I have a 1997 Z71 with 244K on it. I have had a few problems with it, but I use it every day on a rural mail route. The route is 125 miles per day and during rainy days I have to use the 4X4 for 5 of those miles. I wouldn't be afraid to go on a 2000 mile trip.
I have a 1997 z71 and it's a really good truck. Just wait till GM becomes government motors, then you better buy a Honda OR TOYOTA, JUST THINK ABOUT OBAMA THE NEW G.M. BOSS.
I have a 1998 K1500 Z-71 Ext. Cab W/5.7 (350) Vortec and an Auto transmission with 125000 miles on it, my truck is so far the best pick up I've ever owned. And I've been through more than my share of trucks! Dodge, Ford, Toyota... Big and small, I've drove 'em all! It has plenty of power, it's dependable, it goes 4x4 off roading just fine, it takes a lot of use and abuse and keep right on trucking! I keep it very well maintained at all times, and so far, I haven't had to do anything major to it. Maybe your truck was not maintained as it should have been??? I'll keep mine until it falls apart... if that day ever comes...:)
The ABS doesn't completely shut off your brakes. I got mine inspected with them not working because you don't need them. They're just a hassle, and I don't believe in ABS.
ABS is not really a necessary system. Without it, your car will still stop, your wheels will simply lock up if you don't pump the brakes in a panic stop. There is actually a downside to ABS in that it actually INCREASES stopping distances in adverse conditions. It really only helps you stop faster on dry pavement.
I wish I could find a clean 97-98 regular cab 2wd, preferably with a stick, as I agree with one of the comments that the 88-98 were the best trucks GM built. After that they may have gotten a bit better fuel mileage, but the maintenance cost would more than offset fuel savings. Brakes, electricals, all cost way more. Also, they had more domestic content.