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Old 07-11-2011, 06:25 PM
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Default Pulling a travel trailer with half ton Silverado



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Does anyone do this? I am in the market for a new truck (8-10k cause I don't want a payment) and am leaning towards the 01-04 Silverados. Most sites I can find say the payload is 7-8 thousand lbs. So, a 1500 Silverado would pull a 4500 lb 21 ft travel trailer just fine right?

It seems like this can be done with no problem. Even the Travel Trailer loaded will weigh something like 5000-5500 lbs. I was thinking of just installing a transmission cooler and some better brakes but am I missing something. People on some of the "truck websites" say to get "at least" a 3/4 ton.

I see a lot of Suburbans and Expeditions pulling light Travel Trailers, so im guessing all those people aren't ripping out trannys.

Any input, or experience is appreciated!

Thanks, Kevin
Old 07-11-2011, 07:07 PM
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Yes and no.

I wouldnt hesitate to pull the trailer locally (couple hundred miles radius from home) but I wouldnt put very much faith on long-distance trips with it.

If youre planning on doing the national thing I would go ahead and spend the extra money on a 3/4 ton with a diesel engine. Sure the price tag is higher but theyre more suited for the extra stresses that the trailer will put on the drive train.

Thats just my opinion, and those are like buttholes...
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:16 PM
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There are big differences in models too. You can get the 4.3L v6 or the 5.3L v8 in the 1500. There are also 5 different spring rates for the rear and a towing package. I have the 5.3L and 4th stiffest springs (the 1500hd has the next stiffer) and the HD tow package which has the transmission cooler. I also switched from P to LT tires to help with the towing/hauling and higher end brakes (raybestos makes a police pursuit brake and then one model below which is the same except for the pursuit certification but otherwise the same).
2005 or 6 went up 1" in wheel size to get bigger brakes and back to drums on the rear to eliminate the fade that discs suffer from that my 2004 has so I'd look for the 2005/6 if you can.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:32 PM
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The trailer having electric brakes makes a huge difference too.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:02 PM
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Pay now or pay later... How often/long will you be towing and where? Locally, no sweat but only with what you mentioned AND trailer brakes. Wouldn't hurt to have a weight distributing hitch with anti sway control either.

If you are doing ANYTHING near mountains or for a long distance do yourself a favor and go with a diesel. I traveled the country pulling a rig and learned a tremendous amount that the dealer will never tell you...
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonKevin View Post
Does anyone do this?

Thanks, Kevin
I used to pull a 31 foot bumper pull behind a Yukon. Which is almost the same vehicle as a Silverado mechanically and suspension wise. I pulled it locally and from Alexandria LA to Florida. I was so unhappy with the way it towed that I traded it and the trailer.

A 1/2 ton truck or SUV is not much more than a car.

My primary advice is get a 3/4 ton. Stronger suspension, bigger brakes. I'm pretty sure the tow package is standard on a 3/4 ton.

If you must go with a 1/2 ton get one with a factory towing package. All the things you need, like that transmission cooler will already be installed. Then add airbags to the rear axle. This will make it much safer and reduce sway when big vehicles pass you.

Also the spec you need to look at is GCVW, which stands for Gross Combined Vehicle Weight. Should be on a plate on the door. GCVW will vary with transmission, rear end ratio, and engine in the vehicle. Two vehicle that look identical to the eye can have very different GCVWs. It is simply the total weight of the truck and the trailer. Find out how much the truck weighs subtract that weight from the GCVW and you know how much the truck can tow.

Good luck and get a 3/4 ton.



My BOV pulling my BOB.

Last edited by ShellbackBill; 07-11-2011 at 10:16 PM..
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:52 PM
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we thought about the half ton silverado back in 03 when i bought mine, but because we were hauling horse trailer with horses in it,, we opted for the 3/4 ton with a 454 in it. Gas mileage is not to great in toen but out on the road it does pretty good.
Old 07-11-2011, 09:08 PM
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I would say they have said it about right. Sure you can pull it, but long haul pulling will burn your truck up. Look for some repo's or somthing and offer them what you want to pay. You will be surprised at what they will go for.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:19 PM
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Don't be this guy. Make sure that you have enough truck for those mountains.

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Old 07-11-2011, 09:26 PM
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I have a 2002 1/2 silverado with 5.6 l engine and it sucks pulling a trailer
Old 07-11-2011, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pangea View Post
Don't be this guy. Make sure that you have enough truck for those mountains.
That was hilarious!
Old 07-11-2011, 10:06 PM
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I've got 2 trailer pullers. One gas and one diesel. If you have a lot of trailer pulling to do, diesel is the way to go. If not, go with gas. The repairs on a diesel can be a killer. 3/4 ton is the way to go. I use 10 ply tires. Make sure at least one axle on trailer has brakes. For a pickup, have plenty of weight in the bed of pickup. Load distribution hitch and anti sway can help a lot. Just a repeat of what others have said. Weight distribution of trailer is important also. A 4WD can be very helpful. You can put it in 4 low to get through some tough situations. It is a lot easier on the transmission. Especially backing up. Take it easy and get there safe.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:39 PM
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Unless you are certain you are never going to tow something heavier, I would buy at least a 3/4 ton.
Particularly since chevy trucks have lighter suspensions than some other brands.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:43 PM
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Thanks for all the replys. I think I will go with the 3/4 ton now. I thought the older ones were more expensive but 7-10 years old it doesn't seem to matter on price. So might as well get the 2500. Great info though and much appreciated!
Old 07-11-2011, 11:17 PM
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I did forget to mention a few things in my first post but theyve since been covered. Trailer brakes and transmission coolers are at the top of that list.

Thanks everybody for filling in the blanks.
Old 07-11-2011, 11:52 PM
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I purchased a 1500 with the 350 v-8 hoping for a good truck for pulling a 18 foot landscape trailer. It doesn't pull it loaded worth a pile of beans on the highway. My best advise is to purchase a 3/4 ton. The milage will be close but a night and day difference in the towing.
Old 07-12-2011, 06:57 PM
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We pull a 26' with a 99 Suburban, 1500, 4X4. We use it regularly on short camping trips, and I pulled it over a thousand miles on a trip to Virginia. The only time I've had any problems was in Virginia. It even pulled fine on the gentle grades in Kentucky, but the 2 and 3 mile, 7% grades in Virginia were just about more than it could handle.

If you already owned a 1500 that was equipped properly, I'd say get a trailer light enough that it would tow, but since you're in the market for a truck anyway, I'd advise going ahead and getting the 3/4 ton. I wanted a 2500 Suburban when I bought this one, but I couldn't find one with the seats and 4WD that I wanted.
Old 07-12-2011, 07:36 PM
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Not only should you go with a 3/4 ton but it should be a Heavy Duty 3/4 with the above mentioned upgrades plus a RV cam installed, and grade E 10ply tires.

We have three chevy 3/4 ton trucks, all are gas 350's.

1974 chevy 3/4 HD , 4X4 , 4-speed with a granny that you would not believe, 10' flatbed.

1989 chevy silverado 3/4HD extended cab, 8' bed, 4x4, automatic, bed-hitch with fifth-wheel acess tailgate.

1994 chevy silverado 3/4 light, 4x4, automatic.

The 89 is getting more upgrades and is used to pull our fifth-wheel which has brakes also.

Go slow, do your homework and invest wisely .
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