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Old 08-18-2008, 10:33 AM   #1
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Anyone tow with a GM 8.1 ??

Anyone have a 8.1 liter in a pickup or suburban? Curious as to your experience, do they use oil like some say, does it run hot?

Looking at updating my 01 with a 6.0/3.73 with a 05 8.1/4.10.

Thanks for any input...
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:31 PM   #2
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2004 8.1

I have pulled with an 2004 8.1 Suburban up to last month. It did not use oil, did not run hot. It did quit when it got hot out 90 degrees or more. Chevy replaced the crankshaft sensor, the fuel pump modulator and a couple of other things to get it to stop doing that. They never did fix that problem. It pulled our 30 footer like it was not behind the truck, get it moving and set the cruise and go! All at 11 MPG!

Because Chevy could not find the problem with it shutting down and a number of other problems, I traded this month for a 2008 Tundra.

Hope that helps
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:34 PM   #3
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I have a few buddys that tow with a 454 and they are beasts. 4:10 is steep. I also have 4:10 but have a Super Duty with a 5.4 liter and a 6 speed automatic tranny. I cant beleve you would have trouble towing anything up to 15000lbs or maybe even 18500. Big wheel stants. You should be well equiped for anything. Also Suburbans came with heavy duty cooling systems when prroperly equiped,I will say 1 thing That aint no Tundra or Titan, you will be getting a great tow vehicle. I think they get about 12 mpg towing.
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:39 PM   #4
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Our friends tow their SOB 5er with that the 8.1 and the Allison trans (a 2005 2500 HD. they get 7 mpg towing or empty. I borrowed it once to tow our hybrid and got 8.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:41 PM   #5
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Fellow Forum Member and Airstream Life contributor Tin Hut has a 8.1 in his Suburban. Send him a PM and ask him what he thinks.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:58 PM   #6
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Buy It great truck, the allision makes all the difference.

11-11.5 towing at 65-70.

13-14 no tow.

No oil or heat issues.

When you go up a mountain check your mirrors you won't know it's there.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:27 PM   #7
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Our friends have one, and tow there 27' safari. 8 mpg towing 11 mpg around town.... I followed him with my old popup once, and he past as easy as I did... Nothing will stop it... He has had no issues but only has 20,000 miles on it...
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Old 08-18-2008, 03:22 PM   #8
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8.1 Chevy gas

I have an 8.1 gas in my 2001 Dually with a 4.1 rear and 4 wheel drive. No overheating but they did replace the engine at 6,000 miles because it was an early one that did burn oil. I have 45,000 on it now and no oil problems. I rarely use the 4wd. It gets 12 mpg at 70 without a trailer behind it and maybe 10 mpg at 55 with the 31 footer behind me. With the wider stance of the dually and full ton running gear, the trailer does not even seem to be back there. About the same mileage as my 460 cu in out of the 80's.I have not experience some of the stall problems some have had. I did need to replace a fuel pump and crankshft sensor at 35,000 miles for a charge of $900 just after the warrentee ran out.
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:52 PM   #9
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Great input..

Thanks guys, I bought the 8.1 !!!

I currently have the 6.0l with a 3.73 and it tows the Safari Bunhouse with no problem until........a hill. I even get respectable mileage and absolutely Toyota reliablilty from it for almost 120k miles. With all that said, I think if I can get 9-10 from the 8.1 with much better towing on hills and passing I will really enjoy it. I sometimes feel like the 6.0 is really working, however I know the newer (post 2k) vortecs like RPM much more than the old 350s/454.

I was just worried about the big block, memories from childhood with my dad. He never left home without a case of oil, distributor cap, and a gallon of antifreeze. I remember crusing across Colorado and him giving the family a gauge "status report", ...."she's runnin' about 240F..."! Gulp.

I will have to post some pics when I get her home.

Anyone know how much oil they hold?
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:02 PM   #10
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We have an '05 Burban with the 8.1 and the 3.xx rear. Doesn't run hot. May use a quart of oil every 5000+. We took it and the trailer ('05 Classic 30' SO) up a 10% grade in the Big Horn mountains. Water temp held steady. Trans temp was high, not in the red zone, but steady. God bless Chevy.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:48 PM   #11
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We have an '06 2500 HD crew cab with 8.1, Allison 6spd, and 4.10 rear end. I pulls out 31' Sovereign beautifully. 10-12 mpg towing 65 mph. 12-14 mpg without. Uses less than 1/2 quart between oil changes. Love the Allison transmission. We will be keeping this TV for quite some time.

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Old 08-18-2008, 09:52 PM   #12
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My 8.1 never has had an overheating problem, though she does burn about a quart of oil every 1,800 to 2,000 miles. It did go through the GM oil consumption test, and GM says that its oil usage is normal – go figure.

It is a pleasure to tow with the power of this engine. Gas mileage towing is about 9 mpg at 65 mph and 11 mpg at 55. Not towing, around town you will see about 8 mpg, and about 12 mpg on the highway at 70 mph. Whenever it fill it up around town, I have to remind myself why I got the big block – it is great for towing!
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafariSS View Post
Anyone have a 8.1 liter in a pickup or suburban? Curious as to your experience, do they use oil like some say, does it run hot?

Looking at updating my 01 with a 6.0/3.73 with a 05 8.1/4.10.

Thanks for any input...
Funny thing about the 8.1 question. I was talking to my neighbor Saturday A.M. He has a 8.1/Allison tranny 2500HD extended cab. He likes the truck ....except the fuel mileage. He pulls a Landscape trailer some of the time, HE is in the landscape business, and pulls a 24 ft. SOB with it. He Averages 7 MPG with it overall....yup...thats is everything from the time it was new. The best HE has got is 11 mpg empty on the freeway. They just got back from a Beach vaction pulling the SOB and he told me 7 mpg for the trip. It has 4.1 gearing and the Allison tranny.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:21 AM   #14
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mileage...

Fortunately the mileage is not a huge downer to me, as I only use the Suburban for towing. As I mentioned before I only get 10-11 towing with my 6.0 liter, so if I give up a mile or two with the 8.1 no biggie for the tradeoff of great towing.

I saw on the workhorse chassis website GM has durability tested this engine for 200k, that means with good maintenance you could go beyond theoretically.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:25 AM   #15
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I have a 8.1 Avalanache - and I'm not getting the mileage you all are reporting above - I get much better - 16-17 hwy about 12 towing - have had since new (2002) and have 91,000 miles - love the truck - it does use a little oil, but no biggy - after all those pistons are about the size of gallon milk jugs... have had zero problems with it - I did for the most part retire the truck for towing only as I want it last a long time since they don't make the 3/4 ton Av anymore

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Old 08-19-2008, 08:48 AM   #16
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I used to have a 3500 single cab with 454 and 4L80E transmission. Got 11 mpg towbaring a Jeep Wagoneer down to Florida. Around 14 on the trip back up to Ohio empty. Around 8-10 towing the A/S.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:40 AM   #17
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For what its worth I would stay away from the big block. Let the 6.0 rev, I run our 5.4 hard in the hills and no oil consumption and never overheats. I run my 350 in the boat 3-4 krpm all day, same with the truck going up and down long steep grades. Its one reason I went the Lariat, shifter is a console and ready to make quick changes. That being said, most of the trip across the country is in D and loafing along at 65.

I see so many big blocks fail in our marina, yet the 350 and 305 engines just take the beating. You might want to do away with all risk and lease a new truck, it is a worry free way to pull the airstream. I just get oil changes and go. New every 2 or 3 and always under full warranty. If you stay under 18k/year and take care of it visually, it really is not that expensive.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:14 PM   #18
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Thumbs up 06 8.1 3/4 Burb 4:10...LOVE_IT

Quote:
Originally Posted by SafariSS View Post

I will have to post some pics when I get her home.

Anyone know how much oil they hold?
6.5qts.

SS,
I think you will LOVE that Burb. Picked our 06 up in NC last March.
No O/H concerns or excess oil consumption. You will love the Autoride, it doesn't have the Auto level feature like the 1500's do, but what a GREAT travl'r. It sure ain't no truck, rides SO much better than our 95.

Got 15.2 mpg. @ 58mph on the way home (DIC). 14.9 actual. Have been getting 11.2 towing. Mostly in and around the Adirondacks.

Our 95 454 3:73 with a bunch of up-grades, was also a great TV but best towing MPG was 14.2 in the flats of Kansas. We averaged just over 11.5 towing the 06 Classic. But city driving dropped that to 9-10.

The new Burb gets the same around town as it does towing. I must admit Iv'e been a real Feather-Foot though. Keeping it under 60mph towing.
With all that power and those 4:10's it really scoot's.
So every once in awhile old habits come back... I'm outta here.

BTW what color ya get..white sure looks good with the AS.

ps. the 95 still sits on the pad for sale..
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:20 PM   #19
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Robert....

Wow, my new one is a spittin' image of yours! My 01 that I am replacing is white as well however it has black wheel well flares, and the new one has white like yours. What rear axle ratio do you have?

I am really excited, I pick it up tomorrow. I have read so many varied opinions on other websites, but I guess such is the internet, we have always gotten really good service out of our Chevrolets (well, aside from the 94 6.5 diesel....).

I will definately post pics and when I pick up my trailer in JC next week I look forward to see how she tows!
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:40 PM   #20
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Thumbs up Burbs ROCK

SS

The 06 has the 4:10's with locking differential.

If you PM me the last eight of your VIN # I can do a Viss check and Build sheet, it will also have the warranty history so you'll know what repairs have been done under warranty.

Ours was a GM exec car so it came loaded complete with nav system and only 14k on it. Plus it's still under Factory warr. till March 2010. Yeah.. I guess we lucked out on this one.

Like yourself it's going to be just a TV. Look'n for a sipper to drive daily.

Good Luck and get them pic's posted asap.
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