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How much can I tow?

4611 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  TrailLeadr
Hi I have a general question. My truck is a 2006 GMC Sierra 1500, 5.3 auto, w/3.55 gears and the towing pkg. I'm considering buying a bigger travel trailer. The owners manual says I can tow 7k or 9k with 3.73 gears my question is what has anyone towed on a regular basis and how did it perform over the long haul. I dont want to be stuck in the slow lane all the time or overtaxing my engine and trans, we travel through the Rockies and west so what has been anyones 1/2 ton experience's.
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I did a stint as an RV salesman and the best advice I can give you is to be conservative. You are better off leaving yourself as big a weight buffer as you can afford. My personal recommendation is to deduct 2000lbs off your max capability. While there are mechanical reasons to limit the weight you are towing, there is a safety issue as well. You don't want a 10,000 lb trailer trying to push your truck around. I have witnessed several trailering accidents and the chaos that happens when an overloaded trailer starts the dance of death as it sways out of control is bad enough, but often it fliips the towing vehicle too.

Also consider your driving style. Are you conservative or aggressive? An aggressive driving style is just plain dangerous when towing, yet you always see those pulling their rig out in the fast lane because they have to be the first one to the lake. If you have an aggressive driving style, you definitely want to leave extra 'room' on your weight limit.

I pull a double axle utility trailer a lot with my K1500 burb and I don't overload it and I drive like a grandma. So far so good. Happy trailering. :)
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Personally I usually tow max + 20% with tires under pressure and at least the check engine light on if not the brakes needing to be overhauled as well.

Kidding aside I'm with unplugged, just drive to live and enjoy the ride not to get to the destination and soon as possible. I tow up to and over the max on rare occasions and would say that driving conservative is what has saved my bacon (until now that is). On the weight issue again I'd say unplugged has given sound advice. Another recommendation is to make sure you've got top of the line Chevy Brake and brake Pads and buy quality brake components. Getting up to speed can be frustration, not being able to stop can be expensive and life threatening.
I agree, I have only towed for great distances with a realy heavy payload once, and once was enough. I now try to stay well unde the Max load and give lots of room to stop and make certain that my vehicle is well maintained and has good brakes.
On a slightly different note...This is obviously late, but for those reading now, it's important to be clear about the two different tow figures. The initial poster stated that he could tow either 7k or 9k. The two figures are given based on specific equipment used on the truck. In other words the vehicle will have options for two different rear gear ratios, and depending on which one is installed, you will be able to tow a max of one figure or another. GM tends to be a little vague about this, but if you really look into it, you can get the right info. For his particular case, with a 3.73 Rear he would be able to pull the 7k max, and with the 4.10 rear he would be able to pull the 9k.
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