The 1999 Chevrolet Silverado is built on a completely new frame that is the stiffest and lightest truck frame General Motors has ever built. The front frame rails are hydroformed, a process that uses high-pressure hydraulics to shape steel. Tubular crossmembers and roll-formed mid-rails increase rigidity further. This stiff structure enhances handling and ride quality immensely, while improving crashworthiness.
Three new V8 engines are available, in 4.8-, 5.3- and 6.0-liter displacements. All three are based on the new GM small-block architecture that was introduced on the Corvette two years ago and shared with the Camaro and Firebird last year. A 4.3-liter V6 is still available and comes with a number of improvements, but the V8s will be sold in much higher volumes.
A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard in the base truck, but most opt for the 4L60 and 4L65 4-speed automatics with a new delayed-upshift feature for towing; they are excellent automatics.
There's a new aluminum short- and long-arm front suspension, with coil springs on 2-wheel-drive models and torsion bars on 4-wheel-drive models. Brakes are large, heavy-duty discs on all four corners, and ABS is standard on all models.