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  • New Tow Rig - Diesel HD or Gas

    What a great problem to have! My current tow vehicle for our 2013 X55 is off lease - it's a 2012 Sierra Denali half ton. It has done a commendable job pulling nearly 8,000 pounds of boat, trailer and gear around this past summer. We made a few long highway trips up north to Crystal Lake and Torch Lake and it definitely worked hard holding 70+ up the hills - but did a decent job. It's time for her to move on to a new house.

    I'm not a fan of either the Ford or Ram trucks - we've driven both and they're not in the cards - personal preference.

    The new redesigned 1/2 ton Sierra's are now starting to ship in the Denali package. Basically the same drive train as my old Denali with a bit more HP and more than a bit more torque. I imagine this truck will do as well, if not better, than the vehicle it replaces.

    ...however, this spring the redesigned 2500HD's are being delivered - with the same Duramax Diesel power train (~400HP / 765ft/lb Torque). I have a short term vehicle option to get me through to the release of the new HD should I want to wait for the spring option.

    I only use the truck to pull the boat in the summers and to haul miscellaneous stuff for our yard/house. Nothing significant on the hauling, but occasionally put a big load of river rock or fieldstone in the rear. I have a sedan that I drive during the warm months here in Michigan (both of the warm months) and put that away for the winter and drive the truck. 35 miles one way to work on 2-lane county roads (55mph). Averaging 10k miles per year on the truck - 2 yr 20k lease on the current truck.

    In the past, I've owned a 3/4 ton Silverado and a bunch of 1/2 tons. 3/4's can be a little harsh on the road unloaded but understand the dynamic. I have never owned a Diesel. We drove a 2014 (old body style) this past week and it was quiet, well mannered and had TONS of low end grunt.

    Anyone with experience in both the gas and diesel side of a 3/4 ton with a perspective on direction? If I go gas, I'll just pick up a 1/2 Denali in the next 30-60 days if I can find one. If I go Diesel, I'll hold tight for 6 months and get one in the spring - in time to start launching the X55! Looking for perspective on both the towing side as well as day-to-day manners for winter driving. i.e.: Does it heat up well on cold winter mornings??? Is the 3/4 ton Diesel overkill for pulling the X55?

    Like I said at the start - what a great problem to have! Cost of Diesel vs gas or vehicle acquisition cost is not a significant factor. Opinions???

  • #2
    Honestly for what you do if get a gasser. I own a duramax diesel and love it. I do tons of work on duramaxs as in upgrades. However for your use I don't think you would enjoy the diesel. Now if your like me and haul something a halfton is not capeable of at least 2-3 times a month then I'd say go for it. Here diesel is $0.70 higher a gallon, plus on the new trucks they require exhaust fluid which I'm still not sure was someone's best idea but that's another topic. In short get another Denali half ton if you liked your last one
    1990 prostar 190, 351, powerslot 1.5:1, tinted windows

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    • #3
      My experience is not in a GM HD, but for what it's worth:

      Gas 3/4 ton--Handled typical loads (boat, car on trailer, tractor on trailer, etc.) well IF you didn't mind it revving to the moon on hills or pulling out in traffic. Bad fuel mileage empty or loaded. Ride was firm, but not uncomfortably so. Felt like a truck.

      Diesel 3/4 ton: Basically does not care what you put in or behind it. There's nothing like pulling a hill in the left lane, in top gear, passing slower traffic with 10K pounds (obviously less in the case of the boat) on a trailer in tow. Fuel mileage on a 55 mph country two lane 35 mile trip (you described my commute to within 5 miles) is excellent. Loaded mileage is 3-4mpg better than the gas equivalent. Ride was the same, if not a bit better than the gas truck (heavier diesel motor).

      The diesel takes about 8-10 minutes to get up to temperature on my commute.

      Cost of diesel in proportion to gas sucks nowadays, but if you're a "car guy", the diesel will make you smile. Higher resale is the icing on the cake, although that's not a factor if you're leasing.
      Last edited by soacj; 11-14-2013, 10:40 PM.

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      • #4
        The Denali gasser will serve you very well. Based on what you said, I think the diesel will be overkill.

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        • #5
          I had 3 F250 diesels and finally switched to gas. I (and probably lots of folks that have diesels) never really needed it but when I purchased my first one the engine upcharge was not too bad, the price for fuel was significantly cheaper than gas, and there was not a bunch of emission controls to screw up the engine. Get a diesel if you want it but based on what you described, you don't "need" it.

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          • #6
            Diesel 3/4 ton. The gasser is for carrying your clubs to the club.
            https://badges.fuelly.com/images/smallsig-us/302328.png

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            • #7
              Diesel.. I've had gassers, you get ****ty gas mileage all the time.. Granted diesel is more expensive, but I serious towed 12k lbs with my truck up hills with ease.. it's rediculous
              No boat.. Looking tho..

              US COAST GUARD!!

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              • #8
                My vote, diesel. Makes gas trucks feel like toys. I could never go back to gas. The hardest thing about driving a diesel, is wiping the smile off of your face!

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                • #9
                  I vote Duramax. I have an '08 crew cab longbed 2500 HD. I live in the mountains in Colorado and tow an '85 S&S with an older heavy truckbed camper. I don't notice anything when I tow and still get about 12 mpg loaded up here. And it rides so smooth people can't believe it's a truck. I'm pretty sure the truck will outlast me as well.

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                  • #10
                    I don't think you would regret the switch to diesel. Set the cruise and roll .... done. Diesels are now quiet (for better or worse), ride like a car, and are beasts, so I see little down side. I might be a biased opinion though.

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                    • #11
                      If price is not a factor then go diesel but if it is then go gas. From what you describe it would be hard to justify the upcharge for a diesel as they cost on average $6-$10k more depending. I own a 2006 GMC 2500HD CrewCab 4x4 Dmax diesel but truly only because I found a great deal on a used one. The fuel mileage is better but around me I am paying nearly $1 more/gallon for diesel over the lowest grade of gas, so again, weigh that out.
                      Don't get me wrong, I love my Dmax and it does exactly what others here have already stated but if I had to buy a new truck tomorrow I could not justify the Dmax price.

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                      • #12
                        I love team talk! Great perspectives, thank you all. I'm still torn and not sure what I'm going to do. I am awaiting the arrival of a 14 1/2 ton denali at the stealer and take it for a drive. That will probably be the determining factor.

                        Right now, I'm leaning towards the 2500HD Denali Diesel - just never had one before. Gotta try everything (almost) at least once....

                        Thanks again for the opinions.

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                        • #13
                          Not sure what we are going to say that you don't already know.
                          The 1500 is at the upper end but doable with the load you have and purposes you ask of it.
                          You did not indicate whether your existing truck was 5.3 or 6.2?

                          You really don't put enough miles to justify the premium cost of a diesel and there is a ownership learning curve but given your low miles and two year turn over I doubt that will be an issue. Also with it being a lease, I assume you will not be trying to toy with it like some owners are tempted which usually opens up more questions and problems.
                          Your habits will not choke down the diesel with tons of in town miles.

                          Diesel has low end power that is fun and you will enjoy the extra stability plus turbo braking of Dmax 2500 when loaded.
                          Denali is such a premium product, your payment will be quiet large either way but just making a general assumption of financial situation with new x55 and high turn over of premium vehicles I don't think it will be that much of an issue.
                          Don't know how lease metrics will affect a Denali Dmax so have the dealer run some numbers for basic comparison and see......
                          1991 MariStar 240sc, 454, tower, WetSounds, Krypt and Rockford Fosgate

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                          • #14
                            I am on my second 2500 gasser (probably won't be my last) it is the current body, and I am also waiting to see what the 2015 Denali HD brings to the table. I am at 280,000 km (174,000 miles) with only regular maintenance.

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                            • #15
                              I been driving diesel medium duty trucks for the past 23 years and for constant heavy hauling (26K lbs.) there is no substitute for diesel power and torque. Many of those years I enjoyed low diesel fuel prices.....but not anymore. That coupled with EGR systems, high repair bills and expensive routine maintenance has proven that diesels are expensive to buy and run.

                              For a personal vehicle I'd think long and hard about these newer diesels. Do you really want to be bothered with plugging in every night during colder months? Adding DEF fluid? Expensive oil changes? Expensive fuel cost? Rough riding suspension?

                              I've been a GM guy for many years. My last FORD was my '88 Bronco......until I test drove the new Eco-boost. It changed my mind about gas engines for towing and overall driving. It's been a year now of solo driving (70% of the time) and towing my X-star (30%) and I've never had a pickup this nice. Took a long trip from NJ to Indiana and it was great.

                              Test drive one before you lease your next vehicle.
                              I was njskier on here.

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