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Help me out here- tow rig/ diesel question

Discussion in '1982-Present GM Diesel' started by FWP, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. FWP

    FWP CRS

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    Here's the deal, I need a diesel tow rig with decent fuel mileage, I'm short on cash (i.e I can't go spend 30k on a new truck). Here's my options I'm considering. Option 2 has a few questions for the deisel guys.

    1. Sell my 81 SWB (nice truck, tired motor) for around 4k, and buy a used mid 90s CTD for around 6k

    2. Convert the 81 to a diesel tow rig. Specs on the 81- 350/465/208 373 gears. I have available 3/4 ton springs, sm465 version 205, and 14 BFF.

    Questions on option 2:

    Can a 6.2 be installed in a 81?
    Can the 6.2 pull 8000 lbs (and go 55 down the freeway)?
    Will a 6.2 bolt in?
    Am I totally insane, or is there another option?

    Thanks

    Fred
     
  2. BlueBlazer

    BlueBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    Option 1 for sure, although I dont think youll find a Dodge quite that cheap unless you are lucky.
     
  3. FWP

    FWP CRS

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Option 1 for sure, although I dont think youll find a Dodge quite that cheap unless you are lucky.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Thanks, that's interesting.

    I found 2 already, only been looking for a week now. Granted they don't look the greatest, and have 150k miles on em, but I don't care what the body looks like, I just want to tow/ DD with it. I guess I should have put that info in my first post.
     
  4. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    A 6.2 with a banks turbo is a pretty good hauler. A 6.5 with a turbo is even better. BOth will bolt right in for the most part far as I know. With a turbo'd 6.5 you will need to trim the A/C box a little.
     
  5. bigblock454

    bigblock454 Clack Clack Clack Premium Member

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    Although the CTD is a good engine, I would never drive a D*dge. Even if you spend $6k on a CTD it will probably have 150k+ miles in who knows condition internally. A drop in turbo 6.5 engine would cost you over $5k, but it would be new and last 150k+ and pull 8000lb easy, and you will be driving a GM.
     
  6. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    The biggest issue I see with keeping the '81 is that it's a shortbed and presumably a 1/2 ton truck....not exactly a great setup if you want to tow a K5. Sure, you can put a 14FF and heavier springs but it's still a short wheelbase truck.

    You could probably do the 6.2 swap pretty cheap, but I hope you don't plan on getting anywhere in a hurry especially when towing 8,000 lbs. I've owned a 6.2 powered K5 for almost 10 years now and while it's acceptable driving when empty (and works good on the trail) I can't imagine lugging around an 8,000 lb. trailer.

    A built 6.2 with a turbo would probably do pretty good, but you mentioned being on a budget. Once you spent the money on a 6.2 swap, turbo install, and doing all of the other work to make the '81 a decent tow rig you could have sold it and got a much better tow rig to start with.
     
  7. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Can a 6.2 be installed in a 81?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    My Jimmy is an 81 Fred...the 6.2 dropped in with no big problems. I'd say it'd be as easy as swapping to a big block, mostly bolt up...

    For an outright tow rig I'd keep the 81 (you already know the truck...) Install the 14 bolt FF (hopefully with 4.10's) and keep the 465/208 combo. Run some tires about 31" tall and it'll be turning about 2450 rpm at 55 mph. That kind of gearing I'd say even a NA 6.2 would pull 8000 easy enough. Obviously a 6.5 TD would do even better.

    Rene
     
  8. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

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    If you could find a CTD for 6k, jump on it! I looked high and low and couldn't find sh!t for under 15k(4x4). The 6.5TD ain't got nothing on a Cummins...
     
  9. joez

    joez 1/2 ton status

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    Something ive noticed with the 6.2, is yes, its slow, but it doesnt get much slower when you start addint weight back behind it. Ive towed 6K pounds with my 85 K5, 6.2/700r4/3.73's/and 33's. Did i know it was back there? I sure did. Was the motor struggling? No. Granted i live in Illinois where these things called "hills" dont exist, but she handled the weight fine. It was slower, smoked more, but i wouldnt hesitate to do it again.

    I think the combo Rene gave would suit you just fine, especially with that deep first gear.
     
  10. BlueBlazer

    BlueBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    Just curious what is wrong with a Dana 80/60, NV4500, and NP241HD? Rear brake proportioning and unit bearings in front are the only things I can think of that may give you problems, but even those things arent that big of a deal.
     
  11. joez

    joez 1/2 ton status

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    I dont think there is anything wrong with that drivetrain, but i would stay away from the dodge auto. That, and dodges fit and finish is crap. Our 94 we had came from the factory with glue smeared all over the carpet. I dont just mean by the edges, there was glue everywhere. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif We got it cheaper, but it looked like crap.

    If dodge had quality control, they would be great trucks. But until they get it under control, it will be a good drivetrain wrapped in a dodge.
     
  12. BlueBlazer

    BlueBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    I guess we have been lucky with the three 94 and up Dodges that have been in the family. Not one problem that required a trip to the dealership and no fit and finish problems. As much as I dont like to admit it, they seemed to be better quality than GM products that I have seen in the same time period.
     
  13. joez

    joez 1/2 ton status

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    i have a best friend who has 225K miles on his '96, and the only thing that ever went wrong was a power window motor burnt out. One of his employee's is on his 3rd trans in 65K miles. Same year truck, same drivetrain. They seem to be more hit and miss than anything.
     
  14. FWP

    FWP CRS

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    Thanks for the input guys, good info.
     
  15. azblazor

    azblazor 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    [ QUOTE ]

    1. Can a 6.2 be installed in a 81?
    2. Can the 6.2 pull 8000 lbs (and go 55 down the freeway)?
    3. Will a 6.2 bolt in?
    4. Am I totally insane, or is there another option?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    1. Yes
    2. Yes with or without a turbo a 6.2 will pull 8K. I have one of each and they both pull 8k fine. The NA just takes a little londer to get there. And it will slow down on hills /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif The NA is 456 gears, the turbo is 410.
    3. Yes
    4. There are always more options. I have seen two different 6.2L diesels (good runners) in Phoenix in the last 6 months. One was for $300, the other was with a 700r4 (4x) and it went for $350.
     
  16. elacruze

    elacruze 1/2 ton status

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    I'm a bit late on this thread, but-
    I got this truck for $2025
    http://mywebpages.comcast.net/elacruze/pickup.JPG
    After driving MI to NJ to pick it up, renting a tow dolly to pull the car home, and all expenses in got about $3k in it. 58k miles and it rocks. Gets ~15mpg around town, 16.5 hiway. See sig for details. 8000lbs doesn't even sweat this truck (tho I don't have any mountains in MI) It didn't even know a dolly and Cavalier were behind it. The Penna mountains only brought it up to 190*. If you're not in a hurry, value like this is out there.

    Eric
     

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