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Old 02-24-2006, 04:22 PM   #1
Dave e Victoria
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Glendale
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M.O.C. #635
Bubba's first trip

We went camping for the first time with Bubba this week. Bubba is our 2006 GMC 3500 Dually. Previously, we had a 2003 GMC 2500HD shortbed with Hypertech programmed Duramax and Allison. We traded for a Cambridge Fiver last summer and found the pin weight to be too heavy for the tire rating on the 2500HD.

Overall impression is the 3500 dually feels a lot bigger than the 2500. The loaded ride is noticeably better probably due to the longer wheel base. We have not encountered any headwinds so lateral stability is still to be tested. However, I never thought I had a problem with the 2500. Unloaded parking is a pain again probably as much to do with length as anything. I really never noticed the dualies getting in the way except in the driveway.

When hooking up ( 3500 pound pin weight) the rear of the truck dropped 6 inches. The overload springs are engaged but there is still plenty of available suspension travel. Also, I think the unloaded 3500 tailend is higher then the 2500HD unloaded.

Mileage is worse but the truck has not been broken in yet. Our trip into Mexico is 240 miles one way. Going down we got 10 mpg and coming back we got 9.3. This is comperable to the stock 2003 2500HD but shy about 2 mpg when compared to the Hypertech prpogrammed 2500. I pretty much held 65 down and back.

Acceleration of the 3500 is comperable to the Hypertech programmed 2500HD. However, I think the Hyertech programmed 2500 was marginally better and had a "sharper, more robust feel" when accelerating.

The new mirrors are awesome. They are a huge improvement over the electrically extending ones we had before

The only downside I have found with the dualies is I cannot stand at ground level and secure the fifth wheel hitch. We have to carry a little stool. I have a plan to build a folding step that will attach to the wheel to solve this annoyance.

Our previous truck was a two wheel drive and i never thought I needed four wheel drive. However, I found 4 wheel drive very reassuring when pulling through the sandy roads in Mexico.

The new Duramax and Allison 6 speed is a truely refined unit. We are only turning 1800 RPM at 65 MPH. It is extremely quiet. We did notice a throaty exhaust note when pulling a hill that was not there before. It is not unpleasant -- just different. Also, we never noticed any diesel odor around our 2500. There is some once in the while with the new truck. I suspect this is due to the catalytic converter.

To summarize: 1) dually does the job for large pin weight. 2) Mileage for 3500 4x4 not much different than stock 2500HD 2X4. 3) I like 4X4. 4) 2500 HD loaded has better ride than 2500HD short bed. 5) the 2003 2500HD Duramax is a truly great truck. The 2006 3500 DRW Duramax carries on and extends the traditions.
PS: apologies for the long post.
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:08 PM   #2
Montana Sky
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Thank you for the great report. Sounds like your new 3500 will do the job for towing your Cambridge.
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:12 PM   #3
stiles watson
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Congrats on the new wheels. Informative post. Happy RVing....
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Old 02-25-2006, 01:31 AM   #4
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Nice report we to have "the stool" also can't see in the engine room real good without "the stool" These 1 ton duallys are big trucks but in this case Bigger IS better.....
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Old 02-25-2006, 04:38 AM   #5
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Sounds like it was worth the wait. Thanks for the report.
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:42 AM   #6
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Happy for you and your truck! I bet it was fun!
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Old 02-25-2006, 08:18 AM   #7
Pete Hanson
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I don't know if you will find this handy or not to replace your stool. LL Bean has a step that hooks over your front or rear tire to get you off the ground. Take a look. You may have to copy and paste this URL.

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Old 02-25-2006, 02:53 PM   #8
Dave e Victoria
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Thanks for the link. That is similar to what I have in mind except mine will cost about 3 bucks. Will post a picture when i get around to making it.
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:54 PM   #9
Seasoned Camper
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I just came back from my second trip with the 2006 3500DRW 4x4 LBZ. Between the two trips I put on about 800 miles and found that I had about the same experience that you had with your Bubba. I used to have a 2004.5 LLY 2500HD and towed a lighter FW, about 3000lbs lighter, and I actually get about the same mileage. Of course I only have about 1800 miles on mine and it should get another mile or two better towing. I am getting between 10 and 12 right now. Love the fact that at 65mph the rpms are about 1700,about 200 less than the 2500HD. Plenty of power but like you said the chipped 2004.5 HD seem to develop the torque smoother off the line. Over all I love it. I am thinking about adding an air pin-box though to help smoothing out the ride.
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Old 02-28-2006, 01:23 PM   #10
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Dave, Sounds like things went well with the new truck! Congratulations and enjoy both it and the Cambridge!
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Old 03-02-2006, 08:36 AM   #11
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Congraduations on Bubba and your experience.

I have a small plastic step stool I keep in my truck. I kept it in the van for my mother-in-law to step on to enter the van.

The dually one-ton is bigger, taller, and wider than the 3/4 ton.
I really love the long bed on mine.

My mileage is running around 16-17 empty and 12-13 pulling. Only have about 11,000 miles so far so I'm told it will get better.

Happy Camping
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