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Old 01-23-2022, 05:05 PM   #1
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2009 Chevy 4500 Durmax Shuttle Bus - can I tow a 30 ft boat

Good Evening

I viewed a number of posts regarding RV towing and would like to get your thoughts and recommendations.

I've been looking at 3/4 ton pick up trucks and came across a 2009 Chevy 4500 shuttle bus with a Duramax (basically a Kodak).

It has a 10 speed Allison transmitssion with rear end gear of 4:88, built in governor set at 70 mph.

I'd be pulling a 31 ft Formula which is roughly 12,000 lbs.

So tell me will this work or am I dreaming.....

Appreciate all your experience and thoughts on this one.

Best,

Jim
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Old 01-24-2022, 03:50 AM   #2
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The engine will be derated compared to the standard pick ups but still have plenty of grunt. Can you find specs for the bus? What wheelbase, weights, etc?
The boat will tow better than a square box like a trailer but could get squirrely behind a short bus.
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:39 AM   #3
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I'll bet its a 6 speed. I don't think any 10 speeds were in common use at that time. It might be an Allison 2000 which is a variant of the 1000 found in pickups, but with a lower first gear and more HD components.

With that low of a axle gearing I would think it would pull anything. Would make a good camper conversion if done right.

Charles
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Old 01-24-2022, 11:55 AM   #4
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My best guess with the little info given is it should be fine. To get proper advice, we'd need the GVWR, axle ratings and wheelbase of the shuttle bus. Generally, they should have plenty of payload, but builds can be very different and custom.

Tongue weight of the loaded boat trailer would be good info to have also.
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Old 01-24-2022, 09:02 PM   #5
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Depending on which 31' Formula boat the OP has it can actually be harder to pull than any rv trailer.
Formula shows type of 31' boats . If its a day cruiser type or a center console with the flying bridge with all the upper fishing rigs then it also will pull hard.
My son has a 23' Blue Water center console fisher with all the overhead bridge/fishing gear for deep water trolling.
He has a '19 2500 GMC Denali Dmax/A pulls it or his 34' 13000 gvw 5th wheel trailer.
The boat is the hardest to tow with any kind of side or head winds.

I would 'spect a 4500 shuttle bus would have a high gawrs for carrying a load of people and gear.
I doubt they come with a rear hitch option. I would use a pro steel fab/welding shop or a hitch shop that can do that type of work and have them fab up a heavy duty custom hitch using the main frame rails and cross members.

The van will have a gvwr/fawr/rawr sticker on the drivers side door post.
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Old 01-25-2022, 05:32 PM   #6
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allison 2000 or 2500 where rated for 25,000 lbs combine weight with a warrenty. My bet is you cant hurt that trans with 35,000lbs and a 350 HP motor that produces 650 ftlbs TQ.
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Old 01-27-2022, 04:15 AM   #7
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The standard engine in 4500 and 5500 models is an 8.1L gasoline V-8 that delivers 325 horsepower (242 kW) at 4000 rpm and 450 lb.-ft. (610 Nm) of torque at 2800 rpm. Available on both models is the Duramax 6.6L V-8 turbo-diesel. It was recently enhanced to deliver reduced emissions while taking advantage of the cleaner, federally mandated ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. The Duramax 6.6L is available in two horsepower and torque configurations:

300 horsepower (224 kW) at 3000 rpm and 520 lb.-ft. (705 Nm) at 1600 rpm

330 horsepower (246 kW) at 3000 rpm and 620 lb.-ft. (841 Nm) of torque at 1600 rpm
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Old 01-29-2022, 06:54 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a 10 speed. If it does it's a unicorn. Pretty much all Allison transmissions have been 5 or 6 speed for decades. The 10 speed has only been out about 2 or 3 years.
It's quite likely an Allison 1000 like is used in the pick-ups and motor homes built on the Kodiak chassis. These were limited to 26,000 GCWR. I've been looking for a Kodiak motor home to pull my boat. That chassis should have a 19,500 GVWR for a gas engine or 22,000 GVWR for a diesel. The GCWR is probably the 26,000. I'd bet empty it wouldn't weigh more than about 12,000 so you've go about a 14,000 pound tow rating. The trick will be finding the right hitch.
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