Pros: Reliability, performance, solid, comfortable family outing vehicle.
Cons: MPG but its got a big-block 454! Parking and turning radius not so good.
Update 12/31/2009 with 63,000 miles on the odometer: My last trouble free 1,100 mile round trip to Oregon cost $300 in fuel. Factor in maintenance costs, it's still cheaper to fly Southwest Airlines.
I'm reviewing my 2000 Chevrolet Silverado C3500 2WD Crew Cab Dually. Currently there's just over 52,000 miles on it without anything major replaced other the normal wear and tear items and scheduled maintenance. I 'm the second owner having purchased it through a private party in April 2004 for $19,000 when it had 19,500 miles on the odometer.
I have always owned a Chevrolet truck as my primary vehicle and I doubt that will ever change anytime soon. I've driven other makes of trucks and I guess Chevys have been a part of me for so long it's going to take a lot to change my mind. Those 2008 Chevy trucks are going to take some time getting use to with that gigantic front bumper.
Currently (Jan 2008) this truck resales for around $15,000 plus or minus $1,500 depending on its condition. If you're in the market for a 6 passenger, toy hauling, trailer pulling, passing up anything on the road beast of a truck, this is it! I can't complain about the mileage because that's part of the package when you buy a truck in this class.
I have no problem towing my 27ft 5th Wheel trailer that weighs in @ around 6500 lbs. This truck can pull a trailer up to, or just over 10,000 lbs., (based on its combined gross vehicle weight rating @ 16,500 lbs) Fuel economy drops to around 8 to 8.5 MPG from its 10 to 10.5 MPG average empty. The best you'll ever expect to get from a truck with this configuration (454 & 3:73 gears) would be 12 MPG.
If you've got a home project involving some heavy loads like concrete blocks or fencing, I've had over 3,000 in the bed of this truck and it drove perfectly level. It will hold two 4ft X 4ft pallets end to end inside the bed with the tailgate closed.
~What the Truck is Equipped with~
• 454 V8 Vortec, 290 HP @ 4000 RPM, Torque 410 lbf•ft at 3200 RPM
• 4L80E Automatic Transmission turning the 3:73 rear end
• A/C, P/S, P/B, P/Windows, P/doors, locks and mirrors
• AC Delco Bose AM/FM cassette w/single CD player
• Cloth seats with power drivers seat, tilt wheel, cruise
• Little extras: RPM gauge, intermittent wipers, rear cargo light
• Towing package includes super duty radiator w/electric assist fan, engine oil cooler,
electrical harness for trailer plug.
I have to mention with this trucks long wheel base it's not a practical vehicle for routine trips to the grocery store or shopping mall unless you're able to park something this size. It's like driving a U-Haul truck. I usually park on the outskirts of the parking lot to allow plenty of maneuvering room for an easy escape. U-turns are another "plan ahead" venture. Something I've gotten use to since I've owned a crew cab dually since the early 1990's is they have the turning radius of a Rose Bowl Parade Float.
Plenty of power, more than enough for anyone. So passing cars, going up hills, even when towing a trailer you're rarely ever going to put the pedal to the metal, but when this happens, the sound and power your feeling is amazing. On steep inclines while towing a heavy load, you can actually observe the gas gauge moving downward a notch or two as your foot maintains peddle pressure. I've got a 34 gallon tank and when the gauge gets to the red you've got at most 40 miles of travel remaining. Don't run it in the red long as the "in the tank" fuel pump needs at least 3 or 4 gallons of gas to keep it running cooler.
Lots of braking power too! I've done the front brakes and inspected the rear ones, lots of metal to rotor or drum surface area. The back anti-lock brake system can be slightly troublesome while applying the brakes and going over bumps. The anti-lock sensor tends to over react releasing hydraulic pressure to the back brakes causing the driver to apply more peddle pressure. To sum it up, you basically get a sudden brake loss sensation.
Last year I had the muffler switched out from a single 2.5" tube outlet to a 3" thinking to gain a little on mileage and cooling. There was no noticeable difference in millage except when towing with and improved and slightly cooler engine temperature while towing. Shortly after purchasing this truck I replaced the stock 205-75-16 General tires with 6 Michelins which improved on the fuel economy as much as 5%. Definitely noticeable on long trips where I experienced 340 miles on a tank of gas verses 320 miles previous.
~What I've Replaced~
In the 44 months of ownership the battery predictably failed after 60 months, the front brake pads @ 49,000 miles. Two of the top cab "high 5" clearance bulbs. That's it besides oil changes, the tires and muffler previously mentioned and maybe a few sets of windshield wiper blades and miscellaneous fluids.
~Interior Comforts & Roominess~
Besides the Chevy Suburban here's nothing roomier than a crew cab pickup. I've been on plenty of rafting trips with 6 people seating comfortably and 4-5 rafts and kayaks in the bed. This truck has cloth seats which I feel is more comfortable year round vs leather. Also the cloth is holding up longer than the leather ones in our family Tahoe.
Plenty of head room, I'm 6-3 and I've got 3-4 inches to go before I'm touching the headliner. The front seat is the 60/40 split with the driver's side being electrically adjustable and the passenger's side manual. The back seats do not adjust but fold down to access storage and the tire jack. On a hot day it only takes a few minutes to get the cab cooled down to a comfortable level and can also cause passengers to get too cold. Heater and defrost are very efficient as well. Gauges are easy to see, buttons are easy to find and operate.
The AC/Delco stereo is one of the best ones I've had in a vehicle that was stock. Works great and picks up stations 50 miles away. CD player plays flawlessly and all the little lights still work as well including all the remaining electrical in the vehicle inside and out. The engines serpentine belt started slipping and squeaked when the engine was started. The spring tensioned ider pully was deffective, replaced and cured the problem. The key-less remote doesn't always open or close all the power locks and at the moment I don't know what the problem is. Still an intermittent and random problem.
This has been the best most reliable pick up I've had in over 30 years of owning Chevrolet trucks. Most solid, fairly quiet and smoothest ride going down the road. The ride improves some with a little weight in the bed. When you hit the 70 MPH mark the wind noise picks up and the engines revving @ 2600 RPM's.
For the little dollar amount I've spent on maintenance, plus nothing major has broken or failed on this truck, I ranked the 2000 Chevy 3500 Siverado highest for reliability and trouble free for the last *63,000 miles.
This was the last year for this generation of engine (454 7.4L) as well as a major interior and exterior facelift or overall completely different look. In 2001 Chevrolet was trying to keep up with the competition with a more aggressive look. I still like its looks and the way it drives and hope I'll keep it a few more years. This truck will easily take me beyond 100,000 miles before major problems.
The 3500 Silverado's major strong points have been power and reliability. For a truck this size, fuel economy is what you would expect. Not your every day commuting vehicle but does a fantastic job hauling, towing or on big family outings. It's only weakness would be maneuverability or a bouncy ride when there's no payload, but what would you expect for a truck like this that can haul 5,000 lbs in its bed? The tail gate closes very easy, even for the ladies and removing the gate takes only about 30 seconds. I take mine off and put my aluminum ramps on the rear bumper to load my 500-600 pound motorcycles. Never trust those 2 tail-gate side straps. There might even be a recall on these.
Last but not least the paint (sandstone metalic) is holding up like new. No fading anywhere!