helm's manual is a 4 volume set covering Yukons, Tahoes, GMC Sierra, and Silverados. Each volume is as thick as a phonebook. Cost me another $30 for shipping and handling.
  • mrmilkytoumrmilkytou Member Posts: 27
    I have owned GM trucks since 1987. I have owned Mostly GMC's , they are just prettier, front grill and so on. Anyway the codes for the truck can be found on a sticker in the glove compartment. The codes are standard on all trucks, usually across models. Some are standard codes others are option codes.


    G80 = locking differential
    Z82 = factory tow package
    V02 = HD radiator
    Z71 = off-road suspension package
    C60 = AC
    AJ1 = factory deep tint windows
    K34 = tilt/cruise control
    KC4 = oil cooler
    GT4 = standard axle ratio (usually 3:73's)
    GT5 = optional axle ratio (usually 4:10's)
    L05 = 5.7 V8

    Think back to the 1960's muscle cars
    Z28 wasn't just a name for the Camaro, it was the RPO ( regular production option ) for the performance model, just like L88 was to the Corvette 427 option and LS6 was to the 1970 Chevelle's 454 option.

    Any dealer can explain those codes on your vehicle. If you want post your codes and I will decipher them for you.
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    Just one tidbit to add. The new Vortec 5.7L has a code of L31 (I have to wonder if it was given that name to rhyme with the LT1 of '92-'96 Corvette fame, which the Vortec 5.7L is derived from).
  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    By "new Vortec 5.7L" I mean from '96 to present.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    or you can click on this link and decipher the codes for yourself...
  • 97ltz7197ltz71 Member Posts: 9
    thanks for the address. The site works up to U35 then the links stop working. Found another site
    but it doesn't have all the codes, still missing:
    BZY, KNP, K47, K60, NG1, OSG, RSA, R9L, SLL, VXS, V73, XBX, YBX, YD3, YD6, ZBX, 1SC, 1SZ, 55L, 6GG, and 7GG.

    I've come up with 3 different colors for 43U, truck is dark green on top/ tan on thte bottom.

    And K05 is the engine block heater, but I can't find an electrical plug? Anyone know where it should be?

    I'm ordering the manuals form Helm. If dealers borrrow them I guess they're the ones to have.

    From the looks of the times of responses, are all you guys on the west coast? I'm in upstate NY.

    Thanks again to everyone.

  • powerisfunpowerisfun Member Posts: 358
    On my '98 (and I assume it didn't change from
    '97) the plug is on the driver side near the front
    corner. I had trouble finding it too (I think the owner's manual describes the placement too, because that's how I found mine). As I recall, it was sort of camouflaged. I had to get in there with a flashlight several times before I found it.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    if anyone want's to check out what each number or alpha in their VIN means, go to:
This discussion has been closed.