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Author Topic: Towing 7000 Lb. RV - HELP!!  (Read 4865 times)
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TXAvalanche
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« on: 07/24/02 09:41 AM »

I currently have a "stock" 1500 AV with the 3.73 and am towing a 7000 RV Trailer, occasionally, and am having difficulties pulling this weight over hills.  Where do I start?

My thoughts have been to change the rear to a 4.10 and add the HPP3.

Is this a good place to start to pickup some much needed Torque?  What are my other options?

Mr. T
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« Reply #1 on: 07/24/02 09:50 AM »

Although there are some minor mods that will give you a little bit of help, in my opinion the place to start for your situation (you need more torque) is to install long tube headers. Most bang for the buck...Cheers - Jim
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« Reply #2 on: 07/24/02 09:51 AM »

Shocked Shocked

Damn that's a lot of weight to pull with a 1500!!!

Not sure if you can do it properly with a 1500.  4.10 gears will help some but..... you're still pushing it.

You must be using a weight distributed hitch??

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« Reply #3 on: 07/24/02 09:57 AM »

From GM's site:

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

NOTE: Trailering Package includes trailer hitch platform, seven-pin wiring connector, high-capacity air cleaner, transmission oil cooler and trailer brake prewire harness standard on all models.

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.


You look to be at about your limit for the 1500. It looks like going to the 4.10 gears will help you out considerably and may be a good bang for your buck.

David
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« Reply #4 on: 07/24/02 11:36 AM »

I feel your pain brother. dissappointed  Look at my signature and you will see my solution.  I tow a 7500-8500 lb toy hauler travel trailor.  Your torque is no more than I used to have.  
I was considering going to a new crank shaft for a 383 cid.  That is where you get your torque.  Maybe a super charger.  The fixes you are talking about might give you 5 mph on a 35 mph hill but I don't think that is enough to make you happy.  Sorry but there is no cheap fix.   wail
« Last Edit: 08/28/07 09:14 PM by gstreak » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: 07/24/02 01:04 PM »

Quote
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  


My Personal opinion.

I believe the tow ratings are set at the MAX. This is done for advertising. To feel comfortable I use a simple rule of thumb. Take the MAX tow rating and multiple it by 75% this is what you can tow comfortably. This is my opinion only.

TXAvalanche I am sorry to say but I think you are beating the He__ out of your truck. A little abuse every now and then is OK. But if you are going to tow that weight more than a few times then you need more power. Mr. G can talk to you about a supercharger, I think that will give you the most bang for the buck. Anything less will only help a little and you will be disappointed.
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« Reply #6 on: 07/25/02 12:55 AM »

MrBill got it right regarding tow limits; you have too much trailer and too little truck. How do you get out of it short of replacing the truck? I don't know of any way to get enough of a difference to matter. Keep in mind that while you can put a blown super pooper hot shot 502 cid and a new transmission in there and actually get the power you want (after spending $40K), the factory drive shaft and differential will still be there (unless you replace them too). Check out the various automotive boards like this one and the RV boards and you will probably reach the conclusion that your present drive train is at best adequate for the 5.3 you now have, at its current level of torque. Weigh the pros and cons of any mods carefully, unexpected consequences may very well crop up.

The cheapest way out (or at least the one with the most bang for the buck) may be to eat the depreciation and try to find a new 2002 model, 2500 Av on a dealers lot. The zero percent interest rate is a very good deal and saves THOUSANDS compared to the standard 7% range of interest rates.

BTW, the title of your thread REALLY caught my eye. I'm in TX (Plano) and just last weekend put down a deposit on a travel trailer that weighs 7000# empty (dry weight before options is spec'd as 6300 or so). Gross weight is 10K and change. So we'll see how my Av handles a load it can sink its teeth into.

Best of luck with your situation. Keep us posted on how it works out.
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« Reply #7 on: 07/25/02 04:58 AM »

The cheapest way out (or at least the one with the most bang for the buck) may be to eat the depreciation and try to find a new 2002 model, 2500 Av on a dealers lot. The zero percent interest rate is a very good deal and saves THOUSANDS compared to the standard 7% range of interest rates.

I agree with BBDand MrBill. Unless there is the possibility of downsizing your trailer or towing less, I think your best move would be to trade into the 2500, IMHO.
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« Reply #8 on: 07/25/02 08:42 AM »

TXAvalanche:

Depending On How You Define "occasionally" Your On The Right Track...

But, If It Is Once/Twice A Year, I Wouldn't Worry About It. (Depending On Distance)

But, If It Is More Than That, Then I Would Try The Hypertech And Goto 4:10 Gears.

Last Year, I Towed A 7000 lb. 30 ft Trailer, With 4 Adults And A Bed Full Of 3, 120 qt Coolers, To The Guadalupe River (About 200, Miles Each Way) The Avalanche Had A Lot Of A$$-End Squat, Until I Put On The Load-Leveler Hitch.  My Avalanche Also Some Performance Trouble On The Hills Outside Of San Antonio.  But, Considering It Is A Once/Twice A Year Event For Me, I Wasn't Too Concerned About It.  Even Though My Buddy Thought For Sure I Would Trade The Avalanche Off Once I Got Home. (I'm Used To Being In The Front Of The Pack, Not Towards The Back)


BlackZ71
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« Reply #9 on: 07/25/02 11:13 AM »

If you actually are thinking about a supercharger, be careful. I don't know what part of TX you are from, but it's a safe bet it gets HOT there. This is one big potiential problem w/ SCs. My co-workers' Mustang has a SC on it. All's well in cool weather (both days of it) but in warmer weather it overheats very easily thanks to additional power of the SC overwhelming the radiator. When the SC was removed (it died) the car had no overheating problems. The overheating returned with the replacement SC. Don't know how well the Av's radiator can handle it, but doing so while also pulling a big load could be problematical.

Regardless of how additional power might be obtained, there is still the issue of transmission, drive shaft, U-joints, differential, etc. durability under the increased stress.

Another point, since we're talking Av's I'm assuming yours is still under warranty. That would probably go bye bye when your truck is towed into the dealership to have the shredded differential replaced and they discover the mods you did. Even if they maintain the engine warranty, I would not expect them to warrant the transmission or other power train parts if you mod'd the truck to produce more power.

If you've not done so, check out the thread titled "Towing 1500 vs 2500 ", the one with 5 pages of responses. It was quite "lively" shall we say. On page 5 is a nice posting by "openminds" that is listed as reply #41. It discusses a trip pulling 5500# boat (much less drag than a TT) behind different trucks.

Best of luck to you, but you are probably just going to have to learn to live with it until you can/will switch to a bigger truck. Get the 4.10s when you do! They plus the 8.1L make a great combination.

After you make your decision let us know what you did and how it works out.
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« Reply #10 on: 07/26/02 03:37 AM »

1500 isn't meant  to tow a travel trailer of that weight.  A boat maybe, but not a cement block shaped package.  Accept the depreciation and move up to 3/4 ton.  If you tow alot, you'll probably stress everything on your 1500.  Repairs (inevitably after the warranty expires) will probably cost you as much as the depreciation hit.  The mods you are looking to do: 4.10, SC, Hpp3, fipk, headers, exhaust will cost you as much as the depreciation and most of these mods move the peak torque up on the rpm.  Which is NOT what you want when towing...

They used to say, there is NO substitute for cubic inches.  That hold true for towing and boating....
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« Reply #11 on: 07/26/02 04:29 AM »



My Personal opinion.

I believe the tow ratings are set at the MAX. This is done for advertising. To feel comfortable I use a simple rule of thumb. Take the MAX tow rating and multiple it by 75% this is what you can tow comfortably. This is my opinion only.


Well MrBill, I believe it was also my opinion as I also stated something along those lines in previous posts on many of the 1500vs2500 for towing threads.

The 75% is a value that most manufacturer have quoted over the years.

I also remember that there was an article in one RV  magazine that  showed how the ratings are obtained for the different vehicles, and basically it is an advertising issue (read war!). The test are really going for the limit in the best conditions possible (no wind, no hills, optimum temperature, etc.) and when they mention that the ratings do not include optional equipment, they also often mean with the A/C turned off!

TXAvalanche, my advice would be to move to a 2500. Any mod you may be considering will be as expensive as the depreciation, and you are still going to be overtaxing your vehicle.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: 07/26/02 04:31 AM by dgalarne » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: 07/26/02 05:28 AM »

Plus, you can forget about any warranty coverage for anything in the power train after all the engine mods.
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« Reply #13 on: 07/26/02 02:27 PM »

From experience, a twin screw, like the Whipple will not cause you any additional heat problems - and I live and drive in Texas - in fact race @ 92+ degrees. I do use a closed/modified air intake and an intercooler - but that is not due to general engine heat.

If you want additional power from the 5.3L this is the only practical way to get it - but be wary of the the transmission if towing heavy loads - the 4L60E is marginal at best.

As to warranty, depends on the dealer, and do you really care anyway - GM builds quite well - you probably won't need the warranty. Grin

As a side note on this issue - I invested 1600 to upgrade my transmission to add about 150 HP shock level to it, reality is I can fix anything that happens to it for less.
« Last Edit: 07/26/02 02:28 PM by gandolphxx » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: 07/26/02 02:37 PM »


If you want additional power from the 5.3L this is the only practical way to get it - but be wary of the the transmission if towing heavy loads - the 4L60E is marginal at best.

As to warranty, depends on the dealer, and do you really care anyway - GM builds quite well - you probably won't need the warranty. Grin


Tranny and diff(s) were my warranty concern. I haven't  lunched a tranny yet, but I have blown up a Ford nine-inch, with a 302 in a 4x4 Bronco of all things. And that is a stout differential. YMMV. 
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« Reply #15 on: 08/15/02 03:58 AM »

hey guys,
so pulling a 7k lb trailer isn't a problem with the trailer hitch platform on the Ava?  

this must mean the Ava's have a class IV hitch rated at <10.000 lbs?

thanks,
pd
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« Reply #16 on: 08/15/02 12:07 PM »

I'm too lazy to go out in the heat and check, but it better since it has a 12,000 pound tow rating in the 2500 and a factory hitch. If it won't handle it, I'm going to own me a large pile of GM coin. Arghh, I can't stand it. Be back in a minute. Yes mine says 12K pounds and 1500 pounds of tongue weight.

Last weekend I drug home my new TT. At 7K pounds it was a good test. I could keep up with traffic pulling away from the red light, and out accelerate them w/o much trouble when I wanted to. The 2500 Av w/ 4.10s is a BEAST. Now for a real trip (hopefully this weekend).

TX Avalanche, where did you go. Tell us what you wound up doing.
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« Reply #17 on: 11/09/02 04:36 AM »

I agree with most everyone. I have been pulling RV's of one kind or another since 1972. It has been my experience that manufactures "lie" about towing capicities. To be real, subtract about 20% from what they say and you'll be close. I believe you have too much trailer for your truck. Any mods would cost more than an upgrade to a 2500. I currently tow a 7000# travel trailer with my 2500 and couldn't be happier. I can even accelerate up hill without leaning on it. Good luck.
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« Reply #18 on: 11/19/02 05:13 AM »

I have a 2003 AV 1500 4x4 Z71. Plan to tow an aluminum enclosed trailer 2500lbs and load it with a 3100lb car.
Should I expect any towing problems? I noted the rating was around 7000lbs so I think I'm in the ball park!
Any comments?

Thanks

Bob
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« Reply #19 on: 11/19/02 04:04 PM »

Cape Cod Bob,
 You should be able to tow that comfortably & safely.
 I say safely, because I see so many people towing at the max or over.  You have to take into account EVERYTHING you add to that trailer & truck, including passengers.  When you try to over-extend & tow, you are shortening the life of your truck, and putting your families,your life & those on the road in jepardy.  
  Using a weight distributing hitch will increase your tow ability, but still not change the fact you shouldn't be towing an 8000 lb vehical with a 1500.
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« Reply #20 on: 11/26/02 06:48 AM »

This thread started a while ago, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents worth.

I've got a 21' Salem Sport Toybox trailer. The advertised dry weight (if it's accurate) of the trailer is 4800lbs. With the generator, I figure I'm at 5K. Add 4 dirt bikes at nearly 250lbs a piece, and I'm at 6K. If I fill my 100 gallon fresh water tank, add another 815lbs. (I usually fill the tank when I'm at my destination to save the weight). Add food and gear, and I figure I'm right at the 7000lb mark.

My Avy is a 1500 with a 3.73 limited slip rear end. I've done NO engine performance mods (yet). I'm certainly pushing the 7300lb tow rating.

So how does it tow? I've got a weight distribution hitch rated for 12K lbs and sway control. I won't say that I don't feel the trailer back there, but I don't seem to have much trouble towing at comfortable speeds. I turn on the tow/haul mode and leave the trans in 3rd. I've never felt on flat land that I've been pushing the Avy too hard.

Hills are a different story. With a 6% grade hill, I CAN tow at 55mph if I feel like it. However, the Avy heats up to above the 230 mark. It's certainly a cause for concern! I simply pull it down into 2nd, and drop down to 45 or 50. The extra 5 or 10 mph isn't going to get me to my destination THAT much faster, and my engine stays cooler.

Has anyone else with a 1500 encountered this dramatic rise in temp while towing a heavy load?
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