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Tow rig upgrades/trailer modifications

Discussion in 'Tow & Trailer' started by FMJ, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. FMJ

    FMJ Registered Member

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    My daily driver/tow rig/work truck is a 98 silverado 2500 with a 5.7 and an automatic tranny. I'm wondering what I can do to get a little more power out of it. Everything about it is typical of a heavy duty truck(tranny cooler and all of that stuff) except it has 3.73 gears. So, my first mod with be 4.10's, but I'm also looking for more power from maybe a chip or somthing like that. I used it all summer working construction for my dad, and it did pretty well pulling around 13,000lbs of bobcat but i would definetly like a little more power for the steeper hills.

    And about the trailer, my dad gave me an old bobcat trailer that I want to convert to be able to haul my other truck around when it's done. The problem is that the truck would be too wide to fit between the wheel wells. So, I was thinking maybe I should lift the trailer a few inches and make the whole trailer wider. Is that my best bet?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. fordcummins1

    fordcummins1 1/2 ton status

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    I'd beef the fenders up so that they will take the abuse of driving over them all the time instead of making the whole center of gravity higher. Especially with a bumper pull trailer. I think by making the fenders more HD you will be fine, especially considering alot of guys just drive over stock fenders all the time anyway. As for the truck, an intake, exhaust and tuner or chip are really your only options short of spending some serious $$$. The gear change will help, but cut some of the MPGs away on top, this might not be an issue if the truck isnt driven empty much though.
     
  3. FMJ

    FMJ Registered Member

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    Do they even make a chip for my truck? I don't really want loud exhaust because of long trips, but I was thinking of making my own cold air for it.
     
  4. jac6695

    jac6695 1/2 ton status

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    No "chip". Your PCM (powertrain control module, AKA computer) will need to be sent out to a company to reprogram. I would start with some simpler mods- exhaust, improve air intake and the gears you already mentioned. There is a company in Canada called Westers that can do the programming. Search around at fullsizechevy.com or gmfullsize.com and you might find out more information.
     
  5. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Honestly in my opinion( I'm not at all trying to criticize your tow rig) but it has a 350 and 13K behind it is a LOT. You could do a few little mods like exhaust and air but I doubt it will help much. I wouldn't spend the money on all that stuff when the difference could be 25mph stock on a hill vs. 30mph. You could get a Paxton or Vortec blower but that is expensive and you could probably be money ahead selling the current rig and buying something comparable with a 454vortec or 6.5TD. My dad's '98 burb with the same 350 handles our 6,500lbs snowmobile trailer fairly well through the mountains but that is about all we would want to put behind it. 13K is too much for a 350 IMHO.

    Basically what I am trying to say is I'm sure it will do fine but plan on hugging the right hand lane on hills with a 350 regardless of mods with that much weight.
     
  6. FMJ

    FMJ Registered Member

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    Actually the 350 does fine, my dad has one truck with a 350 that has pulled 13,000lbs everyday for 80,000 miles. So, I don't really need a new truck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2005
  7. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    Since there are no mountain passes in Duluth, MN (yes I know they call that one little hill North of there a mountain but after living there then moving west I realized it isn't) the 350 will not seem as poor as it really is in your tow rig. When your stuck in 2nd gear for 10-30 miles going up a long grade is when you start to realize it isn't going to cut it any more :doah: But like others have said, your not going to notice any real difference towing around that kind of weight with any of the cheap/free mods available to you. 4.10 gears is probably one of the best "seat of the pants" mods your going to make. It will be great for towing but poor for empty driving.

    What transmission do you have?
     
  8. FMJ

    FMJ Registered Member

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    All I know is that it's a 4 speed automatic.

    I guess i'll just do the 4.10 swap and leave it at that. For some reason my dad owns a construction company, but we only have one 454 and then 3 6.0's and 3 350's. He doesn't want diesels because they are loud and they smell...its pretty dumb considering how much we pull.
     
  9. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    Very cost ineffective too. It would save quite a bit of money in the long run if he did run diesels for towing. The newer ones are going thru a lot of trouble to make them quieter, though the guys that are true diesel finatics dont like it and would rather keep it noisy.
     
  10. fordcummins1

    fordcummins1 1/2 ton status

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    I think most people will conclude that gassers flat out suck for towing. While I do run a diesel to tow my junk around, I used a gas truck (4.6L Ford V8) to tow scrap iron all summer, while it wasnt a diesel, it did damn well considering I grossed in everyday at 12k to 13.5k with a half ton pickup, WITH 3.55s, and taller tires than stock. Sure the diesel is nice, but your truck has more power to start with ( I only had 220hp, 290 lb ft tq) deeper gears, heavier drivetrain, then what I was doing. Granted, you are pulling more weight, but dont let everybody tell you thats its gonna suck so bad you should get a new truck. The gas job will get the job done. Sure, you arent gonna be passing people, but it will get the job done. I would suggest gettin a trans temp guage.
     
  11. bigblock454

    bigblock454 Clack Clack Clack Premium Member

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    A computer reflash for towing really won't help. Most of the chips/reflashes just advance the timing and add a small amout of fuel during WOT, for towing this doesn't work.


    The Vortec engines already have many of the newer performance technologies. Besides adding a supercharger there isn't a good way to drasticly improve performance. Add the 4.10s, free up the exhaust and see what you think then.
     
  12. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    The 4.10's will probably help a little, but just remember that there is a pretty small difference between your current 3.73's and 4.10's. If you are going to be towing that much weight frequently, I'd even be tempted to drop down to 4.56's.
     
  13. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Exactly. If you have no hills to pull and don't mind taking some time to get up to speed than the 350 will be fine. Otherwise diesel is the only way to go......and they smell good and sound even better. ;)

    Don't waist your money on performance "upgrades"....run it, tow with it stock, and if and when you want something different....put that money towards something else.
     

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