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GMC Yukon, Yukon Denali Towing



  • ladyarcherladyarcher Posts: 1
    edited January 2011
    How much weight can a 1994 Yukon 5.7 4 x 4 safely tow. This vehicle has a Reese hitch already installed with the brake package installed. It has towed a 28 foot Airstream before I purchased the vehicle. I have pulled a loaded (and I do mean loaded) 6 x 12 U-Haul with little to no problems.

    I want to purchase a travel trailer and need to know how big of a trailer will my Yukon safely pull. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
  • Hi - I have a 28' Airstream trailer that weighs 7300 pounds. Have been using a 3/4 ton pickup to tow though looking at moving to large SUV for more comfort/seating room, etc. I really like a 2011 Denali (regular not XL) with AWD, the 6.2L V8, 3.42 axle, integrated trailer brake controller, etc. Specs say it can tow 8,100 pounds though looking for feedback/advice on using the Denali to tow a 7,300 pound trailer. We live in the east - mostly flat - but do take long trips that have some moderate uphill climbs. Thanks.
  • I too have been investigating this. This is a great guide here

    Basically you need to find out the GCWR of your vehicle. Which is sometimes not published. The Max towing capacity is determined by GCWR - GVWR. GVWR is the total weight of your vehicle, passengers, cargo + tongue weight. You also have to be mindful of the Rear Axle Weight Limits.

    I'm looking to purchase a 2011 Tahoe LTZ with 3.42. It has a max towing rating of 8500#, but the max GVWR of 7100#. I've also seen GCWR listed as 11000#.

    Curb Weight of a vehicle is also a good number to know. It is the weight of the vehicle with options + all fluid levels topped off.
    2011 Tahoe LTZ 2wd is 6029#. So some simple math here 11000 - 6029 = 4971. So how in the world can they list 8500# as the max towing. There is some major fuzzy math going on here.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,001

    As long as the weight of the trailer and cargo does not exceed 8100 pounds, you should not have a problem. Unfortunately I am unable to give feedback or advice on using the Denali to tow a 7300 pound trailer as i have not done so; however, Edmunds is a great resource to find people with this experience.

    Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • Bot a 2010 GMC YUKON SLT 1500 2WD, 3.42 rear axel ration, heavy duty trailering pkg, engine 5.3 Vortec V8, 6 spd auto, with 12000 miles. Book shows max trailer wt of 8400 and GCWR 14,000.
    Looking for a TT to tow on trips to see family from TX-GA-TN-NC & CT .
    Looking for suggestions as to what I should be looking for and what you are towing.
    Not looking to Max out as we have parked our Excel 36' in NM and are looking for something with a QUEEN size bed, a potty and shower and kitchen. Want to stay under 30'.
    Thanks for your help
  • davidvcdavidvc Posts: 2
    I was wondering if you could tell me the towing capacity of my 2008 Yukon SLT 5.3L V8 VIN#: 1GKFC13J38R159666 (no flex-fuel)

    I have towed a 4800 lb travel trailer approx 100 miles (one way) and noticed that my Yukon usually has a temperature of 210 degrees (even when not towing). However, when I'm towing the TT, as soon as I start any kind of hill or grade I can watch the temperature increase. I also noticed that the Transmission temperature increases as well...up to 232 degrees. Once I started back down the hill or grade the temp quickly returns back to the 210 degree mark. According to the RPO code and owner's manual, I have 3.73 gears and a towing capacity of 7500 lbs. However, I have read several other articles that state I only have 6500 lb towing capacity. Was wondering if I should be concerned about the fluctuation in temperature or if this is to be expected.
    Also, should I tow with the "trailer" button on or not?
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964

    I understand your concern; I wanted to confirm with you that per GM the maximum trailer weight for your vehicle is 7500 pounds. It is also important to take the Gross Combination Weight Rating into account - essentially, the combined weight of your vehicle, cargo inside the vehicle itself, and the weight of the trailer should not exceed 13,000 pounds.

    The Tow/Haul mode on your Yukon adjusts transmission shifts while hauling, making them less frequent and more predictable. This can perhaps be very noticeable on downhill grades.

    As far as the fluctuation in engine temperature, engine coolant at higher altitudes will boil at a lower temperature than at or near sea level. If you turn your engine off immediately after towing at high altitude on steep uphill grades, your vehicle may show signs similar to engine overheating. I am not sure what altitude you are driving at, but thought that this might be useful to you.

    I am going to ask our Technical Assistance Center about the fluctuation in engine temperature you mentioned, just to make sure you are within a healthy range and that this is normal. Once I hear back from them, I will be sure to relay this information to you.
    GM Customer Service
  • aseniukaseniuk Posts: 1
    My husband and I have been looking at buying a travel trailer. We could be towing it with a 2007 Yukon. When looking online for towing capacity it changes with each website we look at- some saying only 4500lbs and others saying up to 7200lbs.

    Just wondering what is the maximum weight the 2007 Yukon can tow?

  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    Hello Ashley,

    That's an exciting investment! If you were willing to send us the last 8 digits of your VIN, we'd be happy to look into this further. You can either put them here on the forum, or send an email to (include your question in the email as well so we will have a point of reference!).

    All the best,
    GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    The following is the response I heard back on the fluctuation in temperature question:

    Please see excerpt from owners manual page 3-47:

    “It also provides an indicator of how hard your vehicle is
    working. During a majority of the operation, the gage
    will read 210°F (100°C) or less. If you are pulling a load
    or going up hills, it is normal for the temperature to
    fluctuate and approach the 250°F (122°C) mark. If the
    gage reaches the 260°F (125°C) mark, it indicates
    that the cooling system is working beyond its capacity.”

    I hope this helps!
    GM Customer Service
  • mamashackmamashack Posts: 2
    We traded in our Ford Excursion and bought a 2011 GMC Yukon XL-SLE (i know.. big downgrade) anyhow, now my husband is in a panic thinking our Yukon XL wont tow our 25' boat. Boat weight is 4300lbs, with about a 1,500lb trailer - total tow weight is 5800lbs. He's afraid it's gonna be a total dog and not be able to pull the boat.. We also will have a full car - packed with kids and all their "kid crap". Should we be worried we've made the wrong choice?? Vin# 1GKS1HE07BR265482
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    Hello mamashack,

    Given your VIN, I found the following. I know it is a lot of terminology, and I hope that I can communicate it clearly for you!

    The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for your specific vehicle is 7200 lbs. This is the maximum number of pounds a tow vehicle may weigh. Everything that contributes to the weight of the tow vehicle is featured in this rating, including the weight of the vehicle, driver and all passengers, fuel, payload, trailer tongue weight, hitch weight and all optional equipment. The GVWR is displayed on the driver’s door or door-lock pillar label of your vehicle.

    The GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) is the total allowable weight of the completely loaded vehicle and trailer including any passengers, cargo, equipment and conversions; the GCWR for the vehicle should not be exceeded) for your vehicle is 11,000 lbs and the maximum trailer weight per the owners manual is 5,500 lbs.

    It looks as though the weight of your trailer and boat exceeds that of the recommended maximum trailer weight; as far as how this may affect your vehicle, I am unsure. It may be a good idea to speak with your dealership on this matter.

    If we can look into anything further for you, please don't hesitate to contact us at
    All the best,
    GM Customer Service
  • meyermdajmeyermdaj Posts: 2
    edited July 2012
    Towing my 7,500# boat this past weekend I noticed the digital readout of the transmission temperature climbed to 227 going up hill and would typically hover around 200 on the flats. Is this too high? Will the cars computer tell me when the transmission is too hot?

    It's a 2007 Yukon Denali 6.2L AWD.

    Any information would be great. Thanks, MM
  • Asked what is the maximum capacity of a 1500/ 5.3ltr. XL ??
    Having also bought a 2009 XL with trailer tow option I found the rig came with a 3.42 axle and surprisingly NO transmission cooler. Although the mfg GVW ratings will restrict your 5.3 Yukon XL to 5400/5900#, with an adequate transmission cooler this rig will pull 8500# with out any shift scheduling or engine laboring while in trailer tow mode, however, make sure you have a transmission cooler. I found mixed reviews and also looked at Suburbans and Yukons and some do not have the transmission cooler.
    Without this KEY element you can anticipate transmission overheat; I've experienced it!!
    Also note the difference of a 3.73 vs 3.42 rear axle can make the total GVW decrease.
    ** Driving in extended hilly country without the 6.0 engine will place high demands on your engine but of relatively flat roads and moderate inclines you should have no issues.
  • Review of other forums and other disappointed consumers will tell you you're not alone. I too have experienced overheat but also learned that not all GM Suburbans or Yukons have transmission coolers. If not equipped, add one; this transmission typically runs hot and getting to engine operating temps can easily achieved under adverse conditions.
  • meyermdajmeyermdaj Posts: 2
    I've read that the trans fluid can handle operating temps up to 220. I'm more wondering if the cars computer will warn me of a "Transmission Overheat". I agree, a trans cooler should probably be added.
  • Almost bought a CPO Yukon yesterday but halted the process based on finding out the 2012 4wd SLT Yukon had a 3.08 axle ration with the K5L HD I guess that means the towing limit would be 5200 pounds. I intend on pulling my wakeboard boat with it...I estimate the boat with trailer, gear and people to be about 5200-5300 pounds..i.e. right at the guidelien limit.

    Does this mean its' a mistake to bu that vehichle and that I should look for one with a 3.42 axle and HD towing (K5L).. or should I feel ok proceeding knowing that I am on the hairy edge? I think I'm seeing examples of posts of people not even at the limit with a 3.42 axle and stil lhaving overheating problems..which leads me to conclude it woudl be a big mistake.

    the dealer did not push me towards doing it..wants me to do the right thing. He adsived tha [non-permissible content removed] wousdl not hurt hte enging, but that I would be a little sluggish on the hills.

    Any advice from GM here?


    My 1998 yukon seems to pull this boat fine, but it had a 3.73 I can't really do a comparison.
  • I'm looking at buy a 2013 Yukon XL Denali w/3.42 gears I have a trailer that weights 5120 dry. The Yukon has a tow weight of 7800 lbs just try to get some answers before I spend a lot of money on a new car.
  • Hi we just bought a Jayco White Hawk 28DSBH and we have a 2010 Yukon Denali AWD with HD Towing Package. The max trailer weight in our manual is 8100 lbs, the GVWR of the trailer is 7500. The GCVWR for the Yukon and trailer is 14000. We plan on getting a weight distributing hitch. The dry hitch weight on the trailer is 590 lbs. Do you think we will have any problems hauling this trailer with our Yukon?? The exterior length of the trailer is 31'11" We haven't actually taken posession of the trailer so we can't give any actual weights.
  • davidvcdavidvc Posts: 2
    Unfortunately, I think you may have too much trailer for that Yukon. I have a 2008 Yukon with HD towing package and my trailer is 5400lbs empty. I have towed my trailer fully loaded with four people in the vehicle, with no problem. However, I can't imagine it being any heavier. If the weight of your trailer is 7400lbs dry, then you have to add the weight of all the things that you will be carrying in the trailer (bed linens, towels, food, water, drinks, charcoal, chairs, tv's, bicycles, etc.) and vehicle as well, which will easily put you well over your max weight.
    To be quite honest, if the person selling you the trailer knew you had the Yukon for a tow vehicle, they should have never sold you that trailer (I'm assuming you bought it new, from a salesperson).
    Just my opinion, hope it helps you out.
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