Av Vs GVWR Vs Trailer Towing

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The lease on the car is up in September and we are starting to look at replacement vehicles to buy. At the top of our list is an Av. At some point in the next year ot two we plan on getting a small trailer (around 18-21 feet) for camping. The question I have is regarding the GVWR on the 1500 Av.
The police are getting more stringent up here in Canada regarding overloading trucks pulling trailers, so I want to make sure I get the right size pickup.

Correct me if I'm wrong on the calculations here.

It seems like the GVWR of a 1500 4X4 Av is 7,000 lbs. The truck itself weighs right around 5,700 lbs (heavy). If you load it up with 4 occupants (600 lbs.) + 400 lbs. of cargo + the tongue weight of the trailer 400 lbs (this is an average of a few 21 foot trailers I have examined) I come up with a total weight on the truck of 7,100 lbs. According to this I would be overloaded on the Av. Does this seem right?? If this is the case then it wouldn't seem like the 1500 Av would be able to legally tow very much at all.

I know that on the GM website it says it has a towing capacity of over 6,000 lbs, but that doesn't really have a bearing on the GVWR. If my calculations are correct, the 1500 Av wouldn't tow much, and I would need to look at the 2500 Av instead. I am not keen on that idea mainly because of gas mileage concerns and the much stiffer suspension. We would only be towing the trailer 3-4 weeks a year, but if I get pulled over and am overweight, they force you to leave the trailer where it is until you can tow it with a proper vehicle (at least in one province up here in Canada).

Can anybody help clarify this for me at all, or point out the error in my calculations?? I know the Av 1500 would have enough power, just not if I could legally tow the trailer.


What you need to find is the GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating), this is the maximum that your entire rig (camper and truck may weigh combined).  This is available in the dealers towing guide if it is not published elsewhere.  Subtract the weight of your loaded tow vehicle from the GCWR and you get the maximum weight of the trailer that yo may tow.  I can speak from experience when I say that the Avalanche is a VERY capable tow vehicle.  I tow a 23' hybrid camper with a gross weight of 4400#.  My 1500 Z71 Avalanche handles it with ease.  My previous vehicle was a 1995 GMC Yukon.  I was concerned about going from a 5.7 litre engine to a 5.3, but this Avalanche has much more towing power than my old Yukon, and gets better gas mileage!   I am sure that you will find the 1500 Avalanche more than adequate as long as you keep your trailer weight reasonable.  There is an "unwritten law" that you should keep your trailer weight at no more than 75% of the maximum tow rating of your vehicle.  This seems to be good advice.  We tend to add "stuff" to our campers and often end up with more weight than we anticipated, so the 25% cushion is probably prudent.

The 1500 2WD with 3.73s has a towing limit of 7300 lbs while the 1500/w 4.10 is rated at 8300 lbs. I believe these numbers are based on 5400lbs( the weight)+ a full gas tank and a driver.

I the GVWR is 6800lbs for the above truck, but it's for the AV only, not a trailer. Yes, the extra weight in the AV would need to be subtracted from the towing weight.

The worst case scenario would be:
AV with 1400 lbs of gear = 6800.
Towing cap: 7300 - 1400 = 5900 lb trailer.

Stinky Whizzleteats:
copied from the chevy website:
Trailer towing          1500 2WD 1500 4x4  2500 2WD 2500 4x4

3.73 axle ratio (lbs.) 7300         7100         10,400      10,100
4.10 axle ratio (lbs.) 8300         8100         12,000      12,000

1 Maximum trailer weight ratings are calculated assuming a base vehicle, except for any option(s) necessary to achieve the rating, plus driver. The weight of other optional equipment, passengers and cargo will reduce the maximum trailer weight your vehicle can tow. See your Chevy dealer for additional details.

Model                  1500 2WD 1500 4x4 2500 2WD 2500 4x4
Curb weight (lbs.) 5400         5652         6353        6642
Payload(1) (lbs.)   1363         1322         2247        1958
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating(2)
               (GVWR) 6800         7000        8600         8600
1 Maximum payload capacity including weight of driver, passengers, optional equipment and cargo.
2 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) includes vehicle, passengers, equipment and cargo.

The more I look at this, the more I see Saint's point.  Because of the near 5700 lb weight of a 4X4, there is only 1300 pounds left for payload.  If you subtract the trailer tongue weight of 400 lbs, then you only have 900 lbs left for occupants and cargo.  My family weighs about 550 lbs, so that leaves 450 lbs for cargo.  That may be cutting it close for me if I decide to pull a travel trailer.


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