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Old 10-20-2018, 05:48 PM   #1
Jered1987
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73-87 vs 88-9?

Im wondering how the two stack up against each other in reliability and parts
How they handle drive how tough they are my family has never had the newer style
And i like simple but im thinking i might save money by just buying a driver the one i have now
Is going to take some time to fix and about the same money. ... Im thinking maybe
88-89 z71 shortbox ?? Let me know how the two compare right now ive got an
86 k10 th350 350
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Old 10-20-2018, 06:48 PM   #2
AussieinNC
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

Why not consider a 2001=2006 Z71 .....

I have had one now for 8 years...very little issues

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Old 10-20-2018, 08:31 PM   #3
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

88-98 are good. More leg room and I think a better ride. Engine reliability about same as the squarebody. I have never like the brakes on the 88-98 years. even with the MC changes, the brakes always felt soft. I think the squares have better brakes.

I agree that if you are looking for a DD type ride, you might be better off with one of the 99-2007 years. I prefer the 99-2002 myself. Cleaner looks and depending on the model less gadgets to tell me things I don't wanna know.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:01 PM   #4
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

KEEP YOURS and insert an 88-94 bench seat...keeping your self rid of older electronics saves major head aches.
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Old 10-22-2018, 03:42 PM   #5
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

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Originally Posted by Stormin08 View Post
KEEP YOURS and insert an 88-94 bench seat...keeping your self rid of older electronics saves major head aches.
We have an ECU and an HVAC panel, and the HVAC panel is the only thing that gives issues. 88-98's are the most electronically devoid fuel injected vehicle I know of.
73-87's are crap daily drivers. The 88-98 is better in every way when it comes to that. Carb's are the work of the devil.
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Old 10-22-2018, 06:51 PM   #6
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

i can agree slightly...what do you do when your ecu dies out ???

swap to ???

so, like in my case...i went standalone efi (should last 15yrs hopefully), and i am in the process of deleting all unnecessary wiring.

my comment was in reference to WHAT HE ALREADY HAS...and a good tuned carb will probably and has been shown to outperform some efi units.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

I have owned both. I had a standard cab and bed automatic 1975 and I am now rebuilding a 1996 short bed standard cab manual. The 75 was a gas hog. No matter how you tuned it up and drove economically it at best would get 11 miles per gallon on the highway. The 96 is amazing, getting a solid 22 miles per gallon. It should be noted that the 96 does not have air, and is a base model as well as a short bed making it hundreds of pounds lighter. I don't like the computer stuff but the horsepower and mileage is hard discount. My choice would be 96 to 98.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:14 PM   #8
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormin08 View Post
i can agree slightly...what do you do when your ecu dies out ???

swap to ???

so, like in my case...i went standalone efi (should last 15yrs hopefully), and i am in the process of deleting all unnecessary wiring.

my comment was in reference to WHAT HE ALREADY HAS...and a good tuned carb will probably and has been shown to outperform some efi units.
ECU failure? That's such a rare occurrence I wouldn't even consider it. I think someone would have to actually try to make it fail by mishandling it in some way which can happen in that case.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:25 PM   #9
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

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I have owned both. I had a standard cab and bed automatic 1975 and I am now rebuilding a 1996 short bed standard cab manual. The 75 was a gas hog. No matter how you tuned it up and drove economically it at best would get 11 miles per gallon on the highway. The 96 is amazing, getting a solid 22 miles per gallon. It should be noted that the 96 does not have air, and is a base model as well as a short bed making it hundreds of pounds lighter. I don't like the computer stuff but the horsepower and mileage is hard discount. My choice would be 96 to 98.
My first truck was a '73 and I bought it new (dating myself). I think I put about 180K on that truck. I swapped out the original engine for a 350 crate engine which I later put a cam in. I had fun in that truck but I never got more than 12 or 13 mpg after that. I've had my '89 since it was new. It was one of the first EC's on the lot and I bought it when I saw it. I've put 290K on this truck. It's more comfortable in every way than my '73. Five years ago I swapped my spare 350 roller-cammed engine into this truck as one of my retirement projects. I took a cross-country trip and on nice flat level ground with that good Texas gas I consistently got 20 mpg. I think getting that kind of mileage in a heavy extended cab K-truck is amazing and can't compare to the older trucks with that factor alone.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:33 PM   #10
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

Over the years, between me and my father, we've had about a dozen of these trucks ranging between 1970 and 1999.

Reliability and parts has been about the same for both generations. Rust is the biggest killer. Overall, extremely reliable.

If you are going 4wd, in the later years they moved to IFS, which gives a smoother ride. Not sure what year they changed over.

1996 they changed to Vortec heads.

You have a TH350, so I would certainly look for a truck with a 4 speed (700R4, or 4L60E) if you regularly drive over 50 mph.
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Old 10-23-2018, 02:38 PM   #11
Keith Seymore
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

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73-87's are crap daily drivers. The 88-98 is better in every way when it comes to that. Carb's are the work of the devil.
My '87 was a daily driver for 30 years and 250,000 miles. Most pleasant vehicle I owned.

Fuel Injected V6, manual overdrive trans, 3.73 gears, power steering, power brakes, a/c.

Basically a GMT400 vehicle wrapped in vintage sheet metal.

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Old 10-23-2018, 02:40 PM   #12
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

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My '87 was a daily driver for 30 years and 250,000 miles. Most pleasant vehicle I owned.
K
Drove an '80 pickup daily prior to the '87.

Sold it when I became a company vehicle driver....and then bought the '87 when they took the company vehicle away.

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Old 10-24-2018, 07:55 PM   #13
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

Ive had a 79 Silverado in the past and currently have a 97 Tahoe.. Love them both!
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:09 PM   #14
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

I own both. Have a 86 k30 and a 1990 c1500 I've had for a daily driver for 10 years. Both have been instantly reliable. Neither have been on a tow truck , the 90 I got around 172k and has around 240k on it now. Other then just normal ol stuff neither have left me stranded . Soon as the rust claims the 90 in a year or two, it's pretty rough , I'm going to buy another one . Before 10 years ago I always had 80s trucks as daily drivers and again never left me stranded

I thought about getting another 80s for a daily driver but the prices are insane in the Midwest , obs trucks are still pretty cheap
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Old 10-25-2018, 07:33 PM   #15
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormin08 View Post
i can agree slightly...what do you do when your ecu dies out ???
The same thing you do when the HEI module in 74-86's craps out randomly, which happened[happens?] much more often then an ECU going bad. I've actually never know anyone with ECU problems on these trucks.
Quote:
and a good tuned carb will probably and has been shown to outperform some efi units.
As far as peak horsepower is concerned absolutely. As far as a daily driver dealing with temperatures, altitudes, and gas mileage then no way in heck. If it did they never would have switched back in the 80's when fuel injection wasn't even that good yet.

Both styles are great trucks, but the OP asked which is a better daily. I've daily driven both styles my entire driving life so 20yrs now.
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-98 c1500 x-cab: 5.7L, 17" rims, 5/6 drop, flowmaster, helper bags,NBS rear disk brakes.
-02 Suburban 4x4: stock
-CBR600F4i, CBR600RR, CBR1000RR, and standup skis
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:03 PM   #16
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Re: 73-87 vs 88-9?

I've had at least 15 square bodies in my lifetime, albeit most of them were SWB 4wd trucks, and I have owned an 88/90/93/97 one ton dually and have had a 98 Z71 reg cab swb for over 15 years and now daily driving a 94 swb. I would not flip a nickel for difference in looks, I love them all. My 98 was 5 years old when I bought it for $11,500. A radiator, 2 trannies, intake gasket, and rebuilding the AC system last year. All that over a span of 15 years and that was all the major maintenance items on the truck. We took it to Pigeon Forge in Sept,(650 miles) both ways without a hitch. 202K miles and I trust it to go anywhere. Does that make it a better driver than a 73-87? Absolutely not. It all has to do with a WELL maintained pickup that earns your trust. You have to spend a little time under the hood to get the daily driver you want. Good luck.
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