General Motors is exploring ways to raise the tow rating for its half-ton Duramax diesel engines, according to company engineer John Barta.
The Duramax tows a max of 9,300 pounds in the Chevy Silverado where half-ton duty is concerned but it's no match for rivals such as the Ford F-150 Power-Stroke or the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. The aforementioned can pull 11,500 and 12,560 pounds respectively.
Barta tells Muscle Cars & Trucks that GM is now looking to upgrade the hauling nomenclature in order to raise the tow rating.
“We’re actually looking at upgrading some of the materials around (the engine bay) to see if we can maybe raise our tow rating,” he said.
“We do know that (95 percent) of our light duty customers don’t tow over 9,000 pounds… There was a conscious decision to maybe not go after the towing but go after the fuel economy. We realized that our tow rating is hitting 95 percent of the customer we have."
There are issues with engine bay materials at the moment, due to thermal complexities under the hood. However, Barta claims that the Duramax inline-six configuration allows engineers to place emissions hardware such as the combined selective catalytic reduction, diesel oxidation catalysts, and diesel particulate filter unit closer to the engine. The location makes for quicker heating and quicker lowering of emissions.
The filter, though, puts another heat source nearby, which places a cap on the tow rating to keep the engine and other components from overheating.
Barta points out that there's a significant amount of silver moon tape strapped on to prevent overheating but the company remains keen on sourcing a better grade of tape or another material that could reduce heat in the engine bay and, by extension, extract a higher tow rating in the process.
He adds that, while the company wants to post impressive figures, there is a need to strike a balance.
“Even though it’s nice to brag about big numbers, in reality, light duty customers are not towing that large with their trucks," he explained. "We think we hit the right balance with delivering class leading fuel economy and still be able to tow what they tow as a light duty customer.”
Source: Muscle Cars & Trucks