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StevePT

Gas vs. Diesel, please read 1st

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I am sure this is a common topic on here but I am really hoping to get some solid advice specific to my situation. I am looking to replace my 1500 with the 5.3L, I have modified it as much as I can and it just doesn't have enough power to tow my travel trailer. I have a 28' trailer with dry weight of 5340 and GVWR of 7000. We love going to the mountains and that is where it lacks adequate power. I know the diesel is superior but looking online at hundreds of listings for a used one it is also $10,000 more. If the 2500HD with the 6L gas would be adequate for my situation that is a lot of money to save. I don't need to go 80 mph up the mountain with my trailer but I would like to be able to keep a reasonable safe speed. From all I have heard to 6L is a great, reliable engine but I need to be sure it is adequate. Thank you 🙏

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With that size trailer I would be all over the 6.0.  I had the first year 6.0 in my 99 2500 put 180,000+ miles on it pulling a lot of trailers and it was a good set up to do the smaller trailers but when I stepped up to a box trailer for one of my hobbies the 6.0 just did not like the trailer and I did not enjoy the driving experience then.  :jester:

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Gearing is cheaper than buying a different truck. What's your final drive ratio? What do you consider a safe speed towing in the mountains? 

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I had a duramax for the last 14 years. Great motor and transmission.  Had plenty of power for anything I needed. I just traded that truck in for a 2016 2500hd with the 6L. The fuel economy is about 13-14 empty and 8-10 towing.  But with gas(in my area) being almost .90 cents a gallon cheaper it's a easier pill to swallow.  The truck down shifts a little more than my diesel but I've always felt it had more than enough power.  It's been almost a year and I don't regret my decision 

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A 6.0 isn't going to be any faster than a 5.3.  If you are going to tow with a naturally aspirated engine, get used to hearing the engine scream.  You can tow that trailer up steep hills all day long with your foot to the floor and the 6.0 will never break, but it isn't much more powerful than the 5.3 so if that is really what you want you need a 6.2 GM, a diesel, or maybe an Ecoboost Ford.  

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Having owned a fantastic Duramax for 8 years,  I sold my 33 foot Fifth wheel and bought a 5000 pound double slide Arctic Fox. I needed the payload that the 6 gasser gave me over another Duramax so I did research , know a few people that love their 6 gassers so I ordered my High Country with the 6.0. Three years later, no regrets, my 6 moves my 13000 pounds up an 8 % Grade at 60 mph,  No problem, great reliable motor.  A 1500 with a 5.3 will never tow as good as a HD, 

The HD has 4:10 gears and better brakes. There is a reason an HD has a higher tow rating than a 1500. Either way you can't go wrong, the 6 or Duramax will both work for you. To really justify a diesel you need to tow heavy or be a very high mileage driver. Best of luck. 

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I’ve owned a 6.0 3500 and it was a great truck, hit 200k miles the day I traded it. Original engine but was on the third trans. 

I would base the decision off of how frequently you plan on making the trip over the mountains. One huge advantage to the Duramax is the Allison transmission. The vgt brake is another plus. Just turn it on and downshift. Makes a big difference when trailering on grades. 

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Posted (edited)

As a fellow RVer who went from the 5.3L to the 6.0L, it's a world of difference in stability and low end power.

 

If your TT only has a GVWR of 7000# though, the 5.3L 1500 should more than handle it. My Sierra 1500(3.42 rear end) did well with our 34' TT (9600# GVWR - 8300# actual loaded weight). The suspension was why I upgraded to a 2500. The 1500 is just too soft for my size trailer and truck was pushed around more than I cared for.

 

I didn't want a diesel. Nothing that breaks on a diesel is less than a few thousand, and the added vehicle costs don't justify it (sure, mileage is better, but fuel cost offsets it). Many will disagree and say Diesel or bust, but real world towing (Fancy Gap, WV Mountains) with my rig shows the 6.0L is a beast. An older design, but very reliable (and thirsty) beast.

 

If you plan to upgrade your trailer to something larger, then a 2500 should be used. If you're going 40' 5th wheel, then definitely diesel 3500. 

 

If you keep current TT and go 2500 gasser, you WILL be doing 80 up the mountains. I pulled Fancy Gap (7 miles @ 7%) steady at 60mph with no issues.

 

EDIT: Make sure your hitch is setup properly too. A good WD hitch (I use Equalizer). Hitch setup will make or break.

Edited by ewbldavis
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Lots of good feedback thank you!

@ewbldavis I have put cold air intake, cat-back exhaust, Black Bear performance Tuner on the 5.3L. All have helped but still feels like it lags going over the mountains. Maybe I don't push it enough and it has more power. We went on a 2 week trip last summer to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, by the time we were driving over the Sierra Nevadas out of Reno coming home I was just tired of dragging up the mountains with bigger trucks pulling trailers flying by me. I dont even want to talk about the grade leaving Idaho going to Jackson Hole, foot was all the way to the floor and if it was another 1/10th of a mile up that hill I don't think I would have made it. I also put air bags on which helped with ride quality pulling the TT. And I do have a really nice WD hitch set up

 

@grumpy bear I would like to easily do 55 mph

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You wouldn’t have any trouble with the 6l maintaining that speed or more at that weight. Also keep in mind. Max torque is made @4200rpm with a 6l. Which is turning pretty good but they are built for that. That’s the main difference between gas and diesel power output. Gas=High RPM. Diesel=Low RPM.


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On 3/5/2019 at 8:26 PM, i82much said:

A 6.0 isn't going to be any faster than a 5.3.  If you are going to tow with a naturally aspirated engine, get used to hearing the engine scream.  You can tow that trailer up steep hills all day long with your foot to the floor and the 6.0 will never break, but it isn't much more powerful than the 5.3 so if that is really what you want you need a 6.2 GM, a diesel, or maybe an Ecoboost Ford.  

Disagree, the 6 L is  torquey engine made to pull. It will pull the Rv much easier.

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Posted (edited)

If the 6.0 has any real advantage, it is the gearing.  In any event, I tend to doubt that someone who feels a 5.3 has inadequate power is going to be impressed by a 6.0 with roughly the same output in a much heavier truck.  

 

But truth is, unless we set up a race with the same trailer, this is just another instance of two people tossing out opinions on the internet.

Edited by i82much

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3 hours ago, avalonandl said:

Disagree, the 6 L is  torquey engine made to pull. It will pull the Rv much easier.

Actually I did some more reading and I think this is essentially inaccurate.  Check out these two graphs:

 

https://www.gmpowertrain.com/engines/docs/GMQD16CL860_L83_Product PDF.pdf

 

https://www.gmpowertrain.com/engines/docs/GMQD16CLA60_L96_Product PDF.pdf

 

Look at the numbers from between, say, 2500 RPM to 4500 RPM.  Basically the range you would be in towing a 7000 lb trailer in a hilly area.   I see no real advantage for the 6.0, certainly not enough to overcome 1,000 lbs of extra weight in the 2500HD.  

 

Again, if a 2500HD has a power advantage over a 1500 with a 5.3, it isn't the output of the engine - it is the gearing.  

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Is this truck a daily driver?

Or just used to pull the TT and haul, tow occasionally?

If so gaser IMO.

From the sounds of it a 6.0 HD will getter done.

 

:)

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I came from a crude, thirsty, and gutless (but pristine) 1996 F350 with a 460 into a new 2018 GMC All Terrain HD 2500 Duramax, knowing that the modern gas engines would likely be the better choice.   I don’t drive it daily and I don’t consistently work it hard. 

 

I can fully accept the fact  that modern diesels don’t hold the economic advantage over their gas counterparts that they once did. Perhaps at resale, but that’s about it. I’ve developed the opinion that you either have to WANT or NEED a modern diesel to make it worth the overall cost of ownership. You can pay for a lot of 87 octane with the cost advantage, you just won’t have the same effortless driving experience.

 

I wanted it, plain and simple. I don’t need it. This is my first diesel that I’ve owned, and I wanted the power and control that a gas will never give. I like being able to drive out west heading into the wind with a sideways sail of a snowmobile trailer and not feeling one single downshift. I like the steady surge of power accelerating with a load behind me, knowing there’s more to give if I ask. I like having this magic exhaust brake button I can push that feels like I throw an anchor off the back of the trailer when I let off the accelerator. I like barely being able to hear the truck doing it’s thing as I’m driving normally. 

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