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Old 06-18-2013, 07:42 AM   #1
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Durango Towing Question - Confused!

We're looking a few Durangos right now - 2002 and 2003.

All are the SLT model, 4.7L V8.

Several websites state that it can tow 7,300 lbs. and several others state it can tow 4,100 lbs. (which I think is low for a V8).

Our TT is 4,600 lbs. and I'm hoping the Durango can handle it. I looked at the owner's manual online and there's very little help there.

Does anyone have any info or experience with towing with a Durango V8?

Thanks so much for your help.

Lori
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:56 AM   #2
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Overall wheel base and axle weight all figure in. My friend tows a similar unit as you describe. He uses the easy-lift distribution hitch with sway control and has never had a problem and honestly when riding while pulling the TT you cannot tell it is back there till you put on the brakes and the electric on the TT kick in.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for your input. Does your friend have a similar Durango?

It doesn't make sense that the V8 Durango tows 4,100 lbs. and our V6 Trailblazer tows 5,100. We'll be using a WD hitch and sway control too.

It wish the owner's manual was more helpful. We need to buy a vehicle today so I'm running out of time to make a decision.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:07 AM   #4
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Your idea of what makes a capable tow vehicle is the problem. The engine isn't the determining factor in the tow rating. It's only a small part. Other parts in the vehicle are what determine the tow rating, like brakes, suspension, frame strength, engine cooling capacity, transmission cooling capacity, drivetrain strength(engine, transmission, shafts etc..), hitch capacity, other stability parts, and most importantly the rear axle drive ratio.

The lower rating durango with the same engine is probably because it has a lower rear end drive ratio. This will give it better highway fuel mileage while unloaded, but reduces overall torque output to the wheels in any given gear. Higher ratio gives you more torque but will cause the engine rpms to be higher in any given gear which obviously does worse for mileage but necessary for towing. This is probably the reason for the reduced rating, along with maybe a tranny cooler. The 4,100lb towing durango probably doesn't have the tow package standard.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Meyer View Post
Thanks for your input. Does your friend have a similar Durango?

It doesn't make sense that the V8 Durango tows 4,100 lbs. and our V6 Trailblazer tows 5,100. We'll be using a WD hitch and sway control too.

It wish the owner's manual was more helpful. We need to buy a vehicle today so I'm running out of time to make a decision.
Sorry. I failed to mention it is indeed a Durango
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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Also, i've towed with the 4.7 v8 durango. It's a very reliable engine and the person that owned it had 200k miles on it before he traded it in for a new hemi v8 ram. Other than normal maintenance and an alternator, that durango was extremely reliable.

However, my towing experience was a car trailer with less wind drag than a TT and loaded probably about 5klbs. The durango handled it like a champ, but we didn't tow very far. I imagine the durango would lack torque and power for a 6000lb load up hills.

I also understand you're trading from a trailblazer to a durango. The trailblazer has a 4.2L V6 and actually has more HP than the dodge 4.7L V8. The trailblazer also only has 20 less ft-lbs of torque. So i honestly don't think the V8 durango would be a step up. My suggestion would be to look for an expedition, excursion, yukon, escalade, tahoe, suburban, or similar half ton SUV with the larger 5.4L, 5.3L, or 6.0L v8's. Or a slightly newer 2006+ durango with the 5.7L hemi engine.


Ideally the best would be a suburban 1500 5.3 or 2500 6.0, which shouldn't cost much more than the same year durango you're looking at. The added bonus is the 5.3L vortec engine in the chevy are a dime a dozen. Reman engines are sold through mechanics, dealers, and even auto parts stores. They are very easy to take out and drop in, which means refurbing the vehicle with a new engine wouldn't cost too much. You'll have an engine that'll last you a very long time with no worries. My in-laws bought a 5th wheel that came with a late 90's chevy 3500hd pickup. The previous owner practically gave the truck away because of the miles and the engine worked, but was on it's last leg. They spent about $3k all said and done for their mechanic to replace the engine with a remanufactured one. Now they have a reliable truck and 5th wheel, they got for a steal. So even if you're on the road traveling and your engine blows up. Most likely you can have it towed to the nearest mechanic. He can order up a chevy reman engine and have it the same day or next day depending. Then have you back on the road within a day or 2.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lori Meyer View Post
Several websites state that it can tow 7,300 lbs. and several others state it can tow 4,100 lbs. (which I think is low for a V8).
Depends on factory options. For 2002:

MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY**7550 lbs.
MAXIMUM PAYLOAD**1670 lbs.
** When adequately equipped, which may require engine and/or other drivetrain upgrades

In order to have a tow rating over about 6,000 pounds, a 2002 Durango must have the trailer tow pkg (includes big tranny cooler), 3.92 axle ratio, and 5.9L V8 engine. Not many of those towing specials were sold because they got awful gas mileage when not towing.

For your needs there is probably only one SUV that will do the trick - the big GM 2500. The Chevy Suburban 2500 or GMC Yukon XL 2500 are identical, so either one will do. The 2500 chassis means it already has the guts to tow a 7,000 pound TT without worrying about axle ratio or whether it has enough tranny cooler. Trailer tow package was standard. About the only meaningful option was 4x4. They all came with 6.0L gas engine and 3.73 axle ratio. You probably won't be bragging about the MPG, but even an old one such as a 2002 are reasonably reliable. The Chevy 1500 version has been dubbed "The National Car of Texas", so there are lots of Suburbans around here. But as a rule the 2500 version is owned only by serious trailer toters.

(In case you don't know your Texas history, Texas was an independent nation for about 10 years. And some folks think we should still be an independent nation to get better separated from the loonies on both coasts of the USA.)

The GM 2500 SUVs are rare too, but probably more common than the Durango with the 5.9L engine and 3.92 axle.

I'm not a GM fan, so I don't keep up with their SUVs, but I know a diesel engine was an option for a while - but not now and not in 2002.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:35 AM   #8
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Well i found the exact specs for a 4.7L durango.

With the 3.93 rear end it's 5950lbs for a 2wd with 4.7 and 5700lbs for a 4wd.

With the 3.55 rear end it's 4650lbs for 2wd 4.7L and 4400lbs for the 4wd.

Specs are found here: 2003 Dodge Durango - Specs


However, i don't know if i agree that a 2500 suburban is your only option. I think the 1500 will be fine with it's 8100lbs tow rating and 2077lbs of payload. You should be well under the limits with a 4600lbs dry weight trailer with a good margin. The only thing is the engine isn't up to today's standards, so you may struggle a little up long steep grades. But for most of your traveling, the older 5.3L would be fine. However the low torque of the 6.0 engine is awsome if you can find a 2500.

Specs are here for comparing 1500 to 2500.
2003 Chevy Suburban - Specs
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:02 AM   #9
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Sure, the Durango probably tows just fine for those short trips where there isn't much wind, roads are relatively good, and you aren't climbing over a mountain pass. I wouldn't tow anything over 3,500 pounds for any length of time with such a short wheel base light weight 3/4 size truck. The first time you get a good gust coming at you sideways at 65mph will put you in the mood for a longer wheelbase heavier duty truck. If you are going on only short trips then should be fine but you'll have a lot of wear and tear on the truck.

You'll really need to pay attention to payload numbers.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:01 AM   #10
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Get you a 2000-2001 F350 diesel with the 7.3 engine and you are set for life
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:24 PM   #11
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Get you a 2000-2001 F350 diesel with the 7.3 engine and you are set for life
Disagree. I had a '99.5, and they were great back in their day. I bought it new and drove it over 10 years and 197,000 mostly towing miles. But a 2000 model is now 13 years old and will be 14 next month. Ford stops production of new parts at around the 10-year point, so parts availability for major work will soon be a nightmare if not already - similar to restoring an old car. The engine with TLC will probably last forever, but the rest of the truck is just another Ford. The 4R100 automatic tranny usually goes south at around 100,000 miles. (I replaced my 4R100 at about 106,000 miles with a BTS [Brian's Truck Shop] bulletproof rebuilt 4R100.) On 4x4s, the ball joints and hubs are a constant replacement problem every few years. Air conditioner compressors, water pumps, oil pumps, altenators, and similar parts wear out just as often on a diesel as they do on a gasser.

So don't give me that "set for life" line. As any old shade tree mechanic will tell you, ain't true.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:11 PM   #12
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Well, still no closer to my ultimate goal of getting a Durango.

I crunched some numbers based on the info I received here (the numbers online are all over the place - anywhere from 4,000 lbs. towing to 7,550 lbs.)

The owner's manual says max trailer weight is 4,350 for the 4.7L, 3.55 Axle - way below what I had thought.

For a 2002 Dodge Durango SLT 4.7L V6 here's what I came up with:

GCWR is 9200 minus
loaded vehicle: 5,000
equals 4,200 lbs. of towing capacity.

Yet, I'm reading all over the internet that it can tow 7,200, 7,550, etc.

That doesn't include the hitch weight.

I based the above math on this:

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded SUV from the GVWR of the SUV and the answer is the maximum hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. Divide that maximum hitch weight by 0.15 and the answer is the maximum GVWR of any travel trailer you should consider buying.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded SUV from the GCWR of the SUV and the answer is the maximum trailer weight you want to even try to tow. (It will probably be a lot less than 5,100 pounds.)


Can someone help me narrow down exactly what this vehicle can realistically tow?

I have a total of about 5,000 lbs. to tow.

Thanks so much. Gotta make a decision tomorrow.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Meyer View Post
Well, still no closer to my ultimate goal of getting a Durango.

I crunched some numbers based on the info I received here (the numbers online are all over the place - anywhere from 4,000 lbs. towing to 7,550 lbs.)

The owner's manual says max trailer weight is 4,350 for the 4.7L, 3.55 Axle - way below what I had thought.

For a 2002 Dodge Durango SLT 4.7L V6 here's what I came up with:

GCWR is 9200 minus
loaded vehicle: 5,000
equals 4,200 lbs. of towing capacity.

Yet, I'm reading all over the internet that it can tow 7,200, 7,550, etc.

That doesn't include the hitch weight.

I based the above math on this:

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded SUV from the GVWR of the SUV and the answer is the maximum hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. Divide that maximum hitch weight by 0.15 and the answer is the maximum GVWR of any travel trailer you should consider buying.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded SUV from the GCWR of the SUV and the answer is the maximum trailer weight you want to even try to tow. (It will probably be a lot less than 5,100 pounds.)


Can someone help me narrow down exactly what this vehicle can realistically tow?

I have a total of about 5,000 lbs. to tow.

Thanks so much. Gotta make a decision tomorrow.
As i said before, you are no better off than your trailblazer. Here are the specs for the durango, at the bottom of the page. 2003 Dodge Durango - Specs


A durango with a 3.55 axle ration is worse than your trailblazer. Even if you manage to find a durango with the 3.92 axle ratio, it only gives you a few hundred pounds for the hitch and cargo. You'll be overweight.

Any particular reason you want a durango so bad? I understand price is probably an issue, you'd probably like to own your vehicle in full. But a durango won't be any better than a trailblazer unless you get the durango 5.9L R/T model which is hard to find. A suburban or tahoe gets the same fuel economy as the 4.7L V8 durango but has way more towing and payload capacity. Durango V8's of that era got really bad mpg, i know that first hand. Probably around 15mpg on country roads.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:24 PM   #14
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Thanks GGG:

We really wanted a Durango because we love the vehicle but we're going to look at Expeditions and Tahoes.

Really appreciate all of your input - thanks so much!
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