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Old 04-02-2011, 04:40 PM   #1
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2011 Yukon Denali with 6.2L V8/3.42 axle

Hi - I have a 28' International Airstream trailer that weighs 7300 pounds. Have been using a large pickup to tow though looking at moving to large SUV for more comfort/seating room, etc. I really like a 2011 Denali (regular not XL) with AWD, the 6.2L V8, 3.42 axle, integrated trailer brake controller, etc. Specs say it can tow 8,100 pounds though looking for feedback/advice on using the Denali to tow a 7,300 pound trailer. We live in the east - mostly flat - but do take long trips that have some moderate uphill climbs. I did a serach of the forums and found some info though not much on the newer Yukons. Also, if I go with the Yukon, any advice/experience towing using FlexFuel in the tank? Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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I will let others with more experience reply to the weight question, but as an owner of a Yukon XL I would definitely recommend the long wheelbase version for towing stability and suggest you consider a lower (i.e. higher number) rear axle ratio.
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:55 PM   #3
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I just completed a 2000 mile trip from Chicago to SC coast in a 2011 Yukon XL Denali, 6.2L, 3.42, 6 speed. My trailer weighs 8500# loaded. I had gear in the truck also. I'm guessing from prior weighs I was at 15,000 - 15,500 GCW.

It did a GREAT job. Very stable, never came off of cruise on I40 over the Smokeys. I drive about 63 mph when I tow. It handled the trip in 6th gear a lot of the time, downshifting to 5th on some overpass type hills, down to 4th in the foothills, and occasionally down to 3rd on the steepest mountain grades.

Mileage was 10MPG on the flats, 9 in the hills, and the tank which was the steepest parts, I got 8.5. Overall for the trip was about 9.5 mpg. Plenty of throttle left to accelerate past the trucks on the mountain roads.

You would have more than enough truck......however....wheelbase is your friend when towing. I would encourage you to think really hard about getting the XL.
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:59 PM   #4
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Flexfuel, if anything helps with towing power, as it is a higher octane fuel and the truck will adjust it's timing to suit the octane. HOWEVER, ethanol contains less heat energy (BTUs) than gasoline. Your mileage will drop 10 - 20%, depending on driving style, temp, etc. Mileage drop is consistent percentage from towing numbers as well as solo numbers. My rule is, if E85 costs 20% less than regular, I buy it.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:22 AM   #5
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If you get a 2011, you'll get a six speed tranny. The 3.42 is FINE with that trans. For your load, (and even mine) a 3.73 is overkill. The six speed has lower 1st - 3rd gears for more trailering selectability. If you buy used, with a 4 speed, DEFINITELY ger a 3.73 rear end.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:55 PM   #6
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Agree; new 6 speed is great. Fuel sucks with ethanol...don't expect mileage over 10 MPG pulling,~ average.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:32 AM   #7
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Transmission heating challenges?

We've been towing our 28' 7300# GVW with a 2000 suburban 3/4 ton with the 6.0/3.73 and 4 spd. We've had transmission temp rise to 220, and seen in another posting that someone with a Yukon XL 6.2/3.42/6 spd has had similar problems.

Can anyone weigh in on that? And has anyone towed with an Expedition EL 5.4/3.73/6 spd? Someone has advised us that this is a step up from the Suburban 3/4 ton, which doesn't make a lot of intuitive sense.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:33 PM   #8
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Hitting 220* on an occasional basis while on a steep pull isn't an issue with any automatic. Should drop down to 190 - 200 a little while after hard pull. Keep in mind, there is some lag time in temp rise and fall, as you are measuring sump temps, so all that volume and mass must cool to see gauge reading change back to normal. If you observe the gauge over an extended period of time, you'll find normal while towing with a descent load is a reading 90 - 100* over ambient air temp. Solo seems to be 70 - 90* over ambient. So, if you are in Death Valley and it's 120* outside, 220* on the flat run could be normal too.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:37 PM   #9
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Expedition EL towing 7000+ ?

Thanks for the transmission info. Has anybody had any experience towing 7000plus # with a later model Expedition EL with the 5.4 and 6 speed? The hp numbers are considerably lower than the 6.0 and 6.2l Chevy engines, although the torque (to rear wheels) is only 5% less.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I just completed a 2000 mile trip from Chicago to SC coast in a 2011 Yukon XL Denali, 6.2L, 3.42, 6 speed. My trailer weighs 8500# loaded. I had gear in the truck also. I'm guessing from prior weighs I was at 15,000 - 15,500 GCW.

It did a GREAT job. Very stable, never came off of cruise on I40 over the Smokeys. I drive about 63 mph when I tow. It handled the trip in 6th gear a lot of the time, downshifting to 5th on some overpass type hills, down to 4th in the foothills, and occasionally down to 3rd on the steepest mountain grades.

Mileage was 10MPG on the flats, 9 in the hills, and the tank which was the steepest parts, I got 8.5. Overall for the trip was about 9.5 mpg. Plenty of throttle left to accelerate past the trucks on the mountain roads.

You would have more than enough truck......however....wheelbase is your friend when towing. I would encourage you to think really hard about getting the XL.

Thanks for information dznf0g. What weight distributing hitch (wdh) did you use with the GMC Denali. I have Denali awaiting delivery of fc25fb around May 1. I am trying to narrow down which wdh to get. Looking at Equalizer w/4 pt friction control, Reese w/dual cam sway control, and Hensley (want to avoid spending $ on Hensley if others will work okay). Please advise. Thx BMay
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:19 AM   #11
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EqualIzer

We've had great luck towing 7000 lb 28 ft Ocean Breeze with the Equalizer 4 point for 2 1/2 seasons behind a 3/24 ton Suburban. We've towed from LA to Texas twice, all over California (including the Sierra Nevada), and from CA to WA state. While you know when you're passing a big rig if there's a big speed difference, if the difference is slight, we don't even feel the big guy on the trailer. Our Airstream dealer talked us out of the Hensley for our Airstream--for our earlier Fleetwood, it would have been necessary for these long hauls. Their point was not only cost, but weight.

We've now done over 10,000 miles with the Equalizer with no problem. If you're concerned about $$ and weight, it's a good solution to avoiding the purchase of the Hensley.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:57 AM   #12
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The standard length Yukon has a shorter wheelbase than the XL but also a shorter rear overhang. Handling is virtually identical with the two of them.

I would consdier the Expedition for the independent rear suspension. If it has the 20" rims it is considerably more stable with a smoother ride than the GM. You don't notice a huge difference on a solo test drive but towing it is supstantial. The 5.4 &
6 Speed has plenty of power for any Airstream.

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Old 04-20-2011, 07:38 AM   #13
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Yukon

Hello Andy.

Hope you and family is well. Would you consider towing a 34 ' classic with a Yukon Denali with a 6.0 L and 3.73 gear ratio using a Hensley?

Hope to see you down the road.

Best always,

Titu.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:31 AM   #14
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I've long thought a Suburban/Yukon XL would be my favorite tow vehicle, but now after buying an Airstream I'm rethinking that a bit. For carrying bikes, generators, and maybe a scooter, I can see a benefit in towing with a pickup. I had a generator built in on my last motorhome and I never used it except to start it to maintain it. Maybe I'm shadow boxing . . .
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