- 1990 Chevrolet K1500

Opinion: The Chevrolet C/K 1500 From 1990-1998 Is The Perfect Used Work Truck.

Taking a look at one of GM's greatest engineered pickup trucks in the past thirty years. A perfect contender for anyone looking for a durable vehicle.

7w ago
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If you are in the market for a used work truck that is dependable, affordable and has a nostalgic look with classic GM styling, then look no further. From 1990 to 1998, General Motors were producing some of the greatest and durable trucks on the market within their C/K line-up. They were built to last and came well supplemented with options that competing brands could not offer as standard equipment. Options like anti-locking brakes were optional on Ford and Dodge Ram pickups.

With that said, let me explain what really makes a Chevrolet C/K 1500 from 1990 to 1998 a proper used work truck to buy.

Engine, transmission, and towing capacity.

For those looking for a dependable engine that will last, while still giving you decent fuel economy, power and torque, the 4.3-liter V6 is the engine of choice in your Chevrolet C/K 1500. The 4.3-liter V6 is the last and most successful engine in the Chevrolet 90-degree V6 engine family. This engine was introduced in 1985 as a replacement for the 3.8-liter V6 offered in full-size Chevrolet vehicles like the El Camino and Monte Carlo. It provided 160 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Not as much as the 305 V8 or the massive 454 SS big block but enough power to still utilize the truck properly.

GM 4300 Series Vortec Engine.

GM 4300 Series Vortec Engine.

Then there is the transmission. If you look at a used GM truck today with the 8-speed automatic transmission, it would be wise to stay away from it. However, in the past, GM created and used some rather remarkable transmissions to accompany their vehicles. From 1990 to 2012, GM used a wide variety of transmissions they called Turbo Hydra-Matic. The Chevrolet C/K 1500 used a 4L60 that provided the vehicle with a four-speed automatic gearbox. In later model years, they switched between different Turbo Hydra-Matic models to the 4L60E ad the 700R4. Although, a 4L60 4-speed automatic should serve you just fine with minimal issues.

4L60 Transmission

4L60 Transmission

We then come to towing capacity and payload. Towing and payload capacities changed as the years pressed on slightly, but for demonstration purposes, will use a 1990s model year as an example. In 1990, a C1500 has a GVWR of 6,200 lbs and a payload rating of 2,315 lbs. It may not sound like impressive figures, however, to put this into perspective, conventional trailer hitches are only rated for 5,500 lbs. There is also the fact that if you are looking for a truck that can tow 10,000+ lbs, then maybe the W/T series would be better suited. Although, the C 1500 tows enough to stay within the lines of its competitors, it still lacks the capabilities to be utilized in every scenario.

Safety and the Chevrolet C/K 1500.

1990 Chevrolet C/K 1500.

1990 Chevrolet C/K 1500.

Chevrolet knew how important safety was in their C/K line-up and redesigned the truck for the 1990 model year and stuck with the same design until 1998. With double-wall steel construction all the way around and a rugged channel beam frame, safety was Chevrolet's top priority. In later model years both the driver and passenger had front crash impact airbags by 1997. Anti-locking brakes were also another safety priority and came standard on all Chevrolet C/K trucks from the introduction of this generation in 1990, unlike Dodge and Ford where it came as optional.

Is a 1990s Chevrolet C/K 1500 right for you?

Well, that is up for you to decide as the consumer. Although, if you are looking for a dependable work truck or just any type of used truck that won't break the bank, then a 1990s Chevrolet C/.K 1500 may just be the right truck for you. Unlike trucks from the 2000s or even the 2010s, these were built to last. GM has not always had the greatest reliability in the past 20 years, however, they managed to build trucks to be dependable and last for years well past the 1990s. So the next time you are in the market for a new pickup truck, find a 1990s C/K series pickup. Even if you do not end up purchasing one, take it for a test drive, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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Comments (12)

  • I C your C/K and I raise you an S-10

      1 month ago
    • You make a good point. The 2.2 liter V6 was phenomenal in those old S-10's. However, I'd rather have a Chevrolet C/K 1500.

        1 month ago
  • They actually came out in 1988. Mine's an '89. And it will never be for sale. :)

      1 month ago
    • That's a beautiful truck. I said 1990 because of the Chevrolet catalog I found that said "all-new for 1990". Although, I was certain they had the same body style back in 1989. Thanks for the info.

        1 month ago
    • It was confusing; the GMT400 (this style) came out in '88 but only the half-ton. 3/4 ton and up kept the square body style until 1990, that may have been what you saw.

        1 month ago
  • They are amazing trucks but are getting really expensive

      1 month ago
    • Yes, they used to be cheap. I've noticed a price increase lately. Saw this one and I'm thinking of buying it. It's a 1990 K 1500 with a 305 V8. Engine was rebuilt, repainted and it's an import from Texas. No rust at all. $6,700 is a steal of a deal.

        1 month ago
    • Yeah not bad at all but I'd definitely put a 350 in it as the 305 is well known for not being real great at anything, it'd make a great project though

        1 month ago
  • I’ll chime in not as a potential buyer but as a previous owner of this generation. My 94 towed race cars all over the US and Canada, never missed a beat and let’s say “occasionally” was asked of it more than it should have been able to produce and always gave 100%. Took it to 500,000 km before going to its next owner. Can’t say enough about this generation. Sure wasn’t flashy and fancy but turned heads when it went by with its exhaust and headers! Great trucks

      1 month ago
    • For sure. It was a shame when they changed from the older square body look but they were really reliable.

        1 month ago
  • RUST

      1 month ago
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