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Old 08-28-2015, 09:30 PM   #1
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Question on Tahoe as a Tow Vehicle

I've been looking at Tahoes (2011-2014) to tow my X20E even though it seems to me to be overkill.

Engine oil cooler, Transmission oil cooler, receiver, connector, and setup for aftermarket brake controller come standard. What I'm wondering is if I need or want the HD Trailering Package. It takes the rear axle from 3.08 to 3.42, increases the suspension capacity, and adds a 2 speed autotrac transfer case. It also includes a factory brake controller.

Is there any reason for this trailer it would be important to get this, or would I be as well off without it?
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:57 PM   #2
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Just my opinion. But I dont think you can ever overkill a TV.
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:58 PM   #3
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Welcome!

As for the Tahoe, first question I have is how many passengers do you normally have in the tow vehicle on a trip, and what is the approximate total weight of all? How much "stuff" will you place in the back when traveling: coolers, luggage, food, chairs, etc?

Look in the driver door jamb for a yellow sticker that states "All passengers and cargo not to exceed xxxxlbs". That is the max cargo capacity of THAT vehicle you are looking at (will vary due to different options on each different Tahoe). All passengers, cargo inside the Tahoe, any additional options added to the truck after it left the factory, the wd hitch, and the trailer tongue weight should not exceed that total amount. You stated the GVWR increases with the tow package? By how much additional? In looking up your trailer, if you loaded the trailer to the max gvwr (of the trailer), you could possibly have a tw (tongue weight) as high as 700lbs (4800lb gvwr x 15%). Add about 100lbs for a wd hitch, so abot 800lbs. Will the total weight of the passengers and cargo plus about 800lbs be less than the max cargo of the Tahoe as mentioned?

Also, what area do you camp in? I am not sure where Ballwin is. Is the area mostly flat, hills, or mountains? If it was me, I would go with the HD Package for the better towing gears (3.42), the higher gvwr, AND the factory brake controller. Usually the tow package included better engine and tranny cooling (for the trucks it did), but not sure if that is for the Tahoe also or not. We have the factory brake controller in our 2500, all I can say is it is almost non existent it works so smooth.

Good luck!
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Old 08-29-2015, 02:51 AM   #4
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Good advice there above!
Only thing I'd add is on this forum I've seen many people trade in their previously adored TT for a larger model, some even less than a year from purchase! So, While a 21 is able to be towed by many vehicles, going up in size and you would be better off with the heavier package. Doesn't hurt resale either.
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by stlsailor View Post
snip....... 3.42, increases the suspension capacity, and adds a 2 speed autotrac transfer case. It also includes a factory brake controller......snip
stlsailer,

Welcome to JOF!

Yes, I would go with the Tahoe's HD trailing package. IMO if one's chosen vehicle model is going to be used as a tow vehicle, I would recommend configuring it with the maximum Payload Capacity package offered. "Available" Payload Capacity to often is the first vehicle weight limit specification that will be compromised under loaded towing conditions.

Also, I agree that the 3.42 gear would be the best all around gear for the Tahoe matched with the newer transmission, whether towing or not.

Bob
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Old 08-29-2015, 09:58 AM   #6
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Hardly overkill. Plenty adequate with a good safety margin for your X20E, assuming you don't overload the Tahoe itself. If you are used to driving small cars, it might look like a giant. It's not. With an HD tow package you'll have a better rear end ratio and you might find it adequate for your next step up.
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Old 08-29-2015, 11:01 AM   #7
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I thought for sure we were overspending and overdoing it when we bought a 2010 Suburban to haul our x20e. The car had a V8, larger engine, tow/haul, tranny and oil coolers...and was huge (compared even to our Caravan). But I'm glad we spent the extra money (the other 3 vehicles we considered were cheaper), and I've had drivers of huge construction vehicles tell me I made the right choice. It has the power to do what's needed on hills and to pass, and it gives me the confidence to know we're safe in those conditions.
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by need-a-vacation View Post
Welcome!

As for the Tahoe, first question I have is how many passengers do you normally have in the tow vehicle on a trip, and what is the approximate total weight of all? How much "stuff" will you place in the back when traveling: coolers, luggage, food, chairs, etc?

Also, what area do you camp in? I am not sure where Ballwin is. Is the area mostly flat, hills, or mountains? If it was me, I would go with the HD Package for the better towing gears (3.42), the higher gvwr, AND the factory brake controller. Usually the tow package included better engine and tranny cooling (for the trucks it did), but not sure if that is for the Tahoe also or not. We have the factory brake controller in our 2500, all I can say is it is almost non existent it works so smooth.

Good luck!
Good questions. Normally just my wife and I, and usually not a lot of stuff.

We may drive south (some hills), southwest (more significant hills), or through Tennessee (definitely noticeable inclines). Hills have been part of the annoyance with the 4Runner. For the Tahoe the extra cooling is standard even without the HD trailering package. What the HD package gets you is (1) factory brake controller, not just setup for aftermarket, (2) 3.42 rear axle, (3) 2 speed autotrac transfer case <I don't know what this does for you>, and (4) increased capacity suspension with an air leveler <I also don't know what this does for you>. I am surprised that a factory brake controller would be better than an aftermarket one, but that seems to be the consensus, though I'm not sure why.
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:11 PM   #9
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There seems to be a consensus that the HD trailering package is worth going for. That raises a few questions. The engine and tran cooler are NOT part of the package, they are standard. As to the items that are part of the package.

  1. 2 speed autotrac transfer case with electronic rotary control. What does this do for me?
  2. increased capacity suspension with air leveler. Is anyone familiar with the air leveler?
  3. electric brake controller. There seems to be a consensus that the factory is better than the aftermarket. Why is that?
  4. 3.42 rear axle.

Replies have been helpful. I appreciate them!
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Old 08-29-2015, 03:21 PM   #10
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1.Nothing as far a towing is concerned,unless you get stuck.
2.The air leveling system is great,the rear shocks have built in air bags,The front struts have electronicly controlled valving(adjust the firmness).Overall the system works great.The only down side is when it's time for new shocks/struts $$$$$$.Oem or very very few aftermarket options.
3.The factory integrated trailer brake control will moniter the trailer sway and apply the trailer brakes to help stop sway.Some people love it,some people hate it.
4.Yes 3.42 gears,3.08's suck
5.No 4.8l is a gutless dog,
5.3l will do just fine,
6.2l would be best,however a few mpg's less than the 5.3l
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