Welcome to the next installment of the TFLtruck Ike Gauntlet – Light Duty Edition. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew cab 4×4 Z71 is next to challenge this extreme towing test.
This Silverado is equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 EcoTec3 paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. It has direct injection and an updated design to help it produce 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. This truck’s wheelbase is 143.5 inches and it’s rated at 7,200 lbs GVWR, 1,957 lbs of payload or a maximum 6,600 lbs of towing capacity. Why is the tow rating is so low? It has to do with the rear axle ratio. This Silverado Limited has a high 3.08 rear axle ratio, which is good for MPG efficiency. The ‘as tested’ price of this truck is: $48,750.
The temperature was around 70 F during the test, and we have not seen this many broken down vehicles on this stretch of the interstate in recent memory. The fact that the Silverado completed this test is a testament to its capability.
What Are We Towing?
We carefully chose a load that will stress these pickups near their maximum ratings. The lower max. towing rating of this Silverado meant that we could not use the Diamond in the Rough – the 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Diamond Jubilee edition on a double axle flat bed trailer. Instead, we use the TFLtruck test boat and trailer to challenge the Chevy. The total weight of this trailer is 5,740 lbs. That’s not all. Don’t forget that Roman, Nathan, and Mr Truck Kent Sundling are in the truck to provide the data and commentary. Lets just say that the guys and gear add another 750 lbs – if we are rounding up. This means – the total load on the Silverado was the close to 6,500 lbs.
The Way Up
The engine and transmission will be stressed to the max gaining more than 2,000 feet of elevation in just eight miles. The average grade of this climb is 7%. And the engines will be starving for oxygen and struggling to make power at the 11,158 ft finish line. The test is to use maximum throttle input on the way up in order to maintain the 60 MPH speed limit (or the maximum speed the truck is able to maintain below that). This is also a test for the driver as very slow moving semi trucks and other vehicles are obstacles to maintaining momentum and staying at 60 MPH.
We want to know how capable the brakes and transmission are descending from the tunnel to Silverthorne. This is perhaps even more important than being fast on the uphill. The trucks must be safe and practical on the way down. The measurement is simple. The trucks must maintain a safe and practical speed at or below the 60 MPH on the way down. We measure the brake rotor temperatures at the bottom and the truck with the coolest brakes is the winner. Of course, we also monitor the transmission and engine temperatures on all runs.
Check out this epic towing test here, and remember – this is NOT our last Ike Gauntlet test. We are working hard to get more trucks and trucks that are correctly equipped for maximum towing. Also, we will post the summary for the first three tests tomorrow.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.