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High altitude driving

High altitude driving

Postby dasuriano [OP] » Mar 21 2013, 4:08pm

Got a seasonal job in Colorado this summer and will be heading out there in about a month. This would be my third summer out there, but last time I had a car I didn't care about. Now that I have my truck, I want to do this right. Is there anything that would be recommended to prepare the truck for constantly high altitude. Town is at 8000 feet and I'd be up over 12000 feet often driving through the park. Last time, I had a Toyota Highlander and it seemed to do okay, just less power going uphill (it never had enough power to pull itself anyway).
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby Daly » Mar 21 2013, 4:25pm

I'd say get an aftermarket air filter, to allow the most air through the engine, but your trucks computer should correct for the thinner air. You'll lose power, but the computer won't let the truck run rich, unless you tune it that way. But, then again I live at sea level so I've never had to deal with the higher altitude, maybe some of the inhabitants of those areas will chime in shortly.
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby DrkZide » Mar 21 2013, 6:20pm

I live in Denver and frequently head up to the mountain towns around 10-12kft. I have the 5.3 and haven't had an issue at all. Drove up to Copper Mountain without breaking a sweat. Truck is completely stock for now. Intake tube, headers and a muffler are in the works, but that's mostly to offset the weight of the winch and nothing due to the high altitude.
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby steved » Mar 22 2013, 1:38am

Unless your truck has a carburetor, you don't need to do a thing. The computer will adjust the air-fuel mixture accordingly.

The only thing to keep in mind is that they run lower octane fuels due to the high altitude...make sure you run at least the minimum your truck requires (IIRC, 85 octane is considered "regular" unleaded, so you will likely be running a mid-grade).
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby NightRodeo » Mar 22 2013, 2:36am

Your truck will do fine stock. Like the other posters said the computer will adjust itself. I live in Texas and I drove my 2009 Sierra with the 5.3 to Oregon in late 2011. It is completely stock also. It had no problems going up the steep hills and driving it around Oregon.
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby 2012GMCTX » Mar 22 2013, 3:45am

steved wrote:Unless your truck has a carburetor, you don't need to do a thing. The computer will adjust the air-fuel mixture accordingly.

The only thing to keep in mind is that they run lower octane fuels due to the high altitude...make sure you run at least the minimum your truck requires (IIRC, 85 octane is considered "regular" unleaded, so you will likely be running a mid-grade).



Interesting...Ive never heard the lower octane at higher altitudes...I guess thats why the highest Octane I can find around town is 91...Ive read on the forums some are able to get 94, but Ive never seen it..
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby DrkZide » Mar 22 2013, 3:52am

It's true. It normally goes 85/87/91 here where as when I was in California, it was 87/90/93 if I remember correctly. It's because of the altitude.
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby 2003Z71 » Mar 22 2013, 4:04am

Your truck should do fine. The high altitude just kicks performance in the butt. I tow a race car to Bandimere in the summer and my 5.3 does pretty good on the highway unless some slowski pulls in front of me and kills my momentum. I would run 87 octane for sure; during the summer when I tow I use 91 ethanol free gas. Truck really like that! BTW, my race car has an oxygen injection system so it thinks its running at sea level!!
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby DrkZide » Mar 22 2013, 4:16am

O2 injection? Might as well just run nitrous. A wet system would be safer in my opinion.
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Re: High altitude driving

Postby 2003Z71 » Mar 22 2013, 4:26am

O2 injection is much easier on internal engine components and the bottles are only $12 to refill. Much cheaper than NOS. Oxygen system took .9 off the 1/4 mile times.
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