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Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Trailer and Towing Questions



  • tymyerstymyers 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 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 (put a "www." on the front of it) or 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
    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 and select Salem and go from there. 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 Posts: 8,054
    My opinion is that you should have saved the money paid for the programmer and used it to install a 3.73.
  • 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.
  • 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???
  • 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.
  • I have a 2007 silverado classic with the 4.3. Bought it with 9,000 miles on it. Instant problems. Vibration from drive train when cruising at speed at lower rpm. Numerous electrical problems that seem to be pretty common after looking on line. One cig. lighter stopped working followed by all driver side speakers. Check engine light came on but can not get code. Told its a common problem and ECU goes bad. Next lost blower for heat and air condition Took the relay out and completely corroded and rusted with melted plastic around connections. Need heat and defrost in Wisconsin. Don't even know where to start other than driving truck into Chevy main office somewhere. Any advice would be nice. Will never buy a Chevy again. This is the problem with American companies now and it is sad. We make crap, we sell crap, and we don't do crap to better our half [non-permissible content removed] products
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Have you taken your vehicle to a dealer? If not I would definitely recommend doing so. Please keep me updated on your progress.
    GM Customer Service
  • I have bought a 2003 gmc sierra 1500 hd with 6.0 vortec engine, 10 ply tires (8lugs) and 5 leaf springs in the rear.
    I found a horse trailer that I would like to buy.
    It's a Sundowner 3H slant with 6'short wall living quarters. It says 13,000lbs gvw.
    Will my truck pull that trailer empty or loaded down?? I only have 2 mules. But will only be traveling with one out west, but would have extra water and hay.
    I need to know if I need to buy a bigger truck??????
    Thanks for reading this post.
  • I discovered my GMC SLT extended cab 6.6ft bed came with drum brakes on the back - if I would have know I wouldn't have bought it.
    Next thing you know they will be putting drums on a ZO6 Vetts.
    Shame on you GMC!
  • I have a 2000 silverado1500 with 5.3 4l80e will she tow it not going verry far with it .The t t said 7600 its a 1995 prowler 27 n.
  • Push the button no light . Nothing happens . can i repair this my self
  • jalvinjalvin Posts: 1
    I have a 2004, 2500 classic with vortec 6000 v8, hd-4 spd auto,3.73 axle, w/factory tow pkg,
    I am looking at 29ft to 30 ft trailers around 6500lbs dry-weight. will I be able to tow without problems? what if any upgrades will help short of trading in for diesel?I will be using mostly for weekend trips and longer vacation trips a couple times per year.
  • Hello, I have a GMC 2007 Sierra SLE Max 6.0 Crew cab short bed. I am still trying to get answers as to how much camper I can tow safely.

    Thanks for any help.
  • I have been searching for how to hook up the power to the trailer connector and the brake controller on my new truck. I found the service bulletin that explains the two wires that need to be connected. They are bound and taped under the hood near the fuse compartment and simply get attached to two studs in the front of the fuse box under the hood.

    Look on pages A82 and A83 here for instructions:

    You will need a M8 nut and a M6 fastener.

    Sorry if this was discussed already but my search did not find it.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    If you can provide me with your VIN I can look into that information for you.
    GM Customer Service
  • Christina, I would appreciate that so much. I found out my camper bumper tow is about 9200lb wet. Here is my VIN. 2GTFK13Y971609095

    Thank you so much for any help.

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    It looks like the maximum towing capacity is about 10,500lbs. There should be a sticker, I believe it is in the glove box with the max trailering weight. I hope this helps.
    GM Customer Service
  • Christina, I appreciate your time and info. I guess to be more specific in what I am needing is the true values on my truck. Curb weight, cargo capacity, etc. I am not sure if these specs are available or not. I have all the gross weights just not actuals. I am wanting to know what I can pull legally and safely.

    Thank you for any info you can provide.

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Best thing to do is to go to a truck stop and get weighed with a full tank of fuel. That's the only way to know what your truck weighs and how much capacity is left from the gross ratings.

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons Host
  • dave925dave925 Posts: 1
    Hi, i have a 2006 gmc sierra 4x4,last year i hooked up the wiresfor a four pin trailer harness to the factory harness that was on the truck, they worked great, this year when i plugged the trailer back in i had power to everything but the right turn/brake light, thinking it might be the four pin harness i wired direct to the wire on the truck, {a dark green wire}, and found that there is no power going through it, any ideas as to why it worked last year and not this year, thanks
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    I would recommend having the vehicle looked at by your authorized GM dealer. They should be able to assist you in finding out what is causing your concerns. Please keep me updated on your situation.
    GM Customer Service
  • camper10camper10 Posts: 2
    I have a 2011 chevy 2500 with factory installed trailer brake controller. It works fine with one of my trailers but with another it does not sense that a trailer is connected and so doesn't work. How does the truck sense that a trailer is connected? Thanks!
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    The brake controller may not be compatible depending on how the trailer brakes are wired . You can rewire the brakes on the trailer to make them work. Do a google search for more info. Obviously, you have trailers with two different wiring patterns.
  • camper10camper10 Posts: 2
    You're right, I did have to rewire the trailer but not due to different wiring patterns. There were corroded connections at the axle and once I found those it works great. Thanks for the post.
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