Chevrolet, GMC C3500HD

1991 - 2002 Chevy, GMC 3500HD History, Specs

Long before the modern, Duramax powered Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups adopted the "HD" namesake, General Motors offered a 3500HD model that was significantly more robust and different than a standard C3500/K3500 pickup. Introduced for the 1991 model year, the C3500HD sold through both GMC and Chevrolet brands was a heavy duty chassis cab truck with a 15,000 lbs GVWR and a substantially stronger chassis than 3500 pickup models. The 3500HD's distinct characteristics include a 10 lug rear axle, taller body height, grille insert/spacer, and an I beam independent front suspension.

The C3500HD featured a 15,000 lbs gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), classifying it as a class 4 vehicle (14,001 to 16,000 lbs GVWR). Its stout load carrying capacity allowed the model line to bridge the gap between the light and medium duty segments, attracting those whom needed more capability than a standard 1 ton pickup yet did not have the desire to move into a medium duty truck. While the cab and engine options did not differ greatly from 3500 pickup models, the 3500HD cab rests on an entirely separate platform than the standard 3500. As the C3500HD was sold as a chassis cab incomplete vehicle, the mammoth straight frame chassis featured 34" frame rail spacing to match common upfit packages.

A distinct 3500HD attribute is its taller grille area and the insert positioned between what would be the bottom of a standard 3500 grille and the bumper. Although this may lead some to assume that the truck features a larger radiator, the size of the radiator is no different than that of a standard pickup model. Rather, the architecture of the frame and the placement of the cab results in the gap between the grille and fender, which GM decided to fill with this characteristic insert.

The C3500HD was only offered off the production line as a 2 wheel drive model, although at least one company performed 4 wheel drive conversations and thus many 4 wheel drive examples exist. Through the truck's existence, introduced for the 1991 model year and retired after 2002, a total of four engine options were offered; the 5.7L (350 cid), 7.4L (454 cid), and 8.1 (496 cid) gasoline V-8s in addition to the 6.5L (395 cid) GM turbodiesel. Production was limited to a regular (single) cab configuration, although many were converted off the assembly line to Crew Cab (full 4 doors) models in much the same fashion that 4 wheel drive retrofits occurred. The C3500HD was available with either GM's 4L80E automatic or New Venture's NV4500 manual transmission.

 

Chevrolet, GMC C3500HD Specs

Vehicle:

Chevrolet & GMC C3500HD

Model Years Produced:

1991 - 2002

Configurations:

Regular cab, 2wd, 135.5", 159.5", 183.5" wheelbase

Engine Options:

5.7L gas V-8 (350 cid)

1991 - 2000 model years

7.4L gas V-8 (454 cid)

1991 - 2000 model years

8.1L gas V-8 (496 cid)

2001 - 2002 model years

6.5L diesel V-8 (395 cid)

1992 - 2002 model years

Transmission Options:

Automatic

GM 4L80E, four speed w/ OD

Manual

New Venture NV4500, five speed w/ OD

Front Suspension:

Independent I-beam, leaf spring

Front GAWR:

5,000 lbs

Rear Suspension:

Leaf spring

Rear Axle:

Dana 80 (common) or Rockwell full floating

Rear GAWR:

11,000 lbs (Dana 80)

Axle Ratios:

4.56 : 1 (Rockwell), 4.63 : 1 or 5.13 : 1 (Dana 80)

Wheels/Tires:

225/70R19.5, 19.5" x 6.0" wheels

GVWR:

15,000 lbs

Payload:

~ 8,000 - 9,300 lbs w/ factory equipment

 

Transmission

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

R

GM 4L80E (1991 - 2002)

2.48 : 1

1.48 : 1

1.00 : 1

0.75 : 1

n/a

2.08 : 1

New Venture NV4500 (1992 - 1994)

6.34 : 1

3.44 : 1

1.71 : 1

1.00 : 1

0.73 : 1

6.34 : 1

New Venture NV4500 (1995 - 1997)

5.61 : 1

3.04 : 1

1.67 : 1

1.00 : 1

0.75 : 1

5.61 : 1

New Venture NV4500 (1998 - 2002)

5.61 : 1

3.04 : 1

1.67 : 1

1.00 : 1

0.75 : 1

5.04 : 1

 

3500HD grille spacer/insert

Because the cab does not sit on an ordinary frame, the 3500HD
features a grille spacer to cover the would-be gap between the
grille and bumper

3500HD 10 lug wheels

The 3500HD features 10 lug axles, however the steer axle only utilizes 5 of the wheels lugs

3500HD frame rails

C3500HD's mammoth frame rails