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pint4

Tow Vehicle-GMC 2500HD

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I am looking at buying a 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD with a 6.0 V-8 engine, 6 speed auto transmission, and 4.10 rear end.  I plan to pull an enclosed trailer with a 37 Packard in it.  Has anyone had any experience with this combo and how did it pull.  Someone told me it might be underpowered.  I am new to this game so I am looking for someone who might have some experience.  Thanks.

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Some of the answer depends on where you live, and where you plan to tow.

 

If you are mainly going to be in flat land, with nothing more than gentle rolling hills, that would be a good tow vehicle.

 

If you're in very hilly and mountainous areas, be prepared for it to slow down somewhat uphill.  You'll be towing at least 2500 pounds of trailer and 5000 pounds of car, and the "small" V-8 (compared to the 8.1L engines that GM quit putting in trucks up until 2007) will suffer somewhat in performance.

 

Here's a good thread to read about pros and cons of the 6.0L...

 

http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/150712-60-vs-81liter-engine/  

 

Of course, many will say that a diesel is the way to go, much more torque.  My personal taste is I don't want to deal with noise and mess of fuel, but again, them's fighting words to a true diesel enthusiast!

 

Good luck in your search......about 5 years ago, I was able to find a 2001 Suburban, 2500 4WD with the 8.1L, with only 36K miles on it, and I've been more than happy towing my enclosed 24 foot trailer loaded with a Pierce and other cars...

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Considering trucks of the 70’s-90’s has anywhere from 150-250 HP, anything modern has plenty of power.  It depends on your perspective.  A 30 year old will think it’s underpowered, while a 60 year old will be amazed.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)

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Our current tow rig is a 2009 Suburban 2500 4x4 with the 6.0 and 3.73 gears and the 6-speed auto, pretty much what you're looking at. We pull a 24-foot Featherlite aluminum enclosed trailer with 10,000 pound axles and we've hauled various things in it, including my 1929 Cadillac, 1933 Pierce-Arrow, 1941 Buick Limited limousine, and 1962 Chrysler Imperial, so we've had it pretty well loaded to the max.

 

I find it to be adequate. That's faint praise, but a dually was too much truck for us because on the 355 days a year we aren't using it to tow trailers, my wife uses it to haul kids and dogs and groceries with it, so a dually made no sense. Hence the 'Burb.

 

Anyway, I tow in 5th gear--forget 6th, because even a headwind will cause it to downshift to 5th anyway, so you may as well leave it there. 6th is just way too tall for towing. In 5th, it seems to get equivalent fuel economy anyway and cruises at about 2500 RPM at 65 MPH. If I can keep it above 2500 RPM, it will go up and down hills without any drama. But if it drops down below, say, 2200, it'll downshift to 4th and really work hard and I lose all my momentum. I think 4.10 gears would help considerably, and shortly after my truck was built, GM started putting 4.10s in the 2500 Suburbans as standard equipment, so it should pull better than mine. With a trailer I get 7-8 MPG, so that's not bad.

 

It pulls great on level ground, but it does work rather hard in the mountains. Last July we went to Washington DC for the Cadillac-LaSalle meet with our '29 Cadillac in the trailer, and going through the Appalachians was real work. It would grind up the mountain in 4th gear at about 50 MPH. I wished for a diesel at that point. It was about 90 degrees out and I was seeing 200+ degree transmission temps, so we actually did stop and let it cool off at one point. So that was worst-case and it pushed the Suburban to what I would consider its limits. But that was a truck full of 4 passengers, luggage, 3500 pounds of trailer and 5000 pounds of Cadillac, all going up a mountain with the A/C blasting. I really can't complain given that context. I have since added a MUCH bigger transmission cooler and that should help with transmission temps (the weenie factory cooler is like 4x8 inches). With a smaller car in the trailer like the 1941 Buick Super convertible I took to Hershey this year, it was a non-issue, although going through those same mountains on the way back from Hershey still necessitated a downshift to 4th now and then. My professional driver, who uses a diesel dually to pull a 2-car trailer, left two hours after I did and roared past me near the end of my drive six hours later. He gets better fuel economy and where I'm going up mountains at 50-55 MPH, the diesel totally ignores them and cruises at 70. It makes a difference, but it's also overkill for most hobbyists. He does it for a living, so he needs the good hardware.

 

If you don't mind going a little slower (and you should with a trailer--most trailer tires are only rated to 65 MPH) you should be fine even in the mountains with a full load. 95% of the time, our Suburban is more than adequate and towing is painless. It pulls well, stays straight, and there's no drama. Get your trailer set up right and loaded properly and it won't even kick while you drive--it's easy to forget there's a trailer back there when I'm on level ground.

 

Hope this helps!

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8 hours ago, pint4 said:

I am looking at buying a 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD with a 6.0 V-8 engine, 6 speed auto transmission, and 4.10 rear end.  I plan to pull an enclosed trailer with a 37 Packard in it.  Has anyone had any experience with this combo and how did it pull.  Someone told me it might be underpowered.  I am new to this game so I am looking for someone who might have some experience.  Thanks.

 

You start at the beginning.

 

What is the loaded weight of the trailer you are pulling ?

 

That is determined by the curb weight of the vehicle combined

with the curb weight of the empty trailer you put it in.

 

The sum of the two is your load.

 

Your load determines your tow vehicle selection.

 

Jim

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In the early years I towed an 18 ft sturdy open deck tilt trailer weighing somewhat over 2,000 pounds, and a very well built enclosed trailer with steel diamond plate floor and aluminum superstructure weighing approximately 3500 lbs prior to adding two spare tires, tools, and spare parts. Initially I towed with a 1977 Chevy C-10 (1/2 Ton) Suburban with a 350 ci (5.7L) and 350 transmission,  later added a 1978 C-10 Suburban with a 454 ci (7.4) and 400 tranny and still later addad a 1986 C-20 (2500 Series) 3/4 Ton Suburban, also with the 7.4 engine/400 tranny combination. THERE IS NO REPLACEMENT FOR DISPLACEMENT  goes the old saying, and there is a lot of truth, especially when you look, not only at horsepower, but more specifically at TORQUE, and the RPM RANGE at which that torque is available. High horsepower numbers tend to be produced near the much higher RPM range - NOT where you would hope to drive and tow a trailer for any distances, whereas torque curves for a tow vehicle tend to be much flatter, coming in at a more reasonable RPM for steady speed driving.

 

As noted in other Towing-related posts, I currently use three different tow vehicles:

 

1.     We still have a Chevy Suburban LT, a 2002 (3/4 Ton) 2500 Series with the 8.1L engine which still does slow somewhat with extreme hills such as the Rockies, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, etc.

 

2.     Our 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT, also a 2500 Series is configured just like the Suburban as a 3/4 Ton with the 8.1, but with the addition of 4-Wheel-Drive which helps immensely in many conditions - even wet grass when parking the trailer on a slight slope - much less the nasty weather conditions we sometimes meet unexpectedly. This truck has even more amenities than the Suburban and is my wife's favorite (I think the XM-Sirius radio has a lot to do with that). We gain the benefits of a pickup, but lose the inside storage of the SUV-type vehicles.

 

3.     We also bought a 231,xxx mile 4-wheel-drive FORD Excursion, model year 2000 (similar to a Suburban, but with a blue oval instead of a bow-tie) with the tried and true 7.3L Diesel which now has in the range of 370,xxx miles. Yes, trimacar is correct that it is a bit noisier and has a whiff of "eau de borontosaurus". The newer ones are much quieter but you cannot get the 7.3L.  For pure pulling power and the "grunt" so favored by anyone who pulls a trailer more than once or twice, in my opinion, the diesel is the way to go. The newer engines have massive amounts of torque, are quieter, and can leave me sitting in the weeds. At my age I'll probably keep what I have and do just fine as I trailer cross-country to attend and judge meets, and to support touring all across the USA and Canada. but some of those new 2500/3500 diesels surely do sing the Sirens Song.

 

Summary?

Get the best equipment you can reasonably afford. For safety purposes, a 2500 is better/heavier built than a 1500. A longer wheelbase gives you more stability. Four-wheel-drive/AWD adds in many conditions - and you get what you pay for. My preference? - buy American, buy quality, and buy just a bit more than you think you'll need because your needs tend to expand.

Plan to use an equalizer hitch - you'll be amazed at the difference !

Load your trailer with 60% of the weight forward of the balance point-

Check truck and trailer tire pressure every morning-

Protect trailer tires from the sun when in storage-

But most of all, trailer with safety in mind, we need hobbiests to survive the open road.

 

Good luck with your choice

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Let's see, Marty, at least one Suburban you owned was ex-Coco Fleet?

 

yeah, I stepped in some spilled deisel fuel once, smelled it in my truck for a month....

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On 12/2/2017 at 2:26 PM, trimacar said:

Let's see, Marty, at least one Suburban you owned was ex-Coco Fleet?

 

yeah, I stepped in some spilled deisel fuel once, smelled it in my truck for a month....

 

And an excellent truck it is - and still running around this area-

 

I got it from you in April, 2000? Sold my all-original '58 Bel-air (also came from you) on the way, and drove Big-Red home a thousand miles, passing everything but the gas stations. A few years before letting it go, I had the interior completely restored with properly reupholstered seats and headliner - expensive but beautiful !

Maybe a year and a half ago I gave your former 1986 Chevy 2500 Suburban with the big 454/7.4L, aka Big Red, to the gentleman who does our yard work.

He uses it regularly and loves it, and enjoys "blowing-off" the (as he calls them) "rice-burners with the gumball tires, and their only performance items are a loud shiny tailpipe".

So, Yes, the Suburban was ex-Coco Fleet, along with the:

'27 Chevy Capitol AA Roadster

'17 Franklin 9-A Touring

'58 Chevy Bel-air Sedan,

(and we still breathe hard when we think of the '38 cream-colored Packard Super-Eight convertible Coupe,

and the '31 Pierce-Arrow Model 43 Phaeton)

Edited by Marty Roth
typo (see edit history)

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Yeah, I have to admit that I have a little fun with my current Suburban.  It looks like it's just an old truck, but with the 8.1, it has fantastic acceleration.  Not quite the Stanley steamer "Hand of God", but close, and  I sometimes get a kick out of demonstrating, and when the road goes from two lanes to one, it's funny how those little cars find themselves behind me.  Sometimes even some big cars....

 

As I've gotten older, I also find myself driving the speed limit more and more, and that seems to get people aggravated, too.  It's funny how, in a land of laws, that one is broken with little thought, sometimes to the point of risking lives.  I really don't care if someone risks their life, I just don't want to be involved in that risk not of my choosing....

 

I wish I'd gotten that Franklin running....I've owned two Franklins, that and a 1907 touring, and yet I've never driven a Franklin!

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A 1937 Packard could be a 110 Series, or a twelve. You can never buy enough truck or trailer......".ie” One ton dually, power stroke-duramax-Cummings, too many variables to cover here. The most dangerous thing you will EVER do with an antique car is tow it. The best equipment money can buy is cheap insurance. Learning how to load, tie down, and balance the trailer properly is imperative and if not done properly is very dangerous. The learning curve when towing can be dangerous and dramatic. Hauling an empty trailer every day for two weeks doing normal driving and errands is a good start. If you can’t deal with a trailer in tight spots or backing up, you shouldn’t be hauling it.

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My current rig.......the Ford is gone now, after seventeen trouble free years. The Duramax is a great truck, but I have had issues related to the engine.......and you should also be asking about the trailer, it’s just as important as the truck.

1165082A-80F6-4751-B193-1019D1BB13F8.jpeg

1D5CD8BD-2CA6-40DF-9EA6-1AA8AD8A6BCF.jpeg

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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On ‎12‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 2:01 AM, pint4 said:

I am looking at buying a 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD with a 6.0 V-8 engine, 6 speed auto transmission, and 4.10 rear end.  I plan to pull an enclosed trailer with a 37 Packard in it.  Has anyone had any experience with this combo and how did it pull.  Someone told me it might be underpowered.  I am new to this game so I am looking for someone who might have some experience.  Thanks.

 

I have been pulling with Chevrolet 2500 HD 6.0 6 speed and 4:10. I had an 05, 11 and now a 16. They are very capable trucks. I have pulled an enclosed trailer with a 1937 Packard Super 8 Coupe Roadster inside. No issue. Plenty of power, great suspension and trailering capability. If you upgrade to the Diesel and Allison you would have the most capable truck on the road. The Extended cab short bed 2500 HD with the Duramax has the best towing capability of any truck in class.

truck1.jpg

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On 12/2/2017 at 2:01 AM, pint4 said:

I am looking at buying a 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD with a 6.0 V-8 engine, 6 speed auto transmission, and 4.10 rear end.  I plan to pull an enclosed trailer with a 37 Packard in it.  Has anyone had any experience with this combo and how did it pull.  Someone told me it might be underpowered.  I am new to this game so I am looking for someone who might have some experience.  Thanks.

 

Well, another opinion.  I have towed with the 6.0/6.2 engines and yes agree with the folks comments in the flat lands as that combination is "adequate" but will not be in hills as oil,water and transmission temperatures skyrocket. I have graduated to diesels F350 and 3500HD and don't intend going back.  One thing I noticed in your comment is that it appears you haven't bought a trailer yet.  If you decided to stay with the smaller gas engines like 6.0/6.2 I strongly recommend an aluminum trailer rather than the heavier steel framed units. I strongly agree with a four wheel drive unit as it is becoming more common to be parked in grass areas and embarrassing when you just spin a rear wheel while trying to maneuver the trailer.  You also didn't mention length.  The "industry" was with 24 foot trailer for many years but now seems to be gravitating to 28 foot so that there is room for assistance vehicles like carts etc.

Robert

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On 12/2/2017 at 2:01 AM, pint4 said:

I am looking at buying a 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD with a 6.0 V-8 engine, 6 speed auto transmission, and 4.10 rear end.  I plan to pull an enclosed trailer with a 37 Packard in it.  Has anyone had any experience with this combo and how did it pull.  Someone told me it might be underpowered.  I am new to this game so I am looking for someone who might have some experience.  Thanks.

 

In 2010 I bought the same truck new that you are thinking of buying to use as a tow vehicle. I traded it in 2 years later and took a massive hit on and bought the same truck but diesel. I would not recommend using a gas 2500 to tow with at all. It has a 28 gallon tank and when I was towing the best I would get is 8 MPG I had to stop for fuel every hour and a half. Plus I heard the engine working hard pulling the trailer. Now with the diesel I don't even know that the trailer is there. The fuel mileage is not much better they come with a much larger tank. I am  pulling a 24 foot enclosed with early 60's full size Chevrolets. I hope it is not too late but I would stay clear of a gas truck for towing, I was very unhappy with that ruck as a tow vehicle and it was brand new.

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