1995 Chevy Tahoe Diesel build thread

arveetek

Adventurer
Well, I figured it was high time I finally start a build thread on my 1995 Chevy Tahoe 2-door diesel that I've now owned for over 11 years!!

Here is how she sits today (fall of 2016); this picture was taken at Black Mesa, Oklahoma, July 2016:







I didn't intend for this vehicle to become an off-road rig; in fact, I originally bought her for my wife!

In the fall of 2005, my father and I were making our own home-brewed biodiesel. I was driving a 1981 Chevy C20 that I had converted to a 6.2L turbo diesel. I convinced my wife that she needed a diesel vehicle as well. Lo and behold, one Sunday after church, I spotted this 1995 K1500 Tahoe sitting on a dealer's lot. I pulled in so quick my wife thought something was wrong! I had spotted the twin holes in the front bumper (usually indicative of a diesel engine, if stock), and wanted to take a closer look. It showed 106K miles on the clock, but a quick Carfax showed that wasn't accurate. It had at least 150K. Running the VIN at the local dealer showed it had recently been in for some service at 170K. This info allowed me to negotiate a lower price with the dealer, who had simply purchased it at auction without knowing the odometer had been tampered with.

The Carfax did show that the vehicle had been essentially a one-owner until traded-in not long before I bought her. I think she floated around a few dealer's lots until landing on this one in particular.

I wasn't scared of the 170K plus miles... I had lots of experience with the GM diesels, and knew what to look for. With a factory 6.5L turbo diesel V8, a heavy-duty 4L80E transmission, a floor-shifted transfer case, and factory Eaton locker in the rear diff, this truck had some seriously good bones to work with.

She was definitely more of a soccer-mom vehicle than a serious 4x4, though:





Here were my two diesel daily drivers:




The factory running boards definitely made it more of a city vehicle.

Right away she needed the usual GM diesel upgrades: New remote-mounted PMD/FSD and oil pressure switch relay harness, a new starter, and then she was good as gold for many miles.

Well, flash forward a few years.... we started a family, and then we needed more of a family vehicle. So we sold my '94 Jeep YJ I had at the time, and bought a minivan! However, that meant I got to keep the Tahoe and my pickup for me. I started using the Tahoe as my daily driver, and that's when the mods started happening.

First things first: ditch the factory wheels and install some cheap aluminums I got from a friend:








Then I ditched the factory running boards and then added a Westin brush guard I found on Craigslist:











Slowly, she was starting to turn from a soccer-mom vehicle to an actual 4x4!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Casey
 

chilliwak

Expedition Leader
Looks good Arveetek! I have a very similar vehicle (94 Yukon) and used to love it before a really bad diesel shop replaced my injector pump with a cheap after market crap pump. Stay with original parts if you have to replace your pump and you will have lots of fun with that truck. I look forward to seeing what you do with it. Cheers, Chilli...:)
 

arveetek

Adventurer
Looks good Arveetek! I have a very similar vehicle (94 Yukon) and used to love it before a really bad diesel shop replaced my injector pump with a cheap after market crap pump. Stay with original parts if you have to replace your pump and you will have lots of fun with that truck. I look forward to seeing what you do with it. Cheers, Chilli...:)

Thanks chilli! I actually had to replace the injection pump a couple of years ago, but fortunately I had purchased a used 1997 C3500 for parts, and it had a good pump on it that I was able to use.

Casey
 

chilliwak

Expedition Leader
Thanks chilli! I actually had to replace the injection pump a couple of years ago, but fortunately I had purchased a used 1997 C3500 for parts, and it had a good pump on it that I was able to use.

Casey
Thank god for that my friend...

This is the place you want to stay way clear of...

https://www.bcdiesel.ca/en/

Dont send your worst friend there. They destroyed my Yukon...:Wow1:
 

arveetek

Adventurer
Thank god for that my friend...

This is the place you want to stay way clear of...

https://www.bcdiesel.ca/en/

Dont send your worst friend there. They destroyed my Yukon...:Wow1:
I hate to hear that!! So many shops seem to have no clue how to work on the 6.5L, yet it's a very simplistic setup!

I think the best 6.5L expert is www.kennedydiesel.com with a distant second being www.heathdiesel.com

There are lots of shops who claim to know the 6.2L/6.5L, but obviously don't!

Casey
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
I am in the process of replacing our 6.5 k2500 with a 6.5 Burb, but I hesitate to put my truck up for sale when it only has 161k miles and searched long and hard for a manual trans setup. And I am just the opposite, I prefer Heath over Kennedy due to the professionalism or lack thereof I have had with both.
 

arveetek

Adventurer
And I am just the opposite, I prefer Heath over Kennedy due to the professionalism or lack thereof I have had with both.

I think John Kennedy has more knowledge and experience than Bill Heath, but John's people skills aren't necessarily the best at times.....

Casey
 

arveetek

Adventurer
I am in the process of replacing our 6.5 k2500 with a 6.5 Burb, but I hesitate to put my truck up for sale when it only has 161k miles and searched long and hard for a manual trans setup.
The 6.5L vehicles are definitely beginning to get scarce... I would hesitate to let it go as well. Most 6.5L trucks out there are pretty worn out now....

Casey
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Interesting. I knew that Chevy offered the diesel in half-ton trucks on the GMT-400 platform but I didn't know they offered it on the Blazer/2 door Tahoe as well, I thought it was just on the Suburban and pickups. Also didn't realize it had the 4L80 trans, that's a nice bonus.
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
Interesting. I knew that Chevy offered the diesel in half-ton trucks on the GMT-400 platform but I didn't know they offered it on the Blazer/2 door Tahoe as well, I thought it was just on the Suburban and pickups. Also didn't realize it had the 4L80 trans, that's a nice bonus.
They are pretty rare to see, there was a guy trying to sell one for around $13k on craigslist recently, had a lift and 35's just waiting for that little rear axle to go pop! The nice thing is you can swap in the 3/4 running gear quite easily.
 

arveetek

Adventurer
Interesting. I knew that Chevy offered the diesel in half-ton trucks on the GMT-400 platform but I didn't know they offered it on the Blazer/2 door Tahoe as well, I thought it was just on the Suburban and pickups. Also didn't realize it had the 4L80 trans, that's a nice bonus.

Yes, the GMT400's were kind of strange with their diesel offerings. You could get the 6.5L in the Suburban and 2-door Tahoe, but not the 4-door Tahoe?? Every automatic 6.5L came backed with the 4L80E, which is nice. The Suburban 1500 also came with 8-lug wheels and heavier axles, but the 1500 2-door Tahoe only had the standard 1/2 ton 6-lug wheels and 10 bolt rears.

The 2-door diesel SUV's are definitely more scarce than the Suburban and pickup models.

Casey
 

chilliwak

Expedition Leader
I hate to hear that!! So many shops seem to have no clue how to work on the 6.5L, yet it's a very simplistic setup!

I think the best 6.5L expert is www.kennedydiesel.com with a distant second being www.heathdiesel.com

There are lots of shops who claim to know the 6.2L/6.5L, but obviously don't!

Casey
I cant agree with you more Casey. The problem I had was that I specifically asked for good quality parts and said I was willing to pay a premium for it. I also said that the truck went into the bush for long periods at a time and that the whole system should be checked as I did not want any failures. First off they installed a cheap after market pump directly against what I clearly asked for. It only lasted a few days before the lift pump blew up and left me stranded in a place a long way from home. Thats a $300 part that they did not bother to replace. Then it took a whole week before they could book me in for a repair. All and all I had a horible experience that cost me about $6000 and the truck still runs worse than when I brought it to them the first time. I think I will install a 454 gasser with a carb. At least I can repair that myself...:Wow1:
 

arveetek

Adventurer
From the time I bought the Tahoe in 2005 up until 2009, not much changed, other than the aluminum rims and Westin brush guard.

During that time period, I got more interested in off-road fun. A friend convinced me to buy a Polaris ATV, and I had a lot of fun with that, but quickly grew tired of having to always suit up, put a helmet on, and try not to roll over. Another friend convinced me that a full-size 4x4 is more fun, so I bought a 1993 Jeep ZJ V8 for cheap, added a 4.5" lift and some 33" Super Swampers, and had a ball:








That rig was real fun off road, but was not pleasant to drive on the street. I had to trailer it wherever I went. I wanted something more dual-purpose, so I sold the ZJ and bought a 1997 Jeep TJ:







The TJ was much more fun, since I could drive it on the street as well as on the trails. I had it for several years. I still trailered it whenever I went somewhere I was afraid of breaking (SMORR, Disney OK, etc). During this same time period, I ended up selling my '81 C20 (stupid mistake... had that truck for 14 years.... still wish I hadn't sold it), so the Tahoe took over more serious duties, such as towing the Jeep and also our small travel trailer we had.


Bringing my TJ home for the first time:






A trip to Table Rock Lake:








During this time frame, I also installed some Bushwacker "OEM Style" fender flares, as you may have noticed in the previous two pics:







This is how she looked for several years.

Casey
 
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