View Full Version : Bad idea to operate at/near tow capacity

02-08-2012, 02:52 PM
Hi all,

I've had a helluva time trying to get a definitive answer on the towing capacity for a 2005 Suburban 1500. I've heard it's anywhere from 7,200 pounds to 9,000 pounds (or somewhere in between).

Assuming the capacity is at the lower end of that scale, I'm likely to be traveling at right around 7,200 pounds. Is it generally considered a bad idea to be at or near your vehicle's towing capacity? I'm sure where you're going is a factor in how to answer that question, but I'm just wondering if regularly towing my vehicle's max capacity is going to VERY prematurely kill it.

Thanks in advance,

02-08-2012, 03:09 PM
I just made a post on your other thread with a link that will help. Here it is again.


02-08-2012, 03:10 PM
Tim... Did your Suburban come with a factory tow package? (trans cooler, etc.) How many miles on the Suburban? What engine and trans and rear-end ratio?
I do believe towing the max would likely wear it out faster. Extreme heat and climbing altitudes also take their toll. But... good maintenance with high quality lubricants (synthetic oils and gear lubes etc.) and driving very conservatively will go a long ways. I am sometimes amazed at what some people think is fine and dandy and they are woefully underpowered compared to what I tow with. My t.v. is rated at 9200 pounds and I usually tow about 6000 or 6500 and wouldn't feel comfortable towing the max in the mountains or the heat of summer. But that's just me. The key is to find out what your tow capacity really is. Do you still have the owners manual? It should state in the manual. Keep us posted.

02-08-2012, 03:13 PM
Hi Tim,

You will get lots of opinions on your question and topic. If you are under or at your max OEM recommeded towing - you are legal and within the specs determined by the manufacturer (OEM). No issue.

Now build in normal wear and tear with the age of your vehicle and you may experience problems - only you know the towing "worthiness" of your vehcile. A tired tranny, rear end, engine, or brake system will contribute to troubles.

Superb maintenance up to date, upgraded fluids, added/upgraded tranny, engine oil coolers will help.

There will be more comments. Good luck descerning what is important to you, your vehicle and towing situation.


02-08-2012, 04:39 PM

I'm a gal, so I'm not going to go into LOGICAL reasons, but for a woman and her PEACE OF MIND, it's always better to FEEL SAFE while towing!!

Even if the numbers are within legal spec, before your big trip, you may want to load up and pull it around a bit. If you don't FEEL SAFE in your local community where you know the highways, the speeds, traffic, etc. Then you won't FEEL SAFE on cross-country highways and unknown territory. And feeling safe while driving makes an enjoyable trip...feeling uneasy and scared, NOT SO MUCH. ;)

02-08-2012, 04:50 PM
Cody...thanks very much for the link. The capacity defined there is 8,000 pounds, the empty weight of the trailer is ~6,900 if I remember correctly.

The vehicle is in great shape: 125,000 miles, 5.3 L engine, 3.42 axel ratio, well cared for, new brakes, no tranny issues (knock wood), nothing added in terms of boosting towing performance. In most cases I'll be driving less than 300 miles, long weekend trips (with light gear), so hopefully that means I'm still a few hundred pounds under the max. Still apprehensive about the long-term prospects for the Suburban...think an upgrade might be in order sooner than I had planned.

Thanks again for your feedback...this form is a great resource.


02-08-2012, 06:13 PM
I'm going to add to TravelTiger's post with another female perspective - we had an F250 pulling our ElkRidge, all calculated to be well within our towing ratings. But... after sliding through a few red lights (going downhill on wet, rainy city roads), we decided a newer F350 diesel would be worth the investment. Now BOTH of us are much more comfortable towing our rig (we trade time driving), and didn't think twice when the opportunity for a 2000 mile road trip came up. We never would have taken the long trip with the old truck.

02-08-2012, 06:55 PM
One other factor not mentioned. Most manufacturers and salespeople will sometimes exaggerate the claims about how much can be safely towed with a TV. I believe they are becoming more safety conscience and do list the specs more accurately. That being said, why would anybody want to tow at or near their vehicles capacity??? Sometimes it may be unavoidable because you're buying a new TT and can't afford a new TV. We first bought our F-150 gasser and then found a TT that suited our needs but didn't tax the TV. I'm comfortable towing it and I don't feel that it is hard on the TV.


02-08-2012, 09:11 PM
this may help


02-08-2012, 09:16 PM
TeJay...it's certainly not my preference to be anywhere near capacity. This is my first TT, and I made the rookie mistake of asking my sales person what my tow limit was. Based on his number I had roughly 2800 pounds to spare (fully loaded). Turns out he inflated my tow capacity by almost 2000 pounds.

Thanks for that guide wal_mart. According to that I could add 1,500 pounds of gear before I'd be at capacity...I can't imagine adding that much. Maybe I've got a bit more breathing room than I thought?

02-08-2012, 09:57 PM
While shopping trailers a couple of years ago, one of the sales people told me the average weight of gear for travel trailers was around 650 pounds. Of course, who know whether you can believe anything a sales rep tells you. And it's likely their figure may not include things like on-board water at 7 pounds per gallon.

We've got a 39 foot 5th wheel. Our actual weight is about 2000 pounds over the dry weight. Part of that is extra options (dual pane windows, generator, washer/dryer, 2nd A/C, etc. - 1000 pounds?), part water (350 pounds?), part our gear (650 pounds?).

02-08-2012, 10:28 PM
I have a 2003 Suburban 2500 4x4, tow package, 6L engine, 373 rear end and my tow limit is 7,500 lbs. With that engine and a 342 rear end, I can't believe you have an 8,000 lb towing capacity. If you don't have a tow package, you run a good chance of tearing up you vehicle. Very hard on engine and transmission. Hills and hot weather could be especially bad. When we bought our Suburban, we figured out what we wanted in a trailer and bought the Suburban equipped to pull it. Our 21FBS fully loaded is 1000# below that limit and 400# below the max for the trailer. I would visit a scale and re-check what you can tow. The towing guide posted by wal-mart says you need to see page 9 which is not there and there may be some very important info you need to see.

02-09-2012, 11:06 AM
Tim, the towing capacity is in your owners manual. It will list all the options and give you the info you need. We had a 2004 1500 Suburban with a tow package. Had the 5.3 (about a 327ci) but had 3.73 gears. Its towing capacity was 7200#'s. Pulled an El Camino on a U haul trailer to Montana from California and it sure worked hard pulling steep hills and it only had 7K miles on it. I figured we were pulling about 5K. With 150K miles....boy I don't know.

02-09-2012, 11:33 AM
Any vehicle at it's towing limit is not a good idea. First, you accelerate the wear on the brakes. Then, the weight of the trailer vs the weight of the vehicle can create some exciting times. When passing or being passed by a truck, the trailer will have a different effect on the tow vehicle. The trailer can start to move the vehicle sideways. Way too exciting. Be safe!

02-09-2012, 03:10 PM
Since my owners manual has long since disappeared, I took my Suburban to a local Chevy dealer. He took my VIN and looked up my towing capacity, according to him (and the Chevy site he was looking at) it's 7,800 pounds.

All that said, I think I'll be upgrading my TV sooner rather than later.

02-10-2012, 11:24 AM
Tim, as to a upgrade. Unless you have a herd of small children, I think I would upgrade to a CC pickup. Maybe a 2500 HD so at some time in the future you can upgrade to a bigger unit without having to buy another TV. A 2500HD with a Duramax/Allison would be the way to go. Depends on your wallet of course. You might find a well maintained used one to upgrade too. JMHO of course.

02-14-2012, 12:01 AM
Bob...thanks for the advice.

I'd love to go the 2500 route, but with 2 kids (and their friends that I'm always ferrying around) it would be hard to give up the extra room that the Suburban affords. What I'll likely end up doing, especially on longer trips where we might be carrying more, is just swap cars with my parents and use their F-150 (it's rated just over 1000 pounds higher than mine). Wish I could be ****** at the dealer for telling me I had more than enough capacity to tow with my vehicle, but I really should have dug deeper before making the purchase. Live and learn...

02-14-2012, 11:40 AM
Tim, salespeople at dealer HAVE NO CLUE.......SOOOO.....they will say anything to make a sale. How about a good used 2500 Suburban with a 6.0 engine or even with a 6.2. That will do it.

07-13-2012, 05:55 PM
Look on your door panel, do the math and it is a no brainer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!