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Old 09-19-2019, 11:34 AM   #1
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What do you think? Chevy Express 1500 AWD

Hey Everyone,
I just got back from a 5 month fishing season and my search continues. This Express just came on the market with a new heavy duty transmission. He is the second owner. I want to be able to tow a snowmobile trailer weighing around 2500 pounds. I don't care about making 60 over mountain passes. Also should be noted I dont intend to do off grid desert camping, no rock crawling needed. I will be using this for a handful of trips up to Whistler area with a 2 place snowmobile trailer each year. My wife will use it for camping with the kids. Don't mind dealing with some of the deferred maintenance(u-joints, ball joints, etc.)
Im in a rush because I owe my wife 5 months of child care and I have a monkey on my back.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/r...980265018.html
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:42 AM   #2
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Did I miss the engine size? I'd say as long as it's a 5.3, it looks good to me. The 4.8 might still do the job for you, but wouldn't have much oomph to spare.

Definitely needs new tires, but he was upfront about that.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:15 PM   #3
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If you need something to jump in and go, seems like a good option. The ad doesnt mention a roof top ac, but it looks like it may have one?
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:31 PM   #4
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Did I miss the engine size? I'd say as long as it's a 5.3, it looks good to me. The 4.8 might still do the job for you, but wouldn't have much oomph to spare.

Definitely needs new tires, but he was upfront about that.
Yes it is the 5.3. Any thoughts on the AWD reliability of this vintage Express?
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:06 PM   #5
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You need my 6.0 gas! Still 16 months left on the warranty! You can use it for ten years and still have a 70k plus vehicle with no problems.
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:41 PM   #6
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Yes it is the 5.3. Any thoughts on the AWD reliability of this vintage Express?
As far as I know, those use a 10 bolt rear axle (as found in a 1/2 ton pickup) and the 7.2" ifs front diff (as found in the S10's and awd Astro's.) I'm honestly not a fan of either of those diff's, but with open differentials at the front, center (transfercase) and rear, and small-ish tires, they should do the job just fine for your intended light towing and snow travel.

If your goal was to lift it, put bigger tires on, and/or install a locking/2speed transfer case, use it on actual 4x4 trails (not just forest roads), or do heavier towing, I'd really give it a 2nd thought and consider something with a more robust 4x4 system. I guess what I'm saying is to be realistic with what a 1/2 ton's (that's already heavier than a 1/2 ton truck, AND has a smaller front diff) limitations are before diving in.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:25 AM   #7
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If your goal was to lift it, put bigger tires on, and/or install a locking/2speed transfer case, use it on actual 4x4 trails (not just forest roads), or do heavier towing, I'd really give it a 2nd thought and consider something with a more robust 4x4 system. I guess what I'm saying is to be realistic with what a 1/2 ton's (that's already heavier than a 1/2 ton truck, AND has a smaller front diff) limitations are before diving in.
Yup. It's overall generally reliable, other than the Transfer case. There's a few issues here. It has a fluid coupling to engage the clutch plates. The clutch plates eventually wear if a lot of wheel spin is encountered. The planetary section uses serviceable fluid, but I'm not sure most owners know that, so it often doesn't get changed until the T-case starts howling, at which point it's too late. Also it has the light-duty 4L60 transmission, so towing much will shorten it's life.

It is a half-ton, so I'd skip any tire up-sizing, and beware your wight limitations. It's likely close to GVWR as it sits.
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:07 PM   #8
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I bought a used 2002 Express 2wd with 70K miles on it. It now has about 140K miles on it. A lot of it was towing a boat or a travel trailer. Only repairs has been leaking intake gasket, new alternator, brakes and shocks. It has a 5.0L V8 with automatic trans. Right after I bought it, I had a deep aluminum sump trans pan installed with an additional external cooler in front of the radiator along with a trans temperature gauge. Earlier this year I had a 2 inch leveling lift installed on the front end and a little later a Positraction unit installed in the 10 bolt rear axle. I pull a 4500 pound travel trailer with it with no problems up steep grades with AC on.


Next upgrade this month is a front hitch.


As with anything used, it's always buyer beware. As long as you can live with that, it's cool.


From what I heard and read, all wheel drive as opposed to four wheel drive, requires that all four tires be replaced at the same time. Again, it's just something I heard.
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Old 09-30-2019, 12:11 AM   #9
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I bought a used 2002 Express 2wd with 70K miles on it. It now has about 140K miles on it. A lot of it was towing a boat or a travel trailer. Only repairs has been leaking intake gasket, new alternator, brakes and shocks. It has a 5.0L V8 with automatic trans. Right after I bought it, I had a deep aluminum sump trans pan installed with an additional external cooler in front of the radiator along with a trans temperature gauge. Earlier this year I had a 2 inch leveling lift installed on the front end and a little later a Positraction unit installed in the 10 inch rear axle. I pull a 4500 pound travel trailer with it with no problems up steep grades with AC on.


Next upgrade this month is a front hitch.


As with anything used, it's always buyer beware. As long as you can live with
that, it's cool.


From what I heard and read, all wheel drive as opposed to four wheel drive, requires that all four tires be replaced at the same time. Again, it's just something I heard.

Probably 5.3L v8? I donít think GM made a 5.0, at least not any time recently.
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Old 09-30-2019, 07:19 AM   #10
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Probably 5.3L v8? I donít think GM made a 5.0, at least not any time recently.
The old TBI motors (5.0, 5.7, 8.1L) were used through the 2002 model year. The 2003 refresh was the first year of the Vortec motors (4.8/5.3/6.0) in the Express.
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