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Old 09-18-2014, 02:45 PM   #1
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Silverado Tow vehicle

I'm tinkering with the thought of trading my F150 for a Chevy Silverado 1500. I know that a 2500 or better would be what's recommended but my budget will not allow that. Can any one give me any suggestions on engine size, transmission, and rear end ratio? My comfortable weight limit with the TT is 6000# loaded. I know there is additional weight for a loaded and wet truck. Just the best Chevy 1500 out there for pulling is what I'm asking.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:49 PM   #2
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I am currently using a Silverado 1500 and am towing a 26' Creekside weighing 6400 lbs empty. My truck is an extended cab (should have bought the crew cab) 4X4 Z71. It has the 5.3 V8 with 6 speed Allison automatic trans and .342 gears. I added a suspension leveling kit to the front struts and added a leaf spring to the rear. Did it myself in about 4 hours. So far I have been on 3 trips totaling 1700 miles. Towed from Mesa AZ through Globe AZ in 107F with 7% grade. No problems.
John
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:54 PM   #3
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You need to spend the money on a 3/4 ton or better to keep from ending up on the side of the hiway upside down.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by scopey58 View Post
I am currently using a Silverado 1500 and am towing a 26' Creekside weighing 6400 lbs empty. My truck is an extended cab (should have bought the crew cab) 4X4 Z71. It has the 5.3 V8 with 6 speed Allison automatic trans and .342 gears. I added a suspension leveling kit to the front struts and added a leaf spring to the rear. Did it myself in about 4 hours. So far I have been on 3 trips totaling 1700 miles. Towed from Mesa AZ through Globe AZ in 107F with 7% grade. No problems.
John

Thanks scopey58. I appreciate your response and sharing your experience. Unlike other forum members that must be illiterate and want to be smart a** when you ask a specific question about specific topic. Newbies be aware.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:50 PM   #5
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I just sold a 24 ft TT that weighed about 6000# and it was a good match for my 2007 Silverado 1500 classic. I have the 5.3L engine with 3.73 rear end and a 4L60 (4 speed) transmission. I generally locked out 4th gear and used tow/haul mode and the truck was a good match for the trailer. If you have the budget for a new truck with more gears (5 or 6 speed, maybe more available now?) the additional gears will pull it better than the older 4 speed transmission.
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:38 PM   #6
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You need to spend the money on a 3/4 ton or better to keep from ending up on the side of the hiway upside down.
What a clueless statement ....but not surprising.

As was mentioned the pre '08 1500 GM with a 5.3 engine 4L60e tranny with the 3.73 or a 4.10 axle ratio would be a good choice.
I use my wifes '06 1500 5.3 4x4 crew cab 3.73 axles 7000 GVWR 4000 RAWR pulling my blue tractor on a 10k car hauler into muddy work sites. I don't go out past 150-175 miles but her '06 is a stout little truck.

After '08/'09 the 1500 with the 5.3 uses the 6L80e tranny which doesn't have a 1:1 drive gear so the 3.42 gears works great.

The older '00-'06 1500HD has a 8600 GVWR with a 6084 RAWR and load range E tires 6.0 engine 4L80e tranny 3.73 or 7.10 gears with a 10k + tow rating and payloads over 3000 lbs. This is a very popular much sought after used 1500 truck.
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:06 AM   #7
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My last 1/2 ton setup was a 2000 model Silverado EC SB 2wd with the 5.3L, 4 spd auto and 3.73 axle ratio. I added a 40 gal aux. tank. Trailer had a GVWR of 6550 lbs. No reserve power, but the setup did fine even at 9000 ft altitude. I was close to the truck's GCWR. But my trailer was a fifth wheel and very stable. JIMNLIN has given plenty of good info but just for clarification if you are thinking used, the 1500HD is a true original 2500 series truck (just not 2500HD).
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:52 PM   #8
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Thanks scopey58. I appreciate your response and sharing your experience. Unlike other forum members that must be illiterate and want to be smart a** when you ask a specific question about specific topic. Newbies be aware.
Just to clarify scopy58 says his 1500 GM truck 5.3 engine came with a Allison transmission.
GM doesn't use the Allison in any of their 1/2 ton trucks. The Allison came behind the 8.1 gasser and the Dmax only. The little 5.3 would be over whelmed trying to run the Allison.

GMs 1/2 ton trucks came with the 4L60 4 speed with a single OD till '08 ?? and the current 6L80e 6 speed auto.
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:31 AM   #9
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I have seen lots of 1500s towing campers and it was a pitiful sight. Way underpowered, sagging rear. Was towing ahead of a friend coming back from Denver CO headed to SE Texas. We got into a head wind and he couldn't get past 45.
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:47 AM   #10
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I think that it depends a lot what you are doing...If you want to go across country, with big hills etc, you probably need more truck. If you do weekend camping in your local area, you should be fine. To say you are going to be upside down in the ditch is a bit silly. You have to realize the capabilities of your set up
I have an older Sierra 1500, it tows my 6000 lb 5th wheel fine, a bit sluggish on the hills, but I know that and can live with it. I must have an extra leaf in the rear as it hardly drops the rear at all when hooked up.
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:05 AM   #11
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Thanks scopey58. I appreciate your response and sharing your experience. Unlike other forum members that must be illiterate and want to be smart a** when you ask a specific question about specific topic. Newbies be aware.

Scopey is wrong. They dont put Allison transmissions in 1500s.

Spend the extra cash and get a 3/4 ton.
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Old 09-22-2014, 02:11 PM   #12
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If the max trailer weight is 6000 you should be OK with any GM with tow package or Z71 as they have tow package already. Or shop and find a gently used 2500. I did!
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Old 09-23-2014, 01:25 PM   #13
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Go to the GM website and download their towing guide and get the information straight from the horse's mouth so to speak. I know that for the GM 2500 trucks with a gas engine the towing capacity with the 4.10 rear end is 25% higher than it is for the exact same truck with the 3.73 gears and the 3.73 gears increase the towing capacity and rating as much as compared to the 3.42 gears.

For towing it pays to have the lowest gears possible so the engine spends more time in its peak power range and peak torque which with the GM V-8's depends upon the engine, the vehicle, and the year. It can vary from 2800 RPM to 3600 RPM depending. The lower gears makes for better capabilities to pull a grade and better acceleration when having to come up to speed to merge with freeway traffic.

When towing the MPG will be the same regardless of the rear end gearing as there is a certain amount of work that needs to be done to pull a given load at a given speed and work means burning fuel. Ford tends to gear its F-150 and other medium duty trucks too high and this helps with the CAFE numbers for the feds but they are not actually providing more fuel efficient trucks to their customers.


A separate question for any tow vehicle is whether in an emergency how quickly can it bring a 7,000 trailer load to a complete stop and whether it can stop the trailer even with a malfunction of the trailer brake controller or the trailer's brakes. Personally I would buy a used 2500 truck with the 4.10 gears if planning to frequently tow a trailer with a dry weight of 6,000 lbs. and the cost difference is trivial.


Towing capabilities have improved significantly over the past 5 years and the newest Silverado 1500 can be bought with a tow rating of 12,000 lbs. and would be more than adequate for your planned trailer. Just don't go for all the bells and whistles that can add $15,000 to the price of the truck. The base price of a 2015 Silverado 1500 pickup is $26,000 but I saw one on a dealer's lot a couple months ago that was loaded with do dads and had a price posted that was over $46,000.


That is $4,000 more than I paid for my very well equipped diesel powered Silverado 2500 truck to give a sense of how loaded up the 1500 truck was at the dealer. Some sucker will buy that truck and be paying it off for the next 6 years and by the time they are done they will have spent $60,000 for the use of a 1/2 ton pickup.
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Old 09-23-2014, 07:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JIMNLIN View Post

As was mentioned the pre '08 1500 GM with a 5.3 engine 4L60e tranny with the 3.73 or a 4.10 axle ratio would be a good choice.
I use my wifes '06 1500 5.3 4x4 crew cab 3.73 axles 7000 GVWR 4000 RAWR

After '08/'09 the 1500 with the 5.3 uses the 6L80e tranny which doesn't have a 1:1 drive gear so the 3.42 gears works great.

The older '00-'06 1500HD has a 8600 GVWR with a 6084 RAWR and load range E tires 6.0 engine 4L80e tranny 3.73 or 7.10 gears with a 10k + tow rating and payloads over 3000 lbs. This is a very popular much sought after used 1500 truck.
We pull our Winnebago Minnie Towable 2201DS with my BF's '08 Silverado 1500 crew V8, (2WD) 6800 GVWR granted only one trip so far but had plenty of strength to spare.

Made about 11 MPG too
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