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Unread 01-14-2012, 10:12 PM   #1
robert1973
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1977 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Gahanna, ohio
Posts: 268
anyone towing with gm 4.3 engine?

I'm getting a 08 gmc sierra next week. Its the WT model and has the 4.3 v6 in it.As far as i have found this truck has a 7000lb towing capacity from all my searches. I'm planning on towing my cj which is around the 3200lb mark by guessing. The trailer i'm using is a regular 16' like you would haul a bobcat or car on. Im going to lighten the deck as much as i can removing some of the middle deck boards. Am i going to be struggling pulling this around? My trips to the places i wheel are usually no more than 150 miles at the farthest away around here in Ohio. And only 3 or 4 times a year. Am just wondering on how the 4.3 pulls power wise and fuel economy wise. Dont think i could afford driving a v8 daily so chose a v6 as my goal. Even thought about possibly getting one of those programmers too to have the towing tune. Thanks for any input !

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Unread 01-15-2012, 08:25 AM   #2
h2ogun
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You can probably pull it OK with the 4.3.

My experience with the 4.3 (manual 4 speed transmission). I pulled a 16 foot, and about 3500-4000 load but it was not a jeep and did not have the wind restrictions of a jeep. It pulled satisfactory but not great. Hills were sometime more difficult. My problem with it was that it pulled like a strong V6 but with the mileage of a V8. I moved up to a V8 and was much more pleased and actually got better fuel economy.

The other problem that you may have is transmission (automatic) holding up. I had been pulling my jeep with a 5.4 V8 (Ford) and it pulled very good, with the exception of a head wind above 10mph and a little more work to pull a long tall hill. It also pulled satisfactory in Colorado mountains, as noted I had to work it a bit and at times give it a rest. However about a year ago I lost my transmission. After checking with numerous transmission experts, the general feeling was that the transmission would not hold up even though I was well under listed towing weight.

Last March, I switched to a Duramax and Allison transmission. It was a very good move. Better pulling, better fuel consumption and Colorado mountains add only slightly more challenge.
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Unread 01-15-2012, 09:21 AM   #3
TJnProgress
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I haven't pulled the Jeep with a 4.3, but a few years ago I had a GMC Safari with the 4.3 and used it to pull my travel trailer a couple times. The trailer was within the weight limit of the minivan (6,200lbs loaded out), and the van had enough power for flat lands, but not enough brakes or gearing in my opinion despite what the owner's manual SAID the thing would pull. With a Sierra, you shouldn't have to worry about the brakes. You are going to see a lot of high RPM pulls on hills though, and that's rough on a truck over the long haul.

I would recommend always going one step bigger than you think you need. If the 4.3 will do it, go with the 5.3. The gas mileage improvement of a 4.3 over the 5.3 really isn't that much I don't think. For no more than you'll pull, the 6.0 probably isn't a good answer because your gas mileage will suffer.

Something else to consider, and I hate even bringing it up because I can't stand Furds, but that new Ecoboost motor is something else. Not sure what they've done with transmission, gearing, brakes, etc. though.
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Unread 01-15-2012, 09:38 AM   #4
TjinTopeka
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For what its worth we have work vans/trucks with 4.3 vortec, 5.0 vortec, 5.3 vortec, 5.7 vortec, and the 6.0 vortec. I think the 5.3 is the best balance of power and gas mileage.

The Van with the 4.3 is slightly overloaded and is a pig, when you turn the A/C on i'm reminded of my 4 banger wrangler it struggles to get up to speed.
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Unread 01-15-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
robert1973
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Thanks for the replies guys. I'm kind of getting lucky in getting this truck. Its a family friends that i am taking the payments over with not many more left to make. It has less than 50k on it. It far exceeds the quality of vehicle i could actually afford to buy outta pocket currently. Sounds like i'll be able to make do with it for few years till i can upgrade to a bigger truck. Like i said it'll only be a few pulls each year. Sounds like i should definately keep eye on trans temp. Maybe upgrade to bigger trans cooler. My buddy i wheel with said when we go wheeling i can load everything in his f350 i'll need to keep my load weights down too.
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Unread 01-16-2012, 11:09 AM   #6
MLJeeper
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The trans wont be a big deal. An external cooler is prudent but you should be fine there. The engine, well there is not much you can do there. You already know its not ideal. Maybe lower gearing on the rear, but then there goes your MPGs when not towing.
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Unread 01-20-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
wilson1010
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It all about the rear end ratio. I had an F250 I-6 that towed just fine but it had a 4.56 rear end in it.
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