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  1. #1

    Default help me decide 8.1 or 6.0

    Hi - first post here. Looking for a 00-06 2500 and am trying to decide if I should get a 6.0 or 8.1.

    I'll be using it to tow a car hauler with a heavy jeep, figure around 7k loaded. Most of the towing will be between Denver and Moab or other mountain routes through the Rockies. I expect it will be about 50% towing and 50% other to include mostly highway road trips, little around town or daily driving. I estimate I'll only be putting about 5,000 mi/year on it.

    I like the idea of the 8.1 as it should be able to keep up speed up the hills and if I did decide to get a TT or something heavier to pull the 8.1 could handle it.

    I like the idea of a 6.0 because they are easier to find and should get better mileage although with the low miles I plan on putting on this rig I'm not sure how much I would be saving in gas.

    So, would appreciate some of your thoughts on what to do here.

    Thanks in advance...Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Western Wisconsin - St. Croix River Valley

    Default 8.1

    Get the 8.1...

    All things being equal (same tires, gear ratio, etc) I've heard the 8.1 gets as good or BETTER than the 6.0.

    I've got a 2000 Suburban with 265-size tires and 4.10 gears. I get a CONSISTENT 11-12mpg while towing NOTHING! Don't get me wrong, it's a towing machine. I've towed many 7,000lb+ loads with zero problem, but since the 8.1 gives you more power, why not?

    Zero problems, but I still wish I had the 8.1. Vroom, vroom!

  3. #3
    murdog94's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cloquet, Minnesota, United States
    Blog Entries


    I agree with a tow vehicle that is primarily used as such with minimal miles, you really wont be spending that much more on fuel even if the 8.1L does burn a bit more. And with the option you will want the most power and there is absolutely no replacement for displacement, and an 8.1L Gas will pull anything you can think of or will want to down the road. Yes the 6.0 is a good motor as well but with the extra power the 8.1 provides you will always have a smile on your face... I have a buddy with a 2006 K3500 Crew dually, with the 8.1L and with his 35Ft car trailer it still hauls the mail, and he gets a consistent 9mpg loaded like that, and 11-12 unloaded..


    1997 Chevy S-10 Blazer 4X4 with 330K miles and counting (Hunting rig).

    2009 Saturn Aura XE (wifes car)

    2011 F-150 Crew 4X4

    "Hold it to the floor till you see God.... Then Brake!!!!"

  4. #4


    get the 8.1. mileage will be similar which doesnt matter if not driven much, but the 8.1 has more HP and more torque. Mods are readily available for the 8.1 as well.
    2004 Silverado 2500 Crew Cab 4x4, AMSOIL EA air filter, Granatelli MAF sensor, Throttle body spacer, Magnaflow exhaust (true dual to 2 in 1 out muffler), 6" ProComp lift (add a leaf and 5" superlift rear block), Bilstein shocks, 35's (Cooper Disoverer ST) and 4.10 gears, Rhino Liner, EGRUSA fender Flares and widow visors, extended stainless steel brake lines, firestone airbags w/onboard air compressor, Pioneer Avic X940BT navigation, Accel backup camera.
    1960 Land Rover Series II 88
    2001 Pontiac Sunfire
    2013 Toyota Avalon Limited (Wife's Car)
    NRA Life Member

  5. #5
    stephan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Far West, Oregon USA,
    Blog Entries


    Welcome to the GM truck club Bob
    I agree with the others. Get the 8.1 especially since 1/2 of your driving is going to be towing. I have read articles in travel trailer mags that say the bigger displacement engines will actually get better mileage when towing because they aren't being overworked like a smaller engine would be. And like the others say the mileage might not be that much different than the 6.0 when you're not towing.
    1988 Chevy C-3500 2wd (no pic)
    350 c.i. 5.7 L Stock Block, 4 Bolt Mains
    L-31 Vortec Heads, Edelbrock Cam & Intake,
    Holley 650, Flowtech Headers, Magnaflow exh.
    Jet Trans 700R4, B&M Ratchet, 4:10 gears,
    3" susp. lift kit "shadetree"
    No rev limiter, No speed limiter lol

  6. #6

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


    I'm a mpg fanatic, but even I would vote to go big.

    While towing-2500 of your miles-the mpg will be the same, perhaps even favoring the 8.1- and the 8.1 will do a better job towing- lower RPMs, quicker acceleration, and it will hold speed uphill much better.

    While not towing-2500 of your miles-the 6.0 will be maybe 2-3 mpg better(at best)-maybe 14 mpg hy vs 11 mpg hy-this would be maybe 50 gallons a year difference-not much. 50 gallons is only $200 difference per year at $4/gal.

    Easy choice if you tow that much.

    Now if you can't find a 8.1, the 6.0 isn't an outright dog, just not as good.The big motor vehicles are frequently cheaper to buy in places where folks are concerned with mpg and gas prices.Gas goes up 8.1's go down in price.
    1998 suburban-
    1/2 ton

    199500 miles

  7. #7
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Billings, MT


    I tow a 31' Airstream (7000# GVW) with my 06 8.1 Burb 4x4. Here in Montana its up down and all around. Looked for quite awhile for the 8.1 and it was worth it.

  8. #8


    I agree 8.1. I'm a bigger the better fan. I have the 6.0 and have had 0 problems but I still haven't ever gotten better than 10 mpg's. Just like everyone else said its just as cheap and more power I say easy choice! Also did they put an 8.1L in the classic models after the 02's?

    2006 Duramax LBZ
    Edge Evo
    4'' Diamond eye to 6'' tip
    16'' ion alloy, 33'' fierce attitudes
    Lots of work left to do!

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by ntbush83 View Post
    I agree 8.1. I'm a bigger the better fan. I have the 6.0 and have had 0 problems but I still haven't ever gotten better than 10 mpg's. Just like everyone else said its just as cheap and more power I say easy choice! Also did they put an 8.1L in the classic models after the 02's?
    I know it was still an option in the 04's when I was looking.

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