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Who is towing how much with what gas motors?

Discussion in 'Tow & Trailer' started by mikey_d05, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I've been eyeing new(er) trucks lately and am thinking of selling my DD and taking out a loan to purchase a gas tow rig. I LOVE the power of our diesel but finding diesel can suck when you're out in the boonies and diesel rigs hold their value so well that they're out of my price range.

    So...who tows loads around 8000 pounds with a gas motor?

    I know the 5.7 in my DD wouldn't do it, so I'm a little leery of the GM 6.0. Yeah, I know I'm comparing apples to oranges. The GM 5.3 is out, we had one, it struggled with two four wheelers on the freeway. The 6.0 though...the numbers are there but I'm afraid it'd be in second gear on every hill on the highway. Pulled a horse trailer with one once that weighed about 5k and it seemed to downshift way too often.

    Another option would be to find an old body style GM (get more truck for the $$$) with a 454.

    I've never had any experience or know anyone who has experience with GM's 8.1. The numbers are there but that doesn't translate into real world feel.

    Ford's 5.4 is out. It's the 1/2 ton V8, 'nuff said

    The Ford 6.8 V10 that I drove hauled ass and the gas mileage wasn't too terrible according to it's owner. He griped a little about problems and maintenance but I couldn't get anything out of him.

    I don't even have a clue as to what is in Dodges for gas motors. Most of the people I've talked to buy a Cummins that comes with a Dodge around it so I can find little to no feedback on their gas motors.

    As you can tell, gas mileage is not a primary concern for me. My current vehicle gets 12 mpg on a good day, is a short wheelbase, and doesn't tow worth a damn, so pretty much anything would be better than my current setup.

    As far as buying a little bit older rig, this truck will probably serve as my DD as well until an economy car neccessitates itself, so I'd like a newer rig that'll last me a while. I know I won't be able to work on it but hell, once you get into Vortec motors I'm pretty well out of the game anyways.

    Any suggestions, experiences, and input is more than welcome.
     
  2. afroman006

    afroman006 1/2 ton status

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    Well I actually have experiences with all the chevies you listed. My daily driver now is a 98 K3500 crewcab with a vortec 454. I use it to pull my ~5000 lb. trail truck on ~1500 ln. trailer and it does ok. Its more responsive at low speeds than a turbo'd diesel but doesnt do quite as well at highway speeds. Also, the mileage is dismal. My truck has 4.10s and I get 10 mpg daily driving empty and 7 mpg towing. It does well enough though.

    My mom has a '03 Chevy 2500 HD with the 6.0L and I have to say I am very fond of that truck. It gets slightly better mileage than mine, but doesnt have as much torque. I flat towed a 6500 lb. dually about 200 miles with it once and had absolutely no problems accelerating. I have also pulled a CJ5 home on my trailer with it but thats not a very heavy load. It gets 12 mpg daily driving and 7-8 towing.

    I have a friend who has a 8.1L balls to the wall Burban and that thing is one fast sumbitch. I havent ever been with him towing his toyota-tough-with-chevy-stuff 4runner but he loves it and says it'll keep up with diesels just fine. Again, the only problem is mileage. He has 3.73s and said he gets 13 mpg empty but I dont know what he gets towing.

    With gas motors the axle gears play a huge role in its mileage and towing performance. I have a friend who has a suburban with a vortec 454 and 3.73s and he says it sucks for towing because the engine is out of its power band most of the time. I believe Steve (bossman/site owner) has/had a 454 burban and wasnt too happy with how it towed in the mountains. I live in coastal texas so I dont have to deal with that though. My experience with the 6.0L is that it is a high reving motor so it would do better with 4.10s as well. As for the 8.1L, I dont really know what works best for it, as only one person I know has one.
     
  3. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Thank you very much sir :bow:

    The 88-98 body styles are much cheaper but I'm sorta leaning towards trying to find an 8.1.

    Also, anyone with experience related to the trannies in the respective gas rigs is more than welcome to chime in.

    Manuals are getting hard to find so seeing as how I'll be going used, it'll probably end up being an auto.
     
  4. afroman006

    afroman006 1/2 ton status

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    The 4L80E is gods gift to man. That is all...
     
  5. az-k5

    az-k5 1/2 ton status

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    Ahhh, yes the overdrive, computer controlled, brother of the TH400.
     
  6. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Ok, re-checked the numbers on the GM 6.0, like 10 more horsepower and 30 more ft. lbs. of torque than the 5.3. That one's out.

    There are a couple of affordable Ford 7.3 diesels near me I've found. One of which is an '02 with less than 50,000 miles. Hmm...I need to find time to finish stripping my '93 and put it up for sale.
     
  7. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 1/2 ton status

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    I have a '99 burb with a 454. The most weight I've towed is a 6K camper. I was very happy with the way it acceled compared to my '88 sub 350. My father has a '00 3500 with a 350 and to try and get up to highway speeds take a while longer, especially on hills. Once it's going though its great. The 3500 gets 13 solo highway and 6 towing. The sub gets 13 solo also, but 10 towing. Both have 4L80's and 4.10's. The 3500 has a different torque converter though, so RPM's are about 200 more then the sub. on the highway. I have been very pleased with both trucks towing. The 3500 is only rated for 7300#'s and the sub is rated for 10,000#'s. I probobly wouldn't go over 6K, and 8K though. As for the tranny, I have a PML pan with a gauge. My temps towing in 97 degree heat never topped 195 with the A/C on. If I shut off the a/c it went down to 180. I run mobil 1 trans fluid in the sub and conventional in the 3500. Both trans. run at the same temps.
     
  8. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    I don't know details. The last time I went to Gilmer there was a guy in a new chevy dually with a gsoline engine in our convoy. He was pulling a 5th wheel trailer with a 1 ton jeep(d60/14FF) and a 350 powered toyota, and it was hard for my Blazer to keep up with him. He would cruise at 80 and he could take off from a stop almost as fast as I could.
     
  9. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    I towed quite a bit with a 6.0, dont under estimate that engine. It has a ton of power and i could keep up with my dad who was towing with a duramax and about 1500 lbs more. I would still have that truck if it was 4wd, but I stepped up and picked up a 4x4 duramax and i love it, but if I was going to get another CCSB 4x4 truck it would be a 6.0, only reason I see to get the diesel is if your hauling quite a bit like my new setup will be, or you drive a lot. Ya know my duramax actually is giving me a problem right now and techline is telling us there isnt a fix for it, which is kinda making me wish I kept my old gas truck since it ran like a top.

    Oh yeah the 4L80 is a damn good transmission, never had a problem out of it and i didn't baby it. Hardly ever see any of em in the shop for repairs too.
     
  10. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    This truck is gonna see mostly highway and when it's not on the highway it'll be towing 8,000 pounds or so + whatever gear is in it...would the 6.0 honestly keep up?
     
  11. botboy

    botboy 1/2 ton status

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    I'll chime in with some experience with dodges...have spent a lot of time behind the wheel of a friends '97 Ram 1500 4x4, 318, Auto with 3.4x ratio axles. Currently modified with a 4" body lift and 33" tires, truck is an absolute dog empty and even worse when pulling a trailer. I've heard the 360 is better, how much better I can't say until we do the swap, but the automatic has been relatively solid (creeping up on 170k on the original transmission, just starting to slip now), and the same transmission is used between the 318 and 360. If you're going to tow more than 4000 lbs or put bigger tires on with a dodge, make sure you get the 3/4 ton as its got lower axle ratios.

    As for the 5.3, don't know why you don't like it so much...same friend had a 2000 Chev silverado 1/2 with the 5.3, pulling a '69 CST/20 4x4 (est. 6000 lbs) on a 18' trailer it accelerated well and cruised just fine at 80...maybe the one you were using was just a bad apple.
     
  12. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Haha, I seem to be cursed with bad motors, first that one and now our 6.0 PSD.

    Our 5.3 was pretty gutless on the highway. Not terrible, but you couldn't set the cruise if you were towing anything over about 2k because it'd kick down so often whether you were in tow/haul mode or not.

    I wish I knew somebody with a 6.0 so I could hook it up and take it for a spin...that'd tell me a lot more than bench racing.
     
  13. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    Yes it would, go drive one it will amaze you. I drove mine a lot on the highway and would often cruise between 80-100mph and the truck had really good power. It also towed really well, only thing is that the engine likes to rev so dont be scared if it revs to 4200 RPM when pulling grades, but if your towing occasionaly it would work great for you. I think I was pulling around 8k lbs if not more and it did just fine, only reason I see to get a diesel is if you need the extra power for a camper or big ass trailer or you have the disposable income.
     
  14. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Hmmmm...the only person I know that owns a 6.0 is an ex's father that I didn't end up on good terms with...damn...
     
  15. redneckdude

    redneckdude 1/2 ton status

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    letting those newer vortec motors rev is key to getting the power out of them...IMO they are more "race" based motors, having all the top end power, not like the 350s before them. I know my dads 00 with the 5.3 had no problem towing our boat (about 3500 lbs or so with trailer) at highway speeds and it always seemed to have pretty good power...i towed it with my truck once (tbi 350 with 3.08) and that thing couldn't get out of its own way if the world depended on it. I hear both good and bad about the 6.0 motors in the chevys and haven't had personal experience with one, but my friend claims they are dogs loaded...and then again people on here are saying the opposite. I guess the best way to find out is to actually ride with a couple people towing with those motors that you are looking into and seein how it all turns out.
     
  16. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Yeah, letting the Gen 3 motors rev definitely seems to be the key to getting them to put the power down...but our 5.3 would run itself up to 5k way too often.

    ZcarZcar...is there any way I could test a dealer's truck with a trailer behind it?

    The reasons I'd consider a diesel motor over gas is that they hold their resale value much better from what I've seen (the reason I can't afford one, but you know way more about that than I, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), fuel economy (which is now being shot to hell by inflated diesel prices), and flat out power...it's nice to be able to leave the cruise control on and not worry about the looming grade. Just watch the pyrometer and make sure things don't get crazy.
     
  17. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    I wouldnt let someone take a new truck and tow with it, but I wouldnt have a problem going with a person to tow their trailer with a used truck. Too bad you don't live closer, you could try towing with my old gas truck. The 6.0's are a little slow off the line compared to a diesel but once they get going they work good. I would still stay be using the gas motor if I didnt want to get a big ass camper to haul around.

    If you have ever seen the Gen III engines taken apart you will see why they can run at high RPM's all day long, they are beefy, 4-bolt cross bolted mains in a deep skirted block. I have only seen one with a bottom end failure since they have been out and that was an LS1 that burnt up the oil. Definately good engines though, I never had any problems with mine.
     
  18. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    I was in the same place as you recently... trying to decide... but I probably have even less $ to work with. Anyway, best option for me is a 2wd 3/4 ton late 70s chevy with a 454/th400. Good used 454s are dirt cheap... I could get another one for about the same price as a desiel mechanic would charge for looking at a new desiel, let alone working on it. Mileage will suck I'm sure... but considering my K5 gets 10mpg with the 39.5s on... it won't be THAT much of a drop off.

    j
     
  19. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    My dad is friends with the owner of the GM dealership in my home town...maybe I could get him to let me take a couple mile loop with my setup and a used 6.0 if he's got one.

    Jake, I'm also looking at 88-98 body style vehicles. An older truck at this point wouldn't really suit my needs, as this will have to be a very dependable DD that I won't have time or a place to wrench on for quite a few years. I'd love to buy a cheap 70's 3/4 ton as a second vehicle but I'm having trouble getting storage for my trail truck and trailer as it is. :crazy:

    I'll see what I can do to test drive a 6.0 with a load behind it and go from there. Thanks for all the input so far.

    Oh yeah...what tranny's did say a 2500 standard and HD come with behind a 6.0?
     
  20. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    All 2500's with the 6.0 either have a 4L80E or an NV4500. While the 2500LD's can come with 3.73's or 4.10's and have SF rear ends, the 2500HD's come with 4.10's and a FF rear end, plus they sit higher.
     

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