A bulletproof motor hooked up to a dangerously unpredictable transmission
Chronic problems with second gear. The transmission has been rebuilt at least three times. The first time was at about 65,000 miles. Seems like second gear would last only about 20,000 miles or so after that. There would be a grinding sound trying to get into second from first or third. After a while it became futile trying to go into second at all.
The last time the transmission went, at about 150,000 miles, it took the rear with it. Apparently that time the problem with second gear worked its way into the clutch. The clutch center separated from the clutch and that in turn played havoc with the rear until the rear just exploded.
So I had to have the trans rebuilt (again) and a new (used) rear put in.
The paint began oxidizing after about 5 years and is now a nice dull pinkish red.
The fuel pump died on me on the New Jersey Turnpike at about 110,000 miles with no warning.
The Alternator gave up the ghost at about 130,000 miles.
Driver side of the bench seat is holding OK except for the tears where my left thigh sits.
Within 6 months of buying the truck I replaced the stock steering wheel with a smaller one because I was tired of having the wheel rest on my thighs when I drove.
The headliner had to come out in the 10th year because the fabric was starting to rest on my head.
I also had to rekey the doors because the driver side lock assembly broke after about 7 years.
I voluntarily replaced the stock General "ice slick" tires with real rubber after less than a year because they were suicide in the wet.
The truck runs great when I'm not having problems with it.
The transmission is evil incarnate and has been a true money pit. I think I've spent more rebuilding the damn transmission than I actually spent on the truck itself.
Performance was middling until I started making improvements. The first addition was a JET chip and Split-fire plugs. What a difference they made.
Next I added a K&N filter that helped even more.
Once the end of the warranty approached, I got serious. Edelbrock Headers, a high flow cat and a custom two-muffler exhaust system really opened some power (or so it seems).
The stock 14" rims went in favor of 15" performance tires and KYB shocks replaced the stock units when they died at around 70,000 miles. Handling got much better and so did the overall performance.
The stock shifter was replaced by a Hurst comp plus shifter with a t-handle for better shift feel and a more comfortable shifting position.
Better, the fuel economy is still good. I average about 21 mpg, spot-on the EPA combined.
I still have the factory stereo-cassette deck and it still sounds great.
All in all it's been a good running truck with a strong engine that doesn't seem ready to die anytime soon. It's also easy and relatively cheap to modify or enhance.
Too bad the trans keeps breaking. In fact, second gear went again about a year after the last rebuild and there's no way on earth I'm wasting any more money on that piece of crap transmission. I'll just keep skipping to third when I need to until the engine blows up and I'm forced to donate the truck to charity for a nifty tax deduction.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th October, 2003