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Jon A

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Jon A last won the day on December 2 2016

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    Everett, WA
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    2014 Denali 6.2 CC Standard Bed

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  1. Yes, and I think we need to be careful of confusing people by comparing setups too much in this thread without clarifying what the stock setup was that we're dealing with. All 2014+ V8's got the same setup but that differs significantly from the V6's which were available with several different layouts.
  2. That's good to know. I did note on my last one the gasket was glued to the thermostat which seemed to help--it wasn't failed when I took it out for this last winter while the last couple had been. Good call. I just installed an aftermarket 160 degree thermostat for the transmission myself. That was going to be a different thread when I get some more data collected on it.
  3. Operating temp is reached just as quickly. It'll typically run in the low 180's in easy highway driving, but will heat up close to 200 in slow traffic on hot days as the fans don't really start moving much air before then. Due to the limitations of the programming (making 212 degrees the lowest temp you can have the fans on at full speed without also having them blasting when they aren't needed) the fans can't be set low enough to take full advantage of the 180 thermostat in such situations. No worry about codes. IIRC in order to set a code the engine needs to stay below 168 degrees which won't happen with the 180 thermostat unless it's leaking. Of course, as I mentioned in the other thread, that is a possibility. So far all the 180 thermostats I've found on the market that work with the stock outlet have a crappy rubber gasket instead of the stock O-Ring design and they are prone to fail. When they fail it's only a small leak, much like the thermostat has a hole drilled into it as people used to commonly do "in the old days" for various reasons. It's not a worry in the summer but if you live where there are cold winters I'd definitely recommend swapping it out for the winter as I have been (it's very fast and easy to do). Another option I've recently become aware of (and big thanks to Crobinson16 for pointing this part number out to me) is GM's part number 12674634. It is the one used for the LT4 (ZL1, ZR1, etc) and has a rated opening temp of 194 degrees. It has 90C stamped right on it and will be 100% reliable for year-round use for the life of the vehicle. It's about 1/2 way between our stock 207 and a 180 so it would make a good choice for those not wanting to go quite as low as 180 but want some improvement. Unlike our stock 207, the 194 is low enough to use the same fan settings I show above. They'll come on more quickly/aggressively so you'll stay closer to the rated temp at low speeds than you will with the 180. Since the same fan settings can be used, it may have done nearly as well as the 180 did on this test. It would have started at a higher temp at the bottom, but may not have topped out much higher. Maybe if I have the chance to collect data on another run like this I'll give it a try and see what it does. Thanks, man. I did the tests and collected the data nearly two years ago, but hadn't gotten all that written up until now. I've been using these: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/SUM-366-180 Those, Jet, Jegs, Lingenfelter, etc, all seem to be the same and have the poor gasket design. Mishimoto seems to have the correct O-Ring (if the pics are accurate): https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mio-mmts-vet-14 But it's only available in 160 which is really lower than necessary in my opinion for a truck that will be used in the winter: But it will probably work just fine for summer use. Yes, the fan settings were changed with HPTuners. Takes about 5 seconds. Good tool to have.
  4. It's more complicated that peak torque numbers at the wheel in each gear, because those come at different speeds. At any given speed, in any given gear, the 3.08 truck is going to be at a lower RPM--farther out of the engine's powerband. This will result in that truck needing to be in a lower gear up most hills despite the larger engine. The lower transmission gears generally are spaced farther apart which makes it more difficult for the engine to find "the right gear" so the transmission will hunt between gears more. Also, transmissions often create significantly more heat in the lower gears. More than a few people here have reported getting the warning for high trans temp fluid when towing a large load up a big pass--I think most of them were 5.3 NHT 6-Speed owners with 3.73 gears when they needed to go down to second gear to maintain speed. Imagine a 3.08 geared truck needing 1st gear in the same situation.... Since no manufacturer is going to publish test results, we do need to guess. My guess is the 5.3 with 3.08's will fail one or more of the tests in SAE J2807 with more weight than they rate it for and/or they worry about durability for long term use. They need to maintain 40 MPH up the Davis Dam pass without getting any warning lights. It might not be able to do that. There are some acceleration tests it may fail--0-30, 0-60, and 40-60. If you've ever drag raced, you know that with a stock converter gears have way more to do with how fast the car launches than a bit more torque at 4000 RPM does. There is also a test where they launch 5 times in a row on a 12% grade. The 3.08 geared truck may have difficulty with that or GM may have felt it's just way too hard on the transmission for long term durability with more weight. I do agree with your premise that more gears in these transmissions makes the rear end ratio less important, but it's not eliminated--especially with the 6-Speeds. I have a 6-Speed 6.2 with 3.42's and I'm going to install 4.11's as soon as I can get around to it. If I had an 8-Speed or 10-Speed it's less likely I would feel the need to do that.
  5. They are very different engines, both with advantages and disadvantages. Some may like one better than the other for very real reasons, unfortunately there is so much fanboyism it's hard for prospective buyers to actually learn the differences so they can make an informed choice. The Ecoboost's ability to tow at low RPM can make for a more pleasant towing experience. While for the most part it is mental, it does have some real advantages. When towing lots of weight up a hill, 6.2 needs to find the right gear so it may hunt gears a bit more and with older 6-speed trucks the right gear might not exist resulting it it being slower up the hill. The 6-speeds need a tune improving shift points and/or gears in order to be able to keep up in the toughest tests. This issue has largely been eliminated with the 8-speed and now 10-speed transmissions. With them, the right gear always exists so the 6.2 can maintain the speed limit towing pretty much anything you'd ever want to tow with a 1/2 ton up the steepest of hills, so "towing power" isn't really an issue. While most fanboys may not ever work the truck hard enough to run into it, the Ecoboost does have a major disadvantage towing heavy loads in the mountains, especially at high altitude, especially in hot weather--COOLING. Many Ecoboost owners have eventually gotten rid of theirs simply due to frustrations with overheating when they're worked hard. Here's a visual: Issues like this are way too common. If you look at the Ecoboost towing forums, there are tons of threads about heat issues. Heavy loads up long passes in high ambient temps—especially at high altitude—commonly heats them up to the point they enter “Reduced Engine Power” mode where the engine begins cutting boost until the turbos are basically shut off. Owners commonly force downshifts to increase the engine RPM as a matter of course (sort of negates that whole “low RPM torque tows just like a big diesel” bragging point). Owners of these tucks also spend money on bigger radiators, intercoolers, aftermarket oil coolers, etc, but even with all that, nothing seems to “fix” the issue. Contrast that with the lack of threads here about overheating issues. It's really not an issue for us. While they may heat up more than I'd like in stock form, most users won't notice and/or view it as a problem as it's pretty rare to even get a warning message (usually hot transmission or engine oil) and the idea of boost being cut and the truck slowing down is something we never have to deal with. And a couple simple, cheap mods is all it takes to make our trucks stay very cool comparativelyin these conditions. I posted some in-depth test results evaluating the cooling system here: I think the fact it has largely been greeted with crickets is evidence that most GM owners never give the cooling system a second thought because they never have problems. That's a serious advantage the 6.2 has over the Ecoboost. While cooling is the big one, the 6.2 does have a couple more advantages. Mileage when towing is one. You can have Eco or you can have Boost. You can't have both at the same time. Gas engines under boost need to run richer mixtures than N/A engines to keep from blowing up. That's just a fact of life. When towing moderate loads, especially if there are any hills, you can generally expect better mileage from the 6.2 than the Ecoboost is going to give you. Another is sound. This might be even more mental than towing at low RPM, but it can be important to some. Not needing fake engine noise pumped in through the speakers in order to keep the truck from sounding like a large vacuum cleaner might not be the biggest deal to some, but it can be to others.
  6. There might be another factory swap option available in the future which should come at a much lower cost. It looks like the 2019's get much better 4 piston calipers, the rotor looks a bit bigger with more swept area. They did change some things on the suspension of the 2019's, so there's certainly no guarantee these will bolt on, but it looks like they're offering the same Brembo package as an option and from a cost standpoint, it would make sense for GM to stick with the same mounting pattern. So there's a chance.... These things will be mass produced at an enormous level, so new parts from GM should be pretty cheap. It just might take a couple of years.
  7. I had a bit of spare time a couple years ago during the hottest week of the year and figured it would be a great time to do some hot weather tuning and while I was at it, a further eval of the cooling system. I collected a bunch of temp data some may find useful. I posted some similar data a couple of years ago but it was limited to a single “after” run with a couple of mods allowing people to pontificate upon what they thought the “before” results would have been with the stock cooling system. Unfortunately side-arguments were started by people who don’t understand how the cooling system works and it overwhelmed the information provided in the thread. So here’s a second try. This time I collected enough data from enough configurations there’s really no room for any argument, just the results, just what the data show. For the sake of simplicity we’ll compare two runs, one run with the completely stock cooling system and the other configuration the one I recommend for those towing heavy loads in the mountains in the summer with 2014+ V8 trucks—with two simple mods, a 180 thermostat and more aggressive fan settings in the tune. Two of the most common tropes on the internet regarding cooling systems are “the thermostat doesn’t do anything as soon as the engine is ‘warmed up’ so it won’t make a difference,” and “the fans don’t do anything at highway speed.” Both are simply very wrong, for a multitude of reasons. While it’s possible to conceive of specific situations in which one or the other modification won’t be of benefit, the vast majority of drivers (probably on the order of 99.999% if both mods are done together) will never run into one of these situations while running hotter than they’d like. The data below speak for themselves. As I’m sure some are wondering, runs were also made with the 180 thermostat and stock fan settings along with the stock thermostat and modded fan settings. The results were unsurprising, showing one mod helpful in some situations, the other mod helpful in others, but neither mod alone fully effective in all situations. Putting the two together makes each more effective and gives significantly improved cooling performance in all situations which is why I recommend both. This post is long enough and will be confusing enough to many readers already so sticking to comparing the two configs for now is probably a good idea. But keep in mind when I explain and attribute parts of the results to one thing or the other, I’m not making it up, I have the data to support the conclusions. Here are the stock fan settings: And with the 180 Thermostat these setting were used: A snapshot close to the top with the stock system: A snapshot close to the top in the modded config: Cliff’s notes results: Those were the peak temps reached by each fluid. As you can see, the modified configuration dropped peak temps across the board by about 20 degrees. Peak temps of course, don’t tell the whole story. Looking at the data in more detail is instructive. Each run was 20 miles up a mountain pass. The first 15 miles has a decent slope with the last 5 miles or so getting pretty steep—more than a 5% grade. The long runs ensure all fluids had plenty of time to be fully warmed up and find their steady-state on the moderate slope before the steepest final five miles. Ambient temps were right around 92 degrees most of the way up the hill on all runs. Also of note, the runs were made with the cruise on 65 MPH in Tow/Haul Mode for most of the way, but on each run the last ½ mile or so required reduced vehicle speed due to traffic at the top of the hill. Here is an elevation profile of roughly the last 10 miles of the run. Each chart only shows the last 10 miles of each run to better show the differences as the first 10 of each is pretty boring and just takes up space. Note this was not intended to be any sort of “ultimate torture” test or “proof test,” indicating success on this test would insure the cooling system can handle anything. I’ve towed heavier loads up longer, steeper passes and many south of here have done that in much hotter weather (but not while collecting data with a laptop). This was a comparison test to show the differences in performance of the cooling system configurations. Temps headed in the wrong direction on this test, even if they didn’t quite get out of control, should be a red flag for more severe use. Coolant Temp: Here you can see that after the first 10 miles of steady state climb (beginning of the chart), the cooling system is doing pretty well in both configurations and the thermostats are not even fully open (thus the ~25 degree advantage for the 180 thermo). That’s pretty good news, especially for those with the stock system who live where it’s flatter and any hills encountered when towing will be of moderate slope and/or length. When the hill gets steep for the last five miles, the cooling system needs to start working much harder. As both thermostats open more fully, the advantage of the 180 thermo of the modified configuration is slowly negated so the temps converge a bit, but the higher fan speeds of that config still give the system more cooling capacity—along with the stock thermostat not being open 100% until the very end of the test. As you can see, even running full blast up the steepest part of the hill, the modified config tops out in temp, reaching a new steady state. The hill could have gone on forever and it would not have gotten any hotter. Then when vehicle speed is reduced, temp comes down immediately. It is clear the fans played a key role with the modded config as the temp rise stops as the fans approach full speed. Programmed to reach full speed at 212 degrees, the temp stops rising 5 degrees short of that, so the fans get cranked up pretty high, but never quite actually get to full speed, indicating there’s still a little cooling capacity left in the system that would require a tougher test to utilize. If it was possible to program the fans to reach full speed at a lower temp (without them running full speed all the time, which I deem unacceptable for general use) it’s very possible lower peak temps would have been maintained with this thermostat. It’s also possible a slightly higher temp thermostat would have resulted in similar peak temps with these same fan settings. But you can’t use these fan settings with the stock thermostat (it's just too high) unless you want them blasting all the time. The temp for the stock config is still climbing when running at full speed and when vehicle speed is reduced to 50 MPH or so, the temp spikes quickly. Had the steep part of the hill been any longer there’s no telling how high the temp would have climbed. It didn’t quite make it to the danger zone in this test but it’s easy to see how it could in a tougher test. I personally have no interest in ever letting my coolant get into the 230-240 degree range and it’s clear with the stock config that would have happened with a heavier trailer, steeper hill or hotter ambient temps. Other vehicles begin going into various protected modes at such temps. For example, the EcoDiesel will begin “defueling” when the temp hits 244 and you’ll begin slowing down to 18-wheeler speed. The modded config on this truck provides a huge margin of safety before reaching such temps. When vehicle speed is reduced, the stock fan settings really hurt the stock setup. It is very common for speeds to be limited by traffic or road safety when towing and this shows that while increased fan speed helps significantly even at 65 MPH, it’s really, really needed at ~50 MPH. In some states there’s a 55 MPH speed limit when towing a trailer and sometimes there’s just too much traffic to go any faster. Many also tow on gravel/dirt roads, mountain trails, etc, where vehicle speed is kept low even when the engine is working hard. For those conditions the fan settings are even more crucial than they were in this test. Given these results, the engine cooling system seems to be more than adequate on these trucks, even without the NHT radiator. All one needs to do is “turn it on” a bit more aggressively with the lower temp thermostat and fans that don’t wait until you’re close to a meltdown before they crank on with some authority. I see no other mods needed for engine temp control in any situation. Oil Temp: Since the oil cooler is an oil/water cooler located in the cool tank of the radiator—so water temps have a direct effect on its effectiveness--it’s not surprising the oil temps stayed proportional to the water temps, beginning about 20 degrees cooler for the modified setup and converging a bit as water temps converged on the steep part. Again, the modified config found a new steady state in the middle of the most difficult part, indicating the hill could have gone on forever and temps would have risen no further. The stock setup, however, allows the oil temp to keep rising until the end of the hill—had the hill gone on another few miles, how much higher would the temp have climbed? 250 degrees on this test indicates it could get really toasty under harder use with the stock setup. For good fully synthetic oil (I run Redline) 250 is no big deal for short periods if infrequent. I don’t worry about the oil temp at all on my Camaro until it exceeds 300…but then again I change the oil on my Camaro after a single day at the track and don’t rack up that many miles on the engine so engine wear is less of a concern. I don’t think many people change the oil in their truck every time they tow something up a hill, so if you’re cooking the oil on a regular basis and still trying to run it 10,000 miles between changes, keeping the temps down a bit might be a good idea. 0W-20 is thin as water at regular temps, at 250+ it simply won’t protect as well as thicker oils of the same type. Yes, it reduces wear at startup, especially in cold weather, but it can’t do that and also be optimum for really high temps—so trying to prevent it from reaching such high temps is a good idea. For those who drive a truck for a couple years before trading it in it might not be so concerning, but for those who want to keep a truck long past the warranty period and put on a lot of miles, reducing engine wear is a smart thing to do. Using the EcoDiesel as an example again, it begins defueling when the oil hits 266 degrees indicating they feel that is very bad for the engine. Given these results, the stock oil cooler shows it is pretty effective. When the water in the radiator is kept to a reasonable temp in the modded config, the oil cooler is plenty adequate for keeping the oil temps in check. I don’t see a need for adding an aftermarket cooler or modding the stock system in any way, just keep the engine from running too hot when it’s working hard. Trans Temp: Here you can see on the moderate portion of the hill, the mods only made a small difference. Since most (or even all in some conditions) of the cooling comes from the air/oil cooler in the system, and the trans fluid cooling system has its own thermostat, lower water temps only have a small secondary effect on trans temps so the engine thermostat change alone won’t do much. And before the trans fluid thermostat is wide open, the increased fan speed only has a small effect. As the trans warms up, the increased fan speeds do help obviously as you can see the results begin to diverge as the hill gets really steep. In the stock config, the temp was climbing quickly all the way to the top. If the hill was longer, there’s no telling when it would stop. While for a shorter period of time than the other fluids, the temp does reach somewhat of a steady state temp in the modded config before vehicle speed is reduced indicating if the hill went on forever the temp should stay close constant. And the temp is low enough even if it gains another couple degrees, it’s a non-issue. The most worrisome part of the results for the stock system is the huge temperature spike at the top of the hill where vehicle speed is reduced. With the fans humming along in the modded config, there is no large temperature spike. This is an especially important thing for people to note who tow at lower speeds as described above. Towing in traffic is especially hard on the transmission as the on gas/off gas nature keeps the converter unlocking and slipping all the time, creating a lot of heat. The same can be said for winding roads/mountain trails. Unfortunately there are not separate fan settings in the computer based upon tranny temp, you need to get them on indirectly by assuming any time the transmission wants to get hot the engine will be warm enough that the modded fan settings I show above will have kicked in. This should work for most situations but it is possible (towing at low speeds, especially in very cold weather) that won’t always be the case. For pure highway towing the mods I listed above should be adequate. Keeping the transmission temps below 210 degrees in a test like this keeps you way out of the danger zone and nothing else is really needed. However, if you do tow at lower speeds a lot it may be worth it to you to add another layer of protection. The easiest way to do that is to bypass the stock tranny fluid thermostat and splice in an aftermarket one. This should have a similar effect as the lower thermostat does for the engine temp—giving it a lower baseline temp 95% of the time and keeping max temps lower by simply “turning on” the trans cooler a larger percentage of the time in mixed use and earlier during sustained hard pulls. I would not recommend simply bypassing the stock thermostat without replacing it with something. There’s really no advantage to running these modern transmissions colder than 180 or so and some disadvantages, especially in winter use. According to the data so far, the stock air/oil cooler seems adequate so I see no reason to advocate adding a larger aftermarket cooler at this point. But I don’t yet have any data for the system with a lower temp trans thermostat or lower speed testing. I’ll probably do that at some point and try to collect data in situations where the above mods might not be enough. Given the testing so far, I do think it would be very difficult to come up with a scenario where the above mods and the addition of a new tranny fluid thermostat are not enough to keep temps under control and wouldn’t advocate going to the hassle and potential downsides of installing a new cooler until some sort of data indicated it was needed. But more testing in this area is needed. Conclusions: For a 2014+ truck with a V8, even with the non-NHT radiator, I conclude the following for towing in hot weather where steep hills/mountain passes will push the cooling system to the max of its capabilities, in stock configuration and with two mods—a 180 degree engine thermostat and reprogrammed fans. Engine temp: In stock config the system is adequate for all but the harshest of conditions (harder than the above test). However there is indication a harder test could drive engine temps dangerously close to overheating, even if it doesn’t get to the point of spewing steam, it will come too close for comfort for many owners. With the two mods, the stock cooling system should be completely adequate for any situation. Engine oil temp: In stock config, the system is not adequate to keep engine oil temps in the range many users would like for longevity and in a tougher test could reach temps where warning messages appear, oil life is reduced, engine wear is increased, etc. With the two mods, engine oil temps are kept in check and the stock system should be adequate for any situation. Trans Temp: In stock config, the system is not adequate to keep trans temps in the range many users would like for longevity and in a tougher test could reach temps where warning messages appear, fluid life would be reduced and transmission could risk damage. In the modded config, trans temps are kept in check and the system should be adequate for any highway-speed condition where transmission heat is due to longer, sustained hard work as the engine temps will also rise triggering an increase in fan speed. The above test does not guarantee the system will be adequate in all lower speed conditions, especially in cold weather where the engine might stay cold enough the fans will not speed up (unless you have them programmed to stay blasting all the time which is not recommended for various other reasons). More testing and possibly other mods required (lower temp trans thermostat, larger cooler if high temps are still reached after that). One caveat for the entire cooling system overall is that these tests were done with the 6.2. It’s reasonable to suspect they might not have been as good (for each config) if tested on a 5.3 which will need higher RPM and lower gears to maintain speed going up steep hills. For a given load and a given hill, the 5.3 just needs to work harder than the 6.2. This does tend to put more heat in the fluids and I believe everybody thus far who has reported here getting warning messages when towing up passes and had to slow down has had the 5.3—even with the NHT radiator. So for concerned 5.3 owners I’d say look at the above results with the fact all temps may have been higher with a 5.3 in mind, making the mods an even better idea for the smaller engine. Another caveat is that this truck does not have those fantastic grill shutters…. I’ve done zero investigation into how those are operated and how much restriction they add even when open. Any restriction to airflow through the radiator only makes fan power more important, so if anything they would result in an even larger difference between the two configurations. One of the more important things this test reveals, is just how lucky we are. GM did a pretty good job on the cooling system of these trucks and big N/A V8’s are generally easier to keep cool than smaller turbo motors. Most never have any issue in completely stock form, and with a couple of simple mods that “turn on” the cooling system a bit sooner, we can work these trucks hard without worry, no matter the load, no matter the ambient temp. Other brands don’t have it so good. Before buying this truck, I was heavily looking at both the Ford Ecoboost and the Ram Ecodiesel. Both of those trucks have serious issues in tests like this. The Ram has it much worse—they run into the defueling conditions even with lesser loads on lesser hills and even in cool weather. It is very unlikely one of those could have completed this test without having to slow down to the 30-40 MPH range ½ way up the hill. They simply aren’t remotely as capable as these trucks are. Some owners spend money on bigger radiators, intercoolers, aftermarket oil coolers, different grills for more airflow, etc, but most simply seem satisfied to slow down to the 30-40 MPH range on big hills. They sure do get great mileage though. The Ecoboosts don’t have it quite that bad (they’re much more capable trucks), but they do commonly have issues. Heavy loads up long passes in high ambient temps—especially at high altitude—commonly heats them up to the point they enter “Reduced Engine Power” mode where the engine begins cutting boost until the turbos are basically shut off. Owners of these tucks also spend money on bigger radiators, intercoolers, aftermarket oil coolers, etc, but even with all that, nothing seems to “fix” the issue. We don’t need to worry about any of that. Owners commonly force downshifts to increase the engine RPM as a matter of course (sort of negates that whole “low RPM torque tows just like a big diesel” bragging point). Lots of Ecodiesel and Ecoboost owners end up upgrading to heavy duty trucks (usually of the same brand as they are loyal) simply due to frustration of overheating issues when the trucks are worked hard. It’s nice we don’t have to worry about that. Good job, GM.
  8. Yeah, that sounds about right given your description of your driving. Plenty of people have reported no noticeable difference after disabling the system, others have reported a small drop. It will obviously vary depending upon the driving conditions and accurately testing mileage is way more difficult than most people realize as traffic, weather, wind, etc, play such a huge role. But in your case, I'd definitely expect a drop, but not a huge one.
  9. Does anybody have any actual pictures of the 34 gal tank from the long beds (GM part # 22772345 )? Standard bed trucks have gobs of space in front of the 26 gal tank if you relocate the EVAP canister. There's certainly room for a much bigger (longer) tank under these trucks. It wouldn't surprise me if the 34 gal tank fit with some modifications. Does anybody have a picture of one so we can compare their shapes?
  10. Not remotely. Even GM's advertising claims when these engines were introduced were for only 5-7% increase due to the AFM system. You're realistically looking at 1-2 MPG gain or less even in the most favorable driving conditions (lots of low-medium speed cruising on flat ground). Less if you live where there are lots of hills, tow anything, have larger tires, travel at high speeds, etc.
  11. Personally I don't do any real overlanding, but do study builds for ideas that might work for me. While it would be fun, taking "vacations from the world" for weeks or months at a time just isn't possible for me right now and I have other requirements from my truck that a good overland rig wouldn't do well. Here was my Trailblazer when I got done with it: The platform certainly had some limitations but we got by with it pretty well for a while.
  12. Yes, big difference. The best offroad trucks would be terrible for overlanding and even the best overlanding rigs aren't going to be nearly as good offroad as a trailered offroad park toy. There is obviously quite a bit of overlap and the terms do get confused/misused often. Part of that is probably because so few people have the time or money to do either all the way in either direction so even while building their trucks geared toward one theme or the other, they aren't really built far enough to be considered "serious" for either. As far as full sized trucks, it really depends upon the terrain the owner is interested in. Heavily forested trails are often simply too tight for a full sized truck to work well (or at all on some trails). But in more open country size is less often an issue and the ability to haul more stuff can be an advantage. The Toyota Tundra has a big following for overland builds and there's nothing it can do the GM's can't, but they do have more aftermarket support for overlanding goodies.
  13. I did this swap a couple of years ago. The headlights fit fine and will plug in, but you need a harness for them to work correctly. I got a conversion harness from http://www.gen5diy.com/ . Basically all it does is change the power supply to directly wire to your battery (only one connection to make). The stock lights are PWM powered I believe which doesn't work well with HID. It's a good way to get HID with factory reliability especially if you have a good deal on the lights themselves. A couple companies now make brighter bulbs you can always upgrade to if you feel the need.
  14. Yes, if you look for the sticker on the hitch itself, it should look like this: No separate ratings for WDH or without. But as you note the owner's manual does state one is required over 800 lbs tongue/7000 lbs trailer per their ratings for the truck, but the hitch isn't the limiting factor. As for these trucks towing more than the previous generation, a lot of that is simply due to making the trucks better and/or standardizing what used to be really "heavy duty" options across the board. The hitch above is an example, they all get a very strong hitch, all V8 models get 4 wheel disks, 9.5" or bigger rear axle, transmission cooler, etc. There are a lot of 1500s from the prior generation out there with drum brakes, 8.6" axle, no transmission cooler and a hitch that would not handle your trailer safely.
  15. I haven't posted many pics in a while, so since you're asking.... Stock: Leveled 2" Front, 1" Rear with 34" Tires: Leveled ~2.5" Front, 2" Rear with 35" Tires: Lifted 4.5" front, 3.5" rear with 35" Tires: I've since replaced the stock tube steps, gained a bunch of ground clearance and makes it look higher:

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