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need help making right decision

Old May 23rd, 2019, 2:58 AM
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Hi there,

I am new to the forum and would like to introduce myself. My name is Horst, I'm a 1964 and still on the road.

As I live in Germany it is kind 'o hard to find a good truck and honest people who have the technical knowledge and are willing to share this.

I had a 86 military Blazer for a few years but unfortunately the rear axle broke and as there are not many people selling parts for military vehicles it cost me a fortune to have it repaired.

On top of this I'm an active hunter and showing up with a military look I received some weird looks. I sold it some 2 years ago.

So I have been looking for a Chevy P/U - I would love a p/u which would be the better option for hauling a hog or firewood out of the woods.

But here comes my question.....which year to buy? What to pay special attention to? I like the square bodies from the 80ies much but up to 1998 I guess I could live with. Fuel economy is a big deal as well as a gallon runs around 6 $ in Germany.

I need a 4x4 maybe a Z71 with regular cab.

All your suggestions and input are highly appreciated.
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Old May 23rd, 2019, 6:56 PM
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well lets start with the engines. from 73-86 it was pretty much carbureted, 87 was the last year of the old square bodies (except for 1 tons/blazers/burbans and crew cabs, they went to 91.) 87-95 was the tbi style motors, being able to properly adjust the fuel to air ratio they picked up a few MPGs. from 96-98 was the vortex. i cant swear to it but think the power increase made up for the lack of MPG increase. a good working carb and proper throttle you could see 12 some will claim a little more but not much, a proper working tbi and throttle you could see 16 and the vortex i cant honestly answer but im pretty sure it should be around 16-18

in my 91 crew cab with a 350 tbi i was seeing 12. in my 79 with a 350 carbed 9" lift and 38s i could see 10 but most times stayed around 8-9
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Old May 24th, 2019, 1:36 AM
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Irish_alley many thanlks for your kind reply. I am just not sure to go older with less electronics and emission control stuff or go younger with fuel injection and electronics....???? How about the bodies? Are there certain years less prone to rust away than others? Rust is a big issue in Germany as they salt the roads in the wintertime.
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Old May 24th, 2019, 1:32 PM
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no, they all rust. cab corners and rockers for the majority of the issue in all years. something to deflect the dirt from hitting them from the front tires might help. honestly each engine will have its issues. with the carbed you might not know unless the engine just stops running if its burning too rich or lean, the TBI will set off a check engine light and theres only a handful of sensors that tell it what to do, the vortex i would say is about the same as the tbi. after owning and running a carbed truck and a tbi truck i wouldnt turn down a tbi but i also wouldnt turn down a carbed truck. i know theres a lot of people who get intimidated by the computers and electronics but all in all theyre pretty simple to figure out. i had one a few months ago i was working on for a friend (89 tbi) and i was scratching my head testing sensors and swapping sensors. swapped the battery because the old one had died and the problem started going away. charged the old battery and put her back in and the problem was gone. i still dont know for sure if it was bad gas that had finaly burnt off or if it was a poor ground connection confusing the ecm.
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Old May 27th, 2019, 1:08 AM
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many thanks for your suggestions. From your point of view what would make good sense? Purchase a truck maybe from the original owner - take it to a place in the US to have thoroughly checked and then import it to germany or should I purchase from a dealer or any better suggestion? Do you know companies who restore trucks properly before selling them? I just care for the technics I do not care for looks at all. I need a reliable tough truck, a daily driver with good off-road abilities - not more not less and I cannot afford putting 20K into the project. I see frame off restored trucks for +30K on the net. Man, this is many times more than what they costed back in 1985 or so.
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Old May 27th, 2019, 1:27 PM
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i wouldnt buy from a dealer because you generally pay more and even if you have some sort of "warranty" they generally wont honor it because it might not be covered or its a 50:50 deal where you pay half the labor and half for parts. they say they pay their half but they ended up doubling the price so their "half" is made-up and they still make money from your half. you will generally find them cheaper from a private sale. being over seas you have to chance buying one from a trustworthy person. i even bought one off ebay that was listed as a 75 but had no vin plate so.....i no longer have a 75 lol.
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Old May 28th, 2019, 2:12 AM
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I hear you Tim, many thanks for your comments. I guess I will need to look around in Germany as buying a truck in the US and bringing it over is too much gambling. If I knew a person with proper technical knowledge I can trust it would be a different story. I have a good friend who did automotive school in the US but unfortunately his is too busy to spend time on such a project.
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Old June 8th, 2019, 1:33 PM
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You you find a truck in USA that sounds like what you want and sounds to good to be true, hire a professional company like ,"lemon squad" to check it over for you. They will test it and look it over and report back with any problems if any and all facts you request before you buy. Personally I had all generation trucks from late 1977, 1985, 1992, 1998 all have pro and cons but reliability overall for me would be the 1992 5.7 v8 and the 1998 5.7 vortex but the 1998 with automatic transmission 4l60e (electronic shift) are know to have problems like 3/4 clutches burning up cause of sticking solenoids in valve body. I like the 700r4 auto transmission. Maybe get a 5 speed manual transmission. The 1992 I was average 13 mpg. 1998 I average 15 mpg with 265/75/16 all terrain tires and had plenty of power for hauling a full bed of firewood up hills no problem.
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Old June 8th, 2019, 2:51 PM
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Hi Mike,

many thanks this is a real helpful reply. I guess a little newer like the 1998 would be the better option.

Do you agree with that?

What do you think would be a reasonable price for a 1998 in a good condition?

Rgds

Horst
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Old June 9th, 2019, 1:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike 1992c1500 View Post
You you find a truck in USA that sounds like what you want and sounds to good to be true, hire a professional company like ,"lemon squad" to check it over for you. They will test it and look it over and report back with any problems if any and all facts you request before you buy. Personally I had all generation trucks from late 1977, 1985, 1992, 1998 all have pro and cons but reliability overall for me would be the 1992 5.7 v8 and the 1998 5.7 vortex but the 1998 with automatic transmission 4l60e (electronic shift) are know to have problems like 3/4 clutches burning up cause of sticking solenoids in valve body. I like the 700r4 auto transmission. Maybe get a 5 speed manual transmission. The 1992 I was average 13 mpg. 1998 I average 15 mpg with 265/75/16 all terrain tires and had plenty of power for hauling a full bed of firewood up hills no problem.
The downside, if such it can really be called with the newer trucks is the "cartridge style" front wheel bearings and the CV axle shafts. They can be costly and a pain to change - although the prices do seem to be lower nowadays than 20 years ago. That said, my experience with 80s to later 90s trucks has been generally positive. I have a '98 Chevy that I bought new and I still have it ... I recently bought a 2000 Cadillac Escalade 4X4 (the last year of the 90s style version)for my wife. It was in perfect shape and low priced. I am actually quite please with the fuel economy of these vehicles. My pickup is a RWD and the Escalade is a 4WD of course. There does not seem to be a noticeable difference in the fuel economy - Both of them get over 20 miles per gallon (but that is an IMPERIAL gallon which is about 20% larger than a US Gallon) on the highway. My 80s trucks never got that kind of fuel economy. BTW, there is an updated EFI "spider" that manages the fuel delivery a bit more precisely than the OEM units did. I installed that in my pickup (I think it cost less than $250 USD from Summit Racing Eqpt) ....After I installed it, the truck picked up a noticeable 4/10 MPG improvement in fuel economy.

Happy truck hunting anyway, Horst!
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