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Hey guys, I currently own a 96 ford 7.3 4x4 supercab. Wife wants a baby soon and would like a newer truck with 4 doors for our road trips with the toy hauler. We live in Phoenix and tow a 6k lb toy hauler (can be around 8-10k lbs depending on what is loaded in it). We take a handful of road trips to the Glamis sand dunes every season, other than that, the truck would be a daily driver and occasionally tow a 7k lb boat to the lake.

I have come a cross an original owner 2005 chevy 2500 4x4 crew cab. The truck looks very clean, white in color (which I love) and has 190k miles. I believe it has the Allison auto trans, air bags for towing, front end rebuild in 2017 and rails for 5th wheel in the bed. Other than that, seems to be all stock. Owner is asking $15k...

I do not want to make a ton of horsepower or add crazy tuning. Maybe add tunes for improved MPG's while daily commuting and a towing mode at most. I just want a reliable tow rig for family road trips. I am perfectly fine making a couple small mods to further increase reliability.

Does this truck seem like a good fit for my family based on your guys knowledge?

thanks in advance, this is my first time in a Duramax forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
photo

here is a photo of the truck guys:
 

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05 is a pretty common year to need head gaskets. If not already done at 190k it will probably be soon, or never, who knows. Other than that, 05 is a very good year.

All Duramax vehicles came with the Allison transmission. 05 was the last year for the 5 speed, in 06 they got a 6 speed.

Change out the turbo mouth piece for an LBZ mouth piece ($100) and it should help hold off head gasket repair if not already done.
 

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05 is a pretty common year to need head gaskets. If not already done at 190k it will probably be soon, or never, who knows. Other than that, 05 is a very good year.

All Duramax vehicles came with the Allison transmission. 05 was the last year for the 5 speed, in 06 they got a 6 speed.

Change out the turbo mouth piece for an LBZ mouth piece ($100) and it should help hold off head gasket repair if not already done.
When people have the head gaskets replaced, are they generally replaced with a more durable head gasket? Is the head gasket really the issue? or is the head gasket issue cause by something else like inadequate cooling?
 

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Do you do your own mechanical/electrical work? If not, I don't know how anybody can drive one of these things unless they spend a lot of money and have a lot of patience. That said, I think these are some of the best trucks around. I plan to keep mine forever, and mine has been super reliable. But there are things that need to be fixed to prevent it from leaving you stuck in the desert. So, here is a bunch of info I have been collecting, so you know what you might run into. For the age and miles on the truck you are looking at, I would think some of these have already been encountered and hopefully fixed.

Short or Long bed? Standard, Extended, or Crew cab? Short bed has a 26 gal. tank; long has a 34 gal. tank. Crew cab with long bed has a 2-piece driveshaft and the carrier bearing/mounts can be a problem.

Wiring harness – may rub through where it goes over the alternator bracket (near FICM) on front of motor, passenger side. It needs to be protected where it rubs, usually with a piece of heater hose. Other potential chafing spots exist, and some connectors can have contact problems.

Injector connectors - #2 and #7 are common culprits, but it can happen on any cylinder. They can be replaced or “ice picked” to make sure they make a good connection. I finally had #2 go bad while on a trip 2 years ago. I bought cheap connectors on Amazon (about $16 for 4) and soldered in 2-way connectors so I can easily replace a connector on the road with a new one. My cheap connectors (just on #2 and #7) have worked great for 2 years now.

Overheating – worse on long, hot climbs (especially in the west). An auxiliary radiator kit is available (coolertowing dot com; located in Peoria, AZ).

Head gaskets – mostly a problem if it’s been overheated or had a tuner. Expensive to fix ($6K?) and should include replacing torque-to-yield bolts with ARP studs.

4x4? – If so, magnesium transfer case can get a pinhole from “pump rub”, leak out the ATF, and ruin the transfer case. [added on edit: There are pump rub solutions to protect the magnesium case, or replace it with an aluminum tail section. These require taking off transfer case and removing the tail section, and reassembling. You can also temporarily fix with JB Weld, although some have used this as a permanent fix.]

Water pump – failure-wise, no worse than any other vehicle, i.e., will probably have a problem sometime after 100k miles. More difficult to change than most (must remove harmonic balancer on crankshaft; o-ring on tube from pump to thermostat housing can be tricky).

Serpentine belt idlers – usually make noise or bearing gets sloppy before going bad. Not expensive or hard to change (probably should do tensioner, too, along with serpentine belt). This is no worse than any other vehicle on the road.

Fuel filter head – pump may leak, or need new o-rings for pump to work, and some have cracked. BTW, fuel filters are expensive and can be tricky to replace. Some have had problems with certain brands/types of filters, especially the ones with plastic housings. I use Racor. Oh, and know how to prime it when it starts, runs 10-30 seconds, dies, and won't restart.

Some problems will be worse if the truck has resided in the rust belt, e.g., rusting brake lines, abnormal brake wear, speed sensors affecting ABS (truck could be hard to stop).

Automatic Climate control system (if so equipped) is, um, maybe too smart and does stupid things when it thinks an actuator door is “out of range”. It may be reset by turning off/on (mine does, and has since new), or it may require changing an actuator door which is a difficult task.

Allison 5-spd automatic – a great transmission, but can have failures if engine has power tune added. Also, it originally used Dexron-III ATF which is no longer available (or hard to find) with that spec. GM replaced with Dexron –VI ATF but there may be a seal problem if used. If the truck has been serviced at a dealer, it will almost certainly have Dexron-VI. It should be replaced with a “synthetic Dex-III” (e.g., Mobil 1 Fully Synthetic ATF “for 2005 and older GM”) or TES-295 (Castrol Transynd, Mobil Delvac ATF, etc.).

Lift Pump and auxiliary fuel filtering – highly recommended!!

Cluster – stepper motors go bad and needles go crazy. While often the speedometer, they are all the same so any of them go. Both speedometer and fuel gauge went on mine, probably 10 years ago.

Temp Gauge - Some of us believe GM purposely programmed to make people feel better and be impressed, but it's a lie. The gauge will show about 200*F (just left of center 210*F) between about 188*F and 218*F. To know the truth, get a scanner with displays. You also need it to read codes and reset them while on the road. I've had a Scangauge II since almost new and don't dare leave town without it, and a paper list of codes.
 

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I need to add to my list! The power steering hoses tend to seep and eventually leak. Ditto for the steering box and hydroboost. At the start of this year (2019) I replaced all of these and it's so nice not to leave drips everywhere I park. I used OEM hoses and reman'd steering box, but made these changes:
- used hydroboost from 2011 and the brakes work WAY better!
- used power steering from 2008 which has better performance at idle.
 

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When people have the head gaskets replaced, are they generally replaced with a more durable head gasket? Is the head gasket really the issue? or is the head gasket issue cause by something else like inadequate cooling?
It's usually a combination of the original gasket material being poorly manufactured and the torque to yield bolts. Both get replaced with better gaskets and usually ARP studs to make it virtually bullet proof. The LBZ mouth piece and not tuning typically keeps head gasket issues at bay longer than others.

Despite what people say, even if the truck was never run hard or tuned it can still have head gasket issues. With a 2005 I would budget either fixing it yourself or paying a shop. $1-2k for the former, $5-7k for the latter.

I'm making this sound like a bad decision, but only because I'm giving you the worst case scenario.

As mentioned by someone else, the transfer case usually needs the pump rub kit at some point to prevent it from leaking and getting destroyed. Something again you can do yourself or pay someone. The kit is about $80.
 

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DAH7, I own the sister clone to your truck,, 2004.5 LLY and tow a 9000 pound trailer from Casa Grande to Glamis 3 or 4 times a year (via I-8) Just did a 2400 mile round trip to Kansas City and back towing a car trailer / daughters Camaro, and use it as my daily driver every other week. (rotating through other vehicles) There may be some negative sound to a few posts but... for me the LLY, 5spd with a ATP 60HP tune empty and 30HP tune with a load has been flawless. I bought the truck with 160k and am nearing 200k. Have had a few small things needing attention (thermostats, driveshaft carrier bearing, fuel filter housing..) but mine has been a VERY sound investment. I was towing the trailer with either a race car or the sand rail with my son's gas rig and there is no truer words spoken than "GAS is for racing, DIESEL is for towing". (6-8mpg with a 1ton 454 dually vs 15mpg with the duramax running 5-7mph faster) The 5spd is not qite as robust as the 6speed from what my trans guy tells me. One of the biggest issue is the stock converter and heat it causes. Plan on a new billet triple disk converter and freshening the trans BEFORE it has troubles and it will be bulletproof.

Second issue is simply the age of the electronics in these 15 year old trucks, especially if it has lived it's life here in the Ariz desert heat. We all know what heat, age and ozone does to electronics and plastic components that house them. All I can say there is IF the truck underhood / underdash looks like it's had electrical issues,, it probably HAS,, be diligent and look CLOSELY at everything for signs of things beig hacked to 'repair' some issue.

All I really can say is the LLY trucks seem to bring $12-$18k just depending on options, condition and miles. Which compares to $80k for a new that has PLENTY of new issues (DPF, stupid expensive Az registration tax, insurance etc...) Even if you have to throw $5k or even $10k at it through the years you own it,,, these are a still a SOLID workhorse if they havent been abused and neglicted. Here is AZ many of these trucks are garage kept to keep them out of the blistering sun,, BUT many residential garages are not deep enough to park this long of a truck in. If HOA says no vehicles on the street (and you don't have a RV gate) that may be a consideration.
 

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DAH7, I own the sister clone to your truck,, 2004.5 LLY and tow a 9000 pound trailer from Casa Grande to Glamis 3 or 4 times a year (via I-8) Just did a 2400 mile round trip to Kansas City and back towing a car trailer / daughters Camaro, and use it as my daily driver every other week. (rotating through other vehicles) There may be some negative sound to a few posts but... for me the LLY, 5spd with a ATP 60HP tune empty and 30HP tune with a load has been flawless. I bought the truck with 160k and am nearing 200k. Have had a few small things needing attention (thermostats, driveshaft carrier bearing, fuel filter housing..) but mine has been a VERY sound investment. I was towing the trailer with either a race car or the sand rail with my son's gas rig and there is no truer words spoken than "GAS is for racing, DIESEL is for towing". (6-8mpg with a 1ton 454 dually vs 15mpg with the duramax running 5-7mph faster) The 5spd is not qite as robust as the 6speed from what my trans guy tells me. One of the biggest issue is the stock converter and heat it causes. Plan on a new billet triple disk converter and freshening the trans BEFORE it has troubles and it will be bulletproof.

Second issue is simply the age of the electronics in these 15 year old trucks, especially if it has lived it's life here in the Ariz desert heat. We all know what heat, age and ozone does to electronics and plastic components that house them. All I can say there is IF the truck underhood / underdash looks like it's had electrical issues,, it probably HAS,, be diligent and look CLOSELY at everything for signs of things beig hacked to 'repair' some issue.

All I really can say is the LLY trucks seem to bring $12-$18k just depending on options, condition and miles. Which compares to $80k for a new that has PLENTY of new issues (DPF, stupid expensive Az registration tax, insurance etc...) Even if you have to throw $5k or even $10k at it through the years you own it,,, these are a still a SOLID workhorse if they havent been abused and neglicted. Here is AZ many of these trucks are garage kept to keep them out of the blistering sun,, BUT many residential garages are not deep enough to park this long of a truck in. If HOA says no vehicles on the street (and you don't have a RV gate) that may be a consideration.
Marv, Thanks for the info man... Really appreciate the insight. Luckily we are on a 1 acre lot in cave creek az, so parking the trailer and trucks is no issue at all.

I am going to look at the vehicle this evening, so I will pay attention when under the hood and check under the dash as well to see if anything looks overly "custom". It seems like this guy has taken good care of the truck, so I am hoping for the best.

Do you guys have any things that you suggest I specifically look at when I see the vehicle?

Is there anyway to check on the head gasket situation? Injector health? How should the trans feel on these trucks? I am used to my trans on my 96 f250 7.3 and it can shift a bit hard at times.
 

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Head gaskets;

Coolant reservoir clean or spots of black on the inside walls? Black suggests carbon from cylinders is getting into coolant. This is different from just being dirty, it will have black carbon build up almost like a coating of paint. Constant bubbles in the tank also means head gaskets.

Also feel the upper radiator hose on the drivers side after it has warmed up. You should be able to squeeze it pretty well with one hand. If it feels like a harder version of a tennis ball or baseball there may be head gasket issues. This is especially true if it remains hard over night, not necessarily something you can check before buying.

Injectors;

Easiest is with an obd reader. LLY is not known for injector issues.

Transmission should shift smooth, but can have a lurch from a dead stop. It's the slack in the drive shaft and related comprehends. Almost all do it at some point.
 

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Head gaskets;

Coolant reservoir clean or spots of black on the inside walls? Black suggests carbon from cylinders is getting into coolant. This is different from just being dirty, it will have black carbon build up almost like a coating of paint. Constant bubbles in the tank also means head gaskets.

Also feel the upper radiator hose on the drivers side after it has warmed up. You should be able to squeeze it pretty well with one hand. If it feels like a harder version of a tennis ball or baseball there may be head gasket issues. This is especially true if it remains hard over night, not necessarily something you can check before buying.

Injectors;

Easiest is with an obd reader. LLY is not known for injector issues.

Transmission should shift smooth, but can have a lurch from a dead stop. It's the slack in the drive shaft and related comprehends. Almost all do it at some point.
Unfortunately, I do not have any kind of scanner to monitor things deeper. I will have to rely on things described above that I can check out.
 

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For headgasket evaluation, maybe you can check the radiator hose for being very hard before it gets started.

Injectors were a problem on the LB7 (1st gen), but haven't been on the LLYs. If it starts and runs smoothly, seems to have good power, and isn't too noisy (but it's a diesel!), then it's probably good.

Along with others, I think the LLY was one of the best. I don't want my long list of "potential problems" to scare anyone off. They are are solvable problems, unlike the problems of some other vehicles. 4 years ago I loaded up the truck camper and drove from southern California, up to Washington, over to Nova Scotia, down the east coast, and back home. The truck ran flawlessly. I have since made 4 more round-trips to Texas (3k miles each trip) and several 1k mile trips in California. Okay, on one California trip the #2 injector connector started getting "open circuit" errors, but if you have a scanner and know what to do, you can fix it and be on your way.
 

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For headgasket evaluation, maybe you can check the radiator hose for being very hard before it gets started.

Injectors were a problem on the LB7 (1st gen), but haven't been on the LLYs. If it starts and runs smoothly, seems to have good power, and isn't too noisy (but it's a diesel!), then it's probably good.

Along with others, I think the LLY was one of the best. I don't want my long list of "potential problems" to scare anyone off. They are are solvable problems, unlike the problems of some other vehicles. 4 years ago I loaded up the truck camper and drove from southern California, up to Washington, over to Nova Scotia, down the east coast, and back home. The truck ran flawlessly. I have since made 4 more round-trips to Texas (3k miles each trip) and several 1k mile trips in California. Okay, on one California trip the #2 injector connector started getting "open circuit" errors, but if you have a scanner and know what to do, you can fix it and be on your way.
I truly appreciate all of your guys guidance! We are heading to see the ruck in about an hour. Ill post back here and let you guys know how it goes. Hopefully its as clean and mechanically sound as the guy claims... if so, I just have to convince the wife to let me spend all our money

thanks guys!
 

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Well....... How did it look??? Are you a LLY owner???
 

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Well....... How did it look??? Are you a LLY owner???

Well, short answer is no...

It was not as great as the guy made it sound.... The body had a lot of dings, interior was kinda rough, under the hood was filthy and looked neglected. Transfer case was leaking, bell housing has some sort of fluid all over it, motor oil was seeping from a couple areas. Coolant bottle has what appeared to be some fine black carbon looking stuff kinda sticking on the sidewalls.

Truck was pretty beat. Wife and I drove about an hour to see it and we weren't there for more than 5 minutes before I shook his hand and told him it wasn't for us.

It was a huge bummer, but i'm glad I went and looked at it so that I didn't think I had missed a gem.

The hunt continues...
 

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The hunt continues...
Good decision. Beats spending lil baby Tommy’s milk money trying to keep it on the road.

Congrats btw. Got to know what you are getting into, if the guys not forthright up front, who knows what gremlins lurk deep under the hood. :surprise:

Keep looking. Good luck, took me a year to find what fit my needs, budget and history. Hint? Buy a snowbird truck, look in west Valley and Far East Apache Junc. Superstition Springs etc... Got mine from an Estate, ‘01 w203k 1 owner, but service records, receipts and other docs. Got a great picture of who what where and how it was used. 0:)
 

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Well at least now you know what you DON'T want and what some people consider a 'clean truck'. There are decent deals, on 'nice' trucks still out there. Are you a member of Glamis Buy-sale-trade? There seems to be one or two LLY / LBZ trucks listed every day. A few in the Phx area even. That page seems to have some INFLATED prices, but but like everythng, they have to see what it DOESN'T sell for before they are willing to accept a fair offer. Your truck is out there,, keep up the search.
 

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Good decision. Beats spending lil baby Tommy’s milk money trying to keep it on the road.

Congrats btw. Got to know what you are getting into, if the guys not forthright up front, who knows what gremlins lurk deep under the hood. :surprise:

Keep looking. Good luck, took me a year to find what fit my needs, budget and history. Hint? Buy a snowbird truck, look in west Valley and Far East Apache Junc. Superstition Springs etc... Got mine from an Estate, ‘01 w203k 1 owner, but service records, receipts and other docs. Got a great picture of who what where and how it was used. 0:)
I hear ya on the snowbird lurkin. They usually offload some well kept stuff out here.

The duramax search is pretty new for me actually. I have been searching for a clean 99-03 7.3 for about 6 months. Decided to expand my search into the LLY and LBZ Duramax's because my dad has an 06 with 150k. I feel like the trans is stronger on the duramax and I basically only plan to tow with it. I hope to have a little daily driver car as well. My dad takes good care of his and has always had great luck with it. Plus, I like the body style more than the 7.3.
 

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Well at least now you know what you DON'T want and what some people consider a 'clean truck'. There are decent deals, on 'nice' trucks still out there. Are you a member of Glamis Buy-sale-trade? There seems to be one or two LLY / LBZ trucks listed every day. A few in the Phx area even. That page seems to have some INFLATED prices, but but like everythng, they have to see what it DOESN'T sell for before they are willing to accept a fair offer. Your truck is out there,, keep up the search.
I have never heard of the glamis buy/sell/trade platform... Is that on a website? I don't have a facebook or anything, so I hope its not on there haha
 

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It took me many months to find my truck too. Patience is well worth it - if you can afford the time.

Sounds like walkin' was a great call. As they say, sometimes the best deal is the one that you walk away from...
 
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