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Opinion needed...I need payload but never tow... upgrade to a 2500 with a 6.0 or no??

2042 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ajk242
Bought a 2004 Silverado 1500 4x4 Z71 ext cab with a 5.3 vortec and 3.73 gears 5 years ago. Have driven it loaded down across country 5 times and done LOTS of mountain driving! Its hauled 1500+lbs of camping and fishing stuff, kayaks, mountain bikes, heavy coolers, plus people and a big dog, through the Canadian Rockies, Sierra Nevadas, and about everywhere you can go in the backcountry. I never tow, but need plenty of payload. I drive some long heinous shuttles on STEEP, ROUGH dirt roads with big loads, sometimes with 6 or more people and kayaks, and loaded rafts too. The Silverado has been great, but did need some big repairs. The transfer case wore out at 60k miles when the encoder motor kept ghost shifting. And the tranny went out at 110k...burned up the 3-4 clutches. Replaced a water pump too. But overall, not bad for a truck that was truly used for real stuff that a 1/2 ton truck should be able to handle... in my opinion. Way better than those Tacomas and mini-vans that my friends use :no:. Anyhow- it does ok on gas too...16-17 loaded. Now at 126k miles, I'm shopping for my next baby.

I remember the 'heavy half ton' of yesteryear and wish I could get that. Or a 3/4 ton that isn't a HD. I'm looking at a 2010 Sierra 2500HD with the 6.0 vortec and 3.73. I know I don't want the 410 gear if I want better mileage, correct? And even though they're great, I can't see myself needing the diesel/allison combo either. Does anyone think its still too much truck? I'm just thinking since things broke on the 1500 I might need to go beefier. Thoughts on the vortec 6.0 or std 6spd tranny anyone?? I want my next truck to last a little better.

-K (lady in Red Silverado)
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Without the need for towing heavy loads you can stay with the 1500 and include the HD trailering and HD cooling packages and should be able to keep decent fuel limeage and do everything you need. with the HD cooling you get external oil and trans coolers, hd radiator, 6 speed trans, and with the stabilizer from the hd towing and stiffer shocks, you should have no problems. These added features should help reduce wear on powertrain components. Only issue I see is that this all comes with the 3:42 gears. If you want the 3:73 you have to go with the MAx trailering package which has all the other stuff, but also comes with the 6.2 L engine. benefit is more power and torque, but the mileage will be more like that of the 2500 HD just in a 1500 package.
Either way you won't need the Duramax/Allison combo unless you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket and just don't want to ever need to replace your truck again. A great option is you have the $ and want to go diesel.
Only issue with airbags is that under extreme loads it puts a lot of pressure on your 1500 frame. If it's just to level the load on a within limits pulling situation they're great, but if you're talking payload I wouldn't do it. I have heard of people using them and experiencing bent of broken components because the frame wasn't rated for what they were loading them down with. In your situation they would be a bandaid (with risks) and not a solution.
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