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New boat older truck- thoughts please

  #1  
Old 03-16-2011, 12:03 PM
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Default New boat older truck- thoughts please

Hi guys,
I need some thoughts if you don't mind, I'm stressing over the health of my truck.
Data-
I've got a 2004 Silverado 1500, Z71, 3.73 rear, 5.3L, 75k miles.
I also have a 23ft deck boat that weighs 5k that sits on a dual axle trailer w/disk surge brakes (probably around 7k lbs. total).

My typical tow is a very short 9 mile, mostly flat tow trip. I've got plans to do a couple longer/hillier trips this year (approx 400 mile trips).

Truck sags A LOT with the boat hitched. It also stresses more than I'm comfortable with while towing. I know it's near max tow capacity.

What to do? I'm thinking about some Hellwig progressive spring helpers (2500 lb, silence, pro model). I also thought about air spring helpers, but I don't want to mess with inflating/ deflating every time I hook up the boat or grab a load of firewood, etc. Any thoughts on this? Does it destroy the ride while unloaded?

I've also looked into trading up to a 2500 series, but the 6.0L doesn't have that much more capacity right? 8600 vs 10,500? I can't afford to get something new (a duramax would be sweet).

So- I 'm trying to think of the best way to solve the issue. Any thoughts? Change the tranny fluid more often? Deal with it? Run it and not worry? I guess my biggest question is if it's practical to haul around 7K with the truck. Maybe I should add that I only put about 3k mi on the truck per year since I've got a company car now and only use the truck for utility functions around the house and towing the boat.

Anything would be very appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Tim
 
  #2  
Old 03-16-2011, 01:19 PM
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I hear that putting an air bag suspension system with an onboard compressor seems to be a popular route in situations such as this. Otherwise, I think a transmission cooler would be beneficial as well.

I'm not really sure what else... you could think of gearing it down if you don't drive it much
 
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:42 PM
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Thanks Kevin, I think it already has a factory trans cooler (lines into the radiator), did you mean something additional?

Thanks again,
Tim
 
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:25 PM
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Kevin is right on the money - the 4l60E trans. drastically needs a big external cooler used in conjunction with the radiator cooler when towing just about anything. You already have a real decent towing gear 3.73's. 4.10's would help a little. Also using 3rd instead of O/D is a must when towing in the hills. A custom tune that is set-up for towing would help. So go get a good trans cooler and start there. As far as the sag - I am surprised that size boat puts it down so far. Maybe check with someone with some trailer knowledge and see if the boat could be slid back over the axles more. I know when I bought a new boat a few years back the boat company had the trailer set up all wrong. I fought it for a season before realizing I needed to shift the winch and boat back about a foot and it made a world of difference! Good luck!
 
  #5  
Old 03-16-2011, 08:35 PM
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The trailer for the boat is brand new (2010), designed by the OEM for the boat with welded rails.
I've been looking at trans coolers, thanks a bunch for that idea. Does the group have a preferred model for the silverado 1500? I haven't really seen a kit made specifically for the 2004... or is it pretty generic?

Thanks again for all the thoughts!
Tim
 
  #6  
Old 03-16-2011, 09:11 PM
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I'm just throwin a thought out there, but it would make sense to me that the type of cooler wouldn't matter so long as there is enough fluid to fill it...correct?

How much tongue weight is being put on the truck as is? An easy way to test this is to find a gravel pit with a scale, weigh the truck, then weigh the truck with the trailer hooked up, but with only the truck being on the scale. I'm not sure what the tongue weight to GVW percentage is, but this should tell you whether anything needs to be adjusted
 
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:43 PM
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My boat and trailer were brand new too. I don't know too many boat manufacturers that also make trailers. It is up to the individual shops to set the trailers up for the boats and somone might of had a bad day when they set yours up. I know mine did. I am not saying it is that, but it's worth a look. Check all the simple, free, or inexpensive culprits first.
You can pick up a trans cooler at any auto parts stores. I bought a Hayden unit at O'reilly's - they had 3 or 4 different models.
 
  #8  
Old 03-18-2011, 11:54 AM
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Definetly get an external trany cooler. There is also and aftermarket trany pane that you can get that increases your capacity and has built in cooling tubes. Helper springs are nice, but the air bags arae a better way to go. The extra capacity is there when you need it, and gone when you don't.
Definetly look at your boat and trailer set up though. Most dealerships have a standard trailer they use for many size boats, and don't realy take the time to custome fit each boat to each trailer.
Had the same problem with my boat being towed by my buddies 1/2 ton. I have a 1 ton and never noticed it, but his 1/2 ton looked like he was towing a 10k trailer. Fortunatly the trailer was big enough to move the boat back about 8 to 10 inches. Made all the difference, his truck still sagged, but no where near what it was before.
Amazing what 8 inches can do.
 
  #9  
Old 03-18-2011, 06:30 PM
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Yeah brand of coolers dont matter. What you wanna look at is the BTU's. Like this one... transmissioncoolers.us: Tru-Cool MAX transmission cooler with external thermal bypass
 
  #10  
Old 03-19-2011, 02:27 AM
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Tim, your truck is fine. I have a 5.3, 3.73 gears 2wd. and I regularly pull a 27 ft. travel trailer that weighs 6650lbs, all over the place.

My truck currently has 90+k miles so your truck is not old.

When pulling you want your vehicle to sit level, for the safest tow. If the trailer is setting the rear of your truck down hard, and I mean more than an inch or two and you plan on long trips I would advise, as you mentioned so Helwig air bags.

I have an easy-lift hitch and bars that I was using when pulling my trailer, and then added Hellwig air bag sysltem with inboard controls to a firestone compressor. The easy-lift system worked fine, however may main reason for trying this was to try and ease the bounse of the truck on CA. concreate freeways.

It helps on the freeways and I no longer use the easy-lift bars when towing, however I do use and recomend the use of a sway bar, especially with travel trailers that catch the wind.

I bought my from Truck Spring
Hellwig Air Bags, Hellwig Air Springs, Hellwig PowerLift - TruckSpring.com

you can check out their website above, I have also bought Bilstein shocks from them and pleased with their service.

good luck and catch a lot of fish or have a just have a good time
jvp
 

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