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Gas mileage and axle ratios

Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby arky11 [OP] » Feb 17 2011, 1:14am

I'm going to be getting a Silverado or Sierra when I sell my Cummins and I have some specific fuel economy questions.
Anybody who is getting 17 mpgs or over out of 4X4, what axle ratio do you have? I'm interested in the 01-05 range of trucks with the 5.3. And what type of driving do you do.
I had an 02 Sierra Z71 for two years and loved it. It had (I believe, 2k rpms @ 70 mph) 3.73s in it and it got 17 on the interstate going 70-75. That was out in Idaho/Eastern Washington. Now I am back home in Southwest Va where it is hilly. Most of my driving will be in the 55-65mph range, with a little in town and a little interstate. What is the best axle ratio for this driving? The Tahoe we have now hits 2k rpm @ 74 mph, so I think it's got 3.55's. It's ok, but for around here in the hills going 55, it needs to shift a little too much. That could be because it is heavier than a ext cab truck, I dunno.
Anyway, I need to find out what ratio will work best for my situation. I won't be pulling much, mostly just tools and materials in the back (I'm a carpenter and have a small farm). I think 4.10's would be to low, but I want the best mileage without making the tranny shift too much.
Thanks a bunch, newbie to the forum...
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby lzn197 » Feb 17 2011, 3:36pm

Well you really didn't say if you were buying new or used. I have found that 3:73 is a very good choice. The stock tire size enters into the equation too you know.
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby koolz71 » Feb 17 2011, 3:48pm

I think the 3.73 is the best of both worlds..the best fuel economy for the amount of towing it gives. I get around 17 myself
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby EKinMN » Feb 18 2011, 1:07am

If you have the 4 speed automatic tranny, I agree that 3.73 is perfect. If you went to a newer truck, and did the 6 speed tranny, I would vote for the 3.42's.
I think the 3.73 will give you everything you want. Decent towing and good mileage.
Let us know what you choose!
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby GMman » Feb 18 2011, 6:40am

One dealership orders 3.08 with V-8 engines, other dealerships orders 3.42 gears with V-8 engines. I personally think either a 3.42 or 3.73 would be a great all around gear for towing, or going to the grocery store.
Thank you
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby arky11 [OP] » Feb 18 2011, 12:14pm

lzn197 wrote:Well you really didn't say if you were buying new or used. I have found that 3:73 is a very good choice. The stock tire size enters into the equation too you know.



I'm looking at an somewhere between an 01 and 05, that means it will be used ;) . Unless you know of someway to get a new one for around 12k...
Thanks fellas, sounds like everybody likes the 3.73's. Anybody have some mpg numbers for theirs? I read one of you said 17, what kind of driving is that?
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Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby Jrluz14 » Feb 18 2011, 1:00pm

3.73 is a good ratio and the most common they have in the 1500s. If you plan on getting bigger tires, that's a whole different story. I have a 2500 with 4.10s and I put 35" tires on which changed the truck drastically. Was thinking about going up to 4.56 but I decided to go down to 33" tires instead (no rubbing). But from seeing a lot of customers with 1500s installing tires over 35" come back with grenaded rear ends, definitely run higher, better quality gears. 1500 rear ends tend to fail with 37" tires a lot. The best thing you can do is get a custom tune for better mpg and different shift points. My 2500 just got a tune and it drives like it has stock tires, if not better. I gained about 5 mpg with the tune.
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby Z15 » Feb 18 2011, 1:36pm

I think you will find that a majority (in those years) of 4x4 will have a 3.73, less with a 3.42 as those are usually behind 4.8L engines sometimes also the 5.3L. It seems 3.73 was the default for the 5.3L on most e.cab Z71. I have had 4 trucks (99,01,04,08) with the 5.3L and 3.73's, the average was in the low 17's.

So far my 2010 5.3L, 6sp and 3.42 is in the low 18's but I only have 8,000 miles.
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby arky11 [OP] » Feb 19 2011, 3:48pm

Righto. More questions now.
I keep hearing about tuning. What is EFI live tuning, and do folks really get 3-5 mpg better out of them? That's crazy good and would pay for itself (cost $500?) in one year, as many miles as I drive. Where do you get them tuned and are there better/worse tunes?
Also, are there any differences between 02 and older/03 and newer other than the interior and exterior changes? Any tranny, 4x4, drivetrain, steering, suspension, etc upgrades in 03?
And while I'm piling up questions, push-button 4x4 vs manual lever 4x4, any real difference between them? They just different ways of actuating the vacuum system, correct?
Maybe I should have started a couple more threads...
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Re: Gas mileage and axle ratios

Postby EKinMN » Feb 19 2011, 4:41pm

I would recommend starting some new threads.
Tuning = Engine
Tranny and 4x4 = Drivetrain

etc...

Thanks for helping keep things organized. Also, don't forget to search, as a lot of these topics have been discussed, and you could comment on those threads as well.
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