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C3500 - Service

I am in absolutely no way a diesel mechanic.  I have the utmost of respect for diesel mechanics.  My advice to any young person who loves working on vehicles and is looking for a pretty secure future to take up diesel mechanics. 

The good thing about the vehicle is that there still are a lot of things that I can work on.  There are also some jobs I won't touch due to the need for special equipment.

Here's what you can do:

Oil Changes - Believe it or not, the recommended change interval is 10,000 miles.  I was a little nervous at first, but it seems to be ok.  I don't know who decided to have the oil filter at an angle, but it is very difficult to remove it without spilling some oil.  You can also only fill the new filter about 1/2 full when installing it.  The vehicle takes 10 (not a misprint) quarts of 15W-40 oil.  I tried synthetic oil but it had no effect on performance or mileage so I went back to good old Shell Rotella T.  The biggest problem you may encounter is that these things don't consume a lot of oil so you need sufficient ability to collect nearly 10 quarts of oil.

Transmission Fluid - This is an easy job.  The vehicle has an external spin on filter.  There is a magnet that goes on the filter so don't toss that out!

Serpentine Belt - Another easy to tackle job.

Air Filter - Another easy job.

Battery Replacement - Assuming you are strong enough to lift the battery into the vehicle this is an easy job.  Most car parts places will do it for you if you want them to.  The vehicle has two batteries and they both must be replaced at the same time.

Tire Rotation - While this is an easy task, it does take some physical strength to change tires on the truck.  They are somewhat heavy.  If you have a tire place that you trust and they'll do it in a convenient manner, there is no shame in having this done for you. 

Jobs I Won't Take On

Cooling System Service - There is special equipment required to get all the air out of the system.  The last thing you want is for there to be air in the system.  The bad news is that it will set you back around 100 bucks to get this done at a dealer.  The good news is that it only has to be done around every 100,000 miles.

Fuel Filter - Having a good fuel filter is absolutely critical with any diesel engine.  You don't want to starve it and take a chance at damaging the injectors.  You also don't want any air in the fuel system.  I simply don't have the confidence to do this myself although it appears easy on the surface.  This is following my own advice about not trying something you are not absolutely confident in your abilities to finish correctly.
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