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Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Trailer and Towing Questions



  • akwrxakwrx Member Posts: 9
    I have a question that I am hoping you all can weigh (pun intended) in on.

    I am in the market for a used pickup to tow my new boat. I am looking at towing around 6300 lbs on 50 to 100 mile trips 20 times per year. My budget for the truck is around 18K. My question is, should I spend the dollars on a 3/4 ton or a newer 1/2 ton??

    I know that most 1/2 tons are rated to tow that much, but I don't trust those ratings. Also, suggestions for a specific truck brand/year to look for would be appreciated.
  • nibby50nibby50 Member Posts: 4
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    If the truck is gonna be used more than 20 times a year, you can stick with the 1/2 ton for the better ride when empty or not towing. Any of the american 1/2 tons and the Titan will pull that 6300lbs. easily. Note: make sure the truck came with the factory tow pkg. (see above posts). Because you will get the heavier duty radiator and other parts to make towing easier. ;)
  • grizzly4grizzly4 Member Posts: 12
    I have a 2003 Chevy 1/2 T Ext Cab. Do you know if it has a pig tail for the trailer brake or if it has a plug for a pig tail?

    Thanks for your help.
  • hotel1hotel1 Member Posts: 50
    GRIZ........For a couple years ( 02-03?) GM did the
    decontenting thing and quit supplying both the
    trailer and the brake controller plugs..........
    Best bet is a trailer supply, auto parts store,
    or even a GM dealer for replacements.........
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    You do have the factory tow package, right? On my 03 2500, it's under the dash by the steering column. Ask the mfg of the controller how to hook it up for your vehicle. I have a Prodigy, and they answered my question through e-mail
  • cyclorecyclore Member Posts: 1
    I was reading this forum tonight and have a quesiton. I just bought a 2004 Chevy 2500HD. It has the tranny cooler, oil cooler, etc... The hitch is getting put on Friday. I ordered the wiring harness for under the dash and wired it to a new break box. I plugged it in and using the breaks or manually trying to get the red line to come on it didn't work. I then got out my volt ohm meter and see there is no power where the hot (red) lead is under the dash. I am assuming I need to put a fuse in somewhere under the hood. I have looked and do not see any dummy plugs or open slots for this. Can anyone give me a hand?

  • hotel1hotel1 Member Posts: 50
    Stumped by GMs wise decision to eliminate the
    underdash plug n play trailer brake controller
    and the underhood mystery wires that must be
    hooked up to get everything working?
    Dealer scratching their head stumped also?

    Check out this link w/pics:

    Heres a link and pic to the underhood mystery wiring
    and where to connect it and where to put the fuse !
  • hotel1hotel1 Member Posts: 50
  • hugh8hugh8 Member Posts: 2
    Just bought a classic 31' 1989 5th wheel. Turns out the original Chevy dually with matching paint job is for sale as well, 70,000 miles, one owner. Its a 4-door crew cab, big block, needs a new heater core. Other than that it runs well (tho the brakes groaned a bit and the guy said it needed fluid). I am looking to go across country for a year or so. I can afford to have a mechanic do a full checkup, replace hoses, etc. But I am no car wiz and don't know whether it would be foolish to take this thing on a long journey. I love the idea of putting the whole rig back out on the road, but got nervous at your comment in a prior discussion of 5-6mpg. Any advice?? Tempted to get a new truck to eliminate headaches - but that doesnt have much style. THANKS!!
  • 1offroader1offroader Member Posts: 208
    I followed the instructions below from a previous post. Followed instructions exactly, everything went well, except that after sitting for a couple days the battery is stone cold dead. BTW I installed a Prodigy controller. Any ideas??


    This took me a little research to get right and even the dealer who sold me the truck didn't know.. so here is the scoop! There is no pigtail wire set for the 2007 silverado ( new body style ) and even if you got the max trailering package the dwebs at chevy didn't wire the trailering electrical or the brake control wiring for you! What were they thinking....well they are offering an in dash brake controller in thier following series and they prewired it for that option.
    1) There is a bundle of blunt cut wires below the dash to the left of the steering column above the fuse box that is labeled and tucked around some other wires. Pull the blundle down. There will be 5 wires, with black electrical tape on the ends. Red and Black is the hot , positive battery wire, white is ground, negative. Blue and white is the input tail-brake light wire and the all dark blue wire is the trailer output brake voltage. The last wire, I believe , is for the brake controller light, but I am not certain. I did not use that wire. Consult your instructions . The next step is to open the hood, take off the top on the fuse box and locate space 65 and 70. Get a 40 amp fuse and put it into space that is labeled 65, this is the brake output voltage fuse, the voltage to your brake controller, post 65. the 70 space has a 30 amp fuse in it. Now go between the left fender and the fuse box and locate the red/black wire. This is attached to the post that is larger and silver on the front of the fuse box. Nuts not included. They are metric 10-1.5 course. the other black post is 8mm. Get the red black wire wrapped below the master cyclinder and attach it to the black post ( smaller ). You can't make a mistake with the wires because they can't be attached to the incorrect post, one is smaller than the other ( the opening ) The jist is that you need 2 nuts and a 40 amp fuse. Not supplied with the truck... now.. You are set. The reason for wiring the brake controller to the post is for 12 volt use from the main batter. If you use a secondary auxillary battery the wiring will be different . Good luck and thank chevy for making this a mystery or misery as the case may be. Read your manual under brake controller and it seems a little more clear, but just a little. I read it over about 3 times before I understood what they were getting at. Boy how could they not wire the trailering wiring.? Duh!.
  • 2007denali2007denali Member Posts: 16
    Can someone please enlighten me about this? In past years, GM full size trucks came with a wiring harness that was about 12 inches long and was located loose in the glove box. I believe this was a trailer wiring harness extender of some sort. I think you would have plugged this into your bumper and then attached it to your trailer. I may be off here. The reason I ask is because I took delivery of my new 2007 GMC Sierra Denali AWD a couple of months ago and it came with no such wiring harness. My truck has the Z82 package and has the full towing package (class IV, I think). The dealer says they've never heard of such a thing. Any information would be much appreciated. I pulled the following off of a GM site and I think it references what I'm talking about:

    "Z82 Heavy-Duty Trailering Equipment Package includes trailer hitch platform and trailer electrical connector"

    Z82: TRAILERING EQUIPMENT, HEAVY-DUTY, includes trailering hitch platform and 2-inch receiver, 7-wire harness (harness includes wires for: park lamps, backup lamps, right turn, left turn, electric brake lead, battery and ground) with independent fused trailering circuits mated to a 7-way sealed connector, wiring harness for after-market trailer brake controller (located in the instrument panel harness), and single wire for center high-mounted stop lamp, (K47) high-capacity air cleaner and (KNP) external transmission oil cooler (Included with (NHT) Max Trailering Pack. Included with (PCY) Towing Package.)
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    I think you had it correct when you stated "in past years" as I haven't seen what you're describing since my '00 Denali.
  • hotel1hotel1 Member Posts: 50
    Look at this post with pics. to wire up a trailer brake
    controller to the NBS GMT-900 trucks.

    It shows the interior blunt cut wires and where their
    hidden along with the 2 wires hidden under the hood
    that need to be hooked up.............

    http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64063&hl=trailer+brake+contr- oller
  • 1offroader1offroader Member Posts: 208
    Update to my own original post.

    I tried to duplicate making the truck battery go dead, couldn't do it. I left the controller installed and connected, and let the truck sit for 3 days just like before. No problem, truck started right up. I also checked the amperage that the controller draws while at rest, the specs say it should draw 15 mA, and it does. Everything seems to check out fine. I even had a friend who is extremely knowledgeable about electronics (he designs radar antennas for a living) check my wiring & etc. & he gave it a thumbs up.

    So.....I think what happened is that I left on a dome light, left a door partly open, or etc. & the battery drained. There appears to be no problem now, & I could not reproduce the original problem under the same conditions. However, I think I am going to install a good quality switch on the black/red hot wire under the hood located between the fuse box and fender. This is the power supply wire to the controller. When I'm not towing (98% of the time) I'll just turn the switch to 'off', that way there is no possible way for the controller to drain the battery. When I hook up the trailer I can just pop the hood open and turn on the switch to power the controller, and I'm ready to go.

  • 01rado01rado Member Posts: 6
    i just finished my 01 s/rado with a protige control are you wireing the black and red both hot??wrong the black is hot 24/7 the red hooks to your brake lite hot when pushed.white is ground blue goes to activate trailer.its sounding like you are not going to the hookup under the box located at your left foot.if your truck came with the tow pac.ther should be the pig tail in the g/box.mine never so i had to run the blue wire back the frame.the pigtail at the rear needs 8 wires mine had six.i was missing the brake wire and the 12hot all the time(interior camper lite)
  • 1offroader1offroader Member Posts: 208

    No. Under the dash, the black/red truck wire goes to the Prodigy black wire (hot). The light blue/white truck wire goes to the red Prodigy wire (brake light). The dk. blue to dk. blue (trailer brakes), and white to white (ground). Under the hood, I connected the 2 black/red wires to their respective posts on the fuse box, and installed a 40A fuse in slot 70 in the fuse box. That's all there needs to be done.

  • 1offroader1offroader Member Posts: 208
  • 01rado01rado Member Posts: 6
    you may be right i just did the hookup on a buddys 05 that had the p/tail in the g/box...do you have a test lite the connecter on the bumper should tell the story you should have the blue at the bumper a real dim on your test lite.you may have a diffrent protigee mine has 4 wires black,red,white,blue.i think you are right by the way you are saying you hooked them up gm give me a runaround .my buddys 05 was a 5 minute job as he had the tow pac
  • hugh8hugh8 Member Posts: 2
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    70,000 original miles? Or has the odo turned over a couple times?
    Get the brakes checked.
    If you drive in cold weather, a heater core will be necessary.
    Yep, 8 mpg if you're lucky.
    The new trucks are alot more efficient and built tougher for towing but they don't have that "classic" style.
  • 2007hd2007hd Member Posts: 2
    I have a brand new 2500HD Silverado with 700 miles on it.
    It uses a factory trailer braking system, which is new to me. When pulling my toy hauler, and applying the brake, the engine races and the RPMs go up to about 2000 to 2500 as the vehicle is slowing down.
    I am not sure why this is happening nor am I sure what I may do to eliminate this from happening as it seems that the engine should not race as the vehicle slows.
    Can anybody provide any guidance e.g., is the gain set too high, too low, something else?
    The dealer says don't worry.
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    Umm...Did the tranny downshift? The Allison is electronic and will downshift under a load even if you don't have the Tow/Haul button on.
  • 2007hd2007hd Member Posts: 2
    The tow haul button was on and, yes, the tranny downshifted but would that make the RPM increase? It seems as though it should decrease while slowing. Thanks for the reply, was starting to wonder if anybody had seen the question.
  • dirtrdr0711dirtrdr0711 Member Posts: 1
    It is doing what it is supposed to do. The trans has a brake sysem that uses engine compression to help in the braking process. This is similar to the Allison transmission and a great change to the Chevy line up. I was pleasantly surprised to have this feature as standard. So to answer your question, Yes the RPM will go up when the trans downshifts in this mode.

    This is intended as a trailer braking aide, not to be confused with a brake controler.
  • luggageluggage Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Silverado 1500 with less than 50,000 miles on it that I pull my travel trailer (Jayco Feather). A friend advised me on our last camping trip that my brake lights on my Travel Trailer were not working. The brake lights on my truck work fine as do the turn signals. Turn signals work on Trailer as well. I had my camper dealer check for an electrical or fuse problem. They check the pigtail as well as all of the fuses under the dash as well as the ones under the hood on the Driver's side. I was told that they could not locate the problem at any of those places. I then took it to a friend's independent auto sales and service business and they kept it a day and told me that the problem was in the steering column with the emergency flashers. They said that there was a short in the emergency flashers and the system/unit would have to be replaced to the tune of 300.00 + dollars. I have had others suggest that this does not sound like it is the problem. I don not know what they are basing their opinion on and I am not a mechanic. Can anyone advise me as to the reasonableness of this recommended solution?


  • swift1069swift1069 Member Posts: 5
    Sounds almost like the same problem I had on my 04 silverado... The independant dealer is close but the problem wasn't in the steering column it was in the flasher fuse. The chevrolet Dealer spent two days tracking down the problem and after endless tests they changed out the flasher unit and it works great.. After that they found out that a bad ground on the trailer was causing back feed and it melted the connections inside of the unit.. I would suggest trying that first before spending 300.00 on the shop..Go to your local part store and pick one up you can get them cheap and easy to install.... Good luck
  • l8kreadyl8kready Member Posts: 2
    I'm having the same issue on my 2000 Silverado Z71. And I do also have a problem with my hazard lights. Had no idea the two could be connected, but I've looked everywhere for a fuse specifically for trailer brake lights and I can not find one. All fuses appear to be fine. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet and get the hazards fixed, I was gonna let them go and not worry about them. The work if I push them to the right but they are almost impossible to engage. I never could simply depress the button without hitting it with my fist several times.
    Please post if you discover another cause.
  • swift1069swift1069 Member Posts: 5
    Well The part is called a Hazard Flasher.. And the location is probably going to be under your dash on the driver side..On my 04 it's located close to the steering colume.. but it could anywhere on the driverside under the dash.. if you turn your hazards on you may her it ticking from under the dash... There is usually two of them that may look like. one is for your blinkers and the other is your hazards... I't usually a square shape.. Part number should be 44120.. I would also suggest that you check your ground on your trailer once you fix it. Take it loose from your trailer and clean the area really good, make sure there is no rust or paint between the connection.... Hopefully this helps, I know it can be a real pain.. It took almost a month to figure it out..
  • l8kreadyl8kready Member Posts: 2
    Well, in my case it absolutely turns out to be a defective flasher switch. My hazard switch has always been difficult to turn on and I noticed it stopped working the other day unless I held it just right. Tonight I plugged my trailer light tester into the plug on my Z71 and all lights tested OK with the exception again of the trailer brake lights. I had my brother watch the lights on the tester while I wiggled the hazard switch and if I pulled it hard toward the door while pressing the brakes the tester brake lights came on. Gotta be the switch then... no fuse, no flasher problem. I did a little more research and found that this problem has also been reported and a recall issued for the 2000 Malibu and the 2000 Blazer.
    I think I'll try taking the articles to my dealer and see what they say. It's worth a shot.

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/defect/results.cfm?action_number=EA02- - 037&SearchType=QuickSearch&summary=true

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/results.cfm?SearchType=QuickS- - earch&rcl_ID=01V364000&summary=true

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/results.cfm?SearchType=QuickS- - earch&rcl_ID=01V364000&summary=true

    Hope this helps somebody out. Thanks everyone for taking me in this direction.
  • michael9782michael9782 Member Posts: 1
    i cant find the wires under the dash panel can anyone tell me how to connect the wires and where can i find it thanks
  • maxummaxum Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 Chevy Silverado 1500 Classic. In January I will be leaving for Tennessee in the mountains...My rear end is basic and one wheel is always spinning in the rain.. What can I do to get better performance in the snow/rain/sleet.
    Other than using chains only when necessary. Should I look at changing the rear end/differential to a positive traction?
    My truck is in new condition and only has 10,000 miles on it.
  • KCRamKCRam Member Posts: 3,516
    Either a limited-slip (posi) or an aftermarket locker that has a manual switch so that you can control when it's in use.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • maxummaxum Member Posts: 3
    Thank You for your suggestion... Do you know how I can learn more about what you suggested. Like a web site or books. What type of shop would you recommend I go to...
    I live in central Florida at this time.
  • KCRamKCRam Member Posts: 3,516
    A search on "locking differential", both here at Edmunds and on the web (Google, Yahoo, MSN) will give you lots of information.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • tymyerstymyers Member Posts: 7
    If it's not too late, let me suggest purchasing your hazard light module at ROCKAUTO.com. I had my hazard lights go out, and since I often stop to help motorist in my area, I needed something. When I found out that the module itself was $350.00 from the dealership, I ordered strobe lights and installed them myself for $120.00. That not only fixed that problem, but also added slightly to the cool factor. However, recently, when looking for O2 sensors, I found this site (rockauto.com) and priced the Hazard light system at around $190 w/o cruise or $220.00 with cruise. The installation itself isn't too hard if you're comfortable taking your car apart and don't mind setting off the horn a few times. Scared the you know what out of me a few times as I'm grabbing a wire and the horn went off. Once you get the steering column apart, there are two ribbon connectors that you pull off, remove the entire switch assembly and then reverse the process. Will probably take you between an hour and 1 1/2 hours.
  • 01rado01rado Member Posts: 6
    have you had any luck,when you sit in the driver seat were your left foot is there is a black box just above your toe undo the nut take the cover off it kinda has some clips on the side,looking inside the top left receptacle is for the trailer brake to plug in,my 01 didn`t come with the tow pacage so i had a heck of a time my buddys 05 was a plug and play he had the tow pac just no contoller,you will have to put the fuse for the brake in the fuse box under the hood,you should be able to order the pigtail to plug to the 03 to the controller,trying to wire on your own,,,i wired in a protege 4 wire it wired black hot24/7the red hooks to brake lite only hot on appl,white ground,blue trailer brakes,,big tip the plug to fit you trk is a good buy save you lots of headache
  • lilcorkylilcorky Member Posts: 6
    I have a 2004 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD. It has 25,000 miles and I bought it used. Found out after the fact that the Transmission had been replaced. Carfax was used but it didn't show up. I have the toys listed in the title and was wondering if I should always use the tow mode or just when working the Truck harder like pulling hills and such? Truck has a Temperature gage, heavy duty cooling for Tranny. But they lost the first one for some reason and I don't want the new one to go out. I did buy a extended warranty. That will help but who wants the hassle? Not much in manual about how to use tow mode and I have never had a rig with Tow Mode.
  • lilcorkylilcorky Member Posts: 6
  • grizzly4grizzly4 Member Posts: 12
    I always use the tow mode when pulling trailers. I have pulled small boats, small and medium sized pop up campers and a large travel trailer with my truck. I can't tell the difference on the small stuff but it seems to make a difference on the heavy travel trailer. I think you'll pay a little more for gas by using the tow mode but it's probably good insurance against damaging or burning up a tranny. BTW, a 2800 lb boat or camper isn't small. Especially if it's the empty weight. All the tackle, coolers (full of good beer and ice), and other misc stuff add up fast.
  • iowagordyiowagordy Member Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 2007 Sierra 1500 ext cab 2 wd with a tow package. Where do I look to find whether it is an 800 or 900? I need to know before I add airlift suspension. I failed to get the camper mirrors option and now need something to add on for the occassional towing. Has anyone had real success with any of those strap-on or form-fitted etc mirrors? Would you recogmend any certain brand or type? Any recomendations on airlift? I'm pulling a light(7700LBS loaded) 5th wheel (50 miles 2 or 3 times a year)
  • iowagordyiowagordy Member Posts: 2
    My son-in-law is pulling a 5th wheel camper with his pickup equipped with a gooseneck ball with an adapter between. I was going to do the same but didn't think it looked as safe. Also the adapters have warnings that they can cause damage to the trailer. I could probably get by alright with mine because I don't tow that much but I'm still opting for the 5th wheel . My son-in-law tows alot. Has anyone had problems with the gooseneck adapter setup?
  • manachomanacho Member Posts: 2
    I've got a short somewhere in my steering column of my '00 Silverado. I started disassembling my steering wheel, the housing around the column, and the torx screws in the back of the wheel and it started working. When I started putting it back together it stopped. I don't know how to get my wheel apart completely so I can find the horn switch and work from there. Anyone know how?
  • tymyerstymyers Member Posts: 7
    Not sure if I can be too much help, but I have taken my steering column apart, and put it back together successfully for a turn signal/hazard blinker issue. It was a while ago, so I may have forgotten some steps. However, if I remember correctly, once you get the torx screws out of the back, the airbag assembly comes out, exposing the two rings that operate the horn. The horn is engaged by pushing on the airbag assembly which has either a ring on the back of it, or a contact which touches another ring on the steering column. It is possible that something has gotten out of alignment with those two rings and that there is not a short, rather just a simple re-alignment or cleaning job needed. If it is a short, good luck, because there is quite a bit of wiring in there. It maybe simple to trace the horn wires though. I couldn't tell you because that wasn't my focus at the time. I don't think you'll have any trouble getting into the steering column though. Hope I'm remembering everything correctly. If I get a moment, I'll re-enter my steering column and reply again if no one else has. Hope I was some help at least.
  • chris705chris705 Member Posts: 4
    As far as mirrors are concerned you will have good luck with the Cipa brand....I have used these for years on my van and Silverardo truck. You might even find a used pair on E-bay.
  • skipdutyskipduty Member Posts: 1
    I do not have the +12 vdc at the trailer connector. I'm sure that it's fused but I can not seem to find it in the owners manual. Any suggestions on where the fuse is or any other possible ideas?
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    The new body style is the 900...
  • feras99feras99 Member Posts: 4
    I have 2008 silverado HD 2500 LT and i install the GM original navigation system but i had some problem with the sound its not that loud what used to be ( my speaker is not BOSS ) , and how to install the real camera if there is no direct input for it .
  • joevabeachjoevabeach Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I have just bought a 1993 Silverado 2WD model with 5.7 L V8 and 3.42 rear, Auto trans. Where can I find the tow rating or GCWR ? The GVWR is 10,000#
  • kleinautokleinauto Member Posts: 3
    I have a Silveraldo 2500HD. 6.0l V8.

    My trailer is 6300lbs my Kubota is 11,683lbs

    Can i pull this with a fifth wheel?
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