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I am looking at getting an 1500 diesel and I was hoping some people on this forum have some experience towing in the mountains. Every year I take my 5000lb boat from Denver to Lake Powell with my GMC 2500 Duramax. I get 11 MPG going out and 12 MPG coming back at 75mph or less. My concern is towing up hills and passing performance. I know my GMC is not a fair comparison but if I am going to give it up I want to be able to get the same or better MPG and tow my boat better than a gas 1/2 ton.

Thanks
Brendan
 

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It's not going to be close.

There are numerous towing reports on the forum. Look around and read. There's also a link to some guy from Alaska that came to the U.S., bought a truck, bought a trailer and loaded it with stuff to over capacity. He's heading back to Alaska now. I think he's doing mid-teens on mpg towing 8,000 lbs or something like that.

Read some that talked of towing boats up mountains and doing it easily with no issue. Big boats, Your 5,000 lb boat is not big. To compare, guy just used an Ecodiesel to tow a twin engine 28 ft. boat and trailer that grossed 12K. He got on one of our Florida flat interstates, I 75 and easily accelerated to pass trucks. he was shocked the truck could do that. Ohn - no suspension changes and it had a 3" sag upon hook-up. My guess tongue weight should be in the 1,200 lb range. He should have beefed up the rear suspension. You know that for this truck he towed at least 3,000 lbs over max rated towing capacity with no power issues.

I have not pulled heavy with mine yet. Bought it and got rid of my 2500 Cummins because I only tow light any more. My "light" is 7,000 to 8,000 lbs. From my research it will be fine. For your towing the truck may not notice anything behind it.
 

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I haven't pulled out my boat yet... but I was shocked that with a lighter trailer (2000 Lbs) I gave it some throttle to pass someone... and it had the typical "Diesel" torque, and GO I remembered with my 2500 Cummins.


If it stops raining in Pitt PA... I want to get my boat uncovered, and have a test pull. (I like to put it on the local lake, by myself, before putting the family on it for the first summer trip)

I'll post up once I do.

But regardless.... it's not going to be a 2500 Duramax.
 

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We live at 4,600 ft elevation (Salt Lake City valley) and travel to a number of reservoirs to fish almost every weekend. The route to several lakes require elevation changes up to 8,000 ft. Last weekend we towed our ~ 4,000 boat to one and the summit on this route was 7,000 ft. The EcoDiesel engine towed well overall. There was one 1/2 mile section right before the summit where two semi's slowed traffic on the interstate to ~ 40 mph and after passing them I floored it to return to 65 mph and it maxed out at 60 mph until I hit the summit. Despite this (only one trip - need more observations to make a definitive opinion), the truck ran well and I'm glad to have it.

By the way, we are headed down to Lake Powell this week, so more to follow when we return.
 

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We live at 4,600 ft elevation (Salt Lake City valley) and travel to a number of reservoirs to fish almost every weekend. The route to several lakes require elevation changes up to 8,000 ft. Last weekend we towed our ~ 4,000 boat to one and the summit on this route was 7,000 ft. The EcoDiesel engine towed well overall. There was one 1/2 mile section right before the summit where two semi's slowed traffic on the interstate to ~ 40 mph and after passing them I floored it to return to 65 mph and it maxed out at 60 mph until I hit the summit. Despite this (only one trip - need more observations to make a definitive opinion), the truck ran well and I'm glad to have it.

By the way, we are headed down to Lake Powell this week, so more to follow when we return.
Parley's canyon from the SLC approach is a big pull for any vehicle. One of the biggest in the US interstate system. Regaining climbing speed from a slow down near the summit is hard on any engine. But I am glad the ED was able to handle that difficult task. Your truck will certainly get a work out living and fishing in Utah.
 

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Parley's canyon from the SLC approach is a big pull for any vehicle. One of the biggest in the US interstate system. Regaining climbing speed from a slow down near the summit is hard on any engine. But I am glad the ED was able to handle that difficult task. Your truck will certainly get a work out living and fishing in Utah.
Yes, Parley's Canyon summit is the location I was referring to. Daniels Summit (8,000 ft) is another one, but going up Parley's from the SLC valley is tough on most engine/tow vehicles.

Jordanelle, Deer Creek, Strawberry and Starvation Reservoirs are frequented by many folks from this area (some of them being Angler's towing actual fishing boats) and all require going over at least Parley's Canyon/summit with Strawberry/Starvation requiring driving over both Parley's and Daniels summit's. Traveling up Provo Canyon is also scenic and doesn't have the same summit challenge but is slightly longer.
 

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Just for comparison my
1999 Dodge Cummins 3500 5.9 quad cab long box dually has 215 Hp and 420 lbft mated with a 4 speed auto and 3:55 rear end.
The Ram 1500 3.0 crew cab short box single rear wheel has 240 hp and 420 lbft mated with a 8 speed auto and 3:55 rear end.

The bigger displacement engine will pull the rated numbers down lower in the rpm band but the numbers are still there for both the engines. It's all about gearing for the speed and load. The 8 speed, well has 4 more gears to select from to help the smaller displacement engine keep in the power band.
 
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That would be a neat towing test - old vs new. Since they have the same torque numbers the results should be the same per given load as long as it was a steep pull that used lower gears.

My bet is the bigger motor wins.
 

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Just for comparison my
1999 Dodge Cummins 3500 5.9 quad cab long box dually has 215 Hp and 420 lbft mated with a 4 speed auto and 3:55 rear end.
The Ram 1500 3.0 crew cab short box single rear wheel has 240 hp and 420 lbft mated with a 8 speed auto and 3:55 rear end.

The bigger displacement engine will pull the rated numbers down lower in the rpm band but the numbers are still there for both the engines. It's all about gearing for the speed and load. The 8 speed, well has 4 more gears to select from to help the smaller displacement engine keep in the power band.
Good post.
 

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We live at 4,600 ft elevation (Salt Lake City valley) and travel to a number of reservoirs to fish almost every weekend. The route to several lakes require elevation changes up to 8,000 ft. Last weekend we towed our ~ 4,000 boat to one and the summit on this route was 7,000 ft. The EcoDiesel engine towed well overall. There was one 1/2 mile section right before the summit where two semi's slowed traffic on the interstate to ~ 40 mph and after passing them I floored it to return to 65 mph and it maxed out at 60 mph until I hit the summit. Despite this (only one trip - need more observations to make a definitive opinion), the truck ran well and I'm glad to have it.

By the way, we are headed down to Lake Powell this week, so more to follow when we return.
Which diff are you running--3.55 or 3.92 and approximately what kind of mileage are you getting with these tows?
 

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I have the 3.55 gear. My weekend trip to fish on Lake Powell took us 375 miles one-way. Our boat weighs ~ 4,000 lbs and had a full 36 gallons of fuel and gear and we had five passengers on the trip. We achieved 20.2 mpg on the way down.


 

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So somewhere around 6,000 lbs, that's pretty darn decent. With only 1k miles you know it is only going to get better. Hope the fishing was just as good.
 

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I have the 3.55 gear. My weekend trip to fish on Lake Powell took us 375 miles one-way. Our boat weighs ~ 4,000 lbs and had a full 36 gallons of fuel and gear and we had five passengers on the trip. We achieved 20.2 mpg on the way down.


That's the best towing mileage I've seen here, what was your top travel speed? Were you driving normally or were you babying it?
 

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That's the best towing mileage I've seen here, what was your top travel speed? Were you driving normally or were you babying it?
About 200 of the 375 miles was on Interstate 15 and I averaged 70-75 mph. The speed limit is 65 mph for the first 45 miles and then rises to 80 mph for most of that route and the terrain is mostly straight and level with some elevation changes up to 6,000 ft from 4,200. The remaining 175 miles was at higher elevation and with more turns. Lake Powell is currently at 3,582 ft elevation (and rising each day as the spring meltdown inflows exceed outflows) to give you a sense of destination elevation. The last hour of the drive was in the dark (cooler temps - see picture).

I wasn't babying the pedal but was trying to maintain level speed. I did coast down the backside of hills and was amazed at how the weight of the boat did not slow the truck down. My previous tow vehicle (08 Sequoia 5.7 liter) seemed to slow down faster when you let off the pedal.

All in, the ride was smooth, quite and very comfortable. My boat and gear is not that heavy, so perhaps a 7,000 or 8,000 trailer/boat might feel differently.
 
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