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Old 09-04-2014, 02:39 PM   #1
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2500HD regular or Z71

I have been told that when getting a GM truck, the Z71 suspension package takes away some of the towing/trailing abilities. Any input on this?
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:07 PM   #2
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I think I recall reading that on the GM website myself during truck configuration. Go through their "create your own" truck quote tool
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:49 PM   #3
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I know it's true for the Suburban; pretty sure it's also true for the trucks. You also end up typically with some extra components like skidplates and such. One thing that jumps to my mind that might or might not matter in a tow vehicle is the Eaton locking axle instead of a positraction setup.

The upside of the Eaton is that it mechanically locks the axle so it functions like a spool; I can't imagine why, in a low traction event, that would be bad, but I thought I'd mention it.

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Old 09-05-2014, 06:59 AM   #4
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When building one online and choosing the Z71 suspension package, it says you must remove the handling/trailing suspension package. The whole reason for buying this truck is to tow. I have been to 4 dealers and none of them know this and all the trucks on their lots have the Z71 package. As for the locking differentials, this past weekend we went camping and I got to a steep hill where fresh sand/gravel mix was laid. I made 4 holes trying to get up it, backed down, got another run and made 4 more holes higher up. On the 3rd attempt I made it up. That was with my 05 2500HD, non Z71.
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:21 AM   #5
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I just went thru this when I ordered my new truck. I did not want or need the Z71 package for towing or driving only on paved roads. The only gravel roads it will ever see are in some of the rv parks we frequent. It depends on how you use the truck more than anything.

This adds nothing to the discussion but I have a friend who got a new 1500 last fall. He ordered it and had to have the Z71 package because his 08 had it. Has it ever, I mean ever, been off road? No, and it never will be. He likes the badge it wears. I have a feeling there are a lot of folks like him.

This is just me but if it were not for resale I would not want a 4X4. It does reduce towing capacity some and to a small degree, fuel mileage. In all my years of towing I can only think of one time I actually needed the four wheel drive. If I lived in an area where it was needed I would feel differently I'm sure.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:00 AM   #6
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Not to disagree, but the Eaton locker is for the Gas truck, 10 1/2" GM corporate 14bolt. All Duramax trucks get the AAM 11 1/2" 14 bolt, and it uses the G80 limited slip.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:24 AM   #7
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Don't know about the new GMs, but my 2004 1500's manual said towing and GVWR limits were the same for Z71 and tow package. Either package increased standard capacities - I think the rear springs were the same for both packages back then. My truck had both the Z71 package and towing package listed on the window sticker back in '04. I think the towing package gave you the 7 way plug and wiring for brake controller, and springs for non Z71 trucks.
Might be different today.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFlcamper View Post
Don't know about the new GMs, but my 2004 1500's manual said towing and GVWR limits were the same for Z71 and tow package. Either package increased standard capacities - I think the rear springs were the same for both packages back then. My truck had both the Z71 package and towing package listed on the window sticker back in '04. I think the towing package gave you the 7 way plug and wiring for brake controller, and springs for non Z71 trucks.
Might be different today.

I think you're right - the difference is more in what the marketing people call the packages. The only affect the Z71 package should have on towing is that the weight of the skid plates will reduce payload capacity by some small amount.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:21 PM   #9
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Not to disagree, but the Eaton locker is for the Gas truck, 10 1/2" GM corporate 14bolt. All Duramax trucks get the AAM 11 1/2" 14 bolt, and it uses the G80 limited slip.
Frank
Actually the G80 is a GM RPO code for the Eaton locking differential option on all GM rear axles.

I've owned many GM trucks over the years. I made sure they all had the G80 option . Great locking diff for a stock truck.
Now for serious off roading with large over size tires and high performance big block with a heavy foot operator, there are better locking diff's out here for those folks.

My son just bought a 2015 chevy 2500 with the Z71 option which has the Z82 trasilering option rolled in. Same for my wifes 1500 chevy crew cab Z71
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:32 AM   #10
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I may have not explained myself good enough. The towing capacity is the same whether Z71 or not. What I am questioning, is the squat on the truck. By choosing the Z71 suspension package, you must remove the handling/trailering package. So, it leads me to believe that the Z71 suspension could be softer or firmer. I am looking for the firmest suspension due to the toyhauler I pull. On my current truck, I added super springs to help the squatting. This helps without affecting the ride. Airbags tend to make the ride rougher when empty.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:12 AM   #11
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If z71 is 4x4 then yes the additional weight of the 4x4 takes away from the trailer weight. What does the GM towing specs tell you????????
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:36 AM   #12
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I know that the 4WD takes away from the towing capabilities. Truck for truck, 4WD for 4WD, Z71 package or trailering package. Both tow the same. I am only interested in which one will have the stiffest suspension when setting the 5th wheel on it. It seems like every dealer loves getting their trucks with the Z71 suspension. But when building one and choosing the Z71 suspension, it says you have to remove the trailering suspension. I've had both Z71 and non-Z71 trucks. I've never gave much thought to it until now since I am ordering a new one and my camper carries a 3k hitch load. My current truck is an 05 2500HD and I have added super springs to it for the hitch load.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jtall2671 View Post
When building one online and choosing the Z71 suspension package, it says you must remove the handling/trailing suspension package. The whole reason for buying this truck is to tow. I have been to 4 dealers and none of them know this and all the trucks on their lots have the Z71 package. As for the locking differentials, this past weekend we went camping and I got to a steep hill where fresh sand/gravel mix was laid. I made 4 holes trying to get up it, backed down, got another run and made 4 more holes higher up. On the 3rd attempt I made it up. That was with my 05 2500HD, non Z71.
I just went to GMCs site and tried building a truck. The Z-71 package includes the trailering package - including brake controller. Try the site again. You may have read it wrong.
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Old 09-07-2014, 08:18 PM   #14
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Chevy has a number for the tow suspension also for the non z71.. it just dosnt get a sticker on the outside of the truck.... its Z50 something.. yes z71 has towing camper option also,,and can tow of course.. the number is the suspension on the truck with a difference on setup with how the truck rides .

the z71 is off-road and the other is the trailing suspension.. seems like it makes it a easy choice... one thing you get with the z71 besides stickers on the truck is a skid plate for the oil pan... I think that is a nice option on any truck anyways

so When I got my truck (3500 SRW 2013) I got a truck that had the trailer suspension with camper wiring already included and a snow plow ready upgrade option... the selection of the plow option will give you an extra alternator if you have the diesel, second battery and that nice skid plate for the oil pan. an added bonus you also get a stronger front axel with a few hundred pounds extra front rating on your weight sticker.. the down side of the plow package in '13 and maybe your year could be the cab has a switch for a aftermarket roof stobe light that takes the place of a rear window switch...so the rear window isn't available if you want the plow package..(at least in a Chevy 3500 in 2013)

so to sum up you can get the tow suspension (the non z71) and have the oil plate protection if you look into the above . think paying for the plow option is worth a lot more than paying for the z71 and getting a sticker with only some of the stuff I post above and a suspension less designed for towing. .. good luck.
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