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GM 4.3l vs. 4.8l Which one you take?

Discussion in 'Trucks' started by doublewide, Jun 25, 2022.

  1. doublewide

    doublewide Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Hey all,
    I am considering purchasing a used Penske light duty box van like this;

    https://www.penskeusedtrucks.com/tr...light-duty-box-trucks/unit-9123709/particle-1

    Some of these vans come with the 4.3 liter V-6 with an 8 speed transmission and others with a 4.8 liter V-8 with a 6 speed.

    Any thoughts on these engines and trans combinations would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, I would be making the purchase in California and returning to Massachusetts with it. Are there any California specific issues with these vehicles that may cause me problems back home?

    Thanks for any and all input.
     
  2. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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  3. doublewide

    doublewide Senior Member

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    I appreciate that spud. I was thinking that too, especially with that 12’ box the v8 would be a better choice. But, the few internet searches that I have done suggest that the v8 was prone to more problems. What the v6 lacks in displacement it makes up for with extra gears?…
     
  4. Spud_Monkey

    Spud_Monkey Senior Member

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    Two extra gears in between other gears for which they both have to get to around .66 on the OD ratio so that would fall back on is it for much highway driving or a lot of scooting around in town or mixture and what the terrain is like. The 4.3 is based on the old 350 just 2 less cylinders and has been around the block for few decades. As for fuel economy, they are about the same.
     
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  5. cfherrman

    cfherrman Well-Known Member

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    Not a gm guy or one who knows but with .5 liter between the 2 I think power and fuel would be the same. I'd like the 4.3 because of old school reliability and the extra gears
     
    doublewide likes this.
  6. BigWrench55

    BigWrench55 Senior Member

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    I have a pick up truck with the 4.8 and I hate it. It drinks fuel like no other and it is weak. I have a suburban with the 5.3 and it's a world of difference in fuel economy and power. To be fair though I think that the gm software took the nuts out of the engine. I have been contemplating getting a software tune done. To see if I can put the balls back into it.
     
    doublewide likes this.
  7. Truck Shop

    Truck Shop Senior Member

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    Balls hang!
     
  8. terex herder

    terex herder Senior Member

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    I don't know anything about the 4.8L. The 4.3L is an old school pushrod engine. Its 3/4 of a V8 small block chevy. Only a 2 cycle Detroit has had a longer production run. Lots of those 4.3L went into Astro/Safari vans. Most people stopped driving them between 300K and 400K because the doors would fall off. I've not found one yet that stopped driving them because the engine failed. UPS used the 4.3L for decades in their pedal vans.
     
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  9. Long0

    Long0 Charter Member

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    My folks were in the newspaper delivery gig in the 70’s thru late 90’s. They had at least 6 4.3l that went over 600k without major internal work.
    Trucks fall apart before the 4.3 skipped a beat.
     
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  10. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

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    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
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    I deliver lawn and garden equipment using a 1/2 ton Chevy pickup, (4X4) with a 4.8ltr V8 engine. It has been trouble free in almost 200K miles, but there is a world of difference in economy with a 1000# cargo load, or empty. Almost 14mpg when empty, and hard to get 10mpg with a garden tractor on a small flatbed trailer. The 5.3ltr engine would have been a better choice in this application I feel.

    This truck replaced a 1/2 ton Chevy with a 4.3ltr V6 engine with almost 300K before the frame gave out. It delivered over 18mpg constantly but was a five speed manual transmission. Also was 4X4 and performed just as well as the current truck is the same application pulling the same trailer. It did not fall off in power as this current truck does. It too was very reliable but the main component that fails on the 4.3ltr Vortec engine is the fuel spider which injects the fuel. Easy part to replace but the top of the engine needs to come apart.

    Not an "apples to apples" comparison but the 4.3ltr engine is a much better platform IMO. I don't much care for that 8 speed GM transmission as I've been around a few that are troublesome. If you change to the Mobil 1 ultra low viscosity trans fluid with a black label, the problems with "shuddering" dissipate but it takes some time to be noticeable. Transmission temperature sensors are finicky with them also requiring a replacement internal harness to repair.
     
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  11. doublewide

    doublewide Senior Member

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    I appreciate the input. I'm heading out this weekend, leaning towards the 4.3 with the 8 speed.
     
  12. cfherrman

    cfherrman Well-Known Member

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    I bet the fuel economy difference 1693ta saw has more to do with a older engine v a newer one. 2000's engine got the best fuel economy in my experience.
     
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