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Hi Friends,
I am considering towing my travel trailer about 510 miles from South of Sacramento to central Oregon with my K2500 6.5TD Suburban. There are some mountain big passes to go up and over. My trailer is 7000#s empty, with water and gear 8 to 8500#s. This will be the 1st long distance towing for me. Right now I am all stock, looks like I have a trans cooler and oil cooler. I have a 3" downpipe, X-over and 4" exhaust on order, Warpspeed, that should be here early this coming week. I have found a 2001 trailing guide with a 6.5TD and the CGWR is 14500#s. My owner manual says the tow capacity is 6000#s. I did double check my manual and it seems weak but with a few mods that number should be lots higher.

Question for gauges. I have seen this X-Monitor, triple digital output, and was looking for input on that unit. I like the look of the A-pillar gauges but they inpair the view, something for me to consider. http://www.dieselperformance.com/gmc/product.php?pn=XMonitor%20Digital%20Gauges&tt=gmc

After new intake, exhaust, guages, turbo master and PCM upgrade a 8500# trailer should be no problem.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks friends
 

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I wish you luck. That's a pretty hefty load to pull up the side of a mountain. Level ground would probably be fine. I'd pass on it, but I am sure others here will tell you different. Let's see 8,500#s trailer plus 8,000#s truck equal hmmmm, that's a lot of weight.
 

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I would suggest loading everything as you would for the trip, load the vehicle with a full tank of gas, and go have truck, trailer, and gear weighed as one. That way you will have an exact measurement of weight. It seems stupid but before I hitch up to my 5th wheel before each trip I load everything a week in advance and weigh everything. Then look at topographical maps to determine the how steep the grades I will be pulling are. Of course most of my camping gear is stored in the trailor, it makes a very nice storage facility for the gear.
 

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over the years I have hauled range bulls to the cow palace countless times from redmond oregon to san francisco and always with 6.2 na with little or no problems last trip was close to 7 ton of trailer weight . though it takes its toll on a vehical common sense goes along weigh. do as you are doing get gauges and use them if things warm up shift down even to low one . been there and done that on that very trip. just don't worry about the traffic going by and don't keep it floored all the time. some of our vehicals were automatic and some were sticks and the sticks handled it better just because of the gear splits and less heat building up. monster sized trans cooler with thermostate was always a must. extra fuel filters and belts. enjoy yourself in central ore. my brother and i have a hay farm in terrebonne oregon I will be up there soon.
 

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If you just take it slow when you have to I think you will be fine. I tow my 7000# towhauler up I80 to Emigrant gap all the time with no problems. My sister in law lives in Washington and when we have visited her we always took our car. This summer we might make a trip with the quads though. I think there are some hills on I-5 that are a little steeper and longer than the ones on I-80 from what I remember. Good luck.
 

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Get an intercooler. Intake temps will be your enemy on that trip. Once intake temps climb all other temps will climb.
 

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I have triple A-Pillar gauges - they bothered me a little at first (just because it was something different), but now I don't really think they are in my way at all.

FYI: I had my '98 weighed on a scale with about 3/4 tank and maybe 100 or so pounds of "stuff". Mine weighed in at 7,010lbs.
 

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I would say you're pushing it with 3.73 gears. 4.10's would help, but even then you're over the rated tow capacity. I have the same truck but with 4.10's and 4x4, and I think mine is rated at 7,600 lbs. from what I remember.

Like others have said, flat grades, no problem, but long steep grades are going to strain things a lot.

You're doing the right things as far as gauges and upgrades go. In addition, I would just take it easy. Forget about running WOT for several minutes at a time going up grades. Back off the throttle, watch the EGT's and trans temps, put your hazards on, and whatever your uphill speed is, it is. You're better off running say 30 MPH uphill at 70% throttle than running 55 MPH uphill at 100% throttle.

If it were a Cummins or a Dmax, I would say put the pedal to the metal and don't worry about it, but our 6.5's are a bit fragile when it comes to hauling heavy loads at WOT in hot weather for long periods of time.
 

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As farmer0 1 and stingray454 have stated don't run the grades wot for long periods of time. If you get the gauges watch the egt's and don't let them above 950* max unless you are reading the temp pre turbo and then I wouldn't go above 1150*. Put the hazard flashers on and do as stingray454 said "what you do is what you do". Tranny temps are going to be high also about 260* and engine temps are going to run above 220* unless you have mods for water. GOOD LUCK.
 

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She'll do it, but she will be working hard. If you arent in a hurry, then go for it.

I pulled 10,000# to mexico last summer and 99% of it was flat, so she did ok. The smallest grades killed me though.
 

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I pulled 16,900lbs GCVW from Alaska to Missouri with my 97 K3500 when the only mods were a K&N, Downpipe and Bypass oil filter. I never felt that I lacked power, but I did lack cooling. When going over the continental divide I was down to 25 to 30 mph it would still accelerate but the coolant temps would be over 240°. Yours will do it just don’t try to keep up with the Jokes, Maxy or Cumaparts.

 

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I would do it in a heart beat. But I'm the crazy guy with 3.42's that tows what ever needs to be towed. I have towed a number of Travel Trailer from Southern Arizona 30 miles from Mexico to Montana 125 miles from Canada. I have pulled up to 27 foot to 19 foot light weights. I would suggest a couple of things don't add your water until you pulled all your passes. You can get water at most truck stops and camp grounds. Another clean between the Radiator and A/C condensor. Take the top of the fan shroud off an the to Radistor brackets on top and you can tilt the Radiator and clean all the junk out that collects over the years, just costs an hour or two of your time. Until you get gauges like someone else said don't run up pedal to the floor about 3/4 throttle max and if you drop speed then shift to lower gear. Time your trip so your pulls are at the cool time of the day early morning or at night after things have cooled off.
late afternood is the worst. Stop for an early dinner and a nap if needed. One reason I drive at night when towing in the Mountains. And if your smarter than I was for several years get a Kennedy Fan clutch, yeah you can Hayden for less.........been there done it. In fact I'm on my 4th fan clutch. #1 OEM with truck, #2 Hayden SEVERE-DUTY, #3 Tweaked 1997 OEM with DuraBux fan, #4 Kennedy Special Fan Clutch with DuraBux Fan. Do yourself a favor spend the bucks for the Kennedy the others helped but only Johns IMHO is the REAL DEAL. With your truck you can use your existing fan. BTW I did fan clutch for an experiment I was able to get a factory OEM clutch reasonable ~$50 so I though what the heck I pi$$ away more money doing other things that are not nearly as interesting.

If you don't get a Kennedy Fan clutch then when your coolant temp hits ~230F look for a spot to pull over and put it in park run the engine at about 1500 -1800 RPM until you drop to ~190F then start your pull again DON"T let it get to 240F if she get bit past there the ECM WILL sHUT down the engine and you got no power stearing, or power brakes and could be in the middle of a driving lane with nowhere to go and very little controll!!!!

Good luck and pull what you got with what you got.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all of the input.. I talked with the wife today and spent a load of money on some Heath Diesel upgrades. We will be taking the trailer with us. I don't plan on racing up the mountains. I do appreciate the experienced advice. It's giving me the "what to look fors" when I get going up the grades, like the engine shutting down at 240° :( Yikes..
 

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If you keep it in 3rd instead of Drive, it will turn higher RPMS and keep things cooler. Make that 3.73 work for you! I destroyed my transmission trying to tow in D in the West Va. mountains. Bought a Tranny cooler with a 12 volt fan that I mounted under the truck. My 99 has a screw on fan clutch instead of the bolt on style Kennedy uses. Yours is probably the same. I don't let mine get over 220 (or even hold it) and I keep my boost at 12 or under. I haven't tried towing with my intercooler, but am expecting some improvement.
 
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