2003 silverado towing advise

Discussion in 'Towing & Trailer Tech' started by 2SEVEN3, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. 2SEVEN3

    2SEVEN3 New Member

    New member here, could use some help. I have a 2003 2wd silverado 5.3l. I use it as my daily driver, but also to tow my travel trailer to the races (motocross) on the weekends. My trailer is a coachmen catalina 20'. Dry weight is about 3800 lbs, and i do have to pull full of water (50 gal) there are no hookups. What is making this a challenge all of the gear i have to haul along with me. I haul 2 bikes at 250 lbs a piece and a generator in the back of the truck. That weight plus the tounge weight makes me teeter pretty bad.

    I havent had any trouble with swaying, it is a double axle smaller trailer, but i am having issues with the teetering and overall lack of power. Towing over 60 or 65 is verry rare. Currently i am just using a regular style +/- hitch.

    So im really wanting advice on setup. I thought of a 3/4 ton, but i have a commute to work and this half ton is paid off. I have been looking into re-gearing, but im not sure how much would be enough, was thinking 4:10. Looking into WD hitches and coil overs also. Any help would be apriciated.
  2. 2SEVEN3

    2SEVEN3 New Member

    also i left out i have the factory tow package and have already installed a brake controller

    99'HEARTBEAT MODERATOR Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Couple of items that will help Improve the Towing and Performance of your Truck are,

    For Performance.......Going with a Tune and an Exhaust, will give you the Best Bang for $$$$
    For Towing......as you have the Factory Tow Package, and the Brake Controller, going with Rear Air Bags, will help with Handling, and the Rear Sag, you've mentioned when Towing.

    What Gears and size Tires(Overall Diameter) does your Truck have Now??.....and what do you think your Total Weight of the Trailer is when Loaded??

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  4. firefighter5325

    firefighter5325 New Member

    if your having that much weight in the back side I would say helper bags are a must. I had a tundra with air ride(layed frame on 24's) and the ride quality would not change weather the truck was empty or I was pulling my dually. It is just a matter of finding the right pressure it will take a few times towing to learn where the sweet spot is for the air pressure.
  5. 2SEVEN3

    2SEVEN3 New Member

    3:42 gear, 235/75/16 tires. I would guess the trailer is around 4500-4700lbs loaded. I try and keep as much out of the truck as possible because of the bikes and generator. i would guess im hauling 5500+ lbs including whats in the truck, the cargo in the trailer and the trailer itself.

    99'HEARTBEAT MODERATOR Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I don't know if you have a Reg....Ext or Crew Cab??....here some Tow Ratings from the Silverado Owners Manual,

    A Ext. Cab 2WD, with a 5.3 and 3.42 Gears has a Max Tow Rating of 7,100 lbs. (3 223 kg) and GCWR of 12,000 lbs. (5 443 kg)

    A Crew Cab 2WD with a 5.3 and 3.42 Gears has a Max Tow Rating of 6,800 lbs. (3 084 kg) and GCWR of 12,000 lbs. (5 443 kg)

    Your Tires have an Overall Diameter of......29.8ins".......and with 3.42 Gears, give you Good Fuel Mileage, but hurts the Performance,

    Re-Gearing to 3.73 Gears, your Max Tow Rating, goes up to around......8,100lbs and going to 4.10 Gears, Max Tow Rating goes up to around 8,600lbs.

    As I mentioned above, going with an Exhaust.....Tune and Re-Gearing, will help your Performance, and going with Rear Air Bags, will really Help with Handling......I have Rear Bags, on my Truck for Towing my Boat, which has helped with Handling and I no longer have the Rear Sag when Towing, I also have a Compressor and Gauge/Controls, which Allows me to Adjust the Air Bags for the Change in Load and/or Road Condition's.....

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
  7. carbon black

    carbon black Member

    I currently tow a 23' travel trailer which when loaded weighs between 5,500 and 6,000 lbs with my 2WD Sierra with the 5.3L and 3.42 gears - YOU DEFINITELY HAVE TO GET WD SETUP as this will eliminate the majority of your rear-end sag.
    With my truck having a 6sp automatic - driving either in 5th (primarily) and 4th (occasionally) - I have no problems maintaining highway speeds of 65 mph.
  8. 2SEVEN3

    2SEVEN3 New Member

    I should have been more specific in my first post. It is an extended cab pickup, so it looks like max tow rating of 7100 lbs. I will for sure be going with a hitch and gearing the truck, im just undecided on how far to go. 3:73 is only about a 10% increase, im thinking of 4:10 but definately no further. Also im curious if anybody has any experience using coilover shocks instead of air bags? I could get away with doing less to the truck but i would like to make it comfortable to drive as possible, i will be towing about every other weekend.
  9. firefighter5325

    firefighter5325 New Member

    I have ran coilover shocks but for racing applications. I really don't see how they will help much with towing, without drasticly effecting the everyday driving, to get coilovers stiff enough to handle the load for towing the ride will be EXTREAMLY stiff.

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