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Donstar

Towing with an EcoTec 4.3 V6 - revisited

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I want to get a jump on holiday trailering this year and we're looking at a larger trailer to make this more enjoyable.  (Our current trailer does not have a full walk around bed which is proving to be a significant challenge.)  A new truck was going to be part of upgrading our trailer but life is getting in the way of this plan.   Our current trailer has a posted dry weight of 3990 lbs and gross of 7,000 lbs.  We're looking at larger version of the same brand that has a dry weight of 5200 lbs and a gross of 7,000 lbs.   The rated trailer towing capacity of my truck is 7,000 lbs and the payload is 1625 lbs.   The math suggests this proposed combination will work but I'd  appreciate hearing from others with a similar combination. (I don't need to pass long lines of traffic going the speed limit up a steep incline while remaining in sixth gear. ;-) )   Towing my current trailer with the V6 has presented no awkward moments.  I felt that I've had ample power for all situations, but requires more fuel to get to my destination when towing.

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40 minutes ago, Donstar said:

(I don't need to pass long lines of traffic going the speed limit up a steep incline while remaining in sixth gear. ;-) )   Towing my current trailer with the V6 has presented no awkward moments.  I felt that I've had ample power for all situations, but requires more fuel to get to my destination when towing.

I'm confused.

What are you looking for from someone with a similar rig.

 

I think you have your answer with these statements.

You have been happy with the V6 according to your posts.

More weight as you know will work the drive line harder, slow you down and IMO require more maintenance.

 

There is no substitute for H.P., torque, bigger breaks or towing capacity.

 

;)

 

 

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Any idea what you keep your current trailer loaded down with weight wise?

 

We are looking at a 5400 dry weight/7500 gross weight trailer ourselves and i've been reading mixed reviews on that setup with even a 5.3

 

I'd be curious how it all works out for you.

 

How long is your current trailer?

 

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Does the V6 handle a strong headwind when towing the travel trailer?

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2 hours ago, diyer2 said:

There is no substitute for H.P., torque, bigger breaks or towing capacity.

 

3 minutes ago, Campier said:

Does the V6 handle a strong headwind when towing the travel trailer?

:)

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Donstar, I don't have a setup like you're looking at but perhaps an idea if you're up to a little experimentation.  The difference in the dry weights of the 2 TT's is 1210 lbs., everything else should remain nearly equal, gear, passenger, etc. If you could come up with that much ballast to spread evenly on the floor of your current TT and take a test drive on a loop that would mimic what you normally encounter at least you would get an idea of your trucks capability as far as acceleration and braking. Of course this won't help with the change in handling with the longer trailer, but maybe a place to start.

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Thanks for your responses.  I'm confident that as long as I remain within the posted specifications of my truck, I will be fine.  The build of the truck is the same as those with the larger engines.  I am hoping to hear from others who pull a mid-size travel trailer with their 4.3 for assurance that my truck will perform well within the higher limits of its posted capabilities.   I owned a travel trailer in the 80's and never questioned the 150 hp  350 V8 powerplants in my Suburban and my Sierra pickup that were used to pull the family camper!    I suspect that any problems pulling a trailer between 5k lbs and 6k lbs will apply to all '14 to '18 trucks with either of the three engine choices.  They all have ample power but the larger engines have more.

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I have a 2014 Sierra DC V6 4x4 and trailer a 2006 Outback 29BHS trailer. Dry weight on the trailer is 5250lbs. Both were just purchased in July, first the truck and the camper a couple weeks later. I was very hesitant to go with this large of a camper but the price and conditioner was just too good to pass on. I need to be very aware of what I load of course, and a weight distributing hitch and trailer brake controller are a must as well. 

I'm in the Northeast US...so no worries about crossing the Continental divide, but not exactly Florida flat either. The terrain you travel will have a huge impact on your experience. Also, we only do a few trips a year totalling less than 1200 miles total. 

As you said, the build of the trucks are the same as the ones with larger engines. In my limited experience, I've never felt unsafe or as if I was over working my truck. I was starting to get concerned about transmission temps once last summer in 90° F temps in the Finger lakes, to me an anomaly but something to be mindful of (might lead to an external cooler or maybe a thermostat delete, we'll see). If I could have found or afforded a V8 crew cab in my price range with similar miles and condition would I still have bought my DC V6? No way! But like you said, life doesn't always work out like we want or plan. Stay within posted limits on the roads and your equipment, be careful, and all should work out just fine!

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9 minutes ago, tek6029 said:

I have a 2014 Sierra DC V6 4x4 and trailer a 2006 Outback 29BHS trailer. Dry weight on the trailer is 5250lbs. Both were just purchased in July, first the truck and the camper a couple weeks later. I was very hesitant to go with this large of a camper but the price and conditioner was just too good to pass on. I need to be very aware of what I load of course, and a weight distributing hitch and trailer brake controller are a must as well. 

I'm in the Northeast US...so no worries about crossing the Continental divide, but not exactly Florida flat either. The terrain you travel will have a huge impact on your experience. Also, we only do a few trips a year totalling less than 1200 miles total. 

As you said, the build of the trucks are the same as the ones with larger engines. In my limited experience, I've never felt unsafe or as if I was over working my truck. I was starting to get concerned about transmission temps once last summer in 90° F temps in the Finger lakes, to me an anomaly but something to be mindful of (might lead to an external cooler or maybe a thermostat delete, we'll see). If I could have found or afforded a V8 crew cab in my price range with similar miles and condition would I still have bought my DC V6? No way! But like you said, life doesn't always work out like we want or plan. Stay within posted limits on the roads and your equipment, be careful, and all should work out just fine!

Thank you very much! 

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3 hours ago, rah7777777 said:

Any idea what you keep your current trailer loaded down with weight wise?

 

We are looking at a 5400 dry weight/7500 gross weight trailer ourselves and i've been reading mixed reviews on that setup with even a 5.3

 

I'd be curious how it all works out for you.

 

How long is your current trailer?

 

See my response to OP...

 

I think so much depends on individual circumstances. The 4.3 will no doubt be working harder than a 5.3 and 6.2. No arguing that. However, the specs are the specs, and if you stay within posted limits and drive with due regard I would and respect your limits, you should be safe. I have my family with me, don't have much for mountains to tackle, and only camp a couple weeks year. I'm content to plot along a little above the speed limit. I can still pass, even in hilly country, and I still feel in control. But...I've also never driven a 3500 dually 5th wheel, so I don't exactly know what I'm missing if that makes sense. 

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Good point on an old truck towing similar weights! The new V6's are putting out some good numbers. And the rest of the truck is the same setup unless you bought the max towing package (which I think was 6.2 only though)

 

Hearing your experiences is a big plus for me! 

I have the 5.3 and i've been on the nervous side of comfortably pulling a 30' trailer. I know for a fact i'll run a weight distribution hitch and sway bar on the trailer. And most likely i'll still install a set of add-on airbags for the rear suspension. 

 

My truck has the integrated trailer brake controller, so i'm hoping it might have an external trans cooler in what ever package it has. But I have not looked.... In the summer here in Texas the trans will hit the 190's in temp so I'm sure with 7k behind it, it will go up a good chunk. 

 

Donstar, do you have add-on airbags on your truck at all? 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Donstar said:

I want to get a jump on holiday trailering this year and we're looking at a larger trailer to make this more enjoyable.  (Our current trailer does not have a full walk around bed which is proving to be a significant challenge.)  A new truck was going to be part of upgrading our trailer but life is getting in the way of this plan.   Our current trailer has a posted dry weight of 3990 lbs and gross of 7,000 lbs.  We're looking at larger version of the same brand that has a dry weight of 5200 lbs and a gross of 7,000 lbs.   The rated trailer towing capacity of my truck is 7,000 lbs and the payload is 1625 lbs.   The math suggests this proposed combination will work but I'd  appreciate hearing from others with a similar combination. (I don't need to pass long lines of traffic going the speed limit up a steep incline while remaining in sixth gear. ;-) )   Towing my current trailer with the V6 has presented no awkward moments.  I felt that I've had ample power for all situations, but requires more fuel to get to my destination when towing.

 

Have you ever scaled your current trailer setup, both empty and with gear for a trip?  I'd maybe start there to get a good idea of what your truck has been pulling around right now, and then how much gear, water, propane, etc. weight is there in addition to your 3990lbs dry posted weight. 

 

If you know the total weight added to the dry weight, you can then tack that onto the dry weight of the new trailer, then re-assess. 

Edited by newdude

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5 minutes ago, newdude said:

 

Have you ever scaled your current trailer setup, both empty and with gear for a trip?  I'd maybe start there to get a good idea of what your truck has been pulling around right now, and then how much gear, water, propane, etc. weight is there in addition to your 3990lbs dry posted weight. 

 

If you know the total weight added to the dry weight, you can then tack that onto the dry weight of the new trailer, then re-assess. 

Good idea.  I have not scaled my current setup and know that this is an area where I could possibly reduce the impact of a heavier trailer.  I tend to carry a lot of unnecessary "stuff" in the back of my truck even when not pulling my trailer!

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31 minutes ago, rah7777777 said:

Donstar, do you have add-on airbags on your truck at all? 

 

No, but I have tentatively arranged at a local spring and axle shop to add a leaf to my rear springs.  I had this setup on my '09 Sierra.

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You have the 3.23 or the 3.42 gear? Just curious. 

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