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Chevy's heavies in 2011

Chevrolet emerged from two
years of corporate restructuring, swinging hard at the heavy-duty market (the
only bright spot in otherwise dismal recent vehicle sales for the company).
Chevy introduced new models – new models with a great many advances.

The heavy-duty line has 11
2500 HD and eight single- and dual-rear-wheel 3500 HD models (including a new
Crew cab). The line runs with a new Duramax 6.6-liter diesel and an Allison
1000 auto transmission. The Duramax (over 1.3 million built since 2000) was
upgraded with a wide variety of refinements. The Allison has higher torque
capability and such features as a driver shift control with tap-up and tap-down
shifting.

This engine-tranny
combination also offers benefits such as the exhaust brake system, new front
and rear suspension, hill-start assist, and trailer sway control. The smart
exhaust brake system automatically slows both the truck and trailer on
descents. The hill-start system engages when sensors detect the vehicle is on a
5% grade or greater. It holds the brakes for 1.5 seconds or until the gas pedal
is pressed to prevent rollback.

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The gas platform on the
Silverado HDs includes the Vortec 6-liter V-8 engine combined with Hydra-Matic
6L60 six-speed automatic.

Chevy engineers also took to
the trucks’ frames by adding more cross sections and employing higher-strength
steel. Bending and beaming stiffness of the frames are increased 92% and 20%,
respectively, with fully boxed sections and enhanced torsional stiffness.
Improvements in the framing include larger engine and tranny mounts coupled with
a 125% stiffer front frame structure. A completely redesigned independent front
suspension system offers up to a 25% greater front axle weight rating of up to
6,000 pounds.

New larger asymmetrical leaf
springs improve ride. The 2500 HD has a two-stage leaf; the 3500 HD has a
three-stage design. Other improvements include a new frame-mounted fifth-wheel
mounting that makes installation easier.  

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