Whole different beast than the avg. 2500.
Suspension lift kits and such that fit a 2500 will not fit a 2500HD.
The 2500HD could be had at one time with the 8100 Vortec, 8.1L, 496 ci..
The 8.1 is no longer available.
HD's also came with the Allison Tranny.
If I'm not mistaken, the 2500HD platform is basically a H2 drivetrain (motor, tranny, transfer case, diffs) with the HD pick up frame and sheet metal.
Here is a web site that has a review for all the 2001 Silverado models and you can compare the 2500 and the 2500HD.
I read this little description about what makes the HD besides the engine:
For the '01 model year, GMC and Chevrolet answered the call with distinct heavy-duty pickup lines of their own. The HD models were built truck tough from the wheels up. Available in 2500 (three-quarter-ton) and 3500 (one-ton) dualie models, the HD trucks start out with beefier, thicker, and stronger three-piece frames, higher-capacity axles, springs, brakes and spindles, and exclusive heavy-duty engines and transmissions.
thanks guy's for the help. i just got home with my truck and hooked it up to my 21' triton bassboat what a difference! i had a 1998 gmc ext cab z-71 w/ 5.7 engine and there is no comparison towing w/ 01 2500 w/6.0 and 4.10 gears. i did notice that the trans temp gauge was about 200deg. is this normal while towing. thanks again for the info
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