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Old 03-20-2004, 09:37 PM   #1
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Help, please. Tow vehicle quandary

Once again we ask the Forum for advice. We are looking at an 8300 lb Airstream-30' Limited Classic--too much for our current Toyota LandCruiser. In the opinion of Forum members, will a 6 liter 2500 HD Chevrolet Silverado handle the load? 2WD or 4x4? We don't want to be at the upper edge of safe pulling--we want margin for the unpredictable. Thanks for your input.
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Old 03-21-2004, 12:16 AM   #2
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Go DURAMAX

Go 6.6 liter Duramax/Allison 4x4.
It has 3.73 gears. I get 19-20 solo and 13-14 towing.
I LOVE mine.
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Old 03-21-2004, 12:29 AM   #3
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The 6.0L is fine for pulling a half-ton truck with a lightweight trailer like a mid-sized Safari or vintage Airstream. However, if the engine and transmission are going to pull a big, sturdy truck with a big, heavy trailer, I agree with the previous post. Spring for the diesel with the heavy-duty transmission.

If you're a smart shopper, you're going to pay much less than their retail option prices. You'll be at or near dealer invoice prices. When you go to sell or trade the truck, you'll get much, if not most of the diesel/tranny premium back, and the rest you'll have made up in fuel savings. In the meantime, you'll get effortless pulling, especially in the mountains, and be able to go much further on a tank of fuel.
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Old 03-21-2004, 12:38 AM   #4
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IMHO: Any of the 'Big-3' diesels in a 3/4 ton chassis (at least). We choose Ford (International), but GM (Duramax), or Dodge (Cummins) are also fine...personal choice at that point. The only real plus between them that I see is the Allison tranny with the Duramax....but we still bought a Ford!! This can become a 'religious' discussion if not careful.... !
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Old 03-21-2004, 02:37 AM   #5
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On paper, it should be a good match. The 6.0 puts out 300 hp and 488 ft./lbs of torque at a reasonable 4,000 rpm. This is much greater than the old big block 454 which powered a generation of motorhomes (Airstream's included).

The four speed automatic in the 2500HD series is the same no matter which gas engine you choose, so it should be up to the task. I can't tell if you can get the Allison 5 spd. automatic with the 6.0 or not, but if so it is a terrific automatic for towing.

Apparently the 6.0 is available in the 2500HD only with a 4.10, and you will have a tow rating somewhere in the 10,000 lb. range, depending upon cab and box choice plus options. I assume your hypothetical 8400 lbs. is gross weight. Presumably you will be towing at something under gross.

I too bought a new 2500HD diesel, but the truck itself seems to be terrific. I am having a hard time finding things not to like.

Before I bought I would personally want to speak to a few people who are towing similar loads with that engine. There are some on these forums, so perhaps they can be of more assistance.

Good luck,

Mark
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Old 03-21-2004, 03:55 AM   #6
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Lightbulb Too late?

j54mark

As I read it:
Ed & Debbie,
Quote:
but we still bought a Ford!!
They made the plunge..

As a sidebar:
I'm still waiting for GMC to unveil the new Yukon XL W/Duramax diesel combo~!! I know, I know it's doesn't exist yet..Despit all the rumors to the contrary but, I figure ONEDAY..The powers to be at Flint hdqtrs, WILL get their head out of the sand~!
Question; Did you get the newest Duramax engine model in your truck? Have you done any after market improvements to it as well?
ciao
53FC

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Old 03-21-2004, 08:15 AM   #7
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Well, I understand Ford makes a fairly decent truck as well, if you're not particular.

I have one of the new LLY engines. The biggest advantage is that the injectors no longer require the removal of the valve covers in case they need service. From a power/performance standpoint, I guess the variable vane turbo charger is the biggest change. Its pretty slick - there is no sense that the turbo is spooling up.

I have made two aftermarket improvements: a fiberglass shell and a Bedrug carpet bed liner. I really like the Bedrug. I have no intention of getting an aftermarket chip.

Mark
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Old 03-21-2004, 09:58 AM   #8
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gas opposed to diesel?

Thanks for your replies. We drove a new diesel and it was terrific, but we are hoping to avoid the big upcharge on initial cost as well as maintenance that goes with diesel. How about the gas engines-Chevy or Ford? Is the 6.0L adequate for the heavy 30' AS? Do we need to go with the bigger 8.1? The differences in towing? How does gear ration affect our towing this size AS? (We have never driven trucks so we are REALLY needing some help and explanation-trusting you on the Forum more than dealers!) In our traveling, we most often go West from Missouri so we are in mountains much of our travel time. Thanks for your insight and experience to help us make our decision!
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Old 03-21-2004, 10:09 AM   #9
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Re: gas opposed to diesel?

Quote:
Originally posted by maxandgeorgia
Thanks for your replies. We drove a new diesel and it was terrific, but we are hoping to avoid the big upcharge on initial cost as well as maintenance that goes with diesel. How about the gas engines-Chevy or Ford? Is the 6.0L adequate for the heavy 30' AS? Do we need to go with the bigger 8.1? The differences in towing? How does gear ration affect our towing this size AS? (We have never driven trucks so we are REALLY needing some help and explanation-trusting you on the Forum more than dealers!) In our traveling, we most often go West from Missouri so we are in mountains much of our travel time. Thanks for your insight and experience to help us make our decision!
Hi maxandgeorgia!

Sounds like you're getting pretty serious about this!

I sent you a PM. Give me a call...

Roger
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Old 03-21-2004, 11:03 AM   #10
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Funny you should ask....I was just at the Chevy dealer on Thursday and have the sales info right in front of me.

The 2500HD is **rated** with a 6.0L at:

2wd 8300lbs w/3.73 gears
4wd 8000lbs w/3.73 gears

2wd 10,300 w/4.10 gears
4wd 10,000 w/4.10 gears

Note there are some differences between the short bed, and cab selection, but only by a hundred or so lbs.

The 2500HD is **rated** with a 8.1L at:
4wd 12,000lbs w/either 3.73 gears or 4.10 gears
The Allision Transmission is the preferred trans for this engine IMHO

The 2500HD is **rated** with the 6.6L Duramax at:
4wd 12,000lbs w/3.73s
Again, the Allison Transmission is the trans of choice IMHO for the engine setup as well.

It's important to note on the last two (8.1L and Duramax) that the Duramax/Allision combo will cost a bunch more than the 8.1L w/Allision trans, but the diesel gets far better gas mileage and has far more torque 590ft/lbs @ 1600rpm (Allision trans) compared to that of the 8.1 which has 450ft/lbs @3200rpm. Horsepower for each is fairly close (within 20hp), however the Duramax hits it max of 310 at 3000 RPM, whereas the 8.1L hits it max of 330HP at 4200 RPM.

My vote would be to either get the 8.1L or the Duramax. They both are awesome setups with 3.73 gears and the Allision transmission. Either setup will tow you over the Rocky Mountains and back with a 10,000 lb coach with ZERO issues (well, almost zero issues if you take into account fuel consumption!) I don't even think the 6.0L is in the running on this particular application...my .02

One reason for this opinion on which engine setups to consider is that I don't particularly care for 4.10 gears. They do help when towing as the power multip is better, but the engine can depending on the trans, run at a higher RPM and thus burn more fuel while on the highway. I think the 3.73s are more than up to the task once you get into the 8.1L range although I openly admit that the 8.1L's fuel consuption in general might not make a 4.10 gear in the rear that much of an issue, in which case you then find yourself back to the Duramax, lower gears, more expensive drivetrain, better fuel economy all around, better engine longevity, higher regular maint costs (oil changes I've heard take 15 some odd quarts!)

Eric
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Old 03-21-2004, 12:24 PM   #11
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If you are serious about a 3/4 ton truck you owe it to yourself to check the Dodge offerings as well as Ford and GM. Particularly if you are considering a diesel. I ended up with Chevrolet, but for reasons which may or may not be cogent for someone else.

The old 7.3 Ford is 14 qrts. on an oil change. I don't remember the crankcase capacity on the Dodge Cummins, but the Duramax is a relatively modest 10 qts. I checked the dipstick on mine yesterday (first 1,000 miles) and it is still light amber in color! No soot! The recommended oil change interval is much higher as well - up to 10,000 mi. depending upon use.

In my opinion (which is trademarked and copyrighted) the up charge for the diesel should be compared only with the 8.1, which has its own up charge. If the 6.0 will do your job it is hard to justify the diesel.

Isn't it interesting how things change? Not too many years ago we would all have been THRILLED with the hp and torque now offered by the 6.0 engine. But I'm with Eric on 4.10 final drives - I don't care for it as a daily driver. The rpms are just too high at highway speeds.

Finally, remember that the towing capacities are all based on gross combined weight restriction (GCWR). This is treated as a state secret, but can be found in the owner's manual. For the 6.0 2500HD it is 16,000 lbs. An empty standard cab short bed 2wd is about 5,500 lbs. empty, leaving 10,500 for a trailer and gear. But a four door long bed 4X4 with running boards, fiberglass cap, brush guard, and so forth may top 7,000 lbs. Add four people, weekend camping gear, and some bikes and you could well be over gross on a well loaded 30' Limited.

Mark
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Old 03-21-2004, 11:58 PM   #12
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Fuel Mileage

The Duramax (or the other diesels will be comparable- Powerstroke or Cummings) will get you about 13-14 towing at 65, and get 19-20 solo, and has 3.73's std.

The 8.1 will get you about 8-10 towing at 65, and get 14-15 solo with 3.73's.

Let's say you don't tow much but drive 20,000 miles per year non-towing.
The Duramax will burn 1053 gallons of fuel.
The 8.1 will burn 1429 gallons of fuel, a 376 gallon difference.

At gallon prices of $1.50 ($564) to $2.00 ($752) difference.

Just the savings in fuel costs over the 8.1 will pay the increased costs of oil changes....$650 buys lots of oil changes and maintenence, and due to increased volume of lubricant in the crankcase, does not have to be changed quite as often as the gasoline motor.

On a 3000 mile trip towing, The Duramax burns 231 gallons, the 8.1 burns 375 gallons...a difference of 144 gallons or a price difference of $216 to $288 for a vacation trip in fuel costs.

And I have not mentioned the increased durability of the diesel and it's ability to go 300,000 miles given proper maintenence without a wrench being put on it.

For me, the increased torque, the motor running at 1/2 the rpms (translate 1/2 the wear and tear) to get the same power, the better fuel economy, and durability significantly justify the upcharge cost and maintence of the diesel.
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Old 03-22-2004, 12:57 AM   #13
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Re: Fuel Mileage

Quote:
Originally posted by dscluchfc
... the better fuel economy, and durability significantly justify the upcharge cost and maintence of the diesel.
Also, resale value on a diesel should be better than a gasser ... especially on higher mileage vehicles.
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Old 03-22-2004, 07:43 AM   #14
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Re: Help, please. Tow vehicle quandary

My .02
If you are looking at Chevorlet ask your dealer if you can drive something with Quadrasteer. Just to add some knowledge in your "tool belt"
We spent alot time researching tow vehicles before we decided on the 2500 Suburban. The max trailer rating on our 4x4 2500 Burb with 4.10 gears is 9600 (well within the 75% rule on your 8300 coach)
Good luck on your seach!!

Abe
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