Outbacker RV Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I justed purchased a 28BHS, our first venture with a travel trailer. The dealer assured us our Silverado 1500 would do fine as a tow vehicle because he stated the Outback is made specifically for 1/2 ton pickup towing. After just taking a short trip where we encountered a steep grade going and coming, the engine in the truck sounded as if it was on it's last leg, really working for us. We have made arrangements for a long trip later which will take us from TN to NM and now we are leary about whether the transmission will make it. Has anyone had problems with towing a 28 footer with a standard Chev 1500? My husband wants to jump into a 3/4 ton but being the cheapskate I am, I don't want to make any rash decisions. Our 1/2 ton is only 2 years old and has less than 30,000 miles. Would it make more sense to "beef" it up rather than sell it off?
 

·
Outbackers Contributor
Joined
·
4,452 Posts
What engine do you have, and what is your differential gear ratio? This, more then payload (1/2 ton vs. 3/4 ton) determines your tow ratings.

I have a 1/2 ton Avalanche, with the 5.3L Vortec engine, and 3.73 gears in the differenctials, and I have a rated tow capacity of 7100#.

There are many of us who are towing our units with 1/2 tons, so I would definately check the above items.

Congrats on the 28BHS (our second choice), and good luck with the tow issues.

Tim
 

·
Outbackers Contributor
Joined
·
5,038 Posts
I'd second Tim's request for more information. We have an Av 1500 but with the 4.10 rear axle. I keep it in the tow/haul mode (out of overdrive) and only a few times did it kick into second and really whine at me. I also found that going about 62MPH was ideal so it wasn't shifting or gunning the engine. The medium side mountains I hit really were not problem, did slow down to about 45 on one, but even at that felt I was going along fine.

Did you have anything heavy in your load? Water tanks, etc? We had 3 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs, luggage and food, no water in our tanks, but after a stop at Camping World we did have a fair amount of "stuff".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Y-Guy said:
I'd second Tim's request for more information. We have an Av 1500 but with the 4.10 rear axle. I keep it in the tow/haul mode (out of overdrive) and only a few times did it kick into second and really whine at me. I also found that going about 62MPH was ideal so it wasn't shifting or gunning the engine. The medium side mountains I hit really were not problem, did slow down to about 45 on one, but even at that felt I was going along fine.

Did you have anything heavy in your load? Water tanks, etc? We had 3 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs, luggage and food, no water in our tanks, but after a stop at Camping World we did have a fair amount of "stuff".
Our Silverado has a Vortex 5.3L with 3.73 rear axle. The trip was over a mountain with an 8% grade and it was just me and the hubby and our Maggie Girl (schnauzer mix). The trailer was not fully loaded as this was more or less of a test. We made it over and back, slowed to about 40 to 45 but you could really hear the engine whining (which might be normal but since we've never done this before.....?) After returning the hubby talked to a couple of "guys in the know" who said the truck will pull it but if we make many trips dealing with steep grades or mountain climbs we'd be replacing the transmission more than we'd like to, which would be none in my mind.
 

·
Outbackers Contributor
Joined
·
3,580 Posts
I'm not a mechanic or expert by any means, but I'll pitch in my two cents based on what I've read and experienced.

The loudness of the engine was probably just the result of running in second gear. That's really not much of a problem because pulling a hill in second gear puts the 5300 vortec motor into it's maximum power band which is around 3500 rpm's. From what I understand, it can run at that pace for extended periods with no problem.

As far as the transmission goes, you may want to consider a couple of relatively inexpensive mods that I did for our truck. Heat is what kills transmissions and if you can keep the heat down, you will extend the life of the transmission.

Install a larger transmission cooler than the stock one. Stacked plate coolers seem to be the higher quality ones. Mine is a Long brand, there are many other good brands available.

I had the transmission flushed and switched to synthetic ATF which tends to run about 20 degrees cooler than regular ATF. Synthetic can take heat much better and if it does get over 200-210 degrees, it doesn't loose it's effectiveness like regular ATF can.

Install a transmission temperature guage. On my GMC I switched the instrument cluster to the Denali trim level cluster. This cluster has a transmission temperature guage in the lower left corner. Your transmission is probably just like mine and came from the factory with the temperature sensor in it. The cluster is "plug and play", you just remove four screws, unplug the old one and plug in the new one, takes about 5 minutes. The only glitch is, you might want to have the odometer recalibrated because the new cluster starts at zero miles. I didn't change mine because the mileage is recorded in other places in the vehicle. I just put a sticker on the door panel with the mileage when the odometer was changed. You can find the clusters on ebay or several other wholesale parts suppliers on the web. A dealer will charge you around $ 385. You can find them on the internet for around $ 200.

If you don't want to go that route, a guage can be installed in the dash and a sensor put into the line coming from the transmission to the cooler.

If you change the transmission fluid regularly (every 20,000 miles or so), keep the weights down and take it easy, your truck should give you good service.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to both of you guys for your input. Gives us something to think about and I would rather keep what we have instead of trading up since the truck is still relatively new and has low mileage. You were both a big help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Hi Mark and Beth,

I really appreciate your giving me a heads up to this website. As a dealer, we are very interested and concerned about our customers' opinions and experiences with the products we are selling.

It appears that you are getting some good feedback and suggestions on your truck and towing issue.

If there are any outstanding warranty issues we can help you with, please let me know and I'll make an appointment for you in our service department. As you know our customers will receive preferential scheduling treatment so all you have to do is notify me by phone or email and I'll get you in at your convenience.

I wish you both the very best and hope you have an exciting and fun filled camping season.

Bill Mirrielees, General Manager
Madison RV Center
Huntsville, Alabama
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
I see your signature shows a 2002 F250 Powerstroke Diesel 4X4. Tow with that monster and problem solved.

Follow the good advice on tranny temps and press on, just remember flying up hills wont happen much any more.

My atv's make an impact on both of my suburban's 5.3 & 5.7 going up steep grades
and they only come in at 2000lbs.
 

·
Outbackers Contributor
Joined
·
505 Posts
tovick6144,

Based on your description, the "loudness" might have been the engine driven thermostatic cooling fan "kicking in" for additional cooling. Usually this occurs at about 260 degrees and is really noisy, but effective. It should have quieted down after the grade.

Outbackgeorgia
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top