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4.8 or 5.3 Silverado 1500 trucks?

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Old 06-18-2017, 02:58 PM   #1
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Question 4.8 or 5.3 Silverado 1500 trucks?

So I'm planning on trading in my old '98 S10 pickup and buying a used 1500 4X4 ,something in the 2000's with a 4.8 or 5.3 V-8 most likely. Any years to avoid and thoughts on the 4.8 vs. the 5.3 engines? Not looking to do anything other than keep it stock for a daily driver, I have a big old lifted 3/4T square body for heavy hauling and off roading. Just looking for a reliable driver and trying to find something without too many miles for $10K or less.
Must be a 4X4 only because I live up in the mountains on a steep hill and we get snow and ice in the winter. Not totally ruling out a V-6 if the price was right but from what I've gleaned they don't do much better on fuel mileage and have less power.
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:41 AM   #2
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10 grand could get you something fairly newer.

Try to avoid DoD/AFM engines unless you're deeply worried about a few extra mpg. The lifters in those are almost always the first failure point.

If you are able to get something with the 6L80e, that would be better than getting a truck with the 4L60e, but the year they made the switch might be just a bit out of your price range.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:35 AM   #3
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I have a 2000 5.3. Drove it stone stock - no tires, gears - for many year and it was always very reliable, but down on power. My truck had 4.10's from the factory and I would stay in third gear most of the time on the highway because unless I was going 70 plus the thing could not accelerate or keep speed up a hill in OD. So I would DEF stay away from a 4.8.

The early 2000 trucks are pretty tough. Motor still going at 315K miles. Tranny went at a little over 300K. I made it to 200K and change and the only thing replaced was the fuel pump - stranded so that sucked - and a couple of alternators for some reason.

I don't know how much they go for, but if you could find a clean one with low 100K miles for the right price I'd go for it.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:49 AM   #4
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Thanks guys,I don't know much about these LX engine based rigs so this helps a lot.Most of my wrenching days when I was younger were old school 283/327/350 SBC or 396/427/454 BBC so I'm a little lost on the newer stuff.
I'd like to find one with a stick but most are autos so that will likely be what I end up with short of some luck on the right truck.
Wish gas would go back down to 35cts a gallon like when I was in high school, I'd just drive my old '78 square body with the 454 ha ha.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:56 AM   #5
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Pretty rare to find one with a stick, at least in my neck of the woods.

Gas mileage - I dunno how the newer trucks are pulling down such great mileage but I've never gotten better than 13mpg in mine. My commute changed a few months ago and now I'm doing 35 miles on a hilly highway - getting about 11.5mpg.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:26 PM   #6
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I drove a 2003 and a 2004 Silverado for a couple of years. The 2004 was my girlfriend's truck and she had the 4.8L V8 while I had the 5.3L LM7. The 2003 was the first year of that body style. Avoid that **** like the plague. The engine and transmission were fine but the rest of the truck was junk. It's best to with the 2004 or a newer truck than that.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:30 PM   #7
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I have an '08 Silverado with: 5.3, extended cab, standard bed, tow package, off-road package, 4wd, leather interior, .... Its only used on the street and I haven't towed anything yet (its very gently used).

I HATE and LOVE this truck. But I have to say that I would never buy another Chevy truck again after owning this one (I also have two Corvettes).

The good:

- Contrary to most people I don't have any issue with AFM other than I wish it wouldn't turn off so easily. It really helps the mileage.
- Ride is like a Cadillac.
- Motor has plenty of power
- Factory (option) bed tie-down rail system is great

The bad:
- OMG, the frame / underbody rust is unreal!
- My 4wd is toast. I used to exercise it about every month and only really used it about twice a year in the winter. This year is crapped out.
- At a steady cruise with light throttle, the transmission seems like its hunting for the right gear (rpm cycles up / down).
- Had to replace one of the vapor vent valves, front hubs, and both front CV boots (back in 2012).
- Truck started throwing codes for the fuel pump controller, and a code indicating the ECM/PCM has an internal fault. It still seems to run ok but of course it won't pass emissions with those codes.
- Front speakers break on these trucks (lots of threads about it on the truck forums). All the chimes / warnings use the front speakers so you won't hear them with dead speakers. I carefully disassembled the spider and can easily see the voice coil lead-in wire was creased on both speakers. They probably had an issue with the coil winding machine.
- Factory transmission cooler lines leak at the crimp (another common problem). Fixed it by cutting off the crimp and using hose clamps.
- Weak tool design to lower the spare tire (easily stretches out of shape rendering it useless).
- There is a recall on its airbag but GM is fighting it and dragging their feet.

Overall I like the ride and power but am very unhappy with the rust, computer, and 4wd issues on a gently used vehicle. I drive the hell out of the two corvettes and they have been great vehicles.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:34 PM   #8
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^^^^Wow, that's a lot of problems. My truck is pretty rock solid, even more so given the age and mileage. Father has an 04 or 05. No problems except it likes to eat knock sensors. What a PIA thing to have to fix multiple times. My uncle and cousin have duramaxes. One is probably a 2010, the other 2017. No one ever has problems.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:35 PM   #9
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They should almost put a timer on the GM trucks that works the 4wd system once a week. The actuator on the front axles needs regularly cycled or it dries out and doesn't move. Long standing problem, same with the transfer case actuators, they need worked to keep working..
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:45 PM   #10
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I had a 2001 Silverado 4.8L V8 for a five days as a loaner when my TA was waiting on a new gage cluster back in ~2001 or 2002 and I absolutely hated the 4.8L. It lacked power and often the transmission had to down shift in normal driving. The gas mileage was 17.7 mpg in my normal diving which was pretty good for an extended cab truck. With the 5.3L I would have liked the truck much better.

A close friend has a 99 5.3L extended cab Silverado 4x4 Z71. When I barrow it the 5.3 typically gets 16.5 mpg. His truck has held up well mechanically, probably because the cooling system, differentials, transfer case, engine, etc fluids changed according to the GM schedule.

Mechanical issues with 235,000 miles & 19 years per my friend have been:
Alternator failed @ ~125,000 miles
Fuel pump failed @ ~150,000 miles
AC Compressor failed @ ~175,000 miles

I would favor the 5.3L, I would avoid the 4.8L if possible.
You might find a 6.0 and I would pick that over the 5.3L or the 4.8L but don't listen to me I bought a Tundra that gets horrible gas mileage
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:58 PM   #11
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Well, that's because it's a Tundra! lol
Those and Nissan Titans couldn't get good mileage coasting downhill....
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:55 PM   #12
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Thanks again guys, very informative.
I'm leaning towards finding an early 2000's with low miles and a 5.3 after reading all this. My work commute isn't bad, 16 miles of country roads to work with only one stop light before I get there so it's pretty easy on rigs and on gas. Won't be off roading or pulling a trailer or hauling heavy loads so it will lead a pretty easy life. Primarily just a daily driver with a trip to the dump once in a while and that sort of thing. As soon as my Camaro is paid off I'll start looking in earnest and look at selling or trading in my S10.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:33 AM   #13
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Like I said, the early 5.3L trucks are hit and miss. My 2003 was awful. It never left me stranded but I experienced a lot of issues with it.
  • Steering column issues. I can't explain it well, but there was an issue where it felt like it was going to break and I'd lose control of the vehicle. To my knowledge that never broke on any trucks, but there was a TSB and a recall for it. Between the recalls and the issues I had, my truck was in the shop a lot.
  • My instrument cluster went out on my at around 12k miles.
  • Radio failure, GM actually tried to repair it. Failed again a short time later.
  • Radio button's began flaking and the back light bled through in all kinds of places. My 31k truck (at the time) looked pretty trashy after that.
  • Premature tire wear on the passenger side.
  • Squeeks and rattles at less than 10k miles. GM never could resolve these.
  • Tailgate strap recall.
  • I also had all kinds of transmission shift issues, hunting for gears and that sort of thing.
As for manual transmissions in trucks, don't count on finding too many. It's been the better part of a decade since GM put manual transmissions in trucks.
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