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Old 08-30-2013, 09:48 AM   #1
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mountain towing

Hi,

I'm looking for any opinions from those who have experience towing a TT in the mountains, especially the Rockies of western Canada. We just purchased a 2013 Silverado 1500 CC with the 5.3L engine and 3.42 gears. It has the tow package and is rated for 9400 LBS. The heaviest trailer we are looking to purchase is a Jayco 23M that has a dry weight as equipped of 5020 LBS. With gear and the possibility of carrying some water, we anticipate a maximum weight of around 6200 LBS. It's just myself and DW in the TV and together we weigh under 250 LBS. The only option that we have added to the TV is a Retrax tonneau so the tow capacity might be reduced by about 200 LBS. What do you think? Can we safely tow this package in the mountains? Thanks for any feedback.

Cheers,

gwncanuck
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
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If you pay attention to all the specs related to your TV when you purchase the TT you will be fine. Don't let anyone else tell you "its fine" or "no problem". Go weigh your TV loaded and ready to go so you know exactly how much tongue weight you can accommodate as well as not exceed the GVWR, GCVWR and individual axle ratings. If you are thoughtful in your purchase you will be safe towing in mountains or flats on both long and short trips.

Remember that gas engine will be screaming at you on any grades. These engines are designed to produce horsepower at high RPMs, unlike diesel which makes HP at considerably lower RPM.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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I have towed through the US Rockys twice. My first trip on I-70 west of Denver was nerve racking as all get out. Once I got used to it and knew what to expect and how to handle myself, it wasn't bad. I will say that towing through mountains is not a time for your TV to be "just adequate". You want some reserve. This is where the "thousand pound" rule comes into play. When we did it the first time, we had a '95 'Burb with a 5k towing capacity and 3:42 gears towing a 3500# GVWR hybrid trailer. That 'Burb was a great truck but the HP was only 200 with 350 lbs of torque. Be were able to keep it up to about 40 mph on those grades, but that was about it.

We also did it with the same trailer and the Trailblazer listed in my sig. 4900# towing capacity, 3:42 rear, but 270 HP / 280 lb torque. This truck is a far better TV than that old 'Burb was. We did about 50 mph at 4000 RPM up those mountains without struggling. I could have gone faster but I was trying to keep the engine and trans temps down. It must have worked too, my Trailblazer has 150 on it and the transmission is in excellent working condition.

Regardless of what you tow with, stay in the right lane and take it easy on those 6/7% percent grades. Don't feel you need to keep up with traffic, its not a race. The semis will be doing 35 up those mountains with their flashers on. Even the 5vers being towed by 1 ton trucks weren't moving too fast up those grades. As said above don't be afraid of the engine whine or high RPMs. Newer engines are built to run a 4500 RPMs all day.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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I never worry much about going up, it's down that gets me sitting up and paying attention.
Make sure you have your hitch setup correctly with the right load transfer bars and the hitch height where it should be. Your tailer will push on you when you come down and that's when you need to be sure you are loaded properly and that your tailer is not lifting your TV rear end. Make sure brake system is setup right and working as it should. Use engine braking as much as possible.

If you have everything setup right it's going to be a great experience and your equiptment should serve you well for a long time.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:49 AM   #5
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When going down a steep grade, shift down a gear if needed before you get into the down hill.
I never try to down shift in the middle of a hill unless I am going up hill.
In my 4Runner, 3rd gear will keep me at 55mph down a 6-7% grade.

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:54 AM   #6
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Thanks clubhouse, DocBrown, and elder mike. I've made notes and we're going to the dealer today to take a close look at the trailer.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:54 PM   #7
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I tow a EXP 213 which is approximately the same weight as your trailer with a 2003 GMC 1500 5.3, 4:10 rear end. Almost all of my towing is in British Columbia and western Alberta. I have found that my truck pulls the unit no problem and I have towed most of the big grades in very hot conditions. Even though the truck seems to handle the loads well, the high engine revs can get a bit unnerving on long climbs such as the Coquihalla. Be prepared to watch the fuel gauge drop at near warp speed LOL. I am fanatical about keeping my rad clean (bug screens) and my truck well serviced. The issue I do have, is keeping under max gross vehicle weight rating, its darn difficult to not take your fishing gear, zodiac, generator, etc. when you head out on a longer trip. and As a result my 1500 is going be replaced by a 2500 this winter
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougtoms01 View Post
When going down a steep grade, shift down a gear if needed before you get into the down hill.
I never try to down shift in the middle of a hill unless I am going up hill.
In my 4Runner, 3rd gear will keep me at 55mph down a 6-7% grade.

Doug
Exactly, always use the same gear going down that you would use going up.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
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Could you provide some further details/numbers for your TV? Is this short box or a short box w/NHT enhanced trailering pkg? 2WD or 4WD? (I'm guessing it's a short box without the enhanced trailering pkg and having 4WD; please confirm). Are you sure about the tow rating number of 9400lbs? That number seems to be for the Extended Cab model; the Crew Cab (or CC as you listed in your signature) has a tow rating of 9500lbs for a short box having 4WD. Thanks.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:21 PM   #10
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I live in Utah county, and pretty much only tow in the mountains. The lowest pass to get out of here is at 6500ft, and others are much higher. We tow close to the limit, but not over in my Titan. The biggest thing I towed on a normal bases was a 4 position snowmobile trailer, and never expected to have a travel trailer(much less one this big).

Don't be afraid to downshift, and let the gear wind out. It's much better for your truck than your transmission hunting for gears.
Don't try to be the first one up or down the hill. Take your time, and be slow and deliberate with any maneuvers you must make.
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