Redline is 7k....I will down shift into 3rd from my two lane blacktop cruising (4th/5th) @ 50-60 without worrying. If I know I intend to pass and the opptunity is ahead I'll be in 4th already just to get rpm's up a bit before. On the hwy you normally shouldn't need the sudden acceleration but you can go into 4th from 6th. Normally you can drop down two gears easily to get your rpms and accel up. What do you have for a ratio now? (No, I ain't re-reading thread to see if I missed it) The only down side to changing it out is a chance for noise so make sure you get a GOOD shop to do it and loss of hwy mpg. Around town unless you start winding out the motor you shouldn't loose mpg since if needed you can be in a higher gear. With the 3.31 I tend to cruise at 2k rpms as there is no acceleration below that point and it will start to lug a bit if you try or go up hills. On the hwy I'm in 6th and drive ahead enough that I rarely need to downshift. I will say I test drove two V6's with the 2.73 and the 1st time I tried accelerating on the hwy in 6th I thought something was wrong with the car when I pushed the gas pedal down and nothing happened. To my ears these engines are not being abused in the higher rpms and they seem happy enough to do it. Yep, mpg will suffer and if you do it all the time it ain't good but keeping the rpms up over 4k when you are out having fun is ok.
Currently got 2.73 and for example of the "struggle" lol, I was driving on a two lane freeway yesterday. Speed limit was 60 and a guy was in front of me doing about 45 50 at tops. I jump into the next lane and try to accelerate and it seemed like the car took almost 7 seconds to pick up speed to get in front and around him. Even my fiancee who knows nothing about cars and only weighs 126 pounds laughs and says " so you spent money on all those parts and it does nothing? " lol nice tuesday.
Steeda tune, Steeda ultimate induction cold air intake, BBK tuned length shorty headers, Idatalink maestro.