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Old April 17th, 2010, 01:06 PM   #1
sodapop
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Default Smaller V8 Pickups (4.8 vs. 5.3 etc.) and tow rig questions

Okay, I'm in the market for a new to me tow rig to replace my 1999 tahoe (173K, 5.7L). I'm figuring I can spend somewhere in the 16-18 grand range with less than 80K on the ticker, years could be 2003ish on up. I'd like a 3/4 ton but they are fewer and farther between at that price. I'm willing to sacrifice creature comforts (like power locks and windows, carpet, but not A/C).

So I'm finding a lot of trucks in this range but most tend to be 1/2 tons (which is okay) but many a lot also have the lower engine option ie. Chevy's 4.8 vs. 5.3 vs. 6.0 or dodges 4.7 vs 5.7 or fords 4.6 vs. 5.4. has anyone on here had any good experience that can tell me how well the lower engines tow. I tow probably 1x per month and the loads vary. Pulling my jeep, I'd say the load easily tops 6K (trailer is 1800, jeep is close to 4, + gear) I also pull a very large pop up camper that weighs in at 3800 empty, so prolly about 4200 loaded.

Towing will generally be here in Michigan or the closely surrounding (flat) states. I will make an occasional trip across county into mountainous regions, maybe 1x per year.

I'm pleased with how my tahoe pulls, stopping could be better though. Both trailers have trailer brakes available (car haulers are electric, pop ups are hydraulic).

Questions:

How are these lower motors for pulling and durability?

What are your preferences Dodge vs. Ford vs. Chevy.?
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Old April 17th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #2
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i just pulled 4 bikes 5-600 lbs a piece down to tennessee from petoskey and back with an extended cab short box chevy with the 5.3 it did pretty good. idk how much more weight i woulda wanted to pull thru the mountains but i just bought mine with 85k on it for 10 even. has power everything cloth seats and it's the z71 package.

the heavy half ton chevy has the 6.0 in it and it is and they are 4 door. but if you are looking to spend almost 20k im sure you can find a nice diesel with out to many miles that would work a lot better
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Old April 17th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #3
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chevy 5.3 = win

ford = suck in general

dodge = shitty milage
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Old April 17th, 2010, 02:35 PM   #4
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I have some experience with a ~2000 chevy 1/2 ton w/5.3L auto and with a '98 F150 4.6L w/auto towing a light trailer + anywhere around 1500 lbs in bikes and quads. The engines are fine, its the trans and gearing that makes towing relatively crappy. If I had the choice I wouldnt want to tow anything heavier on a regular basis unless your ok with leaving the overdrive off, driving a little slow, and just plain staying away from anything resembling a mountain.

I have an F350 diesel now so my opinion might be a little bias towards a heavier truck to make towing less of a chore, but the trade off is my truck is my DD and can feel like a bit of a chore wheeling the bigass log-wagon riding thing around town all the time.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 02:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sodapop View Post

What are your preferences Dodge vs. Ford vs. Chevy.?
loaded question with nothing but opinion to back up any answer you will get...all are man made, all will break, all will have problems, all have good points and bad points.

for what you will be towing, and how often, I dont personally see too much of an issue...when you start towing in the mountains, that raises other concerns

whatever you get, upgrade the trans and steering cooling capabilities (towing in the mountains can overheat a trans in a hurry) and upgrade the brakes...my biggest concern would be if you have the torque needed to pull a load up the mountains, if the trans will overheat, and if the truck has enough weight to keep the trailor behind it going down the mountains...and make sure the trailor brakes are in good working condition
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Old April 17th, 2010, 03:20 PM   #6
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i bought my 06 chevy 2500HD for 16k. might wanna shop around some more before you buy. i couldn't be happier with mine. my mom has a 02 1500 with the 5.3 and it hauls pretty good. the trans definatly needs beefing up and something to keep it from downshifting would be good as well. i don't like revving 5000 up a long hill for 2 minutes straight.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yota Bill View Post
loaded question with nothing but opinion to back up any answer you will get...all are man made, all will break, all will have problems, all have good points and bad points.

for what you will be towing, and how often, I dont personally see too much of an issue...when you start towing in the mountains, that raises other concerns

whatever you get, upgrade the trans and steering cooling capabilities (towing in the mountains can overheat a trans in a hurry) and upgrade the brakes...my biggest concern would be if you have the torque needed to pull a load up the mountains, if the trans will overheat, and if the truck has enough weight to keep the trailor behind it going down the mountains...and make sure the trailor brakes are in good working condition
I hear ya on the loaded question but occasionally you get some decent responses, about things like mileage numbers, low end torque, trans gearing issues, that sort of thing. I can weed through the crappy answer and try to find the good ones which is why I asked it (full well knowing I might get some junk responses)

Otherwise, thanks for the ideas. The particular truck I'm looking at right now, is a 4.8L long long bed extended cab truck that has 60K on it and is for sell for $12. It's basically a bare bones truck with the addition of power locks and windows and cloth seats vs. vinyl.

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Originally Posted by Kodiak450r View Post
i bought my 06 chevy 2500HD for 16k. might wanna shop around some more before you buy. i couldn't be happier with mine. my mom has a 02 1500 with the 5.3 and it hauls pretty good. the trans definatly needs beefing up and something to keep it from downshifting would be good as well. i don't like revving 5000 up a long hill for 2 minutes straight.
I've seen a few 2500's in that ball park too and I have no problem waiting until the time is just right. I just started looking about a week ago and I figure that I'll be actually buying sometime between May and June. You've hit on my concerns too. My Tahoe has to hunt for the right gear sometimes too and I'd rather have something that's overkill for what I'm doing, The trucks are there, just A LOT fewer of them.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 04:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasheromalley View Post
I have some experience with a ~2000 chevy 1/2 ton w/5.3L auto and with a '98 F150 4.6L w/auto towing a light trailer + anywhere around 1500 lbs in bikes and quads. The engines are fine, its the trans and gearing that makes towing relatively crappy. If I had the choice I wouldnt want to tow anything heavier on a regular basis unless your ok with leaving the overdrive off, driving a little slow, and just plain staying away from anything resembling a mountain.

I have an F350 diesel now so my opinion might be a little bias towards a heavier truck to make towing less of a chore, but the trade off is my truck is my DD and can feel like a bit of a chore wheeling the bigass log-wagon riding thing around town all the time.
Thanks for the tranny info. I don't mind towing slow but the mountain thing will be an issue. This is going to be my DD too so while I'd love a 6.0 gasser, I'm concerned about everyday mileage. I love a diesel but I doubt I'll find one in my price range. I've seen a few but who knows...
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Old April 17th, 2010, 04:32 PM   #9
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I had a 2000 with the 5.3. OK and got by pulling the jeep but lots of trans hunting @ hwy speeds. My son in law has an 07 with a 5.3. Also pulls his jeep OK but he would like something with a little more power. I've had 2 trucks with a 6.0. They deffinitely pull better.

Bottom line, as a DD and occasional tow rig, either will work.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 06:55 PM   #10
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I've got a 2003 Chevy Ext cab shortbox with the 4.8 it pulls fine, as said the trans hunts or downshifts a lot on hills.

I'm not impressed with the mileage it works more even empty so it gets no better mileage than the 5.3. I get 15-16 empty about 10 pulling the YJ on the trailer.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 12:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
I had a 2000 with the 5.3. OK and got by pulling the jeep but lots of trans hunting @ hwy speeds. My son in law has an 07 with a 5.3. Also pulls his jeep OK but he would like something with a little more power. I've had 2 trucks with a 6.0. They deffinitely pull better.

Bottom line, as a DD and occasional tow rig, either will work.
I like the idea of a 6.0 and I've found a few, usually in a less optioned 2500 but that would be okay. I don't like the idea of a hunting tranny, it's not a good thing so maybe I'll just hold out until the right 6.0 comes along.

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Originally Posted by Nvrenuf View Post
I've got a 2003 Chevy Ext cab shortbox with the 4.8 it pulls fine, as said the trans hunts or downshifts a lot on hills.

I'm not impressed with the mileage it works more even empty so it gets no better mileage than the 5.3. I get 15-16 empty about 10 pulling the YJ on the trailer.

Thanks, this good info. I'm only getting about 12-13 in my current tahoe around town, so that actually sounds pretty decent to me
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Old April 18th, 2010, 12:36 AM   #12
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I can't give an experience opinion on towing with dodges or fords, but have spent a good amount of time behind the wheel of a chevy half ton with the 5.3 and 3/4 ton with the 6.0 with an aluminum v nose (2600#) loaded with a harley (700#) 2 utility quads (1200#) 2 dirtbikes (450#) plus about another 800# of misc. gear made for just under the 6000# gvwr with electric breaks on both axles.

The 5.3 made due, the hills would suck and would really fight to keep speed at 65. Overall it would get the job done and get good mileage in unloaded ~16mpg, loaded it would get about 12.

The 6.0 did great hauling plenty of passing power, going up hill it would drop a gear but had no problem keeping 70+. Unloaded the truck would get about 12-13mpg and usualy 10-11 hauling at 60-65, but 7 mpg doing 85 the entire way from wixom to Oscoda.

With a weight distributing hitch and sway bar there were really no handling issues. Brakes were better in the 3/4 ton, but still pretty decent in the 1/2 with the prodigy EBC.

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Old April 18th, 2010, 06:47 AM   #13
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I had a 2000 gmc sierra with 5.3, it was a good truck and got about 10mpg doing 55-60 with my old yj loaded on it. had good power and got roughly 15-16mpg around town and highway empty. Then got an 04 f-150 and that was a really good truck, the new 5.4 3 valves are nice and have lots of power. it got around the same as the Sierra got 15-16 empty, but loaded got way better 12 mpg doing the same 55-60. For Michigan any smaller v8 you will hate they don't have the power like the bigger ones. My brother had a silverado with there small v8. the thing was gutless, he ended up selling it 3 months after he got it because he hated it so much.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 12:27 PM   #14
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i actually found a 2500HD with a diesel and 6 speed manual for 17,800 awhile back when i was looking for mine. autotrader and truck trader are good places to look.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #15
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2002-...item2c54103bb3

that should tow anything you need it to.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2002-...item19bb72f58b

so would that.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 02:59 PM   #16
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id recomend the LQ4 6.0L for pulling, its a tq monster for a gasser and gets good mpg. Dads good friend just got his '09 silverado and pulls like a monster!

:naug hty:
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Old April 18th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #17
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id recomend the LQ4 6.0L for pulling, its a tq monster for a gasser and gets good mpg. Dads good friend just got his '09 silverado and pulls like a monster!

:naug hty:
Just an FYI, an '09 silverado isnt going to have an LQ9.

It is a 6.0L though. And it probably has the 6L90 so the first gear is significantly deeper than the earlier 4L80/85's that they had.

The 6.0L is going to make a big difference over the 5.3L but I'd stay away from the 4.8L. the only difference between the 4.8 and 5.3 are the stroke and the longer stroke gives you more torque which is the bottom line for towing. If you can afford them, a truck with the 6 speed rwd trans is hard to beat.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:01 PM   #18
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Just an FYI, an '09 silverado isnt going to have an LQ9.

It is a 6.0L though. And it probably has the 6L90 so the first gear is significantly deeper than the earlier 4L80/85's that they had.

The 6.0L is going to make a big difference over the 5.3L but I'd stay away from the 4.8L. the only difference between the 4.8 and 5.3 are the stroke and the longer stroke gives you more torque which is the bottom line for towing. If you can afford them, a truck with the 6 speed rwd trans is hard to beat.
well the OP was talking about older ones so i brought up the LQ4.........

the LQ9 is the later more HP/TQ model......i know this
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Old April 18th, 2010, 09:35 PM   #19
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I meant to put LQ4.... but they are the same vintage and the same engine except for the pistons, compression and the hp rating.

The '09 you are talking about is like a diesel compared to an LQ4 truck engine.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #20
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I just traded in my 06 fx4 and it towed ok but you could tell everything was behind you. I could tow the enclosed 4spot loaded back from the up and maintain 75-80 up the hills with no problem. That truck had a 5.4 with a 3.73. I could get 14 with a heavy tail wind empty.

I have only towed a 241 liberator once with the new truck but it was a world of difference. 6.0 6 speed auto with a 3.73. Right now I am at 10.5 average but the truck only has 300 miles on it.
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