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Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra's w 8100/Allison



  • I've decided to purchase a GMC 2500HD Sierra. It's a used model with 14K miles. Clean Title, etc from Car Fax. Looks like it was a demo - Hitch has never seen a receiver. 2500HD SLE 8.1 with Alli 5 Auto OD Tranny, 4.10, 4WD, Tow package, XCab, 8Ft Bed.

    I plan to drive it to work 16 miles one way 5 days per week. I will be pulling a two horse trailer (approx 3,700 lbs loaded) and a slide in camper (Low profile, light weight crank up style -1500 - 1700 lbs there). I will only be towing about 15 - 20 times per year during the summer months (May through October), distances of 22 to 80 miles depending on destination. I know this is alot of truck for these requirements, but I plan to keep it for awhile - at least until it's paid for :>)...and my longterm goal is to go with a gooseneck trailer in about 3-4 years.

    I see alot of stuff out there on this truck, but short of sifting through thousands of posts I would like to ask the readers about a couple of things.

    What's the weird metal thing that sticks out from between the seat bottom and back of the captains chair that looks like it poked out of the material by mistake? Is it normal?

    Other than the cold knock and the oil consumption are there any other things I should be on the lookout for based on my driving habits?

    I'd like to replace the tires, any recommendations?

    This will be the first vehicle I've owned which is older than a 1992. I've had an 83 Suburban and 88 Suburban and a little car-1992 Eagle Summit. I'm a bit confused about the synthetic oils / rear axle lubricants and pink antifreeze. I know I can read about these things in the owners manual, however the one in the truck is written in French (truck was built in Canada). The dealer said he would get me an english owners manual, but I don't know how quickly that will arrive - I've heard it takes about 3 months to get one. Can anyone provide basic information on maintainence of the lubricants?

    Any information you provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this over. Looking forward to your responses!
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    Are you talking about the track the seat slides on?

    255/85/16's look good on these trucks..

    Good luck

    - Tim
  • gear to drive the allison tranny in for in-town, day to day driving? I am used to the 4 speed autos where 3rd gear has lockup and is used for stop and go driving at speeds less than highway. on the new allison there is no lockup, and 3rd seems to hold the engine at higher rpms.

    What have you guys that have the allison been doing? any comments and suggestions would be appreciated, thanks

  • kg11kg11 Posts: 530
    Laurie the metal thing in the passenger seat is a child seat anchor.Other problems to watch for,Allison tranny shift problems(I had my trans replaced twice under warranty)only in the earliest few units.If carfax was clean and you have'nt got stuck in a particular gear you should'nt worry.If you're gonna keep it a long time go with synthetics.O yeah,I think all of these trucks were built in Pontiac,MI
  • kg11kg11 Posts: 530
    You have 2 choices D and 3.As you said,3 keeps the rpm's up.It uses more fuel but wont hurt anything(I don't think).But personaly I just put it in drive.
  • eric2001eric2001 Posts: 482
    Are you still in the running for the truck? Not sure on the metal piece on the seatbacks? The two problematic issues you already noted. I will be driving it in next week, in case you wanted to look.
  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    The metal brackets in the pass seat bottom are child seat anchors. Give the truck good clean gas and good oil and it wil treat you well. Other than the cold start knock that my 8.1L used to have and a couple of rattles that I have fixed or in the process of fixing, this truck is flawless and is definitely a cowboy caddy!!!

  • The beast is mine! Just waiting for the check to arrive. I sure will take a look at yours next week. Maybe we can do a side by side comparison :>)
  • Thanks for all the responses! The metal thing is a child seat anchor huh, was that an option? (kidding). Hard to believe it was put there on purpose as it's really distracting and unattractive. Any way to get rid of it?

    To kg11 - This truck has a maple leaf sticker on the door panel - 1st registration issue with 0 miles was at Quebec Motor Vehicle Department dated 3/2/2001. Sure looks to me like it was built in Canada, especially with all them funny french words in the owner's manual (Smile) I've heard that they do some initial frame assembly in Canada and then final drive train assembly in Michigan but I can't attest to that as fact. Thanks for the tip on the tranny. Two test drives in the mountains didn't show any sign of problem there. I was quite impressed with the transmission actually.

    4X4man - Any recommendation on the mfr. of "good oil, good gas"? I've used Mobil Gas in all my vehicles, plan to continue. As far as oil goes, what do these trucks come off the line with? Is it possible to switch to syn oil if the truck hasn't had it before? (I can see everyone laughing at that question now - Come on guys, I'm just a lady trying to learn about her new truck). How'd you get rid of the engine knock? I listened for it on my 2nd test drive and didn't hear anything but the outside temp wasn't that cold at the time. On my first test drive I started it up a couple of times while it was warm and didn't notice anything unusal then either. I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

    Thanks for all your replies.
  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    I really don't have any recommendations on gas manufacturers because I really don't know. I have found that some gas stations give me better gas mileage than others and my driving habits tend to stay the same. I just stick with the gas stations that give me the best mileage and I figure that it is good gas. Pretty unscientific but it works for me!
    On the oil, I put synthetic in at 3,000 miles. That is good oil IMHO...I am using Mobil 1 5w-30 but there are a lot of other good synthetic oils on the market.
    If/when you switch to synthetic there is no need to flush the engine as the dino and synthetic are compatible. I have heard that it isn't wise to switch back and forth between synthetic and dino oil. So if you are going to go synthetic, stay with it for the rest of your ownership.
    Hope this helps!

  • 1i2cu1i2cu Posts: 32
    I've always used bar-reinforced ladder snow chains, the auto parts store is telling me that I should use cable type traction devices, as the 2500HD has ABS brakes. Cable type won't affect the ABS as the ladder type will.
    All you people who have to cope with the white stuff, which type do you prefer ?
    Just a 'flatlander' in SOCAL who needs to make a decision by 12/26/01.
    Thanks in advance for your opinions.
  • owenm1owenm1 Posts: 29
    need some huskyliner front mats? I have a
  • minikinminikin Posts: 389
    What with the chains? 4X4, decent tires, and knowing how to drive works just fine. Only thing chains ever did for me was beat the heck out of my fenders when they broke back when I was a kid. If you gotta carry them for legal reasons, at least get real chains with lugs so that if you ever do need them they'll actually work.
    -- Don
  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    I have never needed chains for the white stuff. However when my dad and I were out hunting a few years ago, we had to scratch the paint off of his when we hit some really murky stuff with his truck... We haven't had the need for chains in town here in Denver. As minikin stated, 4x4, decent tires and some smarts will get you through most ugly situations.

  • One of the worst night time blizzards, Feb '95, driving the worst car ever created for winter driving, the Ford Mustang H.O. with sport radials, snow was blowing sideways, drifts were 3-4 ft, visibility zero, frozen wipers, defroster on full blast...

    Driving home from Crested Butte, up over Monarch Pass, US285, Kenosha Pass, Crow Hill above Fairplay, passed scores of 4x4's in the ditch, up the hill on C470 from Santa Fe to University, got it completely sideways, saved it...kept going all the way to my driveway. And THERE...THERE I could not get up it. Had to put chains on....Grrrr!!

    Today, with mag chloride, A/T radials, I may never need 4wd. Still glad to have it though, if only to get up the driveway.
  • minikinminikin Posts: 389
    How about last May? Only things moving in our neighborhood that day, rural Parker, were 4x4's with folk that knew how to use them.
    -- Don
    BTW: I've had the pleasure(?) of driving Fox chassis Fords in snow/ice. Sincere congratulations on making it as far as your driveway! I stayed home that day.
  • That May storm was shortly after I got the diesel. Came through Kenosha pass that day too, US 285, Turkey Creek Canyon, but no big deal compared to the hammering you took in Parker. I haven't used 4x4 on this truck, except to test, keep the seals from getting dry.
  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    The blizzard in Oct 97 sticks out in my mind...I think it was Oct?? 2-3 feet of snow, didn't have a truck at that time, only my 1980 mustang soupped up with a 302. Needed to back it out of the carport to get some firewood. Made it about two feet and highsided the rear and got it stuck...waited till the snow stopped so I could get all the snow out from underneath it to pull it back into the carport...

    Forgot about the May storm last year (thought it was earlier, but they all go so fast don't they??). Arapahoe road was full of 2wd trucks and vans stuck all over the place at 5:30am. They should've stayed home...come to think of it, I should've to. Luckily I had my 97 4x4 half ton at the time and made it in to work ok.

  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    Feb 98 we got zapped. No power or cable for 3 days ( i hibernated).

    Drove a 2wd 97 sonoma at the time too. Got it stuck plenty of times
  • for the first time yesterday. 189.1 miles; 23.225 gallons. a whopping 8.1 miles to the gallon!

    8.1l, allison, 4.10/locker rear, all in town driving. I also don't know if the tank was absolutely full from the dealer.

    I'm not sweatin' it. I know it will get better when the truck breaks in more. also, i did not buy the truck for gas mileage.

  • kg11kg11 Posts: 530
    That's about all you get in town.I have 15000 mi on mine and get about 7.5 but like you said,"I did'nt buy it for gas mileage".Hook it up to your house and pull it up a 8% grade!Freeway mileage is about13.5 @ 65 and 11.2 @ 75
  • minikinminikin Posts: 389
    I have a tree in my bck yard; in Oct '97 it was an Aspen sapling that got the top pinned down to the ground, bent over a fence, by that storm when the back yard filled up with snow. Stayed that way until I got back there and freed it up late May or early June. Now about 15 ft tall with a really neat, graceful arch. Last May, my significant other left really early, about 4:00 am to "beat the traffic" to work; just before it all really went to hell. Took until almost noon to get her back home with the 4X4. We recovered her car from the super market parking lot the next day. Oh well, back to trucks and here's to another, potentially interesting, Colorado winter.
    -- Don
  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    At least we have a hope of our weather being much more interesting than our football team.....

    Anyway back to trucks...noticed this morning that for the first couple of minutes if the temp is 32 or below my mirror blinks the temp then blinks ICE and then goes back to the temp. First time I ever paid attention to that. I could've just opened my eyes to the snow that was still left on the ground, but luckily those trusty GM engineers already thought of that so I didn't have to.... :D

  • Perhaps a blinky warning for ice is not a bad idea, but there are few G.M innovations I'm glad to do without...the blinky "shift" light on my S10 comes to mind, On-Star is another. Wife's caddy has message center, when it comes on...oh $hit, what's it gonna cost, "A/C refrigerant low" meant new compressor seals and $765. The "Service 4WD" message came on a couple times on my previous truck, '99 Silverado. Took it in, no problem, no service needed. Grrr!!

    I don't like vehicles that assume you are an idiot, and have to tell you things you should already know, like your fuel is low, or door ajar. Who's drivin' the damn thing anyway?
  • For those that might be interested, I changed my Transmission filter on the weekend. Allison recommends a change of the filter (not oil) at 8000KM. This was easier than changing the engine oil filter!.

    Interesting note, I called the GM dealer and asked for a price on the filter. Was told it was $26. I asked for a part number and the dealer refused to give it to me. He must have sensed that I was going to shop around and offered me the filter "at cost" - $18 without being prompted. I hung up and called a local diesel shop that is an authorized Allison service center. "Allison" brand filter = $11.

    Also purchased a 454 oil filter from a local Delco dealer for $4. GM dealer wanted $12.

    Pays to shop around? Can't afford to let GM rip me off on parts aft spending $30K on the truck.

  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    Couldn't agree more....I really could've done without Onstar being forced on me. Wish I could take that darn antenna off my roof so it looks clean, but nooooooooo they drilled holes through the roof for their crap. At least it doesn't leak, I guess I have that to be thankfull for!!

  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    It seems more and more the dealer is not only trying to get your money for the truck, but also pricing the parts extremely high for our high priced parts. The grape juice and Alli filter come to mind. Dealer here wants $28 a qt for their grape thanks, Mobil 1 at $6.99 for my truck and no problems yet. Alli filter was around $25 I think from dealer, I can't remember, went to Allison distributor and got it for $9 after tax. Told the guy at the Alli shop how much the dealer wanted for it and he just laughed as he said most of the dealers buy the filters from them!!

    Oh well, just like any other place that charges too much for a product, I go to another store and give my business there!

  • Castrol/Allison TranSynd synthetic Dexron III ATF $31/gallon & $7.95 for the filter from my Reno Detroit Diesel/Allison dealer versus $26/qt & $15/filter from dealer. But what really burned my behind was the dealers not knowing my Allison Tranny from a hole in the ground. One dealer/service writer told me no maintenance is required for the first 100,000 miles. My other local dealer quoted me time & parts to remove the oil pan, replace gasket, change the internal filter and refill with ATF. I told him, no thanks, b/c the allison manual states you need only to use the DRAIN PLUG in the pan to drain the fluid & only change the internal filter at overhaul!


  • I am considering purchasing a Extended Cab 2500HD 4WD and would like to get advise concerning towing with a SB vs. LB. Dealers seem to giving conflicting info (whatelse is new). Jeff (ruddster) thanks for the info on Dave Smith Motors, have already contacted them.
    P.S. I live in Gardnerville.
  • Other than the slight differences in towing capacities, not much difference between LB & SB when towing. I have found that depending on tongue wt of the trailer & road surface, a SB may "buck" a little more as compared to the longer wheelbase of a LB. I would be more concerned with making sure the capabilities of the truck match your load.

    See you a Sharkey's!

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