Worth upgrading to GMT800?

Discussion in 'Towing' started by Some Guy with a GM, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Supercharged111

    Supercharged111 I'm Awesome

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    If that Sub had the Allison there'd be a bigger difference.
     
  2. DonF

    DonF Newbie

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    They both are nice, both tow well. No real up or down to either one. just some differences. I had a 95 G30 van with very low miles. It was great for my needs space wise, but it was not up to pulling out of town, mostly it was the gear ratio spacing on the 4l60e, the engine after some mods and tuning did OK, but still not like a big block. So I moved on to the 96 7.4 C2500. Pulls fine, super clean, but I can't get much stuff behind the seat. Being a pickup it's got advantages for yard work, but the canopy is not really secure, even with the flimsy locks they have. That is a worry when spending the night at a hotel with race car or dyno support equipment in the back. The Suburban may be a good compromise, it's the best towing out of the bunch, but not by a lot. A hotel scavenger will have to work a lot harder to get into the back of the Sub, but I will not sell the truck, or the Suburban until I spend more time with both.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Mark Gilbert

    Mark Gilbert I'm Awesome

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    I'll add my experiences. I just got rid of my 99 2500 suburban with a 454 and my 98 1500 5.7 suburban. Now I have an 03 2500 suburban with the 8.1, all of these have been 4x4.

    The 99 pulling my camper (5100 lbs loaded) up a 7 percent grade (not sure exactly how long, but I estimate about 3 miles) would with a full throttle I would be lucky to hold 35 mph at the top if I started out at 65. Fuel mileage estimate according to HPTuners was 3 mpg.

    The 03 pulling the same camper on the same road (actually similar weather conditions) The last time I made that trip some jackass decided he didn't need to get into the slow lane and I started at the bottom at 40 mph when I got around him I buried the pedal and was at 75 mph by the top, according to the cluster I was getting 2 mpg. (totally worth it)

    I got the 99 2500 (10k towing cap) because I wanted the higher towing capacity than the 98 1500 (6k towing cap) (my trailer if I load the front deck max's out at 7100 lbs)
    The 03 2500 has a towing cap of 12k and rides nicer than the 1500.

    I have no regrets going to the GMT800. I like the interior better, I think it looks nicer, and it will be much easier to swap to a Duramax if I get that hair up my ass.
     
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  4. 1997

    1997 I'm Awesome

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    don't tell me that haha, stepping up a Duramax would probably feel the same and then some.
    imo they don't look as nice thou.
     
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  5. DonF

    DonF Newbie

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    That is a bigger difference towing than I noticed. Were they both 4.11 gears? I have a 6000 lb mobile dyno and trailer and we are about 30 minutes from a 4-6% grade up the Siskiyou summit. The grade varies, 6% in the steepest section. Its long though, about 40 miles of very steep up and down in that section. The speed limit is 55. Both trucks had no problems doing close to that in the middle lanes, although the 454 was working harder. On the down hills the suburban had the advantage brake wise too. That is one of the reason I have a big block 2500. North or south there is some pretty big hills. Both mine are stock and are geared the same, with close to the same tire, only one tire size apart, 265 vs 245. I think the truck may be less weight compared to the suburban, but never checked. I do like the GMT 800 though. This was the only one in my price range so far with low miles. I don't like the air assist shocks. I would rather have just plain old Kybs on there like my truck. I also noticed the Sub has one less leaf in the spring pack. Probably why they had to add the air shocks from the factory. So an extra leaf and regular shocks may be in the suburbans future if I keep it.
     
  6. BNielsen

    BNielsen I'm Awesome

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    Did you ever 0411 swap your 96? Hands down the best thing I've done performance wise; there's still some stuff left to be done like pinning in tow/haul, as well as a bit more tuning.
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    After towing almost 9K pounds a couple weeks back, I wasn't disappointed but I wasn't surprised with how my truck did. Starting off was a little hard due to the gearing and tires size (33" tires and 3.73 gearing) and stopping was a little white knuckle.
    But the truck kept speed no matter what, and even maintained 55 miles per hour on a 1/2 mile long hill not to far from my place; I'm not sure what the grade percent is on it.

    I'm hopeful that with a few upgrades like regearing, a bit of brake work (NBS knuckles, new MC, new brake lines, and rear disc) throwing on helper air bags, some performance parts and tuning it'll be able to tow just as well as confidently as my dad's 2002 GMC 2500HD.

    I've tried looking for a GMT800 for shits and giggles, but trying to find an 8.1L ECSB or CCSB 2500 with the same amount of miles and the same shape as my truck for less than 10K is almost impossible. So I'll just upgrade my truck with GMT800 parts.
     
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  7. DonF

    DonF Newbie

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    No I did not do anything to the 96 other than a lot of maintenance because I am picky about that. It tows up the hills really well as is, maybe I just got a good one. I did put it on my chassis dyno, about 230 rear wheel hp, so just about what it should read if the engine is 290. I really was not looking to replace it, but the Suburban popped up for $3000 with 120,000 miles on it. I have not looked at the 8.1 much other than a test tow and check to make sure there are no codes. It's not a super clean suburban even though the miles are low, but it could work with some TLC.
     
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  8. Supercharged111

    Supercharged111 I'm Awesome

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    Orrr. . . could 8.1 swap the truck. Seeing as you have a dyno, do you have the software to tune both? I know the 454 wakes up, I'd be shocked if the 8.1 didn't as well. My biggest gripe with the 454 in stock form was that it downshifted and zinged out for any little thing. Lame.
     
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  9. DonF

    DonF Newbie

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    Either one will tow 6000 lbs up the steep grades without any trouble. So that is not a direction I need to go. No use going off on another tangent project.
     
  10. Supercharged111

    Supercharged111 I'm Awesome

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    Mine pulled stuff down the road fine too, just 1 gear too low. After a tune it held OD much, much better. I'd hardly consider a tune a project.
     
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