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Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be On?

Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be On?

Postby falconman515 [OP] » May 21 2013, 2:19am

I just purchased a 2011 GMC Sierra SLE Z71 4x4 5.3L with the upgraded Towing package, HD package and rear axle ... Going to be towing my 4.5 - 5K 24' travel trailer equipped with WD hitch and Tekonsha P3 brake controller.

My main question for when towing is I know I need to have trailer button on, but what about the tranny?
Should I keep it in regular "D" (Drive) and let the 5.3L Active Fuel Management switch back and forth from V8 to V4, or should I have it in automatic / manual 6-speed and keep it say on M5 when towing so it doesn't use AFM and I get the full V8 power at all times?

Also should I leave the display on transmittion temperature? I figure the tranny will be doing some work when towing this trailer 7K+ heights and many hills straight up ... should I monitor this as well? and if so what is the max temp the tranny should be at and if it goes over should I pull over and let it cool down a bit?

Just want to make sure I know everything there is to know about my truck when towing a trailer and what settings I should keep everything on.

Anything else I should know or be conscious of when towing a trailer?

Thanks so much for any information and help you can provide on this subject. :)

Chris
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby cyclepuck » May 21 2013, 2:24am

My tt is close to 8k loaded. Usually in D with tow haul on. If it's a nice calm day and flat land I'll turn the tow off. And I leave the trans temp on just to monitor. The max temp I've seen is 204 GM says you're safe to 265.
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby GottWhat » May 21 2013, 2:29am

Congrats on your new ride.

1) I would just keep the trailer button on and let the truck do the shifting.
2) You can keep the trans temp on but you shouldn't have any problems. I would only worry if temps starting getting north of 220 but mine hasn't gone past 200. Someone else might have a different opinion on that.
3) Sure you already know this but make sure you are aware of how to fully operate your brake controller
4) Have fun!
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby richcory » May 21 2013, 2:38am

When my wife & I just PCS'd to Washington from Oklahoma my enclosed trailer weighed 10,000lbs and the truck was full also. GCWR was 15,900 without myself and a couple of bags. I left the transmission in "D" & used "tow/haul" for 95% of the drive. When I did deselect "tow/haul" it was really flat and I was trying to up my MPG's by letting it stay in 6th gear.

If you choose to run it without "tow/haul" and it's shifting a lot in & out of gears while cruising then I would watch your transmission temp. If it's rising then engage "tow/haul" to help prevent the extra shifting since that's what causes the rise in tranny temps. I also looked for a max transmission temp & never found one. The highest I've ever had mine was 201 and that was at the dragstrip on a 100 degree plus day after making almost a dozen passes, it showed no ill effects. When towing it's never got that high (I want to say 170's/180's I think) Using "tow/haul" will also help when going downhill. It will downshift to help slow you down and in turn keep your brakes cooler.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby StarsnBars » May 21 2013, 2:42am

Same here. I towed alittle over 8000lb T.T. on my old 2011 1500 with the same set-up as the O.P. I kept it in drive with tow haul enguaged all the time. You use alittle more fuel, but it keeps your tranny from excessive shifting looking for the right gear on hills and such.
Shouldn't have any problems with the tranny temp. I never once got my temp over 210 and that was hauling on heavy T.T.
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby 09chevyman » May 21 2013, 3:07am

Just keep the tow/ haul button on all the time when pulling tt, don't be hesitant to give her the gas to get up the hill, it will be ok. I just got back from tt pull with my 5.3, in foothills of mountains we did see 4,000rpms a couple times but it was 2,700 rpm's or less most of the time. And watch out for the other idiots on the road!

P.S. my tt is 7,800lb dry weight....I have hd tow package also...never saw more than 180* on tranny temp....
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby falconman515 [OP] » May 21 2013, 8:27am

When is a good time to be running 4 high?

I of course run in 2 high for regular everyday driving and I know when I will need 4 low ... but when is 4 high needed? Icy roads etc?

How well does Auto work on the truck?
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby 09chevyman » May 21 2013, 8:42am

4H shouldn't be needed unless your on snow/ice covered roads, I've never pulled a tt through snow ice roads, someone else will have to comment on that for you...
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby falconman515 [OP] » May 21 2013, 8:16pm

Thanks for all the info on towing guys! :)
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Re: Towing Travel Trailer, What Settings Should My Truck Be

Postby AT_angel » May 22 2013, 12:25am

falconman515 wrote:When is a good time to be running 4 high?

I of course run in 2 high for regular everyday driving and I know when I will need 4 low ... but when is 4 high needed? Icy roads etc?

How well does Auto work on the truck?


Tow/haul mode should be fine and I would watch the trans temp gauge if it goes over 210.
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