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upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Can I tow with what I have or should I upgrade my ratio?

Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby MacQ » Dec 03 2020, 6:58am

With your axel and such I wouldn't tow anything more than 4000-4500 lbs. with that truck. Those specs the dealer or manual gives are maximum limits and do not include anything like payload. The rule of thumb I learned is to go with 66-75% of what the max rating is.
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby Used2baFordDrvr » Dec 03 2020, 3:00pm

FWIW, I suggest that you upgrade your truck. You need to bear in mind that you are starting RY'ing with a small(ish) size unit and that like most RVers there is a very good chance that you will want to go larger in the future. I overmatched a R** 3/4 ton with a 12,000lb 35ft long trailer. The diesel motor would pull the RV all day long. Scariest driving of my RV life. I upgraded immediately to the 1 ton and the driving experience became so much less stressful. You need to have peace of mind when you are towing or carrying an RV. The safety of your family and others on the road should be your main priority.

Cheers!
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby GOAT721 » Dec 03 2020, 3:22pm

id pick the lighter of the trailers and see how it goes. if you don't like it, but are close, then regear. if it seems too far away from being ok, get a new truck.
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby rebelman06 » Dec 03 2020, 5:16pm

The focus is always on gearing when these topics come up, but topics like suspension, brakes, and transmission coolers are rarely discussed. I’m also in agreement that you can’t increase the vehicle’s rated tow capacity and I’d be unwilling to take the liability risk of towing above that number.
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby Bradley21sanders » Dec 03 2020, 5:32pm

I would suspect that's because most (maybe not any of these guys I don't know) just look in the book and say oh I need the 3.73s and I can tow more. But you are 100% right, my truck can tow/pull probably 20k like it is but its not rated for it. I'm sure it will squat to the bump stops, front tires would be light on the road and it would be a beast to stop.... but it would likely pull it.
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby Farmguy » Dec 03 2020, 7:42pm

How far, how fast, what grades, and how often?

If the first pull(s) is/are going to be 'local' and have not much grade and be mostly quiet (and slow) 2 lane rather than busy (and fast) interstate/freeway, -- giver a try.

Towing isn't just weight, it's frontal area makes a huge difference when towing at speed.

Don't ignore stopping. Does the existing truck have an integrated trailer bake controller (ITBC) or is that another consideration? (yes, they're not expensive, but still an issue to deal with)
Big difference between a small utility trailer and a 7000 lb travel trailer.


If you decide to try the existing truck, be sure to do some 'local' test pulls.
Don't spoil a vacation by heading out with and then finding out that the tow vehicle isn't suited to the task or that the new trailer has issues that weren't known before pulling.
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby GOAT721 » Dec 03 2020, 9:07pm

if you modify your truck to be a clone of one with a higher tow rating, it will be 100% as capable and functional as the other truck. others are correct in the fact that it doesn't change what GM rated it for when it left the assembly line however many years ago. yes, that is the official/legal tow rating and what your insurance company will go by, but not the practical tow rating. in terms of insurance, you should still be insured, you will just likely be at fault in the event of an accident, just like speeding. i guess no one speeds because that would be illegal...

it seems like the truck community is going in the same direction as the offshore fishing community. with trucks, if its not a 2500, you cant tow crap. with a center console, if you don't have quad 450 outboards, your boat is underpowered.

i tow a 6500 boat/trailer combo now and have zero concerns about going above 8000 with my next boat/trailer combo. i wouldn't want to run the ike daily with it, but i expect it to be more than doable in my rolling countryside down to the water
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby roorancher » Dec 03 2020, 9:58pm

Just remember that regardless of what you do to the truck, if you're in an accident while towing more than the truck was rated for when it left the factory, it is more than likely the insurance company will not pay for the loss.
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby hunt4steve » Dec 03 2020, 10:14pm

I would agree with most on here; just upgrade the truck....

I also seem to recall something about diffs with stock 3.08 gears could not upgrade to any lower gears due to the case size limitation. I believe the break in cases is, if your truck came with 3.43, you could upgrade to lower gears, but if you have 3.08 gears, forget it.
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Re: upgrade the 3.08 for towing?

Postby deepnsteep » Dec 12 2020, 12:15am

There are 3.42 and 3.73 combos that work for the 9.5" diff. Maybe even 4.11 but I'm not sure. I just can't figure out if the 9.76" diff axles are heavier duty than the 9.5" diff axles.

What would it take to upgrade a 3.08 geared truck a true clone of something with a 3.73 geared truck with the max tow package? Gears, brakes, radiator, transmission cooler, brake controller, springs, etc?? Just swapping the gears to 3.73 will surely help pull better, but would it truly upgrade to the 11,100 capacity?
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