: Test Drive Review: 1995 GMC Sierra K2500 Extended Cab Longbox SLE 454.



I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-01-08, 11:17 PM
It'll pass everything but the gas station.

Every now and then we'll get a trade in at work that peaks my interest. It's not very often that it happens, but I've always kinda liked the 1988-98 full size GM trucks, and I saw we got one in on trade today. It is a 1995 GMC Sierra K2500 Extended Cab Longbox SLE. I went and looked at it, saw that the tachometer's redline was 4,000 rpm so I popped the hood and saw that little sticker on the side of that flat, round air cleaner cover that gave me the news which was ever so good:

"7.4 Liter"

I knew at that point I had to snag the keys and drive it after my shift ended. I couldn't let four hundred and fifty four cubic inches of (relatively) unadulterated american style torque go untapped, plus Brian has been looking for a truck just like this for a long time, so I figure I'd give it a through once over so I could tell with confidence that it was a solid truck.

So here goes...

Exterior Design: 9.5/10
The 1988-98 full size GM trucks are IMO the best looking trucks, ever, especially after the 1995 update. They have a timeless design that combines what was futuristic in the late '80s, with a classic look that harks back to the extremely manly trucks of the mid '70s. They weren't as annoyingly aerodynamic as the 1997 + Fords or as overly heavy duty like the 1994+ Dodges. This Sierra was a Fleetside long box extended cab, so in other words, it was the longest truck you could buy from GMC in 1995, aside from the 3500 crew-cab. IMO, these look miles better without the sportside box, as it adds to the feel of length and solidity. This one was Onyx Black with a grey cloth interior.

Interior Design: 8/10
When they debuted in '88, the full size trucks had a very awkward looking interior. Namely due to the odd dual level dashboard that put one big square pod, with the instrument panel, HVAC controls and 1/2 of the radio controls right in front of the steering wheel, and the other 1/2 of the radio controls on a recessed panel that ran the rest of the dashboard. It was very unsymmetrical, and very dated, even by 1994. By 1995, they were blessed with a much more ergonomically friendly and conventional dashboard design, that also came with better, more supportive seats and redesigned door panels.

Much like the 1988 style, the 1995-98 dashboard is split into two groups, and the passenger side is recessed, but it looks far more conventional and is much easier to use. It's functional yet easy to look at. The twin captain's chairs are soft, yet fairly supportive and quite comfortable. The driver's seat had a six way power adjust that didn't fully work and it had a full center console too. Befitting of a truck, room was more than ample for both front seat occupants in every way possible, but room in the back was limited....not that you'd want to spend much time back there, as the back seat was built at a 90% angle and the backrest only came up about 1/2 my back, and I'm only 5'6". But, it did offer two cupholders that came out from the back of the center console...pretty nifty for a 1995 truck.

Engine: 8.5/10.
The "L19" throttle body injected 454 makes pretty good power all things considered. It's quite potent off the line, and passing power in the 40-60 range is pretty sharp. But it's brilliance is not in how fast it is, but how easily it gets to speed. Much like the 472 I drove last week, torque is plentiful and "effortless" to say the least. I'd almost never have to exceed 2,000 rpm to get up to speed easily, it just doesn't need to be worked at all. I took this one around the same route that I took that '73 Coupe deVille on last week, and I hit the same red light as last time, and like last time, I put the gas to the floor upon green light. Unlike the '73, this one caught with little struggle from the rear tires, and I think this one was quicker to sixty, by a pretty good amount.

A rough guesstimate of the 0-60 time would be 8.6-9.0 seconds. It seemed about as quick as my S320 (8.7 seconds), but definitely quicker than that '73 last week (9.8 seconds). Now, like the TBI 350 cars I've driven, it's most potent at low speeds, but this one pulls harder than the TBI 350 cars I've driven at higher speeds, and it doesn't seem to hit that "wall" at 3500-3800 rpm like the SBC's do. The throttle responce isn't as sharp or as crisp as the current Chev trucks, but it's better than the old carbed stuff, and for 1988, it was pretty ahead of it's time. The wonderful thing about the TBI setup is how easy it is to work on and how goddamned reliable it is. But I always liked how they sound upon startup, it's hard to describe the exact sound but it takes longer than most other cars to crank over before they fire, probably due to the lower fuel pressure required by the TBI setup.

Compared to the 472 from last week, it idled smoother, but it wasn't as nearly as quiet when acclerating hard. But then again, it is a truck versus a Cadillac, and the exhaust on this '95 wasn't perfect. The 472 sounded more manly though...the 454 didn't really have any sort of a special sound to it, sorta like the 350s, but I'm sure like the 350, once equipped with an aftermarket exhaust, it sounds awesome. Compared to the 1973 472, the TBI 454 makes 10 more horsepower at a speed that is 800 RPM lower, and it makes 20 more foot pounds of torque at a speeds that again, is 800 RPM lower.

The transmission, like in 90% of GM's vehicles, is a sublime slushbox. When driving easily, shifts are unnoticeable yet quick. Under heavy throttle, it shifts hard yet never hesitates...awesome, just awesome, especially for 171,8xx miles, which just goes to show the longevity and overall reliability. I'm ALWAYS impressed with GM's transmissions. This one had the fifth wheel hitch in the bed, so it was used for heavy towing too.

Steering/Handling/Ride: 9/10
For being such a large truck, I'm very surprised at how well it handled. Like I said earlier, I took it down the same route as I did that '73 Coupe last week, which included a curvy state highway with a 45mph speed limit, and on the same exact stretch as last week, the K2500 easily took the curves 10mph quicker than the '73. I'm surprised! Whereas the Coupe deVile was leaning on it's door handles in the turns, especially the 3rd one, the K2500 felt rock solid and much more capable than the Coupe. So if you were ever wondering if a full size long box Chevy truck will outslalom a vintage Cadillac, the answer is yes, lol. For something so large and unwielding, the steering is surprisingly firm and communicative. I expected a Lincoln-like
lack of communication, but it wasn't bad at all.

Regarding the ride, it is a 3/4 ton truck, so take with that statement all that it means. In other words, it rides quite smooth on the highways and on smooth roads, but on bumpy roads, it's a lumberwagon.

Equipment: 8/10.
It had most everything a true (not too frilly) truck would need in the 1990s. Power windows, power locks, keyless entry, A/C, CD Stereo, one power seat, five cupholders and plenty of storage space.

Overall: 85/100.
If I was to buy a truck, there are two choices I really like. The 1995-98 Silverado/Sierra, or 1992-96 F-150/ 1992-98 F250/F350. Both of those trucks offer timeless looks, enough equiment for a truck and bulletproof durability. I'd probably go with the GM though, mainly because I'm a GM guy.

Specifications:

230 horsepower at 3600 rpm
385 lb/ft of torque at 1600 rpm
4.3" bore, 4.0" stroke
Towing capacity: 10,000 lbs
Rear end ratio: 4.10:1

Length: 237"
Weight: probably around 5500 lbs.

Here's the only pic I took of it, sorry it's so small. I guess my phone is almost out of memory.
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j313/Chadillac8705/Photo-0334.jpg

Florian
10-01-08, 11:36 PM
piques.



F

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-02-08, 12:02 AM
I've gotta wonder though, and this is gonna drive me nuts.

With a 7.4L V8 and a 4.10 rear end, this thing should have sent the rear tires into a smoke-filled tizzy upon WOT from a stop, but it didn't. I can remember being at a stoplight next to a 1990-93 454SS 1/2 ton shortbox a few years back and when the light turned green, the smoke rolled off *both* of his rear tires for hundreds of feet, but nary a squeal out of this one. Is it because this one has such a longer wheelbase and is so much heavier?

Jesda
10-02-08, 12:17 AM
Holy farking crap thats a lot of torque. I WANT.

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
10-02-08, 12:44 AM
I've gotta wonder though, and this is gonna drive me nuts.

With a 7.4L V8 and a 4.10 rear end, this thing should have sent the rear tires into a smoke-filled tizzy upon WOT from a stop, but it didn't. I can remember being at a stoplight next to a 1990-93 454SS 1/2 ton shortbox a few years back and when the light turned green, the smoke rolled off *both* of his rear tires for hundreds of feet, but nary a squeal out of this one. Is it because this one has such a longer wheelbase and is so much heavier?

That's odd. A family friend of ours has a '93 2500 Suburban with the 454 and in 2wd it will light them up for a good 50-75 feet. In 4wd it will leave four black marks about a foot long on the pavement and then it is like a rocket.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-02-08, 10:08 AM
Maybe it was spinning the rear tires, but I just couldn't hear it over the engine?

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
10-02-08, 12:13 PM
You would hear it. If I can hear my friend's tires over the engine in his Camaro, you would certainly hear it in the truck.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-02-08, 12:43 PM
Shit, maybe it did spin 'em. I heard something that sounded like tires spinning, but not at that high pitched sound they usually make, it sounded like I was doing a burnout on gravel. I think I felt the rear end slide a bit too.

c5 rv
10-02-08, 01:01 PM
Was there any rear door for the back of the extended cab? Those OBS extended cabs had very little room in the rear seats. Other than that, they were great trucks with the 350, 454, or 6.5L diesel. A couple years ago, my neighbor had a very nice 98 extended cab 2500 that he parked at the end of his driveway with a for sale sign. He sold it in 4 hours.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-02-08, 01:11 PM
The extended cabs did not get rear doors until 1996. I'd really like to drive one with that 6.5L Diesel, to compare it to the 454 as far as power and torque goes, plus IMO that 6.5L sounds just awesome. IF I was to buy one of these, I'd hold out for a 1999-00 (the 3/4 tons didn't go to the new body style until 2000, and the 1 tons didn't go to the new body style until '01) 2500 or 3500 with the crew cab, fleetside and either 454 Vortec or 6.5L diesel. I've seen a few of those at work, but they're usually equipped with the Vortec 350.

gary88
10-02-08, 01:24 PM
You should buy one and somehow swap a 6V92 in it :bouncy:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-02-08, 01:28 PM
:jerkit: :drool: :cloud9:



I LIKE HOW YOU THINK!

gary88
10-02-08, 01:38 PM
Posting this out of pure awesome-ness


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVjXwS8HzFw

Cliff8928
10-02-08, 01:41 PM
Man, if you think that TBI 454 is good, drive one of the newer (Vortec) ones.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-02-08, 01:55 PM
Posting this out of pure awesome-ness

YouTube - Detroit Diesel 6v-92 Grain Truck RETURN!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVjXwS8HzFw)


And boom goes the dynamite.


Man, if you think that TBI 454 is good, drive one of the newer (Vortec) ones.

I want to! But it's pretty rare that we see one in, even as a customer owned vehicle. The Vortec ones offered another 60hp and 25 lb/ft of torque.

Cadillacboy
10-02-08, 02:20 PM
Thanks , nice review I would like to drive one of those too
lol

Eric Kahn
10-02-08, 02:40 PM
Having driven many miles sitting on top of and in front of a 6V92 detroit, I can tell you that they are good engines for small trucks like that farm hauler or for greyhound buses (drove for them for 18 months) but crappy engines (not enough power) for semi tractors, and they are not as fuel efficient as their 4 stroke competition, their only advantage was that they were lighter for the same horse pwoer output but had torun higher RPMs to get it thus using more fuel

now the silver 92 with DDEC controls (digital controls) that I drove in some of the greyhounds, they were absolute rocket ships compared to the older mechanical controlled (and governed) versions in the older buses, just slightly faster off the line than the really old buses with the 8v71 V8 (non-turbo) but with better top end due to having a Turbo

if you want a 2 stroke detroit in a pickup truck you better look for a 4-71 or a 6v53, the 6v92 is too heavy for a pickup truck

for anyone that does not understand what the numbers mean, the first number is the number of cylinders, the second after the dash or V is the cubic inches per cylinder, and the V means it is a V configuration, no v means inline

Aron9000
10-03-08, 12:15 AM
I've gotta wonder though, and this is gonna drive me nuts.

With a 7.4L V8 and a 4.10 rear end, this thing should have sent the rear tires into a smoke-filled tizzy upon WOT from a stop, but it didn't. I can remember being at a stoplight next to a 1990-93 454SS 1/2 ton shortbox a few years back and when the light turned green, the smoke rolled off *both* of his rear tires for hundreds of feet, but nary a squeal out of this one. Is it because this one has such a longer wheelbase and is so much heavier?

Maybe you were spinning and didn't realize it??? I've had a car with "quiet" tires on it that wouldn't really squeal when you peeled out, sounded like you said, kind of like a burnout on gravel.

Also, that truck should've fried the rears pretty good considering how light the bed is with nothing in there.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-03-08, 08:31 AM
I think it was in fact spinning, but it had those "quiet" tires. I forget what brand of tire they were, but it was a major brand and they were almost bald.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-03-08, 05:34 PM
I drove it again today, and it does in fact have those "quiet tires" you were talking about. I was making a right turn from a stop and I put it at about 1/2 throttle and I could hear the inside tire quietly squealing away. It sounded just like you were trying to do a burnout on gravel, aside from the gravel hitting the under carriage.

I found the window sticker and it said it was equipped with the 3.73:1 rear end.

LS1Mike
10-04-08, 11:49 PM
I have 4.10s in my 89 that + throttle=1 wheel peel for miles!!!

Cliff8928
10-06-08, 12:15 AM
Man, if you think that TBI 454 is good, drive one of the newer (Vortec) ones.


ABut it's pretty rare that we see one in, even as a customer owned vehicle. The Vortec ones offered another 60hp and 25 lb/ft of torque.

I didn't realize they were uncommon. Back a few years ago we had one on lease. A '99 2500 Suburban 2WD 454.

Aron9000
10-06-08, 01:01 AM
I didn't realize they were uncommon. Back a few years ago we had one on lease. A '99 2500 Suburban 2WD 454.

A friend had a late 90's suburban 4x4 with the 454 in it. He turned it into a green monster truck though, it was running huge mud tires, lifted, with humongous steel off road bumpers with a winch on the front. The doorsill stood level with your chest:bonkers: