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Old 09-30-2018, 11:10 AM   #1
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Davis , California
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2011 GMC Sierra 1500 5.3

I just returned from a long trip along the coast from Cali to Washington. I have a 2014 27FC. Early this year, on the TV one of the lifters came apart and also damaged the cam. I was towing the airstream at the time. I was told towing had nothing to do with the breakdown. Now new engine later, I am concerned that this truck just canít handle the TT. It did ok accelerating up the inclines, but in tow/haul mode and going down some 7-8 % grades, the engine would downshift to 4,000 rpm. It seemed excessive to me as I was being careful. In addition, when the brakes would heat up, I did get major pulsating which I canít tell if it is from TV or TT. On the truck, I do have the Power Stop tow brake kit on the front and OE drums on the back, I also have Firestone air bags if that matters. Time for a 3/4 ton?
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:20 PM   #2
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We have a 2013 25 foot International. First tow vehicle was a 2011 Silverado Crew Cab with the 5.3L and 6 speed tranny. Got rid of it when we hit 140,000 miles. Got a 2018 F150 with the 3.5L, 10 speed tranny, and max tow. The F150 is so much more comfortable when it comes to towing. That's not a plug for Ford because I'm sure most of the newer 1/2 tons are the same way.

I noticed the same things with the Silverado in that it would get into the 3,000 and 4,000 rpm range when going up or down hills and pulsating brakes. It would get very loud in the cab when the engine was working hard. A 3/4 ton is just not a fit for me when it comes to daily driving so I researched the 1/2 tons quite a bit this past winter. After traveling this summer with the F150, I don't think it's so much a 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton issue as it is a 2011 1/2 ton vs a 2018 1/2 ton. I had a 9,500 pound tow rating with the Silverado to a 13,000 pound tow rating with the F150. I looked at the new Chevy's with the 6.2L and max tow but didn't really feel like springing for premium fuel when I could get by with 87 octane with the F150 and the ecoboost. Plus, I could get the F150 cheaper. The newer 1/2 tons are just a stronger 1/2 ton as compared to 6-7 years ago.

Traveling now with the 3.5L and 10 speed tranny, I don't recall getting above 3,000 rpm except when going down hills and I tap the brakes to get the tranny to downshift. It's so much quieter and more enjoyable to tow than the 2011 Silverado.
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Old 10-02-2018, 10:13 AM   #3
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Thank you for your time. What a decision. I know I’m not happy now with what I’m using but thought I would need to move up to a 3/4 ton. Thinking about going full time for awhile and wanted this issue done. I will check it out!
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Old 10-02-2018, 07:57 PM   #4
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The other thing I like about the Ecoboost F150 is the 22-24 mpg when not towing. Towing has been above 12 mpg.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 4taxabel View Post
Thank you for your time. What a decision. I know Iím not happy now with what Iím using but thought I would need to move up to a 3/4 ton. Thinking about going full time for awhile and wanted this issue done. I will check it out!

I know this post is a little old, but I wanted to share my recent experience with you. I've got a 2014 Silverado with a 5.3 towing a 26RB FC. The 26RB FC has a 950lb tongue weight!! Even with the weight-distributing (WD) hitch, it's less comfortable than I want; probably because I feel I need to take more weight off the tongue and I'm not sure the hitch can handle it... back to the truck:


I'm on the east coast and run I-81 through the Appalachians a lot. This means a lot of grades. My TV regularly hits ~4K RPM's up the grades and I'm close to or have exceeded rear axle weight rating (by a little) when fully loaded for a trip.


This probably means a 3/4 ton pickup and diesel for me. I've been through the forums and one consistent theme is that people who have gone diesel are very happy. There are also a lot of people saying gassers are just fine! And I agree, but something in me is more comfortable when I don't hear a 4K RPM roar 500 miles from home. I am, however, way under the max weight the truck will tow: Trailer is ~6000lbs, max tow rating 9600lbs.


So, 3/4 ton + diesel is overkill, but peace of mind (for me).
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:53 AM   #6
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I did the same thing. Had a 2015 1500 Silverado 5.3 with tow package. After a long trip out west (from AL) we where not happy with the transmission temp or the RPMís. Got home traded for a 2016 GMC Duramax 2500 and have never looked back. The 3/4 ton is easy to drive and a joy to tow with. 1600 RPM at 65 MPH pretty much no matter the terrain. Real world MPG is around 18 not towing and 16 towing our 23D.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:03 PM   #7
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The Silverado 1500 6.2 liter max tow will handle 11000 lbs. + and has an 8 speed trans. I use it for my FC30. No problems in 25000 miles including a few passes over the Rockies. A great 1/2 ton Option.
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Old 11-13-2018, 05:54 AM   #8
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The Silverado 1500 6.2 liter max tow will handle 11000 lbs. + and has an 8 speed trans. I use it for my FC30. No problems in 25000 miles including a few passes over the Rockies. A great 1/2 ton Option.

I would agree, a great 1/2 option. However, at this time GM doesn't offer a "Max Trailering" option on their new 1/2 ton pickups (Silverado/Sierra).


If you can find a leftover 2018 with the options (6.2L engine, larger rear-end, heavier axle, trailering mirrors), and you want to use someone else's money to finance it... 0% financing is quite attractive.
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Old 11-14-2018, 07:49 AM   #9
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It is a 1/2 ton option but not a great option from what I experienced. I
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Old 11-14-2018, 01:17 PM   #10
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There is no replacement for displacement... And now gears.

I've towed with a lot of setups recently and over the years. The biggest advantage has been the additional gears in the transmissions for towing and even daily driving. The added gears relieve stresses that a traditional 4 speed would have in gear decision or loading up on grades. IMO anything 6+ speed is golden. That being said, the 5.3 is not a powerhouse by any means... Even unloaded it feels slow. The 6.2 will blow your mind compared to a 5.3 in daily torque and towing ability.

IMO get a 1500 based truck/SUV with the 6.2 and call it a day. Nothing better for an all arounder that can handle towing and daily duties. (Denali, Escalade, 1500HD, etc)

IF you are stuck with a 5.3, I would call up TSP (Texas Speed) and get a Torquer Cam and LS7 lifter setup with LS6 Blue springs + DoD delete + tune and let that baby feast on unleaded all the way up to 7k! The stock cam on these 5.3s is painfully small for the soccer moms. These LS engines are powerhouses with minimal stock GM part swap modifications. Kiss your warranty goodbye if a newer truck.

All that being said... The Gen3 Escalade ESV has been the best towing rig we have owned. I'm sure the current Gen4 is even better. Skip Gen2 if towing because weak 4L60E explodes.
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