Towing capacity/rpm's/tran temp while towing 19 Ft trailer?

Asked by Aug 29, 2012 at 10:55 PM about the 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid Crew Cab

Question type: General

My husband and I recently purchased a 2011 GMC sierra 1500 series 2x4 V6. We bought a small trailer (19 Ft) and had a hitch/tow package, tranny cooler and electric brake control installed. We were told we bought the right size truck for this trailer. We drove in a very hilly area with grades of 8-10%  when we took it out for the first time and became quite frightened when the tranny temp reached 105C (approx 223F) and we were told this is okay and it can actually go to 225F without damaging the trucks tranny. The truck was working real hard and we had it in 2nd gear most of the way and we were very slow moving. It was also a very hot day (30+). The temp did go down to 80's. Just wondering if this was okay for this truck as we are new to towing.
I also was wondering about rpm's? On pretty level areas on the highway the tranny temp in second gear stays in the 80's but the rpm's go upwards to 3500. Is this okay? It does sound good. Wondering if anyone had any advice or opinion on this? We were thinking about going to a V8 or getting a second cooler installed for the hilly areas.

5 Answers


Highway the truck should be in third not second. If the trans ends up hunting between 2nd and 3rd then you're pulling too much

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I got on Bing and searched trailer towing 101 and this was #1 http:// . I read over it briefly and for someone new to towing it should help answer a lot.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hi BrockSpencer, You may also want to review the Owner's Manual pg. 9-25 Driving and Operating and Towing on pg 10-103 for details regarding towing limits and capacities for your truck. If you still have questions, you can also contact your GM dealership towing professionals to inquire. Have a great Labor Day weekend! Vanessa GM Customer Service


For starters if i was buying a truck with the intention of towing I would've just gotten the v8 or a diesel. 2nd gear is way to low to be in on the highway. Just stay out of overdrive and you will be ok. Momentum is key. On flat and down hill try to gain speed with little strain so the upcoming hill isnt as hard to climb. Staying slow then having to gun it up every hill to maintain speed isnt smart. I have towed greater with smaller trucks. I cant stress this enough MOMENTUM!!!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I'd definitely get a truck with a V8 or Diesel to pull trailers, a V6 will have you getting passed by Ford Fiestas

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