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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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Old 04-29-2018, 11:09 AM   #15
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No longer in the auto repair bis.
But this is what was the state of cars / trucks , there are 3 levels of building in each weight class , average small car 1/4 ton , full size cars 1/2 ton , small P/U 1/2 ton , med. P/U 3/4 ton etc.
Within each of those is some combination of many parts that vary [ mostly by profit & what the salesman can sell you ] the tires , shocks , axles , brakes , bearings , suspension , gear ratio of differential , are the most important part of what makes the capacity of what ever car or truck we are talking about .
Some a little less of an issue - trans. oil cooler .
Things you can easily see , hitch , wiring for trailer and maybe brake controller .
The things you need to look at as the buyer of a tow vehicle is a stiff suspension - to keep control , larger brakes - control / stopping , tires - all of the above .
Do not cheap out on any of the last items mentioned !
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:15 AM   #16
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One thing I would look at in regards to the tow rating is do they use the new J ratings in which they actually tested the tow or is the tow rating they list still something from the marketing department?
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Old 04-29-2018, 06:36 PM   #17
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Tow package

We returned yesterday from a 600 mile 7 day round trip with our 25ft Tradewind.
We have a 2018 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD......I really like the tow package that came with the truck. When towing , push the tow button and it really helps with the shifting (shifts less) and when going down hill and you start on the brakes.....the engine slows to help slow the load and helps with not having to use the brakes so much.
The trans cooler kept temp at 121 degrees and engine stayed at 200. Nice setup.
Just thought this would help.
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Old 04-29-2018, 08:28 PM   #18
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Titan tow package

Nissan does offer a "tow Package" on the Titan S, SV, and SL 1/2 ton trucks. When you check that box it automatically adds the Convenience Package and the Cargo tie down system in the bed. Take a look at the Nissan website. I seriously looked at and drove a couple of 2017/2018 SV King Cab 2 wheel drive models and found them very nice and reasonably priced. HOWEVER, the only Differential Gear Ratio available is a 2.93!!! Terrible towing ratio. No optional axle is offered. The Titan XD, the larger truck, does come with a 3.91 Axle ratio. I can just feel how bad the engine and trans would be fighting that high Axle ratio going up a long 7 or 8% grade with 7000lbs behind it. I passed and Emailed Nissan that if they want to get some of the 1/2 ton towing market they better offer some optional axle ratios. They offer a 3,36 in the NV3500 passenger van which is on the Titan frame. A 3.42 or 3.55 or.3.73 with limited slip would be some acceptable towing ratios. Nice truck but no go with current axle offering.
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:12 PM   #19
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HOWEVER, the only Differential Gear Ratio available is a 2.93!!! Terrible towing ratio. No optional axle is offered. The Titan XD, the larger truck, does come with a 3.91 Axle ratio. I can just feel how bad the engine and trans would be fighting that high Axle ratio going up a long 7 or 8% grade with 7000lbs behind it.
It isn’t as straightforward as it used to be in the days of 3 speed automatics. They typically had first gear ratios of 2.5 or so. That multiplied the differential ratio.

The Titan gas model has a seven speed Jatco automatic equipped with a first gear ratio of between 4.7 and 6.4 depending on the configuration. That makes the 2.93 differential ratio less important. For the higher gears, at highway speed, just gear down, as there are lots of gears to choose from.

The 3.9 ratio you refer to on the XD is only for the diesel, which doesn’t use the Jatco but rather an Aisin six speed. Which doesn’t have as low a first gear. Hence the lower (higher numerically) differential ratio.

The product planners might just know what they are doing.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:37 AM   #20
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Answer: Are tow packages necessary?

It's kind'a rude to answer my own question, but for whomever it helps ... Here's what I've learned.

Some vehicles (like the Nissan) certain parts of the tow package is included. Which means mostly a hitch. Then there's an additional tow package that includes, as someone noted, tie-downs and some other pretty irrelevant sh~t. I'm assuming that that means that it's set up for towing, but you know what they say about assumptions. The one great advantage of Nissan is their longer-than-anyone-else warranty.

Other vehicles include various kinds of tow packages. Note most salesmen will answer your question about a "tow package" by saying that "Yes," when all it has is the hitch--and many will argue with you when you say "It has a hitch, not a tow package."

In any case: Ford F150s, for example, come with a Tow Package or a Max Tow Package, and there's also an HD Tow package (I think I got that right). All of them can come on a V8, or one of the V6 Ecoboosts, but you have to carefully check the specs on the combination of rear axle, tire sizes, engine, kind of tow package, etc. DO NOT RELY ON A SALESMAN. They don't have a clue, and they don't know where to look, and they mostly are not interested in doing the research because those of us who ask questions cost the same time as about 3 sales to dummies who just want to make sure it's got the Chrome Package and that they can get the payments down to $800/mo.

From what I can tell, Chevy and Dodge are the same: there are tow packages, but you have to check the specs to see what you're getting. There are two places to do the research: TrailerLife publishes towing guides for every year and every vehicle--it's detailed but not completely comprehensive. Then each manufacturer (like Ford) publishes a Towing Guide, which have a lot of specs, are very difficult to read, and if you have a question like the 20" wheels, just beat your head against a wall, it's easier.

Just to let you know how we manuevered through all this: We just bought an F150 Supercrew* "Sport" with a 3.5 liter V6 Ecoboost, 470 foot/lbs of torque, 3.55 rear axle, 18 inch wheels, the Max Tow Package. All that said, here's a warning: I don't know if I have 13,000+ pounds of towing, 11,700 lbs, or 9,000 lbs. That's because (here's the warning) Ford's specs tell you that at some point you need 20" wheels for 13,000+ lbs, but not what the effect of the 18" wheels is.

I haven't towed with it yet. But I've bought it, so I better love it.

-------------
*I didn't want the SuperCrew. Mi esposa estimada insisted. [Shrug. ] I got 70 more lb/ft of torque.
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