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Old 07-18-2004, 07:15 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle input

Ok. I've been thinking about a new truck for a few years now. I have, as any good German would....look at every mechanical aspect and use the overkill Tim Allen method of getting the truck.

In my great wisdom, I thought of everything I may ever need HP and tow wise thinking of any future Airstream upgrade, except the fact that I might have a few kids running around some day soon (there I said it). WHEW!

Anyway, I had been looking at the Duramax/Allison combo quad cab pickup very seriously. Many folks have spoken volumes to me about how much the engine costs and the payback that may never materialize.

I am starting to agree after running some numbers. Those same folks and other folks also who have great exp with the 6.0L told me with a 4L80E, it's a fairly bulletproof combo. Only thing again, is even the 6.0L in the quad cab GMC or Chevy pickup is not practical with 2 or 3 rug rats.

So, I found that GMC and Chevy offer the 6.0L with the 4L80E, trans temp gauge, and all the goodies the pickups have in the 3/4 ton Suburban. Plus it has a DVD player for the terminal "are we there yet" moments for kids and a sunroof, which I love along with 4x4, skidplates, etc.

So the question is two fold. Is there anyone out there that has this setup? Are there any comments from folks about the 6.0L 4L80E combo in a Suburban vs. a 3/4 ton Chevy pickup. Not interested in Ford or Dodge, sorry, good trucks too, but I'm a GM man through and though.

Anyone think I need to be considering the 496ci 8.1L engine instead? I was thinking that the 8.1L did not have that much of a power increase, but most likely a larger fuel thirst.
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Old 07-18-2004, 07:32 PM   #2
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If you run the numbers you will find that no new truck ever makes sense over buying used. Or seldom does, anyway. Numbers aren't everything.

But deisels make little financial sense unless driven a considerable number of mile each year. On the other hand, there is much to be said for the power, the operating economy, the power, the five speed Allison, the power, and one should not forget the power.

On another note, Dodge makes a quad cab. GM and Ford have a choice of extended cabs and crew cabs. The extended cab is smaller and the crew cab is larger than a quad cab.

After all that, I didn't even get to your question.

Mark
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Old 07-18-2004, 07:55 PM   #3
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I am looking in to getting the Chevey 2500 HD Duramax extended cab with a short bed. I really like this truck and hope to have it by fall.

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Old 07-18-2004, 08:23 PM   #4
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Yea, I hear ya on the power bit. The fact is that if they had the D/A in a 3/4 ton burban, I'd plunk down the $$ for it, but they don't and it's either a 6.0L or the 8.1L with the 4L80E. Anyone out there have a 4 door pickup with 2-3 kids? Dog too and gear?

As for new vs. used, I understand the new vs. used concept. I'm going new on this one though.
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:32 PM   #5
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Twink,
If you are worried about space for a family, try the van with the diesel......
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:44 PM   #6
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I've been towing boats & trailers for over 20 years. From full-sized American V-8 cars to various vans & pick-ups (nothing more than a 1/2 ton pick-up with air-bag assisted rear suspension).

Recently retired, & with a lot of RVing done & planned, we bought a 3/4 ton (Ford crew cab) pick-up with the 7.3l diesel. The interior is very spacious. BUT...the best part is is the POWER & CONTROL this tow vehicle gives us. Nothing I've owned as a tow vehicle before has even been close. All 3...(Ford, GM, & Dodge) make EXCELLENT 3/4 & 1 ton diesels. [Please don't get 'religious' with me on this, it's only my opinion!] These newer diesels are also much quiter than ever. Ford used to have the diesel & 3/4 ton suspension available in the Excursion, but I'm not sure if it's still in production. Sooner or later GM has to put the Duramax in a Suburban! IMHO, the H2 is NOT...NOT a good tow vehicle.

'Numbers' were not our main concern, reliability & safety were. At this time, IMHO, I'm convinced that a 3/4 ton or more with a diesel is the best tow vehicle for any trailer 5K lbs. or more.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:14 PM   #7
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I have the 04 3/4 ton Suburban with the 6.0 and 3.73 rear. I can't say enough good things about it. Of course my previous TV was a Safari van so the Burb is a giant step up. I pull a 21' Soverign, about 5000 lb wet, and hardly know its there. With the added weight of your rig you should consider a 4.10 rear end. That would get you a 9600 lb tow rating.

One goodie that you didn't mention that I have and that adds so much to the pleasure of driving that vehicle is Quadrasteer. It makes it feel like your driving a small car. Parking lot manuevering is no different than in my little Saturn. And hitching is a breeze. The main reason I got it though is the added safety it offers when towing. After towing 20,000 plus uneventful miles with the Safari I had to make an emergency lane change and I was shocked at the whipping forces that trailer put on the van and almost caused me to lose control. Hence the Suburban with Quadrasteer.

One other thing, the Quadrasteer requires the Autoride option. But that's a good thing. I believe those computer controlled shocks also contribute significantly to the great ride and handling. While you'll never confuse it with a sports car the Burb handles the twisties amazingly well with a minimum of lean and dive.

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Old 07-18-2004, 09:18 PM   #8
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Well, although I apprec all the comments so far, I'm not really looking for opinions here, I'm looking for some real world use info. I know th diesels are stronger. I also know that Ford for comparision offers a 6.0L diesel in the Extrusion.

What I am specifically looking for are folks on the forum that use the 6.0L and 4L80E in a 3/4 ton Suburban w/4.10 gears. I am looking to see if it works as well as the folks that have that drivetrain in the 3/4 ton Silverados. In the Silverado, the 6.0L/4L80E is a solid team. Just wondering with the added weight of the back of a Suburban if it's still as rock solid.

At the same time, I'm looking for folks that have extended cab and crew cab type pickups. I am specifically looking at how these folks are using these to go on trips with 2-3 kids, if any are doing that. What I have found so far is that the extended/crew cab type pickups are being used by couples without kids which is fine. My gut tells me that although they are great trucks, they are not as "family" focused as possilby a Suburban might be with the enclosed back end.

So again, I appreciate the opinions here, but I am more looking for fact based on use to the questions above.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:18 PM   #9
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Some other things to think about is, center of gravity height ( roll overs are a very bad thing ), and how far back the rear wheels are( farther back is better ). Also the newer model Vans, Pickups and SUVs have a higher weight towing capability. The Suburban is a very popular tow vehicle, and suitable for hauling around a more precious cargo ( children ). Vans and Pickups have been getting bad press in roll over stability tests. Sorry that this did not
address your questions exactly . But my facts are that safety is on the
top of the list.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:21 PM   #10
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Charlie,

That was exactly what I was looking for in regard to the 6.0L 3/4 ton Suburban.

In looking at the site, I was interested in Quadrasteer, but they only offer it under certain conditions. Color, no sunroof, and a few other things (besides only 3/4 ton). When you bought yours with Quadrasteer were they as structured, even down to the color when you bought yours or did you pick it up off the lot?

Thanks again for the input.

Eric
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave
Some other things to think about is, center of gravity height ( roll overs are a very bad thing ), and how far back the rear wheels are( farther back is better ). Also the newer model Vans, Pickups and SUVs have a higher weight towing capability. The Suburban is a very popular tow vehicle, and suitable for hauling around a more precious cargo ( children ).
Agreed. Anyone have any info on hauling kids around in a crew cab or extended cab pickup?
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:50 PM   #12
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Silvertwinkie,

My tow is a 2003 Sierra,2500hd, 4x4 6.0, 4.10.

My WBCCI friend has the 2003 Sub, 2500, 6.0. (don't know rearend)
I followed him a few hundred miles this summer. He pulls a 34' airstream and it tows just as good as mine with a 29'. He tracks just as rock solid as it can be and no Hensley.

I don't know what GM is doing on suspension but, with weight distribution, Reese, he is as level and steady as you can be. And, his ride is so much softer than mine plus when we go out to eat, guess which one will hold eight people.

I can haul a little more junk but, not much with the back seats down.

My 2500 truck will tire you out after 350 miles on some of the lousy roads in this country.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:54 PM   #13
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Good input...thanks wingfoot1!

Is your 2500 a standard cab, extended or crew? If it's extended or crew do you haul 2-3 kids? If not what do you think about hauling kids in a 2500 crew or extended 2500 pickup?
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Old 07-18-2004, 10:14 PM   #14
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Eric

You're right, there seems to be a lot of conditions tied to the Quadrasteer option. You cant have a sunroof, why I don't know, and you can't have cargo doors. I thought I needed the cargo doors but after getting the liftgate I found there is no interference with an attached trailer and its much nicer to have the one-peice glass with wipers.

What I did was design the vehicle I wanted on the GM website and then checked dealer inventory on the web until I found a unit that matched my specs. I looked at over 30 GMC and Chevy dealers in an ever widening circle and finally found exactly what I wanted about 40 mi away. I zipped down there and drove away with it. One thing I should mention, I had the GM employee discount (retired Hughes Aircraft) so I didn't have to worry about haggeling or price shopping.

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Old 07-18-2004, 10:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Good input...thanks wingfoot1!

Is your 2500 a standard cab, extended or crew? If it's extended or crew do you haul 2-3 kids? If not what do you think about hauling kids in a 2500 crew or extended 2500 pickup?
Mine is extended. My kids are 31 & 35. I think kids would do fine up to about 15 years old. But, I would say it is a 200-250 mile seat for small people only. I have had three men in back seat for 100 miles with no complaints? Maybe they were being polite or free ride?

Also, crews with long beds are a pain to park. When we go to a restaurant, they are nice for people space but, big to park.
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Old 07-18-2004, 10:39 PM   #16
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Thanks Charlie and Wingfoot1. I appreciate the input.
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:59 AM   #17
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I tow with a 1/2 ton GMC PU with extended cab and 5.7 Vortex motor. I have a 7 year old and this combination works fine for me. Tow capacity is 7500 lbs and I have it beefed a little also. The 1/2 ton will work fine in our applications and its advantage is that it will get better fuel milage that the 3/4 tons will. I get around 21 MPG around here in local use and get around 16 MPG when towing.

If you have a few kids or if they are older kids you might be better off with a Suburban because it really has tons more room. If you go that route you may want to go with a 3/4 ton for higher towing capacity, but stay away from the 4 wheel drive option. That will burn more gas. People argue back and forth on that because of having free wheeling hubs, but the engine still turns the transfer case for the 4 wheel drive and it eats more gas. At least all the folks I know with them say so.

I have a friend with a new Dodge and it is for sale right now. Has like 30K on it. Reason, less than 10 mpg when pulling the trailer and only 14 without a trailer.

Just some more data from another GM Man.................
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Old 07-19-2004, 10:57 AM   #18
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eric

you know where i stand on this issue, having had nothing but pickups all my adult life!

thinking back, i have only owned two cars!

the suburban will provide a more car like ride. however, my extended cab four door silverado will seat 5 adults comfortably. they made the cab larger in '99 and the rear seat better. havent had any complaints so far.

as for the 4 wheel drive, get it. you will be glad you did even if you only use it once or twice a year. sure beats asking for help and the tow strap!

i know you are car guy, and don't want to look like a farmer driving around in chi town. but give the pick up truck idea some thought!

add a nice truck topper and you have a good place for the pooches and all the other "stuff".
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Old 07-19-2004, 11:13 AM   #19
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Thanks for the info guys. It really helps.
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:16 PM   #20
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You know how I feel about trucks as well. Some thoughts...

Think about where you're gonna put those two Honda EU2000s, and the gas cans for them, in a Suburban (or the safer trailer interior).

I know you can put bicycle racks up high on the Suburban, and maybe carry the greasy BBQ grill and/or nasty tote tank between two bikes up on a roof rack, but I'd rather carry 3-4 bikes on top of a hard truck bed tonneau cover, and the grill and tote tank under it... with the generators. Not as far to lift things.

At 8600 lbs GVWR, the 2500 Suburban is more equivalent to a 1500HD than a 2500HD. Does it have full-floating axles?

The Suburban has quite a bit of overhang for its 130" wheelbase when thinking about stability. Admittedly, it would be a little easier to manuveur in parking lots than a crew cab/short bed.

With the 60/40 front bench seat, my extended cab can carry 4 adults and 2 children, 2 men in the front and 2 ladies in the rear, but those in the rear wouldn't be as comfortable after about an hour as they would with a crew cab. With 2 adults, 3 kids, and a dog, in a crew cab, I'd definitely split the kids up, with one in the front middle, and the dog in the rear middle seats. You can make a PVC frame that sits on the seat, but has legs that go to the floor behind the front seat. The dog can lay down on that between the two kids.

4WD is priceless if you're ever on dew-laden grass, or in gravel, where it helps keep the rear tires from spinning

While I prefer diesel, if I couldn't have that, I'd rather have the 8.1L that hits 440 ft-lbs peak torque at 3200 rpm rather than the 6.0L with 365 ft-lbs at 4000 rpm.
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