How do I find the tow rating of my 15 year old vehicle?

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acegarp

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I have a 1990 GMC Suburban 2500 with a 454 engine.  I called a local RV dealer and they put it at btwn 8500-10500 pounds.  What would the difference be, and how could I find out?  The trailer I'm pulling is a toy hauler which weighs 7300lbs empty, but with full tanks and a couple of ATVs and other gear I'm sure I'm looking at an extra1500-2000lbs.  Also, what are the consequences of exceeding my tow rating? Thanks.
 

Tom

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Do you have the owner's manual? It may have the tow rating information you're looking for.

Several things will affect the towing capacity, including the rear axle ratio, transmission fluid cooler and oil cooler, which might explain the range of numbers the dealer gave you.
 

Carl L

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acegarp said:
I have a 1990 GMC Suburban 2500 with a 454 engine.? I called a local RV dealer and they put it at btwn 8500-10500 pounds.? What would the difference be, and how could I find out?? The trailer I'm pulling is a toy hauler which weighs 7300lbs empty, but with full tanks and a couple of ATVs and other gear I'm sure I'm looking at an extra1500-2000lbs.? Also, what are the consequences of exceeding my tow rating? Thanks.

Consider that you have a 15 year old vehicle.  Tow ratings of 15 years ago may not mean all that much.  You have an unspecified number of miles, rear end ratio, and transmission type.  Your engine may be on the brink of rebuild time,  as may be the transmission.  On the other hand you cannot have much invested in the rascal.  Get the engine and transmission checked out for condition -- rebuild if necessary.  Find out what the rear end ratio is -- you want a stump pulling ratio.  Installing a transmission cooler couldn't hurt.  Add up the dollars and decide if you want to pump money into a 1990, or go into the market for something a bit less antique.

The consequence of exceeding tow ratings?  Breakdown on the highway.  Especially, with a 15 year old vehicle which may be marginal to start with.
 

acegarp

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Thanks for your replies, and I think you called it, Carl.  I tried pulling the trailer up a grade today and the Suburban overheated.  Rather than dump any more money into it, I think my wife and I will be looking at a newer truck.  Everyone I've talked to who has a trailer recommends a diesel.
 

Carl L

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acegarp said:
Thanks for your replies, and I think you called it, Carl.? I tried pulling the trailer up a grade today and the Suburban overheated.? Rather than dump any more money into it, I think my wife and I will be looking at a newer truck.? Everyone I've talked to who has a trailer recommends a diesel.

A good move, go for  a rig no more than a few years old with a trailer towing package from the mfr..  Check out the Trailer Life tow ratings on their web site.

Diesel has its problems but in as heavy a rig as you are talking, it is probably the way to go. 
 

acegarp

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Could you please clue me in on problems regarding diesels? I have absolutely no experience with them.  All I really know is that they have lots of torque, they sound different, and they run at lower rpms.  As you can see, I'm pretty ignorant.  I want to make a more informed choice for my next tow vehicle, hopefully one that will last me for years.
 

Carl L

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acegarp said:
Could you please clue me in on problems regarding diesels? I have absolutely no experience with them.? All I really know is that they have lots of torque, they sound different, and they run at lower rpms.? As you can see, I'm pretty ignorant.? I want to make a more informed choice for my next tow vehicle, hopefully one that will last me for years.

Operation in cold temperatures, especially going from warm to cold as one might do with a trip from, say, San Francisco to Lake Tahoe in the winter.? ?#2 diesel has a tendency to cloud up with wax at temps around 20?F.? There are also significant issue with filters, water filters, and biologic attack.? ? However, this is all stuff from various written sources.? Obviously a lot of folks run diesel and would not change out.? Hopefully, some of those folks here will chime in.
 
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Carl Lundquist said:
Operation in cold temperatures, especially going from warm to cold as one might do with a trip from, say, San Francisco to Lake Tahoe in the winter.  #2 diesel has a tendency to cloud up with wax at temps around 20?F.  There are also significant issue with filters, water filters, and biologic attack.    However, this is all stuff from various written sources.  Obviously a lot of folks run diesel and would not change out.  Hopefully, some of those folks here will chime in.

There are additives you can put in the fuel to overcome the "clouding" issue Stanadyne and Power Service are two that come to mind.  In the winter, actually late fall when the cooler temperatures are prevalent, the fuel companies put the additives in.  As far as alga and filter plugging, there are biocides such as RACOR to treat a fuel system that already has a problem, and the aforementioned Stanadyne which will prevent the algae from forming.  Alga or "bugs" in the fuel is caused when there is water present in the fuel.  Water can come from a bad batch of fuel from a station that has low turnover of diesel or even from your own tanks if the vehicle is stored without topping the tanks off to prevent the heating and cooling cycles from drawing in moist air that condenses in the tank over time.  I've had my truck since 1999 and have only had a single problem with the fuel and I suspect it was because the truck had set on the dealers lot for a while.  Newer diesels have glowplugs or inlet air heaters to aid cold starts as well as built in block heaters so that starting in very cold weather (-26F here in Ohio once) is not a problem with a well maintained vehicle.  I would not hesitate to reccommend a diesel to someone who is looking to pull a heavy load.  Just my $.02
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Personally I would choose diesel, but the big block GM engine (8.1L) or the V10 Ford will also do the job for you.  As Carl says, you want one with the stump pulling rear axle,  usually 4.10:1 or close to that.
 

Tom

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BigRed CC Dually said:
As far as alga and filter plugging, there are biocides such as RACOR to treat a fuel system that already has a problem, and the aforementioned Stanadyne which will prevent the algae from forming.

BigRed, I've always wondered what would happen if I had algae in the diesel and followed the instructions on my biocide bottle for initial treatment (i.e. I zap the algae). Wouldn't I be left with lots of dead algae which would plug up the secondary fuel filter?
 

Carl L

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BigRed CC Dually said:
There are additives you can put in the fuel to overcome the "clouding" issue Stanadyne and Power Service are two that come to mind.?.... Newer diesels have glowplugs or inlet air heaters to aid cold starts as well as built in block heaters so that starting in very cold weather (-26F here in Ohio once) is not a problem with a well maintained vehicle.? I would not hesitate to reccommend a diesel to someone who is looking to pull a heavy load.? Just my $.02

And a good 2 cent, it is.  Thanks for the detailled info.  It is appreciated.
 
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Tom said:
BigRed, I've always wondered what would happen if I had algae in the diesel and followed the instructions on my biocide bottle for initial treatment (i.e. I zap the algae). Wouldn't I be left with lots of dead algae which would plug up the secondary fuel filter?

Tom,

In my case I had to change the fuel filter (a dark slimy filter is a sure sign of algae) two times before the problem was solved.  Fortunately I had bought a case of Racor filters from DIS (Diesel Injection Service) before the prices on filters went so high.  I have about $5.50 in each one.  They run close to $20 now in the parts stores.  The first batch of crud was the worst.  It took a lot longer to cause the check filter light to come on for the second filter.  I religiously use Stanadyne Performance Formula now mostly as a lubricity additive for the injectors now that lower sulfur diesel is what is available and the future sulfur content in fuel will drop even more in the future (a good thing for the environment but sulfur in the fuel is used to lubricate injection pumps and injectors in diesels) it prevents algae from growing  plus it adds to the mileage slightly.
 

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