Opinions on 2004 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4?
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Thread: Opinions on 2004 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Question Opinions on 2004 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4?

    Hey people,

    Today, I looked at a 2004 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 4.8L v8, with 160k miles. It has a nearly perfect, documented service history. I inspected every component of the vehicle: all fluid levels, braking, acceleration, shifting, 4wd engagement, handling/alignment, lights/windows, etc.; I found no problems with any of the vehicle's functions. It also just had brakes, alignment, and 4 new tires, and a bunch of other stuff, only a few months ago (it has definitely been very well maintained -- all services have been done). The truck is also very clean and appears to have not been used off road (no underbody scrapes or anything like that). I did not find any evidence of any fluid leaks, except the AC, which I personally do not care about at all.

    The seller operates a small, private dealership, and the truck is $8,000 out the door (he will not go lower).

    I have owned a couple of GM products in the past, with somewhat mixed results, but that is a long story. I am generally more knowledgeable concerning vehicles like Jeep Cherokees, Toyota 4Runners and Tacomas, and other passenger cars like Corollas and Civics.

    My main reason for this post is to get a sense of what people think about this engine and trans package/this make and model in general. Again, it is the 4.8L v8, and I believe it has the 4L60E transmission (if memory serves). I ended up selling my 1994 GMC Sierra 1500 5.0L because I broke the stupid heater-core cooling hose pipe off the intake manifold when I was trying to loosen it with a wrench; I know that was a common issue with those motors, because of cheap pot metal that those pipes were made out of (combined with people never changing them in 20 years...). On the truck I am considering now, I know that the 4x4 transfer cases are not very well designed, and tend to have issues. If anyone knows about any common problems or things that I should look out for, and/or just your general opinion of this truck (if it's a good opinion, then great )...thanks in advance!

    Edit: Oh yes and, it also has a tow hitch, which may be aftermarket (not sure), and it has an aftermarket exhaust tip (not full exhaust) and K&N air filter. To be honest, I'm not a fan of those "improvements", but I guess I could either live with it or change it back to stock. And also, one other question I have concerns the sales process. I have purchased from a used car dealer before, but it has been a long time. He said that I only get a bill of sale...and then the new title/reg is mailed to the address I put on the forms that I will fill out. This does sound like what happened with the 89 Cherokee I bought in this way, but I just want to make sure I'm not getting scammed or anything. For what it's worth, the guy claims to have been in business for 27 years, did have some other nice looking cars sitting around, and overall generally seemed pretty legitimate.



    This is the truck: https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/...626088041.html
    Last edited by kj7687; 06-28-2018 at 09:05 PM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  2. #2
    Super Moderator JerseyJeeper's Avatar
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    It looks nice (in the pic). I'm not a chevy or gmc guy so it is not something I can offer experience on. Best of luck.
    kj7687 likes this.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Rickhem's Avatar
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    I have a 2002 Chevy Silverado. Mine also has the 4.8 and the 4L60E trans. Mine is a floor-shift 4x4, not the push button model. I bought it in August of 2002 with 10,800 miles on it and it now has over 240,000. I really like this truck.
    Common issues are that the parking break is worthless, the brake lines rot along the frame rails (galvanic action), the trans has a weird "clunk" sound between 1st and 2nd, and the little lights behind the radio and HVAC controls on the dash go out. In my truck, I've also replaced the fuel pump once, passenger door window regulators three times, driver side window regulators twice, and both front hub bearings once. I'm dealing with occasional anti-lock break issues where the truck thinks its skidding at very low speeds, like <5mph, and you feel that pulsating break pedal, and the truck takes a few feet longer to reach a full stop. That seems to be another common issue with these trucks having high mileage, but my replacement hubs might be part of that issue. I have just recently replaced fuel lines just forward of the tank due to rot, but that may be a result of the weird stuff they use on the winter roads here in upstate NY. The big concerns on the body are the bottoms of the rear cab corners, they're prone to rust and rot. This is the bottom area right in front of the gap before the bed. The pictures in the posting show no evidence of that, but it happens to all these trucks eventually. My tow hitch is an aftermarket I put on myself. I tow a double jetski trailer, and a small aluminum boat occasionally, and have never had any issues with that at all. I've been rear-ended in traffic at least 5 times and have a dinged-up rear bumper, but it's still the original one and it's still stout as hell. Those opposite opening doors are a pain in parking lots, cause they trap you in that gap, but they were a nice feature when my kids were young and they rode in the back....can't open the doors unless the front doors are opened first.
    160K is a lot of miles, but that truck looks well cared for, and the price isn't crazy. Like I said, I really like mine.
    Last edited by Rickhem; 06-29-2018 at 06:49 AM.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member fishguy's Avatar
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    Call the best transmission shop in your neighborhood and ask how much they charge for a transmission rebuild. Add those $'s to the price.

    I know there are many that will disagree but it seems, to me, that today's automatic transmissions only last 150,000+/- miles. My 2006 Ford 150 was going on 200k without any trans problems but my "trans" guy said I was very lucky. I dumped it because other stuff was failing.

    IMO $8k is at least $2k too much.

    $6K + $4K (trans rebuild) = $10K. Still a lot but probably a good deal.
    Peterb likes this.

  6. #5
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies! I Googled his phone number last night and found Western Classics LLC. Looks like a five star rating and some happy customers, assuming all that isn't just fabricated to make him look better LOL. I have figured some extra money in for a trans or t-case replacement if I had to, and that would still be just within my planned budget.


    Rickham: really appreciate the detailed response! The great thing about being in SoCal is that there's basically no such thing as automotive rust issues here, especially on anything less than 30 years old. I did not hear any clunk at all when shifting between any of the gears, for what that's worth (of course, such things can pop up later). And apparently AC systems do "sweat", and so this one may not actually have been "leaking", as I thought. Oh and, I did not mention before that this truck has the 3.73 gearing option, which is nice. I'd be happier even with the 4.10, but there were also 3.43 and 3.23 options IIRC -- glad it's not one of those.

    One thing that I like about the 4.8 is that it is basically a shorter stroke version of the 5.3, which means slower piston speed at any given RPM, which theoretically means a little slower wear There is always risk in purchases, but at this point, I don't think I'll ever be able to minimize that risk any further. I'm buying it today
    Last edited by kj7687; 06-29-2018 at 08:44 AM.
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    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  7. #6
    Senior Member jb882's Avatar
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    I'm a GM guy all the way and i owned a 2006 Chevy version of this truck with a 5.3l in it. I drove it for 175k and i gave it to my nephew who still drives it now with close to 250k on it. They are solid trucks if you take care of them. That 06 was generally problem free, the only real big issue i ever had with it was the torque converter seal on the transmission went out at right around 160k. Tell tale sign was transmission fluid dripping from the inspection port on the bell housing. At the end of the day its not a big issue but a big money issue to resolve, its s big job to drop the transmission/transfer case assembly in these so it was close to a $2000 job to fix and the majority was labor. It was not a job i wanted to tackle myself since i don't have a lift. Other than that i had to do ball joints once because the boots tore and a wheel bearings on the front once as well. It also had the boots on the half shafts on the front tear at 150k and the water pump started leaking at 200k. I did all those jobs myself, these trucks are real easy to work on and parts are not expensive. Other than that just regular stuff like oil changes, brakes and tires. One thing on the transmission and the clunk sound that was mentioned earlier. Mine did this too but changing the fluid from Dextron 6 to Amsoil signature series fixed it instantly for me( same with my 2014 that replaced this truck). I also changed the fluid every 25k or so since i towed with this truck a lot, i put in a B&M pan with a plug after i got sick of dropping a full pan. I actually may be taking ownership of this truck again as my nephew is headed off to college in the fall and wont need a car any more for a while. He wants to give it back to me because he knows how much i liked this truck. If that ends up happening ill end up letting him drive it when he's home.

    From the looks of it from what we can see in pics and your description that truck its in great shape and the price is fair. The 3.73's gears are the ticket in those trucks, the 3.42 is too tall and 4.10's will just eat gas. The 4.8l is a good motor, i know guys that have them and tow with them like i do and they are solid. I like the 5.3 simply because it has a lot more power and they get basically the same fuel mileage. The ac system will sweat water out the passenger side just in front of the firewall. Normal for any vehicle.
    Last edited by jb882; 06-29-2018 at 10:37 AM.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Here it is in my driveway Loving it so far! And hoping that continues for a long time, LOL...

    Attachment 180874


    Attachment 180876


    Attachment 180878
    Dryden-Tdub, jb882 and Rickhem like this.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  9. #8
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    When I looked at/tested the vehicle, I only skimmed through all of the service records and looked for some key records (trans fluid/coolant, etc.). Now I am beginning to enter them all into my own service log. WOW! This is going to take hours! Holy crap was this thing maintained! New wheel bearings, AC recharged, 4 brand new tires ($800) with front end alignment just now, and on and on! It looks like there's going to be AT LEAST 20 or $30,000 worth of service history here. Awesome
    Last edited by kj7687; 06-30-2018 at 09:34 AM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  10. #9
    Super Moderator JerseyJeeper's Avatar
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    Is that oil dripping under it in the pic?


    Dryden-Tdub and kj7687 like this.
    Husqvarna TE300i Fuel Injected 2-Stroke 2019
    Yamaha XT225 - 1999 Serow
    Yamaha TW200Z - 2010
    Yamaha BW200 Electric Start! - 1986
    Yamaha TTR225R - 2003
    Husqvarna 701 Enduro - 2017
    Kawasaki Prairie 650 - 2002

  11. #10
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyJeeper View Post
    Is that oil dripping under it in the pic?


    Assuming that's a joke...haha. Zero leaks that I've been able to find...
    JerseyJeeper likes this.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

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