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  1. #1

    Default How can I get more Low end power?

    Hey guys, I have a 1999 (gotta buy parts for a 2000) GMC sierra 1500 with the 5.3L. Its nothing fancy, just a 3 inch body lift, 295/75/16 BF goodrich all terains and a little chrome here and there. The motor is completely stock except for a cold air I put on last summer which was a joke. Id like to get a little more low end power so i can Climb these West Virginia mountains a little quicker. Id say I need the power between 1500-3000RPM. I heard about guys putting a z06 cam out of a 'vette in their 5.3s and getting about 30 more horses in that RPM range but I'm still wet behind the ears when it comes to working on the inside of a motor. My dad is a mechanic and knows how to do just about anything but he dont know a lot about performance stuff. Thats why I'm here. What can I do to bring that puppy to life without spending my life savings and without hurting my MPGs too awful bad? One more thing, no headers, Ive never had any luck with them. They always leak no matter what their on or who installed them. Thanks for any and all information -Shane

  2. #2


    I'm also interested in this. Hope we find the answer.
    2002 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 z71 1985 Chevrolet Silverado k10 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 2500hd 6.6l LLY Duramax
    6.5" BDS Suspension Lift Edelbrock Carb & Polished Intake Manifold & Valve Covers NAPC Race Transmission & NAPC Built Transfer Case
    EFI Live Comp Cam and Valvetrain Snow Performance Methanol Injection
    35" Toyo Open Country Mud Terrain on 18" Ion Alloy 179's Headman Long Tube Headers and True Dual Exhaust FASS 150gph Titanium Series Pump
    AirAid Cold Air Intake with K&N Dry Filter & AirAid PowerAid Throttle Body Spacer 2" Suspension Lift 33x12.50r15 Tires EFI Live & AFE Stage 2 Intake
    Pacesetter Long Tube Headers with Cats Gone True Dual Exhaust FlowPro 3.73 Gears Yukon Grizzly Locker with Mag-Hytec Cover & Traction Bars
    NGK Iridium Tips & MSD Ignition Plug Wires Baja Spare Tire Holder 33x13.5 Hankook rt03 18" XD Rims
    Innovate LC-1 Wideband o2 Sensor x2 HID's all around LED taillights and 3rd brake light
    BDS Dual Steering Stabilizers Pioneer Double-DIN Touchscreen Navigation with Two 10" Subs under rear seat
    Electric Fan Autometer Pressure, Boost, and Pyro Gauges
    4.56 Gears Airlift Air Bag Suspension

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    River Ridge Louisiana-4 miles W of New Orleans-didn't flood-water stopped 800 yards away.


    This is pretty much what everyone wants- more power where you actually use it.

    I'm old, and spent waaaay to much time thinking about and spending money on trying to get what you want in cars and motorcycles.

    The answer is-
    1) None of those incremental mods-CAI, headers add enough midrange power to actually feel-
    The OEM engineers know their business- it is tough to improve much on their midrange.

    2)Nitrous Oxide will do the trick-cheap-add maybe 30% in the midrange-Better be careful-increased low range torque is harder on the drivetrain that increased high end hp. Cheap-under $1000-don't get carried away-break your motor. A 75 hp "shot" usually means about 4-50 real HP.

    3) Turbo chargers-super chargers-work-better at higher end power, but if you get a correct sized turbo- it will work.
    Expensive-$5000 or so

    4)Various chips-or add ons to ECU- worth something-reasonably safe-reasonably cheap-lots of lying claims about what you can get-diesels get huge gains, spark motors much less-maybe 10-30 hp.

    5) GM makes a HP drop in 5.3-about $3600 delivered - hotter cam, moly coated pistons- 325 hp or so-
    Really a bargain relative to stuff that doesn't really work-it will be higher rev hp of course-not low end torque

    Save your money or get nitrous oxide-lotta bang for the $$

    1998 suburban-
    1/2 ton

    199500 miles

  4. #4
    Jr. Mechanic
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Ortonville MI


    I would personally regear. What are the stock gears that are in your truck right now?

    07 NBS Crew cab SLT 4x4

  5. #5

    Cool how can i get more low end power?

    X2 what FarmerDave said. What gears do you have now? You will need to know this if you decide on a camshaft change. There are better chioces in camshafts than the ZO6 cam for low end torque. Remember you have a heavy truck and not a car to get up those hills. I would call CompCams tech line for a cam recommendation, but again try to find out what gears you have because this helps determine what cam is best for your truck.

  6. #6
    Master Mechanic Silverado Junkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Lead Hill, Arkansas


    He would have 3.42 or 3.73 gearing and probly most likely 3.73 so going to 4.10 gearing would really help give you more grunt and wouldnt kill your fuel milage like a 4.56 would.
    1995 Silverado,Z71, 3-inch lift,2-inch leveling kit, SkyJacker Suspension, short ram-air intake, throttle body spacer, MSD ignition coil, straight pipes

  7. #7


    I have a bone stock 99 with 4:10 gearing and the G80 locker. It doesn't seem to have any problems with hills of any kind and I'm averaging about 15-16 mpg.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    River Ridge Louisiana-4 miles W of New Orleans-didn't flood-water stopped 800 yards away.


    Yes, the regear guys are right. Years ago the local hot rod shop guy had a saying" gotta get that ring gear"

    Meaning all the dual feed dual pump Holley 650 and Hooker headers,dual point dist we were buying from him were just BS until we regeared.
    Of course most of us didn't want to hear that because regearing isn't something you could do in your driveway. You actually had to have some knowledge/expertise to get the darn gears installed right-shimming etc.
    Of course now, you could buy an entire rear axle/wheels. brakes EVERYTHING- etc from a junkyard for maybe $500. The beauty of GM- lots of cheap parts-many interchange.
    Just bolt it on and go.

    Your glove box will have the codes to tell you the gearing you have.

    Yeah, leave the motor alone and buy a junkyard rear everything.

    My 1998 Suburban has GU6 which is 3.42 -you can look up the other codes-one step up will add lots of grunt-maybe cost 1 mpg hy-not much at all.

  9. #9
    Sr. Engineer
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Virginia Beach, VA.


    I would say the re-gearing would be the way to go as well.
    I have a '91 Silverado 5.7L
    And it has an Edelbrock manifold added on it, as well as Dual exhaust manifolds.
    So in mid- to High- there is power there (as advertised about the parts).
    But for Low end power, I don't believe there is that much of a difference from what was stock.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerdave View Post
    I would personally regear. What are the stock gears that are in your truck right now?
    Its been raining cats and dogs here for the past few days and My truck si parked in the Yard without a gas tank.(fuel pump shat itself) When it dries up a bit I'll crawl under there and see what the tag says on the rear end....Wait...ive never paid attention, do these trucks still have the tags on them like the older ones? I know 1999 isnt new to most people but its a rolls royce compared to my last 2 trucks. Then again they were fords. Cant complain too much though, I wouldnt know how to work on a vehicle if it wasnt for those ford I owned. Where exactly can I find those codes in the glove box, Phoebeisis?

    Thanks again for all the good info guys, forgive me if I sound like I have no idea what im talking about from time to time. Gotta remember that im still just a 19 year old kid with a lot to learn. Even though my dad is a mechanic, He stays busy and would rather just hurry and get a job done and move on to the next thing than take time outta his busy schedule to show me how things work. not to be a smarta$$ though, he really is a busy guy.

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