Mr. Truck 9-20-10 | TheFencePost.com

Mr. Truck 9-20-10

Kent Sundling Denver, Colo.

In 2007, GM trucks made some major improvements with fit and finish, after 30 years they got rid of the side terminal batteries along with shoulder belts built into the sets and finally cruise control went from the blinker stem to the steering wheel – I was happy.

Now for 2011, GM went with massive truck improvements, as in frame, suspension, payload and towing ability that puts Chevy and GMC HD trucks at the top of their segment. It’s improvements we all want and of course the power and fuel mileage have also improved. The new suspension keeps the power under control and tires planted on the pavement. The new exhaust brake adds stopping power to grade shifting from the Allison tranny and larger brake rotors this year. If the integrated trailer brake controllers were on the right side of the dash, I might call it the perfect diesel truck made for your largest trailers.

New in the heavy duty model is the high end Denali. Ford’s King Ranch now has competition with you owners that spend my kind of all day time in your truck. The big changes are under the skin. The body hasn’t changed significantly, just more breathing room for the Duramax diesel with a wider center hole in the bumpers.

New steering box, ratios and linkage add up to tighter steering changes and the new hydraulic body mounts on the C-pillar, improved the crew cab ride. It’s a truck that takes the work out of all day towing on what’s left of our interstate highways and finally a 36-gallon fuel tank to find the cheaper fuel at the next town.

GM took us to the “outback” of Maryland near Flintstone. I started off towing a 12,800-pound horse trailer, 8.5-feet wide up switchbacks on a logging road with a 3,500 Sierra Duramax (LML 397 hp, 765 torque) diesel dually. It was fun dodging trees with the truck mirrors, but the truck was easy to control. The Allison grade shifting and the new exhaust brake kept my foot off the brake. The exhaust brake closes the vanes on the turbine side of the turbo to create back pressure. It’s fully integrated with the Allison 1,000 6-speed automatic transmission. The exhaust brake has an on/off switch with four operational modes: tow/haul mode engaged, tow/haul mode disengaged, cruise control on and cruise control off. So you can toggle down gears by switching from auto to manual with the cruise on, it’s just too easy.

The new GM steering was smooth and easy, I could see the trailer brake controller gain in the instrument cluster close to the gauges I watch. With my 12,800-pound horse trailer it held fourth gear well and kept it right under 3,000 RPM on a 9 percent grade. When it kept 172-degree tranny temp over hills in Maryland it showed how little work the Allison transmission was doing. When using the tow haul mode, down shifts are early to hold for more braking, the holding range is longer so less gear hunting is necessary which is fully integrated with the exhaust brake.

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I then towed a 10,500-pound skid steer trailer with the new comfy 2,500 Denali 6.0L (360 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque) V-8 gasser and 3.73 axle ratio. The gasser held 5,000 RPM long in tow mode then shifted at 5,600 RPM, dropped to 3,500 RPM for the next gear which is a good range for staying in the power band. Variable valve timing, along with a strengthened version of the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission including a larger output shaft, has more low-rpm power for towing.

The new rearview camera, stays on for a few seconds after reverse, which is neat for double checking, the trailer hitch. OnStar, saved us more than once with onboard directions when we were lost in the Maryland media launch. We just pushed the OnStar button, told them were we wanted to go and the new directions were beamed to our truck with turn by turn navigation just like the Starship Enterprise.

In 2007, GM trucks made some major improvements with fit and finish, after 30 years they got rid of the side terminal batteries along with shoulder belts built into the sets and finally cruise control went from the blinker stem to the steering wheel – I was happy.

Now for 2011, GM went with massive truck improvements, as in frame, suspension, payload and towing ability that puts Chevy and GMC HD trucks at the top of their segment. It’s improvements we all want and of course the power and fuel mileage have also improved. The new suspension keeps the power under control and tires planted on the pavement. The new exhaust brake adds stopping power to grade shifting from the Allison tranny and larger brake rotors this year. If the integrated trailer brake controllers were on the right side of the dash, I might call it the perfect diesel truck made for your largest trailers.

New in the heavy duty model is the high end Denali. Ford’s King Ranch now has competition with you owners that spend my kind of all day time in your truck. The big changes are under the skin. The body hasn’t changed significantly, just more breathing room for the Duramax diesel with a wider center hole in the bumpers.

New steering box, ratios and linkage add up to tighter steering changes and the new hydraulic body mounts on the C-pillar, improved the crew cab ride. It’s a truck that takes the work out of all day towing on what’s left of our interstate highways and finally a 36-gallon fuel tank to find the cheaper fuel at the next town.

GM took us to the “outback” of Maryland near Flintstone. I started off towing a 12,800-pound horse trailer, 8.5-feet wide up switchbacks on a logging road with a 3,500 Sierra Duramax (LML 397 hp, 765 torque) diesel dually. It was fun dodging trees with the truck mirrors, but the truck was easy to control. The Allison grade shifting and the new exhaust brake kept my foot off the brake. The exhaust brake closes the vanes on the turbine side of the turbo to create back pressure. It’s fully integrated with the Allison 1,000 6-speed automatic transmission. The exhaust brake has an on/off switch with four operational modes: tow/haul mode engaged, tow/haul mode disengaged, cruise control on and cruise control off. So you can toggle down gears by switching from auto to manual with the cruise on, it’s just too easy.

The new GM steering was smooth and easy, I could see the trailer brake controller gain in the instrument cluster close to the gauges I watch. With my 12,800-pound horse trailer it held fourth gear well and kept it right under 3,000 RPM on a 9 percent grade. When it kept 172-degree tranny temp over hills in Maryland it showed how little work the Allison transmission was doing. When using the tow haul mode, down shifts are early to hold for more braking, the holding range is longer so less gear hunting is necessary which is fully integrated with the exhaust brake.

I then towed a 10,500-pound skid steer trailer with the new comfy 2,500 Denali 6.0L (360 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque) V-8 gasser and 3.73 axle ratio. The gasser held 5,000 RPM long in tow mode then shifted at 5,600 RPM, dropped to 3,500 RPM for the next gear which is a good range for staying in the power band. Variable valve timing, along with a strengthened version of the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission including a larger output shaft, has more low-rpm power for towing.

The new rearview camera, stays on for a few seconds after reverse, which is neat for double checking, the trailer hitch. OnStar, saved us more than once with onboard directions when we were lost in the Maryland media launch. We just pushed the OnStar button, told them were we wanted to go and the new directions were beamed to our truck with turn by turn navigation just like the Starship Enterprise.

In 2007, GM trucks made some major improvements with fit and finish, after 30 years they got rid of the side terminal batteries along with shoulder belts built into the sets and finally cruise control went from the blinker stem to the steering wheel – I was happy.

Now for 2011, GM went with massive truck improvements, as in frame, suspension, payload and towing ability that puts Chevy and GMC HD trucks at the top of their segment. It’s improvements we all want and of course the power and fuel mileage have also improved. The new suspension keeps the power under control and tires planted on the pavement. The new exhaust brake adds stopping power to grade shifting from the Allison tranny and larger brake rotors this year. If the integrated trailer brake controllers were on the right side of the dash, I might call it the perfect diesel truck made for your largest trailers.

New in the heavy duty model is the high end Denali. Ford’s King Ranch now has competition with you owners that spend my kind of all day time in your truck. The big changes are under the skin. The body hasn’t changed significantly, just more breathing room for the Duramax diesel with a wider center hole in the bumpers.

New steering box, ratios and linkage add up to tighter steering changes and the new hydraulic body mounts on the C-pillar, improved the crew cab ride. It’s a truck that takes the work out of all day towing on what’s left of our interstate highways and finally a 36-gallon fuel tank to find the cheaper fuel at the next town.

GM took us to the “outback” of Maryland near Flintstone. I started off towing a 12,800-pound horse trailer, 8.5-feet wide up switchbacks on a logging road with a 3,500 Sierra Duramax (LML 397 hp, 765 torque) diesel dually. It was fun dodging trees with the truck mirrors, but the truck was easy to control. The Allison grade shifting and the new exhaust brake kept my foot off the brake. The exhaust brake closes the vanes on the turbine side of the turbo to create back pressure. It’s fully integrated with the Allison 1,000 6-speed automatic transmission. The exhaust brake has an on/off switch with four operational modes: tow/haul mode engaged, tow/haul mode disengaged, cruise control on and cruise control off. So you can toggle down gears by switching from auto to manual with the cruise on, it’s just too easy.

The new GM steering was smooth and easy, I could see the trailer brake controller gain in the instrument cluster close to the gauges I watch. With my 12,800-pound horse trailer it held fourth gear well and kept it right under 3,000 RPM on a 9 percent grade. When it kept 172-degree tranny temp over hills in Maryland it showed how little work the Allison transmission was doing. When using the tow haul mode, down shifts are early to hold for more braking, the holding range is longer so less gear hunting is necessary which is fully integrated with the exhaust brake.

I then towed a 10,500-pound skid steer trailer with the new comfy 2,500 Denali 6.0L (360 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque) V-8 gasser and 3.73 axle ratio. The gasser held 5,000 RPM long in tow mode then shifted at 5,600 RPM, dropped to 3,500 RPM for the next gear which is a good range for staying in the power band. Variable valve timing, along with a strengthened version of the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission including a larger output shaft, has more low-rpm power for towing.

The new rearview camera, stays on for a few seconds after reverse, which is neat for double checking, the trailer hitch. OnStar, saved us more than once with onboard directions when we were lost in the Maryland media launch. We just pushed the OnStar button, told them were we wanted to go and the new directions were beamed to our truck with turn by turn navigation just like the Starship Enterprise.