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Old 06-16-2014, 03:01 PM   #11
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The 5.3 power band is a bit higher in the rpm range. It is just getting where it wants to be. It is annoying at first but you get used to it. Any gas engine will do the same when towing, be it a half ton or 1 ton. I just turn the radio up.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jenoble99 View Post
The 5.3 power band is a bit higher in the rpm range. It is just getting where it wants to be. It is annoying at first but you get used to it. Any gas engine will do the same when towing, be it a half ton or 1 ton. I just turn the radio up.
I agree. The torque curve on a gas engine is somewhere above 3k rpm. Look up a dyno chart for small block GM's and see where the power is made.
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:30 PM   #13
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All of that downshifting generates lots of heat, which we all know is the enemy of automatic transmissions. Most half ton trucks aren't equipped to deal with that excessive heat.

I learned my lesson 20 years ago. I burnt up a 700R4 in my '92 Chevy half ton truck because of all of the gear shifting towing a trailer on the highway. Luckily for me, the dealer replaced the transmission under warranty.

Anytime I tow any trailer with a half ton truck now, I take it out of overdrive and put it into whichever gear is 1:1. That's third gear for most any four speed automatic.
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:32 PM   #14
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Yes, its rated for 9700#. A 9700# boat or flatbed trailer. You are towing a brick and are probably at the upper most limit for a travel trailer and that truck. 6000# delivered is more like 7000+ when loaded. In theory you should be fine, but obviously it's shifting more than is good...

You have the 6 speed. I believe t/h mode locks out 5th and 6th. But just for grins, put it into 4 when towing. You are using t/h mode, right?


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Originally Posted by Rustic Eagle View Post
Unfortunately the 3.42 gear isn't helping under towing conditions, the 3.42 gear is great for the highways under a no-load condition. I think you will find that most folks prefer the 3.73 gear with the 5.3L for towing.
I just looked at the 2012 manual. The 3:73 were not offered with the 5.3 in 2012. Only 3:08 and 3:42. The 3:73 were only available with the 6.0. I think this was a move to improve CAFE numbers for the truck fleet. This was also done after they added the 6 speed. My '08 has 3:73 gears, but only the 4 speed 4L60E. It doesn't break a sweat but then I'm towing just under 5k lbs.
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:50 PM   #15
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You have the 6 speed. I believe t/h mode locks out 5th and 6th. But just for grins, put it into 4 when towing. You are using t/h mode, right?
t/h only locks out 6th. If you drop the lever to D with the t/h activated, it will go to 5th and spin at about 2K at about 60 mph on flat terrain or with a tail wind. But the slightest grade or breath of headwind, and it drops to 4th. 4th is where it's really happiest at 60-65 mph if there is any terrain or a headwind. In M4 with t/h activated, it takes a pretty good grade to get it to downshift to 3rd. I usually will just lean into the pedal a little before a hill I know will cause a downshift, build up a little speed and let it bleed off going up the grade, (or I'll cancel CC and let it drop to 45 mph and 3rd gear if it's a really long or steep grade). That usually keeps it from shifting at all. If you drop it to M4 and activate t/h, that's where it's happiest when towing this much load.

Then when I get back into the coastal plains where hills are nothing but a distant memory, I pull it back up into D and let it chug along in 5th at around 60 mph and 2K on the tac.

I watch the tranny temp pretty closely; last trip out it peaked at 196. After I dropped to M4, the temp dropped 20 degrees in pretty short order.
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:53 PM   #16
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t/h only locks out 6th. If you drop the lever to D with the t/h activated, it will go to 5th and spin at about 2K at about 60 mph on flat terrain or with a tail wind. But the slightest grade or breath of headwind, and it drops to 4th. 4th is where it's really happiest at 60-65 mph if there is any terrain or a headwind. In M4 with t/h activated, it takes a pretty good grade to get it to downshift to 3rd. I usually will just lean into the pedal a little before a hill I know will cause a downshift, build up a little speed and let it bleed off going up the grade, (or I'll cancel CC and let it drop to 45 mph and 3rd gear if it's a really long or steep grade). That usually keeps it from shifting at all. If you drop it to M4 and activate t/h, that's where it's happiest when towing this much load.

Then when I get back into the coastal plains where hills are nothing but a distant memory, I pull it back up into D and let it chug along in 5th at around 60 mph and 2K on the tac.

I watch the tranny temp pretty closely; last trip out it peaked at 196. After I dropped to M4, the temp dropped 20 degrees in pretty short order.
Good to know Bob! I follow a similar procedure with the 4 speeds I've owned. Hopefully the OP can get back to us and let us know how he's towing.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:06 AM   #17
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If you really like your truck and dont want to get a differnt one you could always look into changeing axle gear ratio, i know for my jeep it was around $1100 installed for gears, master install kit and labor, you rtruck would prob be more due to more labor of its ifs front end but its always a option
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