1: 1973 to 1983]
The "New Generation" C/Ks entered 1989 as the best-sellers in GM’s lineup. Numerous changes were seen. Regular-cabs and Extended-Cabs had a new 4x4 sport graphic option. Complementing the Sportside 4x4 was a new Fleetside Sport with a 6.5-foot box. It was an interim '89. The 4x4 Sports featured blackout wheel flares, bumpers, mirrors, a front air dam and tow hooks.
Extensive changes took place in the brake system. The parking brake cable was protected by revised routing and a new shield. To cut noise, a molded, semi-metallic brake lining was used. A new 28MT starter motor and revised engine dipstick lettering were used on 6.2-liter diesel engine-equipped models.
A new Borg-Warner 1370 transfer case with electrically actuated synchronizer was offered for dual rear wheel K3500s, allowing dual rear wheels to be ordered on 1-ton R/Vs and Chassis-Cab models. This increased GVWRs. Chevrolet calendar-year sales of new pickups totaled 521,358 C/K models.
For 1990, the 454SS was a new high-performance C1500 regular-cab 4x2. Its content included a potent 7.4-liter EFI V8, three-speed automatic, performance handling package and 3.73:1 axle. The 454SS delivered 230 hp at 3600 rpm and 385 lb.-ft. of torque at 1600 rpm. Also standard were a heavy-duty radiator, engine oil and transmission oil coolers and a locking rear differential. It came with bucket seats, a console, a Sport appearance package, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with cassette, a sliding window, a tilt steering wheel, power door locks and windows, electronic speed control and auxiliary lighting.
Another new 1990 model was the C/K1500 Work Truck. It represented a no-frills workhorse. The WT was available only in standard Cheyenne trim, but with a new grille. It included a body-color filler panel, charcoal bumper and WT I.D. Available in either 4x2 or 4x4 form, the WT carried a GVWR of 5,600 lbs. The maximum payloads of 4x2 and 4x4 versions was 1,711-lbs. and 1,331-lbs.
Chevy engines for 1990 included two V6s, three gas V8s and two diesel V-8s, depending on the model. A new heavy-duty version of the 4.3-liter EFI V6 was standard in C/K2500s and a credit option on C/K3500s. The 5.0-liter and 5.7-liter EFI V8s continued from 1989. The 7.4-liter V-8 featured new electronic spark control to fight spark knocks. Standard and heavy-duty 6.2-liter diesel V8s returned with revised ratings, due to a new system, though output was the same.
A Chevy pickup shattered a 37-year-old record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 26-27, 1989 by averaging 103.463 mph for 24 hours to win the Hulman Indy Challenge Trophy. The C1500 Sport covered 993.234 laps or 2,483.085 miles around the 2.5-mile track, including pit stops.
There were no major changes in 1991 Chevy’s full-size pickups. Significant technical advances ensured their continued sales competitiveness. The 7.4-liter "Mark V" V8 had a new one-piece intake manifold with a relocated throttle-body injector, eliminating the previous TBI mounting adapters. Also new were improved piston-to-cylinder tolerances, improved pan gaskets to eliminate oil leaks, rigid cast iron rocker covers and oil cooler lines with improved brackets.
GM's all-new 4L80-E heavy-duty electronic control four-speed automatic overdrive transmission was available for all models rated at or above 8,600-pound GVWRs. It had enhanced shifting precision and smoothness.
A new TBI system was used on the 4.3-liter V6 and 5.0-, 5.7-l and 7.4-liter V8s. It had longer throttle shaft bearings, new return springs and improved fuel mixtures. The 4.3-liter V6 was improved by the use of a revised air cleaner system and processing changes in manufacturing spark plugs. Both the 5.0-liter and 5.7-liter V8s were upgraded with heavy-duty intake valves, powdered metal camshaft sprockets and improved oil pan baffling on the heavy-duty 5.7-liter V8.
The 1991 Work Truck included a new 4-spoke steering wheel and larger outside mirrors. Below-eye-line exterior mirrors became standard on all C/Ks. The standard AM/FM stereo radios were improved with more signal sensitivity and less interference and signal tracking. Air conditioning for C/Ks was improved.
The 454SS option included a Sport steering wheel, black moldings, power locks and windows, tilt steering, cruise, Sport Handling, analog gauges, a tach, a 7.4-liter EFI V8 and a four-speed overdrive automatic transmission.
The 1992 C/K3500 Crew-Cab was the last Chevy pickup to use the styling first seen in 1988. The all-new Crew-Cab had a four-inch longer wheelbase, seven inches more rear-seat legroom and more front leg and shoulder room. It got antilock brakes. Standard engine was a 5.7-liter V8 linked to a five-speed heavy-duty manual transmission with "deep low" and overdrive.
For 1993, the 4.3-liter Vortec V6 got a new balance shaft, revised heads, TBI revisions, a new quiet fan, a new thermostat, a revised oil filter and a new dual-stud air cleaner. Both the 5.0- and 5.7-liter V-8s were improved in the same areas. The 5.0-liter had new low-tension piston pins. A modified version of the 5.7-liter V8 could be converted to CNG, propane or dual-fuel capability.
A new 1500 regular-cab Sportside Sport included Silverado trim, Sport decals, a body-color Dura-Grille, a Sportside box, cast aluminum wheels, painted mirrors and color-keyed bumpers. All trucks had a new "Leading Edge" anti-chip coating applied to the hood, roof and A-pillars. The hot 454SS was offered again.
New in 1994 was the Sportside Sport with a "step-side" short-box design. It came in just three colors: Oynx Black, Teal Green Metallic or Victory Red and included matching bumpers and mirrors, a new grille and aluminum wheel finish.
In December 1994, Chevy settled a controversy over older C/K pickup trucks with the U.S. Government. The government dropped its efforts to force a recall of older C/Ks in exchange for a multi-million dollar commitment, from GM, towards future auto safety. There were virtually no changes in '95 Chevy pickups.
Chevy trucks had their best sales year ever in 1996 with 1,496,624 units delivered. The V6 and V8 engines were improved with Vortec technology for greater fuel economy, added performance and longer maintenance intervals. Spark plug life and coolant life were extended to 100,000 miles. The Vortec 5700 V8 that was standard or optional on full-size models gained 50 hp over the 5.7-liter.
C/Ks got standard Daytime Running Lamps, a new clutch, a new electrochromatic mirror for automatic glare reduction and a new electronic transfer case on K1500/K2500s for improved traction and noise. Extended Cabs and Crew Cabs were fitted with an extra set of heat ducts for rear passengers.
At the Chicago Auto Show, full-size Chevys took four awards. Consumers Digest gave them a "Best Buy" in pickups. Popular Mechanics picked Chevy's Easy Access third-door for its Design & Engineering Award. Popular Science honored the Easy Access System with a "100 Best of What’s New" award. Consumer Review gave the new C/K a "Top Ten New Trucks" classification.
Chevy focused on three-door pickups in 1997. The C/K had a third door on the passenger side. The front passenger seat slid forward to allow easy access to the rear, but returned to position with no additional adjustment. Also in the extended-cab was a three-passenger rear bench seat, rear cupholders and a rear seatback that folded down for loading convenience. The lower portion folded up for added storage room. Technology dominated 1997 changes. The four-speed electronic automatic transmission (4L60-E) got a more sophisticated engine / transmission computer for greater fuel economy and smoother shifts.J. D. Power and Assoc. ranked the 1997 C/Ks best full-sized pickup in initial quality. Chevy said a survey of 1989-1995 pickup owners indicated that C/Ks had the highest owner satisfaction history of any full-size pickup truck.
On February 5, 1997, GM announced production plans for a fully certified $5,800 "factory" bi-fuel package for Chevy 2500 pickup trucks starting in 1997. These trucks used a Vortec 5700 V8 that was gaseous fuel compatible.
There were no major changes in 1998 C/K pickups since a redesigned range was due out in mid-1999. Prices climbed a bit, but the product offerings were essentially the same as in 1997. A Passlock theft deterrence system became available on C/Ks and virtually all Chevrolet trucks.