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Old 11-24-2005, 01:36 PM   #1
LEV ZEPPELIN
 
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Axle ratio- need to discuss my rear end....

Greetings and happy Thanksgiving.

Before I engage in an eating orgy armagedon, I thought I'd pose a few questions to the forums about axle ratio.

I've been looking seriously into getting at new tow vehicle to pull around our 04 ccd 19'. Someday we may upgrade to a 25', but that is someday.

I have been focusing on GMC and chevy for the most part. I've looked into Nissan Armadas, Touregs, Land cruisers, just about everything in the large suv market, except Ford.

I am sure I want to go with an 8 cyl. regardless of the vehicle.

I have learned on this forum, and reading as much as I could without passing out that there are three ratio's available: 3.42, 3.73, and 4.10.

I know that the higher the number, the better for towing but worse for gas mileage. The gas mileage doesn't matter to much to me, since I only take our current TV out for camping, and on photo assignments. The rest of the time I am using a Toyota corolla to tool around Chicago running errands.

To build a vehicle with any of the 3 above options is 100.00.

I found a new (supposedly, haven't seen it yet) 2005 Yukon SLE 4x4 5.3 v8 that has the 3.42 rear axle, as well as the locking rear differential. I was sent the build sheet on this vehicle complete with VIN, etc.

I think I could get a decent price on it, including 0% financing, which would take the presure off selling the Eurovan as fast as I could.

It has a bunch of other options on it that quite honestly is just fluff for me, as I am just looking for muscle for towing.

Some of you have mentioned that going with the 3.42 would be a bad idea, especially driving out west.

I've been hesitant to pursue this vehicle, but on your advice and the above specs, what would your opinion be? More than likely, by the time I'm ready to get a new AS, I'd need a new TV as well. Maybe.

I know I can order any vehicle any way I want, but I think I might do better getting something off someone's lot. Especially a leftover 05 with the 0%.

It seems that I either find a vehicle with a smaller engine, v8 4.8 with a 3.73, or one's that are just to big to fit in our garage that have a 4.10, like anything in an XL.

And, please explain this: When I looked at the spec for my '01 Eurovan MV v6 2.8, it says that it's axle ratio is 4.91! However, this is a front wheel driven and I don't know if there is something that I just don't know. I do know that there is a lot that I don't know.

Best wishes to you and your loved ones.

Jonathan
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Old 11-24-2005, 02:09 PM   #2
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Gear ratio

I had 4:10 in my 1999 F-250 but went too 3:73 in my 2005 f-250.
The gas milage went down!
I would look at the F-250 for the tow command, I love it, but only availible on F-250. I could and would use the F-150 if it had Tow Command.

Don
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Old 11-24-2005, 02:16 PM   #3
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lev

a GM 5.3 V-8 with 3.73's should be just right even if you upgrade the trailer.

my silverado has a 300 horse 6.0 and i run 4.10's, however, i like to go fast and take a harley with me.

so unless you want to do the same, the above mentioned should do fine.

john
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Old 11-24-2005, 03:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hd
a GM 5.3 V-8 with 3.73's should be just right even if you upgrade the trailer.
Having owned 2 Chevrolet trucks with the 5.3 V8 and 3.73 gears I disagree with this statement.

My 2000 2WD pickup towed a 19' Bambi and did a great job. What I noticed was that as long as I started climbing in 3rd gear @ 65 MPH it marched right up the hill without losing speed or downshifting. If I was slower it lost speed and had to downshift to 2nd. Given California's 55 MPH speed limit (while towing) this was a cause for concern. I averaged 13.9 MPG with this rig on a 2800 mile trip through the western US, spending a LOT of time in the mountains.

My 2nd Chevy with this drivetrain was a 2003 4WD Tahoe. The Tahoe had taller tires than the 2WD pickup (265/70-17s compared to 255/70-16s) and suffered in comparision. Every time I towed anything with the Tahoe it felt like it was struggling. Had I kept the Tahoe (as a tow vehicle) I was going to swap out the 3.73s for either 4.10s or 4.56 gears.

Despite GM's tow rating stay away from anything with 3.42 gears. If you opt for a 4WD truck get the 4.10 gears, you'll never regret it!
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Old 11-24-2005, 04:01 PM   #5
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steve

i have to agree with your disagreement! i love the 4.10's in my truck!

however, lev is looking for the happy medium without the gas penalty of 4.10's.

that is why i suggested the 3.73 gears. since he lives in Ill. and has a relatively small trailer.

john
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Old 11-24-2005, 04:27 PM   #6
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I've got the 8.1 liter with 3.73 - I think its the perfect tow vehicle. Tons of power reasonable gas mileage (same or better than the 6.0 - as compared to friends vehicles).

Ken J.
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Old 11-24-2005, 04:32 PM   #7
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hi lev and others

happy tg

why are you laboring over this gearing issue when the answer is so easy? maybe its because you are trying hard to justify/buy the wrong t.v.!

so first the answer to your vw question.......
which is really the basic answer to the overall issue.

the 2.8v6 is a small engine with average hp/torque numbers and used in lots of vw products because of its versatility and reliability. the eurovan is the biggest/ heaviest application of the engine in the usa.....so to get up to speed and haul that box around the axle ratio is low (a high number) which helps the limited torque/hp to TOW that van..... the trade off is higher revolutions (rpms) at highway speeds (wear and noise) and a very small reduction in mpgs....a say very small because the main mpg reducer in the eurovan is the frontal area/drag of the BOX at higher speeds.

now for your soon to be new t.v.

your posts have suggsted it will be used primarily for towing.....and unhitched economy isn't a big concern for you. if those 2 statements are accurate, then you shouldn't be looking at any ratio smaller than 3.7 and really 4.1 for gas engines....

the 3.4 is offered by gm...by their on admission, for NONTOWING/LIMITED TOWING applications.

ford doesn't even offer the 3.4 their lowest ratio (highest geared rearend) is the 3.7 because the market research suggests 95% of superduty buyers are TOWING.

yes the bambi is light so yes the 3.4 will pull it but heat, wear and performance will be compromised the MOST of any rear end offered by gm.

if you really do plan to have a bigger trailer someday and you'll likely buy a new t.v. then as you suggest, why not go for a 01-03 with the proper rear end now....it reads like this suv will be parked most of the time when not towing....so why eat the depreciation on a new one that's parked anyway? sure more year end left on the lot models have the 3.4......but that's because it's the least desireable set up for towing/hauling. and if you are planning to order new it sure seems better to spec a proper hauler with the 4.1

and why the anti ford posture.....
been talking to twink too much me thinks!

cheers and pass the gravy!
2air'
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Old 11-24-2005, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
ford doesn't even offer the 3.4 their lowest ratio (highest geared rearend) is the 3.7 because the market research suggests 95% of superduty buyers are TOWING.

yes the bambi is light so yes the 3.4 will pull it but heat, wear and performance will be compromised the MOST of any rear end offered by gm.

if you really do plan to have a bigger trailer someday and you'll likely buy a new t.v. then as you suggest, why not go for a 01-03 with the proper rear end now....it reads like this suv will be parked most of the time when not towing....so why eat the depreciation on a new one that's parked anyway? sure more year end left on the lot models have the 3.4......but that's because it's the least desireable set up for towing/hauling. and if you are planning to order new it sure seems better to spec a proper hauler with the 4.1
Finding a used GM 1/2 ton truck with 4.10 gears will be nearly impossible, especially in the midwest. I searched every dealer within 500 miles of me before buying my Tahoe and there were NONE brand new. GM charges for 4.10s on 1/2 tons while 3.73s are "free" so very few dealers ever order trucks this way. It's VERY EXPENSIVE to swap gears on a 4WD GM truck, I was quoted $1450.00! MUCH CHEAPER to buy one with the proper gears.

I'm not saying that a 5.3L V8 powered GM truck won't pull a 25' Airstream with 3.73 gears. What I'm saying is that based on my experience with this engine is that it has to rev in order to make good power and that requires low gears. 3.73s should be considered the absolute minimum necessary and 4.10s highly desireable.

And yes, my 6.0 PSD powered crewcab has 3.73 gears. It also makes 570 lb. ft. torque @ 2000 RPM. Even so my truck is much happier towing @ 65 MPH compared to 60.
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Old 11-24-2005, 05:46 PM   #9
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I disagree. I have, via the Chevy website found several Tahoes with 4.10s in the midwest.

Additionally, the fuel hit between 3.73 and 4.10s is minimal. I can safely say that having had a 5.7L w/ 3.73s and a 6.0L w/ 4.10s. Actually the Suburban with 4.10s gets far better MPG than the Impala w/ 3.73 in both towing and non-towing applications.

The problem in this particular situation is that Jonathan needs a truck that will fit into his garage. Outside of upgrading his house to upgrade his TV and Airstream, it's moot to think he'll go larger later unless he upgrades his house. That being said, I would opt for the 4.10s. If you can't find one or are not comfy with the 4.10s, for sure, go 3.73s. The 3.42s will be ok for your Bambi, but if you feel this Tahoe or GMC will be towing a larger RV in the tow vehicles future, 3.73s would be the standard I'd consider ***along with a locking differential!!** Before I had 3.73s installed on the SS, I had 2.93s and they did just fine with the Bambi, but struggled on the flatland with the Safari. I wanted the trans to be happier, so I went 3.73s.
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Old 11-24-2005, 08:41 PM   #10
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I pretty much only use my van for towing but agree with those who are saying think ahead for the future. The fuel penalty for the 4.10 upgrade is not as bad as you think. If you get that bigger Airstream in the future, you will be pleased that you got that taller axle. I went from a 5.7 liter 3.73 rear axle van to a 6.0 liter 4.10. Towing capacity went from 6,500 lbs to 9,900 lbs. Something not to be sneezed at, and in my case this allowed me the breathing room I needed when I replaced my 27' Safari with a 30' Classic S.O.

While I've done my share of flatland towing, I always thank my stars that the 4.10 is there when I head down to the Ozarks, or over to the Smokies.

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Old 11-24-2005, 09:57 PM   #11
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I'm towing Baby Huey with a 3.73 rear end ... no problems with that setup. Then again, I have a diesel that delivers tons of torque and plenty of horsepower.
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Old 11-25-2005, 08:45 AM   #12
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3.73

We tow the Overlander (6060#) fully loaded with the 3.73 gears in the Burb. We do slow down on hills, but "If you are in a hurry, you should leave the Airstream at home "
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Old 11-25-2005, 10:33 AM   #13
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John HD, 2air, twink, Steve and everyone, thank you all so much for this information.

As Silvertwinkie wrote, and I forgot to mention, is that I do plan on keeping my vehicle in the garage when not in use. I have a max. height clearance of 80" (6' 8") and 84" width (7') and 215" (about 18') length.

It is sounding that I at least need a 3.73 on the back end, so that is what I'll pursue. I've also learned that the type of vehicle I'm looking at is just at the end before you get into an XL something or other or a truck.

I seems that if the dealer(s) can't locate exactly what I'm looking for I'll start pricing out build to order units.

I'll keep you guys posted. Again thanks for all the helpful comments.

Anyone wanna buy a rare 01 VW Eurovan MV Weekender? (Garage kept.)

Have a great weekend.

Jonathan
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:31 PM   #14
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Gear swap

How much would it cost to replace 3.4 with 4.1 in a Suburban?
Would you recommend the dealer do the swap?
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