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Old 10-16-2014, 01:05 AM   #15
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I looked off and on for several years for a used Chevy/GMC HD 2500/3500 CrewCab 4x4 with an 8.1 and a 6 speed manual for a tow vehicle. Never found one anywhere with the 6.
Gary Gross truck and accessories in Lincoln Nebraska had a dually with an 8.1 and 6 speed manual a few months ago with around 42,000 miles on it. I think it was a fleet work truck because it had the rubber floor mat and spartan interior look to it.

You have to look but there are a few 8.1 out there with low mileage. I seen an '07 (what it was advertised to be) crew cab with an 8.1 with 32,000 miles and they wanted $23,995 for it. Not bad really if you ever look at NEW truck prices... Look up Origin Engines sometime, they have an 8.0 and a 10.3L natural gas motors and the 10.3 makes 630 ft. lbs. of torque at 1800 rpm. That would be great motorhome rig with natural gas. They claim that cost wise they are cheaper to own and run than diesels in industrial applications. I think I seen where Freightliner was using them also in their medium duty trucks. I wish Chevy would have held onto the 8.1's and improved them, mine works great for what I need it for and it pulls very good at 2000 rpm.
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:47 AM   #16
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I just bought an 02 Yukon xl with the 8.1 3.73s and 4LE85. All I can say is holy crap it hauls some major butt!. I'll be hooking up our 35ft 6500lb TT next weekend for a 700 mile round trip. If you can stand to wait that long I'll report back.
Just watch your speed... Those Big Block Chebbies love to consume oil at speeds over 65mph.. Not too bad though, about a quart to a thousand miles. If I kept to 65 and below it consumed very little oil.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:34 PM   #17
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Mine uses about a quart between oil changes is all.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:59 PM   #18
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Okay Thank's.
Why they using the oil do you think?
Any paticular year that has theoil issue?
Which gear ratio is better for towing mileage 3:73, or the 4:10?
I've found, on the net, a 2005, with 161,000 mi. for
$18,999 the LT model. Any thought's on it?
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:06 PM   #19
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Okay Thank's.
Why they using the oil do you think?
Any paticular year that has theoil issue?
Which gear ratio is better for towing mileage 3:73, or the 4:10?
I've found, on the net, a 2005, with 161,000 mi. for
$18,999 the LT model. Any thought's on it?
As with any vehicle, the 8.1's have a few issues and one is the oil cooler lines will start leaking and mine are a little and is where of some of my oil loss is I'm sure. I think the 3.73 are a good ratio for hauling/commuting but for hauling I'd go for 4.10's. The oil cooler lines aren't expensive and I'll probably change mine out next spring to get the camping season started.

If I'd do it all over again, I'd find the newest ('06 or '07) with the 6 speed with the least miles and I'd pay what ever they wanted for it.
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:20 AM   #20
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I've never owned a big block chevy that didn't use "some" oil when it was being pushed to work hard. I just roll in the cost of the oil as part of the fuel bill. It's not so much (even at its worse) that you ever saw oil smoke or smelled it. I always used either 10w30 or 15w40 Mobil1 synthetic. It never leaked a drop on me to be honest. It was going out the tailpipe. Since the truck always ran like a fine Swiss watch, I did not feel compelled to do anything to potentially jeopardize that.
Not sure if that is a good price or not for that truck. I would check with NADA.com or KBB.com those miles may be pretty high if the truck was used for pulling or carrying heavy all the time.
My truck (last one was the Avalanche) had the 3.73 gears. It was great. The truck before that was a CC Dually with 4.10 gears. The dually was always a pig on gas and would rarely get over 12 MPG bobtailling it.. And i recall it was 7 MPG pulling the 10k racecar trailer.
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:21 AM   #21
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I don't know about the rest of you, but L.C. Gray's mug shot of Nick Nolte during one of his numerous bouts with the law is hilarious! I remember the news story years ago on that! Anyway, the 8.1 will give you a great tow vehicle with much less maintenance cost over deisel. I hear a lot about gas mileage on this forum and I know that 1 mi./gal. can save a lot over time, but in the end, do we really care when in a towing situation? I think I would go with the Allison over a manual 6 speed. After my employees baked the clutches on my trucking fleet, we started replacing the trucks for ones with Allisons. Now they just put it in "D" dummy and go.If you are really concerned about gas mi. put a blower on it, that will really make it smoke!
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:41 AM   #22
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I have a 2005 2500 Silverado LT crew cab long bed with the 8.1 and the 5 speed Allison transmission with around 140,000 miles on it now. Before that I had a 2000 3500 Chevy cc lb with the 454. Night and day! LOVE the 8.1 and Allison combo!!!! VERY reliable. Very durable. I pull a 36 foot fifth wheel no problem. I haven't noticed oil usage, but I read that using about a quart between oil changes is normal for this engine. Not a problem or issue if you check your oil level regularly. I get 13.5 mpg unloaded. I get about 7 mpg towing the fiver. Has close to same tow ratings as the Duramax for my model/year for much less in purchase price, AND I can almost replace the entire engine for the price it would cost to have a new set of injectors on a diesel.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:15 PM   #23
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I have a 2005 2500 Silverado LT crew cab long bed with the 8.1 and the 5 speed Allison transmission with around 140,000 miles on it now. Before that I had a 2000 3500 Chevy cc lb with the 454. Night and day! LOVE the 8.1 and Allison combo!!!! VERY reliable. Very durable. I pull a 36 foot fifth wheel no problem. I haven't noticed oil usage, but I read that using about a quart between oil changes is normal for this engine. Not a problem or issue if you check your oil level regularly. I get 13.5 mpg unloaded. I get about 7 mpg towing the fiver. Has close to same tow ratings as the Duramax for my model/year for much less in purchase price, AND I can almost replace the entire engine for the price it would cost to have a new set of injectors on a diesel.


What gear ratio in the 05?
Any idea which digit or number in the VIN code designstes the tranny?
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:57 AM   #24
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8.1

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What gear ratio in the 05?
Any idea which digit or number in the VIN code designstes the tranny?
I have the 3.73.

No idea which digit in the VIN tells you about the tranny. Chevy stopped making the 8.1 in 2007. As mentioned earlier, it was 2006 and 2007 model years that they had the 6 speed Allisons. If you are looking at a 2001-2005 and wondering if it has the 5 speed Allison, a quick look underneath will tell you. The Allison has a spin on filter (looks just like a little spin on oil filter).

I hope that helps.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:11 AM   #25
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All of the trucks had the Allison tranny and it went from a 5 to 6spd in 2006. The suburbans and yukon XLs all had the 4L85E with the 8.1
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:23 AM   #26
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I have a 2001 8.1, 4WD, 4:11's The gearing is a HUGE difference.

I've pulled open trailers with cars (~4Klb), 25 ft toy haulers (~8K lbs), and a 18ft flat-nosed box (~5K lbs), and a 15,000 lb boat.

it is a pulling monster on grades. Actually had a friend with a duramax chip his ride because he couldn't keep up with me. But with my combo, you really pay for it in gas.

I average 8-9 around town, 10-11 unloaded on the highway, and about 7 towing just about anything. Hills will drop it to 6, and out here in the summer, when the fan engages, you'll drop another one. I actually ran out of gas outside of death valley once because of that, so if I'm summer time towing in Utah or Nevada I'll carry a couple of jugs in the back.

I have the oil consumption problem but it's totally random. Every couple of years it will suck down 2 quarts in a thousand miles or so. A couple months back I had a 300 mile tow through mountains and into a pretty stiff headwind, and it was 2 quarts in 350 miles. I've had every fix done to it under warranty that I could, but it's so random you can't figure out what conditions are causing the problem. That last occasion was the only time in 15 years that it could be correlated to towing, but other times it hasn't.

A friend down the street has the dually with 2WD and the 3:73s, and a shell on the bed, and he can get 16 on the highway.
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:11 PM   #27
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A friend down the street has the dually with 2WD and the 3:73s, and a shell on the bed, and he can get 16 on the highway.
Hard for me to believe a dually will get 16 at anytime. Does he have the zf6 spd and drive downhill both ways with a tailwind and drive 60mph?lol. Best I've done is 14mpg at 70mph in my 02 Yukon xl 2wd 3.73. Its really tough here in Texas to not drive the 80mph speed limit lol
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