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GMC Yukon, Yukon Denali Towing



  • 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.
  • 3monkeys3monkeys Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Yukon 5.3L V8, four-wheel drive with the Tow Package and Tow/Haul Mode. I am so confused on what is the max trailer we can tow. Can someone help me please!!!! We want to upgrade from our 3,500 tent trailer but don't know how big we can go.
  • alabama3alabama3 Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 GMC Yukon 1500 SLE. I want to pull a horse trailer with it and need to know if it is powerful enough to do this safely.I have some info about the trailer if somebody could help me calculate if I have enough towing capacity.
  • tom387tom387 Posts: 1
    I just purchased a White Hawk 27DSRL ?, the empty weight is 5500lbs.
    I am towing with 2011 1500 Chevy Silverado EXT cab 4X, towing packages, 3.42 rear, the 5.3 ? 315hp engine, and according the manual my max towing weight is 9000 lbs. I was towing up steep mountain and the vehicle struggled. My biggest concern was a transmission temp of 210 degrees F. It dropped back to under 200 coming back down the other side of mountain pretty quick. Wondering if I need to go to 2500 truck. My camper is 1 ft smaller than yours and your max towing trailer weight is less than mine. I would deffinately re-think the camper purchase or plan on buying a tow vehicle.
    I would like to know every ones opinion on the transmission running at 210 is that too hot. Am I stressing the transmssion?
  • Yur dealer network needs to be trained. A brief survey will find that many are giving the consumers false information. I am a retired Ford engineer and was hite diamond happy, infact estatic, to buy a white diamond loaded Yukon XLT with every option including maximum trailer tow. Did I say every option?? Guess what, GM has an addition option that includes a larger radiator core and trans cooler that WAS NOT part of my rig. So guess what? I was forced to sell the rig when transmissio overheat was experienced. I even approached GM Tech Center Engineering, Customer Relations, and the dealership in an attempt to add the missing components. All other items including the transmission and axle ratios were right. I was told this would VIOLATE the warranty. There is a major distinction between MAXIMUM trailer tow and "trailer tow". (5900 vs 7900#)
    The dealer network is not well informed which resulted in my having to sell a perfectly good rig that delivered great fuel economy a could have adequately pulled 7900# given the transmission cooler. This was a serious $50,000 mistake!!!
    I would be pulling our camper today with a nice Yukon if it weren't for the lack of support in resolving my issue. I loved my Yukon which was far superior to a F150 eco-boost I'm currently driving; all because I was sold my Yukon with less than the MAXIMUM trailer tow by an ill informed sales person.
  • Regardless of specs, the fact of the matter is what you really need is an SUV classified as 2500 (such as the F-250, NOT A 1500 such as the F-150) – I own a Chevy Suburban 4wd etc etc and it is lazy pulling 6,500 pounds of trailer (plus her Mom) I can pass cars only if I am going downhill. If I encounter a steep hill – forget it, have patience, pull over, drive slow and let other pass you. Remember, your trailer might be say 5,500 lbs yet you have to add another 1000 for the hook up, people and luggage plus whatever you put in the fridge etc. yes it adds up. So instead of 5,500 now you are pulling 8,000. It adds up quickly. Even bikes have an effect. They have Chevy SUV 2500 and Yukon 2500 but they are hard to find. I don’t know why… you can tell one from the other by looking at the lug nuts,. One has 6 and the other 8 (if I remember correctly) – I’d say if you are pulling that much weight, go for an SUV classified as 2500 or go for the King… the mighty F-250 Ford (they are not cheap even though they have a huge hole in the back. Some of us call it “cargo area” lol) – good luck!!!
  • Your story hits home because this was same senario that got me it trouble a hear ago. Best case would be you have the 6.0 ltr powertrain with a 373 axle. The 5.3 will pull it but a 373 axle is critical as is the transmission cooler which can easily be seen mounted in front of the radiator. If it does not have it, then it won't have the larger radiator core either. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. By the way, all wheel drive is rated at less then 4 wheel drive
    and you are margial for total weight. The big deal is transmission over heat which ca result in a $4000.00 drepair bill.
    Note: While I love the Yukon, (nothing compares to the ride and overall use!) terrain, and where you plan on towing our drig can be factor of choice.
  • I traded the Yukon XL, (which the dealer PROMISED me would tow my boat - which of course it couldn't) and upgraded to a Chevy Suburban 2500 with a bigger engine, suspension and seriously more power. Problem solved.
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