Re: WD-9 and 1/2 ton truck
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I agree on the underpowered at times. There was one hill that must have been 5-6 miles long that I pulled the last mile or two at about 50 mph on I-20. I had semi's passing me on the left side. I don't mind though, I only tow like this about once a season (4x year).
I have been in a 1984 Chevrolet 6.2L 1/2 ton towing some bulls from central Texas to Louisiana in a 16' bumper pull stock trailer. It would get +25 mpg empty (no trailer), but a dog in hills with a load. It has very high gearing for a diesel, for passenger use. It now does better since we had the pump turned up after a rebuild at about 120,000 miles. But +200,000 miles later my Grandmother still drives it to church on Sundays occasionally. Its a good truck for what it is and would not mind ending up with it.
I know I was not legal, hence my Saturday trip when the Chicken Coops were closed and Mr. DOT was probably barbecuing at home. My trailer plates (farm) had the weight rating, but the truck has 6,000 lb privates, ouch! I have thought of bumping them to 18k, but I don't know if they will plate the truck over its data plate rating, or if that is even legal. 18k farm tags would be nice.
Truck handles it well. Twin caliper disc brakes on all 4 corners and new brakes on all 4 trailer hubs. It will stop good when asked to. Getting rolling can be a challenge if it's uphill from a red light.
I have some mods to the power train too. K&N cold air along with modified exhaust running out through a 3"x18" glass pack. When towing, the 5.3L BARKS like a mad pit bull, almost too loud (is that possible?). I have thought about camming it and getting the ECM flashed with a more aggressive program.
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