Chevy Diesel Pre-Duramax, Whose Got One?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Deori, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Deori

    Deori LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    So I'm kind of truck shopping right now. My truck is still doing ok, but miles are climbing and I'm looking at maybe getting a second truck anyways, little bigger engine would be nice. Lately I've seen a fair number of late 90s-2000 Chevy Diesels with the 6.5 Turbo for sale on Craigslist. They've got relatively low miles, but seem to be selling for rather cheap. Too cheap... I've heard some not so good things about Chevy diesels before they got the Duramax line going. I was just wondering if anyone has/had one and can comment? Thanks!
  2. Impressions Landscaping

    Impressions Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    I have one in a 1999 C3500HD. I like the motor personally, its relativley cheap to work on. The one I have wasn't abused at all prior to my purchasing it, and also since I've had it, it's been well taken care of. However, a few problems I've had and they seem to be common:

    1. Stalling issues, the PMD which is the pump mount driver, is known to overheat and cause hard starting/stalling issues. There is a simple fix for this that involves using an extension cable and a new PMD and moving it outside the engine bay.

    2. Lift pumps, I've replaced two of mine in my truck. However, the original ones had 200,000 miles on them.

    3. The truck developed a "thumping" out of the blue one day, coming straight out of the intake, and also low power. Not a huge drop but enough to notice. The thumping didn't get worse, however the turbo also started puking oil at the same time. Come to find out, these trucks are known to collapse lifters, and mine did, on the exhaust valve, and the "thumping" was actually air being pushed back out the intake because it could not escape out the exhaust valve. This job was not a simple day job, since the heads must be removed to replace all the lifters. The turbo also was junk because all the air being pushed out the turbo also pushed the oil out with it, causing the turbine bearings to wear. However, the entire job cost me about a grand which isn't to bad considering I replaced the glow plugs, head gaskets, intake gaskets, 16 lifters, and other misc. things such as anti freeze and oil.

    4. Injectors are known to spray streams of fuel burning holes into the top of the pistons.

    All in all though, my truck has 210,000 on it now, and it has been a great truck with decent power. It needs to be taken care of and doesn't like to be abused, and also doesn't like huge power upgrades. I'm real familier with these diesels so any questions you have please feel free to ask!
  3. Impressions Landscaping

    Impressions Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    Also, as an extension to the PMD issues, these trucks are known to have weak injector pumps, however sometimes the PMD stalling/low power/no start issues could also be confused with a failing injector pump OR lift pump. Another note, these trucks have HORRIBLE exhaust systems from the factory. The downpipe is pounded with a hammer and mine was actually 3/4 inch at one point in the pipe. I put a 4 inch downpipe into the stock muffler and removed the soot trap(looks like a catalytic converter), and the truck woke up some and seemed to have a little more power. I wasn't looking for a race truck here, just something with decent power that isn't being choked to death with a crappy stock exhaust system.
  4. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,632

    Junk had two. I repeat JUNK
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. biodale

    biodale LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    I just bought a 2000 chevy diesel. The PMD was out and the truck was stalling out. Make sure to buy the extention you can get off ebay to remote mount the PMD. Otherwise it will get hot and go out agaiin. Just do a google search and you will find a lot of information about this problem with the chevy.

    You will get good mileage with the truck but it is not for hauling huge loads. I use it to haul a skid sprayer or my open mowing trailer and it does great for that.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    The 6.5s are not a good engine too many problems, they don't last very long. A few of them around here didn't make it past 200,000 kilometers (124,000 miles).

    Some people may have had good luck with the 6.5 but most of them are JUNK.
  7. badbart

    badbart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204

    My 98 C2500 has provided good service to me. I had the PMD issue and replaced it with a D-Tech unit that I purchased from Pensacola Diesel. I mounted mine in the grill with the 6 foot extension that came with it. The dealers often insist on replacing the injector pump along with the PMD even though the PMD is the only problem. The 98, 99, and 2000 models have the better blocks. Overall, it's been a good reliable truck. 230,000 miles and still going strong. We use ours on the farm and it handles just about anything we throw at it. We have a Ford F350 dually for the really heavy stuff. I bought the C2500 in 2005 for $1500.00. It needed a transmission and a few other small items, but I got a deal on rebuilding the transmission, so I only have about $3000.00 in it alltogether. I would buy another one. They're fairly inexpensive to work on, compared to the Fords. They're not as heavy duty as the Ford or Dodge, but they'll do well for a lawn care business. Mine gets 19 mpg too. My Ford gets 16-17.
  8. Deori

    Deori LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    Thanks guys for some great replies, I really appreciate it. Some mixed answers definitely. Doing a bit of googling and reading on some misc truck forums the general opinion of this engine seems to be pretty low, but I do prefer to hear the responses of a few trusted folks on Lawnsite.

    There are over 5 of these trucks for sale on Craigslist in my area from various people and the majority of them have 100K miles or less on them and are going for 3-5 grand. At least 2 I saw said that the engine had recently been rebuilt or replaced. Rebuilding a 10 year old diesel with 80,000 miles on it...? I know that a comparable Ford or Dodge diesel of the year would be listed around 10 grand or more.

    It is nice to hear of some people having a good reliable truck of it and at least you guys have said it's fairly cheap to work on when needed, but picking one up definitely seems like a gamble. Anyone else wants to weigh in, feel free. I enjoy the truck discussions :drinkup:
  9. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    About 5 or 7 years back I was looking for a different work truck to put a dump bed. Found a '95 Chevy 6.5 diesel with a flat bed. Test drive it, kinda liked the truck, but after doing some research and having my dad talk to a couple guys that are big diesel heads I was advised, highly, to NOT waste my money on that truck. Besides just being weak engines, all of the above stories were relayed to me as well. The fact that they usually blow at around 80K miles on average. It was winter at the time so I wasn't able to hook onto my trailer for a good test, but I was told they were basically NOT pulling trucks...

    Of course now I don't know if I went in the right direction again. My current '95 1 ton HD has a big block, gets 5 to 6 mpg and probably cranks out a whopping 150 horsepower! Has to be the weakest big block ever made. Only thing it has going for it is that it actually doesn't burn oil! If I had any common sence I'd have that thing in a shop right now getting new heads, cam, and lifters put on.
  10. Impressions Landscaping

    Impressions Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    The biggest thing you have to remember is everyone treats their trucks differently. My truck was always cared for, oil changes and any and I mean ANY thing that came up was fixed immediateley. Some people do let their stuff go to the point of no return, then blame the truck because something happened to it, however it is 99 percent their fault. These motors aren't bad motors, they just need a few updates to make sure they run a long time. Mine pulls around a skidsteer, plus its own wieght, which the empty wieght of the truck is around 9k. It does fine and gets decent mileage.

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