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Chevy/GMC: 4.8 vs. 5.3

cth7312cth7312 Member Posts: 18
edited April 2014 in Chevrolet
I have driven the 4.8 but not the 5.3 and I was wondering what the real difference was between them, driving-feel wise. The numbers are actually fairly close, 5.3 is +15HP and +40ft.lbs of Torque, I think.

If you figure in the additional weight (if any), wouldn't the power to weight ratio be the same? And if it is, why would you choose the 5.3 over the 4.8? I mean, besides the fact that it is the biggest V-8 offered in the 1/2 ton.



  • mledtjemledtje Member Posts: 1,123
    the 5.3 cannot be ordered with a manual trans. I wanted a manual trans, so I got a 4.8. I was surprised how much power that little engine has. Expecting something like a weak 305, but it runs more like a 350!

    GM makes more money on the 5.3 (same engine, bigger pistons, same cost to build, but $700 more to buy) so they want you to buy it. The 4.8 will pull the truck nicely at GVWR, even in the mountains over 10,000'.

    Now, it looks like I really want a 4.2L I6 in my next truck.

    Mike L
  • txyank1txyank1 Member Posts: 1,010
    I had a '99 with the 4.8 and saw (felt) very little diff. between it and the '99 5.3 for power. The 4.8 did get about 2 mpg better on the highway. Now I have a 2001 5.3 and can feel a big difference in power. Can you still get a stck with 4.8? I was under the impression that you couldn't on 2001's. Going through the on-line build-ups it's pretty hard to tell.
  • btate2002btate2002 Member Posts: 64
    The 4.8 for 2001 has the same horsepower as the 5.3 did in 99. I noticed that in the brochure I have for the '01 Silverado compared the the one my dad got in 99 for his Sierra.
  • txyank1txyank1 Member Posts: 1,010
    If I remember correctly the 4.8 was only a hp increase but the 5.3 increased hp and torque.
  • txyank1txyank1 Member Posts: 1,010
    I did try out a 2001 4.8 a few months before I bought my 5.3 and as I recall I didn't notice that much difference from my '99. But you can definitely tell the diff. in the new 5.3.
  • cth7312cth7312 Member Posts: 18
    For those of you who chose the 5.3 over the 4.8, why did you do so? Do you need the extra power for towing or work? Or did it automaticaly come with a package you bought, like the z71?

    It just seems to me like there's not that much difference between the two engines and that the 4.8 uses less gas as well as costing less in the first place.
  • btate2002btate2002 Member Posts: 64
    A lot of buying the 5.3 has to do with a pride thing. Having the baddest engine in a half-ton truck is kinda fun!
  • redsilveradoredsilverado Member Posts: 1,000
    although it could be construed as a "macho" thing, i have towed with both engines. on straight and level roads, the 4.8 is fine. on grades is where i noticed the stoutness of the 5.3. someone here once pointed out that the 4.8 with it's shorter stroke, should last longer too, as the pistons travel a shorter distance, thus reducing wear. the reality of this remains to be seen. i myself, went for 5.3's in both trucks as it is also easier to sell them later should i do that. people i know that have 2 trucks, 1 w/5.3 and 1 w4.8, have reported the same gas mileage for both.
  • hillhoundhillhound Member Posts: 537
    if you plan on doing any towing at all on hilly roads then go for the 5.3. The extra torque should mean the engine won't have to work as hard to pull hills.
    My truck has 5.3L with 4.10 gears and the throttle response in the 40 mph to 70 mph range really puts a smile on my face!
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    5.3 all the way

    Id rather know i have the extra power than not have it at all

    Call it macho or whatever

  • cth7312cth7312 Member Posts: 18
    I think that both engines are great (of course they're the same engine, right?) I think the 4.8 has plenty of power for me (2000 Sierra Longbed Auto).

    I don't tow often anymore, and anything I've towed was w/ the v6 in the 1991 and 1995 Astro Van's, so I can appreciate wanting to have more power, esp. on long trips.

    Here's a couple of more question's:

    Since the HP and Torque on the new I-6 is about the same as the 4.8, is Chevy going to continue to manufacture the 4.8?

    If they choose to put the I6 in the full size will it be the base engine?

    Would you rather own the I6 or the 4.8? Why?

    I haven't had a chance to drive the I6, was wondering how it would compare. I'd go for it in order to make fewer trips to the gas pump..

  • hillhoundhillhound Member Posts: 537
    Here's my prediction for Chevy's 1/2 ton engine options will soon be: Vortec 6.0L, Vortec 5.3L and the base engine will be the new Vortec 4.2 I6. I think they will d/c the 4.3 V6 and the 4.8 V8.
    They already use the 6.0L in the 1500HD and offering it in the regular 1500s will allow them to compete with other manufacturers which may soon be introducing new engines (like Dodge and maybe Toyota). Who knows? Maybe they will keep the 4.8L and tweak it for more performance along with the 5.3L.
  • txyank1txyank1 Member Posts: 1,010
    The thing that could make that a sticky wicket is the fuel mileage. The 6.0 isn't too good and it sounds like they're going to start getting tougher on Pickup's and SUV's.
    I would have bought another 4.8 but the truck I found and bought happened to have the 5.3. I don't tow and seldom haul anything heavy. And there's not too many hills here is Austin.
  • cth7312cth7312 Member Posts: 18
    I don't see them replacing the v6 with the I6 unless the production cost is low enough. Remember Chevy need's to keep prices on their base model fullsize comparable with the other manufacturer's. That means that a stripped base model of around $13K-$15K. I just don't think that they can get down to that price with the I6.

    I'd like to see a dyno printout of the three engines, I6, 4.8, and 5.3 all overlapping one another for comparison. Anybody work for GMC or got one?

  • hillhoundhillhound Member Posts: 537
    Yeah good point about the cost of the I6. I don't think they could keep the cost under 17k withe the I6 either.
  • cth7312cth7312 Member Posts: 18
    Too bad, I'd like everybody to compare their engine choices, etc., but hey, you can't win 'em all.

    If anyone is out there, have you heard any rumors about new engine availablities in 2002/2003 models? And what about the new s10?

    I once found a website dedicated to new auto rumors w/ spy photos, but can't remember address.


  • jaguar0027jaguar0027 Member Posts: 387
    5.3! It will be worth it in the long run. Esp if you plan to tow with it.

    Think about resale value too!
This discussion has been closed.