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Ok, here goes. The best I can remember, the tow rating for the 6.5 Turbo Diesel is only around 8,000 pounds. If I remember right, this was with the 4.10 rear end. The old 3/4 ton HD and 1 ton were rated at 10,000 pounds with the 454 V8. I saw these ratings in a Chevy catalog. The next generation Silverado HD trucks have gone up in GVW rating, payload rating, and tow rating over the old generation C/K truck.
8,000 seems kind of conservative to me, I don't think it would hurt it to exceed that a little bit. Hope this helps..maybe Plowking could tell you more, he has a 6.5 powered Chevy pickup.
I HAVE 1 TON DUMP WITH 6.5 AND 410 GEARS. EMPTY WEIGHT IS 8300 LBS I TOW 6000 LBS EVERY DAY MINUIM HAVE TOWED 12000 LBS A COUPLE OF TIMES OR LOADED TRUCK AND 6000 BEHIND ME. TRUCK SEEMS TO HAVE PLENTY OF POWER. I USE ALL SYNTHETIC FLUIDS, TRUCK IS A 97 AND AUTO. IF YOU DO MATH IT ADDS UP TO 14300 LBS TOTAL.
The ratings for the 6.5 turbo/auto or std trans in 1997 are 3.73 gearing has 13000GCWR,4.10 ratio has 14,000GCWR.This gives you about 6.5k if its a 4x4 excab 3.73,7.5k for 4.10.2wd's reg cab would be about 1k higher.this info was out of the 1997 brochure.The truck is capable of more,its just engine limited for some reason.My uncle has a 96 6.5 with 3.73 4x4 excab,he's a farmer with farm tags,so he overloads just a little.He occasionally pulls a small bulldozer or tractor on a tri-axle 9ton trailer.His towed load alone is about 15-18Klbs.he is about 23-25k total.This truck is beat for a 96 and its holding up good considering how its used.His window sticker said max tow capacity is 6500 lbs-.BTW he has no trailer brakes at all-he's nuts and goes slow.