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Old 08-23-2010, 05:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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02 z71 towing ?

I got a 02 z71 1/2 ton with a 5.3 and coundnt afford a new truck so put a gooseneck ball in it and will use it to tow for the next couple of years. Well I put the truck on the trailer today it sags more then I would like and was wondering how much more capacity will add a leafs get me for keeping me level vs some sort of helper spring. Don't really want to spend the money on air bags.

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Old 08-23-2010, 06:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There is a section called TOW RIGS... good luck with your 4l60e
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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do every one on the road a favor. lighten up your rig, or borrow a real truck to tow with. the 5.3 has plenty of nuts to pull it, but the 4l60e wont like it and the suspension and brakes will get you and other innocents hurt if you get in a bad situation. I have done it before myself and will probably do it again, but I know the limits of all my half tons. Knowing that you will not be able to stop when you see it coming is the worst feeling. Your son or daughter could be in that car your about to smash.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think air bags is the way to go. they are adjustable so you wont have a terrible ride when your unloaded. Also upgrade your brakes to aftermarket high performance rotors and pads and add the biggest aftermarket tranny cooler you can fit behind the grille. The tranny won't like towing but can be kept alive with a large cooler and possibly a auxilary fan dedicated to the tranny cooler and putting a tranny temp gauge in will help you keep an eye on tranny temp. If you keep the tranny temp fluid under control while towing you will extend your tranny life. If you don't monitor the temp you will have no idea when the tranny is overheating until it is to late. Also a oil cooler may be helpful and change your fluids to synthetics they have cam withstand higher operating temps before they start to break down and lose viscosity and thermal protection.

Even with these changes your not gonna be able to tow very steep grades for long periods. A 1/2 ton just isn't designed for heavy hauling but with some modifications and smart towing you can tow pretty well with one.

Also you ay look into a gear change in the axles if you are running a high gear like 3.73's you may want to drop down to 4.10 or even 4.56 gears depending on tire size on your truck. and a limited slip will help put the power down.

Last edited by svminole; 08-23-2010 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I had decent luck towing with my 03 z71 half ton. I've been on 10 hour one way trips with it, it sucked some serious fuel but it made it. I wouldn't ever tow anything heavy enough to need a gooseneck though. My 2005 LLY duramax I got 3 weeks ago does a A LOT better though.

Here's the half ton beast. (i could have put a little more weight on the trailer axles, but i had no park so i was a little weary of parking on the dovetail)

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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sorry didnt see the tow rigs topic before!
thanks to the last couple post. The weight of the truck and trailer isnt that much and already had the trailer and did what I can afford. Ive pulled the weight before and does fine, pretty flat in kansas. Also the breaks already taking care of, not a idiot. I pulled a camper one about the same weight and milage was ok.

Last edited by archie87; 08-24-2010 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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On my 02 z71 I made a bastard pack with the rear leafs. Kept the stock top leaf and then put light duty 2500 springs from an OBS under. That dramatically helped vs. the load helper spring I had before. I routinely pull trailers about 7K and it does so much better. Has a slight rake unloaded and is level loaded.....no more cali lean with just 100 pounds in the box.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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What does the trailer weigh because 5th wheels and 1/2ton really shouldnt be in the same sentence unless the 5th wheel equipped truck is pulling a half ton...
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It may be better idea if you just sell the Z71 and use the money to get a older 3/4 or 1 ton trucks. Even better if you find a ford 7.3 diesel or cummins as they're suppose be decent for the years (mid 90s to late 90's) and you can get nice truck for the money (assume your Z71 is in good shape for good $$ to sell). I got my '97 ctd for $6500 and it's well worth it. I used to pull approx 6,500lbs with my small s-10 blazer zr2 and it's a big improvement to a 3/4 ton. It have much better handling and braking. Hell, my blazer accelerate faster than my ctd for the same weight but it's impossible to beat the safety the ctd have to offer (more control, powerful brakes). I'd image that a small block gas will work fine but not as nice as diesel though. A big block gas (or v-10) definately will be fast pullers (faster than a stock diesel truck) but they drinks gas faster than you can blink haha.
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