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Old 11-06-2015, 08:07 AM   #1
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Further experience with GMC Sierra 1500/6.2/max trailer tow pack truck

Posting now from Sioux Falls,SD, having left Washington DC on October 26 and driven here by way of the Great Lakes route through Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Trailer is FC 27. TV is 2015 Sierra 1500 with 6.2 liter 420 hp DI gas engine 8-speed tranny and max trailer tow package rear axle (1960 lbs rated payload). For all you would be diesel-heads wanting a 3/4 ton, this is an alternative. This engine maintains 60 mph on 9% grades in WVa @3300 rpm and will control speed on downhills, downshifting automatically even to engine speeds over 4000 rpm. Typical cruising rpm is 1800. Observed fuel consumption is 11-14 mpg @ 60 mph, depending on terrain. The one downside to this power train is the requirement for premium gas, which is more expensive than diesel. This truck is not as heavy as a 3/4 ton and doesn't drive like one when empty. When GM puts this tranny on the smaller V-8 (5.3), the combination would seem to be excellent for 25 or 23 foot AS's as the payload (with the max trailer tow package) would be the same. Price wise, this loaded SLT model was the same as an LT Chevy 2500 with the Duramax, without the trailer towing mirrors, among other things. My route thru West Va. took me through the highest part of the state (Canaan Valley/Davis), so I got the steep grades and twisty 2-lanes. This combination has worked really well and is, IMHOP, a viable alternative to a diesel 3/4 ton and all of the issues that seem to plague contemporary, emission-controlled CRD Diesel engines. Remember, too, that for another 2-300 lbs of rated payload, you are carrying around 12-1500 lbs more vehicle weight with a 3/4 ton.
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:40 AM   #2
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What rear axle ratio do you have in the truck?
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:48 AM   #3
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Is this the Denali truck? What is the price?
Denali's are the poor man's Escalade, but still plenty pricey.
If you are willing to go with fewer bells and whistles and a slightly rougher ride you can get a Ford or Chevy 3/4 ton with the 6 liter engine for about 10k less.
I agree with the poster and I am an old time diesel head, gas engines offer a better alternative to the newer smog controlled diesels.
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:19 AM   #4
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Say what you want but the gas engines are not in the same playing field as the newer diesel pickup engines, especially that V10 and 6 litre ford engine, I've been around both of them......
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
Say what you want but the gas engines are not in the same playing field as the newer diesel pickup engines, especially that V10 and 6 litre ford engine, I've been around both of them......
There have been significant changes to Gas V8s with 8 (and soon) 10 speeds. Torque curves are improved and peaks at much lower RPMs. While they are not diesels, for our AS purposes, they are getting VERY close....both in performance and mileage (because of DPF).

I have driven both in the last year with my 30' Classic, and balancing all the variables (discussed ad naseum here), my dollars will be going, in all liklehood, to 6.2L gas. It is quite impressive.
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:59 AM   #6
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I am one of those 3/4-ton diesel lovers, and I wouldn't give up my 7.3L PowerStroke voluntarily. However, your report DOES sound like one of the best non-diesel alternatives that I have heard about.

I guess that, worst case, if my PowerStroke bites the dust ( God forbid!!!! ), that truck would be a viable option.

I could always keep a diesel-soaked rag in the cab so I could still enjoy that awesome diesel smell!!!
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:08 AM   #7
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Plethora of Good Choices

One of the most hilarious lines from the movie "Master and Commander" was when the doctor was asked to choose between two weevils which had been coaxed out of the sea biscuits by gently tapping them on the table prior to eating the bread. The doctor chose the larger, stronger one - and was reprimanded by the captain with the tongue in cheek advice that

"one must always choose the lesser of two weevils"

The truth is that as far as tow vehicles go, there are plenty of pretty darn great choices - probably more now than ever before. The biggest REAL difference for all of us is "what is your towing style, skill level, budget - and what ELSE do you need the tow vehicle to do?" I chose to upgrade to a 3/4 ton diesel with all of the bells and whistles because:
  • I probably have a max of 10 more years before I age out
  • I've had ONE other luxury vehicle in my whole life and I simply wanted all the bells and whistles this time.
  • I've been in one wreck in my life - with my 2nd Airstream - and walked away largely because I was in a big honkin' Silverado 3/4 ton diesel
  • have a 10 meter Avion - yep I am crazy - but not crazy enough to try to pull THAT thing one more time with an EcoBoost
  • I don't HAVE to "get by" with a half ton truck

Get the BEST tow vehicle you can afford for the safety of your family (and anyone else you might be able to avoid hurting by having an extra margin of engine braking, steering control, etc.) Live ... and let live.

These new gas engines are great, and my goodness gracious me, I am getting 18.8 mpg in the CITY with a 2013 diesel! The sun shines today on the towing world, let's enjoy it.

See you down the road. Paula
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
One of the most hilarious lines from the movie "Master and Commander" was when the doctor was asked to choose between two weevils which had been coaxed out of the sea biscuits by gently tapping them on the table prior to eating the bread. The doctor chose the larger, stronger one - and was reprimanded by the captain with the tongue in cheek advice that

"one must always choose the lesser of two weevils"

The truth is that as far as tow vehicles go, there are plenty of pretty darn great choices - probably more now than ever before. The biggest REAL difference for all of us is "what is your towing style, skill level, budget - and what ELSE do you need the tow vehicle to do?" I chose to upgrade to a 3/4 ton diesel with all of the bells and whistles because:
  • I probably have a max of 10 more years before I age out
  • I've had ONE other luxury vehicle in my whole life and I simply wanted all the bells and whistles this time.
  • I've been in one wreck in my life - with my 2nd Airstream - and walked away largely because I was in a big honkin' Silverado 3/4 ton diesel
  • have a 10 meter Avion - yep I am crazy - but not crazy enough to try to pull THAT thing one more time with an EcoBoost
  • I don't HAVE to "get by" with a half ton truck

Get the BEST tow vehicle you can afford for the safety of your family (and anyone else you might be able to avoid hurting by having an extra margin of engine braking, steering control, etc.) Live ... and let live.

These new gas engines are great, and my goodness gracious me, I am getting 18.8 mpg in the CITY with a 2013 diesel! The sun shines today on the towing world, let's enjoy it.

See you down the road. Paula
like your response best of all.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:42 AM   #9
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I have a 2000 Dodge Ram 4x4, 5spd diesel with 3.73 gears. I tow a 23FB, set the cruise at 62 - 65 mph and get 16.5 mpg in the mountains of VA and 18 mpg on flat ground towing. Without the AS hooked up I can average 20 mpg at 70 mph or drop it down to 55 mph and get 24 mpg. Best damn tow vehicle I have ever owned, period.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:19 PM   #10
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Lightbulb Tuned and deleted

"a viable alternative to a diesel 3/4 ton and all of the issues that seem to plague contemporary, emission-controlled CRD Diesel engines."


You could get a diesel truck that has been "tuned and deleted" from these guys if you don't care about emissions.


http://youtu.be/A7MZLbUDAjA
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:17 AM   #11
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Answers: if memory serves, the max trailer tow package has a 3:42 rear. However, the 8-speed tranny has a much wider spread than any 6-speed, so comparisons with other trucks using 6-speeds are not apt. This is the highest rear axle ratio offered by GM in this truck. The package includes a physically different rear axle (larger ring gear) and different rear suspension. The GMC "SLT" trim level is one step below the "Denali" trim. You can't get the max trailer tow in the Denali trim nor can you get the 6.2 engine with the 8-speed in any lower trim than SLT.
As for the diesels, the pre-emission diesels (Cummins 5.9, Powerstroke 7.3, etc.) while of lower output than today's engines beat them in fuel economy and longevity. The comparison has to be with what's available today. And, if you compare output of those old diesel engines (horsepower and torque) with the 6.2 or Ford's 3.5 liter "Ecoboost" they're not all that different. Yes, you can get a shade tree mechanic to delete some of the emission controls on the new engines and (perhaps) get better longevity and fuel economy, but you both will be violating Federal law, subject to criminal penalties and extending your middle finger to everyone you drive past. Diesel exhaust not only smells bad, it is carcinogenic and creates other problems, as our friends in Western Europe (who have incentivized the purchase of diesel autos for 40 years) have discovered.
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:32 AM   #12
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The problem is finding one of these trucks. Typically, if a dealer gets one it is ordered blinged out and they won't budge on the price which approaches diesel prices. If I remember correctly, you had to travel to Denver to purchase it preowned. The other issue I have with it is the 26g tank.

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Old 11-07-2015, 07:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
One of the most hilarious lines from the movie "Master and Commander" was when the doctor was asked to choose between two weevils which had been coaxed out of the sea biscuits by gently tapping them on the table prior to eating the bread. The doctor chose the larger, stronger one - and was reprimanded by the captain with the tongue in cheek advice that

"one must always choose the lesser of two weevils"

The truth is that as far as tow vehicles go, there are plenty of pretty darn great choices - probably more now than ever before. The biggest REAL difference for all of us is "what is your towing style, skill level, budget - and what ELSE do you need the tow vehicle to do?" I chose to upgrade to a 3/4 ton diesel with all of the bells and whistles because:
  • I probably have a max of 10 more years before I age out
  • I've had ONE other luxury vehicle in my whole life and I simply wanted all the bells and whistles this time.
  • I've been in one wreck in my life - with my 2nd Airstream - and walked away largely because I was in a big honkin' Silverado 3/4 ton diesel
  • have a 10 meter Avion - yep I am crazy - but not crazy enough to try to pull THAT thing one more time with an EcoBoost
  • I don't HAVE to "get by" with a half ton truck

Get the BEST tow vehicle you can afford for the safety of your family (and anyone else you might be able to avoid hurting by having an extra margin of engine braking, steering control, etc.) Live ... and let live.

These new gas engines are great, and my goodness gracious me, I am getting 18.8 mpg in the CITY with a 2013 diesel! The sun shines today on the towing world, let's enjoy it.

See you down the road. Paula
Yep !!! Nicely said, Paula.
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Old 11-07-2015, 01:19 PM   #14
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OP,

thank for the post. For my next TV, I am going diesel as I plan to keep it until I die or it dies. Have you tried going for mid grad fuel? When I bought my 2014 BMW GSA, it said premium fuel only. I said hell no! I've ridden all over with my GSA with 85 octane and it purrs with no issues.

I like GMCs but it is a rip off for the priced they are asking. While the price is not a real turn off, that box under the passenger drive on the diesels is what drives me nuts.

I am still searching but I am between RAM and GMC/Chev (same deal, different branding)
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:33 PM   #15
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I tow my 31' with a 2014 GMC Sierra v8 gas total weight of tv and AS just over 11000 lb this includes stuff needed otr . Weighed on CAT scale, get average 15.5 mpg. I'm happy with the way it handles when set on cruise it pulls most hills at highway speed, leaving for Louisiana end of Dec will have a better idea then.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:07 PM   #16
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@kelvin-
You're correct about my flying to Denver to get this truck. That said, just as I was about to get this truck, a local GMC dealer got two of them in stock. Ultimately, the Denver truck came in a few thousand lower and it had a few more options and it wasn't puke green or haze gray. 😊 One thing for sure, the big trailer tow mirrors are a must-have. I was amazed to see a number of 2500s on lots in my area without them. On 2014+ GM trucks, you cannot simply change out the smaller mirror and replace it with the big one. The small mirror uses 3 bolts; the big one 4. I thought the 26 gallon fuel tank would be a problem, but it really hasn't been so far. I usually fill after using about 21 gallons.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:54 PM   #17
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Tow mirrors were a high priority on my check list when researching a new tow vehicle. With an 8 1/2' Airstream behind me I find the lower wide angle mirrors a necessity to insure my trailer's tires miss obstacles as I make tighter turns while towing or backing into a spot while the upper larger mirrors provide good rear visibility around the trailer.

Kelvin
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:43 AM   #18
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we Just completed a 5,000 mile pull of our 30 Classic from Ottawa to Virginis , to Myrtle Beach and then on to Florida. Our 2015 6.2 Max Tow was awsome as I have reported in past posts. I set the cruse at 60 MPH and I get 11.4 MPG all day long. The hills of Penn and Va. were effortless. Very little excessive downshifting on grade, you just feel the engine coming into its power band. Yes I burn Premium gas but with the ever changing cost of gas relative to diesel, does it really matter! Over the life of the truck does is it a major cost?
Some items I really love are the following
Brake assist on the down grade. Fancy Gap hill all the way down at 60, never touched the brakes at all. Awsome system.
Wide mirrors are great but they also have high intensity lights built into them, along with the box rails, that light up your entire site at night and make back in set up a breeze.
In the final analysis, i pull a great trailer, use a great hitch system and an 100% satisfied with this truck. GM have a winner with the 6.2 max tow. You have to be 'happy' with your set up as well, whatever you end up with. So be "happy"
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:16 AM   #19
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Easy Fix

Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
The problem is finding one of these trucks. Typically, if a dealer gets one it is ordered blinged out and they won't budge on the price which approaches diesel prices. If I remember correctly, you had to travel to Denver to purchase it preowned. The other issue I have with it is the 26g tank.

Kelvin
There a couple companies out there that sell DOT approved aftermarket larger capacity replacement tanks. I went from a 26 gal to 45 gal on 2006 Chevy Silverado diesel. Purchased mine from Transfer-Flow in Chico CA. Now I have options of when to stop on a vacation, instead of having to plan my trip based upon the location of the next fuel station that sell diesel.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:11 AM   #20
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My issue is your payload of 1960 lbs. My '14 27FB Classic has an actual tongue weight of around 1,000 lbs. At 6.3 lbs per gallon, your full 26 gallon tank adds 164 lbs. My fat butt adds over 300 lbs and my wife...let's just say less than half that. That leaves you with 350# capacity for everything else you want to bring, minus the wight of any bed cover or tool boxes. I made the quantum leap to a 3500 SRW Ram Cummins Crew Cab 4x4, which gave me a payload of 4,460 and a GVW of 12,300. I thought this was more capacity than I would ever need. Last month I took a round trip from Mississippi to Vermont, and according to the CAT scales I had a combined GVW of 17,000 lbs - 5,000 on front axle (rated for 6k), 5,500 on rear (rated for 7.5k) and 6,500 on trailer axles. And that was not a full "cross-country" load, as I didn't bring generators or some other long-term tools and equipment. Plus, I am one of these nervous Nellies that never wants to be at the upper end of my vehicles capabilities. BTW, the 6.7L Cummins with the 6 spd manual cruises at 62mph at around 1600 rpm - the whole length of the Appalachians, averaging 14.6 mpg for the trip. My Ram is a 2015, so it has the DEF instead of the all of the pollution crap on the engine, which I believe helps. If your rig suits your needs - enjoy every minute and mile, I'm not trying to convert you. But, since our ultimate goal is to be on the road for months at a time as soon as I retire, I decided to go "heavy" (and fancy!) Lovin' it so far!

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