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Buying Suburban 2500 8.1L


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monstershow's Avatar
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December 20th, 2016, 2:03 PM   #1  
Buying Suburban 2500 8.1L

Greetings All

I am new here and if I am posting in the wrong area please let me know. I am looking to buy a Suburban 2500 with the 8.1L engine. They of course are available but finding one with relatively low mileage (less than 100k miles) is more difficult. Start adding in other wants and the selection becomes less. So my question is about gear ratios. I have read many opinions on the internet but thought I would instigate another discussion. Most of it's use will be for towing a 4000 lb travel trailer. I will be towing it throughout the US, including mountains and up to Alaska. With a trailer this light do I really need the 4.10 or will the 3.73 be sufficient. Looking for one with 4.10 gears really limits the choices. Thank you in advance for your opinions.
Rick

 
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December 21st, 2016, 6:59 AM   #2  
With the 8.1, the gear ratio of your axles won't matter a bit with a 4,000-lb trailer.

Honestly, the 8.1 is kind of overkill for a 4,000-lb trailer. It's rated to tow over 10,000 lbs. I towed much heavier than that in the Rocky Mountains with my half-ton 5.3 Suburban. You'll also have better fuel range in a 6.0 2500. Low-mileage 8.1s are becoming unicorns, and the ones you do find will be priced quite high.

ETA: According to my 2001 owners manual, a 4x4 with the 8.1 and 3.73 axles is rated to pull 10,500 lbs, and with the 4.10 axles it's 12,000 lbs.


Last edited by intheburbs; December 21st, 2016 at 7:02 AM.
 
tech2's Avatar
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December 21st, 2016, 8:27 AM   #3  
+1
a 2500 6.0L with 4.10 gear won't even feel a 4000 trailer. 8.1 is gonna be a gas guzzler. Alaskian highways are straight up but the 6.0L with 4.10 can handle that load easily.
see if you can test pull with them first before you buy.

maybe i'm mistaken but i think the 8.1 came with an allison option; its the only reason i would go for a 8.1

 
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December 21st, 2016, 1:16 PM   #4  
Posted By: tech2 +1
a 2500 6.0L with 4.10 gear won't even feel a 4000 trailer. 8.1 is gonna be a gas guzzler. Alaskian highways are straight up but the 6.0L with 4.10 can handle that load easily.
see if you can test pull with them first before you buy.

maybe i'm mistaken but i think the 8.1 came with an allison option; its the only reason i would go for a 8.1
No, the SUVs didn't get the Allison. Not enough height clearance. 8.1 SUVs get the 4L80.

 
02Sub's Avatar
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December 27th, 2016, 12:18 PM   #5  
I have a 2002 Suburban 2500 with 4WD, 8.1L engine, 4L80E trans, and 3.73 gears.


I have owned it since it had 5K miles on it, now it has almost 180K miles.


We tow an 8000lb travel trailer with it every year. We also usually have 8 people in the Sub when towing.


There are no problems towing it with the 3.73 gears, even on hills.


With your 4000lb trailer, you won't even notice the trailer is connected with an 8.1L and 3.73 gears.


As someone previously noted, the tow capacity is 10,500lbs.


Steve

 
monstershow's Avatar
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March 18th, 2017, 7:20 AM   #6  
Thanks everyone for your replies. I am still looking. As the 8.1 is getting harder to find, the mileage is going up all the time. What are your opinions on maximum acceptable mileage. Thanks.
Rick

 
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March 18th, 2017, 4:01 PM   #7  
My '01 is up to 235k miles (a buddy now owns it), but it was quite a money pit for a few years - wheel bearings, rotors, exhaust manifold gaskets, A/C system, etc.

If you're looking for something long-term, I'd try to stay under 125k.

I bought my '08 Burb three years ago with 100k miles on it. It now has 160k, and I've spent exactly $23 in unscheduled repairs. I think the 2500 components are more durable, and last longer. I'm even planning a trip this summer across the country, pulling my behemoth 8600-lb trailer to Yellowstone and back, probably to the tune of 5,000 miles or so in two weeks. Best truck I've ever owned.

If I was looking for an '00-'06 2500 with the 8.1, I'd be willing to fly anywhere in the country to get it, and I'd focus my search on southern states, especially Texas. Burbs are a dime a dozen down there.

 
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