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Old 05-26-2013, 10:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
Dieseldiehard
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1999 Chevy Express 6.5 Diesel

I am looking to buy a 1999 Chevy Express with a 6.5 Diesel the price is right at 3500 with only 88k miles...

Concerns: First and foremost what are the pro and cons of the motor being 6.5 Duramax, tranny and rear associated with this truck and life expectency miles wise?

I ran a small business a while ago 6 vans and could not afford new leases or new trucks so I purchase mainly Ford F250 & 350's Tritons and would unload them for weight when they burned out the biggest issues with all of them were the damd coil-packs would blow out leaving my guys driving home at 20-MPH on the freeway from Mass or Maryland back to Long Island where we worked or at local station ripping us off for an install of new coil-pack and treader...

Well I am going back into that line of work again and refuse to use gas trucks for many reason gas mileage and the cost of fuel and coil-packs when they make it to the state blowing out and screwing up the schedules.

Can I get some insight on the Chevy 3500 Extended with the Durmax 6.5 and its reliabilty I've never had Diesel run vans? Bruce W. DeiselDieHard... and I wish my old'lady was Demi
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Moved to 6.5 Diesel Engine
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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1st its not a Duramax
2nd it doesn't have coil packs, a 6.5 diesel doesn't need a coil
3rd.......
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome!!!

x2.
6.5L is NOT DURAMAX.

There is no spark plugs in diesel truck, so there is no coil pack.
There is some quirks in this engine but once you work around those quirks, it is reliable.
I have driven my suburban 1000-2000 miles for long distance travel every time, last trouble was batteries going out at home but that because of battery quality this day not because of the truck.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll probably get flamed as a 6.5 traitor for this but...

... if your business driving will take that truck far from home on a regular basis and it MUST be a diesel... get a REAL Duramax or *choke* a Powerstroke. Even a Cummins would be a better choice.

IMO, the 6.5 is NOT reliable enough to stake a business on it. Unless you personally know the 6.5 in and out, all its quirks, nuances, component failures and can fix it yourself on the road you'll eventually get into a bind with it. There are no longer any commercial repair shops or even dealer shops that know anything about the 6.5. Drag one to them and they will empty your maintenance account throwing parts at it without a high probability of actually fixing it. And repair parts now come from aftermarket sources that are often questionable quality and may take days or weeks to get.

The price difference between gas and diesel makes operating cost almost a wash between the two. And if a gasser or a diesel engine that is still supported by the manufacturer breaks down almost any decent repair shop can get you back on the road. No so with a 6.5.

I no longer haul horses (my business) with a 6.5 for that very reason. Even though I can maintain it, find most parts for it and fix it I can't haul all my tools and wait in a motel for parts to come from all over the country to get back on the road. It's OK for hauling a boat to the beach, a camper to the mountains or a roll of hay from the feed store. But I would not stake my livelihood on a 6.5.

There are always some exceptions. And you will hear some success stories with the 6.5 here and elsewhere. Most come from those who have been around the 6.5 for a very long time and know it inside out. Ask them how they came to possess that knowledge. I know how I came by mine. That's why the gasser in my sig is now my bread winner.

Excuse me while I go put on my Nomex flame retardant suit. ~FH
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd have to agree with FH. Unless you can fix everything [and on the road]on a 6.5 you probbly shouldn't own one. Mechanics that can actually fix them are few and far between. Many talk the talk but can't walk the walk without emptying you bank account.
Just thinking you can take a 15 year old truck with unknown history and drive 5 days a week to multi states isn't the best idea in my opinion.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
Dieseldiehard
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I appreciate all the advice on 6.5 Chevy what about Ford E350 7.3 Powerstroke Turbo

I cannot thank you all for your experience and insight on my last tread I really needed to know about that motor I have never owned one...

I owed a F350 Dually with the 7.3 Powerstroke Turbo the truck was a monster and so was the Diesel how do you folks feel about the E350 Cargo Van with the 7.3 Powerstroke Turbo will this give me more of the fight that I am looking for on long runs?

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Old 05-27-2013, 08:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
Diaric
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the original 7.3 power stroke was probably the best power stroke.

But again, your trying to run a business on old vehicles, be prepared to fix lots of stuff.
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2001 VW TDI Jetta 4 door loaded 2001 VW TDI Golf 2 door swapped engine project
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4320diesel View Post
well to make your pump retarded, you could let it hang out with me for a day
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkstrong View Post
Diaric wins thread derailment......
Quote:
Originally Posted by High Sierra 2500 View Post
Yeah Diaric, I gotta say, I'm afraid I'm going to have to give you an official warning on that.
6.2 FACTS AND ANSWERS Click Here
My Restoration Thread Click Here
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
lio45
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I have to agree with the other guys... it can be a super reliable engine if you know how to take care of it, but it's still a 15+ years old type of engine, and most mechanics out there right now in 2013 have likely never seen a 6.2/6.5 GM diesel in their lives...

I'd recommend a 6.5 anytime to anyone who has the skill and free time to come online to this forum for advice, but for someone who wants to run a multi-state business? Nope.

You know what? Since you have "vehicle must be old and cheap" as one of your requirements, I'd definitely reconsider the "must be diesel" criterion.

Think about it... that same 1999 Chevy Express with the bulletproof gasoline Small Block Chevy V8... sure, it drinks a bit more, but in the event something does break down, it should be a lot easier and cheaper to find someone to fix it.

Keep in mind that fuel costs are only one part of overall operating costs...
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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But again, your trying to run a business on old vehicles, be prepared to fix lots of stuff.
Yep, ANY old diesel is going to be cantankerous at times. Any old gasser can be the exact same, as you have experienced, OP.

Old and reliable CAN go together, but old, reliable, and company drivers (who we all know drive company vehicles like they stole 'em) rarely go together.

The 6.5 can be a great engine if you're familar with them and treat them right, and subseuently aren't afraid to wrench on them yourself if/when they break. Taking it to a shop is a real big gamble, as others have mentioned. Sending them out with a company driver who has no investment in treating it right to begin with and isn't going to be the ones paying the bills when they break isn't going to end well.

But, again, the same can be said for many engines. Gassers just tend to be easier to find a mechanic who won't just throw money at them hoping for the best, as often happens with the 6.5, and many other diesels as well.
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