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Old 09-21-2011, 07:41 PM   #21
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Here's a few observation based on months of research before both my vehicle purchase and my travel trailer purchase.

Rig:
2011 Chevy Silverado + Salem 22RB-XL

1. People say 3.42 gears are garbage for towing. There are so many other components to it than just gear ratio. The 6 speed transmission is a completely different animal than the old 4's as well, so those who say the 5.3L w/ 4L80 sucks might have a different experience than the 6L80E with the 5.3L

2. Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge = People who are brand loyal are always going to detract from the benefits of the others, and talk up the points of theirs. We spend $30 - $60k on these trucks, we are going to be biased to the decision we made. Hell, we HOPE we made the right choice...

3. EcoBoost = Brilliant marketing move on Ford. Tow with it, there's nothing "eco" about it. That's the "boost" part you're enjoying, gas mileage will be the same as with a V8, but the turbos will provide additional torque @ lower RPMs. Guess what, Diesels have been doing this since the 70's...bout time us gas people get it!

4. The 6 speed transmissions typically run about 1600 - 1800 RPM in 6th, but you normally tow in 4th or 5th, which can be as good as ~ 2000 RPM @ 65MPH (my max towing speed). Look at torque curves and you'll see most are putting out around 300 - 400 ft lbs of torque at that RPM (I know my 5.3L is putting right around 300, the EcoBoost around 370 at that RPM). Does the Ford then pull better than the Chevy for this particular lineup? Yep.

But I don't care, my MPG is about the same, and coming from the Tacoma I had before, this 5.3L is a beast. The Ecoboost, Ford 5.0L, Tundra 5.7L, Dodge 5.7L will all beat out my truck, but then again I'm really getting 21 - 22 unloaded on the highway @ 68 - 72MPH. I'm not really sure if the other trucks are getting that, but then again, it really doesn't matter, this is the one I have so I am glad it's getting it.

This post isn't meant to be incendiary, or really show brand loyalty. I REALLY like the EcoBoosts, and if my friend didn't sell Chevy's, and my dad didn't manage that dealership, I might be driving one now.

However, Ford makes a great product, but I managed to score my Silverado (similarly equipped) for a LARGE discount due to GM $4505 + my friend owns the place).

It is what it is, but I'm pleased with my purchase, and I just wanted to clarify the people who trash the 3.42 6 Speed, comparing it to the 3.42 4 Speed.

Same with all the other big trucks, the 6 speed transmissions are a more significant upgrade than a larger engine at this point. All of these engines crank out plenty of power, but if that power is not utilized properly, it can't perform the duties I require.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:49 AM   #22
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I traded my 2007 for a 2011 Silverado. As the previous poster said, the towing performance is very different. The transmission seems like it has two gears beneath what the 4 spd had.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:43 PM   #23
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I know you guys don't want to here this but you should really look into the pre-egr diesels. I have an 05 and with all the toys hooked up I gross around 24,000# and get 10-11 MPG average. I get 16-18 with just the 4000# boat and 19/23 empty. You can buy them with good miles for around $25,000 and get 300'000+ miles out of them. You talk about pulling 8,000# up 7% grades and holding speed? I pulled my old TT (32'6" Jay Flight) for 3 years without the first WD or sway control and was getting 14 MPG. The greatest thing I liked was there was no downshifting. It makes for a way more pleasureable right and I was not nere as on edge as I was towing with my Chevy 6.0 4:10 that could never deside what gear it wanted. All I can say is find one and try it.
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:49 AM   #24
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I don't think anyone is going to argue the awesomeness of diesels here.

I think the trade off comes when you want a newer truck (post EGR), lots of tech, it's my daily driver and diesels are more expensive to buy, maintain, and currently, fuel.

I love diesels and would love to be driving around in a 2500HD right now, as I'm sure the MPG would be very close even after EGR regs to my 5.3L gas.

But considering I paid $30k for a brand new, leather, loaded tech, 100,000 mile warranty, daily driver - and lets not forget, the experience of being the first owner...which is what we pay a steep premium for many times, but everyone loves that feeling...

I'm just saying I can buy alot of Diesel for the $30 to $50k difference, and I'm just not wanting a used truck right now. For those reasons, I pay a premium for the gas @ $30k, but then again, it's just $30K.

I don't have much trouble in 5th on my 6 speed 5.3L pulling my TT, but it's light. I 100% agree Diesels are a superior torque generator, I just don't need it but maybe 5% of the time, and the other 95% is my on the highway doing 70MPH with nothing but people cargo.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:26 PM   #25
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I'm pulling a 8285WS with a 2011 Silverado, 5.3, 3.42, 6 speed, fully equipped for towing. My Gross Weight is 13,800lbs and I am at my max Vehicle Gross Weight of 6800 for the truck. For the Silverado, GVW for the two together is 15000lbs. I have added air bags and Bilstien HD shocks.

Given a gas motor has its best pulling power at 3000rpm or so, it shifts a lot in the tow haul mode, that is how it was designed to work. I just returned from a trip from Alabama to Maine and back to Alabama the long way which was a 5000 mile trip. I had no problems. And, I pulled many grades that where 8% or better with no problem. More importantly, I went down the other side with no problem also. If you can accept the fact that a gas motor and transmission will shift more that the diesel, your fine. I run 65mph normally and many times easily crept up to 70 until the Silverado governor, you know the one that sits in the passenger seat, said she didn't like 70mph. She tells me that in the car. I generally hang with the trucks.

You do have to pay attention to the way you load your 5th wheel. In my case I'm carefull about my pin weight since I am close to my truck GVW.

Look closely at the trailer/5th wheel size and ensure you don't go above the GVW of the two together and the GVW of your truck.

The Silverado, 5.3, with the 6 speed has come a long way for towing ability. If you got the money to spend on a diesel, by all means do so. I didn't and I'm glad for it.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:36 AM   #26
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Patrick,
Are you monitoring the Transmission temp? If not, I would suggest you do!! I was suprised when I put a Scan Gauge on my '03, 1500, 5.3, 3:73, gears, 5 speed, pulling a 27RBEC. Monitoring the transmission I discovered that the transmission was running hotter than I liked. Allowing the transmission to shift alot in the D postition with the tow haul mode on I noticed the transmission temp went up to 200 or so. If I controlled it manually (tow haul mode on) the transmission did not heat up as much. The shifting back and forth causes more heat. Having switched to the 2500HD with the 6.0 gasser, 3:73 gears and 6 speed is a world of difference.

FYI
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:57 AM   #27
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Everything I've read or heard (and most of what I've seen first hand) leans toward ford - cheaper to own/use and I'm sure reliability is in there somewhere.

My wife made me, so to speak, get an SUV. I've towed a lot of class 1 stuff in the past usually with lighter vehicles (small pickups, jeep wranglers, motorcycles towing small trailers, minivans, etc) and this is my first experience at pulling something big - 30' long, ~6300 lbs loaded, reese dual cam for sway/wd.

I live in western pa and we have hills- lots of them. My first trip was on the turnpike, holiday weekend, friday night, rain and construction...and with a truck I'd not pulled anything with I got used with 235,000 miles on it.

Piece of cake. No, really. No sway at all - be that from passing trucks or uneven pavement in construction zones. None at all. I got to 75 on one down hill stretch, passed slower vehicles even up hill on the turnpike (running 65-70mph). I was never short on power. And I"m sure with 235k on the motor it's got to be down on power from new. Mileage was around 9.5-10.

Are there better TVs out there? I"m sure there are. More wb, lower gearing, more power would all be beneficial for sure, but I dont' feel underpowered or overloaded (brake wise) at all. No shaking going on (in the rig or my nerves).

As for chevy vs ford...I know a number of chevy owners and they seem to have more powertrain issues than ford owners and get better gas mileage. I don't know many that tow a lot so don't have a lot to offer in comparison. My neighbor pulls a 28' TT with an early-mid 90s F350 diesel 'king' cab 4x4 without issues and he said a WD hitch made his rig squirrely (no clue on what or how he set it up) and another friend has a heavily modified dodge dually that he'll pull 20k with ...but that's abnormal and he admits it.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:38 PM   #28
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Thanks to all for your insights. Just picked up a new Surveyor SP240 (4k lbs. empty) yesterday with a Reese Dual Cam. Towing with an '01 Suburban 1500 5.3 with Power Flow muffler dual exhaust, K&N Cold Kit, and Jet Chip. Truck has a few miles at 170k but all it is sharp, tight, and solid. My first 25 miles of towing revealed a very easy pull with the trailer empty. Winds gusting over 40 mph. Big trip to IL, PA, OH coming up this fall. It will be a good test. Might want to upgrade to a 2500 with a 6.0 at some point. Or not, as mileage solo is good at 15 - 18, and get a couple more years out of the old gal. Thanks again.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:58 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowman53 View Post
Truck has a few miles at 170k but all it is sharp, tight, and solid. My first 25 miles of towing revealed a very easy pull with the trailer empty. Winds gusting over 40 mph. Big trip to IL, PA, OH coming up this fall. It will be a good test. Might want to upgrade to a 2500 with a 6.0 at some point. Or not, as mileage solo is good at 15 - 18, and get a couple more years out of the old gal. Thanks again.
See, typical of mileage on a chevy...similar vehicle to mine, 5.3 vs 5.4..I get 12 to 13 solo and might get 16 on a trip...no clue why fords are less efficient, fuel wise.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:12 PM   #30
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When I had my '03 1500 5.3 with 3:73 gears I got around 14 to 15 around town. Pulling my 27RBEC I got 11 to 13, depending on the wind.

Purchased the same truck except 2500HD '09, 6.0, 3:73 gears, 6 speed pulling the same trailer I get 7 to 9 MPG.

However, the 2500 is much nicer to pull with because of the heavier suspension and 6 speed. My transmission temps are lower and the truck doesn't struggle near as hard. Actually it doesn't struggle at all. After pulling the trailer for 8 hours with the 2500 I'm not near as tired. Wish I could get better mpg out of it though. That is my biggest complaint.
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