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Old 07-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
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2011 Silverado 1500 tow question

Getting ready to "test" our 2011 Silverado 1500 with 5.3 V-8, (I believe 3.42 gears)... manual says the max tow weight is 9600 lbs.
With retirement looming in the spring, need to decide if we want to do the "economical" and wise move of keeping existing pickup and going with travel trailer with dry weight of about 5700 and gross weight of about 7100... or look at diesel and fiver setup...
Living in Phoenix, we are renting a 25 foot TT for three days in August, towing to Flagstaff (for those who don't know, about a 6000 foot incline from Phoenix to Flag).
I believe I have read in these forums that the new 6 speed transmissions will allow this... wondering if anyone has experience with this?
I have been reading off and on for a year or so, believe this is my first post.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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I had a truck just like yours. After you haul that trailer to Flagstaff, you will have your answer...save your pennies...for a diesel.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcpetty View Post
Getting ready to "test" our 2011 Silverado 1500 with 5.3 V-8, (I believe 3.42 gears)... manual says the max tow weight is 9600 lbs.
With retirement looming in the spring, need to decide if we want to do the "economical" and wise move of keeping existing pickup and going with travel trailer with dry weight of about 5700 and gross weight of about 7100... or look at diesel and fiver setup...
Living in Phoenix, we are renting a 25 foot TT for three days in August, towing to Flagstaff (for those who don't know, about a 6000 foot incline from Phoenix to Flag).
I believe I have read in these forums that the new 6 speed transmissions will allow this... wondering if anyone has experience with this?
I have been reading off and on for a year or so, believe this is my first post.
After pulling anything with that high rear end gear ratio, you "will" be wanting to change your vehicle to something more adequate.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:35 PM   #4
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I used to own a 26' tt that I pulled with an 05 1500 Silverado 2wd 5.3L...even with the right hitch and weight distribution set-up, it was sometimes a chore...however, my '10 F150 5.3 could pull it all day long without any problems...so your newer model Chevy may do just fine...I actually used a F350 to pull the tt once and really preferred my F150, maybe its because I had to stop for diesel every 200 miles and in my F150, not so much...hope it works out, just know you wont be able to go much bigger than a 28'r.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:36 PM   #5
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I have 2009 Silverado 1500, 5.3L, crew 4x4 and a Jayco 28BHS (6500lb loaded, 5500 dry) and maxed out on truck gvwr (7000lbs). Easily under GCWR, obviously you'll never get near that 9600 lbs. This is with people (under 400lb total) and 100lb in the bed. Depending on your truck and what you load it will be close. Mine is great on flats, but pushes it on hills. It's a good thing there are few here in Iowa.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:53 PM   #6
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With the 5.3L, the killer will be the 3.42 gear ratio. Yo will be spending lots of time in the lower gears to keep it moving.

Ken
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:05 PM   #7
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The 1500 with the 3.42 gears and new 6 speed 6L80E tranny is similar in towing performance and rpms to the 4.10 gears and the old 4L60E tranny.
The 6L80E has no 1:1 gear ratio as the old 4L60E so a lower gear ratio rear axle simply isn't needed nor is one available as a option.

I would make several trips with the current combo and then decide if a diesel/5er is in your future.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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Thank You

I appreciate all the comments... much to learn and will send an update after we "test" the 1500 in August...
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:20 AM   #9
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I have that exact same truck and I tow a 22 foot outdoors rv backcountry travel trailer which weighs in at 6500lbs + or - 250-300 depending on how much food I pack. It does fine on the hwy, I average 60-65 and get 12-13mpg. It does run at 2500-3000rpm and downshifts to 3 on big hills and 4 when accelerating (I keep it out of 6 manually). I think it does really well and love the truck when not towing. You won't go 60-65 up huge hills but you can maintain 50 up a huge hill. The spot that only worries or irritates me is lack of hauling weight left to take my quad and it is a 1/2 ton so it's got smaller brakes and less weight ability.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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Smiley87 thanks!

Encouraging news... thanks Smiley87.

If I can hit even close to 50 MPH on good sized hills, I will be one happy "Camper"...
I know the challange will be the restarting if I get behind a crowd on a long hill... guess I will sit back and enjoy the ride if that happens...
I am new to this forum and would have liked to send you a personal email, but this will have to do...
Thanks and hope to see you on the road.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:10 PM   #11
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add a tranny cooler and change gear ratios
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:42 PM   #12
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Just returned from trip I referenced in earlier post...
One change... After much discussion, my wife and I agreed we probably need to look at a diesel powered 3/4 ton pickup.
We purchased a 2012 Ford F-250 with the 6.7 power stroke.
We pulled the rented travel trailer Wednesday to Flagstaff, and just returned to Phoenix about an hour ago...
(left nice cool tall pines for 112 degrees)

Anyway, as expected, all went well... Got about 11 MPG going up the hill, got about 14 plus coming down to Phoenix.
Wanted to update and ask another question...
We also rented a generator as the campground had water, no electricity...
Question is, " do most fifth wheel rigs carry a generator for emergencies?
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:57 PM   #13
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No generator for us. Always stayed in CGs. The generator will be expensive, heavy and take up way too much storage space (in the truck or RV) just to use for a possible emergency.
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