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86 k5 towing

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by djkawash, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. djkawash

    djkawash Registered Member

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    I have an 86 k5 with a 350/700r4/3.08 rear end. and 31" tires. Just wondering what I can do to make my towing better. I have monroe coad adjusting coil over shocks in the rear with helper springs. What can I do to increase my towing capacity? I don't have too much money to spend. Im in high school. :)
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    4.10 gears, 28,000lb stacked plate tranny cooler and a weight distributing hitch.

    I used to tow with my 81 Jimmy, up to 5500 lbs. It will physically pull much heavier but with such a short wheelbase it'd get spooky very quickly IMO.

    Rene
     
  3. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    yep ur main downfall is the 3.08 gears u got
     
  4. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Yeah, and 5.5K is even a stretch. It's completely fine on a beautifull spring day with the sun shinning and the birds chirping, and you are just moving something across town or what not. I've done that before, pulled 8K numerous times with my K5, but in perfect conditions.

    People forget that weather conditions can drastically drop what you can safely tow, so if you are in rain, snow, ice, and/high wind than that number can drop to 2/3 of what it is on that nice calm day.

    In general, K5's are bad tow rigs, but I will say there are a few things that go nice behind them. A boat, like a bass boat and under 18' or so, 2 place snowmobile trailers, jet skis, small landscape trailers, etc.

    It's the longer trailers that can push around a K5, like flat beds and especially longer enclosed van trailers that can catch the wind, they are almost the worst.

    Like Rene said, 4.10 gears would REALLY help power, weight distribution hitch, and a good trans cooler if you don't already have one. I'd also reccommend a set of junk yard 3/4ton axles so you can get better brakes, plus your 4.10 gears at the same time. Regardless, you can't do anything about the short wheelbase which is the biggest downfall.

    What are you towing?
     
  5. djkawash

    djkawash Registered Member

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    I have a xtra deep finned aluminum tranny pan and it came with the oil and tranny coolers. dad has a 23 ft glastron boat that I might tow. NOt sure how much it weighs though. What would my mileage be if I put on 4.10s. How much would it cost? It will mainly be a daily driver. Engine has 30k on it and tranny has 230k but it shifts great and strong. Don't know when it will give up. Mechanic that my dad hs known for 25+ yrs says tranny is in great condition. But when it does go what should I do? Built 700, or go to a 4L60e or even a 4L80E. Would these match up with my 208?
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I towed our old 21 foot camper trailer (1976 Coachman= heavy pig)all over creation with my K5. It's all mountains here, 6-9% grades, real twisty highways/roads etc etc and never had a problem. The longest distance we towed with it was from Vancouver BC to Huntington beach CA and back. Towed just fine, the key being good trailer brakes properly set-up and also a good weight distributing hitch plus some common sense. i can say I never towed that in horrid weather though.

    At the time we went to CA and back my truck had a 4" lift, 35's, 3.73's...355 sbc and SM 465. 4.10's and 33's would have been a bit better, but it did just fine the way it was.

    Rene
     
  7. Thunder

    Thunder 3/4 ton status

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    Really not much you can do to your truck except change gears as everyone said.
    You should be able to tow that boat ok with 31" tires and 308s. Not the best gears but without regearing you will have to make due.
    Never tow in Overdrive. Keep the stock tire size or go smaller.
    Always keep the oil in the trans fresh and clean if it does not look pink like new fluid it is time to change. I change mine every spring before towing season.
    I tow a lot with my 89 K5. I have a 2500 lb boat that I tow about 2K a year and a 2500 lb capacity utillity trailer I use haul wood out of the hills
    The PO used to tow a 22' travel trailer up and down the West coast. So it has hauled quite a few loads
    I have 33' tires and 3.73 GR 700r4with the same engine oil trans coolers you have. I have towed heaver loads around 5K but as Rene said.. Its spooky and keeps you on your toes.

    As far as a replacement tranny IMO Just go with a built 1987 and up case 700R4. The pre 87 700s like yours are weaker.
    If you go with a 4l80e you will need to get the computer to operate it. The stand alone computer conversion kits are around $800. i think they are longer too so some driveline work and possible crossmember relocation will be needed.
    The 4l60E is just a electric 700R4 so there is no reason to convert.
     
  8. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    You have 230k on your 700r4? iono if its up to it even if it is shifting fine right now.
    My old 700 shifted fine and got me everywhere I needed to go here in town and last summer when we went to Pismo and started to pull some grades it took a dump on us. So its just something to think about...adding a load (or pulling a grade) can greatly change how happy you are with the tranny :)

    btw welcome to the boards...where are you here in Cali?
     
  9. djkawash

    djkawash Registered Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I have some money saved to get my top repainted. But after that is done in the fall I will look into the price of new gears. I should have enough for that. Even if I don't my dad's friend that is a salesman at the dealership will charge me less that what they would normally charge. (Does this for me everytime I have to bring it in for the stuff I can't due. Best man alive!) Would 4.10s fit in a 10bolt? I think thy would but all I have heard is how people put them in 14bolts. But I'm just not totally sure. Avery4jc im located in danville/san ramon area. I already have a weight distributing hitch and all that so I guess that I have to get new gears. Thanks.
     
  10. djkawash

    djkawash Registered Member

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    If i did 4.10s how would I recalibrate the speedometer. Is there a new gear that I would have to swap out in the t-case? What would I have to do?
     
  11. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    yeah basically...or just don't worry about it like most of us do...

    as far as regearing goes I spent a lot of time going back and forth between either regearing my old 10b's or getting a 14ff/8 lug 10b (for the front) and in the end it was cheaper to buy and install a 14ff and matching 8 lug front than it was to regear my axles.
    You are looking at $1500 at least in parts and labor to rebuild/regear your axles (at least around here). I found a set of 3/4 ton axles with 4.10's for $500...I bought them, spent another couple hundred on stuff to put them in (conversion u-joint, u-bolts, hardware, 8 lug rims, etc.) and then not only will you have 4.10's but you'll have a 14ff out back which is up to the task of towing...unlike your 10b. Just something to digest :)
     
  12. Vetteman61

    Vetteman61 Registered Member

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    gears

    If your truck is a daily driver, I wouldn't recommend 4:10 gears. Even with overdrive you'll be turning much higher rpms on the interstate and getting much worse gas milage. From the sound of things, I would recommend 3:73's or something close. That's just me though, but from the sound of it seems you want to do much more street driving than serious off roading.
     
  13. RustBuket

    RustBuket 1/2 ton status

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    With overdrive you'd fine. Find a gear calculator, the rpms wouldn't be that high.
     
  14. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    yeah w/ OD you'd be fine...
    iono I think sometimes we throw too many options and too much info. at people...maybe just see how it does first before you go off changing stuff...especially if its just a temporary occassional thing.
     
  15. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    1. My 22ft Cuddy cabin wieghs 5,500lbs with trailer and all.

    2. 4.10's wouldn't cost you anything in mileage, and you might even pick up 1gpm or so. Once you have 4.10's with the 31's you'll wonder what the heck GM was thinking with your old Sedan 3.08's.

    3. About $1200 to have a pro shop put 4.10's front and rear in for you. It would cost a third of that to put in a 14BFF and 8 lug 10B front from a similar year 3/4ton GM truck that already has 4.10's, bigger brakes, heavier bearings, etc...

    4. I honestly doubt you have 230K on an original 700R4. I say a PO did a rebuild one time, which is a good thing!
     
  16. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    2170 rpm at 70 mph with 4.10's and 31" tires. That is about perfect to be completely honest...he will likely gain some mileage (as Bobby mentioned)

    Rene
     

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