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Old 12-01-2013, 08:26 AM   #1
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Chevy Silverado Z-71

I have an 03 Z-71 1500. When I bought it I had the hitch installed as well as the plug. When I bought the TT I took it in to have the transmission serviced as well as have a transmission cooler put on. The shop said it already had one. So...I don't really know if it came with a "tow package" or not. I am guessing no since I had to do the above. Anyway, my question is this: What would be the optimal gear ratio for this truck? How can I tell what it has? Can it be changed reasonably? What about lift bags? Recommendations besides a new tow vehicle? This one is paid for and would like to get a couple more years out of it.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:14 AM   #2
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You should be able to determine all your truck's spec by researching the VIN#. You can change differential gears for more towing capacity. Cost will be higher if you have four wheel drive, two sets of gears. Several years ago I had my dealer change my '01 GMC 2wd differential to a 3.73. It cost me about $900.00.
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:08 PM   #3
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Also in the glove box, there is a sticker that has a list of all of the build codes. the rear end code will be there. Though I would think the the easiest method would to take the vin down to GM and have the run it that will give all of the options and rear end also
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:11 PM   #4
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you can change gear ratio and add aIr bags but it does not increase your tow capacity. you will still be limited by gvwr. in fact air bags will add weight and technically decrease your available payload and towing capacity. like it or not you are limited by payload. the only thing that will change that is another tow vehicle. I also had a paid for tow vehicle that I kept trying to make work. I kept throwing money at it but in the end I gave up and got the bigger stronger tow vehicle. I bought it used saving some $$$ that way but I sure wish I hadn't thrown thousands into the old TV. just my 2 cents from having been there, done that.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:31 PM   #5
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With a Z71, I would be surprised if diff is other than a 3.73.

Check glove box to be sure as Frank suggested. You can google build codes for rear end (that is how I confirmed our Trailblazer rear end).

You likely had tranny cooler as part of the Z71 package. Generally, the Z71's are setup for towing already, except some don't have hitch.

I agree, too, with Anaro. Don't dump a ton of money into a 10-year old truck. Especially rear end, as you will need to change front differential, too. You can easily have $3000 in it to change gear ratio on your truck.

Another question: Does it matter? Your truck, even if equipped with a 3:42 rear end, should be more than adequate for the ST25RB.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #6
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The Z-71 almost all come with 3.73 and tranny cooler. You could change to 4.10 or something along those line, but with a 4x4 it will be expensive and not worth the small gain in performance IMHO. Just save the cash for your next TV.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:11 PM   #7
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Was'nt even thinking I would need to do more than the rear. I think I will leave well enough alone. I tows fine, not a speed demon by any means, nut a new truck is not in the budget right now. Thanks everyone.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:08 PM   #8
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Good luck and enjoy your camping Tim.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim D View Post
Was'nt even thinking I would need to do more than the rear. I think I will leave well enough alone. I tows fine, not a speed demon by any means, nut a new truck is not in the budget right now. Thanks everyone.
I would say you made a good decision. I had a 2003 Silverado with camper package.....4:10 gears and 6.0 engine. Towed a 28' TT with it. I never liked to lose speed on hills, so I went to a Duramax. Best decision I ever made on a truck.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I would say you made a good decision. I had a 2003 Silverado with camper package.....4:10 gears and 6.0 engine. Towed a 28' TT with it. I never liked to lose speed on hills, so I went to a Duramax. Best decision I ever made on a truck.
Well...that is my only problem with it. I do drop speed in the hills. Hoping to travel further from home next year, involving some mountain driving. Will just have to see how it does.
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