View Full Version : Need advice for buying correct tow vehicle 2500 or 3500 ???
08-21-2011, 11:30 AM
I need some good advice. I have a 71 Trans Am that I would like to start taking to shows. I am looking to buy an enclosed trailer. Found a new inexpensive 20-footer I can afford for around $4,000. It weighs 4400lbs. My car is around 3600lbs. 8,000lbs. combined. I need advice on buying a truck that will do the job and do it well. I have towed with an 18' open car haul trailer, but have never pulled an enclosed. I am not an expert when it comes to towing heavier loads. I don't know all the things I should know to do this safely (load levelers, sway bars, etc.) I am a novice and know nothing.
I have no experience to draw on concerning the type of vehicle I should use to safely pull a set up like this. My little standard 2WD '95 Silverado1500 has done a pretty good job pulling my all steel trailer, but I would have felt better if it had been a 3/4 ton with a towing package. I'm really a novice when it comes to knowing my way around heavier duty trucks.
I'm pretty sure a 3500 would walk down the highway with no problems, but was hoping you guys could advise me if a 2500HD with a Duramax/Allison would do just as well with less expense.
I can't afford a new or late model (2006-2012), but was wondering if a 2002-2005 GMC ($11,000-$18,000) would get the job done. Please let me know if I need to look for a certain package that has the right equipment (trans cooler, heavy brakes, etc).
I don't know if there are certain years to avoid, or what constitutes high mileage for a Duramax. Any help would be very appreciated.
08-21-2011, 12:28 PM
You won't really have to worry about mileage with a Dmax as long as it has been taken care off.
If you do not know about the LB7 injector issues they seem to go out alot. Any newer diesel can have the injectors go out, just LB7's seem to be bad about. They do have the best mileage though.
LB7's were from 01 to 04.5, then 04.5 went to an LLY.
Other then that a 3/4 will do you fine. Wouldn't hurt to have a weight distribution with sway control.
Also the stock hitch will be rated for 7,500 pounds and they tend to rip in half with a W/D setup, so you'll also want a new hitch. (if it has a stock hitch.)
08-21-2011, 06:19 PM
I'm new to the diesel world. I understood the part about chronic injector problems. But not the LB7 or LLY thing. I'm guessing LB7's and LLY's are engine codes for certain years???? I really don't know. I didn't know the factory installed receiver type hitches. Are the factory receivers not too good? Thanks for all the information though. I'm just trying to buy a good truck and not have too many problems. Thanks again for your help.
08-22-2011, 09:46 AM
yes those are engine "RPO's", given to a engine series. if they change the engine significantly they change the rpo.
they had factory hitches, even though you dont want to use the hitch you may want to find one that still has it or none, because it means they didnt use the truck to pull anything super heavy
08-22-2011, 09:48 AM
You certainly don't need a 3500, but don't miss a deal on a SRW one if you see one. I wouldn't get a dually unless it's a SCREAMING deal because they are difficult to run around in when you're not towing, at least more difficult than it's worth since a 2500HD or SRW 3500 will do the job fine.
08-22-2011, 02:11 PM
A 2500 would handle the load you are talking about. Get a class V trailer hitch installed and get a weight distributing hitch. Before you buy a WD setup make sure it will work on your particular enclosed trailer. ON some of the V nosed models there isn't enough tongue to hook up the bars. I prefer the straight bar WD setup to the bent bar. A sway controller is a must too. Also make sure you have good trailer brake setup with a runaway brake. IT would be a shame to loose a show car because you didn't have the proper braking ability.
Also make sure you have enough towing mirror to see around the trailer. Having to change lanes where you can't see is a butt puckering experience. It is also impossible to back up if you cannot see. You may even think about putting a backup camera on the trailer so you don't back into some elses show car.
08-22-2011, 04:52 PM
Thanks guys for the crash course/education on Duramax's. I've been looking at a 2001 Chevy Crew Cab Short Bed 2500 duramax/automatic 125,000 miles, not 4WD, but looked very nice for around $9500. Should I run from it because it is probably a LB7 truck? I know what you guys told me about the injectors...is it something that can be corrected, or is it a plague you have to live with if you own one. $9500 is something I could afford, but If it breaks down a lot....I couldn't afford it.
thanks for all the advice, Eddie
08-22-2011, 07:30 PM
It shouldn't break down alot.
I have an 03 with an LB7 and love it. Just kinda sucks when the injectors do go. I have not done mine yet either, they have been changed not by me though.
What I hear from everyone is that it is not hard, just time consuming to change them. You don't have to do them all at once either. Some go soon, the other 6 may be fine for another 60k.
As far as the rest, it won't be any better then a newer model Dmax, with an 06 and up you will have a 6 speed with tap shifter, little more power with each newer engine, but that's about it.
08-26-2011, 08:49 PM
I bought me a Black "Southern Comfort" package '03 Chevrolet 3500 Crew Cab Dually RWD only with 102,000-just under $20,000 out the door with title, tags and taxes in Knoxville,Tn on Wednesday. I flat out love it. I'm like a kid with a new bicycle. I left the dealership that day and drove 130 miles to Corbin, Kentucky and bought a super nice 2002 Express 20' enclosed trailer I had worked out a deal on earlier in the week. I was blown away by how much power is in one of these trucks. I know all you guys knew that....so please excuse my enthusiasm, I didn't. Wow.
I appreciate all the great information you guys took time to give me and I want to thank you for that.
It has just been through the service dept at Reeder Chevrolet...so it's sitting on ready. What forum section here do I need to go to to learn about how to take care of this truck? I need to learn from guys like you who KNOW what is right for these trucks.
Thanking you in advance,
08-26-2011, 11:51 PM
I am assuming it's either an 8.1 gas or a Dmax.
Either way see if you can find an Allison dealer around you and change the trans fluid to a TES-295 fluid. (either Mobil 1 Delvac or Transyd) It will drive better, fluid will flow better cold, resiste hot temps better, and extend your drain interval to 150k or 4 years. (you have to drain the pan and change the spin on two times)
This info can all be found at www.allisontransmission.com
If it's a Dmax be ready for injectors. Nothing wrong with an LB7 love mine, but the injectors do go out. Watch for fuel in the oil, and white smoke at idle. (put some oil an a paper towel, if you get a halo around the drop of oil, it's fuel"
Use an additive in the fuel if it's a Dmax.
Going with a synthetic like Mobil 1 5W40 can get you a longer oil change interval. I am currently up to around 15k on my 03 with good oil. 1 filter change an 3 qt's of oil added so far. I had my oil tested by blackstone labs.
If you are afraid to run this long go with conventional oil.
Oh along with the spin on filter don't forget the magnet. Lays ontop of the filter, lots of them do not get taken off and put on the new. The following pics are of an ally filter (about $8 and a magnet about $2.50 from an allison dealer) that did not have the mag for who knows how long. I added a filter mag brand magnet this I what I took off mine after I put the magnet on.
Do not put Dex VI in your trans. This will dry out the seals and make it leak. Use only Dex III or a TES-295 approved fluid.
These pic's are not to scare you, just to make you aware of the mag and what it actually does and how important it is.
Sure I can think of some more. But I'm going to stop for the moment.
08-26-2011, 11:53 PM
Oh, an FYI for you, the ally does have an internal filter. However this is more of a screen the filter. It does not need changed until the trans see's an overhaul.
The spin on is the "real" filter for the trans.
08-27-2011, 07:35 AM
Sorry for not being clearer, it is an '03 LB7 6.6 Duramax. I read that you recommend....TES-295 fluid. (either Mobil 1 Delvac or Transyd)... The dealer I bought my truck from is an authorized Allison dealer. I'm unfamiliar with the terms TES-295 Delvac or Transyd, but I will look them up and see who sells them. I suspect Reeder Chevrolet is a little more expensive than the regular auto parts stores, but maybe not, if only Allison dealers have them. I am guessing that when the dealer serviced this vehicle before putting it on the lot for sale, that they probably just used conventional oil and transmission fluid. To be honest, I haven't even had time to learn what grade or weight oil to use in my truck yet. I only know it uses 10 quarts with a filter change in the engine. I haven't read about any other capacities yet. I'm trying to learn as fast as I can. I really appreciate you taking time to teach me some very important basics here though. The tip about checking the oil and putting a drop on a napkin to see if it halo's is priceless. I'm hoping for the best with the injectors. It really ran well the day I test drove it and took off to Kentucky and back home. I've only driven it about 300 miles so far.
I hate to admit this, but I wasn't really prepared to buy my truck and trailer when I did. I had to park it at a friends house a few miles away until I can trim tree limbs up high enough to get my trailer in the drive. I'm getting too old for some of this crap, so I'm hiring it done. I had hernia surgery yesterday and I'm a little sore today. But I'm hanging in there. Fall rod run coming up in Pigeon Forge in September. I want to be there with my car.
I am brand new to Duramax & Allison so I'm clueless. Thanks again for all the great information.
08-27-2011, 11:06 AM
To my knowledge no dealer sells either of the TES-295 fluids. Could be wrong though. If I didn't show it before you can look at www.allisontransmission.com and do a dealer search.
If you cannot find one close or they are expensive www.dieselplace.com has vendors that will sell you the ally filter and fluid. Should be around $30 a gal. Some charge up to $40 and more.
The engine is 10qt's like you said. It is supposed to be 15W40, I use 5W40 Mobil 1 TD.
The trans is supposed to be 7.4 qt's (what everyone else say's I just dump some in and check it) Spin on and drain, something like 14 or 16 qt dry.
I think the rear diff is 3 or 3.5 qt's. The transfer I think is 2.5 qt.
Coolant, can't even think of it right now.
Oh something to be aware of. The caliper bolts will more then likely need cleaned. Just take them out and put brake grease on them, nothing else. Also if you do it, there is a stainless steel clip on each side of the pad. (top and bottom of the caliper, that the pads slide/mount on) Take those off clean any rust or corrosion, put some anti-size or brake grease on it, and put them back together.
Brake grease only because. Had a friend with an 04 used anti-seiz ended up towing it to a dealer for him when his brakes lost alot of power. Turns out the anti-seiz swelled the bushings and held the caliper in place on the caliper bolts and lost alot of effectivness. New bushings, caliper bolts and he's good now.
Big thing for you will be to keep an eye out for injectors. There are alot of little things here and there but overall you have a good truck. Just start working on having the money to do injectors.
08-29-2011, 01:48 PM
Towing that kind of weight,id definetly want a 3500 1 ton truck.
I happen to have a 1 ton that fits the bill in the trucks for sale section.
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