Monroe GM C4500

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Monroe GM C4500 bed: Monroe makes a Bed for the Big Boys.

Monroe GM C4500 bed: In the race to build a more power diesel pickup truck, the big three are neck and neck. With power covered, the #1 priority for today’s towing vehicle, is to safely stop a trailer. Trailers have grown during the truck power race, with Living Quarters now a common site at horse events. Living Quarters can add 4,000 to 10,000 pounds to a horse trailer, so it’s like being loaded all the time. This means you need a truck that is designed for full time work. The GM C4500 Topkick (GMC) and Kodiak (Chevy) is that truck.

With the same Duramax diesel and Allison Automatic transmission as the HD 2500 and 3500, the C4500 is made for controlling trailers. Besides the grade shifting of the Allison auto which allows you to downshift just by tapping the brake pedal,  locking each gear similarly to a manual transmission, but the C4500 has a standard factory exhaust brake. The exhaust brake is like sticking a potato in your exhaust, it slows you down with engine back pressure without the brakes. And it’s automatic, you can flip the switch or leave it on and it will shut off at slow speeds or if you accelerate. Those two features, grade shifting and exhaust brake, are dramatic in slowing you down with a heavy trailer coming down the fast side of a mountain.

Monroe GM C4500 bed

Monroe GM C4500 bed pulling trailer

And then if you do need to use the brakes, the C4500 has 15″ brakes, 4 wheel -discs, 19.5″ wheels with 12 ply tires. Heavy duty is the theme here, the frame is rated 80,000 psi with massive axles and springs. Usually you can see the big frame as this truck comes from the factory as a cab and chassis with no bed. This is where Monroe comes in. Monroe makes a couple of bed choices for the C4500/5500. The one I used is a lot like the 8′ dually bed on a GM 3500. This makes it look more like a refined pickup truck instead of a monster truck. And you can go to any GM dealer and buy this truck equipped this way with the Monroe package option.

The green C4500 GMC Topkick I towed with had the full package with Link rear air suspension, Class V receiver hitch, Hitch Cam, B&W Turn-Over Ball and Companion mini-5th wheel, Pace Edwards power tonneau cover, tube chrome grill, nerf running boards all the way back to the duals, air seats, leather, power folding rear couch, 10″ DVD, wood grain dash inserts, brake controller, dual tanks and much more.

 Visibility is spectacular with the Monroe bed, with the C4500 short nose, large windows, giant rear window that lets you see to the side and look at the gooseneck ball when you hook up. The optional Hitch Cam is great for backing up and seeing what’s going on behind you. It’s a easier truck to handle, park, back, and corner than most pickup trucks 1/2 it’s size. Like your car the C4500 has heated mirrors and rear window. With a 53 degree front wheel cut, it turns a tighter circle than any full size pickup truck. Something to get used to is the wide front axle. Which helps it turn tighter, but on dirt roads or narrow two lane highways you need to practice finding the right front tire as it will get closer to the edge than what you’re use to in a pickup truck.

Monroe GM C4500 bed

 The first concern I had was the bed height for gooseneck trailers. At 59″ to the top of the tailgate, this puts the C4500 with the Monroe bed at the same height as a 2005 Ford F150 4×4. I backed under 6 horse trailer brands with more than 6 inches of bed rail clearance on all and more than 8 inches on most. With a rear air suspension, you can dump the air on the rear axle to lower the bed for backing under trailers. I used this often.

The tall cab is unbelievable, you could walk between the front seats to get to the folding rear couch. Head room for the tallest cowboy hat. In the July 2005 issue of Trail Blazer, the specs of the C4500 were covered. The C4500 with the Monroe package was a treat to drive, even with a large horse trailer pushing me down the hills we have in the Colorado Rockies. I felt comfortable and in control, which is a good feeling on I-70 at 11,000 ft. on a 6% grade in heavy traffic.

 Thanks, to Transwest Truck Trailer RV, www.TrailerWest.com,  Steamboat Lake Outfitters, Logan Coach, Elizabeth RV and Monroe.

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