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Old 10-18-2012, 05:26 PM   #1
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Chevy 2500HD with 6.0 or 8.1 for 90% towing #6500 tt

We are settled on the 2500HD GM platform, 4.10 gearing, crew cab. The only thing left to decide is the engine: 6 or 8.1? We will be pulling the tt for 90% of the miles we travel with this rig, the remaining 10% around town, dump and occ to work (4 minute drive). What would you get? Is there any clear advantage in durability or maintenance between these two engines. Thanks for your time.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:30 PM   #2
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I would opt for the 8.1 but go with an axle ratio of 3.73 or the GM axle ratio in that range.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
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Boss Wagon,
We live in the mountains, everywhere we go is up and down. And, the reason we are not going diesel is that we are only going to use this at a max of 5000 miles a summer, if that.
Would you still go with 3.73 gearing?
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
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I agree the gas engine is the way to go for your use. Either engine would be okay. I don't think I'd want the 4.10 axle though, especially with the 8.1. I have always liked the gas torque monsters and feel they are the best choice for limited use. If a person is going to tow moderate to heavy trailers often and for alot of miles a year, diesel is the better choice. I believe diesels should be run hard and darn near daily for their longevity and cost effectiveness. At my place of work we have had several diesel pickups that were only used on a limited basis and the cost/maintenance per mile just wasn't justifiable in my opinion.

The 8.1 with the the 3.73 (or GM offering in that range) would be more than adequate and would offer a little better mpg when empty and less wear on the engine in the long haul.

I have a light trailer, 3500lbs and use a v-10 with a 3.73 axle, my capacity would be much greater with a 4.10 ratio, but I don't need it.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:22 PM   #5
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Well explained by Bosswagon.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:56 AM   #6
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I had a Yukon XL with 8.1 and 4.10. It turns a few more RPMs at highway speeds. I would recommend the 4.10 for heavy towing behind the 4l80 transmission. However, in the 2500HD, you will be getting the Allison, and I believe that 3.73 would be sufficient.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:16 AM   #7
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KCNM--Be sure to ask what transmission you will be getting with either engine, GM is not providing the Allision trans with all engines. Larry
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:17 AM   #8
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I towed 70K+ miles with a 2002 Suburban K2500 8.1 ltr with 4.10 gears. I still drive it to work every day. It is a strong and reliable engine and drivetrain. I have 150K miles on it and no engine or transmission service other than fluid changes.

If it is a dedicated tow vehicle, look for a 2500HD with 8.1 with 4.10 gears. That will provide the maximum tow rating for a gasser and allow for future camper "upgrades".
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:36 PM   #9
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I could be wrong but I believe the Allison transmission was not available with the 6.0l and was an option with the 8.1l, standard with the Duramax. Not sure how they are working it today. The 8.1l engine was also only in a small percentage of the 2500`s built. 6.0 was the volume engine, followed by the Duramax then the 8.1 in a distant third. I saw the numbers one time and it was a very small percent for the 8.1, making them hard to find used. If you do a search for 2500`s on ebay or car sites you will be hard pressed to find an 8.1 available. I think I only saw a couple in all the trucks I looked at in my search. Of course ordering new would be different, but finding one on a lot may be difficult.
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:53 PM   #10
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Crabman is right about finding an 8.1 used. I have searched on ebay for them in the past and rarely found any.
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