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Difference between a 1500 and a 2500


Jack B.'s Avatar
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08-09-03, 05:55 AM   #1  
Difference between a 1500 and a 2500

Could someone explain to me (in detail) what is the difference between a GMC 1500 and a 2500 pickup are? Isn't the 2500 a more rugged type truck? Dosen't the 2500 have better towing capacity (for pulling a RV)? Thanks in advance.

 
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08-09-03, 06:06 AM   #2  
the 2500 will have a more heavy duty suspension and drive train and will have a higher gross vehicle weight rating than the 1500 so it can pull more versus the 1500.

 
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08-09-03, 07:01 AM   #3  
Joe_F
Correct.

1000/1500 is 1/2 ton
2000/2500 is 3/4 ton
3000/3500 is 1 ton.

Holds true for most of the big 3.

 
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08-09-03, 11:14 AM   #4  
A 1500 is rated at half ton and a 2500 is rated at three quarter ton. You will get a stiffer suspension which will give a harsher ride when empty, heavier cooling system, possibly larger wheels, possibly a transmission cooler
You didn't mention if you were looking at a new or used unit. If you get a towing package you will get a numerically higher rear end which will give you more pulling power but cut gas milage. If you're looking at a new vehicle to pull a trailer be sure to order the towing package. It will give you a trans cooler and heavier everything.

 
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08-09-03, 12:14 PM   #5  
Joe_F
Correct.

Also a 2500 may have larger engines as standard equipment which may be optional or unavailable on a 1500 series vehicle.

Decide what your hauling/towing needs are and that should help guide you as to which is better for you.

 
Jack B.'s Avatar
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08-09-03, 07:13 PM   #6  
Thanks fellows for the information. I have just got a new RV which is 29' long with one rollout. The dry weight is 6400 lbs. I have a GMC 1500, that seems to pull it alright but it also seems to be a real "load". I am having my rear end changed from a 3.42 to a 3.73. Also am installing some helper springs. Everyone I've talked to about this says this should improve conditions. I'm told this should increase towing capacity but at the same time will eat into my gas mileage "some".

 
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08-10-03, 12:36 PM   #7  
Absolutely, positively make sure you have a transmission cooler or have one installed. Also make sure your cooling system is up to snuff

 
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08-10-03, 01:42 PM   #8  
otter_
1500 vs 2500HD

it all depends on the year of your pickup...

prior to the 99 model year a light spec 2500 was basically a beefed-up 1500 series. 2500 Heavy Duty shared its underpinnings with a 3500. Different animal altogether.

Post 99 it gets a little more complicated.

In any case, 2wd vs 4wd, reg vs ext cab are all factors that affect maximum published gross trailering weight (which can be substantially more than the trailer mfgs. published dry/empty weight)

For example, a post '99 1500 ext cab 4wd with a 4800 V8 and 4 spd automatic has a published max trailer towing capacity of 6800 lbs. Bear in mind that every lb of gear you add to the truck over and above driver and passenger gets deducted from how much you are able to tow.

Adding an extra leaf does nothing other than keeping the truck trim when you have a load on the back be it cargo, kingpin for a 5th wheel or dead weight from a platform style hitch. Rated capacity is by no means increased as you are still working with the same capacity axle, brakes, tires and transmission.

Best guideline to use is not the trailer's empty weight, but the actual GVW (gross vehicle weight). This represents the trailer's maximum weight loaded with fresh and gray water and all your gear. 6400 empty could actually gross out at 8000 plus by the time you pull out of your driveway.

A notable difference between a 1500 and 2500 is the transmission included with these trucks. The 1500 will have a 4L60-E (production code M30, found on the line ticket sticker in your glove box) and 2500 and 2500 HD will have a 4L80-E (production code MT1). This also depends on the model year of your vehicle. I'm not sure if all light-spec 2500's came with the heavier tranny pre 99.

In a nutshell, the MT1 transmission is far superior in trailering applications to the M30, which IMHO is a disposable product.

All of this of course depends on how far and how often you are going to tow. If you plan to tow the trailer you are talking about anywhere, everywhere, often, across the continent, then in all cases the 1500 is the wrong truck.

Look at the sticker attached to the driver's side door or door pillar. Look for the published GCWR (gross combination weight rating).

example....GCWR is 12000lbs
minus the "ready to go" weight of you truck, say, 5500lbs
leaves 6500lbs trailer towing capacity.

the above is for illustrative purposes only as I have no idea as to what's printed on your sticker.

GCWR is based on the weakest link on your truck, be it rear axle ratio, engine, cooling capacity, tires, brakes, suspension, frame...it's all taken into account.

adding a leaf or cooler will in no way increase what GM engineered that specific truck will do.

note: changing over your axle from a 3.42 to a 3.73 will net you a gain of 1000lbs. MAX over and above what's published on your door sticker.

Last but not least, do not under any circumstance let a trailer salesperson dictate what YOUR truck can and can't pull.

Always go by what's on the door sticker or owner's manual.

-hope this helps

 
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08-10-03, 02:09 PM   #9  
Joe_F
Otter is correct. A 1500 is a light duty tyke compared to most 2500 series vehicles.

Sit down and do the math as suggested. You can easily sink a lot of green into a 1500, have an empty wallet and STILL have an inadequate tow vehicle. It may be more prudent to step up to a 2500 series vehicle.

 
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