Overview & Reviews
The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 has long been the monster hauler in the Silverado lineup. Serving as the go-to vehicle for towing and hauling huge loads across America, a 3500 "dually" is a truck that many people consider essential for tugging a Boston Whaler or the family's fifth-wheel Coachmen.
Although Chevrolet has used the "Silverado" name as a trim level on its old C/K pickup, it didn't decide to make it an official full-size truck name until 1999. Even then, it wasn't applied to the 3500 until Chevy's heavy-duty pickup trucks were completely redesigned a couple of years later. (Further information about the current-generation 3500, the 3500HD, is available here.)
While the Silverado 3500 could have benefited from better interior materials, its durability and tremendous hauling and towing abilities have kept generations of Chevy loyalists coming back to the gold bowtie. For shoppers interested in a used heavy-duty pickup that can take on just about any towing or hauling task, the Chevy Silverado 3500 is a solid choice.
Most Recent Chevrolet Silverado 3500
The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 was sold from 2001-'06 and lived for one final year in 2007 as the "3500 Classic." These trucks came in standard, LS and LT trim levels. Changes to this truck were minimal during its run. There were updates made to exterior styling and the interior for 2003, while a Work Truck trim was added for 2004. Further exterior tweaks were made for 2005. For 2006, there were three variations of the LT trim level. The 3500 was initially available only with dual rear wheels until the 2004 model year, when a regular rear axle version debuted.
The standard engine on the Chevy Silverado 3500 was a 6.0-liter V8 that made 300 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. There were two optional engines: an 8.1-liter gasoline V8 producing 340 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque and a 6.6-liter turbodiesel producing 300 hp and 520 lb-ft. This diesel was upgraded in 2006 for more power and refinement and fewer emissions. It was rated at 360 hp and a whopping 650 lb-ft of torque. These engines carried over for the Classic. A five-speed manual transmission was standard with the 6.0-liter V8, with a four-speed automatic being optional. The 8.1-liter V8 and the diesel engines came with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic. (It became a six-speed for 2006.)
As is the case with the current 3500HD, we were always impressed by this generation's powerful engine lineup and substantial towing and hauling abilities. It was a reasonably comfortable truck for everyday use, but don't expect the plush ride of its light-duty siblings. Any of the three available engines will provide swift acceleration (for a huge truck) and ample towing power, but the diesel V8 is probably the best choice for those who tow heavy loads -- especially if it's the updated version. Our principal beef with the Silverado 3500 concerned the shoddy interior design, materials and build quality. Chevy improved it gradually during its lifespan, but it was never quite up to snuff.
Past Chevrolet Silverado 3500 models
The previous-generation Chevrolet heavy-duty pickups ran from 1988-2000 and were simply known by their number nomenclature -- 2500 (3/4-ton) and 3500 (1-ton). In keeping with tradition, one could choose either rear-wheel drive (indicated by a "C", e.g. "C3500") or four-wheel drive (indicated by a "K"). Trim levels for these C/K3500 trucks include the base Cheyenne and top-line Silverado, which later changed to base and LS for 1999. Strengths of these trucks include strong, durable powertrains, while weaknesses center on sketchy build quality and materials within the cabin.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 56.00
BIG BLOCK DUALLY - 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By Craig C. - December 24 - 10:00 am
This has been a great truck. It has plenty of power with the 8.1 motor and the Allision transmission. I am thinking of tradeing it in only to replace it with the same truck but with the Duramax diesel. I wish that the gas motor would do a little better on MPG. I can get around 12 MPG on the high way not towing. If I pull my 10,000 lb. trailer the best it can do is 8.5 MPG. I have talked to owners of the duramax and they can get 20 MPG!!! I like my big block and it has plenty of power but, gas is over $2.00 a gallon now so what can I do? I did not want to spend the extra $6000 for the diesel when I bought my truck.
Love it - 2004 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By Rocket9871 - August 22 - 2:00 am
The only real problem I have found is that it wants to push while turning in 4W. Other than that it pulls the camper with no problem and with most of my camping done in the Western Maryland and West Virgina (Appalachian Mountains) You can understand the workout the 4w drive gets while pulling a 36 5th wheel camper
Sad to part with old friend - 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By rick194 - May 9 - 1:25 pm
It is now time to trade in the Duramax/Chevy. I have not pulled a trailor in the last 18 months so I am getting something smaller (Suburban). I have over 230,000 miles on it, averaged 17 mpg, pulled trailers from TX to 36 states. It brokedown twice. The alternator went out at 200K+ and a wire rubbed in two shorting out the electrical system at 180k+. The injectors were replaced under warranty and that was it, other than routine wear items, brakes, belts, hoses, ball joints. Do not need a truck like this any more but have kept it for 18 months because it is such a good one.
A whole lotta truck - 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By lopinl - April 12 - 11:03 pm
If you looking for a truck that pulls, tows,or just hauling the family this truck is it.My diesel 4x4 extended cab is sweet pulls anything I have asked of it.Tows like there is nothing behind it. The purr of the diesel lets me know I am sitting on nothing but power. This is my 2nd 1 ton chevy wont buy any thing else but.
Chevy 3500 with a Recovery Solutions bed - 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By Mike - March 8 - 9:23 am
I purchased an 05 3500 this year, and I have nothing bad to say about my truck. I have always been a Ford man, but after hearing about their problem with that 6.0 powerstroke motor, I decided to go with the Duramax, and let me tell you, it is the most fuel efficient, most powerful and responsive diesel I have ever had. Ive gone though three different super dutys, and I am over the headaches with the Fords. The Ford may look meaner, but I have high hopes for my new Chevy.
Great truck - 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By Bob Itzel - February 13 - 2:00 am
I did alot of looking to find the right truck. Watched the commercial for the silverado,this truck exceeds all of the expectations I had for it. The truck rides better than my Cadillac, and I cant pulls 6 horses with my Sedan Deville. Chevrolet has out done themselves with this truck. Congrats on a job well done!!! The commercials didnt lie
RVing Truck - 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By Charles & Barb - February 11 - 10:13 am
We have driven this truck on flat and in hills to mountains and it has never let us down. We live in a 5th wheel trailer and drive all over this country,on Interstates and dirt ,and this diesel just keeps driving with the rest of the traffic.
Chevey beats Dodge counterpart - 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By ThomasWilson - February 7 - 9:23 pm
We bought this truck to replace our 2000 Dodge Ram 3500 & there is NO comparison - the Chevy wins hands down! We had desiels on both trucks - the Chevey is much smoother & quieter
My Duramax Dually - 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By eightball - January 21 - 2:00 am
I pull a 32 ft. fifth wheel which is my home and office. I am extremely happy with the power, convience, ease to drive and mileage I get on this vehicle. It is a little rough to use as a standard mode of transportation when not performing as a tow vehicle as the ride is stiff due to its stiff suspension etc. The comforts in the cab as far as leather, power seats, Bose sound system, On-star, heated seats etc. makes life a bit easier on long trips. I make long trips for my employment which involve coast to coast travel many times, this vehicles ability to do that job in relatively good comfort and convience of operation makes me a happy owner.
Big power - 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
By Kurt J. - October 5 - 10:00 am
This has been an allaround great truck. I use it for roadside service along with my firefighting duties and let me tell you i run this truck hard. Weather its passing a hemi (LOL) with the 8.1l engine or towing cars and boats with the Allison 5spd, it just dosent get any better. Add a few lil performance mods to the engine and holdon for ride (seems odd to others that i have a dually racing by them) i can tow anything ive been told to with no lag on this truck it always give the same great ride.