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98' GMC Turbo Diesel. Good, Bad or Ugly?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by chazmanian, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    Looking at this 98' GMC 3500 Reg cab Turbo diesel with 146,000 miles. Its an Online deal so I havent got to drive or see it in person as of yet. The seller is thinking its gonna bring $6,000.00. I was thinking if it drove and rode good I would drive down there with $5,000 cash in fist and see if he would end the auction and let me have it....Is the 98' GM Turbo Diesel a good motor?
  2. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    Sorry to bug you gents agian....Just looked at the Diesel.com forum and it appears that the 6.5 has some issues that must be addressed prior to having any sort of longevity. Even at that it seems like they are plagued with a Myriad of issues.

    I'm "Steering Clear" on that one.
  3. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,724

    Check out dieselplace.com in the 6.5 section, they know just about every problem and how to fix it, should be just what you need if you like the truck but arn't sure of the problems or how good of a motor it is.
  4. Gmgbo

    Gmgbo Senior Member
    Messages: 159

    i have 2 bad 6.5's in my garage if you want them
  5. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    It's a good truck, and it looks clean. All you really need to do is move the PMD to a remote cooler, change the filters, glow plugs and injectors and it'll go another ten years. 98 has the upgraded cooling system with dual thermostats, resolved any overheating issues the old pre-97 design had. Biggest downfall to the 6.5 is there is not a lot of aftermarket support for performance mods. If you want a drag racer get a Duramax. If you want a reliable work truck the 6.5 is great. I've found that most all the people who bad mouth the 6.5 don't know what they are talking about. Check out the 6.5 forum at dieselplace.com
  6. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    From what i saw onj the diesel.com website the 6.5 seems to be a truck that needs some extra attention....This is my first year out on the plowing circut and I fully expect to operate at break-even or maybe even a loss........If I can turn a profit my first year I would be shocked.

    Hence taking the 6.5 and its seemingly constant need for love and attention out of my arena.

    I wanna go with the KISS concept.

    Keep It Simple Stoopid. A 350 V-8 in a mid 90's 2500 truck is what I need. If something breaks there are more cheap parts that you can shake 4 sticks at. If the motor blows I can exchange the blown block for a fresh Re-Man in a hot second.....

    Love that Chevy parts availability. Love that inherent Chevy small block reliability.

    Like a Rock?:drinkup:
  7. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Thats a nice truck, I really doubt 5k cash will get it done. Honestly 6K seems low.
  8. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,034

    I had a 93 and it was a good truck but I would go with a 350, anybody can fix them and all parts are readily available.
  9. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    For 6K the guy would end the auction and sell it right now....

    I gotta go with decades and decades of proven Plowing success.....The venerable 350 small block will need to be my first plow rig.
  10. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    You really can't go wrong with a 350. The vortecs had a lot of fuel injector problems, but better power because of the better head design. Other than that it is a tried and true design. They thrive on abuse, as long as they have oil and coolant in them you can't hurt them.
  11. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

  12. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    Boy I wish that Ole' Blue wasnt 1500 miles away...Its awfully hard to find a good plow truck at a reasonable price in Colorado.
  13. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Colorado's only 1500 miles away?
  14. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    It was a wild guess? Mebbe 1800 miles?

    Anyhow I found the truck today...The truck that I think will get my foot in the door this year.

    1992 Chevy 1500. 4x4. 7.5 Meyer diamond something about 3 years old and perfect.Beefed up front end stuff. 350 TBI strong as horsemeat. Auto tranny (want a Turbo 400) Rides and drives like a brand new truck as all the balljoints and some arm were replaced over the summer. The 350 was a "Crate" or parts store Remanufactured with 10K miles on it. Purrs like a kitten and has good power. Everything works good and although its a 1/2 ton it seems much more solid and steady on its feet than the light duty 3/4 with the 305.....After much back and forth and exchanging $5,000 cash I now have my first plow truck. Drove it home from denver to my house(About 70 miles) and it ran like a champ and drove better than I would ever expect an old truck to drive......

    Now about that tranny swapping? This truck is nice and straight and with the strong motor good brakes and a very clean body I think it deserves a Turbo 400 tranny instead of the glass jaw achilles heel stocker.

    I'm real happy with the truck and think it can handle the 2 accounts that I have now.....Time will tell I guess. At 5K at least I'm not buried in the thing as the plow is like new and the truck is an easy daily driver....
  15. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Which tranny does it have? I'm not a huge fan of the TH400 myself. Yes, they are strong, but they are not unbreakable. Overheat them too much and they will fail just like any other auto tranny. But that's not why I don't like them. They have a lousy first gear, and no overdrive. A 700r4 or 4l60e has a much better first gear, a lot lower which is what you want for low speed grunt work like plowing or towing. And the OD is just a bonus for highway travel.700r4s got a bad rep in the 80s, later ones were upgraded and really weren't that bad if you took care of them.

    Save some money now and just prep the tranny for plowing. See how you like it before you go ripping a good tranny out and installing an old dinosaur.

    This is what you must do with an auto tranny before plowing.

    1) Temperature gauge! I cannot stress enough the importance of being able to monitor fluid temps. Once you start working the truck and the airflow slows up through the coolers, you can get up to dangerous temps in 5-10 minutes. Prolonged high temps=burned fluid=equals damged transmission parts. Trust me, you will be amazed when you start watching how fast temps climb.
    2) Auxiliary fan. Any decent size electric pusher/puller fan from the parts store (or even a used one off a car can work, I used a Taurus fan once) This is so when you notice your temp is too high you can switch it on and save your tranny. You can put it on a temp sensor switch and it will come on automatically if you want to get fancy.
    3) Change fluid and filter. Very easy job, can be messy of you aren't careful. My 4l80e has a drain plug, don't know if the 4l60e does too-700r4 does not. That helps immensely. I like to change my fluid a couple times a year, and do the filter every other time. I don't worry about flushing the converter and cooler because I change it so much it stays clean and red. If yours is nasty you can just change it a couple times, driving it a few days in between. Not hard to cycle all the fluid out. I've been told to stay away from those power flush machines that push the fluid through the whole system backwards.
    4) 4wd adds heat and stress. Don't be afraid to use it, but also don''t leave it engaged if you don't need it, travelling from job to job or easy straight flat pushes. If you have the right ballast (300-400 lbs minimum for your truck, more if you want) you can use 2wd more and not work the truck as hard either. Another trick I learned is to use 4 low when you can. Much easier on the tranny so the temp stays down. You can use more torque and gearing that way. But you have to be patient because it's slower and you have to be more careful shifting. An old tranny (transmission ;>) guru told me that, and it's true you can watch the gauge and see the temp stays cooler in low range.

    Keep the fluid from getting too hot and the tranny will be fine. Everybody says plowing kills automatic trannys, but if you manage the heat you won't have that problem.

    This is just my opinion on plowing, I'm sure others have more experience and ideas. But if anyone disputes the necessity of a trans temp gauge, then they're an idiot and should be punished with medievil torture devices.
  16. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Oh yeah, one more thing I forgot to add: Congratulations on your first plow truck!
    Sounds like a good truck, and I'm glad you joined the Chevy camp. Get us some pics, and if there's any questions at all someone here can help you.
  17. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    The 1998 ended up bringing.....

    1998 GMC : Sierra 3500 Rust free Item number: 170162711902

    Sorry, you were outbid. This item sold to gary_ah for US $6,000.00.
  18. RSmith63

    RSmith63 Junior Member
    from Rockies
    Messages: 3

    Glad You Found a truck

    I've been beating the bushes here in Colorado also and havent found a good 3/4 ton. Got outbid by $50 on a 7.5 ft Western but I would have had to go 300 miles to get it.
  19. chazmanian

    chazmanian Member
    Messages: 93

    Smitty finding a plow truck in Colorado has been hellish at best. All the trucks I drove felt as if they were taking their last breath....Even the ones without plows were beat beyond all hope. I went with a 1/2 ton as my contracts are all small light stuff and I figure at least I can make it through the year if I get the coolers and gauges installed and drive it nice and slow myself vs a wayward employee.

    Now I'm scrambling around trying to get a pro-flow 2 that will spread sand and some airbags or overload springs along with a set of timbrens on the front and some type of auxillary fan set-ups and gauges.

    Cost me $5,000 for a decent half ton chevy witha meyers plow and good brakes, front end is tight and the truck has enough "Eye-Appeal" to not embarrass me if somebody shows up in the middle of the night!