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Old 03-31-2009, 12:20 PM   #1
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High mileage tow vehicles

I will be towing my 1973 Safari with my 1999 GMC Sierra ext cab. It has 160,000 miles on the 5.3. It has the factory tow package. Even though it's always been used as a tow vehicle and has had three tranny fluid changes I'll be switching to synthetic on all my fluids. Who has the most miles out there?
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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High mileage tow vehicles

My 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban with the 7400 VORTEC and 4.11 gearing is right at 200,000 miles. Only major expenses other than the 15,000 mile interval failures of the electronic four-wheel-drive control module were fuel pump at 170,000 miles, timing gear and chain set at 180,000 miles, oil pan and main seal gaskets at 190,000 miles. With the lack of a motor in excess of 7 liters available in new Suburbans, I plan to keep this one in service indefinitely. I had it Ziebarted when it was less than one-month beyond its production at the Janesville, WI assembly plant and with annual maintenance the body and interior still look like new.

Kevin
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:48 PM   #3
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I had 167k on one vehicle, 105k on another with my current one at 18k.

I would be reluctant to switch a high mileage component to synthetic if it's had conventional oil all this time and mileage. I have heard that the syn can clean up the engine/tranny and what was once a good seal, may become a leaking point due to the crud being removed allowing liquids to start to exit.

If your tranny or engine have been rebuilt, then I would have less reservation. It's hard to tell what is snake oil and what is the real deal. I've followed this and have had no issues. My 167k TV had conventional oil all 25 years of it's life. It towed thousands of miles and never burned or leaked a drop of oil....ever.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
I would be reluctant to switch a high mileage component to synthetic if it's had conventional oil all this time and mileage. I have heard that the syn can clean up the engine/tranny and what was once a good seal, may become a leaking point due to the crud being removed allowing liquids to start to exit.
My Silverado didn't leak a drop of oil when I got it, with 152,000 on the clock. I switched to synthetic for the long tow to California, and it now spews oil from every orifice. Rear main, valve covers, even the valley pan seal. If it doesn't leak or burn oil, keep using what the PO of the vehicle used.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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We are towing the Caravel with a '98 Expedition. Now that it is at 217,000 miles I am reluctant to go beyond Auto Club range. We put a new transmission in it at 200,000 and the only current problems are some electronic gremlins. It has worked out very well, but we are actively looking for a crew cab pickup truck as a replacement as I hope to start using the Overlander in the near future. Based on what we paid for the Expedition and the use we have gotten from it, when it finally dies I will just take the license plates off and walk away.

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Old 03-31-2009, 01:45 PM   #6
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If it doesn't leak or burn oil, keep using what the PO of the vehicle used.
I know this is a bit of a hijack, but I completely agree. Since we tow with older vehicles with original equipment, I use the fluid specs from the manufacturer.

Rather than changing to synthetic or lighter weight lubricants, consider installing a transmission pan and an oil pan that holds more volume. I run 8 quarts of oil in the 392, and I have a "additional 2 quarts" transmission pan awaiting installation. If I really needed more engine oil capacity, I could install a 10 quart oil pan.

We have 120k on the Travelall and 64k on the Travelette. Or is that 220k and 164k?

Tim
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:52 PM   #7
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:02 PM   #8
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I still hope to see how many of us are towing with high mileage. I can understand the switch hurting more than it would help.
What about the rear differential.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:19 PM   #9
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STOP!! Don't IT!!!

As some have said changing over to Synthetic in an high mile engine can be a disaster. I did this some time ago to my first Saab which had over 100K on it. Afterwards it leaked really bad. I use it in my present Saab with only good results. But I changed at 43K. I know of others that have done so with high miles without any problem at all. But from all that I have heard that have done so there seems to be more then a 75% chance that you will.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:25 PM   #10
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I've been changing vehicle engines, trans, etc, to synthetic since 1982. Old, cracked gaskets need replacing anyway. You can thank the oil for pointing them out to you. That said, I've replaced gaskets only on a Chev 350.
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:18 PM   #11
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I would not recommend changing the tranny fluid to synthetic! Every thing else yes! I am Towing with my 95 most of the Time is has 398,462 today I do tow some with my work truck it has 149,000 I have serval highmiles trucks I will have the 95 in KY For the rally~!
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:30 PM   #12
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Wow - I'm impressed I have an 02 Avalanche with about 93,000 miles with the 8.1 liter engine - I love the truck, looks like the day I rolled it out of the showroom and hoping it will keep going - this is encouraging. I used synthetic oil since about 10,000 miles.

Kevin - I can remember when you purchased your Suburban - wow, I remember you saying when you purchased it, you were going to keep it for a long long time... also reminds me how long I've been on these various Airstream Forums...

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:09 PM   #13
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I would not recommend changing the tranny fluid to synthetic! Every thing else yes! I am Towing with my 95 most of the Time is has 398,462 today I do tow some with my work truck it has 149,000 I have serval highmiles trucks I will have the 95 in KY For the rally~!
Why are you suggesting that? I've had synthetic in the trans of my 105k mile car that did tow as well. I've had no issues towing or with extreme outdoor temps. As a matter of fact, my trans fluid looks identical to the day it was poured in. I never had that with conventional trans fluid. The "pink" color would fade after similar mileage.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:23 PM   #14
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pulling my 87 30' Avion with a 99 f250 SD. currently has 212k on the odometer. only engine issue i have ever had is having to replace the glow plugs at 195k.

i have driven this truck across the US (coast to coast) 3 times in the last year, last time with the trailer in tow.

she's a runner!
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