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Old 04-10-2009, 06:40 AM   #1
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How to determine Axle Ratio

Hi Folks,

I'm searching online for available used tow vehicles in my area, and then looking up their tow ratings using online guides. Depending on the axle ratio, the vehicle's tow rating can range quite a bit.

What is the best way to find out the axle ratio of a vehicle listed online? Is there a way, for example, to enter a VIN number online and determine that kind of detail?

Thanks.

Tim
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:09 AM   #2
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The best way would be to get the axle code for the axle you are looking for and check it against the code printed in the truck. GM puts their codes in the glove compartment. Not sure for Ford and Chrysler.

Gm axles codes are GT4 is 3.73, GT5 is 4.10, GU4 is 3.08, GU6 is 3.42

A deal should be willing to give you the codes.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:33 AM   #3
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Crawl underneath and look at the tag on the pumpkin...that is the only way to know for sure.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:26 AM   #4
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Crawl underneath and look at the tag on the pumpkin...that is the only way to know for sure.
That's good for a Ford, and maybe Dodge, but I think GM has it stamped on top of the axle tube.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:43 PM   #5
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Haven't been able to get the axle ratio figured out for the truck I am looking at - Here is the configuration:

TV: 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, extended cab, 4.8L V8 SFI, automatic 4 spd, 2WD, tow package, unsure of the axle ratio.

Trailer: 2006 22' Airstream, dual axle, 5600 GVWR, includes WD hitch and sway bars.

Tow rating for this TV is either 6100 lbs or 7300 lbs depending on the axle ratio.

I know there are a lot of other variables to consider, but I'd like to see what folks think about this TV-trailer configuration. I'd be towing in Colorado and in the mountains. Is this a solid/safe configuration?

Thanks.

Tim
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:09 PM   #6
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You are at the low end for towing in the mountains with a 4.8 V8 but if it has a 3.73 or better yet a 4.10 yo should be OK.

Look in the clove compartment there is a label on the back side of the door panel. Look or a code GT4 is a 3.73 rear and GT5 is a 4.10.

Everything in that truck will be listed on the label from the spring set to the trim package.

I would consider an extra trans cooler as the first addition to the truck.
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:56 PM   #7
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Thanks for that info HowieE,found out my 2500 4x4 6.0 had 4.10,wonder what it would to have the rings and pinions changed to 3.73.With my 27` I need gas mileage more that torque.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:12 PM   #8
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Unless you use the truck for a lot of driving other than towing stick with the 4.10. An engine will get better mileage if it is turning freely that if it is under load.

Now if you want the best of both worlds consider a Gear vendors over drive unit. Effectively you would end up with 7 gears forward. I had one on my 87 1500 and towed my 34 ft. Only 7 because you can't get to 1st over because the unit will not up shift until 33 mph.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for that info HowieE,found out my 2500 4x4 6.0 had 4.10,wonder what it would to have the rings and pinions changed to 3.73.With my 27` I need gas mileage more that torque.
I have owned Suburbans with both of those final drive ratios, no measurable difference in fuel consumption.
Stick with the 4:10's.
Your load, driving style, etc will have greater impact.

Bill
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:07 PM   #10
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I have owned Suburbans with both of those final drive ratios, no measurable difference in fuel consumption.
Stick with the 4:10's.
Your load, driving style, etc will have greater impact.

Bill

Bill is absolutely, positively correct. The MPG his is so minimal, it's not worth discussing. Two years ago, after a midwest rally gathering, I towed my heavier Safari to the Galena, IL area. In our caravan was a 3/4 ton burb w/3.73s and a lighter Airstream. I have the 6.0L and 4.10s.

We got nearly identical MPG. We both topped off before the trip and any differences in MPG were nearly undetectable.

Howie is also correct. The 4.10s are far nicer to the engine and transmission. Unless it's your daily driver and those few tenths of a mile add up, then I'd be very reluctant to downgrade to 3.73s. Additionally, there are IMHO only a handful of really qualified folks that can do a gear swap correctly where there is no whine, chatter, uneven wear on the gears, etc. It's not that it can't be done, it can, but it can cost you upward of $500-$600 to do it, between the parts, labor, ABS reluctor, then the always fun part, getting the computer re-programmed for the correct gear set. For the tiny, if any difference in MPG savings, that $500-$600 can buy a lot of gas for that tiny difference.

My suggestion would be if MPG is important, a gear swap won't save you that much....perhaps you should look at a daily driver that gets 32mpg or better, cause even on a great day not towing, you'd be hard pressed to get around 20 mpg hwy and 15 would be a gift around town, even with 3.73s. No matter how aerodynamic they make it, it is still a moving brick with a big thirsty V8.
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