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5 speed is cheaper to fix, but with alot of hp will tend to break more often
I disagree... with the fully splined main shaft and a new 5th gear, the 4500 is more reliable than the 5600 IMO.

and people seem to actually build them and get them to last.

I think lugging the truck along for so long in 6th is what killed it. sad to say, but the 5600 doesn't like to haul heavy in 6th. Buddy of mine lost 5 of them in the span of 2yrs hot shotting.

I would swap a 4500 in it and never look back. I've had 3 4500 trucks and two 5600 trucks, I'll take the 4500 every time
 

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I'm telling you, you'll have fewer problems w/ a well built 4500... but, I think cruising so long at low speed in 6th is what killed your truck. my red 98 12v was set up to tow in 5th with 35" tires... it basicly acted as a 5sp truck w/ 3.54's, but I had an extra gear while empty
 
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