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Old 09-19-2006, 05:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
KTM Mike
 
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96 6.5 - what will it REALLY tow with typical mods?

Hi all. I have been lurking here for a while - doing some research etc.

I have a 96 K2500 HD with the 6.5, and 4.10 gearing. Truck has about 135,000 miles on it. No running issues currently. Recently bought a new toyhauler trailer that weighs in at 7,800 ish empty. Loaded, I am guessing it is around 10,000 lbs, maybe as much as 10,500. Trailer is relatively "tall". Towing it empty the truck does marginally OK. Loaded - well even my ultra conservative darling wife said "this is not acceptable" when we get into typical Michigan hills (ie...not that bad of hills actually). Empty the truck gets around 15 to 17 mpg with a fairly light foot. Towing 9.2 mpg last we checked.

My plan has been to do the typical mods, most likely in stages for financial reasons exhaust, reflash ECM (Heath seems to be where I am heading), the heath boost control thingy. Already opened up air box a bit per Kennedys web site, and just installed a K&N filter . Then if needed, the 97 cooling up grades.

My question is this - if I do the mods mentioned above, what realistically can I tow "well"? Truck's tow rating is 8,000 lbs as is. (which I feel it does marginally OK) With the mods, do I end up with say a 10,000 lb tow? 11,000? I really dont want to go beyond the basic "bolt on mods" as our intent is to simply "get by" with this truck for a year or two, then replace it with a crew cab. I am not necessarily looking for the ability to haul a$$ at 75 mph uphill into a strong wind accellerating all the way..but I dont want to be dropping down to 35 mph on a run of the mill Michigan hill!

I await your collective wisdom!

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Old 09-19-2006, 05:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
rex
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open the exhaust...down pipe for sure...gauges ....and sounds like your on the right track for mods....i tow a small kubota excavator around quite a bit and im happy with the performace of my truck...

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Old 09-19-2006, 05:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
NYCEGUY01
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I tow a 10k pound 32 ft toyhauler with mine.I have all the usual mods on my 96. Do the exhaust and gauges then call bill for a chip. Mine tows pretty damn good but when in the mountains I still rely on the propane to get over the top without shifting down. I would definately get the cooling upgrade and maybe an IC. Sounds like your gonna get rid of it reasonably soon though. If I was for sure gonna buy something newer Id just save my money and deal with it for a while and only do the cooling upgrade so when its time to sell It wont need heads or a new motor.
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Old 09-19-2006, 06:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
Horsehaulin
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Make sure you get the cooling upgrade first. That might be part of the problem. When the engine starts getting hot it de-fuels. After that start with the obvious list.

I have loaded a 15k wrecker on a 30ft flatbed gooseneck trailer and had no problems hauling it from PA to IN. Not as fast as a D/A, but I still held good speed through the hills none the less.
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Old 09-19-2006, 07:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
Jasonsmack
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My truck is a '96 and I was lucky enough to have the cooling upgrades on it from the factory. 1996 is somewhat of a crossover year for the improved cooling system. Maybe your truck was blessed with the same parts from the factory.

Exhaust and guages should be at the top of the list - just agreeing with what everyone else will or has told you already.

I will add the I pull a 2500# car trailer with a 9000# tow truck on the deck when I am moving wrecks and have had no problems since my upgrades.
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Old 09-19-2006, 08:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
edzzed
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i rarely tow more than a camper in the avatar plus a 2000 lb boat. i did the exhaust and am thoroughly happy. if i had to guess i'd say my truck is almost quicker with the camper on it today than the day i bought it unloaded. haven't yet done a reflash, or intercooler but working on it. from what i've read on this site it'll really get up and go when those extras are completed.
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98 GMC dually 4x4. New IP under warranty code 1216 at 150,000 Km's. Another IP at Turbovanmans shop at 277,000 KM's 4 inch flo-pro from Warpspeed, turbo back exhaust, 2.25 inch x-over pipe. Boost and Pyro gauges. heath hp4, HO injectors, "A"T"T" turbo, remote mounted PMD with #9 resistor, vacuum pump removed and using can-tire belt #10006k, engine replacement @ 58000kms, new tranny @156,000kms. Also have ALL LED lighting at rear, clear cab lenses with LED bulbs. Rancho shocks all around. DEVILSOWN water/meth injection. Hayden 2839 fan clutch. 9 blade plastic Dmax rad fan, part #15-80690 at autopartstomorrow. Peninsular heads. B&M shiftplus. 24ft side-trak toy hauler. also running with a 1999 KLR 650 dual sport m/c. and a 12ft. aluminum Princecraft with a 9.9 hp TWO stroke Yamaha as I luv the smell of burning oil, NOT. and one wife who insists I keep a light foot on the pedal. we are year round campers. and we breed Toy Poodles & Malti-poos. check out the 0-70 mph vid http://s130.photobucket.com/albums/p...0-70mph001.mp4
And the toys http://s130.photobucket.com/albums/p...rip2009237.jpg
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
wagonwheeler
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Nothing to do w/ performance, but you may also consider an Equal-i-zer weight dist/sway control for that toy hauler.

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Old 09-20-2006, 09:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
KTM Mike
 
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So based on these responses, it sounds like the mods will get me "enough" power (is there ever really enough though?!). to tow what I want.

Wagonwheeler - I already have a weight distributing hitch, sway control and trailer brakes set up pretty well (not sure what brand specifically..but they do the job well).

Jason - it looks like I have the older cooling system (single t-stat).

Given the relatively near term (12 to 24 months) likelihood I will sell the truck - now I need to decide if I might be better off to find a used (whatever brand/model?) crew cab that might already have the tow rating I need. If I have to spend, say $2,000 on all these mods - could I instead sell my truck, add in $2,000 to the proceeds and be better off? I have come across 2 such examples recently. One is a 94 K3500 DRWwith a 7.4 gasser, and another is a 98 K3500 DRW with a 7.4. $ wise, in either case it will be close (truck sale proceeds plus $2,000 ) The 98 will be better as it is a Votex engine I am sure. Not sure tow rating on the 98, but i do know that 94 is rated at 10,000 lbs. (a bit shy of what I need actually). I realize these gassers will burn a lot more fuel - but the price differential between them and a used D-max will buy a lot of fuel as well!

Hmmm.... I do like the "feel" of a diesel though!
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Old 09-20-2006, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
wagonwheeler
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I believe the vortecs are notably better on gas than the pre-vortec trucks. I'd certainly go Vortec if I went gas.

On paper the gassers in nearly every case have higher tow ratings than diesels...which is a mystery to me...it may take a V10, but the highest ratings go to gassers. And lowest mileage I'm sure! But like you said you can buy a LOT of gas for what a used 7.4 will save you. If you could find an 8.1 gasser...that is an animal! Friend of mine had an 8.1 CC for a while then traded it on a dmax. Said he really preferred the 8.1 except for the fuel consumption, hence the dmax (and the 0% financing he got on the dmax).

Have another friend that had a '94 3500 CC w/ 454 to pull a 3 car 5th whl trailer to and from auctions. Dunno what the trailer weighed, but he'd hit 25k at the scales. He'd get about 4-5mpg and the exhaust manifolds were glowing red... He ran things pretty hard, though. Amazing that the TH400 held up... It just seems in every case that new trucks give better efficiency for the same grunt.

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Old 09-20-2006, 01:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
cperry
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Stick with a diesel.......

A. you look more cool when your filling up, plus you get to say I need fuel. instead of saying I need gas. I need fuel just sounds cool like your on a mission.

B. I looked at buying a gas verse diesel rig b/c of purchases price, but when you look at fuel savings over the long term and resale value the diesels come out way ahead. B/C diesels last twice as long as gas motors there resale value does not plumet. look at a 98 gasser vs a 98 diesel, then fast forward 3 years and look at an 01, see how much value the 98 gasser lost compared to a diesel. (maintence costs also fall in this equation i came up with but i do my own maintence so it is not a big deal)

C. to get a comparable gas motor, power wise, to a diesel is hard to come by and there fuel economy is really going to suffer.

As far as towing with a 6.5 I am still wondering, I have a brand new motor with exhuast upgrades and guages, I have a manual boost controller set at 7psi, and I have to watch my EGT's pulling a toyota on a car trailer about 5,500lbs, and it is none to fast it slows on minor hills and I have to back off to keep EGT's down. I have a chip but am waiting to break in the motor. I am sure the chip will change alot but i would assume my Egt's are going to go up with the chip.

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