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Silverado 4.8 vs. 5.3?



  • How much emphasis does torque have on 0-60 times?

    In other words...If two trucks were at a stoplight
    race...Truck #1 had 220 hp and 300 torque and Truck #2 had 230 hp and 290 torque, with both weighing the same and same gear ratio...and the same skilled drivers... Who would win?
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    Torque and horsepower are only one set of numbers. You really need to look at the area under the torque curve.

    A broad, flat torque curve will probably beat a narrow, peaky torque curve, even if the narrow curve has a higher peak. Probably. There are many other variables, including gear ratios in the transmission and final drive. Do the gear ratios allow the engine to stay in the power band when shifting?

    The two sets of numbers you gave are very close to the same. So close, that the match between engine power curve and gear ratios will determine the quicker truck.

    But truck #2 should be faster at top speed. All other things being equal, more torque gives more accelaration and more horsepower gives a higher top speed.
  • I was going to say the same thing, but don't have to now. I wish the torque curve (or curves if several engines are offered) was something that was required on every new car/truck brochure. That would help people make a good power choice.
    The Vortec 350 (5.7L) has a good example of a peaky torque curve (see ), but fortunately the peak is at a good rpm (2800). That's right about where the rpm's go when passing or climbing (when the transmission kicks down out of overdrive it actually goes to about 2600, but that's pretty close to peak). The power jump is really noticeable after the downshift. It would probably beat the new 5.3L in a race up a hill in drive gear since it has much higher torque there. In a drag race, though, the 5.7L would get eaten alive by the 5.3L because the 5.7L's rpm's would go way beyond the peak where the torque falls off fast. The new GM engines have a much wider torque curve that handle higher rpm's much better (Since horsepower = torque x rpm/5252, the farther the torque curve extends in to the higher rpm's, the higher the horsepower will be. The torque curve is all you need).
    Another great example is the 4.6L Cadillac Northstar engines. There is a 275 hp version (LD8) and a 300 hp version (L37) and one would think the L37 is the more powerful engine. However looking at the torque curves
    ( ), you see that the LD8 is more "peaky". It actually has significantly more torque up to about 4500 rpm (how often would anyone take a new Cadillac beyond 4500 rpm?) In my mind, that makes it the preferable engine (I believe it's also less expensive, too). The L37 will have a higher top speed though, simply because it's torque curve extends farther into the high rpm's (that is, it has more horsepower).
  • swobigswobig Posts: 634
    very well put...
  • lvstanglvstang Posts: 150
    While nobody could argue with the theorys posted here there's so much more involved. A perfect example is all the diesels that have those incredible torque curves. That fact that they rev so slow hardly makes them stoplight terrors. Harley Davidson comes to mind also, they have way more torque down low but get smoked by bikes with half the displacement. I think it's a matter of weight vs. how quickly an engine revs. I also think torque is muck less affected by weight. A Gm 5.3 that smokes a Powerstroke(or any V10) empty will get stomped with a 8000 pound load. I'll disagree on the Cad. comparison only because I'll bet the 300 horse motor is tuned to rev much quicker. Put a trailer behind 'em and it may be a different story. Sorry for rambling.
    Take it easy all.
  • concerning the revving ability of an engine. And no doubt a diesel has more torque but accelerates slower than a gas motor with less torque, but when you're comparing two very similar gas engines (e.g. Northstars), the torque is probably the best single engine characteristic to judge. Of course the best thing to do is just test drive them. I'll have to go pretend I'm interested in buying a Caddy now and test-drive to see the difference for myself. :)

  • Hello

    I have my 2000 Silverado ordered since July but since they are still jacking around...I have the ability to change some things on my order.

    I have a reg cab, shortbed 2wd on order with a 4.8 liter. I have read alot of posts about paying the extra cash for the 5.3 liter.I am not going to be towing alot or have heavy stess on the truck... but i do like the having plenty of power when needed. Is the 5.3 going to have much more of a market down the road than a 4.8 even if it is in a regular cab Silverado or should i just stick with the 4.8 liter i have on order so far.... I am planning on keeping the truck for atleast 5 yrs. Since Gas Mileage is the same basically...that is not a factor...ANy opinions ..greatly appreciated!

  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    I have a 4.8L engine in a std cab longbed. Even fully loaded (64-6500lbs) it has enough power. I doubt it will have a bigger effect on resale than it will on your cost.

    But, check it out. Go to and put in a 98 or earlier Chevy PU. Make everything the same except 305 vs 350 engine. See how much the bigger V-8 adds to the value. I haven't done it yet, so I don't know. I did try running a 99 used truck but they don't have enough input to set values.

  • swobigswobig Posts: 634
    effect as far as future value - maybe a few hundred bucks. I too ordered a reg. cag, short bed, 4X, and opted for the 5.3L. The gas mileage is identical, power and performance will be a little better, so I figured why not?? I don't think the 4.8L is bad, but other than price it doesn't really offer any advantages. I guess I'm kinda like you - you can never have to much power. I also tend to over use a truck instead of under use it so maybe the bigger engine will be better... Take care..
  • Alot of you posting here seem to have some knowledge of towing. Currently i tow a 6800lb trailer w/ a 93 GMC 5.7 w/3.73 gears. Set up does a barely adequate job. I have my eye on the 2000 model 1500 series ext cab 4x4 with 5.3 and 4.10's. On paper (chevy tow guide)this combination looks great, 14000 lb GCWR and 9500 lb trailer capacity. This actually equals the 6.0L w/3.73 gears. Impressive! My question, does anyone have real world experience with this 5.3/4.10 setup? I intend on pulling this trailer through the Rockies for the next two or three vacations. Thoughts?
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Have plenty of motor, but when loaded with dirtbikes and junk in bed with equalizer hitch on the trailer, I figure I'm just at my comfort limit for Rocky Mtn towing over 11,000 ft passes.

    When I say limit, I mean frame, suspension,....
    My dinky new Silverado actually pulls better than my old F350 CC Diesel. But in all other categories: braking, stability, pitch, bumphandling.... the old truck beats it.

    In your situation, I would strongly consider the 3/4 ton with as long a wheelbase as I could buy.
  • It's my experience that the frontal area of a trailer hurts highway towing more than weight. A large travel trailer has to punch a hole in the wind the size of a motorhome.

    There's no doubt a 3/4 ton would be more comfortable for 14 days a year in the Rockies. But what about the other 351?

    Whichever truck you buy Bailey,'s yours.
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    My dad pulls a 6000lb trailer. He used to a 97 5.7L. He bought a 99 5.3L and on his test hill the 5.3 is much faster. The tow/haul feature really works.

  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Like I said, plenty of power in the 1/2 tons.

    Just the tail wagging the dog issue, particularly on steep, sharp mtn grades. The extra weight and stiffness of the 3/4 ton is something to consider.
  • Hey All,

    I was debating to go with the 4.8 liter or the 5.3. I called my dealer today while i still had time and went ahead and bit the bullet.

    I got the 5.3. Dont know whether getting this $700 option on my truck was really that good of a idea ...but i did it.

    Final Truck goes like this:
    Chevrolet Silverado LS Reg Cab Sportside 5.3 liter V8 in Indigo Blue with Graphite Interior 40/20/40 Split Bench. Sliding Rear Window with Factory Deep Tint Glass. Z85 Suspension with Aluminum wheels and 255 WOL tires.

    Got everything I wanted... Now i am just waiting till December...

  • I think you made a smart move. Since a regular cab, sportside is lighter than the x-cabs, you're really going to feel the extra torque of that 5.3L. Just a warning, though: Soon you'll get poweritis, a disease characterized by the inexplicable desire to add headers, cat-back exhaust, and a K&N filter to your vehicle. My professional advice is to just give in to it and enjoy.

    -Dr. powerisfun
  • Thanks for making me feel better about my decision. Ya i already plan on adding the cat-back exhaust... probably a gibson or flowmaster.

    I dont think i will ever add headers but the K&N
    filter i hear is not bad.


  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    Teaboy, you are going to have a grin on your face everytime you step on the accelerator...
  • So far I haven't found the k&n for the 5.3 where
    did you get it and how much did it cost? I am going to keep trying going to the big city again tomarrow.
  • leathal02leathal02 Posts: 114
    i emailed k&n a while back, and they gave me a product # or whatever it is called.

    i think i have it in my email account, i will have to go look, but i think that for the 5.3 you will have to order it, i think, someone might have it in stock, but i doubt it. I went to autozone and they didnt have any k&n's in stock for the 5.3 so i'll check my account and see what the number is
  • Thanks for the info...

    That sounds good about the K&N filter.
    How much HP would i gain...?
    around 5-10 Hp?

    anyways thanks again

  • mckainmckain Posts: 20
    I have a 99 1500 ext/LS 5.3 4x4 z71 3.73 with the Z85 tow pkg. It is a great truck and serves me just fine. Last weekend (first time I tried this with new truck) I put my model 2700 Kuboda 4x4 tractor and equipment on the 16' landscape trailer. Total weight was around 6500Lb. I only do this 3-4 times a year. The truck had plenty of power going through the lower hills of central NH (I used to pull it with an E350 98-V10 Club Wagon) The 5.3 did just great and the tranny worked perfect...very pleased.

    However I would never want to be pulling this rig very often. The big van with its one ton chassis and 10 ply tires made towing the 6500Lb trailer so much more stable (read safe). Even with the elec trailer brakes the 1/2 ton chassis is just not the rig to haul that much trailer. The tires are not right the rear suspension etc, its just all wrong to do this often. Usually when I tow its only 2000-3000 lbs which is fine.

    You should definitly be considering only a heavy 3/4 to do that job safely. PS I think the 1500's are limited to 7500lb max, if you read the engine/axle chart its says its higher, but the fine print limits the max trailer load to 7500lb and thats only with the firm Z71 suspension, otherwise I think its 5000 or 6000Lb max.

    My opinion is if you want to be pulling over 4500lb very often or long distances, and doing it safely, upgrade to a 3/4 with heavy tow sus and upgraded tires.

  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Well said mr mckain!
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    From the 2000 brochure the towing for a 5.3 w/ the 3.73 has been increased to 8,500 lb with the Z-71 package.
    I don't know why the increase? can't just be due to the slight power increase.
  • what is gas mileage with a 411 rear end on 2000 sierra compared to 373 rear end? The GMC I ordered came through with a 411 instead of the specified 373? Supposed reason-GMC ran out of 373 rear ends and even though it has taken over 5 months to get this truck they still substituted a 411. My friends all say -"Don't trust GM". They hire all the idiots. Buy Ford.
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    You probably won't see any difference, at most 1-2%. The load on the engine doesn't change. The computer will give the engine enough fuel to deliver the power for the speed you want to go.

    With the 4.10's the fuel injectors will deliver less fuel more often, or about the same amount of fuel for the same load.

    Carburetors were never that good.

  • Sorry I didn't answer your question sooner about the HP gain with K&N filter. The power gain is probably on the order of 5hp maybe up to 10hp at high rpm (i.e. > 4500 rpm) when the engine is really breathing heavy.
    There are three effects leading to the higher power: 1) it's easier for the engine to suck in the air (so it's wasting less power on breathing and therefore making more power available), and 2) it's getting more oxygen making the combustion process more efficient, and 3) the higher pressure in the cylinder (caused by the fact that there's more air) causes the expansion of the gases to be stronger.
    Good luck
  • I've been truck shopping for awhile now, and have been keeping up with a number of topics here. I was originally looking at "compact trucks", but just recently got a look at a GMC Sierra 1500, reg, cab, 4x4, w/ the SL equipment package. I'm not interested in all the fancy power items. My soon-to-be wife drives a 1998 Chev. Blazer w/ all the fancy stuff. Anyway............

    Not knowing too much about the new full-size trucks, I've got a couple of questions:

    1. How do the regular cab trucks drive and ride? My daily drive to work is 80 miles rt, & I want to be comfortable.

    2. I'll probably wind up getting the 5.3l motor. I'm not going to be towing much at all, but I'd rather "have it & not need it" than "need it & not have it"! From the posts i've read, can you only get an automatic with this motor? It doesn't really matter to me, I was just wondering.

    3. Finally, could someone please explain this "vibration problem" that I keep hearing about?

    I read through most all of these posts, and I have to say, everyone here who's posted has had the utmost courtesy and respect for each other. I haven't seen any of the junior-high bickering about "whose truck looks better" or "whose is faster". I'm glad to finally find where the informative, helpful, friendly folks are!


  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    I've got a 99 Silverado reg cab long bed 4x4 base model. Or, about the same as the GMC you are looking at.

    We ordered our truck with the 'Firm Ride' suspension. My wife and I both thought it rode soft. So we upgraded to Bilstein shocks. At any rate, this truck rides better than any car I have ever owned.

    I have the 4.8L engine and find the power to be more than adequate, even with my camper loaded and the truck weighing 6500lbs. We have 5 spd, which is only available with the V-6 or 4.8L V8. You should drive one first. The power from this 293ci engine is fantastic.

    Most of the 'vibration' reports are from ext. cab trucks. These truck have had some problems from the two piece driveshaft and cab harmonics. I haven't heard of problems with std cab trucks, and I certainly haven't had any problems with mine.

    We currently have 21,000 miles and only one small problem (transfer case shift linkage rattle) that was fixed quickly by the dealer.

    Love the truck and would reccomend it to anyone. Love the 4.8L engine and see no need for the 5.3 unless you want to pull a 5000lb trailer.

  • I currently have a 99 Sierra reg cab with long box. It rides pretty good (now that all the vibrations have been taken care of) but I have to say my previous truck which was a '85 S10 long box rode better than my current truck. I made a lot of 250 mile trips in it and never felt tired from the ride or handling. You really need to keep your mind open to the smaller GMC and Chevy trucks. They don't look quite a good as the big ones but they might still be a very good choice. The guy who bought my '85 really loves it. He is a computer service engineer and uses it for his calls all over East Texas.
  • cabs with the long wheel base have the rattle problems
  • I just wanted to say THANKS for all the helpful insight on these trucks. More than likely, I'm jumping the gun on looking into a new truck. My soon-to-be wife (Dec. 4th) has 18 hours left to finish her Master's Degree, so, I've got a feeling it might be a little while before I get one. (not to mention, the new house we just bought, and actually having to be mindful of OTHER priorities)!!! Anyway.....

    Again, THANKS TO ALL who answered my questions, and also to those who might post in the future!

  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    What'd it sound like, I have a slight noise around 20 to 30 mph. Only noticable with windows up with no radio
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    The linkage had a rattle at about 2000rpm in lower gears. It only happened after the truck was fully warmed up and only at 2000rpm +/- 300rpm. And I could only hear it with the radio off, fan off, windows up.

    Taking the linkage off, and greasing the end fittings stopped the rattle.

  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    pretty close to what I have - I'll climb under and peek before taking to the dealer.
  • If you're trying to decide between the 4.8L and the 5.3L, look at the website:

    click on "Products" and you'll eventually find your way to the torque/hp curves of the 4.8L and the 5.3L engines. A good way to compare them is to print both curves out and put one on top of the other and hold them up to a light. Make sure the graphs are aligned properly. You'll see that the 4.8L has just almost equal torque at high rpm (around 5000 rpm). This is to the 4.8's credit because it's torque curve is flatter extending further into the high rpm's. However, most driving is done below 3000 rpm. At that rpm range, you'll see the 5.3 is substantually more powerful. That to me makes it the more desireable engine even when considering the extra price IMHO. The only exception is if you prefer standard transmission (only available with the 4.8). Then the actual torque to the rear wheels may be closer to the torque of the 5.3 with the auto transmission. In that case, you'll save quite a bit more money getting the 4.8 + standard, verses the 5.3 + auto. Just my $0.02
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    The motors only differ by 15 hp at max output.

    BTW it's HP that does work per unit time.

    Yes the 5.3 has more hpower at normal crusing rpms.

    I think that the marginal increase in hp for the amount of incremental money you spend is not worth it. If you really want more power, move up to the 3/4 ton and the 6.0L.
  • "BTW it's HP that does work per unit time."

    You're right, and at normal driving rpm's (under 3000) the 5.3 has substantially more horsepower than the 4.8. It's not until 5000 rpm that the 4.8 shines with it's flatter torque curve. Is there a weight savings in going with the 4.8L. That could also lessen the gap in acceleration power.

    One other note, this forum is not exactly a scientifically controlled comparison for gas mileage. The 4.8L may actually get quite a bit better mileage if the same driver in the same size truck were compared. What I'm seeing for the 5.3L (on ext-cab, short-beds) is 19-20mpg highway. Are the 4.8L's topping that? If they are, then that's a good reason to go with it (along with the $680 price difference).
    On a totally different note, does anyone know if GM is planning on putting the 4.8L V8 into the S-10 truck or Blazer. That would be an awesome combo.
  • GM put a 4.8 in a blzer..

    WHEW... be one fast suv

  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    i think the 4.8 and 5.3 are the same block, so no weight savings

    since they're the same block, why not put the 5.3 in the blazer.....
  • Excellent point! However, the 4.8L may be more acceptable to the emissions folks. It seems inevitable that GM has to put a V8 in the Blazer/Jimmy if they want to compete with the Explorer/Mountaineer, Grand Cherokee, and Durango.
    I'll probably be in the market for a mid-size SUV in the next year or two.
  • From knowing 4-5 people myself w/ these otherwise identicle trucks, 19-20 mpg w/ 5.3, only 16-17 w/ 4.8. And the 5.3 really puts out a lot more power.
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    My 4.8L 4x4 gets 21 on the highway. A 2wd version should get even better mileage. With the camper on I get 15-16 all the time. I don't need more power than the 4.8L has. It is a small engine, but it has plenty of power

    But the real key is: I want to shift. Neither my wife nor I like automatics. Even if I could get a 5.3/5-spd I don't think I would buy it. $700 is money I could spend elsewhere.

    Since I am right at Max GVWR (6500lbs) I am considering moving up to a 3/4 ton truck. Being forced into a 6.0L engine is a drawback in this case. Can't get a 5.3L in a 4x4. Can't get a 4.8L in 3/4 ton truck. And the 6.0's don't seem to get as good of mileage. Most reports are in the 16-17 range on the highway and 12-14 around town.

    I really like the mileage I get with my 4.8L. So for now I will stay with it.

  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    I too get 16 to 18 (mostly 16.x) in my silverado 4.10 5 speed.

    I usually only got 13 to 15 mpg out of my old diesel (all my slow driving buddies got 18+).

    Probably the driver mostly, EPA says about 1 mpg higher for the 4.8 vs the 5.3 on highway, same around town. Buy the 5.3 for more low end horsepower, not better fuel economy.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    In 1998 Chevy sold an w/ V-6, I believe it was a 4wd. They eventually sold them to someone who said that's all I need. I'm sure if GM decided they wanted to put a 4 cylinder in that truck, they would have found a few peiople to buy them. People saying, "Yep, I only use it to go milk everyday ... speedlimit here in town's only 30 ... etc."
    My point: The ext. cab pickup is one of the biggest, heaviest vehicles on the road. You're paying $20-some thousand; get the 5.3L.
  • afs11afs11 Posts: 87
    I selected the 5300 because I ordered a 4WD X/C. I think that the extra 500+ lbs. would make the 5300 a better selection.

    The fuel mileage will be better in the 5300, because it will not work as hard. If I had selected a R/C, I would have the 4800. If you can afford the 5300 (LM7) option, buy it.
  • dan33dan33 Posts: 13
    Which rear end to you have in your truck? Is your truck an extended cab? I've got a 4x4 ext. 4.8 5 speed on order and am still not sure which rear end to go with. Currently have the 4.1 on order, but I don't tow anything except on rare occassions. Thanks for the help.
  • drl64drl64 Posts: 11
    You mentioned the 8.1 - is that GM's replacement for the 7.4L? Do you have any info on it? I'm waiting for the 1-tons in '01 and am interested in what GM's big-block gas offerings may be.
  • Yes, the 8.1L is the replacement for the 7.4L. There's some info on it (very limited, though) on the topic #1287 entitled "GM Vortec 8100". There was originally a link on the edmunds site to a picture with some info, but it's gone now. Luckily, someone reproduced it in the topic above.

    It's not known whether the 8.1L will be available in 3/4 and/or 1 ton trucks. Someone said they heard it would only be available in the 4500 and the 5500. Could be hearsay, though. GM will definitely need something bigger than the 6.0L for the one-tons at least. Maybe they'll bring back the 400 (6.6L) in Vortec form.
  • I am looking to buy a 2000 Chevy 1500 4X4 Extd Cab
    5.3 Auto w/4.10 gears for towing. What kind of
    mileage can I expect. I have read many posts about the 3.73's but not the 4.10's. Also has anyone had a good experience buying in Northern
    California. Which dealer? How much over invoice should I expect here. [email protected]
This discussion has been closed.