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93-94 gmc 3/4 ton pros/cons

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by buckwheat_la, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    so we recently bought a 8foot vbox sand spreader, and one of the problems i ran into is the realization i don't have a good 3/4ton truck with a 8foot box to mount it in, so it is now in a light duty (6bolt) 3/4ton chev which are notorious for the trannies going in them, so looking online, and found a 94 3/4ton 4x4 with the 8bolt axles, and the 8ft box, for $2400 or a 90 1 ton chev 2/wheel drive dually for $2200, trucks both seem to be in decent shape, good body, strong drive train, i have a couple questions though

    - is the tranny in the 8 bolt a better tranny then in the light duty (i have no desire to replace another tranny)

    -is the price fair (haven't found anything else in that price range)

    -which truck 1 ton or 3/4 ton

    -how important is the 4x4 vs carrying capacity

    -how much different is the carrying capacity

    looking for some imput on this
  2. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    I wouldgo for the dually ,cuz of the weight carrying capacity. I have Chevs 96 99 00 dually for sanding and I can fill the sander to overflowing. These are 6.5 Diesels with 16000 GVWR. I bought em new (Cab and Chassis models. They got the extended frame on em.) If you are using em for sanding 2wd is just fine (I used to have 8ft Diamond plows on the front and was plowing out country lanes with em.) As far as trannys goes wether 8 bolt is tougher than a 6, maybe but doubt it. The reverse band used to go out of mine. If its a Diesel witha 3.42 rearend and automatic you are setting yourself up for grief. When I bought my 93 Diesel new (oh ya it had a " plow prep; package" BS) It was geared way to high and the poor tranny caught in between payed the p[rice 3 times. Got fed u p with the combination got a 98 (*new) with a 350 gas auto and a 3.73 rears, only went through a reverse band once, the local tranny mech beefed it up and its still plowing 12 years later. I have to laugh at all these guys on plowsite, talking about how they got high torque diesels. and then whine that their tranny (automatic) dont last. (Its a testosterone thing IM sure.
  3. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    The 94 2500 will have the 4L80E in it like the newer trucks still do. While your light duty 3/4 will have the TH700R4 or the 4L60E which are good, but pale in comparison to the 80E. The 90 might still be the 73-87 body style. While motor if it is gas will be the same TBI as the 94, I think the 94s had more power. It also will not have the newer overdrive transmission in it, so fuel economy may suck. Prolly will have the TH 400 which is a great trans as well. The 3/4 has a 8600 GVWR and the 1 ton may have a 9200 or higher, Im not gonna speculate the wrong numbers on that.

    I think the prices are great and would go for it. Now for the 2wd versus 4wd. Is this truck going to strictly be a salt truck and nothing else?? If so, the 1ton would be fine. Now if you want a salter and another good plow truck, the 94 hands down. The 94 you could easily throw a set of rear air bags to help support the sander. But the final decision rests with you since it is your $$$$:)

    I had a 94 GMC 2500 4x4 and it was a great truck. Had 143k when I got it, 350 V8 4L80E trans, etc. Plowed with it, towed and did a bunch of muddin with it. I mean I beat the ever loving shyt out of this thing and never ever let me down. I got rid of it with a lil over 200K, still on the original engine and transmission, and neither were even close to getting tired. That was a few years ago when I got rid of it. Saw it a few months ago and talked to the guy who bought it. Has way over 300K now and still got the original engine and trans, both untouched. And it is still a plow truck. Now dont expect every 94 to be the same way, lol. Mine must have been built on a Wednesday after a good lunch break
  4. bad93blaster

    bad93blaster Member
    Messages: 70

    what makes you think the trannys are different? the only part of the drivetran that is different is the front diff.
  5. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i am pretty sure that the trannys from those light duty, 6 bolt 4x4's is different mainly because i know that these trannys are SH!T, we had 2 of these trucks, and have changed 2-3 trannys in both of them over the last 5 years, if they hadn't have been in such good condition, i would/should have sold them, just don't want to find myself stuck with the same thing. i know the old 400's were great trannys, and i have had newer 6.0l 3/4ton chevs and have had no problems with those trannys either, but i am unfirmiliar with the heavy duty 8 bolt 3/4tons in the years of 93-99,

    as far as the trucks are concerned, neither well be designated for just the sanding box, i want something that can also work as a landscaping truck in the summer, i am concerned with getting stuck in the winter, especially with the crappy drifting we are prone to. that being said, with the weight of a sander i may not have any problems getting stuck, with the 1 ton,
  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I often wish I had a dually, even a 2wd, just for sanding. You can really pound the weight to them.

    The TBI engines - up through 95 - are fine. Run well, decent low end. But they pale in comparison to the Vortecs 96 and up for power. But the Vortecs are more expensive to maintain.

    As for the transmissions, the 4L80e is the best. I don't know what years/models they were available. If I were you, I would find the transmission pan patterns and print them out. Climb under the truck and see what they are.

    You will want to be able to identify these:

    Pretty sure the 700R4 and 4l60e have the same pan.

    You want a truck with a TH400 or 4L80e
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  7. bad93blaster

    bad93blaster Member
    Messages: 70

    the auto tranny is the same between all the trucks doesnt matter size or motor. the converter will change pending motors but the overall tranny is the same. as the stall speed between the 454 and 350 and diesel (6.2/6.5) need to differ
  8. jb1390

    jb1390 Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    The transmissions are definitely not guaranteed to be the same across all 88-98 chevys. You want the 4l80e. I don't think the 8 bolts came with the 4l60e, but mabye B&B will be by shortly to shed some light.

    I have had 4000+ pounds of sand/salt in my spreader on single tires-mine is a 3/4 ton 8 Bolt (not something I recommend doing regularly, and only SHORT distances). It also has air bags in the rear and I don't know how I lived without those. If you have a load of sand in the back of the truck, 2wd is fine. Will you plow with it? Plowing with a 2wd with an empty spreader, and you could be getting stuck a lot. I would go with the 94 4x4 3/4 ton so you have the versatility to put a plow on in the future and still be able to do hills with an empty spreader.
  9. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,190

    The trannys are not the same in all of those trucks.

    The 4l80e came out in '93 I believe, and should be what's in that 94 2500. They are/were the most desirable out of the list as others have stated.

    Depending on the year, the light 2500 you have now probably has the 700R4 or 4L60e, dependign on the year.

    The 90 DRW probably has the turbo 400, maybe a 700R4 IF it has OD.

    If you're not plowing with the truck & only sanding/salting, I'd go with the DRW as the GVW should be in the 11-12K range versus the 8600 GVW of the 2500. That Monroe salter you picked up is big, alot bigger than a 1.5 yard plastic V-box. If you want to use the potential, I'd look for a good dually. :salute:
  10. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    Here real easy:

    88-92 1/2 ton and LD 3/4 6 lug 700R4
    93-2007 1/2 ton 4L60E/4L65E
    88-91 3/4 1 ton TH400- I could be a lil off on this
    92-2007 3/4 1ton 4L80E/4L85E Allison was only behind 01-07 8.1 gas and 01-current DMax

    Even the diesels from the 90's had the 80E, some of the 1/2 tonners with the 6.5 had the 4L60E.

    To think the trucks from 88-98 all have the same transmission is ignorant. GM made all the transmissions electronically controlled in 93, although I think 91 they put the 4L80E into the 3/4 and one tons. If you still disagree, google it!!!

    2COR517 is right, you want something with the TH400/4L80E in it. 700R4/4L60/4L60E all have square pans, 16 bolts with no modulator on the trans. 4L80E has kind of a oval/square shaped pan with 17 bolts.
  11. bad93blaster

    bad93blaster Member
    Messages: 70

    yeah you guys took that the wrong way.
    we are talking about a light duty 3/4 ton 6 lugs wich is early year truck
    wich had either a 700r4 or 400 tranny the comment was made that if you have a half ton or a 1 ton and they both have 700r4s they are the same. it would be the same 700r4. same thing if it had a 400 in it.

    in 93 maybe 94 the trannys are year specific but are not truck specific
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  12. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I'd go with a dually. Might as well load er right up.
    You do your lots and pick up a bunch of others too.
  13. jb1390

    jb1390 Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    Couple questions on the carrying capacity-
    1: how far do you need to travel with a load of sand/salt?
    2: How much sand/salt are you anticipating you will need to use to complete your jobs?
    3: Is your supplier open 24 hrs, or will you get material delivered in bulk?

    You need to decide how much difference extra carrrying capacity will make-will the increased 1/2 yard in weight capacity be enough to justify having a salt only truck, compared to having a salter there while you are plowing, and not needing to trade vehicles. If you have enough work to justify having a salt only truck, then a 2wd dually will be better. However, if you have to double your driving distances to use it, I think the extra carrying capacity argument is moot. For me, I have to travel upwards of 15 miles for one parking lot job-if I had to go back and trade trucks it would be an extra 30 miles of driving-far more than an extra trip to fill up with salt down the street.
  14. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    all a moot point, the truck was a rip off IMO, got there, and the 94 3/4 ton, body looks great, really great, (maybe too good), so i take it out for a test drive, runs alright, climb underneath the truck, RUST EVERYWHERE, i mean bolts are half rusted off, the fuel lines look like they are seeping, the floor pan has places that are showing the black rubber mat in the cab. HORRIBLE!!! dodged a bullet there.

    Thanks everyone for your info, we are still looking for a truck, and now know a lot more about the options (especially the tranny options)
  15. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    also decided to go with a chevy 8 bolt 3/4 ton 4x4(when i find one worth buying) the sander is only going to be on it for this season, we are fixing/restoring a 1989 ford 3 ton dump, and that well probably be where the sander well go next year
  16. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I was gonna ask about using the 3 ton for a sander. IMO hook lift or rolloff beds are the way to go now days. AUX hydraulics are definitely a bonus feature. What can you expect for under six grand?;)