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1500 vs 2500

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by shugninx, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. shugninx

    shugninx Newbie

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    Hello,

    I am trying to figure out what exactly is the difference in parts between a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton suburban in the 89' year model range.I have an 89' 1/2 ton suburban and am trying to pull a 4500 lb travel trailer with it,but it doesn't seem to have the nads to pull it very well.Would a 3/4 ton be better suited for the job?I would prefer just to upgrade my 1/2 ton if possible rather than look for another vehicle.What would it take to upgrade it?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    When you say it doesn't have the balls to pull your trailer, are you referring to the overall power of the truck? Or is more to do with the way your truck handles with a load behind it?

    If it's a power issue, upgrading your suspension won't make any difference at all. You're gonna need to increase your torque/HP and maybe change out your gears. Do you know what gears are in the truck now? If it's a handling issue, then upgraded springs and a weight distribution hitch setup will help tremendously.

    Is your trailer a dual axle or a single axle unit? Single axle trailers are a little more skittish than dual axle trailers. That might have something to do with it.

    FWIW, a 1/2 ton Suburban shouldn't have too much trouble handling 4500 lbs behind it. Just make sure that, if you have a 700r4 automatic transmission, you keep the sucker out of overdrive while towing. Installing an auxilliary stacked plate tranny cooler would be a good idea, too.

    Welcome to CK5, brother!!!! :thumb:
     
  3. shugninx

    shugninx Newbie

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    well,when i pull it,it feels like i'm pulling 2 buses behind me.Plus the front end sits a lot higher than it should because of the weight and thats WITH a weight distributing hitch.It does have dual axle on the trailer.Its a 4wd with stock axles,most likely 10 bolt.The trouble was getting up hills.I actually blew a head gasket trying to get up the hills in montana.So i actually have a rebuilt 4 bolt in it now.As far as i can tell,i need more low end torque to get it to climb those hills without over reving the engine.I know 3/4 tons have larger gears in them,does this help with torque?and i believe they have heavier duty rear leafs?I guess what i'm asking is,would the bigger rear end and beefier springs help with the towing?I also plan on yanking the tranny and having it rebuilt so that doesnt become a future problem also.

    thanks

    any info would be appreciated :)
     
  4. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    It still sounds like a gearing issue to me. What gears are you running right now? I'm willing to bet you got stuck with 2.73s. Combine those with bigger tires and you'll end up with one dog of a truck.

    WHat you need to do is figure out what gears you have right now, and then take it from there.
     
  5. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    2.73?!@#! hopefully not!

    4500 lbs isnt a lot, but you sure thats the acutal weight? Most of those are around that dry, after you add everything else... easily goes over 5500.

    Gearing helps a lot. might as well go find a set of axles for cheap with 4.10's in it, keep stock tire sizing, you'll zip up those hills.

    keep in mind, hill + Naturally asperated=less and less power.

    Tranny cooler is very important! i just bought a remote filter mount and a Stacked plate cooler that i will install this saturday for my burb.
     
  6. shugninx

    shugninx Newbie

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    So,what exactly could i do to turn my burb into a hefty towing rig without going to far from stock?
     
  7. mudslinger99

    mudslinger99 1/2 ton status

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    CanmoreK5 has giving you some pretty good info for you to start with..

    2.73 gears in a 4x4 burb :what: ??? I have seen 3.42's in 2wd burbs but most 4x4 burbs that I have seen have 3.73's...

    I have to agree that your suburban should pull that much weight and then some with no problem... My buddy has a stock 89 2wd burb that he pulls the same weight your pulling and he has no trouble at all.. It even gets better gas milage loaded then my pickup does empty...

    You said you replaced the motor and I am willing to bet a ham sandwich that your power trouble is because you got a 305 instead of a 350 :D
     
  8. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I agree with can-Can - check your gear ratio. as to the differences - my 2500 has 4.10's and a much heavier suspension and a TH400 (3 speed) tranny. You probably have either 2.73 or 3.42 and you almost certainly have a 700R4 (make sure that the O/D is off when towing). HP and Torque are the same, so its an issue with the O/D and gearing IMO.

    Welcome to CK5 - the membership is well worth the $ and there is a ton of info to help you along.
     
  9. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    I kinda like 3.73's for towing. I have 3.42's now, but its great for general driving. You do know that you have 3.42's though, when you start hitting big hills, and the tranny wants to drive you in second gear. :crazy:
     
  10. MUDCADILLAC

    MUDCADILLAC Newbie

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    If it's a 350ci thats not the problem but if you are looking for torque find a 400ci small block or 396ci big block or biggerwith a low end to mid range cam.
    Combine that with 3:73's, and 31's or 33' and your set to tow a house down the street. Don't go a whole lot bigger than a 35" tire when towing or you will be all over the road.
     
  11. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    What you could do to improve the performance of your 1989 1/2 ton Suburban would be to find a 3/4ton pair of axles out of a 3/4 ton Chevy 4wd pickup or Suburban from the mid 70's to 1987. If you find running gear out of a 88-91 Burb like yours, but in the 3/4t flavor that will work perfect too.

    The lower the gears the better. 4.10 ratio will be the easiest to find and will help tremendiously. Finding a set with 4.56's would be even better. There isn't much you can do to your engine. Don't swap engines or anything like that because that will open a can of worms with the EFI that I'm sure you don't want to deal with. At that point buying a different vehicle would be easier. Make sure the transmission is in good working order.

    You can also swap in a set of rear 3/4T springs from another burb while you do the axle swap, which will really help stabilize the load and minimize your sagging.

    I would go with a 3/4T rear end and front axle with at least 4.10 gears, 4.56's being better.
    That will make the biggest difference and is pretty much all you can do outside of supercharging your engine. If that is not enough than I would suggest stepping up to a newer, stronger tow vehicle.

    Feel free to visit us over at www.towrig.com with any questions you could have with towing and swapping GM parts to improve towing performance.
     
  12. djsblaze

    djsblaze 1/2 ton status

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    My sub isnt an 89, but Ive had both 1/2 ton and 3/4 tons. My '03 Sub is a 3/4 ton with a 6.0 and 4.10 gears. My last 02 3/4 had the 8.1 liter and 3.73 gears. The 6 liter and 4.10 pulls better. Its all in the gears as everyone else is saying. Get new gears or pull 3/4 axles with the gears in them, swap out for 3/4 springs, and you'll be set. Good luck...
     

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