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1998 - 2009 Chevrolet T-Series

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General Motors has started to sell its T-Series trucks in 1998. The vehicles were based on the Isuzu’s F-Series medium duty range of trucks and shared the same design and technologies with their siblings.

The Chevrolet T-Series range consisted of three models namely the T6500, T7500 and T8500, all powered by a 7.8 liter Isuzu diesel engine. All Chevrolet T-Series trucks had a cab over engine configurations and were equipped with various Allison transmissions.

The Chevrolet T Series was sold until 2009 and came with GVM (gross vehicle mass) ratings between 24,350 lbs. to 39,000 lbs. and 4x4, 6x2 and 6x4 axle configurations.

Design

Chevrolet T-Series

The T-Series had a pretty conventional design and featured a cab over engine construction. The front was dominated by a massive, panoramic windscreen with the company’s badge mounted underneath it.

The front headlights were pretty small and came with a rugged rectangular shape, flanking a chunky radiator grille. The front bumper was also pretty rudimentary designed, but it coped well with the rest of the cab and was fitted with two square turning signals.

The T-Series’s cabin received wide opening doors which offered easy access inside. The doors were also fitted with a wide, deep cut glass area that gave you a top notch side visibility. All T Series trucks sit on 22.5 x 7.5 inch steel wheels wrapped in 245/75R22.5G tires.

Interior

Chevrolet T-Series

The Chevrolet T-Series’s interior was pretty rudimentary with a poor build quality and third class materials. The dashboard had also a pretty basic design and the overall ergonomy wasn’t exactly stellar.

The center console however, had a pretty intuitive layout and most of the controls and switches were placed within easy reach.

Perhaps it goes without saying that the cabin offered acres of leg and head room and there was a nice, airy feel inside.

The driver is also surrounded by a generous glass area which offers an excellent outward visibility. As with all external rear view mirrors these days, there is a blind spot area to consider but the separation gap between the main and wide angled lenses helps keep this factor to a minimum.

We found the dated steering wheel and the flat seats to be the most oppressive. The seats adjustments are also pretty limited and the driving position is far from being as good as other trucks in the segment. Some more lateral support could’ve been welcomed as well.

Unfortunately, the storage department was pretty poor represented, but there was a useful free area behind the seats which could’ve been used to store bigger items. There was also a convenient tray nested between the driver and passenger’s seats and some convenient overhead consoles.

The instrument panel had a basic design, but it was fitted with big, easy to read gauges for the speedometer and tachometer and other smaller indicators for fuel and oil.

Standard interior features included power defroster, tilt and telescopic steering column, 12 volt power supply and radio. On the options list you’d find air conditioning and cruise control.

Engines and transmissions

Chevrolet T-Series

The Chevrolet T-Series was offered with 7.8 liter Isuzu diesel engines which developed 215 and 230 hp with 560 lb.ft and 660 lb.ft of torque, respectively. In 2008 the T-Series range received a new series of six speed Allison transmissions and a vertical Diesel Particulate Filter available as an option.

The T6500 and T7500 models were offered with a standard Allison 2500 Series six speed transmission with a GCWR of 33.000 lb. The was also available the Allison 2200 Series close-ratio six speed transmission with integral park pawl and GVWR/GCWR rating of 26,000 lb., and a 2550 Series wide-ratio six-speed transmission with integral park pawl and a GVWR/GCWR of 30,000 lb.

The Chevrolet T8500 was equipped with a heavy duty Allison 3000 RDS close ratio six speed automatic transmission that was also available for the T7500 model as an option.

Moreover, the T7500 and T8500 models could’ve been equipped with Allison 3500 RDS, 3000 EVS and 3500 EVS transmissions - offered in five- and six-speed versions.

The T Series range of trucks was also offered with a choice of Eaton Fuller manual gearboxes with 6, 9 or 10 speeds.

Chevrolet T-Series Engines Specifications

Enginehp @ rpmlb.ft @ rpm
7.8 liter215 @ 2200560 @ 1450
7.8 liter230 @ 2200660 @ 1450

Ride and handling

Chevrolet T-Series

The truck is fitted with front tapered leaf and rear multi-leaf suspensions. The ride is firm without being overly stiff, regardless of what load is carried at the back. The handling is also pretty predictable and inspires a fair amount of confidence.

The standard power assisted steering was at par with what you’d usually found in its segment and offered a good balance between road feedback and lightness.

Verdict

Chevrolet T-Series

The old Chevrolet T-Series range of trucks was pretty rudimentary. The cabin wasn’t something to rave about either, as it came with cheap plastics and a poor build quality. The engines however, were pretty capable and were perfectly able to get the job done without whining. Though, they weren’t as efficient as today’s units.

The ride and handling departments were surprisingly good and the truck was pretty easy to maneuver around the tight city streets, despite its gargantuan proportions.


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