2012 GMC Yukon XL Denali Towing

Duchess

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Looking for advice on travel trailer towing. We want to upgrade to a toy hauler, lightweight. I am so confused by what I can actually tow. I have a 2012 GMC Yukon XL Denali we have a weight distribution hitch and brake controller. There is a small cooling radiator attached to the main radiator (not sure if this is transmission or oil?) Newbie to GMC Yukon, and have been Honda owners forever. This was a used purchase 2 years ago.

Currently looking into a Keystone Outback 24OURS Toy Hauler. It has the following specs:

Dry Weight
5,189 lbs.
Payload Capacity
2,401 lbs.
GVWR
7,590 lbs.
Hitch Weight
590 lbs.

My Denali has:
tow capacity of 7900

GVWR 7200
Curb wt. 5741
Max payload 1451

Carrying 2 adults under 200lb 3 kids (currently combined wt. 200lbs) and two dogs (100lb total for dogs)

Is this too close? Does anyone have recommendations for toy haulers that sleep 5 and can safely be towed by my Yukon XL? TIA
 

TrybalRage

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Well, add X to your dry weight factoring in whatever it is you're going to be hauling in it, ATV? Motorcylce(s)? gear, water, batteries, etc. You're going to be creeping up on the max tow capacity of the Denali.

Payload is getting close as well once you load it with people, pets, luggage, and the weight on the hitch.

How far and how often do you plan to tow? If you're sticking with your current vehicle I'd at minimum upgrade to a bigger trans cooler, and get a weight distribution hitch for the trailer. That will at least make things easier and less stress on the truck. You'll probably be fine but if you get into a hilly area you're going to be in the slow lane. Keep an eye on your temps. Think about upgrading your brakes.

Maybe consider getting some helper bags for the rear?

Long term I'd consider upgrading to a 2500 series Burban/Yukon for the leaf springs in the rear, higher payload and tow rating. Or get yourself a pickup since they're better suited for the task. Most of the time you'll see that they recommend staying at 80-90% of the listed tow rating, not that that stops people from maxing things out.
 

Geotrash

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You will be just fine with that setup. I pull a 32’ Alpha Wolf 26DBH-L that has similar weight specs with our 2012 Yukon XL Denali. Fully loaded for camping it’s around 7200 lbs. plus my wife, me, 2 kids and a dog in the Yukon (all other gear I store in the trailer). I’ve pulled it across the country to Yellowstone, Montana, Colorado, with no problems at all. Check your rear air shocks to make sure the bags are in good shape and you should be good to go.

Your truck actually has 4 external fluid coolers: 1/ one of the radiator end tanks (pax side) has a transmission cooler that then routes to 2/ the external transmission cooler mounted in front of the radiator. 3/ the other radiator end tank (drivers side) has an engine oil cooler, and 4/ there is a little power steering fluid cooler mounted beside the radiator on the drivers side.

I ended up replacing the transmission cooler in front of the radiator with a Derale 13960 fan-forced cooler and relocated it to below the front bumper. You will be okay without doing that, but I was having problems keeping the coolant temps below 230ºF on long, steep climbs in 95ºF+ weather because that external cooler mounted in front of the radiator sheds some heat. With the cooler relocated to below the bumper, it’s no longer an issue at all. Keep in mind though that Dexcool doesn’t boil until 265°F so I still had plenty of margin, but just didn’t know it at the time.

One thing I would recommend you consider though, is an upgraded torque converter (TC) for the transmission. One of the most common failure modes for the 6L80 is when the lockup clutch in the TC fails and sends debris through the transmission, causing it to fail. Then you also have a real mess to clean up because both of the external coolers get contaminated with debris. I had a local transmission shop install a CVC model BU60FHD in mine. It's an OEM converter that's been fitted with a billet housing and stronger lockup clutch for durability. I think I paid $1400 out the door for the TC and labor, including a new rear main seal and transmission front seal while they were in there.

15K towing miles on this setup now and it's fabulous. Hope to keep it as my primary tow vehicle for several more years.

Here's the whole story. Happy reading :) https://www.tahoeyukonforum.com/thr...ontrol-when-towing-in-the-summer-heat.125753/

Long story short, even though I've added a bigger cam, 2-row radiator, 700w fan motor and the external cooler, and a Blackbear tune, none of that is necessary and if I had it to do over again, I would leave it well enough alone except for the torque converter and the Blackbear tune.

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swathdiver

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Looking for advice on travel trailer towing. We want to upgrade to a toy hauler, lightweight. I am so confused by what I can actually tow. I have a 2012 GMC Yukon XL Denali we have a weight distribution hitch and brake controller. There is a small cooling radiator attached to the main radiator (not sure if this is transmission or oil?) Newbie to GMC Yukon, and have been Honda owners forever. This was a used purchase 2 years ago.

Currently looking into a Keystone Outback 24OURS Toy Hauler. It has the following specs:

Dry Weight
5,189 lbs.
Payload Capacity
2,401 lbs.
GVWR
7,590 lbs.
Hitch Weight
590 lbs.

My Denali has:
tow capacity of 7900

GVWR 7200
Curb wt. 5741
Max payload 1451

Carrying 2 adults under 200lb 3 kids (currently combined wt. 200lbs) and two dogs (100lb total for dogs)

Is this too close? Does anyone have recommendations for toy haulers that sleep 5 and can safely be towed by my Yukon XL? TIA
She'll pull it just fine. That small radiator up front is your external transmission cooler. The folks that rebuilt your radiator ought to have flow tested it, and the lines, before returning the truck to you.

There are a couple of guys on here who regularly tow with Denalis, they'll chime in soon enough.
 

Foggy

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You'll be fine.. Just make sure all your fluids/ filters/ maint is up to date.
Keep an eye on your trans temps when towing loaded. Make sure you
run your trailer tires and Yukon tires at their ideal/max pressures

Listen to GeoTrash and Swathdiver - we've all done this with even heavier loads.
I've upgraded items on mine for safety, but I'm towing over 9K.

The torque converter IS A BIG DEAL as it's one of the key/likely failure points.
Consider a transmission pan that has more capacity as well.
 

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