Trailer Hauling, how much weight is too much?

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by bluestreak94, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    Hello everyone,
    I've been trying to figure out what the Maximum safe weight of a trailer to pull with my 1/2 ton suburban with the 5.3 and 4x4 is.
    Now I know what the owners manual says, I just want to know what all of you out there have pulled without a problem.
    I've been pulling a 31' travel trailer rated at loaded weight of 7700lbs.
    I'm wondering if I should buy a new travel trailer rated at 7600lbs dry weight. I wouldn't load up too much but hauling 3 adults 4 kids and two little dogs in the truck at the same time worries me, or shouldn't it worry me.
    Either way I'd love some come back on what you all have been able to haul!
  2. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

    I think you're at the limit with your current trailer. Don't forget that all the stuff in the truck other than the driver cuts into towing capacity.
  3. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    Well, I bit the bullet, we decided to buy the Keystone Springdale 303 BH-SSR, I just couldn't pass up the price. I did a whole lot more research on my own truck after making it official. I took all the RPO tags and looked them up one by one and saw every detail of my trucks construction.Here's what I found;

    5.3 liter V8 Iron Block
    3.73 Rear end Positraction Limited Slip
    Heavy Duty Transmission Cooler
    Heavy Duty Trailer Provision
    High Capacity Air Cleaner ( Already been switched out for a Spectre Cold Air Intake )
    Weight Distributing Platform Hitch
    4 speed aut HMD 4L60 E, electronic
    GVWR 7,200 LBS
    Hydraulic Disc brakes 7200 LBS

    Plus the fact I have torsion bars and an anti- sway kit for the trailer and of course the Prodigy Brake controller from Tekonsha.
    I pulled it yesterday before buying it, the truck doesn't have a problem, I think I'll be leaving it in 3 to pull that monster.

    What confuses me is that the truck is rated to weigh loaded 7200 LBS and if you add the 7200 LBS they rate for towing, you come to 14400 lbs GCWR. I passed through a weigh station and my GCWR was exactly that 14410 lbs.

    I've always been a hardcore GM guy, I guess that this will be the true test for me and my Sub.
  4. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

    Hauling 15K + with a 3.73 gear half ton.

    Good luck.
  5. Sandhopper

    Sandhopper New Member

    I would say you are at, if not a little over your max limits. Let us know how things work out for you. In my half tons I have tried to stay with trailers in the 6500 range loaded. Good Luck.
  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

    Key word.....
  7. murdog94

    murdog94 New Member

    Ive gone up to 8Klbs with my 06.. But that was a rare occasion.. Hope it works out you do have a brake controller right??
  8. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    I forgot to mention the fact that when I passed through the weigh station, I was partially loaded,
    by that I mean that we were 7 passengers in my truck. ( 3 large adults, and 4 kids ) The complete loaded weight of my truck and trailer should be 14000-15000 lbs ( and thats loaded to the hilt ).
    I'm only travelling with this trailer once or twice a year ( 2500 miles round trip ).
    And yes I have a brake controller as well as the torsion bars and anti sway bars.
    I'm gonna be leaving in mid July when I come back in mid August I'll update you all to what happens!
    Thanks for all your input everyone.
  9. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    Change in heart

    Well after a weekend of thinking, number crunching, and endless internet searches, I decided to cancel my purchase of the Springdale :-( BUT........

    We went with a model which was very similar, but with one slide out instead of 2, a fibreglass exterior and an aluminum frame, I got all the creature comforts and even some better quality stuff inside, it cost about $1K more for a 2011 instead of a 2010. We finally settled on the 2011 Keystone Laredo 29bhs. :)

    In the end I wasn't willing to take the chance for the extra weight. My new Laredo is rated at 7900 lbs
    Fully LOADED and a dry weight of 6100 lbs.

    The trailer I traded it in for was rated at 7700 lbs full and when I passed the scales with it with all my stuff and passengers I was at 12800 lbs just under my GCWR of 13000. My wife and I can sleep easy now, knowing we've had no problems pulling our old TT fully loaded.

    Thanks again everyone for your input. :)
  10. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member

    Switching to the Laredo was probably a good choice weight-wise. With a half-ton you can only push your trailer load so far. My Jayco Eagle 32RLS weighs right around 9100 lbs loaded, and I'm not even going to attempt to pull it with my half-ton Suburban until I convert it to a 3/4 ton. Even at 7900 pounds, your trailer is probably right around 1200 pounds heavier than your truck itself. Not that that's neccisarily a bad or unsafe thing, but it is what it is.

    On a completely unrelated topic, you like the floorplan of that Laredo? I'm guessing you need to sleep 6 easily since it's the bunkhouse version, but do you like the way the wall is between the bedroom and living room? Seems like having 2 separate doors and virtually no walk-space at the foot of the bed would drive me up the wall. But, it does frame the TV into the wall nicely. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  11. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    I've got a big family, the wife and I, the 4 kids, my mother in law, and the 2 dogs, yeah the bunks are needed! I would have liked the Springdale, but that 2nd slide out was a killer weight wise, in the Springdale there was space to walk around the bed in the master bedroom, either way I should still be able to find my wife somewhere in bed in the Laredo ;-)

    But seriously I do like the setup in the Laredo, it's the same as the Springdale, just with the 1 foot less and nearly 2000 lbs less for me and my wife to worry about.
    And definately the HD flatscreen fits perfectly in that little wall!!!
    I don't travel often but I do travel a very long distance to find nice ocean front sandy beaches for the family. I drive 2500 miles round trip from Montreal to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, so the extra weight did a number on my brain the weekend until we decided to go see our salesman and change model.
    By the way, you mentionned changing your Suburban to a 3/4 ton, is it a costly change? The way I understand you'd have to change the rear end to 4.10, add some leaf springs and upgrade your brakes to haul the extra weight, is it worth it or are you just better off changing your truck? Up here I can pick up a 3/4 ton 2003 with the 4.10 rear end with low miles for about 12-15k canadian.
    Sorry bout the long answer, I kinda like details. :)
  12. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member

    To answer your question about me converting up to 3/4 ton, I shall refer you here:
    In short, it's a fuction of availability of what I want. Adding air bags to the rear and upping the gear ratio would help you increase your weight rating.

    I definitely see why you decided on the camper descision you made. When I bought my camper, I looked at 2 different campers, one with 2 slides and one with 1 slide. In the end, I chose the single 14 foot slide because I much rathered the space in the living room over the bedroom. So, the bedroom's kinda cramped, but I primarily only sleep in there. Glad I took my grandparents advice on what I look for and buy in a camper!

    I hope you enjoy your camper and have many safe miles towing it!
  13. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    Wow!!! That's one hell of a project!!! I'm just starting out my DIYing, I'm having problems removing my spark plugs on my '04 Sub and I'm freaking out, and your reinventing your truck completely!!!
    I envy you, I wish I could do a fraction of the stuff your doing!!! Keep the photos coming, you give guys like me the drive that anything can be done!!! DIY is a rare thing up in my neck of the woods, but I love trying things and getting my hands dirty, just don't like to break things, but its part of the process sometimes I guess! :) I know the feeling of only being able to do things on the weekend and in between family time!!!
    BTW, I always found the 85-91 Suburbans the cream of the crop, I'll never forget seeing my dad come home for the first time with his 1986 Brown and tan two tone 2x4 6.2 liter diesel Suburban, June 3rd 1986, I was 8, my love affair with the suburban began!!!
    I can't wait for you to complete the transformation Christopher!
  14. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

    Glad to see you decided on the smaller unit. A couple things you can do to help your half ton cope with hauling that kind of weight for that distance.....

    Synthetic fluids all around. I would run 75W-140 in the rear axle.

    Full synthetic ATF in the transmission. Find a shop that knows how to exchange all your old fluid for new, but doesn't use a flushing machine.

    Full synthetic ATF in the transfer case, unless it's an AutoTrac case. Then GM's own Auto-Trak II fluid, fresh.

    If your rig is 4 wd, might as well put synthetic in the front axle too. 75W-90 is fine, it's not seeing the constant heavy force the rear does.

    Make sure you have a large trans cooler in front of the radiator. The GMs usually do, but double check.

    Transmission temp gauge. This will give you an idea of what's going on in the trans.

    Otherwise, happy motoring.
  15. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    Thanks for the heads up on the best fluids all around 2C0R517, the thing I would have really liked to have is the transmission temp gauge, if I were to hook up my OBD2 code reader, I could read the tranny temp couldn't I? It would save me the time and money of installing the actual gauge. I always wondered why GM didn't install that little gauge off the get go in all their trucks.

    I looked up all my codes in the glove box, the way I read them tells me I'm equipped for pulling the maximum I can, here are the codes and their explanations, what do you think;

    FK2 Torsion bar spring left FK3 Torsion bar spring right G74 3.73 axle
    C5Z GVWR 7200lbs G80 Limited slip diff.+ posi JH2 Hydr.power brakes 7200lbs
    VR4 Weight dist. platform hitch KNP Trans. HD cooling system KH7 Air cleaner High capacity
    Z82 Trailer provision HD

    Thanks again.
  16. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

    I doubt your code reader will read trans temps.

    Another thing to consider is upgrading your hitch. The factory hitches are pretty lame.

    Go to for the horror stories.
  17. murdog94

    murdog94 New Member

    Also in the 02 the truck is already wired for Tranny temp you simply need a 3/4ton guage cluster with the tranny temp, and pull the old one out and plug in the new one.. The milage will however be off unless you can get the dealer to change the milage for you.
  18. bluestreak94

    bluestreak94 New Member

    thanks Murdog94, I had thought about it but wasn't sure. I may take a look around for one around the scrap yards in my area, cheap fix!
  19. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member

    I've got some relatively good news for you. On the way home from work I saw a 2003+ Yukon pulling a Laredo, bunk house with the single slide-out. I think it was the 29 footer, but I didn't exactly have a ruler while I was driving! Anyways, if a Yukon that's the equivalent to a Tahoe can pull the trailer, your Suburban should be able to pull it.
  20. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

    Just because it CAN be done, doesn't mean it SHOULD be done. Especially for 2,500 miles.

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