I used to drive this truck hard every day as a ranch truck. It has been the best performing 1/2 ton 4X4 I have ever owned. There is currently 340000 miles on the original 350 engine, and it still passes CA smog tests with flying colors. The auto tranny has to be rebuilt every 100000mi. Have had electrical problems with lights and the heater controls. Other than that this is a nice truck for the year and money.
Independant front suspension. Factory skid plates that protect everything (You should look under some of the brand new 4X4 trucks out there.).
Better gas mileage. Stronger rear springs. Stronger bushings on the front end.