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Old 12-12-2012, 08:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Towing with a 3500HD

So I have been watching for a 1995 GMC or Chev. Last year of TBI and only TBI year with newer style interior. One pops up, I go and check it out and it is a 3500HD, TBI 454, 19.5 wheels, 4" dana 80, 8" frame, 15k GVWR, hydro dump bed which I will pull and sell.

Has a broke shaft in the NV4500, but only 62k miles on it, runs like a clock. $800 and I flat towed it 10 minutes home.

Anyone specifically know how this thing will tow? Judging by what I have seen online, people are putting 4-6k on the back of it and still pulling a 10k trailer.

I am thinking 4 door cab, convert to natural gas, light weight ramp style flat bed for my buggy, and pull a camp trailer for the family.

Anyone have any experience with these things? I am so far quite pleased with my purchase. I used to own a 1996 topkick and had no problem putting a rig on the bed.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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3500 HDs like to break the frame. Thats about the only shortfall. Other than the beam front axle, heavier rear and (supposed to be) stronger frame, they are quite similar to a pickup 3500.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kidkrawler View Post
So I have been watching for a 1995 GMC or Chev. Last year of TBI and only TBI year with newer style interior. One pops up, I go and check it out and it is a 3500HD, TBI 454, 19.5 wheels, 4" dana 80, 8" frame, 15k GVWR, hydro dump bed which I will pull and sell.

Has a broke shaft in the NV4500, but only 62k miles on it, runs like a clock. $800 and I flat towed it 10 minutes home.

Anyone specifically know how this thing will tow? Judging by what I have seen online, people are putting 4-6k on the back of it and still pulling a 10k trailer.

I am thinking 4 door cab, convert to natural gas, light weight ramp style flat bed for my buggy, and pull a camp trailer for the family.

Anyone have any experience with these things? I am so far quite pleased with my purchase. I used to own a 1996 topkick and had no problem putting a rig on the bed.
All I can say is bitchin

Glad to see someone else building a ramp truck, it really is the best solution for low buck "haul one pull one" setups. The 4 door cab will be both good and bad. Good for obvious reasons, but bad because of the increase in an already long wheel base. Depending on what size bed you end up going with you may be ok or you may have a school bus

Good luck with the build, pictures please!

Derek
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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that seems like a really great price to me. good job on the find.

got a pic?
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Please document this build. Seriously considering a similar build. Looking for candidates of the F*rd or GM flavor (had enough of the other domestic brand for the rest of my life?)
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Somebody had one a few pages back in the "show us your tow rig thread." Crew cab and cummins swap. That guy might have some info for you, at the very least he'd know what's involved in getting the cab to fit.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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So far I am pleased as can be. Trans was/is perfect and very tight. Clutch was so smoked I thought the input shaft was broke.

Bought the truck for $800, spent $300 on a Luk Gold clutch to fix the trans, new flywheel, plugs, filters, PCV, t-stat etc. etc. Like to know where all my maintenance items are.

We got the NV4500 out and in, serviced the NV4500 with $80 worth of Syntorque fluid or whatever you call it. Fired her up and took her for a nice drive. Runs like a raped ape, even with the huge dump bed on it.

On X-mas eve I was browsing the local classifieds and a set of Alcoa front aluminum wheels with new tires popped up, 30 minute wait at a 7-eleven and $200 bucks and they were mine. I need two rear tires, but the existing fronts are almost new, and match 2 of the rears. So a little bit of dismount and mount, rotate and balance, maybe powder coat the rear outers eventually. This thing is going to be bitchin.

The wheel base is 172.5" and if this frame is breakable, I would like to know how. It is massive. I can fit the cab and my 4 seater with only a little extension off it's ass. Thinking just building a light but strong frame work with grate material, so I can just drop the trailer of at camp, and then drive the buggy quickly on and off the rig.

Next project is service the oil, coolant flush as the dex-cool is gelled, and get it licensed.

Get the dump bed working and try and sell it.

Then service the diff, power steering and brake fluid. And watch for a cab. I will get some pictures up, I love this thing and am very excited.

Funny thing, they logged MPG at every tank, mileage has been tracked for the 4 years they had it, I see as low as 4, and as high as 11. Good thing CNG is $1.50 a gallon here, this thing will be a pig.

Last edited by kidkrawler; 12-27-2012 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So far I am pleased as can be. Trans was/is perfect and very tight. Clutch was so smoked I thought the input shaft was broke.

Bought the truck for $800, spent $300 on a Luk Gold clutch to fix the trans, new flywheel, plugs, filters, PCV, t-stat etc. etc. Like to know where all my maintenance items are.

We got the NV4500 out and in, serviced the NV4500 with $80 worth of Syntorque fluid or whatever you call it. Fired her up and took her for a nice drive. Runs like a raped ape, even with the huge dump bed on it.

On X-mas eve I was browsing the local classifieds and a set of Alcoa front aluminum wheels with new tires popped up, 30 minute wait at a 7-eleven and $200 bucks and they were mine. I need two rear tires, but the existing fronts are almost new, and match 2 of the rears. So a little bit of dismount and mount, rotate and balance, maybe powder coat the rear outers eventually. This thing is going to be bitchin.

The wheel base is 172.5" and if this frame is breakable, I would like to know how. It is massive. I can fit the cab and my 4 seater with only a little extension off it's ass. Thinking just building a light but strong frame work with grate material, so I can just drop the trailer of at camp, and then drive the buggy quickly on and off the rig.

Next project is service the oil, coolant flush as the dex-cool is gelled, and get it licensed.

Get the dump bed working and try and sell it.

Then service the diff, power steering and brake fluid. And watch for a cab. I will get some pictures up, I love this thing and am very excited.

Funny thing, they logged MPG at every tank, mileage has been tracked for the 4 years they had it, I see as low as 4, and as high as 11. Good thing CNG is $1.50 a gallon here, this thing will be a pig.

Where are you located?

I have another dually that would like to have the dump bed.

Also, pictures please

Derek
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Utah, I will get some pictures of the thing up when some of this snow recedes, kind of a mess here right now.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Utah, I will get some pictures of the thing up when some of this snow recedes, kind of a mess here right now.
I can imagine. No rush

I doubt it would be worth it to try and get it hauled across the country but just for shits and giggles what would you be looking for out of the bed?

Derek
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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No offense, but why suck the excitement about the TBI? I would look for a 96+ truck with the vortecs. Way more power, tuneable, and a better injection system....
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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TBI is so much cheaper to maintain.

And what I said about the frames is more related to long wheelbases used for rollback service and such. I have seen some that have failed and it is always near the back of the cab.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:29 AM   #13 (permalink)
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TBI is so much cheaper to maintain.

And what I said about the frames is more related to long wheelbases used for rollback service and such. I have seen some that have failed and it is always near the back of the cab.
I guess they would be cheaper.....but they are dogs haha...maybe its just me but a vortec motor is stupid simple...
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I guess they would be cheaper.....but they are dogs haha...maybe its just me but a vortec motor is stupid simple...
I love the simplicity of the TBI setup. The Vortec motor is great as well, after you fix the CPI crap and intake gaskets, but then it has a very restrictive intake feeding everything.

I have driven a TBI truck since I was 15, and I know if it breaks down between here and Moab I can fix it in a parts store parking lot, I have had to do it before. I specifically wanted TBI.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Was walking out of the local junk yard the other day and fresh in their parking lot was a 1999 4 door GMC 3500. Bought the entire cab, with the entire interior for $400. Leather interior with the bucket fronts. The snow has melted off this thing so I will get it down to my house and get the bed off it and start swapping cabs.

I am thinking of flat black or bed liner for the paint. It really depends on what I find under some cracked bondo on the back side of the cab.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:55 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I've wanted a crew cab one of these since probably age 10 when my uncle had some single cabs for his business
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
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please don't paint your truck with bed liner.

cheap spraypaint is way cheaper, easier, and looks just as bad.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:48 PM   #18 (permalink)
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please don't paint your truck with bed liner.

cheap spraypaint is way cheaper, easier, and looks just as bad.
And you can repaint so much easier when you realize it's fugly.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:13 PM   #19 (permalink)
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We need some pics!
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I actually drove the thing down to my place over the weekend. It runs very well, everything works and you can watch the gas gauge drop when you floor it.

I am going to putter with the flat bed for now. I will get pics up when I have made some progress.

As for paint, I want something durable that I can drag through branches and brush if I need to. If we can get the thing flat I will have it painted, depends on what is under this bondo, initial impressions are not good.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:00 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Sold the dump bed today for enough that I am now in the truck for free.

Truck moves a lot better without the bed on it but rides like hell with no weight on the rear springs. Next move is to put it in my side yard and pull the cab. I am planning on fully mounting the new cab to spray it.

Still thinking tinted bed liner like Raptor liner. I was surprised at the hate for bed liner idea. I thought this was Pirate? I am supposed to build stuff to be USED. I have 3 different buddies who can paint this for me, 1 buddy with a bake booth at his house, and hookups to get the cab perfectly flat and prepped for paint. I am not thinking liner because it is cheap or easy. I want to be able to use this truck, I am not building a show rig. I do not want to worry about scratches or car washes, I have nice vehicles for that crap.

The 454 is still in question, what I find claims I will likely get 6 mpg. Everyone says at LEAST do a cam and headers to let the thing breathe a bit better. I know the heads are a huge restriction. By the time I start throwing money at the 454 a Cummins starts to look better. I will probably do this in stages, and get the gas motor running it's best and see what I end up with.

With the bed off, you can now easily see that there is no reason my 4500lb buggy can not be up on the frame of this truck, it is huge.





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Old 03-14-2013, 02:02 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Yeah, that frame is beefier than my frame on my ramp truck

I actually ended up boxing the frame on mine as it was only 7 or 8 inches tall and I was a little nervous putting 6K on it but your frame actually looks 10 inches plus

I'm also jealous that your frame is completely flat where mine had a "hump" over the rear axle that I had to account for when spacing my cross members.

Looking forward to progress on this one.

Derek
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:03 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Still thinking tinted bed liner like Raptor liner. I was surprised at the hate for bed liner idea. I thought this was Pirate? I am supposed to build stuff to be USED. I want to be able to use this truck, I am not building a show rig, I do not want to worry about scratches or car washes, I have nice vehicles for that crap.
it's heavy
expensive
and difficult as hell to touch up when it gets fucked.

stick with cheap paint.
thin rustoleum 50% and spray it. it will look decent and be cheap to maintain in the long run.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:00 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Dont waste your time putting money into the 454, I got around 8 unloaded in my dually with a tbi 454 on a good day. get it running good for now and save up for a cummins. got a p pumped 24v going in mine now ill never look back
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
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The 454 is still in question, what I find claims I will likely get 6 mpg. Everyone says at LEAST do a cam and headers to let the thing breathe a bit better.
I've got a 98 crew cab long bed 4x4, with the vortec 454, 4l80e.

1200 mile trip down to KOH, I averaged 6.5mpg with a scaled combined weight of 17,000 or 17,500lbs, can't remember which.

I picked up another 1,000lbs of water, propane, food, etc. in Victorville and seemed to get the same fuel economy. I pulled the Tehachapi pass (4-6% for 14 miles) at 50-55mph most of the time, got around 5mpg.

1200 mile drive north, I was probably around 16,500. I got 6.1-6.5mpg the entire time, including the grapevine and Siskiyou's holding 50-55mph most of the time.

Empty the truck has gotten as much as 12mpg on the freeway, unloaded at around 60mph. Typically I'm getting 8-10mpg mixed driving.

Not sure if the TBI would be on par with that or a little worse, but at least there's some real 454 numbers for you.
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