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Heavy-duty new frame

09/30/2011 @ 2:58pm

The new 6.6-liter Duramax diesel may be garnering all the attention on Chevy's latest offering of Silverado HDs. But the biggest news on the Silverado 2500 and 3500 HDs is their new frames. These fully boxed, high-strength steel frames are complemented by stronger suspensions. Combined, these improvements have increased the Silverado HD's payload (as high as 6,336 pounds) and towing (as high as a 21,700-pound capacity).

The frames have larger cross sections and use more high-strength steel for greater durability, higher towing capacity, and improved ride and handling. The bending and beaming stiffness of the frames are increased 92% and 20%, respectively, with the fully boxed sections enhancing torsional stiffness by a factor of five.

Larger engine and transmission mounts, coupled with a 125% stiffer front frame structure, provide greater vibration control, while hydraulic body mounts are incorporated under the cab section on Extended and Crew cab models for a more isolated feel inside.

For a nice touch, engineers added access holes to the rear frame section. This makes it easier to install fifth-wheel hitches in the truck's bed. In the case of conventional trailering, the frame-mounted hitch on the truck is stronger with a box-tube design that supports up to 17,000 pounds.

As for suspension upgrades, the front design on the Silverado now uses a pair of urethane jounce bumpers on each side (instead of one) for better load management. And there's a new upper shock-mount attachment design that's positively connected to the frame with two fasteners. This design eliminates squeaks and clunks, while supporting higher load capability and increased durability.

The truck line's rear suspension features a new, larger asymmetrical leaf-spring design that improves ride and handling characteristics. An added benefit of larger leaf-springs is increased rear gross axle weight ratings across the line. Combined, the frame and suspension advances have boosted all towing and payload capacities.

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