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SUBJECT: # 2361: Towing withChevy 4.3 vortec

Submitted by Jim (209.36.104.6) from GEORGIA on 10/14/1999 2:13:00 PM

I have probably missed previous posts about this, but does anyone tow with the 4.3 vortec engine ? Currently have a 15ft Javelin 50hp but may get a larger boat in the future. Considering a chevy truck with the 4.3 Rated at 200hp. Any comments appreciated.


  1. 10/14/1999 2:39:00 PM Submitted by Bert (192.127.94.7) from GEORGIA says Chevy 4.3 V6
    Jim,

    I have a 1994 Chevy C1500 with a 4.3 V6 with Auto that I purchased new in July 1993. I have pulled numerous bass boats all over Georgia with it including my previous boat (an 18 ' Astro), and my current boat Triton TR18. I fish a club that fishes once a month all over GA, year round. Truck has 88K on it, and I have had no problems. Change the tranny fluid regularly. Powerwise it is adequate - certainly not a V8, nor is it even the Vortec V6. I keep up with the traffic at 75 MPH.

    Regards Bert


  2. 10/14/1999 2:47:00 PM Submitted by Mr. Bill (204.63.183.49) from TENNESSEE says Fixin' to find out....
    Wife just got a '99 Silverado, 4.3 auto, extended cab SWB 2WD. Putting a hitch on it next weekend. Pull a '96 Crestliner 1800 Pro with a 90HP Johnson (2400 lbs loaded). I think it'll be ok just towing around here, but I don't think I'll take off for Florida in it. We'll see.
  3. 10/14/1999 3:17:00 PM Submitted by RickK (151.200.96.6) from VIRGINIA says No problem................
    I used to pull a boat, motor, trailer and associated equipment that weighed approximately 2900 lbs with a 1500 with the 4.3 "Z" engine. Make sure you have a transmission cooler and as was said above change all the fluids regularly. Technically my truck, with automatic transmission and the standard rear end, was rated to pull a total (truck & trailer) of 9,000 lbs. With full fuel and 2 passengers the truck weighed 4500 lbs, so I guess I could have pulled a 4500 lb. boat. That was sort of hard for me to believe, but that's what the manufacturer (GMC) claimed.
  4. 10/14/1999 3:27:00 PM Submitted by Craig (143.166.82.241) from TEXAS says Towing with 4.3 Vortec
    Jim, For what it's worth,I just did a valve job on my 1993 GMC 1/2 ton @116,000 miles. It will tow pretty well, but the engine will not last if you plan to tow very much. I live in the hill country and it's a very noticable difference from my V8. A lightweight rig like you currently have shouldn't be a problem, but save yourself some headaches and get the V8. The V6 is NOT for towing anything heavy. The resell value is also much stronger on the V8. Repeat, I would never, ever buy another V6. It just don't cut it! Granted, we all have different needs, but why limit yourself to only pulling lightweight rigs. What if your buddy wants you to pull his 20' Grady WA to Florida? Not gonna happen... Best of luck!
  5. 10/14/1999 4:18:00 PM Submitted by Dave (204.60.41.59) from CONNECTICUT says 4.3l
    I pull my 20' cabin (3,000Lbs) 130Mi. every weekend with my El Camino 4.3L auto tranny with a cooler, over size rad. & heavy duty fan clutch. It slows down on the hills and the MPG goes from 18MPG to 9MPG but it gets me fishing.
  6. 10/14/1999 5:00:00 PM Submitted by DargelJohn (192.152.140.9) from TEXAS says 4.3 Not a problem
    Jim, I have a 98 Blazer 2WD with the 4.3 and I pull a 2000 lb fishing rig with no problems. I do shift down to 3rd though. Have a good one.
  7. 10/14/1999 7:19:00 PM Submitted by Jim (206.105.157.143) from MASSACHUSETTS says 4.3 litre engine
    I own a 97 s10 blazer and i am very happy with its towing performance. i tow about 2200 pounds no problem. i tow mostly in the mountians in New Hampshire. personally i see no need for a v8 for towing a bassboat. my truck is a 5 speed manual and i hardly ever have to downshift out of 5th on the highway and thats at 75 mph.around town i hardly know the boats there. i hear the auto trans tows even better. the 4.3 should do the job for you and the gas milage will be way better than a v8.
  8. 10/14/1999 8:18:00 PM Submitted by Nightmare (209.143.39.3) from OHIO says Good Engine for the Right Job
    As long as you match the task with the engine. You'll be ok. Pulled my rig with my wife's '92 4 dr Jimmy w/4.3 vortec on vacation and did fine. In fact, did a better job than my full size '87 Blazer with V8 and got better mileage doing it by about 50%. I was impressed and pissed off at the same time. Took care of that. Got a '97 Tahoe Sport w/the 5.7 vortec....kickin' it now!

    Throwing some of the scenarios at you like taking a big saltwater rig cross country when you're talking about bass boats isn't rational. I can stipulate that their V8 pick up ain't gonna pull a 50 foot reefer cross country either. Point?

    Take somebody fishin'


  9. 10/15/1999 6:49:00 AM Submitted by JLively (207.208.55.250) from GEORGIA says Jim
    I had a 94 S10 extended cab 4X4 with the vortec V6. That's the strongest little 6 cylinder you'll ever see. At 195 hp, it can pull quite a load. I pulled several different 19 ft bass boats, a 22 ft camper, and a 20 ft pontoon behind it all over the southeast. The only problem I ever had with towing was during the summer, when it got up into the 90's, maintaining highway speed with the air conditioning on was a little iffy when I was towing the camper or the pontoon. The bass boats just cruise behind with no problem at all. The wind drag from the other two was just incredible. I traded it in on a new Z71 after it passed the 120,000 mark. Only thing I ever did to it besides regular maintainence was a water pump at 105K. Good luck with it. Jim
  10. 10/15/1999 6:59:00 AM Submitted by Esjay (206.175.227.9) from LOUISIANA says 4.3
    The 4.3 is essentially a 5.7 v8 (350) minus the two rear cylinders. I tow 4500 lbs. with a 1998 Jimmy, which by the way weighs as much as a full size pickup. This vehicle tows great and is rated to tow 5000 lbs. I have a 3:42 axle ratio. Always tow in third gear- not overdrive with the auto. trans.
  11. 10/15/1999 8:24:00 AM Submitted by tommie Sturgill (155.152.200.1) from TEXAS says Towing with 4.3Ltr V6
    I currently own a 96 C1500 4.3 and pull a 18ft Ranger with a total weight of approx 2300Lbs. With automatic in 3d gear. I would not pull in OD, too much down shifting. Been doing this for three years now with no problem. Lose a little on hills but nothing to be concerned about. Go for it I think overall you'll be happy.

    Good Luck


  12. 10/15/1999 1:39:00 PM Submitted by Brent (169.135.132.19) from ARKANSAS says Towing with 4.3
    Jim, I towed an 18 ft ranger/175 with my 95 4x4 Blazer with 200 hp 4.3 vortec and 3.73 gears around here and in the hill country quite a bit. The Blazer weighed 4300 lbs so may be comparable to your case of a 4.3 in a full size truck. The engine was quite impressive and would do basically whatever you wanted it to but the weak link was the transmission. It (they) absolutely sucked. If you get one make sure to put on an auxillary trans cooler. But, as some said above, there is no substiute for cubic inches and a V8 will obviously be better.
  13. 10/17/1999 9:34:00 AM Submitted by Lee (63.27.18.134) from TEXAS says Vortex 4.3L
    Jim, I have Champ 181DC w/XR6 on it. Used 95 Chevy SWB 4.3L to tow until I got a 99 Chevy SWB 4.3L. Both do a good job and I am very satisfied with performance. I use my truck primarily around town (DFW area w/17 mph) and 300 miles trips (20 mph). For my hunting and fishing the truck does ok. Got the Locking Diff which helps much. Would just love to have the V8 4x4 but just can't justify the expense/cost in my tightwad mind. If your gonna be doing some serious towing, get a V8 with at least 3.73 RE, but if your just gonna tow you bass boat, you will find that the 4.3L Vortex will go a very good job. Regards, Lee
  14. 10/19/1999 5:01:00 PM Submitted by Jack (209.240.200.118) from NEW JERSEY says You'll be fine!
    My last 3 trucks have had the 4.3liter engine and I just took delivery on a brand new (2000) C1500 w/4.3 and auto trans last tuesday. The 2000 comes with a tow/haul mode on the shifter. All of my 4.3 liters/auto's have been flawless and I tow my GENMAR built 2400lb bass rig all over the east coast. It is the best v-6 on the planet and the trans will last just fine if you don't get crazy with it. You'll love it. Hills and highway speeds are never a problem. The average bass rig weighs less than 2500 lbs. That is well under what that truck can pull and it won't even break a sweat.
  15. 10/22/1999 3:28:00 PM Submitted by Randy (198.106.161.243) from ALABAMA says V6
    I have a 1992 chevy silverado 4wd with the 4.3 with a 5 speed in it. I like the truck, it rides great, is quiet and comfortable. But the 4.3 is definitely underpowered for pulling. I pulled a U-Haul trailer from North Dakota to Oregon in 4th at 65mph. It pulled all right on flat ground, but when I got into the mountains had to shift down to second sometimes to keep it going at 25mph. I owned a truck with a V-8 before this. I don't do much pulling so I don't mind the 4.3, it does reasonably well on gas. Though if I were going to do any pulling I would definitely not buy it, unless the newer vorted engines have a lot more power than mine.

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