2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: Hauling Another Engine
October 7, 2013
I recently used our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado to schlep an engine to Specialty Cars for a bit of fab work. Really, the bed of a pickup truck is the only way to move an engine from one place to another that's any more than a few yards away. In my experience engines are too dense, precarious and awkward to safely transport using any other type of vehicle.
After wheeling the longblock down my driveway (the Silverado's too wide for my narrow driveway, though a mid-size pickup would fit) on the hook of a hoist, I lowered it into the Silverado's bed. One thing is for sure: The beds of half-ton pickups have grown higher and higher over the years as trucks have incrementally grown more capable of hauling ever-heavier loads. I practically had to pump the hoist's cylinder to its max stroke in order to clear the Silverado's tailgate (a midsize pickup's lower bed height would have been welcome).
In fact, the loading height of half-ton pickups has grown so tall that GM now includes a corner step in the new Silverado/Sierra (and a few years ago Ford devised that handy pull-out tailgate step). They're handy, to be sure. I used our Silverado's corner step many times while finagling the engine into position.
Blocks of wood were plopped down to give a bit of cushion between the engine and the bed (unlike the last time an engine was hauled in this truck).
Once the engine was off the hoist, I shoved it and wood up against the tailgate, sandwiching a heavy-duty shipping box and slabs of that expandable packing foam stuff in between. One tie-down strap around the block anchored at the bed's rearmost tie-down hooks was enough to hold the engine in place with complete security. This is by far the best way I've found to secure an engine in a pickup's bed. The second strap over the valve cover is totally superfluous, but I felt better about having it there.
Once in place, I drove the 28 miles to Specialty Cars. Carefully. Easy over the bumps. Not too fast, and with plenty of space between me and the cars ahead in the freeways' slow lanes. The trip was entirely uneventful, which is the only way you want ones like this to go.
A meager payload such as this one didn't faze the beefy Silverado, of course. Even a midsize truck's payload capability still would have easily been capable of accommodating it (are you noticing a trend here?). I like this Silverado, and after this exercise I'm really intrigued by the potential of the GM's upcoming, all-new Colorado/Canyon twins.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor