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Rear Axle Gear change ~ What's the Cost for a 2007 Silverado

Discussion in 'Towing & Trailer Tech' started by awtposts, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    I'm looking for anyone that could provide a "Ballpark" guess of cost to change rear axle gear in my truck to make it more suitable for towing.

    Info:
    07 Silverado 1500 W/T 4x2
    5.3L Engine, 4-Speed Auto
    3.23:1 Rear Axle
    43,800 mi

    Looking to change to 3.73:1 or possibly 4.10:1

    I'm in the Raleigh NC area so anyone with local experience is a plus.

    Thanks in advance for replies.
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  2. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia New Member

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    Welcome to the club Awtposts, There are a number of us here in the greater Raleigh area, I know that [MENTION=50075]SurrealOne[/MENTION] did a re-gear and might have the most up to date local information on a re-gear. Not sure about the axle swap, it might not be needed unless you are going to do allot of really heavy towing.
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  3. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    Thanks nakranij, I will be towing a new TT weighing just over 6100lb and after much research, I have to agree to some comments I've found wondering why would GM put a 3.23 gear in something with a Trailer & Tow package? Makes no sense but I'm looking for recommendations for a shop to get pricing in the Raleigh NC Area to replace the gears or any recommendation really. If I go this route, would it be wrthwhile to go with a 4.10 instead of 3.73?
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  4. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia New Member

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    If you are going to upgrade I think the 4.10 is the better option, my truck came with the 3.43 gear ratio.

    Both of our ratio's are better for commuting and occasional towing, but we get somewhat better gas mileage. 4.10 is more for serious towing (at least on the low end, you can go up from there), but you will loose some mpgs's.

    Then you can compensate for the loss in mpg's by changing the tire size a little to be "within" spec and using a programmer to re-program your computer.
    #4
  5. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    I got ya on that and it's right in line to what I've learned so far. I'm not worried about the 1-2 mpg really. More concerned about being safe with my family and not wanting to be forced into the "Granny Lane" going into the NC Mountains grunting along at redline doing 20mph.

    Any recommendations on a shop in the area?
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  6. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

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    Since you're not really worried about mileage, I'd go with the 4:10 as well and even more so if you ever plan on increasing tire diameter. But just in case, I pasted a link to a chart below that may be of some help.

    For a good set of gears and labor, it will probably cost about $500 to $600. And yes, @SurrealOne will be able to point towards a good shop or two.

    http://www.4x4offroads.com/gear-ratio-chart.html
    #6
  7. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    THANK YOU BOTH nakranij and mfleetwood - never expected so much info on an initial posting, you all are tops. I will send a private message (unless you recommend another method) and get a recommendation as you suggest. I promise to pull my beast out of the garage and dust if off and get some nice pics to post and add to my profile info. Thanks again both of you.
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  8. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    East Coast Gear Supply (http://eastcoastgearsupply.com/) is on Glenwood in Raleigh. They warrant their work for 5 years provided you adhere to their break-in and diff fluid changing procedures. (I had my diff fluid changed by ECGS after my break-in period ... to remove any possibility of doubt as to whether or not I had complied.)

    Chase is the owner and was who I dealt with. I'd have just thought him to be a knowledgeable sales guy had I not been told that he was the owner, as he didn't announce himself as such. He took some data from me over the phone about my truck, got a quote out to me, scheduled the work a few weeks in advance after I chatted with him about the quote, and did my swap in a day on the date we had scheduled.

    ECGS will put whatever brand of gears you like in for you, but they have been doing this for years and are likely to recommend a set that they know will last. I took Chase's recommendation on Nitro gears even though I had Yukon gears in mind when I first chatted with him. If you are thinking about a brand you might talk to him about it to get his take. What he offers up, experience-wise, may surprise you. (It may also benefit you as it pertains to your axle questions; definitely ask about it.)

    As for pricing, my swap ran me just under $1500 with parts, labor, and NC tax -- to take my front and rears from 3.73's to 4.56's. Yours should be cheaper as it's a 4x2 and it's the front that's the spendier of the two in terms of labor. Call them and get a quote. (Yes, they will email it to you if you ask them to do so. I did.)

    I did not replace my axle or my 10-bolt. I don't tow much but I have a trailer capable of handling max GVWR for my vehicle. I just didn't see the need to do more than new gears since I'm staying within the GVWR of my truck. If you're staying within your GVWR you will probably be ok, but if you're doing some crazy towing then additional upgrades may be in order.

    Also consider that even with 4.10's you'll probably be in the granny lane just to save fuel. And if you're upsizing your tires in addition to towing then you may want to think about 4.56's. Last, don't forget a tranny cooler upgrade AND a handheld tuner. The former will extend your tranny's life since you'll build less heat when towing ... while the latter is essential for you since you'll need something to tell your computer that you have a different gear ratio than it currently thinks you have. :)

    Back to talking about ECGS ... if I were to buy another truck and regear it I'd definitely go back to ECGS. I received solid, timely service from knowledgeable people ... and I really liked the fact that the owner was working right alongside his crew answering the phone, talking to customers (like me), etc. To me that's a sign of an owner who actually likes what he does ... and who cares.

    Surreal

    P.S. When I was there Chase had a Cherokee sitting on 37's in the parking lot with some crazy axle work. I asked about it which is how I learned it was his. Clearly he gets off on this stuff.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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  9. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    SurrealOne - I owe you large buddy. Wow!!! Lots of good info for sure. Thank You! :happy:

    I have an '07 Silverado 1500 Ext Cab, Std Bed W/T with 5.3L engine, Trailer & Tow Pkg w/ Heavy Duty Suspension options. Nothing fancy, just what I wanted & could afford at the time. Never thought to check gears as I assumed (ouch!!!) the pkg options would set me right. I'm getting a Travel Trailer this spring and while doing my homework verifying I have what it takes to tow do I learn of GM's (and my) ignorance.

    To me a truck is a working man's tool. Hauling stuff to the dump, towing, mulch runs, lumber etc... Shame the designers today have strayed so far off the mark and ruined things.

    {QUOTE}
    "If you're staying within your GVWR you will probably be ok, but if you're doing some crazy towing then additional upgrades may be in order."

    I don't plan (or want) to exceed truck specs for safety & cost reasons. Trailers I'm looking at are 5300lb & 6200lb dry weight. I know there's more to consider & add resulting in the overall weight I tow. Since I'm so close on specs is the reason why I'm investigating. My understanding is - and please feel free to correct me...

    3.23:1 = 6800/6900 (later having factory tow pkg)
    3.73:1 = 7900
    3.42:1 = can't remember
    4:10:1 = wasnt even listed.

    So if I understand you correctly, I will still need a re-program even if i go with a 3.73 or 4.10 correct? If so i guess this means trip to a dealership added to this project. I also believe I will probably end up putting on some air shocks too.

    Thanks again everyone for your advice and input. I also hope this posting helps anyone else that may be in my situation as well!
    #9
  10. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    You're welcome and you surely don't owe me anything. :) Maybe show up at the next RTP area get-together. @aloxdaddy99 and I were just discussing grabbing a brew next week, so who knows. :)

    I wouldn't know which ratio is appropriate for what weight, as improved towing was a secondary benefit of my re-gear. How so? Well, I basically selected my ratio based on a chart similar to what @mfleetwood linked, earlier. In my case I used that kind of chart to locate my stock RPM's with my OEM tire height and OEM gear ratio. I then located my new tire height and matched as closely as I could to the RPM's using OEM gears -- to come up with the ratio that would get me back to stock performance on larger tires. 4.56's with my tires have me 29rpm higher (at 65mph with no overdrive) than 3.73's had me with the OEM tire size.

    I could have gone a bit lower and biased for fuel econ but I wanted the power and, like you, a little mpg wouldn't kill me.

    Given the vehicle's age (i.e. it's likely out of warranty), I'd take the approach of getting a DiabloSport InTune and a custom tune from Diablew. It'll cost you a little more than a trip to the stealership but you'll get a lot more out of it than just a tweak to your gear ratios and you can probably make it pay for itself -- which a trip to a stealership just won't do. How? Diablew got me the better part of 3.5mpg as a gain ... granted mine is an extreme case of regaining mpg's that were previously lost due to mods. (I basically get 1mpg less than factory, now -- which is pretty nice considering most people with a big tires and a lift lose 3-4mpg at a minimum).

    If you get even 1/2mpg improvement then your handheld tuner and custom tune will pay for themselves over time ... and both will allow you to tweak things like gear ratios, tire sizes (to correct for speedo error introduced from non-stock tire sizes), etc. You'll also end up owning something that can read and clear the codes associated with your check engine light ... which is really nice for making that light a non-scary one.

    I showed up at ECGS with my tuner in hand and placed a revised tune on the truck mere minutes after picking it up from the re-gear. This kept me from running with the Parking and ABS lights on, which is what kicks on when the truck realizes something is amiss, gear-wise. (And as I understand it, if the ABS light is on then ABS is disabled?)

    PM @06MonteSS (that's Diablew) if you're curious about a tuner and/or custom tune, as he bundles the handheld programmer and his custom tunes at a rate that's cheaper than buying them separately.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
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  11. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    Thanks again SurrealOne. I'm in the WF area, maybe Carolina Ale House sometime. Oh, how I long for the days of points.... LOL Maybe Solid State Ignitions - LOL Also of note is that you can't pass inspection with lights on either so you have to eventually get them cleared.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
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  12. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 New Member

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    I am also in the WF area. All the items listed by Nak and Surr are spot on. The one other thing I would mention is the roadmaster kit that Surr has on his truck. It will help improve the way your truck handles with a trailer and load.
    #12
  13. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    aloxdaddy99 and surrealone, we need to have a beer sometime. Would be easier than posts back and forth. I don't want this to go too overboard $$$ wise.
    #13
  14. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    Carolina Ale House near Brier Creek seems to be our usual spot. :)
    #14
  15. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    I appreciate everyne's feedback on this. Thank You all. I'm a little overwhelmed, excited, anxious etc etc etc...... LOL :gasp:
    Problem is I'm seeing a cascade of things coming into play that I really want to avoid for many reasons.

    Let me ask this;
    Are all these suggestions, recommendations etc absolutely necessary? I mean I went from changing a rear gear supplementing a safe tow weight range to larger tires, computer gadget with a special or custom performance program, a suspension system and the floor open to more mods discussion.

    Not trying to sound unappreciative - not at all, converse really. I'm just having trouble understanding how or why changing a gear would actually end up to all this. Is it all really necessary? Are these recommendations things you all have done because you wanted? - or - Were required for your specific needs/uses? I don't want to add thousands in mods for a 5yr old 18k truck. I also have no desire for a $40+k truck either. That's just absurd to me really for what I need & use a truck for to get banged, dinged, scraped hauling gravel, mulch, lumber etc. etc.

    So,,,, what is a must and what are the mods I can think about adding later if I want?
    #15
  16. 06MonteSS

    06MonteSS New Member

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    well, larger tires and suspension are not a necessity...

    the programmer/tune - yes... if you don't change the gear ratio in the tune, your speedometer will be wrong and also the shifting will be affected... but I guess if you can live with that, then no the programmer is not a "necessity" either, haha...

    also replied to your email ;)

    thanks!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  17. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    Thanks 06MonteSS for the email. I had an idea a re-program might be needed after my initial research. Can't believe how integrated the computers are with today's vehicles. Wow!

    Here in NC we have this Govt Scam called "Vehicle Inspections". Without the re-program after changing gears the ABS light shows and the computer throws a code. Doesn't matter what code, they can't decipher it, it just throws a code therefore, you fail. Go get your vehicle serviced then come back. Thank You, have a nice day and we keep your $30 too.

    I have no issue with anything that would be required, just got confusing with all these ideas and all and finding out what's really required and what's optional or a nice to have.

    Thanks.
    #17
  18. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    I apologize if mentioning upsized tires added confusion, it wasn't meant to. That wasn't a suggestion for you, it was merely an explanation of why -I- regeared.

    The essential mods/services are:

    • Gear ratio change - suitable to the low-end power you'd like to put to the ground
    • Diff fluid change -- after break-in mileage is put on the truck
    • Tuner & custom tune -- required to avoid the idiot lights and superior to getting a stealership to adjust the computer because you'll get some mpg from this that'll make it pay for itself.

    The additional mods to consider are:

    • Transmission cooler -- because heat is the enemy of your tranmission and you build it quickly while towing. Get one if you lack one ... or upsize yours if you have the OEM cooler -- and your tranny will thank you for it. This isn't essential but your tranny life will be less likely to be cut short due to heat if you do it ... and it's not horribly expensive. Replacement of my stock cooler with a Tru-Cool 40K GVWR cooler was $140.00 for the cooler and another $70.00 for an EAD performance mounting kit to make it easy. (The mounting kit could be skipped if you are good at making brackets, etc.)
    • Roadmaster Active Suspension - There's a review of this on our site (here: http://www.gmtruckclub.com/forum/showthread.php/99450-Roadmaster-Active-Suspension-Review) which details what it does, how it works, etc. GMTC folks also get special pricing (mentioned in review) which amounts to $315.00 shipped to your door. Roadmaster's site also has a lot of useful information. You might check around, there, if curious....


    If it were me I'd start with the tuner and custom tune. You can do that now to get your data logging and such done. With that out of the way you can get a tune pre-set for your new gear ratio and put it on the truck moments after the re-gear is done.
    #18
  19. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    Thanks.

    You wouldn't have guessed from my posting here but back in early 80's, I was an Auto Machinist. I did the tear-downs, re-assemblies, rods and primarily the crank grinding since I was the only formally trained machinist. I eventually built the crank business up to a full time effort and gained a pretty good rep. I was even doing work for Mercedes Benz. I ground a D-9 Cat crank once - (took 2 days and 2 tow trucks for setup too - what a BEAST!). Shame it only paid just over Min Wage, loved the work but 24 yr old, newly married, I had to think about family so I joined the Navy and got into Electronics and Computers.

    I just know that this is no different than building or re-building an engine. You have the "clean up" or the "Blueprint" type of build. Even with the blueprint, your not going to just stick it back into the car and expect great things. This forces you to equalize your drivetrain which forces an exhaust change and suspension, then tires, and on and on..... If not, watch your tranny drop out on the street or; damage your engine wasting all that $$ you just spent. I just wasn't sure if this was one of those deals which is why all the questions.

    I like to know what I'm getting into "before" or up front - rather than "after" if you know what I'm saying. Nothing is more disheartening than starting a project and running out of money or encountering a show-stopper you didn't expect. Takes the fun away if not kills the project entirely.

    thanks for the Roadmaster link, I know I have to add something to the rear and was planning on at least a pair of air shocks on the rear so at the price you elude to, this might actually fit into my budget as a slight change.

    So, We know Carolina Ale House is the place, anyone got the date/time?
    #19
  20. awtposts

    awtposts New Member

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    Oh and I'm going to check out my Tranny Cooler too. I'll get some pics and pst them and get your thoughts.
    #20

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