Barn Find Tow Rig: 1995 Chevrolet K3500

We’ve featured quite a few of the trucks that our buddies over in North Dakota have been dragging out of Canada. Well, their most recent listing isn’t a Canadian edition truck, it isn’t even rusty. It’s actually a beast of a truck that they purchased out of California to tow a trailer back up to Canada. With 91k miles on it, this beast of a truck has a long life of towing car trailers a head of it. Looking this thing over, it’s amazing to think it’s 22 years old. How time flies! Well, if you need a truck capable of towing home even the largest of barn finds, you can find this one here on eBay in Cavalier, North Dakota with a current bid of $4,338 and no reserve. That seems like a lot of truck for the money!

With a 10,000 pound tow capacity, this truck could drag home just about any car or truck you might come across. And with 4 wheel drive, it shouldn’t have any problem navigating muddy or snow covered roads. It’s had recent service including having the transmission fluid and filter changed, new u-joints installed and a new actuator for the 4×4 system. Install a new set of tires and this thing will be ready to get to work!

And doesn’t the inside look like a comfortable place to work from? It amazes me just how fancy modern truck interiors are these days, with more electronics than you could ever need. While this rig has sofa grade leather seats, it at least lacks touch screens and digital readouts. There’s something to be said for a simple set of gauges, manual climate control and stereo that doesn’t require reading a 500 page manual to use.

Power is provided by the good old 454 V8 with a power rating of 230 horsepower and 385 foot pounds of torque. Power is routed through a 4L80E automatic and is said to proved up to 17 miles per gallon on the highway. Expect that number to drop significantly once you’ve loaded up a trailer with a barn find or two, but it does have a Vendors Overdrive system that might improve mileage some.

While it would be cool to have the 6.5 liter turbo diesel in this truck, the 454 is such a great engine. Parts are readily available, it’s easy to work on and they just get the job done! Plus, do you really need more tow capacity than this? The only real problem I see with this truck is it’s size, it would be hard to navigate around town on simple parts runs. Of course, out on the highway with 5k+ pounds of trailer and classic car in tow, it’s size will be appreciated. So, will you be flying into North Dakota to pick this truck up? Perhaps there’s a barn find on the way that you could pick up and bring home with it!

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  1. Poptheclutch

    Now that’s a TRUCK!

    • Andre

      It’s a bit comical that at what was once the heavy hauler 1-ton dually now shares a tow rating with the suburbanite 1/2 ton.

      Not taking away from this truck, but “ratings” on modern trucks are wild.

      My ’13 Silverado 1/2 ton has a higher rating than my ’03 Sierra 3/4 ton that preceded it.

      … I guess tow ratings have become a bit of a corporate/marketing *ahem* measuring contest.

  2. MH

    That’s a great truck. It would be better with a 454. The 6.5 diesels weren’t very reliable. $7500 would be top money for this rig.

    • David

      It is a 454! Typo from Barnfinds!

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Mortensen Staff

      Ops! That’s my bad, it is the 454. Sorry about the confusion!

  3. Tracy Johnson

    Good thing it’s not diesel of that era! They were horrible. I worked at a GM dealer back then and diesel pumps would fail while waiting for owners to pick them up after having the diesel pump replaced! GM diesels are Junk!

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Tracy. There was a lot of controversy over the diesels of that era. It’s interesting that the first one (a 1-ton Dually, crew cab) in our region has driven nearly 500K miles and it’s never quit him once. For the first three years the only time it didn’t have a 34 foot 5th Wheel RV attached was when it was in the shop for non-diesel related stuff. The original (Black Tag) injection pump was replaced during an inspection when it was in the shop for brakes. The customer was a little disappointed because he felt that it didn’t have as much power as it did before.

      I’ve probably overhauled a thousand of the DS electronic injection pumps and there were some problems with them but I have to blame a lot of it on improper diagnosis. I remember one truck that came into the local dealership on a hook and the tech replaced the injection pump. When it wouldn’t start, we sent them another pump which was installed. It still wouldn’t start. The tech phoned for yet another one. I suggested that he maybe start looking somewhere else to which he responded that he’d keep replacing pumps until the ‘General’ TOLD him to look elsewhere. It turned out that the problem was a sheared camshaft key. A week and a half, four injection pumps and one real pissed-off customer before he got his truck back.

      A lot of dealer service departments were too quick to blame the injection pump. So often, by some miracle, the truck DID run when the pump was changed. They thought the problem was solved and parked the truck outside, only to find that the real problem was a coolant temperature sensor, or a crank position sensor, or low supply voltage, a poor ground, bad bulkhead connectors, any number of things BUT the injection pump. When we fixed the trucks in our shop the problems practically disappeared. I might add that the DOD used a lot of those pumps and had far less problems than the dealers. Out of 24 GM dealers that we looked after, we had (ONE) that listened and diagnosed/repaired the 6.5s properly. It was a small dealer (very similar to Lambrecht Chevrolet) and it got positive results. Eventually most of the others came on board but there were some obstinate holdouts that refused to listen to anyone; they just knew what boxes to tick and order up another pump. The vast majority of owners that I know of were completely satisfied with their 6.5 diesels.

  4. Todd Zuercher

    I think that should be “Gear Vendors” overdrive.

    350 isn’t much for serious towing, unfortunately.

    • Eric H

      I also thought that it was a typo. But I figured that they meant a Gear Vendors Underdrive.

    • David

      It is a 454! Typo from Barnfinds!

  5. Rx7turboII

    Four-wheel drive, Dually, V8 350, and gets 17 miles per gallon? I don’t think so…. there’s only one way this truck gets 17 miles per gallon and that’s on the highway with a Tailwind , over-inflated tires , and it would have to have a 2:73 rear end.

  6. rod444

    I want his truck with my engine. Im driving the 1980 version of his truck but with the 454. Its a great tow rig and other than having to fill it up twice at every gas station if you let it idle, the engine is great hauler.
    I cant imagine a 350 with the 4l60 being a great trailer hauler. That tranny tends to eat itself at about 120k and the 350 is reliable but doubt she’d impress anyone pulling up any steep hill. She’d be fine with just a single car trailer but not much more.
    And 17 mpg? Hmm, maybe if you cruise at 45 mph downnhill.

    • David

      It is a 454! Typo from Barnfinds!

      • rod444

        How did you find that out?

      • jw454

        Rod444 the ad says it’s a 454.

      • David

        I opened the hood and checked…

    • Rod444

      Thanks David :)
      I was going to claim blindness, dementia or my stupidity after re-reading the ad four times, til I realized that the info on the eBay ad on my phone doesn’t show engine size, but on my computer it does. Live and learn. Guess the dementia hasn’t gotten as far as I thought yet. lol

  7. Vance

    A quick glance at the engine shows big block valve covers. At least the old girl has a heart!
    A 350 in this would be grossly underpowered

  8. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    This older fairly low-mile hauler is appealing, especially for the likely price, but the questionable gas mileage and smaller engine would make me pause……

    But it does make me want my Diesel Ram 6 speed back. That truck would get 22 MPG empty on the highway and the high teens hauling a trailer + car. The Cummins Diesel Rams are hard to beat as haulers, but this Chevy could be a good utility truck, especially if the bid stays reasonable.

  9. rbtempe

    — OMG— People read the ad it’s a 454

  10. Scot Douglas

    So it has an overdrive.
    On a transmission already equipped with an overdrive?

  11. jdjonesdr

    Seller, yank out them seats and throw them on a pallet for me. I’ll have the shipper come by later today to pick them up.

    • Dickie F

      And you using them where JD ?

  12. Rube Goldberg Member

    The guy I rent from bought a truck just like this, only a 2011 and a diesel. This truck typifies the American stereotype, “if this good, more must be better”. Don’t get me wrong, fantastic truck, but most of the time, I see these behemoths bouncing down the road, with a bag of deer corn ( or something) and seems to me, they bought these to be “king of the road”, better than anyone else, and they ride your rear, thinking that. Be advised, unladen, it rides terrible, it’s a straight truck underneath.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Rube. Being born and raised on a farming operation, I’ve seen and driven lots of trucks similar to this one. Even though the builders have smoothed out a lot of the bumps, they’re still a truck underneath. I remember visiting my dad, the evening before he passed. He told me that they were going to take him to the main hospital for an angiogram first thing in the mornign. He added that they were taking him in the ambulance. “They can say what they want,” he said, “but they’re still a damned 1-ton truck!” My wife refers to Dualies as ‘pickups with training wheels.’

  13. Andre

    94-98’s Chev’s aged so nicely. One of the nicest looking modern trucks.

  14. Jay E.

    Big truck with a big gas tank. You will literally watch the needle move as you pull away from the station. Never had another car go through gas as fast as a 454 dually.

    • rod444

      Jay E. You’re not just whistling Dixie. Just left SD two days ago pulling a tall trailer against a big headwind with my 454 C30. Drained a 20 gallon tank in 40 minutes! Calculated it out at 3 mpg – a personal record for me.

  15. OhioMark

    I just purchased a left over 2017′ F-250 Diesel which has 440 HP and 925 lbs. of torque from a 6.7L engine. It gets 20+ mpg on the highway and can tow over 8 tons, so these big rigs have come along way in the past 20 -25 years regarding MPG and towing capacity. Nice truck and GLWS!

    • LAB3

      About a year ago a friend and I where in his ’16 one ton Chevy with 6.5 Duramax pulling an 18 foot landscaping trailer with a pickup camper bolted to it and a four seat Polaris RXR. We where passing cars going up hill and still getting over 20mpg with it. Very impressive and with that exhaust fluid set up on it I never smelled the exhaust.

  16. Loco Mikado

    Nice truck. Would rather buy this than the bloatmobile trucks they sell today.

  17. carsofchaos

    I used this exact same truck (though in white and with a bench seat) as my tow vehicle for a couple years before selling it last year. We called it “Fat Betty” for reasons I don’t recall, and it had a “Texas Bumper”. These things are AWESOME. Forget about gas mileage, it’s about 7-8mpg at best. But it will haul anything, and smoothly.

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