Great engine and transmission combo. Duramax / Allison ran well for most of the 10 years I owned the truck. Was used as a work truck with a contractors body fitted. Weekends was used to haul a 3 horse trailer. It worked every day of it's life with me. Poor build quality was evident in the front hubs, bodywork (rusted cab corners and rocker panels, roof flexing with windows open) and cab interior (gauges gave up, blower motor repeatedly died, gauge cluster lights died one by one, headliner fell off). Diesels are expensive to maintain when things go wrong, in my neighborhood it is hard to find a reputable diesel mechanic. Normal maintenance (oil change etc.) is probably more expensive but less frequent. All in all a very reliable truck that felt more like a car to drive.
I have owned this truck since new in 2003. Only in the last several years have I used it to its full potential. I have pulled a 10,000 lb fifth wheel to Florida twice and a new 12,000 lb fifth wheel to GA last week and I averaged a little over 13 mpg. On the return trip I got over 24 mpg running at 70 mph all day. I do have a tonneau cover for the bed which might help. I first took this new truck to Ohio in 2003 and only got 22 mpg with the same configuration. I did add a K and N air induction system before my last trip but this truck pulls like a champ without any additonal brains or Banks kits. The 5 speed transmssion is smooth and I know improvements have been made in the 09's.
I think the duramax engine and allison transmission make this truck special.
When I bought it I had onstar and xm radio. I could not upgrade the onstar because I had analog and the xm i can do without.
The Isuzu engine is the best part of this truck, along with the Allison tranny. The worst part has been all the GM stuff. Everything from numerous AC problems to leaks, memory features deleting themselves, multiple transfer case problems for auto 4WD, and leaking fuel injectors. If it were not for the dealership's attitude and incompetance i would buy again.
Awsome torque and power. Best seats available in any vehicle that I've tried.
Roof is very flimsy, needs reinforcement. Major quality improvements needed overall. More wheel selections, realistic/competitive fees for on board phone service
I bought this truck as a replacement
for my 96' 1500 as I needed more
muscle to tow a 5th wheel trailer.
The 8.1L has plenty of punch, but I
struggled with traction on anything
less than dry hard surfaces. I have
already experienced the typical
Chevy/GMC parking light burn out on
one side that they can't seem to fix
and I have had numerous fuel indicator
malfunctions. The fuel consumption is
killing me and towing or not is not
much difference. Ready to look for an
older/smaller model again!
Very functional interior layout
Find out what is cousing the parking
light issue. I am tired of seeing so
many 1997 and newer trucks with only
one light on and now knowing it isn't
just a bulb