Fun Facts: Chevrolet C3500
- From 1960 until 1999, Chevrolet named their full-size pickup truck product line according to their wheel drive formats. "K" models indicated a four-wheel drive base, while the "C" models indicated a two-wheel drive platform. The Chevrolet C3500, however, was the first full-size pickup truck that deviated from the naming tradition; the 1991 C3500 model became available in a four-wheel drive base, and yet, it continued to be classified as a "C" model.
- The release of the Chevrolet C3500 was uneventful. Chevrolet merely introduced the C3500 as a bridge to fill the gap between light duty pickup trucks, and medium load trucks. It was primarily offered as a standard chassis cab that catered varying commercial purposes. In 1996, the truck had a major revamp when Chevrolet offered the C3500 in a redesigned crew chassis cab.
- Despite the Chevrolet C3500 being sold as a commercial vehicle, it received very high marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-most especially during the 1996 model year. Not only did the chassis receive an update, previous interior safety issues were also addressed. The dashboard was redesigned to incorporate frontal airbags on the driver and passenger side. On truck models where rear seating were not included, the space was utilized as a storage compartment.
- In 2002, the Chevrolet C3500 was rebranded as the Silverado Classic in North America and the Sierra Classic in Europe. This rebranding strategy was Chevrolet's last resort to save the sales for the truck. And true enough; the rebranded truck did receive praise from the more up-market crowd. Sales during 2002 skyrocketed, marking an all time high for the C3500.
- 2002 also proved to be the most controversial year for the Chevrolet C3500. Chevrolet filed several legal charges against an automotive manufacturer in Brazil for releasing a similar truck named Grand Blazer. The Grand Blazer was allegedly copied from the base model of the C3500; the Brazilian automaker did not have permission to do this. The legal suits were dropped when the Brazilian corporation conceded to the alleged intellectual property infringement; the Grand Blazer resumed availability in the market but has been carrying the name and the emblem of the Chevrolet brand since.
- As a side note, the Grand Blazer was discontinued being sold as truck in 2004. The 2005 model year of the Grand Blazer marked the beginning of a full-size offering from Chevrolet.
Chevrolet C3500 Problems
Coming from a long and well-loved line of pickups, the Chevrolet C3500 managed to retain the market's interest for such a long time due to its innovativeness and reliability. However, being in production for several years also meant that Chevy C3500 owners can expect a couple of problems to crop up in their vehicles from time to time. Below are some of the most commonly reported woes of C3500 owners.
Some of the most prevalent problems with the Chevrolet C3500 involve the pickup truck's braking system. Several drivers of C3500 models produced from the late 1990s to the early 2000s reported that their pickup truck's antilock braking system suddenly engaged while slowing down or while driving on rough roads. As a result, their stopping distance was increased by quite a big margin, and several of those who experienced this antilock braking system failure got involved or narrowly missed a collision.
Other brake system components of the Chevy C3500 were reported to cause quite a few problems as well. Some of the usual faulty braking system components are easily worn-out brake discs, damaged brake pads, defective brake calipers, and some leaky hoses and fittings.
Tires and axles
Leaky rear wheel axles seem to be a problem with the Chevy C3500 pickup truck as well particularly among the 1999 models. There have been a few instances of the rear axles leaking oil onto the rear brake shoes resulting in complete failure of the rear brakes.
As for the C3500's tires, a good number of C3500 drivers noted that their tire's tread suddenly separated from the tire's body. Since most of the cases of tread separation can occur while driving the pickup, this issue also posed a major safety hazard.
In 2006, General Motors issued a recall that affected an estimated 88,303 gasoline-powered Chevy C3500s. This recall was prompted by a couple of replacement fuel filters that were installed in the pickup trucks even though the filters did not meet the manufacturer's standard. These fuel filters that were fitted with bad O-ring seals caused a fuel leak that can eventually become a major fire hazard.
I need a cable for the winch in my Chevrolet C3500, but I'm not sure which cable to get—steel or synthetic. What's the difference in terms of performance, and what are their features?
The main advantage of a steel winch cable is its strength—it is stronger than a synthetic cable. However, it is not at all immune to damage. It can also succumb to corrosion over time, and it might snap. Meanwhile, the advantage of a synthetic cable is that it is lighter compared to steel. However, it is not as strong and can snap when constantly rubbed against stones. In terms of safety, a synthetic cable is advised because it has less potential force compared to a steel cable. This means that if a steel cable snaps, the tension on the cable can cause accidents and injury.
I recently had my pickup truck lifted, and it now has a gaping opening in the wheel well area. It's a bit unsightly, and I'm thinking of covering it up with fender flares. I know there are too many choices in terms of color and style, but is there anything I need to consider before choosing the right set for my vehicle?
Well, there might be some state regulations in your area (depending on your location) when it comes to the fender flares' tire coverage. This refers to the amount of protrusion of the flares from your vehicle body. You will need to ensure that the flares will have enough coverage for the tires and wheels. In case you are planning to upgrade to bigger wheels in the future, you might wish to get a bigger set of fender flares now. And since you're also concerned about the wheel well opening created by the lifting of your truck, you will also need to consider the height of the flare that you will get—be sure it's high enough to cover the entire opening and not leave any unsightly metal peeking through. Now once you've considered both of these, you'll be left just thinking about the style and color you want. Choose a set that will complement your car paint, as well as those of already existing accessories in your vehicle.
I need some extra protection for the tail lights of my Chevrolet C3500, and I'm thinking about getting tail light covers. Are they any good?
There are several products and components that you can get in order to give additional protection to your truck's tail lights, and a set of tail light covers would be a great choice if you want tail light protection against minor scratches. These covers are simple films that you can place over the lenses of the tail lights in order to protect them from minor damage. There are different colors available such as smoke, orange, or red, so you can also use these films to give your ride a look upgrade. Just be sure you adhere to tail light regulations in terms of lens color.
Nearly Two Decades of the Chevrolet C3500
Since the 1960s, Chevrolet has manufactured modern, light duty pickups that have been called the C/K trucks because of how the company gave its model-variants’ class designations depending on their wheel drives. If any one of these pickups had a conventional two-wheel drive, it would be given a C designation and if it had a four-wheel drive, it would be a K. After two decades of calling its pickups a 10, 20, or 30, depending on their weight, Chevrolet decided to change its naming system again. For almost 20 years, one of its pickups was known as the C3500. This is what happened to it during that period:
Late 1980s–Early 1990s: Debut
In 1988, Chevrolet debuted the new versions for its pickup model-variants with their new names. From then on, the half-ton truck would be called a 1500, the three-quarter a 2500, while the heaviest one would be a 3500. During its very first appearance as the Chevrolet C3500, the buyers of this one-ton, two-wheel drive pickup could choose either a larger engine with a smaller seating capacity or a smaller engine with more seats. The 6.2-liter V8 diesel engine with 143 hp and 257 ft-lb of torque could seat up to three passengers, while the 5.7-liter gas engine with 185 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque could seat up to six. However, both engine options had a three-speed automatic transition and anti-lock brakes.
By 1993, more engine options were added to the lineup. First, there was the 7.4-liter V8 engine that could run 230 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque on either diesel or gasoline. There was also the 6.2-liter engine that went at 150 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque that ran only on diesel. Finally, the 6.6-liter turbo engine could produce 190 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. By this time also, Chevrolet had turned the truck’s automatic transmission into a four-speed.
Late 1990s-Early 2000s: Demise
By 1998, Chevrolet had already added several items to the C3500’s safety equipment, including side door guard beams and a passenger-side airbag with a deactivation switch. Furthermore, it added electronic controls to the automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the engine options were upgraded so that the 6.5-liter V8 could do 180 hp while the 5.0-liter V8 could now do 230 hp and the 5.7-liter could do 255.
In 2001, the Chevrolet C3500 got a redesign. Its exterior looked rounder and more modern, while the cab became roomier, and the truck itself became stronger at towing. Larger wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, and a hydro-boost brake application were added to it. There was also a new engine option: an 8.1 V8. However, it was also during this time that Chevrolet’s one-ton, two-wheel drive pickup ceased to become a C3500. Instead, it became a heavier Silverado variant because the company decided that it was time for another change in their naming system.