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First time buyer with a lot of questions

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by ghost_recon88, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. The Heater

    The Heater Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    Hi, ghost:

    Most or all vehicles, at least trucks and full size SUVs, come with a different radiator when you order it with a towing package. The radiator will have more coolant capacity and likely will have pass through fittings for transmission fluid to get to the cooler which usually will be mounted aft of the radiator.

    So not getting a truck with a towing package gives you less cooling capacity and you won't get the neat set up for the cooler. That extra radiator capacity will kick in when you are pulling up a steep long grade with a heavy load.
  2. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    The towing package is nothing more than an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler. Nothing more, nothing less. That's why you can't get a towing package on trucks with a manual transmission. It generally doesn't even include a hitch unless the dealer installs it for you.
  3. The Heater

    The Heater Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    No, that is not accurate. At least not for what I buy. I have been a car owner since the 1970's. Have had towing packages on vehicles, many of them. The towing package at least on GM products that I have owned included different brakes than standard issue (larger drums on the rear, and/or larger front discs, for example), includes a wiring harness as part of your stock set up, for trailer hook up and the radiator is bigger. The rear axle ratio is different, again, on what I have purchased, on towing packages. Some of the higher ratios are not available if you order a towing package.

    The newer vehicles may be different. They may not be making a product line with so many variables for cost reasons. But that has not been the case on my vehicles. Also on my trucks the rear bumper was different. It had to come with a step bumper.
  4. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    That is no longer the case and has not been since at least as far back as 1988. There are no bigger radiators, different bumpers, gears or larger brakes associated with a towing package. There is a trailer wiring harness on all of the trucks under the spare tire. you have to buy the pigtail separate. All you get that is not standard is a transmission fluid cooler. Call your local GM dealer and ask.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  5. Drake_korthos

    Drake_korthos Rockstar ROTM Winner 100 Posts

    Hiya Ghost! First off just wanna warn you that I only have experience with the '06 and up trucks, but I have buddies with the older models.

    1.) What's your real MPG? I see it's rated for about 15 city and 20 highway, is that accurate for most of you?
    A) Before my mods, I was seeing 13-15 city and 18-20 highway in my truck. Not sure after mods as I can't keep my foot off the gas!
    However, you should definitely see mid teens for combined mpg with the 5.3L.

    2.) Are skid plates available for whole underside? or just the engine/transmission area?
    A) As previously stated, the skid plates only cover the engine and transmission.

    3.) Z71 or LT trim? I see some people selling advertise as Z71 LT trim, but I thought they were two different trims. Z71 looks to have all the same options as the LT (including leather) so I'm not sure why one would chose the LT trim?
    A) Z71 is the off road package. More stiff suspension, usually tow package. I have the SLE Sierra Z71 and have cloth seats (if that's an issue). so if you're interested in the Z71 PACKAGE, you don't necessarily have to go with the LT leather seat TRIM.

    4.) If I get a 3-4" lift in the future, will that decrease the MPG?
    A) pretty well answered already!

    5.) What is the motor longevity? Has the Vorec 5.3L been proven to be a quality motor that can go over 200k miles?
    A) the 5.3L is a rock solid engine! Of course with the proper TLC, most engines can go the distance!

    6.) One thing I hear people say is they feel the interior quality is kinda crappy. Would you owners say that's the case, and is the GMC Sierra interior similar?
    A) I'd have to say that this is a matter of opinion. Some people think that the GMC interiors are just the same as the Chevy interiors, while others will say GMC uses higher grade materials. I ended up springing for car seat covers for my truck to keep the seats clean as life is messy. I did notice that the multi tool I wear started to fray a bit of the seat where the velcro would catch, of course this was remedied with the new seat covers!

    7.) If I don't go with the towing package, can I get an aftermarket transmission cooler to install?
    A) Yes, but it'll cost ya. Better off seeing if you can find a truck with the tow package, especially if you THINK you'll need it. Other wise, you'll kick yourself later when you find it's something you really could have used!

    8.) What parts commonly go bad (interior and exterior) in these trucks?
    A) THe only issue I've run across was a poorly placed wiring harness in my '06. Caused a fuse to blow that disabled my airbag system. It was under warranty still so it was a quick no cost fix. The old adage: "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" comes to mind. Treat the truck right, take care of the maintenance and cleaning, and you'll have no issues!

    9.) What things in particular should I check for when looking at one?
    A) Aside from overall condition, inspecting the 4X4 and towing systems would be good (i.e. transfer case, does it shift from 2 to 4 wheel drive smoothly, condition of the trailer harness, etc).

    10.) Are there any parts I can add in, like a cold air intake, that will raise the MPG by 1-2?
    A) Yes! There are lots of after market parts to look into. Just remember that it's usually a combined effort of multiple parts that will give you the increase. Aftermarket exhaust coupled with a CAI (or performance filter) will give you a slight boost. A programmer with custom tune will give you a little more.

    Hope this helps, and good luck finding your truck!
  6. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    You can add an aftermarket transmission cooler for 60 dollars and an hour of your time.
  7. billnorman

    billnorman Rockstar 100 Posts

    The paint on Chevrolet trucks is the thinnest I have ever seen, Mine is full of scratches that penetrate right to the primer which is grey, and shows up badly. the bed rails must have plastic covers on them or they will dent if you look at them too hard. The doors on mine (x-cab) sound terrible when they shut and you must slam the rear ones or the front doors will hit them at the top. The heater fan control is cheap and has no markings to say when it is centered on a fan speed, and the detents are too weak to click it in. 5.3 motors are notorious for using copious amounts of oil. Mine uses 2 to 3 quarts between changes, and I've used top of the line synthetic since the first oil change. Some trucks such as mine have an annoying "thump" when you have stopped like someone tapped you on the rear bumper. The brake switch cruise control portion has a habit of failing on 2007's, a shot of WD-40 fixes that. The factory rear seat speakers on mine sounded for sh*t from day one and they have finally totally failed. The good thing is if you buy from a private party, it's caveat emptor, you won't have to listen to a song-and-dance from a dealer who won't fix anything. Check your A/C on a hot day make sure it cools enough.
  8. 383man

    383man Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts ROTM Winner

    I don't want to call you out here, but i've had two NBS trucks, 2007, and my current 2009, both had towing packages, both consisted of fully installed wiring harnesses with hook ups next to the license plate, eletronic brake wiring installed (hiden under the dash unless you pay extra for the brake module), hitch receiver, and external transmission cooler. my current truck has even more than that cause it's the 1500 HD that they install extra goodies on it to raise the tow rating up to 10700 lb.
  9. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Ok. Maybe they have started to offer some extra goodies in the newer trucks. I haven't bought anything that new. I can admit that I may be wrong. If they have made changes, I would like to know so that next time this comes up, I will have a better answer. Thanks for the input. :)

    I will call my GM contact and see if I can get an exact answer as to what the towing package includes.

    Thanks again.

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