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Discussion Starter #1
I love to collect GM original sales brochures and I was looking at a couple of 90's truck ones that I have and they say the towing capacity for a 1500 4x4 is a mere 6000 lbs. But obviously people are pulling MUCH more than that. Any thoughts?
 

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I believe your door sticker will have recommended weights and whatnot... Can't remember though but others will chime in I'm sure.
 

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GM seemed to under rate their towing capacity. I remember looking at the ratings in the eary 90s. A 1 ton with a 454 and t400 with 4.56 gears was only rated for 10,000lbs. It would easily towed double that. My 92 6.5 w/3.42 gears has no problem with 10,000lbs.
 

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The towing capacity of the 6.5L in my 1995 GMC Sierra K2500 is 7500lbs. The towing capacity is generally relative to the suspension of the vehicle and the wheel base. I would think that the 1500 could tow as much as the 2500 with the same drivetrain but you might run into stability issues with lighter duty suspension and shorter wheelbase.

There were four different wheelbases offered, reg cab short bed 117.5in, ext cab short bed 141.5in, reg cab longbed 131.5in, and ext cab longbed 155.5in.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is it safe to assume that a 6.5 can pull as much as a 454 or am I way off?
 

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94 6.5 CC 1 Ton 4X4 LWB SRW pulled 18,000 lb triple axle trailer with total GCVW of 25,000 'bs many times with out a problem. 14 ply tires on truck. A little underpowered, but did it including CA famous Gravevine and the Rockies.
 

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94 6.5 CC 1 Ton 4X4 LWB SRW pulled 18,000 lb triple axle trailer with total GCVW of 25,000 'bs many times with out a problem. 14 ply tires on truck. A little underpowered, but did it including CA famous Gravevine and the Rockies.
Unbelievable! :eek:
 

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The towing capacity of the 6.5L in my 1995 GMC Sierra K2500 is 7500lbs. The towing capacity is generally relative to the suspension of the vehicle and the wheel base. I would think that the 1500 could tow as much as the 2500 with the same drivetrain but you might run into stability issues with lighter duty suspension and shorter wheelbase.

There were four different wheelbases offered, reg cab short bed 117.5in, ext cab short bed 141.5in, reg cab longbed 131.5in, and ext cab longbed 155.5in.
It is more on the limits of the power train then suspension. Changing rear end ratios gets you different towing ratings. The transmission or cooling system can be a limiting factor.
 

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Many times the GVWR of a vehicle is rated to the weakest part of that vehicle. For example, I looked at a freightliner log truck that had a #20,000 front axle in it from factory, but was shipped from factory with 11R24.5 tires on it. The door sticker rated the front axle at #5500 because of the small tires. I wonder if the 6 ply tires factory on most 1/2 tons are part of rating considerations?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Many times the GVWR of a vehicle is rated to the weakest part of that vehicle. For example, I looked at a freightliner log truck that had a #20,000 front axle in it from factory, but was shipped from factory with 11R24.5 tires on it. The door sticker rated the front axle at #5500 because of the small tires. I wonder if the 6 ply tires factory on most 1/2 tons are part of rating considerations?
I never thought of it that way. Tires play a huge roll in towing. My neighbor was towing his heavy camper with his Chevy truck with 2 ply tires. On top of that, he didn't have them filled to the max. He blew both his back tires.

Now his wife thinks Chevy's are crap and made him buy a Dodge. He's ALWAYS working on that thing.
 

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I think it's extraordinarily dangerous to assume you can tow past the rating of the truck. You might luck out, you might luck out and only break something or you might not luck out and take youself or someone else out. If you have an accident and are over weight you are exposing yourself to all kinds of grief.

The rating is the rating for many reasons. Sure, I can make 50,000lbs move with my 2500HD but it's very unwise. Unless you know specifically what that "weak link" is and can upgrade it, stick with the official numbers. Brakes, differential, suspension capacity, power and engine/trans durability all play into what the manufacturer uses for the rating. Yep, I can build a 300HP VW 2.2L bug engine.....that will last all of 20 seconds.

Do the math for the capacity of the truck, tongue weight and trailer ratings and stick to them. You also have to consider where you will be towing. Many people say "Aw man, I tow 30,000lbs all the time and I can run 70MPH." What they don't tell you is that they live in Kansas....

Do the math and stay safe.

For the record I am considering a 97-2000 6.5L TD since I need more torque at lower speeds to drag my 8000lb 5th wheel around these California back roads. With 4:10 it's rated 9000lbs which is 1500lbs shy of my 2500 HD gasser. I would never consider going over 9000lbs nor exceed the GVW for that truck. I want it to work more than once.
 

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Towing capacity has so many variables, starting with the driver's abilities. Tires, Brakes and suspension of the truck and the trailer, hitch capacity, type of hitch, tongue weight, type of brake applicator, mirrors. The capacity plate gives the maximum rated axle loads and tires also have load range ratings. Exceeding those ratings can be dangerous and illegal. The Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is usually published in the brochures for new trucks and has a factory chart based on drive train, suspension, gear ratio and accessories. Many of us exceed this rating, but adequate knowledge and set-up is required. In Canada, the GVW is used to determine the license plate fee. A private trailer has it's own GVW, but hook up to a commercial trailer and you will have to upgrade your GVW to the maximum combined weight that you will reach. More weight, higher GVW, More $$$. In B.C. a flat deck trailer over 3500 lbs must be registered commercial. You can tow a 35ft prairie schooner with three slide-outs or a 38ft offshore racer without raising your GVW, but put a race car on a flat deck and you need to pay the man and stop at scales. Each jurisdiction seems to have a different standard for trailer brakes. You need to know the rules where you are driving. Some need brakes on any trailer over a set weight, others are based on a percentage of the empty tow vehicles weight. Surge brakes may be legal up to 3500 lbs or 20,00 lbs. Most important is to err on the side of safety, you can get into trouble a lot easier with a trailer hooked on and can do a lot more damage with the extra size and weight.
 

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I got to check out my friends dually after he overloaded the tongue weight. On the famous grapevine he watched the passenger side dual tires depart through the fender while doing 55 MPH. Somehow he managed to keep it in a straight line. It ground through half of the parking brake drum.

So new rims, studs and brake drum later less messing around getting the trailer and busted truck home...

Yes... What is the weak point? It may show up at a bad time. Aka you will find it but not be around long enough to know what it is.
 
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