Great Things to Know about the Chevrolet Silverado 3500
- The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are both under the full-size and heavy-duty pickup truck lineup of General Motors, and they are mechanically identical. The Silverado is more like the standard version, while the Sierra is marketed as a fully equipped luxury truck. While there were variations in the earlier models, the differences are not far apart.
- The Silverado was used earlier on the full-size, heavy-duty pickup truck’s predecessor, the Chevrolet C/K pickup trucks and Suburbans. It was as a trim level before it was used to name the new full-size truck that was similar to the GMC Sierra.
- The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 was introduced under the heavy-duty light truck variant HD, along with the 1500HD and 2500HD models. The HD variant was a fortified version of the light-duty Silverado, intended for towing and for carrying high-weight cargo. The first-generation Silverado 3500 had the same engine and transmission features as the 2500HD, but it came with a stronger suspension.
- The towing capacity of the first-generation Silverado 3500 was rated at 16,700 lbs. or 7,600 kg., while its hauling capacity was set at 5,511 lbs. or 2,500 kg. For the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD, the towing capacity has been drastically increased to 23,200 lbs.
- The Chevrolet Silverado received a truck load of recognitions and awards over the years. In 1999, in 2007, and in 2011, the Silverado was named Truck of the Year by Motor Trend magazine. It was also cited as the Best Pickup Truck by Car and Driver magazine for three consecutive years—in 2001, 2002, and 2003. In 2007, it won several recognitions from different award-giving entities. It was named the North American Truck of the Year, ICOTY International Truck of the Year, and Truckin’ magazine’s Truck of the Year. In January of 2014, it won the 2014 North American International Auto Show's Car and Truck of the Year awards.
- The Silverado is able to sell more units than the GMC Sierra year after year. While the GMC Sierra sold about 160, 555 units, the Silverado’s sales reached the 538,254 mark. In 2013, the GMC Sierra’s sold about 184,389 units, while the Silverado sold about 480,414 units.
Usual Problems of the Chevrolet Silverado 3500
The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 may be built as a heavy-duty pickup truck. But even with its hard shell and all its brawns, this full-size truck also has its fair share of vulnerabilities. Problems commonly reported by Silverado 3500 owners and drivers range from a simple gas cap issue to a more serious rough engine idling. If you drive this heavy-duty, full-size pickup truck, you may want to take a peek at the list of the common issues for repair and maintenance to get an idea what you need to watch out for. These are the commonly reported problems:
Stalling/Low engine idle speed
Some owners of the Silverado 3500 have complained about the truck’s seemingly low engine idle speed, while others have even reported stalling. They have experienced this problem with the truck after reaching a high mileage. Usually, the problem can be blamed on dirt that has accumulated on the throttle body, which leads to this condition. Fortunately, the stalling and rough idling issues can be solved by servicing the throttle body.
Burned-out daytime running lights
Yet another commonly reported problem with this Silverado model is the tendency of the daytime running lights to burn out. When fixing the running lights, it’s highly recommended that the light sockets be checked for heat damage and that the bulbs be replaced with the right set to ensure proper function and longer life.
Faulty fuel level sensor
A faulty fuel level sensor seems to be a common reason for repair, a problem among high-mileage Silverado 3500 models. Some have reported that their gauge seems to fluctuate, registering a full tank when the car is turned on and sometimes even dropping to near empty even when the tank is full. To correct the faulty sensor reading, some had their fuel pump module replaced.
Problematic parking brake
A usual complaint about the Silverado 3500 is the park brake that won’t hold. The brake light, as a result, switches on to indicate this issue. This problem normally has something to do with the worn-out brake shoes as figured out by some owners. To keep the parking brake working, the defective brake shoes should be replaced or adjusted as needed.
Prolonging the Battery Life of Chevrolet Silverado 3500
The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 is renowned for being heavy duty. It has a strong frame, superbly powerful engine, dual rear wheels, and some really to-die-for features. The introduction of the HD to Silverado's 3500 roster has put it on top of the pickup hierarchy. So, how do you maintain the pristine condition of your 3500? You check the interior, the exterior, and all the systems in your vehicle, such as the lighting, the suspension, the engine, the cooling, and even the A/C. But there's one part that's often overlooked during maintenance, and that is the battery. This part shouldn't be ignored because it's used primarily to start the engine. So, how do you prolong the battery's life? Here are some tips:
- Clean the terminals of the battery, examine the cables, and inspect the battery water level indicator regularly and see if it needs refilling.
Corrosion on the terminals and cables hampers the flow of electricity to the engine. As for the water to use, refill the battery using only distilled water.
- Switch on the car before starting the car's air-conditioner and other accessories to charge the battery.
Switching on the car before turning on any of the car's accessories gives the alternator the chance to produce electricity needed to charge the battery. Never overcharge the battery since it can result in the release of oxygen and hydrogen, which could lead to an explosion.
- Keep the battery secured and properly insulated.
Shaking can cause damage and can lead to a short circuit in the battery. Also, provide battery insulation to protect the battery from extreme temperature changes in the engine. Choose acid resistant or thermal sleeves as they allow the battery to vent while providing insulation for the battery.
- Purchase a battery that will maintain an optimum charge and has a CCA (Cold Cranking Amperes) rating that is equal or greater than the CCA of the vehicle.
The CCA refers to the amount of current a battery can produce. It is also related to the battery's ability to start an engine. Aside from the CCA, purchase a battery that has multiple capabilities such as pulse mode that can remove suffocation, features float charging, has the flexibility to charge other battery types, has fail safe mode, and boasts an efficient temperature gauge that adjust to any conditions.
- Never ever try to clean the lead plates of your sealed lead acid battery.
Batteries in general contain toxic chemicals as well as heavy metals that together can produce explosive gases. Cleaning the lead plates can be very dangerous to you and to your battery.
- Monitor the car computer and always read the car owner's manual before disconnecting the battery from your car.
Don't guess! Always consult the car owner's manual when it comes to the computer in your car. The computer controls the car idling settings that could have some disastrous results when reset. Plus, there might be some special instructions that you need to follow. Not following these instructions can affect the fuses as well as the other car electronics, resulting in an expensive repair.
If it can be helped, refrain from taking short drives or trips. You will not only save fuel but you will also prolong the life of your car's battery.
Chevrolet Silverado 3500: The Rough-and-Ready Heavyweight
Chevrolet has long been known for making rough-and-ready pickup trucks capable of tackling the toughest of tasks. But of all the heavy-duty trucks by Chevrolet, the heaviest is the Silverado 3500. The vehicle of choice for many Americans for towing and hauling huge loads, the Chevrolet Silverado 3500 heavy-duty pickup truck is renowned for its superior strength and durability, capable of pulling anything from small fishing boats to huge travel trailers.
The early years: From 490 (1918) to 3500 (2001)
The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 can trace its ancestry as far back as 1918 with Chevrolet’s first mass-production truck, the 490 light delivery truck, but it was not until 1988 that modern-day heavy-duty Silverado pickups were produced. Back then, the truck was known simply as the 3500–a number nomenclature based on the truck’s 1-ton weight–followed by the prefix C or K depending on whether the truck is equipped with a rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, respectively.
The first true Silverado 3500 pickup was released in 2001 and was basically a strengthened heavy-duty version of the Silverado 1500 light-duty truck. The 3500 featured a 300-horsepower Duramax V8 that enabled it to tow as much as 16,700 pounds or haul 5,511 pounds of cargo. Two optional engines for the 3500 was also offered: an 8.1-liter gasoline V8 with an output of 340 horsepower and a 6.6-liter turbo diesel with 300-horsepower output. Other features of the 3500 also included an Allison 1000 transmission, dually twin rear wheels, and a suspension system specially designed to match the 3500’s primary purpose as a towing high-weight cargo transport vehicle.
2006: The GMT900
The second generation of the Silverado was introduced in 2006 under the new GMT900 platform. Like other GMT900-platform vehicles, the 3500 had better aerodynamics that improved fuel economy. Engine options are either the 6-liter 367-horsepower V8 or the 6.6-liter 397-horsepower Duramax diesel V8, while transmissions are either 4-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. In addition, the Silverado 3500 also comes with a standard four-wheel anti-lock braking and an optional Stabilitrak electronic stability control system and side curtain airbags. Later models were also equipped with a stronger side structure, side torso air bags, and side airbags for additional safety.
2007 onwards: The 3500HD
The Silverado 3500 ceased production in 2007, and it was replaced by the Silverado 3500HD. This newest and latest generation of the 3500 has a radically improved interior but retains the sturdy frame and suspension and powerful engine choices of its predecessors. The Silverado 3500HD comes with either a 360-horsepower V8 or a 397-horsepower Duramax turbodiesel V8 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. It is also available in regular, extended, and crew cab designs with rear or four-wheel drive and optional dual rear wheels.