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Old 10-18-2021, 02:04 PM   #1
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Looking for used Duramax tow vehicle, advice!

We just sold our class A, and we are getting ready to buy a 5th wheel ( Max GVWR around 12-15K) and we want a Chevy or GMC Duramax to tow it.

What used years would you recommend and why? I have heard that 2006-2009? pre DEF might be good, but I could also go with near-new if needed. If I get a used truck, would you recommend that I get a good extended warranty?

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 10-18-2021, 02:34 PM   #2
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I had a 2004 with the LB7 in it and 6 speed manual. I could easily get 22 MPG (not towing with it). I really like that truck, but those are the years known for going though injectors frequently and not a simple or cheap job to do. I traded it in at 225k because it was the upkeep was costing me more than a new truck payment.......

Then there was the LLY, LBZ, LMM, LML, LGH and now L5P.

I now have a 2016 (purchased new) with the LGH and it has been great. It now has almost 70k miles on it. There was a significant increase in power, but my best milage is 19-20 mpg empty. The other nice feature about the newer trucks, especially for pulling is the exhaust braking. I will not get another pulling truck without it. The only problem I had was a bad "nut" in the steering box which is a semi common problem.

Ultimately you need to research each model year and find out what issues they had and then pick the one that works best for you.

I know the market is all out of wack right now, but when I bought my 2016 I was looking used. I was looking at truck 2-3 years old with ~50k miles on them. They wanted almost as much for a used truck as a new one. While I did have to look for a few months, I found and LTZ with the items I wanted and pay about $3000 more for a new truck vs used.

There are tons of threads on "extended warranties", I know enough people buy them that they stay in business, but I have never been able to seen a reason to buy one.
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Old 10-18-2021, 03:52 PM   #3
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I bought a 2015 2500HD LTZ used from a dealer last year. Other than the turbo having a problem on a trip 2500 miles from home its been pretty good to me. The variable geometry turbo can be a point of failure. Its the turbo itself but the oil system used to adjust the vanes.

As for extended warranty, I had one on this truck, the deal worked out to me an extra $8/mo once the discount for the warranty was applied (you know the magic BS the finance guy throws around), but they failed to cover this failure even though the turbo covered for internals. Apparently the VGT solenoid and related that goes from the outside to the inside of the turbo is not "internal".

But the truck drives great, pulls great, is comfy and overall very nice.
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:07 PM   #4
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Thanks for your advice, I am seeing prices of 2016 -2020 model years, 3/4 ton, for almost as much as a new one. And the new ones are hard to find, without paying a premium over sticker. Guess I have some research to do.
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:19 PM   #5
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It is just a bad time to buy a lot of big ticket items, and HD trucks are no exception. New or used you are going to pay a big premium over 18 months ago. I guess the real question is whether prices are going to calm down anytime soon or if this is the new normal and whether inflation is just going to make us all re-evaluate what "normal" prices are going forward.
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:40 PM   #6
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I've owned a '10 (2500), '13 (2500), '16 (2500), '19 (DRW), and '20 (DRW).

GM improved the ride quality and overall truck significantly in 2011. The '13 and '16 were very similar trucks, both were light years ahead of the '10 in terms of pretty much everything except the power train (which was marginally better). The engine got a lot more powerful in 2017 with the L5P. The '20 is just bonkers. The 10 speed, the ride quality, and all the bells and whistles in the 2020 and newer trucks are absolutely awesome.

All that said, 2011 and newer is where I would be focused on, depending on your budget and what is out there to buy.
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Old 10-18-2021, 07:28 PM   #7
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In 2011 trucks made a big leap forward with quiet interiors, more power, more nice features. They have been getting better since then. Every few years they have been improved with redesigned engines like Ford. Use Google and look at "Generations of Duramax" to see the improvements.

I veiw Ram, GM, Ford as being equal now. Before the newest trucks Ram and Ford I believe had better trucks. In 2020 GM really upped it's game. They really improved the cooling of their engines with a lager fan and better cooling plumbing in 2020. Also added a 10 speed transmission. 2020 trucks - Ford uses a 10 speed, GM uses a 10 speed Ram uses an 8 speed (I think).

If I was looking for a used truck I would not shy away from DEF. I say this because if you get a newer truck it will use DEF.

I would look at the latest redesigned trucks. This redesign is the last time the trucks got a redesigned frame and body. I would get the newest truck I could afford as new things have been done without a full redesign. Things like more power, more transmission speeds more safety features etc. Example - Ford built more more powerful diesel engines every few year since 2011.

They are:

2017 or newer Ford.
2019 or newer Ram.
2020 or newer GM.

If you open up to Ford or Ram you increase your chances of getting a truck in this market.
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Old 10-18-2021, 08:20 PM   #8
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I have always liked Chevy/Gm cars, but what about seat comfort on a long 8 hour drive? I am very tall and over 65 years old, and wonder if I would get tired of sitting that long as compared to a newer SUV?

I read that the newer Dodge has more comfortable seats, and a softer ride with the rear airbags added, when compared to the Chevy. But the chevy is more roomy side.
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Old 10-18-2021, 08:59 PM   #9
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The front seats in the GMC/Chevy HD Sierra trucks are basically the same seats that are in the GMC Yukon/Chevy Tahoe across the various trim levels.

Seats are generally personal. You need to sit in them and let your back and butt be the judge. I am a stocky 5'10" and like the GM seats in the higher trims. And I prefer the ride in the GM trucks to the Ford and Ram trucks I have been in, but, again, opinions vary. You need to try a few out and see for yourself.
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:24 PM   #10
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I drove my 2012 F-450 975 miles non stop from Columbus Ohio to Crystal River Florida with out any back ache. It had a lumbar support on the seat.

I also drove a 2011 F-150 the same route, again seat had lumbar support and no back ache.

Ford added massaging seats in upscale trim levels. I tried them in a Ford Raptor and though they would be good on a long trip. Something to use for 15 minutes every few hundred miles.

I also drove a 2011 Ram 3500 dually 550 miles without and back ache.

I think what helps is a lumbar support on the seat.

If you know the GM SUV seats are good it would be something I would stick with. I did read that the new GM truck did reposition the steering wheel to be more comfortable.

Fyi - I had a car for a short time that would give me a back ache.
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:00 PM   #11
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There's a class action lawsuit making its way through a court against GM for using a Bosch CP4 fuel injection pump on the LML Duramax engines. I won't go into the specifics. You can read about it here.

I had a 2014 GMC 2500 that I sold for a 2019 GMC 3500 L5P. I didn't experience a pump failure but heard it can cost $10-12K to fix.
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Old 10-19-2021, 06:48 AM   #12
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Prices are crazy, i have a 2018 GMC SLT that stickered at $71k plus and paid $56k new. I have had dealers offer as much as $50k and it has 80,xxx mi on it.
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Old 10-20-2021, 08:07 AM   #13
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Thatís amazing! I may have to order new. Whatís the main difference between GMC and Chevy anyway?

I am thinking about a GNC with the basic or middle trim level, or Chevy with similar. What things in a truck for towing a 5th wheel are must haves?

I donít want the top trim levels with all the electronica gadgets that I wonít use. just basic. ButIím not sure if I want leather or cloth seats. I do want heated seats and a heated steering wheel, maybe even Ventilated seats.

What do you think?
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Old 10-20-2021, 09:27 AM   #14
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GMC and Chevy are the same truck with slightly different trim. There is a slight premium on the GMC and the trim appointments are slightly nicer. As far as all the electronics you "won't use," I gotta say the new optional camera system is pretty bonkers and I use it every time I tow (and love it), but it comes in a pretty spendy package. My sister got a 1500 in the Chevy LT trim (middle of the pack-ish in the Chevy trim) with optional Leather and heated seats and it does everything she needs.
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