Lowered Tow Vehicle - experiences? advice?

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shmuck2002

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Hi guys,

I intend to sell my '01 F150 Super-Crew and go for a slightly older, (95-99) Chevy 3500 Dually, turbo diesel.  the ones I like, are the "street truck" look, where they are slightly lowered (and I do mean slightly - 2" in the front, 3" rear), and have full airbag system for the rear axle. Does anyone have experience with doing this and how it affects one's tow rating - both hitch weight capacity and towing capacity? In theory, a properly set up suspension on such a truck should not have any negative impact on the towing or tounge weight, with an airbag system allowing the lowered rear axle to return to correct loaded level, as so not to bottom out the lowered suspension. I would be very interested in seeing your experiences with this in practice!

The reason for the trade-up in towing capacity is i have a reciently purchased 26' toy hauler (6000# dry) that I am struggling to pull with my F150 (duh!). thanks again guys... :)

Here's a picture example of what I am talking about, but i think this one is actually lowered more like 3"/5"

http://static.racingjunk.com/ui/6/2/213-1136556463762.jpg

thanks guys...
Joe
 

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Ron

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Bottom line is that you cannot increase your GVWR or GCWR airbags, helper springs what ever the only ones that can change the ratings is the manufactures.  Anyone towing over weight is placing themselves in danger and exposing themselves to serious libility exposure should an accident occur. 

 

shmuck2002

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Perhaps I mispoke, and thank you for the quick response! let me rephrase - I want to run a 3500 dually, slightly lowered, but done right so I still retain the same factory GVWR, GAWR, and GCWR ratings. I am not attempting to go over those limits. With a 1-ton dually turbo diesel, I should be rated to over 10,000# towing and 2,000# hitch - which is far beyond what my trailer is - My trailer is only a 26', fully loaded it is 9000#, which should mean around 1000 - 1300# tounge max.

Bottom line is, I want to build a truck that looks good (beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose ;)  ) but still tows! Basically, I want to make sure the lowering job does not screw up my towing capacities.

thanks..
Joe
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I would be concerned about two things:
(1) Lower the suspension may make it difficult to get the trailer level for towing. 
(2) The 6.5L Chevy diesel has a generally poor reputation and is not favored as a tow vehicle

I would opt for a later (2001) GM truck with the Duromax and Allison 1000 tranny, even if the styling isn't quite what you are looking for.
 

shmuck2002

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Good information, thanks Gary! I am not opposed to the '01 body style - my last truck was a Silverado 1500, and I liked the body style. I was only looking at the late 90's models for cost factor, however hunting around carefully, I'll be able to find an '01 at the right price, with the Duramax Diesel and Allison tranny.

Anyone out there actually tow with an airbagged dually? I'd love some first-hand advice
 

Carl L

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RV Roamer said:
I would be concerned about two things:
(1) Lower the suspension may make it difficult to get the trailer level for towing.
(2) The 6.5L Chevy diesel has a generally poor reputation and is not favored as a tow vehicle

I would opt for a later (2001) GM truck with the Duromax and Allison 1000 tranny, even if the styling isn't quite what you are looking for.

Out of curiousity, I looked up the '99 3500 TD tow ratings.  For that big a vehicle the TWs are remarkably marginal aren't they.
 

John From Detroit

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If you are looking at a Silverado as a tower, you might want to look at the Vortec 8.1 as your engine of chiose, coupled with an Allison tranny..... Well, get the engine with the optional tuned headers and exhause and you have 350 Genuine TRUCK horsepower there... That is enough to allow a class A motor home to pass a semi truck going up hill, down hill or on level ground (Done it more than once and I don't have the optional stuff mentioned)

That horse is supposed to fit in a Silverado

My concern with lowering a truck however has to do with what happens when you hook up a trailer, Usually even with weight distribution the truck is going to ride a bit lower still... and that bit may well be more than you have

You are getting dangerously close to "Don't drive over speed bumps, Pot holes or the odd 25 cent piece someone lerft lying on the pavement" close
 

motojavaphil

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I had the 6.5LTD Chevy for well over 100,000 miles.  It had a few problems which were fixed.  Everytime I went in the mechanics would suggest I sell it.  Those were Chevy mechanics to boot.  My Dodges had fewer problems and more power.  I'd strongly recommend away from the 6.5 as it was underpowered and not a good tow vehicle and I was constantly waiting for the big malfunction!  In any case good luck with your choices!
 

shmuck2002

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Thanks again for everyone's responses! Okay a couple questions/comments to throw in:

regarding lowering, I intend to lower the truck, however properly equip it with Firestone Ride-Rite air bags, so I can adjust my ride level for everyday driving, as well as for towing, so i can level it out properly. the bags are rated to 5000# per pair, so I dont imagine i would have any trouble leveling out my 1000# hitch weight ;)  Again, I am not attempting to increase my GVWR or GCWR in any way - strictly talking about ride height adjustment here.

Regarding engine - I am leaning more towards the 454 gas engine - what do you guys know about that, for the roughly '95 - '99 model years?

Last question, where can i find the factory ratings for trucks? is there a good listing of ratings that I can just look up? With a 1998 3500 dually 454 gas engine, what would I be rated for, both tow rating and GCWR?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Here's a chart a dealer has provided - I can't vouch for the accuracy. Has only Max trailer rating - not specific GVWR/GCWR.

Mekkelsen RV Tow Guide - 1998

Try Googling terms like "1998 Chevrolet Towing" or "1998 C2500" (without the quotes) and eventually you should find some specs.

The 454 was a pretty decent engine that did yeoman service in a variety of vehicles. It did have some problems, e.g  a tendency to burn up wiring and to crack manifolds. The exhaust manifold often got very hot and in some configurations there wasn't enough air flowing over the exterior to adequately cool the outside. If I remember correctly, it was also sometimes difficult to reach all the spark plugs on the big block Chevy's.  There are numerous Chevrolet enthusiast web sites that could give you plenty of detail on vintage Chevys and their drive trains. One is Chevrolet Forums and another is Full Size Chevy
 
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