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Old 03-08-2014, 09:20 AM   #43
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My understanding is that the Duramax fit but the bell housing on the Allison is huge and therefore the body had to be raised. There is or was a outfit out of Florida that was doing the installs on late model Suburbans.
I think that with that much torque that the transmission on the Denalis wouldn't hunt that much for the right gear?
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:01 AM   #44
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This is pretty far-out stuff, but for those who love the Suburban and Yukon and want more power (hp and torque) there is another option: supercharging. Callaway makes a supercharged Tahoe/Sub that you can buy from your Chevy dealer, with a full warranty, that gives the 5.3 litre motor 450 hp and 450 torque. (Callaway debuts supercharger package for 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe equipped with 5.3-liter V8 - Autoweek)

Alternatively, you can aftermarket supercharge them for similar output, and get about 500 hp and torque from the 6.0 litre and perhaps 550 hp and torque from the 6.2. Transmissions will need to be beefed up, too. Since this is what we did to our 2001 Denali XL, I can testify that this solves all of the power issues, and retains the better ride of the 1/2 ton chassis. Link: Magnuson Products, LLC

With this much torque, in my opinion, there is an advantage to fewer gears and less gear changing.

However, the payload limitations of the 1/2 ton compared to the 3/4 ton remain the other critical consideration of tow vehicle performance and deciding what is right for you.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:14 AM   #45
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I'm sure Lingenfelter also has some horsepower upgrades.
They are known for up-fitting Corvette 6.2L motors, but have upgrades for 4.8, 5.3, and 6.0 motors as well- I think-
Some Silverados, Denalis, and Escalades come with the 6.2 motor.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:14 AM   #46
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Yes, when I say Duramax, I mean the engine/trans package, as you can't get one without the other in pu's. It is the trans which requires a lift or floorpan change.

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Old 03-08-2014, 11:56 AM   #47
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What I find interesting is that GM installs the detuned Duramax along with a 6L85 transmissions in the full size vans. No need to raise the body due to the transmissions in the 3/4 tons and still have a diesel in a Suburban
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:21 PM   #48
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This is pretty far-out stuff, but for those who love the Suburban and Yukon and want more power (hp and torque) there is another option: supercharging.
I looked into supercharging my SSR (a common modification) for trailer pulling (not that it needs much help). It has the 6.0 LS2 (400hp, 400lb ft) but it has also been tuned for maximum towing torque at the "sweet spot" that I tow with while cruising in 6th at 70mph.

While easy huge power gains are achieved, the increased wear and tear on the engine due to not only supercharging but also due to supercharging WHILE TOWING can greatly increase the risk of internal engine parts failure; these engines pulling trailers are already working their butts off. Supercharging just makes them work that much harder.

But, more importantly, is the incredible amount of extra heat that supercharging produces. In this SSR (whose engine bay is already super hot) with limited cooling capability (even with a Ron Davis racing radiator and 3 fans) towing with a supercharged LS2 seemed to be a not-good idea. Sure, there's plenty more power, but the added heat and risk of overheating (even with a substantial intercooler) was too great...especially combined with the effects of working the engine three times harder (towing PLUS supercharging). There are a few people who do absolutely expert installations of superchargers on the LS2 and for towing applications, it was deemed a pretty shaky proposition.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:44 PM   #49
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Our 2010 Denali was the worst TV we have had! It is setup as a suburban cruiser. The exhaust sound was wonderful until under load and then the drone was absolutely horrendous. I tried to get GMC to put a stock Suburban exhaust on, but OH NO. The 6.2 and six speed auto was programed very poorly for towing in my opinion. Even shifting manual was a pain. I'd ask about software updates every time I took it in. Mileage was 8ish at 5 over. Perhaps all has been improved in the latest model but I would really want to tow with one first.
We just got home from test driving a 2011 Denali XL. We were some what liking it but had a devil of a time trying to suss out the towing equipment. Salesman said it had a towing package, but I couldn't confirm it with a feature list from the dealer. I ran a VIN decode and the list had no towing options. Oddly though it had a integrated brake controller. I sure noticed the growly exhaust. That mileage sounds pretty poor for the 6.2L.

Glad to see your impressions here.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:53 PM   #50
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Does a Denali have the 6.2L 425 HP 400 ft. lb. of torque motor?
The salesman means it has a receiver and RV trailer plug and maybe it is plug 'n' play trailer brake controller ready, if it doesn't already have integrated trailer brake control. It may also have a transmission cooler.
That won't get 14-16 mpg, but it will tow a trailer...
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:56 PM   #51
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By 2012FB's assessment I would think a 4.8, 5.3, or 6.0 would be a better choice, and less expensive...
Not quite as much bling, but still nicely equipped in SLE trim...
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:21 PM   #52
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I speced a 2015 Denali and noticed there was no option for a tow package but noticed it was equipped like the SLT I also specd with a tow package. Already built in on the Denali. The 2011 might be the same?
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:02 PM   #53
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Thing that I don't like about the new Suburbans - and it may not mean much to those outside the Rocky Mountain west or snow country - but to lighten it up (for better CAFE results) they've gotten rid of the high/low transfer case. Not used often, but "low range" is nice to have when you need it, whether towing or not....
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:16 AM   #54
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Thing that I don't like about the new Suburbans - and it may not mean much to those outside the Rocky Mountain west or snow country - but to lighten it up (for better CAFE results) they've gotten rid of the high/low transfer case. Not used often, but "low range" is nice to have when you need it, whether towing or not....

The max towing package comes with rear, auto, 4 high and 4 low. It's the same system they have on the previous model and it works great. You can shift on the fly between all of the high gears and getting it into 4 low is relatively easy.
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Old 03-09-2014, 12:40 PM   #55
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Does a Denali have the 6.2L 425 HP 400 ft. lb. of torque motor?
The salesman means it has a receiver and RV trailer plug and maybe it is plug 'n' play trailer brake controller ready, if it doesn't already have integrated trailer brake control. It may also have a transmission cooler.
That won't get 14-16 mpg, but it will tow a trailer...
Yes, that's exactly what he means, but he insists on telling me it has the "tow package" which in my world means trans cooler and oil cooler and maybe even the heavier susp.

I looked up the RPO code for the integrated brake controller and it is a stand alone option - JL1. It has no relationship to the other tow package items.

Sales guys get confused between "trailering options" and "Tow Package Options." Trailering is a receiver and plug, that's about it.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:01 PM   #56
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Yes, that's exactly what he means, but he insists on telling me it has the "tow package" which in my world means trans cooler and oil cooler and maybe even the heavier susp.

I looked up the RPO code for the integrated brake controller and it is a stand alone option - JL1. It has no relationship to the other tow package items.

Sales guys get confused between "trailering options" and "Tow Package Options." Trailering is a receiver and plug, that's about it.
I've found it to be the case that most car salesmen have no clue about the product they're selling. This isn't always the case. Unfortunately what you now know about this guy is that he's either ignorant or dishonest so you can't believe what he's telling you about anything. I would point out to him that, for you, the towing package would include all of the necessary hardware upgrades for towing and that simply having a place to plug the trailer in isn't it.

Go by the RPO codes and not by what this joker tells you. Heck, I had a guy try and tell me that a 1/2 ton Denali had a higher towing capacity and a 3/4 ton Suburban (similar years) because it had a larger engine. After he made that comment it was clear that either he didn't know what he was talking about or he assumed I didn't. Needless to say, I bought the 3/4 ton from someone else.

I wish you all the best in finding an honest/knowledgable salesman... it can be challenging.
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