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Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Trailer and Towing Questions



  • santagiantsantagiant Member Posts: 3
    I set up my 2001 chevy 2500 4x4 SB Extended cab 6.0 V8 to haul a 38 foot 5th wheel from Sacramento to San Felipe Baja Mexico. It did a good job for me, but I may have overloaded the truck, as 4 months later, both side of the frame broke in two pieces. It broke right where the frame changes from a channel steel frame to a "C" frame.

    I just had it welded and reinforced and it $ cost $800. I still love this truck and should have bought an "HD". It has a bigger frame. My next truck will be a used 2500 HD duramax 6.6 with allison trans.

    Can anyone suggest which year has the least amount of problems with the engine and trans? 2004, 2005, 2006 ?
  • brad03brad03 Member Posts: 2
    Hello. I'm having problems with power to right side tail lights of my fifth wheel. It worked great then suddenly just quit. I imagine the problem is from the factory wiring to the ( 6or 7way plug??) Suggestions of possible causes Please. Is the trailer power system wired ( fused) seperate from the truck. I've heard a truck tail light for instance, can be out, but the trailer light for the same side can still be working? This is all very new to me.
    My truck is a 2007 GMC Classic.

    Thanks to All Brad03.
  • brad03brad03 Member Posts: 2
    Hey,....My 2007 GMC Classic has been a super truck. Dmax/Allison 6.6 turbo gotta be one of the best combos made. I haul a 30 foot fifth up and down hills all day @ 70mph, and that truck just won't quit. Ran through KT yesterday and there isn't a hill on I71 or I65 that will slow it down. Gotta Love It
  • califjimcalifjim Member Posts: 2
    I just bought a 2009 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax. It is significantly higher than the 2000 Ford F250 Super Duty that it replaced. GM now makes 4X2s and 4X4s the same height. Onlyh issue is, I now have only a 2" gap between the top of the cargo bed and bottom of fifth wheel, which won't work. I don't know what gap to shoot for. Does anybody in this forrm?

    What have other people buying 2007-2009 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra trucks done?
    Thanks. :confuse:
  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    As much as possible and still maintain a level ride on your trailer.
    The easiest fix for your problem would probably be to "flip" the axles on your trailer.

    I personally wouldn't tow the 5th wheel around without at least 8 inches of gap. If you never tow it anywhere that has a significant road pitch transition (ie Off Road), you might get away with less.
  • azjerryazjerry Member Posts: 1
    I want to tow my1994 Silverado behind my RV. Instructions I have found say; transmission in park, transfer case in neutral, and remove the fuse. What fuse might that be and where is it located? Thanks, azjerry
  • bowbrotherbowbrother Member Posts: 1
    Bought a 2004 2500 HD and moved my brake controller and plug out of my 2002 1500 HD and am getting some really weird stuff. Can anyone tell me if the wiring harness changed between 2002 and 2004?
  • tigerbitetigerbite Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2008 Sierra with 5.3l and 3.42 gear ratio. I understand that if I had the 3.73 gear my tow rating would be 7700lbs, 1000lbs more. I am planning on buying a travel trailer this spring and the extra pulling power would give me more options for a purchase (the trailers I like weigh about 6000lbs empty). How should I go about doing this, and about how much would it cost? If I have my dealer do it, would I keep my warranty?
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    The part will cost about $500. Not sure how much it would cost to install it as it varies depending on whether a dealer or trans shop does it. You would also need to have the computer calibrated for the new gear.
  • jtd3jtd3 Member Posts: 1
    I am going to be installing a trailer control in my 2005 silverado 1500. How do I know if the plug under the dash is hooked up and ready to go
  • 77077707 Member Posts: 4
    Do you need a trailer controller installed under the dash in order to power the 7 way trailer plug at the rear.Or,does the 40 amp red wire #1 stud send power to the plug if,thats all thats hooked up.I just want 12 volts back there that I can access.Tnx.
  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    Yes you need a trailer controller if you are using elctric brakes on your trailer.
  • 77077707 Member Posts: 4
    Not pulling a trailer. Have left turn right turn at plug.But no power on the positive blade/pin.Put in the fuse ,have power on both posts on fuse box under hood.I just want to get power to the positive blade in the plug.Is the only way to do it thru a brake controller.I dont plan on pulling anything. i jast want to be able to run my cooler in the bed of my p/u without having to run a power extension in thru the back door.Tnx
  • tymyerstymyers Member Posts: 7
    No brake controller needed to power the 12v Constant. Remember, the center pin is the backup lights, not the constant. The brake controller is only needed if you're using the brake output to control electric brakes. There is probably another issue somewhere between the fuse box and your trailer connector if you're not getting any juice. On my truck, 2000 Silverado 1500, there is a fuze about 2" behind the 7 pin connector that is connected to the 12v supply, so you might check that as well. I use mine to power an inverter that powers my RIGID cordless tool chargers so I can charge between jobs. Works great! But remember, depending on your power draw, you might do better to run a new cable under the chassis. Even though the fuse is rated to do everything I need to do, my inverter cannot pull enough juice down that 14awg wire to do anything but charge batteries. However, if I connected with a shorter wire, or a 1O wire, it will run at it's full 1000watt capacity. Just something to keep in mind if your cooler doesn't perform like you think it should. Good luck!
  • 77077707 Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2010
    Thx for all the advice on the constant power. It turned out it wasnt me being brain dead after all. The guy before me either rewired or removed the constant red lead. I took it into a dealer ,and at first they said ,you have power back here.To which I replied,yep,but not on the red.To that they agreed,and ended up rewiring it thru the red/black brake controller wire.I think they tapped into it.But you know them,trade secret.i will investigate exactly what they did later today. The 30 dollar fix won't kill me.After all,it took them over an hour to diagnois and repair. I went under the hood and the truck too many times to count.Tnx again.
  • califjimcalifjim Member Posts: 2
    :confuse: I installed the 7 pin trailer plug in my (2009 GMC Sierra 2500) truck bed today, and apparently need to connect the 12v power wire and trailer brake harness wire. I found the two wires under the hood, 1 taped to a wiring harness underneath the master cylinder (not marked) and the other between the master fuse box and fender wall (marked aftermarket trailer power wire).
    This is where I need some input. I am thinking the Stud 1 and Stud 2 that was referred to in an earlier post referred to the driver side battery posts. Am I right? If so, maybe I don't understand the hookup, but why would the wire marked trailer power wire be connected to the negative terminal of the battery? I looked at the end connectors and they could go on either stud, however the wire lengths tell you which wire to has to be connected to each stud.
    Thanks for input.
  • dostie1dostie1 Member Posts: 1
    I recently installed a tailgate light bar on my 09 gmc sierra. 7 pin. It has brake/reverese/running lights white and red leds. The bar came with a 4 pin and a separate wire for reverse lights(white leds). The directions say to put the ground(white) to ground (white). running to running, and then brake, brake are the last two wires. NOW it is installed as this on the truck. White to white for the ground, and the running wire is wired to the parking lts and the other two brake to brakes I wired to the left blinker/brk and the other to the right blinker/brk. the running lights and reverse lights work, but when the brake is pressed, the leds don't brighten up. now if i hook both the brake/brake wires from the light bar to the left blinker wire only it lights up when the brake is pressed BUT if i put the blinker on to the left, the blinker on the truck and the light bar blinks with it. Nothing happens if i wire it to the right blinker which is very odd. Are there fuses separate to the wiring harness? i have no idea. any input would be appreciated. Thanks!
  • tymyerstymyers Member Posts: 7
    Hey bud,
    There are different fuses for each of the 6 functions of the wiring harness. They are located under the hood in the engine compartment and are labeled accordingly. Check those and let us know what happens. Does sound like the issue is in your fuses. Sometimes they will blow even if the harness is never used if it gets wet.
  • usmc23usmc23 Member Posts: 1
    i have a 01 silverado and when i hook up the trailer lights i get parking lights, when i use the left turn signal both rear lights flash. when i use the right turn signal i get just the parking lights and when using the brake i get nothing everything shuts off. i used a hopkins wiring kit and installed to their instructions. what could this be???
  • yagermysteryagermyster Member Posts: 1
    The stud 1 & stud 2 you ask about are on the front side of the big fuse block under the hood. Those wires do not go to the "battery" terminals. The trailer "hot" wire should go to the stud closest to the fender.
  • jgc61jgc61 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Silverado 1500 4X4.

    6 of the pins work as required.
    Running Lamps
    Left Stop/Tail
    Electric Brakes
    Right Stop/Tail
    Back Up Lights

    The pin marked + has no power.
    I believe this should have power at all times
    I need power at this pin to activate the deck lights on my Imperial car trailer
    Thanks for your help
  • gewccwgewccw Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Sierra and just installed a 7 pin trailer plug, replacing the 4 wire plug that was there. All the pins are working except the Aux power one because I could not figure out which wire to hook it to. I installed a 40amp fuse in Stud 1 and I have 2 batteries, but the connection point does not have power going to it when the car is on or off. I also looked under the master cylinder and there are no wires taped there.
    SO, can you tell me which wire is the aux power (switched 12v) wire so that I can hook it to the 7 pin receptacle?
  • ajhamelajhamel Member Posts: 1
    I have a seven pin connector on the truck but the brake light wire is not hooked to it, thus I have no break light on my trailer. Will a tail light converter fix this problem? I tried to splice the brake light wire to the left/right turn signal, but when I have the break pressed in the blinkers will not work.
  • saintsxlivsaintsxliv Member Posts: 1
    I have a problem with the harness on my Chevy. The only power I have at the harness is the park lights ( no turn or brake lights) all fuses check good.
    Any help is appreciated!!
  • middy1middy1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Silverado. Factory wiring without a brake controller inline. For some reason I have power out of the + trailer brake position on the 7 pin on the truck. Can't figure it out. Only about 2.5 V. Seems to be enought to supply the magnet on the trailer brakes. Seems like the magnet engages enough to drag and push the front brake shoe causing it to drag. I have installed a Brake controller. Also have safety brakeaway switch. With that said, the problem exists with or without the controller. I sure hope there's someone with experience in this department. Any help or suggestions would be awesome at this point......

  • jsealyjsealy Member Posts: 1
    Have a new Silverado 1500, 4,8L V8, 4sp auto, trailering package (trans cooler, limited slip diff, transmission trailering switch for trans, hitch and wiring) and brake controller. Chevy rates this truck with its 3.23 rear for 4700 lbs towing. I purchased the truck to trailer a 3000 lb piece of equipment, but the trailer I want to purchase weighs 2100 lbs. So I will be 400 lbs over.

    I plan to add a transmission temp guage. I would appreciate any comments.

  • covemancoveman Member Posts: 5
    Just purchased a 2010 Sierra 1500 Z71 and was advised that it could tow up to 9700 pounds. First trip out, I discovered the truck is unable to handle my trailer that has a dry weight of 7500 pounds and do not exceed 8500 pounds gross. Unable to exceed 50 miles an hour due to excessive swaying and has been advised by the RV dealer to park the trailer due to a safety hazzard. The RV dealer has checked out the trailer, hitch and all attachments with no issues. The GMC dealer checked out the suspension and found no problems either and then suggested a tire upgrade, done that with 10 plys but did not help. Now they are suggesting air bags??? To be installed tomorrow. They also advised me that I was the first case reported but now learning it may be a common problem with the new models. Older models with the same specs as mine, tow the trailer fine. Wondering how common is this problem and looking for suggestions on how to rectify my problem.
  • grizzly4grizzly4 Member Posts: 12
    Do you have an equalizer hitch? What's the tongue weight on the trailer and max allowable tongue weight for the truck?
  • covemancoveman Member Posts: 5
    The hitch is a Reese with 1200 pound bars and I'm using the dual cam sway control. The tongue weight of the trailer (Jasper Trail 29RKS) is 748 pounds empty. The tongue weight for the truck with weight distribution is 1100.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    Hello Coveman,
    I apologize that you are experiencing a problem with your vehicle. Can you please keep me informed on the fixes go. Can you please email me your VIN so I can look to see exactly what your vehicle should tow for you? You can get my email by clicking on my name. Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • grizzly4grizzly4 Member Posts: 12
    Are the truck and trailer level when the equalizer hitch is connected? Can't thank of any other reason for it to have such a large sway problem. 750 pounds is a lot of tongue weight. Good luck
  • covemancoveman Member Posts: 5
    Even though the trailer is within GM's posted weights of 9600 pounds for trailer capacity (7538), and 1100 tongue weight ( 748) it has been concluded by some GM staff, the RV dealership and other professionals the truck is unable to safely tow my trailer. At this point, my only option now is to downsize the trailer...has not been a great week. Vehicle was purchased based on online searches, GM specifications, discussions with persons who own vehicles 2007 and older and four different GM salesmen at different dealerships. All advised the truck could tow the trailer. Great truck for a car, but I wanted a truck...strange two older models with lower posted towing capacities than mine could tow the trailer without a problem, the 2009's and 10's not a chance. I have exhauted all avenues with the GM dealership and I am stuck with a truck that I wish otherwise. Fortunately for me, the RV dealer came through and gave me a full refund and offered a new downsized trailer whick I have accepted. I am hearing horror stories oll over the province similiar to mine. From suggestions from various GM staff I ungraded tires, installed air bags, and done everthig possible with leveling and several other changes for the past three weeks...all at my expense with one execption, the dealer installed the air bags I purchased. Anybody out there having the same delemma?
  • grizzly4grizzly4 Member Posts: 12
    Sorry to hear that Coveman. I upgraded my trailer and truck last year. I used to have a 2003 Chevy 1/2 ton ext cab. Now we have a 2009 Ford F150. It pulls our NRG Toy Hauler all over and up and down the biggest mountains with ease. I live in Montana and we have big hills. I installed air bags. Sure wish GM would get with the program. I loved my Chevy truck. BTW, I wanted to buy a new Chevy but couldn't get a 1/2 ton that would pull the trailer.
  • covemancoveman Member Posts: 5
    edited June 2010
    I hear you, if I did not need the truck for heavy duty towing, I would love my Sierra too. I sure wish GM produced a 1500 model that retained the older models towing capabilities. Ironically, one of the older trucks I used to sucessfully tow the trailer was a 2003 chevy, great truck. As soon as I can, I plan to unload the GM and possibly get a Ford as well. Hear they are getting great mileage and have great towing abilities, they appear to have come a long way over the past couple years.
  • covemancoveman Member Posts: 5
    Today my dealer installed new rear leaf springs (under warranty) which made a remarkable positive change to the overall performance to the truck. Apparently the truck was rust proofed and the dealer is suspecting this to be the cause of rubber/bushing failure in the springs.....similiar local experiences are being acknowledged with other GM' trucks as well as trucks from other dealers. Interesting. Not sure if this will address my towing issues until I give it a go in a few weeks but right now it sure is looking good. Will advise.
  • big_al2big_al2 Member Posts: 1
    hello folks, i have a 2004 silverado LS no towing package, no transmission cooler. What can i do to pull a 5000 lbs. trailer? :surprise:
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    airbags and an aftermarket trans cooler
  • holidayramlerholidayramler Member Posts: 1
    Hey obyone -
    my gmc sierra doesn't have a towing package either. I've installed a hitch but haven't been able to find the factory plug for the wiring harness. Where have I missed it?


    :( :confuse:
  • lngtrvlchevlngtrvlchev Member Posts: 1
    Hey, I have a 2007 Silverado 1500 with tow package. I am getting no power to the center pin (reverse) on my 7 pin plug. I am getting power to every other pin and have checked and replaced all fuses. Any one else have this issue?
  • pokeymamapokeymama Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I am trying to buy a travel trailer, but don't know what weight I can tow... my husband (out to sea) said don't get anything over 21'... but I can't figure out the whole weight thing; ie tongue, dry, wet, etc!!!
    I have a 2003 Silverado 1500 extended cab with a 6 cyl 4300 and has towing gears on the transmission ???
    The book says it has" tow-haul mode on automatic transmission
    max trailer weight "4700 or 5200lbs"
    I'm looking at a terry resort trailer 24'.
    does anyone know where i can find the info on how much the trailer weighs or would it be printed somewhere on the chassis or interior?
    Thanks for the help!
  • tymyerstymyers Member Posts: 7
    edited September 2010
    Hey there. On 85% of the trailers I've towed or dealt with, the weight ratings are on the trailer tongue right by the ball receiver. On the other 15%, the rating had either been painted over or removed and wasn't locatable, or some had it on the inside of the entry door (RV type trailers). Often you can call the manufacturer and they can give you the dry weight based on model and year made. Remember that you will need to take the dry weight and add some to that. I know myself, my parents and just about everyone else I have traveled / camped with tend to load down the trailer with a few hundred extra pounds of junk when traveling, and then often acquire a few hundred pounds more while on vacation. How you load the trailer is just as important as how much is in it too. Remember to try and keep most of the weight that you add above the wheels. The more weight you put forward of the trailer wheels, the more weight that the truck itself is carrying on it's wheels/springs/shocks and the more it will affect the ride. If you put too much weight behind the wheels, it can negatively affect the handling of the truck and can even start to lift on the truck (for RV trailers, it's really hard to reach that point). ALSO, since it seems you maybe a newbee at trailers, make certain you have GREAT tires on the trailer AND that they are properly inflated (not based on whatever the trailer says, but on what the tire manufacture recommends for the weight on your tires, and I recommend asking a dependable tire company, not a place that hires high school kids OR the trailer dealer, because typically neither of them are experience enough with tires...) Keep in mind when picking your rubber that the more plies the better. They are more resistant to puncture and will hold up better when subjected to bumps, curb rubs, pot holes, missing the road all together in a turn (we ALL do it...) and bullets in a hasty getaway (not all of us do that last one). RVing is great fun, but just be very careful you don't load your trailer improperly, have good tires, and check the ball often. I've seen many people have the ball come unscrewed from their hitch, which at that point the trailer, while securely attached to the ball is no longer actually attached to the truck! It's sometimes a hard issue to spot, so just check it often and I even recommend putting grease on the ball and receiver so that as you turn, it's not gripping the ball and trying to unscrew it. Loc-tite is a good idea too (goes on the threads and "glues" them too the shaft of the ball). There are also balls with a hole at the end of the shaft to take a safety pin, preventing the nut from completely spinning off.
    WAY more info than you asked for, and for that I do apologize, however it's things that I see even experienced trailer haulers overlook, and I'd hate to see you mess up your new trailer and that pretty little truck.

    By the way, you're probably ok on weight... depending on the options installed, however you maybe at risk of going being overweight by the time you pack it. My parents just purchased a 19' camper trailer to pull with their Silverado 1500 w/ 5.3 V8 and their trailer was 3,500 dry.
    *Dry weight is the weight of the trailer with it's standard / built in equipment, no fuel, no additional "stuff" packed in.
  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    There is a whole world of Travel Trailer towing "dos", "don'ts", and opinions out there. Opinions are like backsides, everybody has one and they are shaped by where the person has been.
    Get yourself a big cup of coffee and go to RVTravel.com (put a "www." on the front of it) or goodsamclub.com and start reading the stuff about mistakes and correct procedures.
    You should find links to the military forums and get a book listing military campgrounds at rvbookstore.com.
    Our most frequent visits are at Fallon, Seal Beach, and Vandenberg.
    I would expect the Terry to be a bit on the heavy side if it is older as I suspect.
    We have a Salem Lite T23 that has a 3960 dry weight. I still haven't put it on a scale to get a realistic reading. My old '98 K1500 with a 5.7 pulled it, but I felt like it was working at it. The newer trucks have better brakes and are geared better to handle more weight.
    There is no consistent place to find the trailer weight and axle weight information. Ours has a paper label glued to the inside of a kitchen cabinet door and a metallic label on the outside near the front that is no longer readable. When doing the looky-loo exercise at the trailer shows I routinely open every cabinet door looking for the weight information. Sometimes I don't find it at all. I do write down the model number, name, and manufacturer to look online for a similar current model to get an idea. Ours would be T23, Salem, and Forest River. So I go to forestriverinc.com and select Salem and go from there.
    TrailerLife.com has tables of tow ratings of vehicles. Trailer Live magazine is a good read too.
    See ya down the road. Don't wait until after your retire to get started like we did.
  • haulin1haulin1 Member Posts: 9
    I own a 2010 Silverado LTZ Crew cab 4x4, short bed, 5.3L 6 speed auto, trailering package, integrated electric brake control, with 3.08 rear axle (should have bought the 3.42 axle). I understand the necessity of weight distributing hitch and sway bar control. I have also purchased Hypertech's Max Energy Power Programmer, which should boost my hp by 8 and torque 13 in the 3500 rpm range. I plan on purchasing a travel trailer weighing about 6200 lbs. dry knowing full well I will add a least another 1000 lbs. or so in people and gear.. That being said, forget about GM's recommendations on towing capacity. Anyone having a similarly equipped vehicle, please tell me your trailering experiences especially maximum trailer weight and how your truck handles in terms of power and handling.

  • grizzly4grizzly4 Member Posts: 12
    This vehicle is the same as mine except for the rear end. I think I have a 3.42. I pull a trailer that weighs 6100 lbs empty. Its a 2006 23 ft NRG Toy Hauler. I use an equalizer hitch. It pulls the trailer up and down the mountains in Montana with little trouble. My friend has a V10 in his 2007/08 Ford Crew Cab. He has an advantage climbing steep mountains. That's it. I get about the same mileage as him pulling a trailer and about 18-19 empty. I added the blow up pillows on the rear springs which makes a BIG difference. Wind can be an issue with my trailer because it's pretty tall. If I had a standard height travel trailer the wind wouldn't be a big issue unless it was really gusting. Hope this helps.
  • haulin1haulin1 Member Posts: 9
    I received and installed the Max Energy Power Programmer Friday afternoon. It really seems to make a big difference in power and torque. I'm hoping the additional power will offset the 3.08 rear axle without putting undo stress on the transmission. Any thoughts about that?
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    My opinion is that you should have saved the money paid for the programmer and used it to install a 3.73.
  • haulin1haulin1 Member Posts: 9
    I'm not going to disagree with you about the 3.73, but even if I change the axle ratio I would have to reprogram the computer anyway. That being said, the additional power and gas mileage is icing on the cake.
  • grizzly4grizzly4 Member Posts: 12
    I checked and my truck has a 3.55 rear end. I wouldn't recommend a lower gear ratio rear end unless you're pulling 8,000 pounds over mountains all the time. I crossed 2 mountain passes yesterday with no trouble. That said, if your programmer gives you the power you need I wish you luck. What kind of gas mileage do you get???
  • haulin1haulin1 Member Posts: 9
    The additional power (programmed for regular fuel) isn't really noticed until about 4000 rpm, then it's very noticeable. Can't wait to reprogram for premium fuel, then the added hp will be about 8 and 13 ft. lbs. of torque at a very useable 3500 rpm. It's a little early to judge gas mileage but it looks like about 18 plus mpg combined. That's up about 1 1/2 mpg. I only have about 3200 miles on the truck so I'm expecting some improvement. I do however think I will see 22-24 mph on the highway. I'll keep you posted.
  • mojo28mojo28 Member Posts: 2
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