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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Chevy 8.1 truck with low miles?

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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/09/20 03:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lantley, while technology and power has gotten better since the 8.1, you are missing the point.
I simply made the post, because not everyone buys a $40-70k truck, or has the means to. And for a small fraction of that cost, there are a few of these “dinosaurs” around with low miles that are a good economical option for someone who needs the capability but doesn’t have the wallet to buy a new L5P like yourself.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

BenK

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Posted: 01/09/20 03:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you Grit, spot on...add that there some of us who just won't (whether can or cannot afford) pay the kind of pricing for new/newer and are just fine with something older

Looking like around $10K, plus whatever the cost of the 'built' 7.4L will be.

Know many of the newer rigs has more HP, whop my 7.4L (just barely), but I'd rather spend less on something that fits me like an old shoe (yes, I do resole most of my shoes that can be)

Whatever makes 'you' happy...go for it ! I know what "I" want...



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-Ben Picture of my rig
1996 GMC SLT Suburban 3/4 ton K3500/7.4L/4:1/+150Kmiles orig owner...
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PA12DRVR

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Posted: 01/09/20 05:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit posted a good find for someone in the market.

Lot to be said for the old 8.1 gasser. May not compare to the new rigs in many ways but probably a good balance of remaining life, ability, entry cost, and opex. I'd be willing to guess that the old 8.1 has fewer computer chip/electronic parts to fail like happened on my 2009 2500HD with Duramax at about 120k....the iron is fine, but engine and tranny electronics all took a hike within about a 6-month period (8 - 12 different failures, one at -20 that convinced me to drop serious coin for a new rig).


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specta

utah

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Posted: 01/09/20 05:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

Lantley, while technology and power has gotten better since the 8.1, you are missing the point.


I wouldn't mind one bit finding a nice 8.1L 1-ton regular cab dully for my camper.

But, what I currently have works just fine.

That and I don't have an extra $80,000 laying around for a new truck. [emoticon]


Kenny
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Lantley

Ellicott City, Maryland

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Posted: 01/09/20 05:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ksss wrote:

I agree, there is more to towing than the engine. I have an LBZ 3500 DRW. Has just over 100K. Love the motor and the truck, but I will likely sell it this year and get a new 3500 HD DRW. The new trucks just handle weight better, better brakes, better exhaust brake (my LBZ is tuned for an exhaust brake but it isnt as good as the L5P brake).

That's my story as well. My LBZ had 300K on it when I traded it in last year. I have no real complaints about the LBZ it was a great truck that served me well. However my current truck just does a much better job for the reasons mentioned above.
I also know the value of a dollar, yes I have a new very expensive truck that I plan to drive until it reaches 300K or more. MY LBZ was an expensive truck when I bought it. The 8.1 was an expensive truck in its day as well.
My point is the 8.1's , 7.3's and 4 speed transmissions were great in there day but there day has passed in terms of performance.
I'm not saying they aren't a good value or that you shouldn't own one if it meets your needs.
But I am saying compared to the modern trucks those old trucks are ... just not in the same league.
Sure 13 years later the LBZ maybe considered affordable and some 20 years later the 8.1 can be a bargain. But in there day these were not budget trucks..
We all have fond memories when those truck were king, however 20 years later those trucks are far from king.
Somehow we want to turn my comments into wallets and budgets which is another conversation. I'm speaking strictly in terms of towing performance.
What I remember as great performance at the time is really not as great, when compared to current trucks.

I can agree I do wish my L5P had the same price tag as my LBZ or a 8.1. But I do not wish it performed like either of those trucks.
Yes those older trucks were icons that have paved the way and been part of the learning curve that have allowed us to reach the current level of performance that the modern trucks deliver.

My old Sony Trinitron was a great TV in its day but boy is it outdated compared to today's flat screens. That's my point!


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specta

utah

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Posted: 01/09/20 06:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did I miss where someone said the old 8.1L is superior to the newer engines or that they would be a good bargain or they were just nice old trucks??

ls1mike

Bremerton

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Posted: 01/09/20 07:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:


I simply made the post, because not everyone buys a $40-70k truck, or has the means to. And for a small fraction of that cost, there are a few of these “dinosaurs” around with low miles that are a good economical option for someone who needs the capability but doesn’t have the wallet to buy a new L5P like yourself.


This. My truck is not my daily, I used the old 02 6.0 for 10 years. It only had 56,000 miles when on it when I traded it on my 17 3500HD. It was under 28,000 out the door with trade for my 02. The 02 had tons of life yet. When I was looking I couldn't find an 8.1, but the 4.10/6 speed 60 more HP and 40 more ft/lbs of torque made a huge difference going from the 02 to 17 without breaking the bank.

Someone got a really nice well maintained 02 when they bought my old one. It never let me down and pulled all over the Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Montana and Wyoming.


Mike
2017 Chevy 3500HD 6.0 Crew Cab Long bed
2012 Passport 3220 BHWE
Me, the Wife, two little ones and two dogs.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/11/20 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Plus consider the options in the 15-20 year old HD gas pickup offerings.
The 8.1/Alli combo was the Best combo out there for power and transmission offering.
Can read the thread going on about the 4L80 to see why that one ain't the best.
The V10 ford was/is still a good option, but low on power compared to the 8.1 until 2005 and I think it was still saddled with the 4r100 trans in that era.
Rams options weren't preferreable either. A few 5.9/NV4500s which I'd take over any of the auto trans options or the maligned V10.

That leaves the 8.1/Alli truck as the clear top dog for that era. Worth it for the Allison alone, even if it didn't also have the most power.

rjstractor

Maple Valley, WA

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Posted: 01/11/20 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^^^ Agreed, although Ford phased out the lousy 4R100 for the 2003 model year.

ugeesta

Denver

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Posted: 01/11/20 06:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had an 2002 8.1l/Allison and loved the power and towing capabilities. It had about 85,000 miles on it and thought I would never get rid of it. Then I got a 15,000lb trailer. The gas mileage didn’t go down much but my average traveling mph did and the truck did not like hills like it used to the 10,000lb trailer.

Our new L5P Duramax is a dream pulling our trailer and I don’t miss the old truck as much as I thought I would.

Also, I don’t miss the older technology, the small gas tank and especially the engine noise level at 3200 rpm. These new trucks are so quiet.....


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