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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How to turn a Chevy Traverse from NON-TOWING to TOWING using (mostly) Factory OEM Parts
(Similar concept works for the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook - and it's actually pretty cheap too!)

Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Center console Sport utility vehicle


I BOUGHT A NON-TOWING TRAVERSE

So I found a great deal on a 2010 AWD Chevy Traverse 1LT. Three rows of seats, low miles, looks great, what's not to love. Part of the reason I found it at least $3500 cheaper than any other Traverses that I had seen is the fact that it was a rental return vehicle, there were no floormats and this unit had the OnStar/Satellite radio delete added to it.

NOW I NEED A TOWING TRAVERSE
Fast forward nine months ... and life has changed for us and we want to tow a travel trailer. Nothing crazy, probably looking for a 22 to 26 foot ultralight trailer that we can use to take out on short weekend trips and the occasional week-long trip here and there. Looking up the information pertaining to Traverse towing, she can trailer 5200 lbs with the factory towing package.

Vehicle Car Automotive design Mid-size car Crossover suv


FACTORY TOWING OPTIONS?
What about the towing capacity for a Traverse WITHOUT the factory tow option? Yeah, it drops down to only 2000 lbs. Wow, that's a big drop, 5200 lbs to 2000 lbs? So, the question is raised, what's the trailer package option do to the overall nature of the vehicle more than just adding physical stuff like the receiver/hitch, the connector plug to the trailer itself and an engine cooling system? There is one more piece added ... it's called the MULTI SWITCH and there are a few different options for your Traverse depending on what options you have.

You see, there is more to being able to tow more than 2000 lbs than just being able to hook up a trailer in the rear. The way the engine and transmission shift and other factors are changed when you click the little TOW/HAUL button on your multi switch. It's all computerized and it's designed to keep you from blowing out and overheating your engine and transmission. Moreover, if they can prove that you hauled more than 2000 lbs, it will void your 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

ALL TRAVERSES CAN TOW FROM THE FACTORY (You just need the right switch!)
At least this is what all of the research I have shows me. As of this writing, I have not read any reports of anyone NOT being able to upgrade their Traverse to the same onboard computer state as the factory OEM towing module, just by ordering and installing the proper multi switch that includes towing.

Don't call your dealer! It's not in any books! They'll tell you that it can't be done. However, just like adding the Driver Information Center to the 2007+ Silverado, all you have to do is hook it up and it works. All Silverados are built to handle the DIC from the factory. In the same way, the argument goes, that all Traverses are built to handle the Towing multi switch from the factory.

GETTING THE PROPER SWITCH
So my Traverse came with the Multi Switch #22824077 (w/o Trailer Pkg w/o Power Liftgate). Can it really be just that easy to add in Multi Switch #22824079 (w/ Trailer Pkg w/o Power Liftgate) and my Traverse will suddenly act as if it came with the factory Trailer Package?

I've got it on order and on Monday I will install and give everyone the final answer. (This statement will be replaced when I confirm that it does in fact work with "Yes, it works, here's proof!")

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?
If I get these parts OEM, then with the exception of the engine cooling add-on, it will be exactly as it was designed to be from factory. I can easily do all of this myself, getting parts from www.gmpartsclub.com. All of these parts are listed for a 2010 Traverse LT.


  • Multi Switch (w/ Trailering w/o Power Liftgate) #22824079
  • Trailer Hitch #20781543
  • Wire Harness #25910884
  • 7-pin Plug #12191503
  • Trailer Hitch Bolts #11519537 (x4) & #11589273 (x4)
  • Radiator w/ HD Clg #20841738 (Radiator with HD Cooling - this is hard to install and the most expensive part)

Line art Auto part Automotive engine part Transmission part
Auto part Text Diagram Design Line art
Text Auto part Diagram Automotive window part



DISCLAIMER
So, I am going to get everything factory OEM (maybe not the Radiator) but I have no clue if it will void the factory 100,000 mile warranty if I tow over 2000 lbs. I can't see how it is any different than the factory setup, but still those are the rules. However, if you have any questions about doing this, stick with what your dealer and/or your manual tells you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm going to be doing this upgrade this week. I'll add photos and a step-by-step later. The only thing I'm not going to do is add in the extra Transmission cooler this week, I will do that on a different upgrade.
 

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I'm going to be doing this upgrade this week. I'll add photos and a step-by-step later. The only thing I'm not going to do is add in the extra Transmission cooler this week, I will do that on a different upgrade.

Did you get this all worked out?
 

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I actually never did get it worked out. I have heard from others though that it does work.
 

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Interesting stuff...However, I find it hard to believe that even with the towing package, that SUV is capable of towing 5200#. My 05 Chevy Uplander with the towing package, is I believe 3600#

That said, I have seen some pretty small SUVs (small Jeeps etc) towing some pretty big trailers.......Hope they have good trailer brakes on them
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Traverse is light years ahead of the uplander. Even better than the trailblazer ... which was the best suv I ever owned by far.
 

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... and i'm not knocking the uplander ... but the Traverse is just that well engineered.
 

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I'm still planning this for the summer. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No. Had a loss in the family so never got around to this. It does work though.
 

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Sorry to hear about your loss, hope all is well.
Just bought a 2010 traverse as well, looking to add the tow package, but when I pull up the part numbers lited for the wiring harness the description says it will fit my 2010 traverse but in special notes underneath of that it states 2013-14, is this conflicting or something unrelated? Thanks for your help
 

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in the process of doing this now, just ordered everything today, just wanted to add, you will also need the different fuse box unter the hood that has the pins for the trailer fuse, part number 20913280 . i ordered everything from gmpartsonline.com and with promo BALLINHAND 3% off and shipping total was 676.55. i also ordered the 7 pin plug seperately from amazon for 15$ better than 40$ from gm. now i need to look at getting trailer brake controll. just purchased a travel trailer so i will be doing this withing a week or two.
 

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okay, so have this mostly complete, it is all pretty much straight forward, though i completely forgot about taking pics.

1- the fuse box swap took minutes, it was simply two bolts in the fuse box remove the two connectors on the bottom and pug the new box in, (which comes with all fuses and relays installed, very easy).

2- next gently popped the trim cover around the shifter and cup holders starting at the large storage compartment in the center console. easily pops up, then two screws hold the multswitch cover in place. after installing , everything works great, trailer light comes on. ( make sure you get the correct switch, mine was a 4 function switch for lift gate, traction controll, tow, and wiper.)

3- played hell trying to find out where the plug was for the factory wiring harness. there was a cheap after market hitch and wiring setup already on it that jumped from the tail lights. after removing them, re installing lights. and researching for a while, finally found the factory trailer harness connector behind the passenger side rear quarter panel, about a foot behind the rear tire. you need small hands to reach it without pulling things apart, luckily i have those, lol. anyway, you can see it if you look from the ground, in between the muffler and the bumper on the passenger side a foot behind the wheel just above where the bumper connects to the quarter panel. no cover on it , i was able to rotate the open end down( it is attached to the frame at the connector|) so i could just reach up with the connector and slide them together with one hand. before that make sure you route the wire above the bumper support so it is well away from the exhaust and muffler.

now the only things left, are to fight with getting the new hd radiator in, be doing that tomorrow hopefully, put the new hitch in when it arrives, and attach the prodigy 2 brake control with the harness adapter. this is also just a plug and play, already found the connector under the dash above the brake pedal. will update when finished later this week as i am suppose to be picking the trailer up this saturday
 

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also want to note, you do not need the harness extension for this, i was unsure what it was as it was in the parts diagram, so i purchased it when ordering the parts, but did not need it, the trailer harness is all you need. not sure what the extension is for.
 

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all done with the job, the radiator went in in about an hour, but i had to remove the front bumper to do this. not to hard to take off, but the 3 bolts just under the headlights that you have to reach from under the bumper do not have to come out, only loosened and the bumper slides out from them. the rest was pretty straight forward, and the condenser just leaned forward enough to get the radiator out. the hd rad was significantly thicker, at least 1/4 inch. also the trailer hitch needs 2 spacers between the hitch and the frame at the middle where it bolts at the bumper and receiver. it didn't come with the hitch but the cheap hitch that i took off of it had them do i just reused them, so not sure of a part number there. also since it didn't have a tow package there was no nuts tacked on in that same spot, so i used stainless nuts i fished into the bumper frame and hit the bolts with an impact gun which tightened right up. after all this i took my new 26 foot travel trailer out for a weekend test run, weight on it unloaded was 3900 pounds, and it handled fine, shifted like it should and did great, just had to slow down a good bit on the steep uphills so i was comfortable with the rpms. in all it was pretty easy and im satisfied it is exactly as i would have gotten with the factory tow package. one last thing, the connector for the trailer harness does not have any kind of cover on it, after 4 years driving around like that it had some buildup in it and the blinker was not functioning after all was hooked up on the trailer, cleaned it up with some contact cleaner and all was fine.
 

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wow! Thanks for the awesome series of posts. You used great detail that I am sure will help someone out interested in doing this
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@Kenstasko can you take some after pics at least. That was a great and very detailed writeup!
 

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okay, so have this mostly complete, it is all pretty much straight forward, though i completely forgot about taking pics.

1- the fuse box swap took minutes, it was simply two bolts in the fuse box remove the two connectors on the bottom and pug the new box in, (which comes with all fuses and relays installed, very easy).

2- next gently popped the trim cover around the shifter and cup holders starting at the large storage compartment in the center console. easily pops up, then two screws hold the multswitch cover in place. after installing , everything works great, trailer light comes on. ( make sure you get the correct switch, mine was a 4 function switch for lift gate, traction controll, tow, and wiper.)

3- played hell trying to find out where the plug was for the factory wiring harness. there was a cheap after market hitch and wiring setup already on it that jumped from the tail lights. after removing them, re installing lights. and researching for a while, finally found the factory trailer harness connector behind the passenger side rear quarter panel, about a foot behind the rear tire. you need small hands to reach it without pulling things apart, luckily i have those, lol. anyway, you can see it if you look from the ground, in between the muffler and the bumper on the passenger side a foot behind the wheel just above where the bumper connects to the quarter panel. no cover on it , i was able to rotate the open end down( it is attached to the frame at the connector|) so i could just reach up with the connector and slide them together with one hand. before that make sure you route the wire above the bumper support so it is well away from the exhaust and muffler.

now the only things left, are to fight with getting the new hd radiator in, be doing that tomorrow hopefully, put the new hitch in when it arrives, and attach the prodigy 2 brake control with the harness adapter. this is also just a plug and play, already found the connector under the dash above the brake pedal. will update when finished later this week as i am suppose to be picking the trailer up this saturday
Going through this process myself shortly. I'm glad I came across your post as I was looking things over last night and couldn't find the plug for the factory wiring harness myself. Looked everywhere in the area where it shows it to be in diagrams, had the carpet up, etc.... One place I didn't look was the quarter panel/fender area.

One thing that caught my attention was that my fuse box isn't the "v92" box, but it still has all the fuse/relay points labeled for trailer/towing stuff? Can someone with the "tow package fuse box" take a pic of the fuse diagram in the cover, so I can compare the two? My guess is that it's only an extra trailer brake circuit and/or a circuit to run trailer power from the vehicle battery. Neither of which I need. Thanks.
 
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