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Ultimate Tow Rig Drivetrain Discussion

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by laketex, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    If you had a 1985 Crew Cab 4x4 1 ton SRW shortbed (custom) and was looking for the ultimate drivetrain for daily driving and tow rig duties, what would you choose. Take into account these factors since everything does have limits and compromise and tell me what you'd choose and why:

    Engine:
    Transmission:
    Transfer Case:
    Price New:
    Possible Price Used: (very subjective I realize)
    MPG:
    Reasons:
    Problems with Install:

    Feel free to copy paste this format for easy reading.

    I was thinking just the everyday massaged 454 with MPFI or even a throttle body, 5 speed stick, or swapping a newer diesel in. Tell me what you think!!!

    Sherman, Tx
    <font color=red>The blazer's almost on the road....anyone got tree fiddy?</font color=red>
     
  2. 2Dogs

    2Dogs 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I like the Duramax Diesel trucks - copy that!

    The diesel is a no-brainer and it looks like the Allison tranny is holding up well.

    Have no idea on prices tho. Prolly terrible.

    The engine/tranny setup out of the Dodges would be cheaper and that diesel can be WARMED up real easy.

    Dave

    Horn Broken... Watch For Finger.
    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/Daves-Pics>http://coloradok5.com/gallery/Daves-Pics</a>
     
  3. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Engine: 454 TBI...lotsa torque, bolt in easily, TBI keeps the 'cost' down vs aftermarket injection. Drawback of 454 is fuel economy. A deisel would be nice but the swap could get expensive quickly.
    Transmission: NV4500 or 4L80...overdrive will help the daily drive mileage a bit and both are strong. I'd give the stick the edge cuz that's what I prefer...[​IMG]
    Transfer Case:NP 208 or 241...whichever was easiest to find. It's a tow rig/Daily with a longer wheelbase...no need for a gear drive case or even a fixed yoke.

    MPG: 10-13

    Problems with Install:None...keep it simple and strong

    Rene

    <font color=green>Dyslexics of the world...UNTIE!</font color=green>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/project_T2> tRusty pics...</a>
     
  4. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Well the reason I didn't say Duramax is cause I dont want a $45K rig sitting in the driveway. I feel that I can build something just as nice for me for about $15K total and then have $30,000 worth of offset fuel costs to consume. Here's what my master plan is, to be implemented over the course of years like truck payments.

    "85 type body style crew cab 4x4 1 ton
    Shorten it to short bed style
    33" mud tires on steel wheels
    Drivetrain unknown, probably cummins or 454
    5 or 6 speed std tranny
    Tcase Unknown
    Yep, you guessed it good new slick but cheap paint. LOL
    New interior, gauges, stereo, ect
    ect ect ect

    Then I'll have a truck that I know inside out, I can work on, is one of a kind, and a hell of a lot cheaper than that duramax, even in the long haul.

    What rene is proposing sounds like what I'm dreaming up, since the 454 would get a reliable 12 mpg, and the duramax gets what, 16??? Wow, 4mpg difference on a $30,000 bank account, you do the math.

    To each their own, but I'm in a build it mindset. Dont even get me talking about the '85 4Runner that I'm considering building for my wife's DD. [​IMG][​IMG]

    Bryan

    Sherman, Tx
    <font color=red>The blazer's almost on the road....anyone got tree fiddy?</font color=red>
     
  5. 3car

    3car 1/2 ton status

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    heres an oddball idea...6.2 diesel in the 85,with banks turbo($2000)better exhaust?these put out good power when banks turbod'you will have to lightfoot that 454 crewcab to get 12 mpg.just a thought.

    eatin'fords and shittin'dodges down in the sunshine state.
     
  6. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I'm pretty much agreeing with Rene, with one exception: get the NP205 t-case instead.

    My tow rig would have:

    Some type of fuel injection on a very mildly built 454. Even a stock 454 would be more than adequate enough. Just don't go overboard with big cams, bores, etc. You will hurt too much with the "performance" upgrades.

    Tranny would be totally a manual tranny. If overdrive is needed, then go with the NV4500, hands down.

    T-case will be the NP205. With towing, you will not need any low range for anything. Unless you do slower towing around the yards, home, etc.

    For best results on gear ratios, 4.56 would be ideal when using the NV4500 tranny, but 4.10's would be more than enough.

    There you have my opinions, and mine only! [​IMG]



    I'm not picking my nose...I'm just pointing at my brain!! [​IMG]

    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/thatK30guy>The K30 Collection</a>
     
  7. BurbinOR

    BurbinOR 3/4 ton status

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    I like your line of thinking. I'd go with a 502EFI (Ram Jet maybe) tow motor, backed by an NV4500 into an NP 205, pumpkins 14BFF and Dana 60 (which it would have anyway). Bulletproof, low first gear for takeoff, overdrive for ecomomy.

    By the way, I doubt seriously any rat motor will get 12+ mpg in reality.............not a one ton crew cab 4X. Just my opinion, but if all the guys got their speedo's calibrated to the tire size/gear combo's they might be crying in their brewskis...........[​IMG].

    <font color=blue>'79 ONE TON TPI K5 - See it at---&gt;<a target="_blank" href=http://www.blazzinor.rockcrawler.com>www.blazzinor.rockcrawler.com</a>
     
  8. 502Burban

    502Burban 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Bryan,

    Sounds a lot like what I'm trying to achieve with my Suburban. Good tow vehicle with respectable off-road capabilities.

    Engine: Definitely go big-block. Much less expensive to make torque for towing. Used 454s are readily available, or you can go with a GM crate engine if you don't mind the trade-off of dollars for convenience/reliability/peace-of-mind.

    Induction: Go TBI for lower cost. If you want something MPFI, the RamJet 502 is a possibility, but definitely more money.

    Transmission: I'm an auto fan, myself, so I went with the 4L80E. But, I know lots of people like the manuals so if you prefer them I'd look for the NV4500.

    T-Case: I like the 205 for its bullet-proof reliability. Not as good for crawl ratios, but plenty good for what you are describing.

    MPG: I figure if I get into double-digits with a big block, I'm doin' good, even with the fuel injection. BlazzinOR said it well.

    I like the idea of the short-box crew cab. It would give a good wheelbase for towing, without being so long that it is unfunctional around town.

    As always, just my opinion, for what it's worth.[​IMG]

    Robb
    <a target="_blank" href=http://community.webshots.com/user/robbrj>'73 GMC Suburban - 502DFI</a>
     
  9. Chris Demartini

    Chris Demartini 1/2 ton status

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    <font color=blue>I know its not a Chevy, but you could pick up a 96-98 Dodge Ram 5.9 deisel for about 15K. Cummins 12 valve turbo, NV4500, Dana 70 with 4.10s (dana 60 front if 4WD) all stock, extended cab shortbed is plenty roomy inside without being as long as a bus. It would be easier than building one.
     
  10. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    yeah, good point, but all the cummins around here seem to have about 200K on them. Plus you have a damn good engine with a big turd wrapped around it. I love cummins engines, and there's loads of cummins fans out there, but not too many dodge fans....plus I welcome hard work LOL

    How much are we talking for a crate RamJet 502???

    Sherman, Tx
    <font color=red>The blazer's almost on the road....anyone got tree fiddy?</font color=red>
     
  11. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Just $8,500. [​IMG] There goes over half your budget! [​IMG] Check it out here:

    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.sdpc2000.com/cart.asp?action=prod_detail&amp;catid=120&amp;pid=693>http://www.sdpc2000.com/cart.asp?action=prod_detail&amp;catid=120&amp;pid=693</a>

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</a>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     
  12. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    hmmmm....yep a little pricey. Did get a Free catalog over there though!!! Used to do a lot of small parts business at Scroggin when I lived in Lubbock. Guess I should have guessed they carried that monster!!!

    However they do have some good looking motors on the site. Crate or Rebuilt...hmmmmmm...That is a question.

    12568774 425HP/454 H0 Engine $4,399.95 More Info Add to Order
    12568778 450 HP/502 H0 Engine $5,199.95 More Info Add to Order
    12371054 HT 502 Crate Engine $4,799.95 More Info Add to Order




    Sherman, Tx
    <font color=red>The blazer's almost on the road....anyone got tree fiddy?</font color=red>
     
  13. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    The HO motors have a hotter cam that moves the powerband higher in the RPM range. Great for hot rods but not the best thing for a tow rig. Either the standard 454 or 502 would have a torque peak down lower where it would do you the most good. [​IMG]

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</a>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     
  14. Itali83

    Itali83 1/2 ton status

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    Just a thought, why does a tow rig need to be 4x4?? just run a 1 ton 2wd, and you loose a lot of weight, save LOTS of money, and have tons less parts to get worn out. I know if I had a tow rig it would be big block powered, 2wd, and manual tranny, and a dually definitly. Just my thoughts.
    Ben 87 jimmy
     
  15. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    North Texas has lots of gorilla-snot clay/mud after every rain. Can't hardly drive across a level cow pasture with a 2WD when that stuff gets wet. [​IMG]

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</a>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     
  16. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    I see harry's been here!!! It doesn't have to be 4x4, and for commercial hauling applications, would be pretty ineffective with a front axle. But I want to be able to haul my rig to the trailhead without being worried of getting stuck. I want to go where I want, when I want (within reason) without worrying about getting stuck. I've got a 2WD F150 right now and already vowed several times to never own another 4x2 truck. Just not feasible in my application. Just takes being stuck once or twice to justify the cost IMO. Plus we're thinking of moving to a mountainous community in the near future, and I sure as heck wouldn't have a 2WD pickup in that environment.

    So is 4wd nessessary for most? no. For me? yes.

    Sherman, Tx
    <font color=red>The blazer's almost on the road....anyone got tree fiddy?</font color=red>
     
  17. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Yep! Used to live in North Dallas. [​IMG] That mud around there gets so slick that you can barely walk on it! [​IMG] Plus it's so sticky that as you walk, you get taller from the mud sticking to the bottom of your boots. [​IMG]

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck>www.angelfire.com/super/ThunderTruck</a>
    It's a great day to be alive...
     
  18. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    Here's my plan for my '82 crew cab. I have a little different criteria in that I want to be able to take it camping on some more difficult trails that are a long way from home. Hole in the rock in UT is an example. 6 hr drive on asphalt to get there then a 4 rated trail to get into it. Not a job for my K5 unless it rides on the trailer to get there.

    short bed or custom flat bed, should be about 150" wheelbase. flat bed's nice since I can drag it on rocks and trees.

    6.2L Diesel w/ turbo, found one for $2500, already built and has about 30K miles on it. The truck originally had a diesel motor so it'll hook up easy and it came with most of the motor in pieces in the truck so I have some spare parts.

    TH400, maybe a TH475 if the motor home trans I found has the right parts. This came with the truck too, and I have several others to use for spares if necessary.

    Doubler kit, basically because it wouldn't feel quite right driving a truck without the Doubler. And with the diesel I'm keeping 4.10 diff gears with 35's so it'll help the offroad gearing a good bit. If I didn't own the shop I'd likely go with a 205 alone.

    Gear Vendors OD unit. Expensive I know, but it splits gears and I'll need it with the "adequate but no more than that" diesel, and it will get it better milage and over 100K miles or so it'll pay off.

    D60/14B and 35" procomp AT's to start with. Probably detroit or new ARB for the 14FF (if they ever come out with one) and most likely leave the front open.

    I'm guessing it'll get about 13-15 mpg based on a couple of similar rigs that I'm know. One is Jim Allen's "stinky" K5 with the 6.2TD/TH700/Doubler/4.10's/35's. He was running a solid 16mpg at highway speeds so with extra drag and weight I'll probably lose a couple MPG from that.
    Another rig is Robert Boggio's suburban with 10" of lift, 36 to 38" tires and a NA6.2/TH400/Doubler. He reported 11mpg on a 7000 mile roadtrip with no overdrive and no turbo and in a much taller truck, so I'm guessing I'll do a couple mpg better.

    If the diesel won't do what I want power wise I'll look into a 454. Maybe the MPFI 468 from my K5. I hate to do it but a built smallblock would push the K5 just fine and it'll take some huevos to pull the K5 on a trailer so the big block might work better towing. Sure is fun in the K5 though. I think the diesel will be adequate, just not much more. I know at this altitude you can nudge 400 ft/lb of torque from them and that's pretty decent considering a NA454 will drop 10-15% of it's torque from the lack of air. At that point they're starting to even out.
    I'd be happy to get 10-11 with a 454 running empty. Towing you can expect 6-8 mpg. Did that with Dad's dually (former home of the 468) towing my stock car and tools.

    Good luck. This is the route I'm trying to talk Fox into taking when he starts towing.

    Food for thought, I've seen some nice crew cabs in Denver papers for about $8-$10K. You could get a running driving truck and not have to work on it (as much). I've kicked myself a couple of times for waiting till I could get the parts cheap and not having the truck rather than tolerating a relatively small payment to get something I can drive now.

    Good luck.


    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     
  19. blazer72

    blazer72 1/2 ton status

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    There is now way I could ever get the 01 past the homested on the way in to Hole in the rock, Other than that it makes a good tow rig, Plus the best part is if it dies you push the blue button on the dash.
    496 EFI, 4l85E, ff14 with disc, I have not thought on what the t-case is put it works and the auto 4wheel is nice

    72 Blazer 400TPI NV4500 NP203/205, 6 bolt FF14
    01 Suburban 8100 2500 4X4
     
  20. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    we got my Bro's longbed excab F250 in there a couple years ago. It was a squeeze but he did it. That's a 155" wheelbase, so I figure at 150" with a flatbed I'll breeze around everything.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     

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