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Old 09-25-2014, 06:11 PM   #1
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2500 Suburban 8.1 Vortec Towing MPG

So I've decided I need more power to tow our 6500lb TT after our last trip. Had to stay in 3rd quite a bit and even 2nd more than I like in my 03 5.3 suburban.
after 1200 miles we avg 8.8mpg driving 60-62 from west Texas to Austin Tx. I've got a 2500 suburban that I've been eye balling for a few days now and trying to research some info but can't seem to find a comparable MPG claim.
The 2500 suburban is an 02 with the 8.1 vortec 2wd and 3.73 rear end. If it'll get me the same mpg towing I may get it. I realize unloaded is going to be significantly worse, but in a few months we will be full timing for a year.
So does anyone have any experience with this particular set up? 8.1 2wd 3.73?
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:48 PM   #2
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Can't say on that set up in particular, but a friend with an 04, 2500 4X4, 8.1 with 4:10 gear, was averaging 10mpg with a 7500lb 5er.
I'm thinking , the Allison 5 spd , will pick the towing MPG up, by using the engine torque to stay in a higher gear.
Although, I'm not a GM guy , I'm 99% certain that the Suburban, with 8.1, will have the Allison 1000 series behind it.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:46 PM   #3
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Unfortunately the suburban didn't get the Allison tranny. Something with clearance issues. Although I have seen people install them after a 3in body lift. I've seen some research saying the Allison may actually not change the MPG due to its shift points. It was a little unclear to me but oh well. The suburban I'm looking at has the 4L80E so it doesn't apply anyway lol. if I were to squeak 10 out towing my trailer that would be incredible.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:54 PM   #4
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I had an 03 fleetwood Southwind with the 8.1 and allison tranny. I would average about 6.5 to 7 mpg with it weighing about 20,000. I'm sure it's heavier and more wind drag than suburban towing a TT. However a big block gasser is gonna be hard pressed to get 10 mpg towing anything. I had an 08 chevy crew cab 2500 4x4 with the 6.0 liter v8 and with that truck it was hard pressed to get 10 mpg driving it empty.

Best of luck with your suburban. Take it easy and be safe and don't worry about the mpg just have fun while getting away.

Chad
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:57 PM   #5
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dcarver is right no allison in suburbans the 4l80 trans is good like a 400 with overdrive! should be a great setup for your trailer. Just for fun google the dura-burb! i want one so bad but they are very pricey !!! I am a gm guy and wish gm would put that duramax in a suburban even if they tuned it down i would buy 1 in a heartbeat!
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarver View Post
Unfortunately the suburban didn't get the Allison tranny. Something with clearance issues. Although I have seen people install them after a 3in body lift. I've seen some research saying the Allison may actually not change the MPG due to its shift points. It was a little unclear to me but oh well. The suburban I'm looking at has the 4L80E so it doesn't apply anyway lol. if I were to squeak 10 out towing my trailer that would be incredible.
in 2005 they did come with the allison if you wanted it in the 3/4 tons


OP you are looking at a 2002 make sure you have the update cam censor
and not the one they dont make any more

if its has the older and has not been updated then you would need to look in to that and can may talk him down on price

my 2005 3/4 suburban with the 4l80e all so with the 3.73 rear end
8 to 9 towing and 11 to 14 on giving where and how i was driving
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Old 09-26-2014, 12:38 AM   #7
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I have an '03 GMC Sierra 2500 HD 4X4 with the 8.1 and Allison. It's my 5th wheel puller and does double duty if one of our other vehicles goes down. It is replacing my daily driver 2000 Chevy 3500 with the 350 motor for the camping duty and the 8.1 is easily 15 MPH faster up the same hills I've pulled with the 350 foot to the floor and the 8.1 isn't really breaking a sweat. The MPG with the 8.1 is about the same as the 350 but the 8.1 seldom shifts out of overdrive and does about 1900 RPM at 65 with 265 75r 16's and 3.73 gearing. The 2000 350 has 4.10's and has to be kept in 3rd gear. Both these trucks are 4 wheel drive and I would expect your 2 wheel drive Suburban would get better than 9 while towing. Don't worry about that 4L80E, it's what I have in the 2000 350 and it's at 191,000 now without a hint of trouble.
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:21 AM   #8
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2003 Avalanche 2500.(Suburban chassis) Allison 5 speed with 4:10 gear. Towing our 6500 dry weight Wellcraft aft cabin boat gets 8 mpg. Plenty of power. My honest opinion is your going to be more happy with a 4:10 gearing than the 3:73.
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Old 09-27-2014, 04:03 PM   #9
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With an 2006 Burbank with 8.1 and 4:10 rear you will probably get 10mpg not towing and about 8. Something towing. I am not sure how much that changes with 3.73 rear....Towing 7k will not feel like much with that truck.
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Old 10-22-2014, 09:17 PM   #10
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Ended up getting the 02 Yukon xl 2500/ man its a beast unloaded! Maiden voyage is Friday and I can't wait to test this bad motha!
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Old 10-23-2014, 01:34 AM   #11
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dcarver

Congratulations on your new/used Yukon. Post a pic when you can.
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:03 PM   #12
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Well I didn't get to tow with it this weekend like I thought but I did get to drive it to Dallas and back. On the fill up leaving Lubbock I couldn't get the gauge to get to the full line. I even got to where gas was just coming out. My fuel light had been on and I could only get 26 gal in a 38 gal tank which I know was wrong. I guess the reader or whatever was stuck. When I filled up in Dallas before heading home I got 35 gal in and the fuel gauge went all the way to full so I guess that reader got knocked loose on those crappy Dallas streets. I filled up when I got back to Lubbock and the fill up went like the last and it pit me right at 14mpg. I'd say that's pretty dang good considering I had a 20mph headwind for 200 miles. And I was cruising at 70-75mph. It didn't even notice the 6% grades that made the old suburban kick down a gear. I'm pretty excited to tow with this beast!
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:12 AM   #13
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Those are great trucks. Enjoy!
Too bad they don't make them anymore.
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