Large pickup truck; Built in USA, Canada
  • ext. cab long bed
  • ext. cab short bed
  • reg. cab long bed
  • reg. cab short bed
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $5,000*


1995 Chevrolet C1500 Work Truck regular cab


1995 Chevrolet K1500 Sportside Z71 extended cab


1991 Chevrolet K3500 extended cab w/dual rear wheels


1995 Chevrolet K Series interior


1996 Chevrolet K1500 extended cab

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V8)
  • Antilock brakes
  • Cargo room
  • Interior room
  • Cargo and towing ability
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride quality

Chevrolet’s C/K models are an excellent choice in the full-size pickup field. Trucks equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 are still our top choice.

Overview

GM’s best-selling vehicle and the nearly identical GMC Sierra had been redesigned as early 1988 models. Both came in three series: 1500 (1/2-ton), 2500 (3/4-ton), and 3500 (1 ton). “C” pickups are 2-wheel drive, while “K” designates 4-wheel-drive models. Short-bed trucks (1500 series only) rode a 117.5-inch wheelbase and had a 6.5-foot cargo bed. Long beds, in all three series, had a 131.5-inch wheelbase and 8-foot bed. Extended-cab pickups rode a 155.5-inch span with 8-foot bed, or 141.5-inch with 6.5-foot bed. Antilock rear brakes were standard. Base engine was a V6, but a broad range of V8s were available, including a diesel. Sportside trucks (short bed only) had flared rear fenders; those with regular fenders were called Fleetside. A 454 SS muscle truck arrived in 1990, with a performance/handling package.

Yearly Updates

1991 C/K Pickup
The 7.4-liter V8 engine was revised, and could be mated to a 4-speed automatic instead of the prior 3-speed. In the 454 SS, that engine now made 255 horsepower–25 more than in 1990.
1992 C/K Pickup
Sportside trucks with the flare-fendered cargo box could have an extended cab this year. All C/K trucks got freshened interiors, and the four-speed manual transmission was gone. A new turbodiesel V8 engine debuted for heavy-duty use.
1993 C/K Pickup
Automatic transmissions now had electronic controls to determine shift points. A flare-fendered sport option package went on sale.
1994 C/K Pickup
Two new 6.5-liter diesel V8s debuted. C/K trucks now had side door guard beams and center high-mounted stoplamps.
1995 C/K Pickup
A driver-side airbag and standard 4-wheel antilock braking came in 1995.
1996 C/K Pickup
All the Vortec gasoline engines were retuned, while the 6.5-liter diesel was replaced with a turbodiesel of the same size. The other big news was the availability of a passenger-side rear door on the C/K1500 extended-cab, short-bed truck, but only on the top-line Silverado models.
1997 C/K Pickup
A new standard passenger-side airbag comes with a dashboard deactivation
switch that can be flipped when a rear-facing infant seat is used. The 5.0-liter V8 delivers 230 horsepower, ten more than 1996 models, while the 5.7-liter checks in with 255 horsepower, five more than before. For 1997, the optional third door could be ordered on any C/K 1500 model, not just the top-line Silverado.
1998 C/K Pickup
Chevrolet made few changes to the C/K as it readied a replacement for the 1999 model year.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

At introduction, base engine for the C/K 1500 and 2500 was a 160-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6. A heavy-duty version with five fewer horsepower went into C/K 2500 models rated at 8600 pounds GVW. Options included 5.0- and 5.7-liter gasoline V8s, rated 175 and 210 horsepower, respectively, plus a 6.2-liter diesel V8 that developed 140-150 horsepower. Also optional was the big 7.4-liter gas V8, making 230 horsepower. A more potent variant of the 7.4 went into the 454 SS muscle truck, which was discontinued in 1994. Each engine was available with either manual shift or an automatic transmission. Gas engines had a 5-speed manual, except the H.D. 4.3-liter, which got a 4-speed. So did diesel trucks. By 1991, 3-speed automatics were gone; all were 4-speed. All 4-wheel-drive models used Insta-Trac, an on-demand, part-time 4WD system. 4WD trucks had shift-on-the-fly capability and automatic-locking hubs. Four-speed manual gearboxes departed in 1992, when a 190-horsepower turbodiesel V8 debuted for heavy-duty use. A 155-horsepower, 6.5-liter diesel replaced the 6.2-liter in 1994. Two years later the normally aspirated engine was replaced with a new 6.5 turbodiesel with 180 horsepower. In fact, engine outputs for all C/K engines rose sharply in 1996. The 4.3-liter V6 now made 200 horsepower (up 40), helped by sequential fuel injection. The 5.0-liter V8 added 45 horsepower (now 220). The 5.7-liter V8 gained 50 (rated at 250), while the heavy-duty 5.7 rose to 245 horsepower (up 65). A compression boost helped add 60 horses to the 7.4 V8 (now 290 bhp). For 1997, power outputs for the smaller V8s were bumped again–to 230 horsepower for the 5.0-liter and 255 horsepower for 5.7-liter–resulting in slightly lower fuel economy.

Diesel ohv V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/379
Engine HP 140-143
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 255
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed manual
4-speed automatic
19/21
18/24
Diesel ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.5/400
Engine HP 155-180
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 360
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
NA
15/18
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 160-165
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
18/20
17/19
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.0/305
Engine HP 175-230
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 270-285
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
15/20
15/17
15/19

14.5

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 255
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/22
16/21
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/350
Engine HP 200-255
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 300-335
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
14/19
14/19
15/19

13.0

1. Naturally aspirated (155 horsepower); turbodiesel (180 horsepower).

Road Test

The V6 feels adequate with manual shift, but a 5.0- or 5.7-liter V8 would be wiser for any significant work, especially with automatic transmission. Short-bed Sportsides have a more sporty appearance and, with a larger V8, move impressively. A K2500 4×4 with 5.7-liter V8 and automatic averaged 13.3 mpg, and yielded strong low-end pulling power as well as good passing response. Braking can be a problem with rear antilocking, when the bed is unladen. Four-wheel ABS on later models is a better bet.

Acceleration in a 454 SS is actually neck-snapping, and its wide tires and sports suspension make it the best-handling full-size pickup you’re likely to find.

Visibility is good from a wide, spacious cab that has ample room for even the largest occupants. Gauges are unobstructed but can be hard to read in sunlight, and electronic heat/vent controls are complicated. Gloveboxes are tiny. Ride quality is better than in prior pickups, but higher-capacity models don’t take bumps so well when the box is unloaded. Only the short-wheelbase 4×4 with off-road suspension rides really harshly.

Engine improvements for ’96 were impressive. The V6 still isn’t ideal for heavy work, but the 5.0-liter V8 is now a smooth, capable choice (except for serious towing or hauling). The 5.7 V8 feels much livelier, furnishing robust acceleration and fine pulling power.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Chevrolet C1500 5.7-liter ext. cab

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 36

Specifications

ext. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
155.5 236.6 76.8 73.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
5042 34.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 37.5 41.7 34.8
ext. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
141.5 217.9 76.8 70.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
3261 34.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 37.5 41.7 34.8
reg. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
131.5 213.4 76.8 70.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
5383 34.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 NA 41.7 NA
reg. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
117.5 194.5 76.8 70.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
2412 25.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 NA 41.7 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1998 C/K ext. cab short bed

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 70
Injury 62
Theft 128

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Trucks with the 6.5L engine may have a transmission shudder when the torque-converter clutch applies and releases. (1991-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: 700-R4 automatic transmissions may shift late or not upshift at all. The problem is a stuck throttle valve inside the transmission. (1990-92)
Brake wear
Description: Vehicle pull or premature front brake pad wear, may be corrected with revised rear brake shoes. (1992-98)
Clutch
Description: A grinding noise during clutch engagement and difficulty shifting into first or reverse is caused by a clutch master cylinder pushrod that is too long. (1992-93)
Cruise control
Description: The cruise control cuts out and won’t reset unless the key is turned off because the cruise control module is too sensitive to vibrations at the brake pedal. (1994-95)
Engine knock
Description: Engine knock at startup on 4.3-, 5.7-, or 7.4-liter engines is usually eliminated by using an oil filter with a check valve. If this does not fix it, GM has revised PROMs for the computers and will even replace the main bearings if all else fails. (1990-95)
Engine misfire
Description: Damaged injection pump or lift pump on 6.5-liter diesel may clog the fuel filter. (1994-98)
Engine noise
Description: The exhaust valves on 4.3-, 5.0-, or 5.7-liter engines may not get enough lubrication causing a variety of noises. Usually, the same engine consumes excess oil because the valve-guide seals on the exhaust valves are bad and have to be replaced. (1996)

Recall History

1990 diesel
Description: Fuel lines can contact automatic-transmission linkage shaft and/or propshaft.
1990
Description: Brake-pedal pivot bolt could disengage.
1992 extended cab w/high-back bucket seats
Description: Seat recliner-to-frame bolts can loosen, fatigue, and fracture, allowing seatback to recline suddenly.
1992
Description: Brake-pedal pivot bolt could disengage.
1994
Description: Reversed polarity of brake switch can cause contacts to wear prematurely; may result in loss of brake lights without warning.
1994
Description: Some drivers’ seats could loosen.
1994
Description: Brake-pedal retainer may be missing, mispositioned, or poorly seated.
1994-95 extended-cab C10/15 w/gas engine or 6.5-liter H.O. turbodiesel
Description: If lap- and shoulder-belt energy-management loops on front seatbelt assemblies release at or near the same time, acceleration forces can cause release mechanism to activate and allow buckle to separate from latch. Also, a few trucks lack those loops.
1994-95 extended cab C10/15 w/high-back front bucket seats or 60/40 split bench seat
Description: Recliner-to-frame bolts could loosen, fatigue, and fracture, allowing seatback to recline suddenly.
1994-96 C10
Description: Solder joints can crack, causing windshield wipers to work intermittently.
1995
Description: Steering-column shaft nut could loosen and detach.
1995-96 w/gasoline engine
Description: Throttle cable may contact dash mat, which could bind the throttle; engine speed might then not return to idle.
1995-96 Regular, Extended Cab
Description: The windshield wiper motor may fail on certain vehicles. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
1995-97 extended cab w/Easy Entry
Description: Pinch point in recliner mechanism can trap and pinch a person’s hand or fingers when Easy-Entry feature is activated.
1995-97 Crew Cab
Description: The windshield wiper motor may fail on certain vehicles. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
1995-98 crew cab
Description: Front inner corner of fuel tank can contact body sill, wearing a hole in or cracking the tank; can result in fuel leakage.
1996 C10/15 w/7.4-liter engine
Description: Fuel-rail assemblies may have improperly crimped end retainer clip that results in leak.
1996
Description: Four U-bolts on either side of rear axle were under-torqued and could loosen and eventually fall off; could result in sudden loss of control.
1997 C10/20
Description: On some trucks, one or two front-seat mounting bolts were not installed.
1998 C10 extended cab and 4-door utility
Description: Steering-gear bolt can loosen and fall out, resulting in separation of shaft from gear.
1998
Description: On some trucks, one or both front brake rotor/hubs may have out-of-spec gray iron that can fail during life of vehicle.
1998 C10753 extended cab
Description: Rear brake line can contact left front-fender wheelhouse inner panel; a hole could be worn in brake line, allowing loss of fluid and reducing rear-brake effectiveness.
1998
Description: On certain vehicles, the outside rearview mirror switch may short circuit. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.