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Old     (RidingTheNW)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-03-2010, 2:50 PM Reply   
I'm thinking about buying a 2000 Chevy Silverado 1500 4x4 Z71 with the 5.3 V8. Are there different Gear ratios in the axles on the Z71? I'm getting it to tow a 04 VLX Wakesetter. I want to make sure I get the best gear ratio in the axles for towing.

How does the 5.3 tow compared to the 5.7 Vortec in the 96-98 1500s?
Old     (Tloud)      Join Date: Aug 2010       10-03-2010, 3:36 PM Reply   
The Z71 is just an off road package. It includes:

1.81" (46 mm) shocks, off-road jounce bumpers, 34mm front stabilizer bar, high capacity air cleaner, heavy-duty automatic locking rear differential, Skid Plate Package

Skid Plate Package includes: frame-mounted shields, front underbody shield starting behind front bumper and running to first cross-member, protecting front underbody, oil pan, differential case and transfer case.

Ive towed boats and a five place snowmobile trailer with a 96 silverado and a 2001 silverado. Either can handle the load really well and i didnt notice any big difference between the two
Old    mojo            10-03-2010, 3:40 PM Reply   
there are definitely different gear ratios. if it's one ordered with a tow package it should have the right gears and other required tow stuff. make sure to ask before you buy. i don't know about 2000, but right now there are about 4 different suspension/gear packages.
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       10-03-2010, 7:20 PM Reply   
Look at the sticker in the glovebox. These codes should tell you what gear ratio is in the truck:

G80 -- AXLE REAR, HD locking

Definitely make sure it has teh towing package. That includes a trans cooler.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       10-03-2010, 11:10 PM Reply   
You described my truck to a T. I have the 3.73 rear axle, just confirmed by the glove box sticker. It's a pretty good tow vehicle but not great. My Nautique 211 is a heavy liner boat on a heavy box tube tandem trailer, weighs about 5k plus gear so figure 6k for most outings. I never run in overdrive while towing and I keep it under 70mph at all times, typically 60-65mph. The 5.3 motor is a good motor but it makes very little torque under 3500rpms so you need to pay attention on uphill grades or you may end up at 40mph in first gear. On hills like the Altimont where you are often pushing a strong head wind I run it hard in 2nd gear at 50-55mph at 4000ish rpms. If you drop below 45mph or below 3500rpms forget it, you are going to crawl over the top of that hill with the loaded trucks.

On a positive note, the truck has 144,000 miles and has only seen a new fuel pump but the alternator is about to lose a bearing. It gets 14-16mpgs in combined driving routinely, sometimes 17+mpg if I drive it like it's a prius. Without the boat it is pretty quick if the tranny is in the right gear.

If you do buy that truck don't even think about lifting or adding tall tires to it. I run stock diameter 20's off a new Denali on mine and it's fine but everybody that I have ever known to lift one of these has regretted it.

Compared to the 5.7 the 5.3 is a little happier to rev but it lacks some of the 2500-3500 torque in my opinion.

also, mine does not have a limited slip rear diff. I think that was optional on the z71's starting in 2000.

I will probably be selling mine in a few months, asking probably $8k.

Last edited by mikeski; 10-03-2010 at 11:13 PM.
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       10-03-2010, 11:18 PM Reply   
Maybe a new tune with some of the torque management removed would help? I agree they lack in torque. The 6.0L in the 2500HD's is weak too. Not too bad in the Denali's with the 375hp 6.0, but not much better.
Old     (ronskal)      Join Date: Jul 2006       10-04-2010, 7:14 AM Reply   
DO NOT buy the truck unless it has the 3.73 gear (or the 4.10 but it is rare).
I had an 01 Yukon with the 3.42, traded it for an 02 with 3.73 and still using it.

Whatever Mikeski said also.

Good tow vehicle, should pull the 04 VLX fine (original hull that became the first V-Ride, right?).
If you tow in overdrive, you will need to keep the speed above 65 to keep it in the torque band.
Hills are not a big deal for me in Texas but they do slow you down.
Old     (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       10-04-2010, 10:11 AM Reply   
I had a 2001 silverado WITH the tow package and 3.73 gears. I highly disliked it for towing, engine always seemed to be lugging and low on power no matter what I was towing. I would look very hard for one with 4.10's or budget in getting the gears swapped.

I had a 1993 silverado 1/2 ton and a 1998 tahoe before I purchased this vehicle, I was much more satisfied with the pulling experience with these rigs. If you go with the 5.3 in a 1/2 ton... 4.10 gears are needed.. imo
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-04-2010, 10:52 AM Reply   
I have the 4.10s in my Avalanche & don't have any complaints. We just towed to Hells Canyon & back, about 800 miles, over two good sized mountain passes, fully loaded with 4 adults, 6 coolers, the Vride loaded, etc. The truck didn't win any speed awards but did fine. We kept it under 3500 rpm & it pulled up the mountain passes at about 45 mph, and averaged about 11 mpg. Unloaded it gets around 16 - 18 mpg around town.

My boss uses an 06 Silverado with the 3.73s to pull a 6000 lb camper. His doesn't pull the hills quite as well, but it gets a bit better mileage around town.
Old     (RidingTheNW)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-04-2010, 11:56 AM Reply   
Thanks for the input guys! Does anyone know if the 96-98 C/K 1500 Silverado Z-71 trucks with the 5.7 have different gear ratios, or are they all running the same gears?
Old     (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       10-04-2010, 12:48 PM Reply   
I almost gurantee there is different options for that truck regardless if it is a Z71 or just the silverado package etc...
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-04-2010, 2:34 PM Reply   
You need to check the options decal in the glovebox. See John's post above & look for any of those option codes. It could be any one of them.


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