Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Towing Experience with 2500 Silverado

bacalo3bacalo3 Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
I have a 2000 Silverado 2500 with the heavy duty
towing package. The specs say I can tow a 5th
wheel of 10,800 lbs. I am considering a 5th wheel
of 11,200 (loaded). I'm not sure if this is too
much 5th Wheel for the truck or if I am asking for
problem? Does anyone have experience in this



  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    Towing at the limit may be okay per the factory, but it will stress you out when you're into a headwind, it's 90 degrees, you're running the air conditioner, Grand Targhee Pass is coming up, and there's a Ram Cummins bearing down in your rear view mirror.

    Find a smaller trailer now, or you'll be unhappy with your truck later.
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    I have an 00 2500 as well....

    If I were to hit the max load....for a long you are doing....I'd wait for the new Duramax Diesel with the Allison Trans. that will be out soon in the GM line.

    Diesel is the way to go for full load....Not sure I'd lower myself to a dodge...but that's up to you.

    - Tim
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    And those heavy haulers for towing the big fifth wheels take on a life of their own. A friend who owns a Ram Cummins, and another with F350 diesel crew cab dualie, all have another vehicle to use as a daily driver. I too would wait, if I could, for the Duramax/Allison, but the others are here and now.

    Another option that works pretty well is to buy a used motorhome for the price of the fifth wheel. It's easier to tow your dinghy. And your friends and family can ride, sleep, make your lunch, bring you coffee, while you drive. If you look, you can find low mileage ones as cheap as a new fifth wheel, almost as nice. Fifth wheels tow okay, but motorhomes have truck axles, and are more sturdy. Fifth wheels work best where you just get it to your parcel, open the slide out, make it your cabin. Towing one frequently, not something I want to do.
  • rrichfrrichf Posts: 212
    You're missing one important consideration between an RV and fifth wheel. The operational maintenance! The living space maintenance is about equal. On a fifth wheel, the only maintenance that you have is tires, brakes and in extreme cases, alignment. With the RV it is like having another vehicle to maintain. The truck is most likely a daily driver and one really KNOWS the truck. With the RV, it's maybe six weeks/months and the funny noise that you thought you heard last time becomes very un-funny at the most inopportune time.

    Also, when you get there you have the daily driver truck to gad about. If you're flat towing a vehicle behind the RV it is extremely difficult to back up. However when you go to calculate your gas mileage for the dinghy, the numbers may be astonishing! :)

  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    Not going to dispute your preference for a fifth wheel. And will go a bit farther by saying the living quarters are generally nicer, and more spacious on the fifth wheel. But I do speak from experience. Operational needs of the motorhome are not that bad. Towing a dinghy in that broad pocket of still air behind the RV has hardly any effect on fuel mileage that I can tell. I get about 7 mpg on a 460 cubic inch V8, uphill, downhill, trailer or not. Backing up with a trailer or dinghy on a motorhome is no different than backing up a fifth wheel. By the way, the weight of my RV is 3800 on the front axle, 8200 on the rear, for a total of 12,000, fully laden, watered and fueled. That's not far from the 11,200 lbs the original poster cited for the fifth wheel. I can't imagine using a small block to tow that weight, plus the weight of his 3/4 ton truck, and parachute-like aerodynamics of the fifth wheel,...with a small block V8, comfortably. No way, no how. Just my $0.02
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    The question is how far are you going and how many fingers do you wanna see?

    A short trip of a few hours is OK.....cross country...up way....

    ..least not for me..

    - Tim
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    Kind of engineering rule of thumb that a product should be expected to operate at 80% of its maximum rating.

    Tow 11,000? Short trips, help a friend haul junk, haul hay, tow a car, something temp. But thats not the right truck to be hauling 11,000 all the time.
  • kmoon26221kmoon26221 Posts: 6
    Dodge and Ford have been pretty loose with their tow ratings over the past couple of years while GM has been a bit more conservative. When you consider that about 60% of the RV's on the road are overloaded going to capacity doesnt sound too bad. I have seen quite a few snowbirds pulling fifth wheels with old gas trucks. It seems like most snowbirds go to one spot and dont move until spring and most traveling is done on freeways, so I doubt if you see many fingers. I have come across a couple of posts at and Silverado owners report no problems pulling 27 to 28 foot fivers that weigh about 9000 pounds. If you do go to the limit you wont be any worst than the Ford and Dodge Diesels that are trying to tow 18000 or more.
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    are a big difference.

    - Tim
  • etohetoh Posts: 13
    I've been told by reputable mechanics that if you are towing any heavy load you should not use overdrive. I've also been told by reputable mechanics that towing a load in OD isn't a problem.

    So far I've only towed a small bass boat and my 2500 seems to pull it in OD with no problem. It even seems like using the tow/haul mode is just a waste. Anybody have any good input?
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    has worked very good for me. It re-programs the tranny to actually give you more power to get going better...aka..leave in gear longer and shift crisper.

    I'd say for anything higher than a bass boat...Use tow/haul.....still put the tranny in D...just push the T/H button.

    Up to you.

    - Tim
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    From Ford in the late 80's. If you are pulling more than 1/2 of rated tow rating, lock out overdrive.
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    Read your manual, look at the sticker on your door. Does it say you can tow in OD? If not, then don't.

    Just cuz your engine can pull it, you still may be harming the tranny. In OD, not as much fluid is being pumped because rpms are lower. Yet much more heat and stress are being generated due to the towing strain.

    On half tons, I would keep it out of OD just to keep the tranny safely lubed and cooled.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    The original poster we're all trying to help is long gone from the topic.
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    That old rule of thumb is for old Fords. GM says you can tow in OD with this truck. With 11k on the back you would probably need 3rd just to maintain speed though.
  • slp77slp77 Posts: 12
    is anyone driving a 2wd silverado 2500 , 6.0 engine and 3.73 gears? what kind of mpg are you
    getting (city, highway)?

    thanks -slp77
  • wight1wight1 Posts: 218
    I've got the truck you described - a 2wd silverado 2500 LS, extended cab, 6.0 liter, and 3.73 gears.

    With 3100 miles on it, I'm now getting about 11 to 12 MPG all city driving, up to 16.25 MPG highway, and an overall everyday average of about 13 to 13.5.

    Towing my 6000# travel trailer on the highway, I've gotten anywhere from 8.5 to 10.5 MPG, with 9.5 to 9.75 MPG about average. I run at about 58 to 60 MPH when towing on the highway, and tow in 3rd gear only with the tow/haul mode. When towing in the Texas hill country this past week, I noticed that the engine/transmission controls prevented the transmission from shifting into overdrive towing this load, unless I was going downhill. Even then, it would shift into overdrive for a few seconds, but then the torque converter would unlock. As soon as I hit the bottom of the hill and started to resume regular speed, it would then downshift to 3rd. There were a few long uphill grades of 6% and 7% that I had to downshift to 2nd to let the engine and tranny to work more easily.

    I've always thought it's better to tow any sizeable load in 3rd gear rather than overdrive unless you're pulling a small boat or trailer of say 2500# or less. I'll be pulling my friend's boat this weekend, which is maybe 1800# and I'm sure it will pull that in overdrive just fine.

    Based on my experience with my travel trailer, there's no way on God's green earth I'd try to pull anything over 9000# with the 6.0 liter, even with 4.10 gears. Based on two early test reports I've seen, the Duramax/Allison lineup is going to become the new mother of all towing machines.
  • abberaabbera Posts: 24
    I have been getting an average of 13 mpg on daily commute. That is about 1/2 hwy, 1/2 city. Have gotten 14.8 on 80% freeway. I expect this may improve slightly (2300 miles so far) but not much more. I also have the 265 tires which may make a slight difference.

  • wight1wight1 Posts: 218
    I've now got about 3300 miles on my 2500 LS Silverado with 3.73 axle and tow package. After several hours of towing my travel trailer, I've noticed that the transmission fluid has a really bad smell, almost like the burned smell you get with fluid that's been really overheated and the tranny is about to fry.

    When towing, the transmission temperature gauge never gets higher than about 185 or 190 degrees, and the fluid is a bright red color, very clean. Even after several hours of towing, the fluid is not hot to the touch on the dipstick, and there doesn't appear to be any debris or dirt suspended in the fluid. The transmission shifts fine and there is nothing abnormal in how it works.

    After being parked overnight and the fluid is cold, it just smells like an oil type smell, but it sure changes when it gets hot. I'm assuming the truck was filled at the factory with AC-Delco fluid, and I recently had the tranny on my wife's Oldsmobile changed at the dealer where I assume they would also have used AC-Delco fluid. But the fluid in her car smells way different than on mine.

    Anybody got anything to offer on this? I don't want to waste my time bringing it to the dealer just yet, because unless there was smoke and flames coming out of it when I pulled in there, they'll just say everything is normal.
  • ultra3ultra3 Posts: 4
    First, In response to the tranny question: I have a 99 1500 and tow a fifth wheel (6000#). I have noticed this same smell of tranny fluid. I always assumed it was just breaking in but continued to do it until 20K. I also noticed what smelled like propane. I dont think it was coming from the trailor. Have had alot of problems with the 99 and am considering a 2001 2500 ext. cab. Does anybody have info on a 5.3 2500 and what kind of gas mileage and driveabilty does it have. My 1500 5.3 had enough power if pushed , but, not enough suspension to feel comfortable with. Can anyone comment? thanks. B.C.
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    a 5.3 is available with 2WD 7200 GVW only

    - Tim
  • slp77slp77 Posts: 12
    silverado brochure (2000 trucks), you can get
    a 2wd silverado 2500 LD with the 5.3
    as the standard engine and rated at 7200 GVWR.
    i've spent some time on the internet trying to find the difference between the LD and HD 2500's.

    Except for the HD coming with the 6.0 engine as standard and only available with a long bed i haven't found any other differences.

    Does anyone know what transmission comes with
    the LD? i suspect its the 4L60E but i can't
    find anything that confirms this.

    thanks -slp77
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    The HD is 8600GVW...vs 7200 for the LD....

    Is just the difference the 6.0?....dunno....I'd imagine the suspension and perhaps frame would be a little stronger?

    As for used to tell the tranny that came with X model....give it a try for your specs

    - Tim
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    the HD tranny requires the 6.0.

    Why get an LD 2500 anyway?

    ...Just curious...

    - Tim
  • slp77slp77 Posts: 12
    thanks for the site, it gives you alot of info
    up front without having to dig through it.
    unfortunately they don't give the model number of
    the trans. instead they list it as "4 speed automatic-electronic".
    the reason i'm researching the 2500 LD is:
    1) i want the 5.3 for better non-towing mileage
    2) i want the extra cab with a short bed
    3) my brother has a 22 foot boat. the 2500 is a
    better built vehicle for towing than the
    1500 (larger brakes, a steering gearbox not
    rack and pinion, and a heavier chassis)
    From what i've read (and been told at work) the
    4L80E trans is the way to go for towing and

  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    That site used to have the model numbers next to it?'s what I used for all my info...

    You can get an SB in an HD model...

    I have a 2000 2500 LT SB 4:10's....


    Love it to death.....the HD tranny can be sluggish sometimes...but it's the way to go for towing..

    I have done more hauling then towing...but it worked very well when I did tow.

    It got about 12-13 MPG when seems to have got a little better lately...about 14.5...(mostly highway that day)
    On the average I get 13..50/50 highway/city..about 75 on the highway with the 4:10's
    I understand the want for mileage...but I really think it's not going to be much of a gain...

    Good Luck

    - Tim
  • ksr318iksr318i Posts: 13
    I have a 2000 2500 extended cab, short bed 4 x 4 LT with 4.10 R & P and all the options, I ordered HD everything. The ride is not bad with the power leather seats and 285's aired down (25 rear/30 front). My mileage is hovering around 11.5 mpg uncorrected, corrected it is closer to 12.5 mpg.
    I think that I am going to order the Hypertech PowerProgramer III to correct the speedometer, firm up the shifts and add a little more grunt to the 6.0L.

    I am planning a trip to Texas in July so I will get a good opportunity to stretch it out (800 miles) and see what it is capable of doing. Over all, I am satisfied with the 2500 but it is not the HD ¾ ton truck I was looking for! It is a real nice four-wheeler and grocery getter, but not up for pulling the big load. I am going to try a few changes to the exhaust, air intake and then Hypertech trick. I’ll see if the truck will be a keeper then, may end up with the new Duramax in my garage or even a Cummins!
  • slp77slp77 Posts: 12
    the 4wd is what makes the difference.
    if you order a 2wd 2500 w/ a short bed then its
    a gvwr of 7200 and you get the 5.3
    you can go the 6.0 w/ a short bed but then you
    got to have the 4wd, giving you a gvwr of 8600.
    (like your truck). if you stick with 2wd and a 6.0
    you have to take it with a long bed.
    i'm still not positive, but it appears if you
    get a 2wd 2500 with a 5.3 you're stuck with the
    4L60E trans. why gm would do that i have no idea.
    i've never been much of a dodge fan, but at
    least they'll let you pick and choose what
    components you want built into your truck (or so
    i've been told).
    well i'm still a ways off from buying, maybe
    the 2001's will be different.
    thanks for the info
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    you want a 3/4....but with a 5.3 and a standard tranny??

    Get over the's only a mile or two.

    Get 3:73's if it makes you feel better about a 6.0?...

    A 5.3 3/4 is nuts man..

    Good Luck

    - Tim
  • wight1wight1 Posts: 218
    I don't think you're quite right. My Y2K 2500 is a 2wd, 6.0 liter, short bed and the window sticker says 7200 GVWR. If you want 2wd and 6.0l, you don't necessarily have to take the long bed.

    Like Tim said, forget the 5.3 engine in a 3/4 ton. Go for the 6.0 - you'll be better off.
This discussion has been closed.