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Old 08-07-2003, 09:24 PM   #1
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Question Feedback on an idea.....beafing up my Caprice

I love our 19' Bambi, but I just saw the Safari 25' SS. It's the Bambi on steriods.

So by now you've guessed that I'm pretty interested in it. I love the extra space, storage, kitchen size, etc. Just all around like it.

The question I have though is simply that I am **considering** towing it with my '96 Caprice 350 (LT1) with the 4l60e trans (same as in the 2000 Silverado). Right now I have 2.93 gears and the car is rated at 5000lbs. I have a VERY good heavy duty cooling, braking and suspention setup as well as a very good Reese hitch that has the 1000# bars, sway and a 1000# tongue weight capacity (which I know does not make the car able to tow it).

So, the question of the day is the Safari mentioned above is in the neighborhood of about 6600lbs if I read it correctly.

If I up my gears to 3.73 from the 2.93s and possibly add more cooling to the car (which now gets no warmer than 187 degrees towing the Bambi), am I crazy?

I've crunched the numbers now for a few days and to me it seems workable, but farily close.

BTW the stock tires are rated at 1819lbs on the car and the sticker on the door has a GVWR of 5400lbs (suppose that's important too).

Wadda all think?
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Old 08-07-2003, 10:45 PM   #2
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silverado

eric

i know you like your caprice, you would like the 'rado better...

6 liter, 4.10 gears. should do nicely.

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Old 08-07-2003, 11:02 PM   #3
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Car will feel like a rocket that's for sure!
Few things to take into concideration. The tires on your car are smaller then a truck so with 3.73 it would be like a truck with 4.10 http://www.ring-pinion.com/calculators.shtml has some gear calculators. I pluged in a estimated tire size of 28 inches and at 60mph you would be turning 1880 rpm at 60mph IN OVERDRIVE. 2758 in drive It would pull awsome.

Now on a EFI vehicle there is a little more to it. Recalibrating the speedo is going to take a little work and I'm not sure how much that is going to set you back. There is a device under the dash that will need to be recalibrated to get a correct speed reading to not only the speedo but the ECM for the FI. The VSS is at the tranny and it goes to this second box that for the life of me I can't recall what it's called. Not sure if yours can be recalibrated by simply using a Scan tool or not. This will sound crazy but try some 4x4 shops and see if they have the gear. 4x4 shop will also be able to install the gears.
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Old 08-08-2003, 06:57 AM   #4
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OK. Here is a bit more info.....

The engine in the Impala is a 5.7L. The base Silverado is 5.3L and the next step up is 6.0.

The Caprice has been modded out to a Impala SS so it has the 17" rims with the PCM reprogrammed for the tire stock tire size of 255/50/ZR17 from the Caprice's 15" rims. BTW....all Silverados from the factory have 16"rims.

Not sure if this matters either, but I have muti-port fuel injection too....

The PCM has also been modified to lock the torque converter at 51 mph no matter what the torque output or engine RPM, been set for power tuning and currently with the mods I've made, the car is currently at (off the dyno):
281hp at 5000 rpm
354 lbs-ft torque 2400 rpm

Silverado w/ 5.3L
285 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm

Silverado w/6.0L
300 horsepower @ 4400 rpm
360 lb.-ft. of torque @4000 rpm

Also, any changes to the car (gears, etc)can very easily be flashed to the PCM and all speedo, fuel/air mixuters/VSS all get recalibrated automatically. The PCM on this vehicle is highly configurable if you know the right folks!

The gears I was thinking of installing are GM 3.73 gears with the Eaton 400lb pack.

Also, the frame is typical body on frame construction, but the center section I would not consider even 1/2 ton. The front and rear sections of the frame are very robust and *near* the strength of the 1/2 tons.
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Old 08-08-2003, 08:03 AM   #5
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Eric,
From a pure power perspective, even without the gear change you should be ok by simply not dropping it into overdrive. Mileage will suffer, but it will with the gear change anyway (which means every day, whether towing or not). More power, if needed, is easy to come by for your car without changing it's daily driving abilities adversely.

My 2001 Yukon with a 5.3L, new mass airflow sensor and K&N filtercharger tows my A/S as if it were a pop-up.

The reality is that I seldom have my six-sleeper anywhere near the max weight. I tow with little fresh water, preferring to fill (with my filter) when I get there. My family of four travels pretty comfortably, so we are not ultra-lightweight travelers. Having only about 10 gallons of water in the tank vs. 45 makes a big difference. I'd be surprised if you were anywhere near the max weight most of the time. Plus, you probably are not doing much, if any, hardcore mountain driving, except for once or twice a year.

That said, I would check out the rear axle weight rating of the car to make sure you don't snap an axle, or bust a spring. That may be the weak link in the towing capability of the car.

Lastly. you would be wise to keep all documents regarding your efforts to increase the tow rating of your car as an accident where you are at fault will give the plaintiffs lawyer a big smile. The factory tow rating is one of the first places a good lawyer goes when a trailer is involved. I always like to see a well documented defendant.

Jace
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Old 08-08-2003, 08:40 AM   #6
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Jace,

Thanks for the input...and I do have all the receipts and keep an additional file to the upgrades that I have done!

I've heard the axle rating for the car is 2650. The sticker also has a rear GVWR rating so I would estimate that if the rear weight plus worst cast 750lb tongue weight were added, that I should be fine so long as I don't go over.

I appreciate you mentioning the axle weight. That was one that I hadn't considered entirely. I'm gonna look at the GVWR rear weight of the car on that sticker and go from there.

BTW, I too did the K & N with a larger MAF. It was amazing to me how much throttle response alone improved let alone a few more horses since the car didn't have to suck air through an obsticle course and a very small straw. It's a bit louder, but I like it!

Eric
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:15 PM   #7
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Ok, just got back from the Chevy lot. Took a look at a few 2003 2500HD models that had all the bells and whistles on it (most importantly HD cooling and trailer packages).

Outside of being heavier and having a more robust frame, the remainder of the truck looked nearly identical to my underhood.

One thing that I noticed is that GM was pretty cheap with the trans cooler. The one on the 2500HD was smaller than the one in my LT1 powered Impala...PLUS....they placed the darn thing right behind the monster Chevy emblem on the grille so that it does not get a direct blast of air when moving.

I went to the used lot next and saw a couple of Chevy trucks between 98 and 99.... they have MUCH larger trans coolers and they are placed in an area up front where they get all the airflow they can handle....



Eric
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:26 PM   #8
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I was thinking the other day that yo ought to get yourself a vintage trailer. Keep your Bambi, but get yourself an older Airstream as well.

As much as you are on here, talking about Airstreams, there is no fixing up to do on your newer trailer. It apears that in your idle time yo made yor way into TWO dealer lots checking out newer trailer/vehicles.

Think about how much you could save by getting a light weight older model. No new tow vehicle need. Then you could spend your time fixing windows and sewer lines instead of hanging out at the Airstream dealer.

Then again if you don't like doing repairs then ignore this all together.

Wadda you think?
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:37 PM   #9
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what if???

Quote:
Originally posted by Silvertwinkie
Ok, just got back from the Chevy lot. Took a look at a few 2003 2500HD models that had all the bells and whistles on it (most importantly HD cooling and trailer packages).

Outside of being heavier and having a more robust frame, the remainder of the truck looked nearly identical to my underhood.

One thing that I noticed is that GM was pretty cheap with the trans cooler. The one on the 2500HD was smaller than the one in my LT1 powered Impala...PLUS....they placed the darn thing right behind the monster Chevy emblem on the grille so that it does not get a direct blast of air when moving.

I went to the used lot next and saw a couple of Chevy trucks between 98 and 99.... they have MUCH larger trans coolers and they are placed in an area up front where they get all the airflow they can handle....



Eric
eric, if ya got one of them fancy new pickups you'll just end up modding it like yer impala ss.

you'd end up with something like this....



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Old 08-10-2003, 06:47 PM   #10
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hi!, I don't know much, but i have a 22 ft '66 safari and towed it with a '97 Tacoma. Like a feather! I guess the new AS weigh more? since we bought the safari, we sold the truck. But next year will be getting a 4Runner for more room since Jr. is here now and a dog too! I got the older AS just for the fact it weighs less than other trailers. A lot of work to do butshould be fun next year!
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Old 08-10-2003, 09:19 PM   #11
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I'm gonna pass on the vintage units. A few years back, I spent a great deal of time and money (not to metion regular vintage upkeep) on a '64 Glasspar boat 17'. Learned the good, bad and ugly of keeping up and restoring a vintage.

Fun times, but not interested. Going strictly by the wallet, it makes clear sense that the vintage is a great choice, but I'm all restored out!

Bambi is a great little unit. I may not do it. Nothing is set in stone yet, however, now that I can afford a bit more real estate, I plan on investigating some options for a bit more breathing room (storage, larger kitchen, dual axles, etc).

John, you are right on the money.....if I got a truck, it would look like that, except we "FIBers" have to have front license plates!

You know, for not having met me John, you know me all too well when it comes to vehicles....I was just delving into the GM parts bin this evening looking to add the GM engine oil to air cooler and the power steering cooler as well. I figure the car already has 1/2 the parts installed already, why not just add more of the police package.

I saw some Buick Roadmonster Wagons this evening too. The center frames are a bit more robust than the sedans, and for a moment, I considered getting a wagon, but lucky for me, a (less expensive) bulb went off and said, frame is good enough for the 25' Safari, cooling is where you need to go overboard on, get on that......so out with the handy GM B-Body part and diagram bible (CD) and started to add part numbers to the list for more mods..

I think the most expensive will be the upgrade of gears and with it, the driveshaft since the critical RPM speed of the current driveshaft would be surpassed after a 3.42 size....I'm kind of thinking of going carbon fiber...a bit more expensive, but stronger than alum and the standard iron......



Eric
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Old 08-11-2003, 06:06 AM   #12
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me too!

"You know, for not having met me John, you know me all too well when it comes to vehicles....I was just delving into the GM parts bin this evening looking to add the"

eric,

know from where you are coming from!

i just can't seem to leave well enough alone!

just gotta tinker sometimes...

john
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Old 08-11-2003, 06:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
but I'm all restored out!
Geez, Eric, I thought you were a young man!!

One thing I would like to point out to folks here looking for trucks, there are a TON of good used trucks out there. For example, our local GM/Dodge dealer has about 20 good P/U's on his lot. Among them, a 2002 CC D/A Dually for $27K with 45,000 miles on it. Too bad it is RED or I would jump on that one. (Wife HATES red vehicles) Looks like they just got in a black Cheby CC SRW, not sure what eng/trans it has, but you know where I'll be on my lunch hour. It too is priced under $30K.

Eric, if you or anyone else is interested I would sell my 2000. Has 30,600 on it. I would like a CC, only reason to get rid of it.
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