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5.3 liter Tahoe

Discussion in 'Tow & Trailer' started by camok5, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. camok5

    camok5 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    My girlfriend is in the market for a newer car and she doesnt know what to get. I was thinking if she was going to get a newer vehical why not make it something that could tow my K5. She doesnt want anything to big and it has to get decent gas mileage. The only vehical I can think of to fit what she wants in her price range is a newer (2001-2003) Tahoe with the 5.3 liter. I have read a bunch of posts about the 5.3 and it seems no one can agree if it is decent for towing a blazer? Is there any other options for me or will the Tahoe do alright? Not to many hills around here and I only plan on towing it 4 or 5 times a year if that?
     
  2. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    um......my first response is going to be it probably won't be good. Depending on where you tow (flat or otherwise), its gonna be working pretty hard. In that vehicle though, the motor isn't going to be the limiting factor. Have you checked the tow ratings on the tahoes? I really doubt you can put a K5 on a trailer and be under the tow ratings - and if you can, it will be really close.

    I know you said somethign not too big, but i think a better bet if you wanted to tow your k5 would be a 96-99 3/4 ton burb with a diesel. The diesel will get better mileage, and the 3/4 ton will handle the weight.

    So thats my opinion....anxious to see what other ppl say though.
     
  3. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I think it will be fine. The 5.3L will tow a K5/trailer combo of about 7K with ease cruising in 3rd gear. Hills won't be that bad either, rev it up in 2nd and it will pull 35-45mph just fine, if not faster.

    Just make sure the trailer has good brakes that work and you might need to add a helper spring to the rear spring pack if it sways too much.

    As far as mileage a Tahoe won't deliver what usually a woman is refering to as "good mileage." Most females I know would think 12-17mpg is terrible, unless they aren't paying for it.
     
  4. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Will it pull it, sure it will............but as mentioned it's far from the best setup. The 5.3 may not be the best but would get the job done, and is definitely not the limiting factor. You could put an 8.1L engine in the same vehicle and I still tell you it's not the best setup to use.

    The suspension and overall durability are the issues. The suspension and tires used are made for ride quality and maybe carting a few extra adults and their luggage down the freeway, not hauling a big trailer. There will be a lot of stress on the rear 10-bolt axle and 4L60 trans.

    If you can get a K5 on a trailer to only weight 7000 lbs., then that is pretty light. My 1-ton but otherwise stripped down K5 weighs around 6,000 lbs. and a trailer big enough to haul it will most likely weigh 2,000+ lbs.

    A guy I know in our club pulls his big 10k deckover trailer with a 3/4 ton K5 on it to the trails every once in awhile with a 5.3 powered 1/2 ton 2wd truck (I'm sure this truck is much lighter than a typical Tahoe). It did okay but he did make the statement that "it was only a little hairy every once in awhile" (in regards to handling)........this statement scares me. My crewcab 2500HD pulled the same load along the same route with the cruise control on and one hand on the wheel with absolutely no "hairy" moments.
     
  5. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    I have towed my 90 K5 with my 99 Tahoe before. It does a decent job.. My father has an 02 Yukon with the 5.3.. I think it would pull a little better since it has some more power.... Have a friend that pulls his k5 with a 97 Tahoe also. His Tahoe is lifted with 33's and it still does a good job...

    I think you'll be ok with a Tahoe.. Just be more cautious and aware while towing.
     
  6. noahrob

    noahrob 1/2 ton status Author

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    One of the things that I am tryign to weigh out is how often I will tow. I could see that Tahoe being a bigger issue if a) I towed my truck often or b) I was always towing over huge hills.

    Since we live in SB, a lot of the places we will go are over flat ground (Pismo, Hollister Ranch, Azusa, etc..) so i woudln't worry about htat too much. The other thing is how opften will you be towing...6 times a year? 7? I would rather have the Tahoe for a regular car that can tow than something that can only tow...
     
  7. Cmoe

    Cmoe 1/2 ton status

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    A friend of mine tows his enclosed trailer for the past 8 years with a '95 Tahoe. The largest problem he's had on the way to and from LA, CA, he warped the rotors on his '99 Tahoe. You may want to look into larger brakes.....
     
  8. noJeepshere

    noJeepshere I Drive Trains! Premium Member

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    I could understand it being a hairy ride if his truck is a reg. cab short bed or even a long bed, as its not "ideal" for towing. now yours might be a cc longbed, i duuno, and I'm not trying to pick on you. heck, even two trucks, otherwise the same, one being 1/2 ton and the other a srw 1 ton, would behave very differently with the same load.

    now I remember my dad building up an 81 1/2 ton suburban to be a dd/tow rig. 350 (10.2:1 compression) th350 and good ol' 10 bolt out back. towed a 8000 terry taurus travel trailer from florida to california to washington and back, with out a single problem. the tranny and axle held up just fine. we sold the thing with 220000 miles on it, and saw it years later still chugging along.

    I'm diggng up this thread becuase I'm contemplating dragging an Isuzu Rodeo home from utah to washington for my brother with my 99 Yukon. I think I should be fine as long as I dont get in a hurry and be easy on it.
     
  9. throttleissues

    throttleissues 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    My dad was using an '03 Tahoe 5.3 2wd to tow his 27' Nash with slides all over the place after he retired with no problems at all. If the brake rotors get warped, then you need to reassess your brake adj. or brake controller settings. His trailer was running between 7700 and 8000lbs. I will point out that my dad has had a tendency to kill rotors on his previous vehicles without towing and is not what I would refer to as an "excellent" driver. So, I don't think it would be a big deal to haul a K5 with a Tahoe a few times a year.:thumb:
     
  10. noJeepshere

    noJeepshere I Drive Trains! Premium Member

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    I'm a motorcoach operator (tour bus)/semi-truck driver. Not professionally, but have been all over Washington and North Idaho hauling grain for local farmers. I know a thing or two about grades and saving my arse on them, I just wanted to verify that a rig as light duty as my Yukon would have the guts to tow ~6000 lbs. I think I should be ok.
     
  11. JEBSR

    JEBSR 1/2 ton status

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    Yes, it will tow it

    I tow my blazer with tools, equipment, and extra tires on a fairly regular basic with an 03 Avalanche Z66. I have towed it to Florida on 3 occasions so far with no problems. Once outside of the hills of TN I can run it in OD 90% of the time. I would recommend an additional trans cooler for that 4l60E though. I Did have to put airbags on the back to keep it from sagging with my big truck on it. As far as the question, will the 5.3 do the job, it is rated at 285 Hp and 325 lb ft torque which is more hp than any of the stock 5.7 truck motor of the recent past and only 5 lb ft less than the vortecs. And people have towed with them for years.

    Paddy's Bluff 020.jpg

    Paddy's Bluff 033.jpg

    Paddy's Bluff 036.jpg
     
  12. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    The biggest issues will be the possiblility of frying the 4L60E with out extra cooling, poor brakes (GM half tons, 'burbs and Tahoes especially) and the weak 10 bolt rear.

    So add a bigger tranny cooler ASAP, keep the tranny in 3rd while towing, give yourself plenty of stopping distance, and go slow up and down on the grades. Not much you can do for the 10 bolt except look for a 14SF if you kill it.
     
  13. jac6695

    jac6695 1/2 ton status

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    The GM sport utilities have 8 times the brakes that 1/2 ton trucks 15 years ago had, and are a huge improvement over the 92-00 body style sport utilities had. They also have larger front rotors and I think the same size rear rotors as the HD trucks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  14. JEBSR

    JEBSR 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah, I have no issues with brakes. Mine came with very large dual piston calipers front and rear. If you trailer has the proper brakes, it shouldn't put much additional load on your trucks brakes anyway.
     
  15. W7NB

    W7NB 1/2 ton status

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    I tow a 4500lb River Jet Sled regularly with my Tahoe. The 5.3 is not bad, but the 3:55 gears are not doing me any favors. I added a heavy duty tranny cooler, and tend to run drive unless I'm on flat ground and always use tow mode. Breaking does not seem to be a problem, just under 50k miles and no issues with the breaks yet - no rotor pulse or grab.

    Mileage towing with the Tahoe is around 11-12, and my Cummins Dodge gets 15+, so I tend to tow with the pickup on long trips.
     

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