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Old 12-23-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
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GM 5.3L Ecotec3 Engine... thoughts?

My first post on Air Forums! I'm Rob Cross, from Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

I recently purchased a lightly used 2009 23 foot FC FB, and have ordered a new GMC Sierra 1500 SLT (max trailering, 3.73 axle) to tow it with.

The vehicle is powered by the 5.3L Ecotec3 engine. I've searched the forums a little, but haven't found references to the Ecotec3s, probably because they're new in the 2014s. Has anyone towed with one of these yet? Anyone have thoughts on the 4-6-8 concept for towing?

Thanks in advance,

Rob
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:49 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Rob.

It wasn't the new Ecotec 5.3L, but I did have an '07 GMC with the 5.3L towing a vintage 23', and it did very well, and that was with the older 4 speed transmission, and it was equipped with the system that disabled cylinders when not in use.

I expect you will have no troubles at all towing your 23 FC with the newer, even better engine and transmission in the 2014.
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:51 AM   #3
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My 2012 GM 5.3 does just fine with our 25FB, although I do not recall seeing it in 4 cylinder mode much if at all. I have the towing package with the switch and maybe that has some bearing on the operation.
My personal opinion is that vehicles have gotten too complicated in search of meeting govt fuel economy standards. This cannot be good for long term low cost maintenance. On the other hand if there were a truck with 30 mpg and enough HP to tow my AS, at a reasonable cost, I might have bought it.
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forums. Enjoy your shiny new silver trailer and pickup!
The 5.3 has always been a great motor. I assume this motor is the "next generation" 5.3.
The 5.3's of recent years already have the V-8-6-4 technology.
The only time it will switch from V-8 mode is on a flat, down a hill, or with a tail wind- it is seamless and you may not even notice unless you have a display telling you-
I think your rig will do just fine, but you won't be getting 21 mpg towing...
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:59 AM   #5
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Hi Rob,

I recently bought a 2014 Chevy Silverado with the same engine, etc. as your GMC. You won't have any issue at all towing your 23' AS. The cylinder deactivation feature is totally unnoticeable; you'll never know when it goes from 8 to 4 cylinders unless you look at the Driver Info Center screen in the middle of your dashboard.

Hands down this is the best tow vehicle I've ever had - very quiet, smooth riding and with great steering & brakes.

Enjoy!

John S.
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

..... from Robert Cross in WNY.

You should be fine.
Get your weight distribution hitch w/sway control set-up properly and brake controller adjusted and ENJOY!!

Bob
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
...but you won't be getting 21 mpg towing...
Hope springs eternal ...
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:48 PM   #8
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I'm looking into the same vehicle myself (well, the Silverado). I've driven the 5.3 a few times at the dealership, but am holding out until they get in one of the 6.2's before I make a final decision since I have a 30FB Bunkhouse and I live in Colorado - pretty much anyplace I want to get to is uphill from here (seriously uphill).
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Old 12-23-2013, 03:15 PM   #9
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Road and Track recently tested the new 2014 Chevy 6.2. Here's what they had to say:

"The best news is hidden underhood. GMs new, optional 6.2-liter V8 engine cranks out a heady 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, and is bolted to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Despite being two-gears short of the Ram 1500, the transmission helps the big V8 in the GMC yield an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway in two-wheel-drive guise. Expect those numbers to take a dip with 4WD, though."
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:08 PM   #10
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That's a solid mid-weight tower that won't break a sweat towing a 23 footer. As mentioned, the 4-6-8 function is virtually a non-issue when towing. I think you can expect 13+ MPG (US) average towing.
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:35 PM   #11
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YOU WILL LOVE IT!!
I got my new Silverado the first week of December. It has the 5.3L and maximum towing package. This truck is much better than my prior trucks(towing capacity, smooth ride, fuel economy, quietness, technology, etc...). I have had several 1500 Silverados, three with the 5.3L engine and one with the 6.2L, and one 2500 Silverado with the 6.0L.
With the maximum trailering package, geared 3:73, your fuel mileage is going to be substantially lower than the advertised fuel range, because they are not equipped the same as those the advertisements are based on. Highway mileage is not 21 mpg. I'm getting just under 20 mpg at 65-75 mph. City I'm getting 15 mpg and mixed I am getting 16-17mpg. These are measured, not computer averages.
I have only done one short tow so far, so I do not know the fuel mileage. I pulled my 34' for a very short distance and I was pleasantly surprised how well it handled the 1,000 tongue load. You will not be disappointed in the way it tows and handles with the trailer attached. The only issue will be payload that has to be monitored closely while towing.
One caution: weigh your vehicle! My door placard's payload stated a lower capacity than it should. I went to the CAT Scale before I put anything into my truck. I filled the fuel tank and weighed. The GVRW minus the actual weight of the vehicle should be payload. Mine was off by 51 lbs.
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:49 PM   #12
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The 5.3 is know as an oil burner with consumption of a qt. per 1,000 miles. Also the engine has a history of scoring the cylinder walls on the cylinders that are shed while in the ECO mode.

Do a search on 5.3 AFM engine problems.

There are aftermarket kits to kill the AFM system that should eliminate the problem if you get the kit on the engine soon enough.
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Old 12-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #13
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Howie just took a look at the 5.3AFM and seems that it was through 2011 or so and may have been fixed. Even the 2014 6.2 have AFM.
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Old 12-23-2013, 07:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
The 5.3 is know as an oil burner with consumption of a qt. per 1,000 miles. Also the engine has a history of scoring the cylinder walls on the cylinders that are shed while in the ECO mode.

Do a search on 5.3 AFM engine problems.

There are aftermarket kits to kill the AFM system that should eliminate the problem if you get the kit on the engine soon enough.
My experience has been otherwise. My last tow vehicle had the 5.3L and 230,000 miles with ZERO oil consumption. I checked regularly and never had to add even a drop of oil.

John S.
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