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Old 07-03-2014, 05:56 PM   #1
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GMC 1/2 vs 3/4 gasser; dramatic difference?

I've read all over this forum and others how dramatic the difference is between towing with a 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton.

I may have an opportunity to move from my 2012 Sierra 1500 into a certified pre-owned 2012 2500 optioned exactly the same way for VERY little money (virtually no change in monetary position) The 2500 has twice the miles of my 1/2 ton (48k) and is equipped with the 6L Vortec gas motor.

This is a great opportunity in my eyes because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my 1/2 ton. And my truck tows our trailer just fine. Not great, but it's adequate, and I'm under all my numbers. But I constantly find myself wondering if it could be better. So this could be the opportunity I've been waiting for to make a dramatic difference in my setup. But just exactly how dramatic a difference should I expect realistically?

I guess my question is: how much difference should I expect between the two trucks? Like on a 1-10, 1 being "meh, maybe I shouldn't have traded my truck" to a 10 being "oh dear lord, what towing bliss is this?" And I might have to clean the seats because of my excitement.
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:15 PM   #2
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8 or 9, because I wouldn't give a 10 unless I had a dually. The difference in both performance, stress-reduction, and confidence is that drastic.
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:17 PM   #3
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I would expect that you will see a significant difference because you probably have a 3:73 gear ratio in your 3/4 ton. Most 1/2 tons don't come with ratios any lower then 3:55 unless they were special ordered. You still have a gas truck, so its not going to be a WOW, this thing is powerful. Thats what I would expect..
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:28 PM   #4
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My current truck is 3.42, I don't know yet what the potential truck has...
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:35 PM   #5
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Since you say you are under all your numbers and your truck does just fine pulling the trailer, my question would be do you pull the trailer often or far enough to justify the switch? The biggest difference you will have is payload capability and suspension stability with the 2500 (most noticeable on windy days), you will not see a HUGE power difference with the 6.0 that will blow your skirt up.
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:52 PM   #6
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The 2500 will have a stiffer ride if it's your daily driver. Any difference in gas mileage between the two?
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
My current truck is 3.42, I don't know yet what the potential truck has...
The heavier suspension and tires will give a wider margin of safety. If you drive the 3/4 truck 50 miles to work everyday, that same truck will ride rougher and give poorer fuel milage when not towing.
If the primary purpose of the truck is to tow, it should be the way to go.
I've never been around a 3/4 ton gasser that didn't have at least a 3:73 gears. The difference between 3:42 and 3:73 gears will translate into substantial pulling power!!!
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:15 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, this is really helping!

I'm relatively certain the 3/4 ton I'm looking at has 3.73 gears.

It'd be a daily driver. My commute is about 18 miles a day round trip, country roads, very little city, only 2 stop lights the whole way. My current truck is our trip vehicle because it's more comfortable than DWs XTerra even though she gets better fuel economy, it's usually not worth the butt hurt to us; the truck just rides and travels nicer. I would be surprised if the 3/4 ton rides anywhere close to as bad as the X! Our towing miles are about 3-4k a year for now, but I would like to start taking some bigger trips, but even then, it would only be once a year. We're having our first kid in October, so there's that additional weight to consider.
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:32 PM   #9
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Starting with the 2011 models, GM updated the frame and brakes on the HDs. With a 2500 gasser they were built with either 3.73 or 4.10 ratio. I wend from an 09 to a 12 in March and the feel was noticeably different in terms of stability and breaking power. You'll get over the rougher ride over time, just part of an HD truck, can't have great payload and car quality ride in one rig.
You will not be disappointed with a 3/4 ton, Good Luck
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:56 PM   #10
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What mileage do you get with the 5.3? I wouldn't expect more than 14 or 15 mpg with the 6.0 and much heavier 2500HD. Towing is where you will really notice the added engine power as the 5.3 is pretty weak compared to the 6L. The 6L makes 50 ft# more torque and 45 HP more combined with the 3.73 or 4.10 gears and you'll definitely notice when pulling!
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