Optimizing towing preformance and oil/trans temp gauges

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kadenhaugen

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I have a 97 k1500 that came with "the towing package" I will be using for frequent towing next summer. (7k+ 5th wheel) A better truck will not be in the budget for at least 2 years so I am wondering how I could add an oil and transmission temp gauge. I am also wondering how I know what rear end gearing I have so I know if I should look into changing it. I am also looking into a better transmission cooler or even a 4l80 swap if anyone has any advice or details.
 

evilunclegrimace

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I have a 97 k1500 that came with "the towing package" I will be using for frequent towing next summer. (7k+ 5th wheel) A better truck will not be in the budget for at least 2 years so I am wondering how I could add an oil and transmission temp gauge. I am also wondering how I know what rear end gearing I have so I know if I should look into changing it. I am also looking into a better transmission cooler or even a 4l80 swap if anyone has any advice or details.
Look at the RPO codes in the glove box to find the ger ratio.
 

Caman96

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7k+? I hope you at least have the 11” rear drum brakes. Definitely a 4l80e. If it was me, I’d be looking for an 8600 gvwr K2500 with 4.10 axle.
 

RichLo

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1997 you can get a OBD2 dongle and dash command program on your device of choice and read trans temps that way, there's a few of us that have done it that way and there's plenty of info out there about it.

And RPO codes would give you what ratio it had from the factory or you can jack up the rear and count how many times the tires spin by hand to 1-revolution of the driveshaft... a little over 4 revolutions for 1 revolution of the shaft is 4.10 gears, around 3 - 3/4 revolutions will be 3.73 gears, etc.
 

TechNova

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Tru Cool 40K is universally known as a good trans cooler. A deeper finned pan will give you cooling and more capacity which aids cooling. Check your cooler and condensor fins for blockage, bending that impedes airflow. Tow in drive instead of overdrive to limit up and down shifting. I am waiting on a delivery of header wrap today to wrap my exhaust crossover that is close to the trans pan. I made an aluminum shield yesterday to block heat from one of the cats.
This all helps you keep going but stopping and directional control is WAY more important. 11" brakes, upgraded pads and shoes, perfect condition will help. I agree with Caman. I wouldn't feel good about that trailer with a 1/2 ton.
 

Nad_Yvalhosert

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I have a 97 k1500 that came with "the towing package" I will be using for frequent towing next summer. (7k+ 5th wheel)

You gotta tell me, what is "the towing package". I've never heard of "it".

Over 7k on a half ton is likely "towing out of class". Bad idea...
Open your driver door and check the placard. Chances are you are under 6800.
Is the 5th wheel hitch already installed?

I know my shop would refuse to install it on such a light duty vehicle for safety/insurance reasons.

A better truck will not be in the budget for at least 2 years so I am wondering how I could add an oil and transmission temp gauge.

You can add any gauges you want, if you dont gave the frame, suspension, or brakes its a tickatable offense. You're putting you, your family, and the other drivers at risk.

I am also wondering how I know what rear end gearing I have so I know if I should look into changing it.

The RPO codes will list that. Maybe you have F44?

I am also looking into a better transmission cooler or even a 4l80 swap if anyone has any advice or details.

So you have a couple thousand-ish bucks for a tranny, t-case, driveshaft, wiring, PCM reprogram, etc, to modify an under-equipped truck, but not enough to purchase a truck that has all the proper trans, coolers, brakes, and legal GVW?
Sell the 1500, use that $, add it to the $ you might have for coolers, 4L80 swap, axle gears, and buy an 8-lug truck.
 
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kadenhaugen

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If it was a 7k bumper pull he could get by with mods. 7k 5er no way in Hell.
What would cause such a big difference? I was under the influence a 5th wheel would pull better and have better weight distribution. Also the truck has 3/4 ton springs which should eat the worst of the tongue weight difference
 
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kadenhaugen

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You gotta tell me, what is "the towing package". I've never heard of "it".

Over 7k on a half ton is likely "towing out of class". Bad idea...
Open your driver door and check the placard. Chances are you are under 6800.
Is the 5th wheel hitch already installed?

I know my shop would refuse to install it on such a light duty vehicle for safety/insurance reasons.



You can add any gauges you want, if you dont gave the frame, suspension, or brakes its a tickatable offense. You're putting you, your family, and the other drivers at risk.



The RPO codes will list that. Maybe you have F44?



So you have a couple thousand-ish bucks for a tranny, t-case, driveshaft, wiring, PCM reprogram, etc, to modify an under-equipped truck, but not enough to purchase a truck that has all the proper trans, coolers, brakes, and legal GVW?
Sell the 1500, use that $, add it to the $ you might have for coolers, 4L80 swap, axle gears, and buy an 8-lug truck.
Has rails for a 5th wheel already and it has a 3.73 rear end so I'm only about 500 lbs over at 7k with adequate trailer brakes and weight distribution that should be plenty manageable as long as I avoid major grades and watch tranny temps. Considering a 4.10 swap out of a 3/4 ton for some bigger rear brakes and to get them rpms up as well.
 
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