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Old 04-28-2018, 08:56 PM   #1
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Towing package in a new tow vehicle

I've learned a lot of what I know about towing tech from you folks, so let me ask you to continue my education.

I always thought that you needed a "towing package" on a tow vehicle. Sometimes that's because it increases the towing capacity (as in my Tacoma, bringing it from something minimal up to 6500 lbs or something). But as I'm looking at new vehicles, I'm finding various vehicles with sufficient towing capacity, but no towing package.

Example: I was looking at Nissan Titans today: towing capacity of 9000 lbs, but no towing package. So apparently no transmission cooler, no additional radiator, no whatever else. Question: do I need those things? I'm towing a 22' Sport.*

---------------
*Please don't tell me I should have plenty of towing capacity for towing the 4500lb sport. I *should* but don't. The Tacoma has made that really clear. We can debate that elsewhere, it's not the question here.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:27 PM   #2
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It varies by model and manufacturer.

My SUV was rated to tow 6000 lbs with no additional coolers, whether for the transmission or engine. It just needed a trailer brake controller and the dealer-supplied electrical interface for lights, which also allowed the vehicle to access the trailer stability control feature. It also needed wider outside mirrors. Those sorts of items might be available with a vehicle order, or not.

Modern vehicle cooling systems are much more sophisticated than the old days where it was simple to add a cooler.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:33 PM   #3
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Ditto the "varies by model and manufacturer..." but also the "towing package" means different things. All suburbans can tow - with receiver hitch and wiring harness. The newer ones have a "tow package" listed which includes those things and a few more. But my Suburban (2015) and other newer Subes have an option called the "max towing package" - and the key there is the ratio on the rear differential. That makes a huge difference.

So... in your research don't just look at the vehicles that can tow - the "towing package" means something but not all "makes and manufacturers" mean the same thing... good luck in your education! We're ALL still learning!
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Old 04-28-2018, 11:40 PM   #4
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On some vehicles, the manufacturer puts all the typical tow package stuff in the base vehicle, so there is no "package". I believe Nissan does this with at least some of their V8 SUVs, I don't know about the Titan.
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Old 04-29-2018, 04:27 AM   #5
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Just make sure that with that 9,000lb rating, as with all the rest, that is the maximum it is rated for and usually there is fine print somewhere that states "when properly equipped" and they never tell you what proper is.

Edit- 2 Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped. Maximum towing of up to 11,280 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Crew Cab 4x2 with Endurance® V8 gas engine; 10,990 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Crew Cab 4x4 with Endurance® V8 gas engine; 11,380 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® King Cab® 4x2 with Endurance® V8 gas engine; 11,040 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® King Cab® 4x4 with Endurance® V8 gas engine; 11,600 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Single Cab 4x2 with Endurance® V8 gas engine; 11,330 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Single Cab 4x4 with Endurance® V8 gas engine; 12,310 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Crew Cab 4x2 with Cummins® V8 diesel engine; 12,030 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Crew Cab 4x4 with Cummins® V8 diesel engine; 12,510 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® King Cab® 4x2 with Cummins® V8 diesel engine; 12,150 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® King Cab® 4x4 with Cummins® V8 diesel engine; 12,640 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Single Cab 4x2 with Cummins® V8 diesel engine; 12,360 lbs for 2018 TITAN XD® Single Cab 4x4 with Cummins® V8 diesel engine. Towing capacity varies by configuration. See Nissan Towing Guide and Owner’s Manual for additional information.
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Old 04-29-2018, 06:30 AM   #6
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Some vehicles have all of the “tow package” options included. But never assume. Confirm the tow rating for the specific unit you are considering. Remember that sometimes the salesperson has no clue, so do your research. Manufacturer websites are a good place to confirm what is and what is not required.
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Old 04-29-2018, 06:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belbein View Post
I've learned a lot of what I know about towing tech from you folks, so let me ask you to continue my education.

I always thought that you needed a "towing package" on a tow vehicle. Sometimes that's because it increases the towing capacity (as in my Tacoma, bringing it from something minimal up to 6500 lbs or something). But as I'm looking at new vehicles, I'm finding various vehicles with sufficient towing capacity, but no towing package.

Example: I was looking at Nissan Titans today: towing capacity of 9000 lbs, but no towing package. So apparently no transmission cooler, no additional radiator, no whatever else. Question: do I need those things? I'm towing a 22' Sport.*

---------------
*Please don't tell me I should have plenty of towing capacity for towing the 4500lb sport. I *should* but don't. The Tacoma has made that really clear. We can debate that elsewhere, it's not the question here.

A “towing package” is a term without meaning. It could be a long list of items or next to nothing. On my truck it’s equivalent was a different set of exterior mirrors.

To think about it more accurately is to understand that the Duty Cycle of a vehicle towing a trailer is itself defined by trailer weight, height and frontal area. And then conditions. None of which is ever adequately defined by manufacturers advertising or other. It IS harder duty, but . . . .

If it’s “rated” above your vehicle assume it’s good. Electronic engine controls mean that temperatures are more easily controlled, and at any altitude. It was more work in the 1960s and 1970s to control temperatures via heat exchangers.

The rest was upgraded alternator, some wiring and suspension pieces. But those sedans came stripped with a lightweight six cylinder engine, bolt action transmission and drum brakes. EVERYTHING else was optional. If one ordered the car, then the HD Police/Taxi options were wanted. While not themselves expensive, the addition made for an expensive car once the other fifty options (1969 Chrysler) were checked off thus not normally ordered by dealers as those things not seen don’t sell cars.

As to the Tacoma and now, don’t repeat the same mistakes. Hitch rigging and trailer brakes matter more than any particular tow vehicle.

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Old 04-29-2018, 07:46 AM   #8
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The only way to answer your question, on any vehicle, not just the one you are currently looking at, is to ask the dealership exactly what their "towing package" includes that is not already included. Then decide if those particular features are wanted or needed.
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:54 AM   #9
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The one thing dealers never ever seem to talk about: what’s the load capacity of said tow vehicle? Being able to haul a specified weight down the highway is only half the battle. Tongue weight matters, even with optimal hitch rigging.
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belbein View Post
... Nissan Titans today: towing capacity of 9000 lbs, but no towing package. So apparently no transmission cooler, no additional radiator, no whatever else. Question: do I need those things? I'm towing a 22' Sport.*
Often a tow package includes lower gear ratio in the differentials. This provides better pulling from a stop, but will have a higher rpm at highway speed. It may also include the wiring for the 7-pin connector and a stronger hitch receiver.

Another 'hidden' feature in a tow package is the TV computer programming. The computer changes the shift points when towing. Some TV have a button for tow/haul and other vehicles can detect you are towing when the 7-pin umbilical is hooked up.
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:00 AM   #11
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I decided to tow a 14 foot Dual axil Cargo Trailer with my 2005 GMC Envoy....rated to tow 6000. First let me say, I made it from Los Angeles to Vancouver. I went slowly, stopped a bunch of times, but it wasn't pretty, I over cooked the Transmission. It simply doesn't handle even a small load like that. I had transmission fluid across the back of the vehicle and front of the trailer....It cost about 67000 for a new Transmission....that's because I ended up buying a 2018 GMC 3500 Sierra Denali Duramax. The new truck was about 63K and a 100k service and factory transmission was about 4K. Some vehicles are designed for towing and some are designed to tow a jetski. I wouldn't go anywhere near the rating of a vehicle. Even with a brand new truck, within the first 1500 miles, I changed out the Differential Cover and Transmission Covers to the Mag Hytech. Not only does it look a whole lot better, but they hold more fluid. I don't expect to have any issues with a 6.6L Duramax Diesel. I think, I'm covered!
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:57 AM   #12
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Thank you for all the replies and ... #&@*!

I guess I'm going to have to call Nissan corporate and ask them. I've discovered that none of the salespeople know jack about their vehicles; It's worthless asking them anything. As soon as I ask anything about "towing package" or "integrated brake controller" they demand, "Well, what are you going to tow?" like, I don't know what I'm towing and they do. I'm not a violent person, but I've come close to slapping a couple of them. I've been buying cars and trucks for 40+ years and have never seen the breadth and depth of ignorant BS that I'm hearing now from salesmen who just don't know their trucks.
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aa6rv View Post
I decided to tow a 14 foot Dual axil Cargo Trailer with my 2005 GMC Envoy....rated to tow 6000. First let me say, I made it from Los Angeles to Vancouver. I went slowly, stopped a bunch of times, but it wasn't pretty, I over cooked the Transmission. It simply doesn't handle even a small load like that. I had transmission fluid across the back of the vehicle and front of the trailer....It cost about 67000 for a new Transmission....that's because I ended up buying a 2018 GMC 3500 Sierra Denali Duramax. The new truck was about 63K and a 100k service and factory transmission was about 4K. Some vehicles are designed for towing and some are designed to tow a jetski. I wouldn't go anywhere near the rating of a vehicle. Even with a brand new truck, within the first 1500 miles, I changed out the Differential Cover and Transmission Covers to the Mag Hytech. Not only does it look a whole lot better, but they hold more fluid. I don't expect to have any issues with a 6.6L Duramax Diesel. I think, I'm covered!
You sir have it figured out.....there is no cheap date....
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:02 AM   #14
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The best place to find the capacity of a TV is on the sticker in the driver's door frame. You need to be concerned with the rating for "passengers and cargo" in addition to towing capacity. What I do is take the GVWR of the trailer, multiply by 12% and assume that will be the tongue weight. Subtract that from the "passengers and cargo" and that is what you have left for passengers and cargo. Towing capacity may be explicitly stated on the sticker, or they may state GCVWR, which is the total weight of the TV and trailer, or you may have to look it up in your manual. "Maximum towing capacity" may or may not be the capacity of the vehicle you are looking at. Even then, towing capacity is typically reduced by the weight of passengers and cargo. Don't forget to reduce both passengers and cargo and towing capacity by any added accessories like bed slides, toppers, additional fuel tanks, etc. added after manufacture.



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