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Old     (nate26)      Join Date: Jun 2009       10-02-2014, 11:10 AM Reply   
I was hoping to get some information from Chevy owners. I've been thinking about upgrading to a new truck. I currently have a 2008 Chevy 1500 with a 5.3L and 4 speed transmission. It's been a great truck and towed our old boat, Sanger 215, fine. We now have a Wakesetter vlx. For the most part our current truck tows it fine. But, when loaded up with camping gear and six people the truck struggles some. Especially going over Mt. Hood.

I'm undecided on weather to get another 1500 with the 5.3L and 6 speed transmission or to step up to the 2500 diesel. Obviously the 3\4 ton with a diesel would be better for towing. I'm just not sure I want to diesel for a daily driver or spend the extra cash for the 3/4 ton.

My questions are more about the 1500. Can anyone tell me how the 2014s are for towing? Especially loaded down. Would it behoove me to get the Z71 package? I would imagine the 6 speed tranny that come in them now would be a vast improvement over our current 4 speed. Does it make as big a difference as I think it would? For what we do would the 1500 5.3L be adequate or would I be wishing we'd went with the 2500 diesel?

I know there are a lot of Ford, Dodge, and Toyota fans out there, but I'm only looking at the Chevys.

Any info from other members would be appreciated.
Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-02-2014, 12:25 PM Reply   
I personally don't know much about the new Chevy's but the way most half ton's pull nowadays (my reference being the f150 5.0 or ecoboost) it may not be worth the switch and potentially larger maintenance bills. I've debated this route back and fourth quite a bit myself as I tow the Coquihalla here in BC which eats Trucks and Campers on a daily basis going up the big hill which gets up to an 8.5% grade. For me I only do this trip a few times a year so having a diesel the rest of the year seems to be overkill for myself as my local lake is only 20 minutes away and barely has any hills. Even my friends 2010 F150 was a night and day difference compared to my 05. My neighbor works for a diesel performance shop and he tells me about the bills guys are getting all the time for service and they ain't small. Not sure down where you are but the cost of diesel fuel now doesn't always offset the cost of the truck any more.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       10-02-2014, 12:26 PM Reply   
Here is what I think about it, I've been through exactly what your getting ready to do.

I've pulled my Supra 24V with the following GM trucks

1. 2003 Silverado 1500 5.3, It pulled it but I always thought I need more power and the brakes sucked. It really struggled going up hills with my boat. I "thought I needed a duramax"

2. 2007.5 built duramax LMM. It had a built trans mission, EFI live the biggest tune was 230 hp over stock to the ground so it put down somewhere around 550 to the ground. 6" of lift with 35" tires. I loved the attention the truck got but for a daily driver it sucked. And if any thing goes wrong it real expensive to fix. This is the reason I got ride of the duramax.

3. 2008 GMC sierra denali with the 6.2 and the 6 speed. It pulls just as good as the duramax on the 90 hp light tow tune, I know the duramax pulls better up the side of a mountain but for as little as I pull stuff I couldn't justify a diesel any more. Plus the 6.2 has got 403 hp so it's got some get up and go stock.

If it where me I would find a 1500 with a 6.2, you can find 6.2's in Sierra and Silverado form 2010+ and in Denali's from 2007+.
Old     (Fourspeednup)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-02-2014, 4:55 PM Reply   
The 2014's GM's are night and day different than the last generation and they're offering big rebates right now with 2015's coming in. Worth a look since you can probably walk out the door paying less than most people want for 2 year old used trucks. Don't get me wrong, a diesel would be bad ass and pull your boat like it wasn't there but between up front cost, fuel, emission controls, maintenance, etc IMO it isn't worth it unless you're consistently towing 7500+ lbs.

If a dealer is serious about selling you the truck they'll let you hook up your boat and tow it around for comparison. Keep us posted!
Old     (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       10-02-2014, 6:40 PM Reply   
I don't get where all the talk of expensive diesel maintenance is coming from. Sure, you pay more for oil changes but you don't do them as often so that's a wash. I just sold my ten year old Ram 2500 4X4 with 210K miles for half of what I paid for it new. Biggest thing I had to do was a water pump. I honestly didn't put more than $1,000 into repairs in the ten years I owned it. But you're a Chevy guy so I guess my points are moot. If I was buying a gasser, I'd be Chevy only. Diesel? Only Ram.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       10-02-2014, 7:19 PM Reply   
I was wait for somebody to say that diesel weren't more expensive to maintain. But I said expensive to fix and if you turn them up something is going to break.


You blow a head gasget 4,000 to have it fixed.

Trans goes out a new biult one is 3,000 to 5,000

Turbo and you upgrade it 2,000

Cp3 on a duramax goes bad 1,200 just for the pump

Cp4 on a newer diesel lets go, the whole fuel system needs to be replaced 10,000 if its out of warrenty.

I can blow my 6.2 sky high and go buy a used for the same price as just a head gasget job.
Old     (cwb4me)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-03-2014, 6:21 AM Reply   
I'm going back to gas from a diesel.Two reasons the 1/2 tons ride better and the new 1 /2 tons will tow 10k to 12k no problem.They also are less expensive to repair.Whoever thinks it costs less to own and maintain a diesel isn't keeping tabs on their operating costs.Between fuel costing more,requiring 3 times the oil to each change and much more frequent and expensive fuel and air filter costs alone. That's not even getting into repairs which anyone who has owned a diesel knows it's harder to find a good diesel mechanic. Not to mention at least 25% to 30% on average more expensive to do same repairs. Examples are Batteries,brakes,starters,water pumps and radiators.
Old     (mwmc_andy)      Join Date: Dec 2005       10-03-2014, 7:13 AM Reply   
We have used a variety of gas and diesel Chevy's for our shop trucks @ Midwest MasterCraft. We have gone exclusively to gas 1500's with the 6.2. They tow great, cost less, ride better, and now even get good mileage.

We have a 2010, 2011 and a 2014 all with 6.2's. The 2014 will get north of 20 mph when not towing. It averaged 23.1 for a 50 mile drive where I was running 60-65 mph. I tow almost daily and still average north of 15 mpg.

All three of the 6.2's pull great but the 2014 has more HP, Torque, and noticeably better fuel economy. The interior is also a lot nicer than the older trucks. With a LTZ Z71 you can get a truck that does not have fake plastic wood grain or a ton of plastic on the dash which is difficult these days.

The newer diesel trucks are towing machines but the higher initial purchase price, higher fuel costs, and expensive and frequent maintenance are not worth it for towing inboard boats. Our last Duramax would go into limp mode if you did not change air filters ($100 part and you had to take the inner fender liner apart to do it) at less then 10K miles. There are way too many hassles with exhaust chemicals, 17 quart oil changes, and fuel that costs more per gallon to make a diesel appealing unless you need to tow more than #10K.

The 6.2 is only a $1995 MSRP option over the 5.3 on a 1500 but they are much harder to find. I would much rather have a 1500 with a 6.2 than a 2500 with a 6.0 and the only way I would consider a modern diesel is if my towing requirements were heavy enough.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       10-03-2014, 7:20 AM Reply   
^^^^^ agreed 100%
Old     (dilpickle)      Join Date: Aug 2013       10-03-2014, 10:36 AM Reply   
I would like to share some personal experience that relates to the topic at hand, i run the maintenance dept that oversees around 400 1/2, 3/4 & 1 ton pickups (mixed Ford & Chevy) & am seeing a lot of misconceptions about the diesels (Duramax in particular)
-Like all things mechanical (boats come to mind), a piece of equipment will last depending on how well it is maintained.
-The newer diesels with common rail injection like clean fuel (water is hard on the injectors), if you live where it gets cold, you ned to find someplace that sells blended fuel.
-Maintenance has been blown a little out of proportion on here-Duramax takes 10 qts of oil to change (5.3 or 6.0, 6.2 takes 6 qts), but you do it 5-7000 miles as opposed to 3-5000 on gasser
-DEF (exhaust chemical) uses about one 2.5 gallon jug every time I change the oil ($11.34 @ Walmart)
-I will admit that the repairs are more expensive, but happen on a much longer timeframe. Amortised out, the overall cost is very similar. The last time I pulled records on our units going to retirement the diesel Chevy's averaged $.05-.10/mile, the half ton gassers were $.04-.08/mile.
-These trucks are always ran heavy (usually 800-1500 lbs in the bed) & tow about 15-20% of the time (6,000-13,000 lb trailers)
-In the 10 years we have used the Duramax, we have changed 1 transmission, 2 fuel pumps & 2 sets of injectors (out of over 100 units, we retire at 170-225K)

One of the biggest problems I see with the newer diesels is that you can spend $500 for a canned tuner & "add" 80-250 HP. This is where the problems start. Personally, I think 400HP & 765 ft/lbs is enough to do the job.

Now for your question about gassers, the 6 speed trans will be an improvement over your current setup, but not as big as you would hope. With the 6-speed, you get a taller rear end gear that negates the advantage gained with the extra 2 gears.

I came from a "07 Vortex MAX (6.0, 367 HP) to my 2014 Duramax & the difference is phenomenal. We occasionally tow the boat with my wife's Tahoe (5.3, 6 speed, 3.42 gears) & It is so much louder/slower. Not bad by any means, but no comparison to the truck.

The last thing I will leave is the cost aspect, I can't speak for used as there are too many variables. When I bought my 2014 Duramax, I looked at the 1500 in the same configuration (Crew Cab LTZ, 6.5 ft bed, towing gears) but with the 6.2L engine & the difference in price out the door was less than $800. The other big consumable is fuel-Wife's 2011 Tahoe (same running gear as 1500 pickup) gets 10MPG pulling the boat burning $3.65/gal (ethanol free mid-grade 89 octane) fuel for a cost of 36.5 cents per mile, My Duramax gets 13.5 MPG towing the same boat at a slightly higher average speed burning $4.09/gal diesel fuel for a cost of 30.3 cents per gallon.

Please don't let this steer you away from gasser if that is what you truly wan't, but for the same cost over the life of the vehicle I will keep my Duramax til it dies!!
Old     (mwmc_andy)      Join Date: Dec 2005       10-04-2014, 7:51 AM Reply   
How did you find a diesel for only $800 more than a gas 1500? Most times a duramax/allison is more like $8-10K more up front. That is a huge factor in the decision for gas over diesel.

It is awesome that you have seen such luck with the diesels. The two I had were a hassle.

I think most people will find that the price difference between a 1500 and a diesel will be a lot greater than you did. The other thing is the 2014/2015 6.2's will see about the same mileage towing an inboard to the diesels. All of the emissions requirements have lowered the economy on diesels. I got 7 mph more out of the 2002 F350 PowerStroke than it did with the newer Duramax.

My experience is that with a new gas truck you pay lets say $8K less up front, get similar economy towing, frequently better mileage when not towing, and have less expensive fuel and less maintenance at a lower costs.

I live in MN and the hassle of diesels are an added pain in the winter. The diesel mileage with mixed winter fuel is horrible. Plus I don't have to plug in my gas trucks. They start great at -25.

I do agree the power tuning a diesel is not a good idea. Very few people would require more than what the stock trucks are capable of.

With GM adding 8 speed tranny's and stop and start in the next few years in addition to reducing the weight of the trucks, I think the advantage may even grow for gas trucks in this towing class.

I love towing with a diesel. It is amazing. If we were towing heavier loads, all of our trucks would still be oil burners. That said, even with your great reliability record on the diesels, it they cost $8K more up front and get similar mileage with fuel that costs 10%+ more, the equation changes. I am a huge fan of 1500's with the 6.2.
Old     (patrick232)      Join Date: Aug 2008       10-04-2014, 8:06 AM Reply   
The Duramax vs 6.2 price is about a grand if your not comparing the exact same options on the trucks. You can find a leather LT or base LTZ Duramax any day. Look for a leather LT think GM stopped making them or a base LTZ is a needle in hay stack. For 2009 Chevy made the Tahoe with the 6.2 but not the suburban. As for towing the 6.2 crew cab never let me down and towing around Ohio or TN. Rode better than the 06 Duramax. Current stable is a 2013 suburban with 5.3 and a 2015 Duramax. When towing to TN I opt for the Duramax over the suburban. Set the cruise and forget about it. Wish I could have the 6.2 or mini Duramax in the 2016 suburban.
Old     (dilpickle)      Join Date: Aug 2013       10-04-2014, 11:18 AM Reply   
I bought my Duramax in March of this year, my 2500 is the older body style (I prefer the interior) When I bought my truck there were significant incentives across the board. The window sticker on my truck was $62,500, OTD price was 51,835. The 1500 I was also looking at window sticker was $54,920, OTD price was 51,055. I took the 2500 home. At the time, there was a small incentive on the 1500, the 2500 had a larger base incentive & had an additional incentive for having the Duramax/Allison. Both of these trucks were LTZ crew cab with 6'6" beds, 1500 had the 6.2L engine.

Before around 2003.5 was the peak of diesel fuel economy, the largest thing killing economy was the horsepower war that started around the same time as emissions started tightening. The 7.3L diesel in your '02 was rated at 250 HP & around 480-520 ft/lbs if I remember correctly, we had a bunch of those as well. The comparable Duramax was 310 HP & 520 ft/lbs The low point for fuel economy is any of the 07-2010 trucks, this was the start of DPF & the bad reputation most get now. LMM Duramax at this point was 365 HP & 665 ft/lbs. The current generation is tighter emissions & uses DEF (urea) to reduce NOX emissions. The use of DEF allows the engine to use less EGR & burn cleaner, requiring fewer regens (this burns raw fuel in the exhaust & is what kills economy) LML Duramax (2011-Current) regained much of the lost economy, but is not quite back to pre-DPF levels due to the ongoing horsepower war-LML is 397HP & 765 f tlbs.

This loss of economy is not limited to just diesels though. My 1999 1500 w/5.3 got significantly better mileage than anything I have used that is 2005 or newer. One thing I also deal with is elevation-at 5,400 ft where I live, you lose around 15% of your power due to less oxygen. When i moved my little brother to Rochester, MN (800 ft) many years ago, my 305 (5.0L for the younger generation)that was just adequate here was a hot rod down closer to sea level.

Gas engines are also affected by fuel, namely Ethanol. When buying fuel that has no ethanol, my wife's Tahoe gets 14/20 city/hwy mileage. If out of town & cannot find ethanol free, filling with E10 (pretty standard every where else) those numbers drop to 12/17. This is why I pay more to buy 100% gas-it's cheaper when you look at cost per mile. It gets cold here as well (lows as low as -30 to -40 in January) it just doesn't feel quite as cold due to the lack of humidity.

I have found the break over point where gas towing costs equal diesel towing costs to be around 3,000 lbs, but this also depends on how often you use a vehicle to tow. If you only tow occasionally a gas truck makes more sense, it all comes down to intended usage.

I fully encourage anyone to get all the data before making a decision & remove emotion from the equation. I've been a Chevy guy for most of my life, but can know quantify why the Chevy is an overall better unit. One last fun fact-the 2500's come with a 36 gallon fuel tank, 1500 only has 25 gallon-this comes in handy on longer trips.

Last edited by dilpickle; 10-04-2014 at 11:22 AM.
Old     (nate26)      Join Date: Jun 2009       10-04-2014, 11:55 AM Reply   
Thanks for all the information. We have been leaning toward a diesel for some time. I've gone on Chevy's website and built trucks several times. The differnce between the gas 1500 and diesel 2500 is uaually around 9k-11k. Around 8k with the 6L. So we have been thinking it might be worth it to get the 2500 diesel and that we we're covered for towing the boat anywhere and with the truck loaded down with camping equipment. Plus we'd be covered for anything in the future we might want to do. However, right now Chevy's have great prices on 2014 1500's. From what I've seen the only ones that they have the big rebates on right now are the All Star editions with 5.3L. With the rebates being offered now for the 1500s the price difference is more like 20k-25k. So, thats why we've started thinking about a 1500 again.
Old     (dilpickle)      Join Date: Aug 2013       10-04-2014, 12:07 PM Reply   
Glad to be of assistance, I was shopping for the better part of a year to get the deal I did. I was in a similar place-had a truck that was adequate with 2 exceptions, the 5'8" bed was just a little too small & my Vortec MAX had the power moonroof, I'm 6'3" & hated the lack of headroom. I spent a lot of time comparing numbers & doing the math before jumping in.

You may be a little better off to wait a little as there are usually better incentives as we get closer to the new year, selection does fall off at that point though. The most important thing is to be armed with information so you will know its a good deal regardless of what the salesman says-at the end of the day, as with anything, you have to be happy with what you paid for what you got.
Old     (Redheadd)      Join Date: Apr 2014       10-06-2014, 9:33 AM Reply   
Get yourself a diesel!! Best purchase ever!!treat yourself don't cheat yourself.
Old     (2001Sunsport)      Join Date: Apr 2014       10-14-2014, 2:20 PM Reply   
Bought a 2014 double cab Silverado 4x4, Z71 with the 5.3L and 3.42 gears to tow my 4500 lb boat/trailer combo. I took a 700 mile trip to PA this summer with the bed completely full of camping gear, the boat behind me and three passengers. I never wished or thought I needed more power. Averaged about 13.5-14mpg.

If you are looking at the 1500's, get something that doesn't have the 3.08 rear axle. Also, I don't remember how much the ratings changed for 2015, but for 2014 my truck was rated for something like 9600lbs. For the difference in price there is no way I could ever justify the cost of the diesel. I think I was around $32k for this truck.


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