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SUBJECT: # 9250: GM 3.42 vs. 3.73 rear end

Submitted by Pirate ( from ALABAMA on 7/6/03 2:27:00 PM

I'm thinking about buying a Tahoe for pulling my boat. Boat and trailer weigh less than 3,000 pounds. I know the 3.73 rear end is better, but will the 3.42 be okay. The Tahoe will have a 5.3 or 5.7 V-8. I do tow up some pretty long hills and will be making a 400 mile run to the beach occassionally. What do you think?

  1. 7/6/03 2:59:00 PM Submitted by Smokin Joe from ALABAMA says Pirate, I would use the 30/70 ratio!
    If over 30% of the miles are towing then, go with the 3.73. If over 70% not towing, the 3.42 will be better. You can always go down a gear, but if not there to go up to, then she is going to drink the gas.

    I tow about the same weight with a 4.3 V6 and a 3.42. No problems but don't "drag race" too much!!


  2. 7/6/03 4:09:00 PM Submitted by Won Hunglo from TEXAS says If you choose the 5.3 go 3.73
    The 5.3 struggles on low end when towing. The power of the line isn't there until the RPMs are up. The 3.73 gears will get the RPMs & horse power up faster.

  3. 7/6/03 4:53:00 PM Submitted by HighFiveBassin from VIRGINIA says I agree. 3.73
    I have the 5.3 with the 3.73 rear end in a Yukon. I think this gear is the best match for the truck even when not towing. Runs about 2100 RPM at 70 mph. As was said these Vortec engines make their power at a little higher RPM. I also tow in OD (boo, hiss)when on relatively flat interstates at 65 to 70 so I like the 3.73 better. With the tow/haul mode it will shift down when needed but does not constantly shift (search) between gears. Get the towing package which also gives you the tranny cooler.

  4. 7/6/03 10:41:00 PM Submitted by Nightmare from OHIO says Combo
    I run a '97 2 dr Tahoe with the 5.7 Vortec and 3.42 gears. My rig goes 3100-3300#. If running highway speed and level terrain, I sometimes run OD but mostly in Drive since I can see a 50-100 rpm increase in OD over my normal 1600 rpms. RPMs in Drive are around 2100 or so and get about 15-16 towing (55mph). Responsiveness is obviously better in Drive and I avoid the extra rpms over non-towing which I figure translates into extra heat, wear, and tear on tranny. Otherwise, I've done 20 mpg non-towing with the 5.7/3.42.

    Hope it helps.

  5. 7/7/03 10:08:00 AM Submitted by Bmcd ( from TEXAS says Tahoe
    It depends on the size and weight of the boat. 3.42/5.3l ought to be able to handle most boats, 3.73 well just handle towing them better. The gas mileage between the two gears won't be much, it also depends on how fast you want to drive.

    Just thoughts

  6. 7/7/03 11:18:00 AM Submitted by mike snow ( from TEXAS says I have the 3.42 in a Silverado 5.3l
    And it does FINE... I have a Nitro 911CDC, (20', heavy bass boat).... it does JUST FINE.. Low speed or anything up to about 65 or 70. Put it in 3rd gear with tow button pushed and you'll be fine.

  7. 7/7/03 12:20:00 PM Submitted by CatFan from INDIANA says Ditto on what Mike said
    It won't pull stumps, but it has no trouble with 5 adults in an extended cab and a 20 footer in tow.

  8. 7/7/03 1:28:00 PM Submitted by Paul Mattie ( from NEW YORK says Won
    is on the money. You did mention hills didn't you?

  9. 7/8/03 9:46:00 AM Submitted by Tommy Z ( from TEXAS says go with 3.73
    My 4WD '01 Suburban with 5.3 has the 4.10's. I wanted them because the truck is heavier than Tahoe and my boat weighs about 4000 lbs.

    I average 15mpg city, 16 highway. With 3.73's you should see about 1mpg better.

  10. 7/10/03 12:13:00 PM Submitted by onebuc ( from FLORIDA says 3.42 vs. 3.73 rear end
    I have the 3.73 on my 2001, and still get 15.5+ MPG in city driving. I really don't think you will get much better, even with the lower ratio. Why would you even consider if you know the 3.73 is better, It's a Very cheap option. onebuc

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