2015 vs. 2018+ Yukon XL Denali Towing Ability

rwbana

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I currently own a 2005 Yukon XL 2500 and I'm looking to upgrade to a model post 2015 because of the more powerful engine options that began in 2015. I need the Yukon XL because we are two adults and five kids.

I'm also towing a Jayco 23MB which weighs about 6600 fully loaded.

Some background:
The problem I'm currently having with my 2005 is I have to continually keep shifting down to 2nd gear to climb hills and on some really long grades I might even need to shift to 1st gear for the last mile stretch. On my most recent outing, the car actually almost overheated twice and I had to pull off the road on a steep grade with my whole family in the car(two adults & five kids)...not fun!

What I'm Looking for:
In a perfect world, I'm looking for a two vehicle that fits all 7 of us and when I'm going up the steepest grades (Many of these are off the I-70 and I-80 in Utah and Colorado) and keep the vehicle at 60-65 mpg while at 3000 rpm. I don't need need to fly up the hill like a 2500 Duramax would, I just don't want to struggle up the hill. So all the research I've been doing shows the 2015 Yukon XL Denali with 460 lbs of torque might be able to deliver what I'm looking for.

Would a 2015 Denali do the trick or do I need to go newer and maybe get a 10 speed transmission?

I've looked briefly at the 2015 Lincoln Navigator as well but I've always been a GMC Yukon person and not sure I can make the switch even if reviews show the Navigator is a smoother ride and can tow slightly more than the Denali.

Also, I may upgrade trailers in future but don't foresee going over 8,000 lbs on any trailer I would ever purchase...I just don't want to be towing any bumper pull larger than that.

Would love any comments or insights.

Thanks!
 

Geotrash

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I currently own a 2005 Yukon XL 2500 and I'm looking to upgrade to a model post 2015 because of the more powerful engine options that began in 2015. I need the Yukon XL because we are two adults and five kids.

I'm also towing a Jayco 23MB which weighs about 6600 fully loaded.

Some background:
The problem I'm currently having with my 2005 is I have to continually keep shifting down to 2nd gear to climb hills and on some really long grades I might even need to shift to 1st gear for the last mile stretch. On my most recent outing, the car actually almost overheated twice and I had to pull off the road on a steep grade with my whole family in the car(two adults & five kids)...not fun!

What I'm Looking for:
In a perfect world, I'm looking for a two vehicle that fits all 7 of us and when I'm going up the steepest grades (Many of these are off the I-70 and I-80 in Utah and Colorado) and keep the vehicle at 60-65 mpg while at 3000 rpm. I don't need need to fly up the hill like a 2500 Duramax would, I just don't want to struggle up the hill. So all the research I've been doing shows the 2015 Yukon XL Denali with 460 lbs of torque might be able to deliver what I'm looking for.

Would a 2015 Denali do the trick or do I need to go newer and maybe get a 10 speed transmission?

I've looked briefly at the 2015 Lincoln Navigator as well but I've always been a GMC Yukon person and not sure I can make the switch even if reviews show the Navigator is a smoother ride and can tow slightly more than the Denali.

Also, I may upgrade trailers in future but don't foresee going over 8,000 lbs on any trailer I would ever purchase...I just don't want to be towing any bumper pull larger than that.

Would love any comments or insights.

Thanks!
I tow a 6500 lb. camper with a 2012 Yukon XL Denali, and lived in Colorado for 25 years until last year, so I know the places you're speaking of. Yes, the 6.2L engine has plenty of power for hauling that camper. Mine has a stage 2 truck cam in it so I'm probably making similar or slightly more power than the newer trucks. I have a 6-speed and it's fine, but the 10-speed would be even better. The problem I (and others) run into is that the stock cooling system isn't quite up to the job once you get into the upper 80s and 90s for ambient temps - at least with the GMT900 version. I've upgraded to a Cold Case 2-row radiator that's almost 3" thick, and a fan-assisted Derale plate-fin transmission cooler mounted below and behind the front bumper. Engine cooling is no longer an issue but I'm still tweaking the transmission cooler setup.

All of that said, I'm guessing the tongue weight on your camper will be around 800 lbs and you'll only have maybe 1500 lbs of payload to work with on a newer XL. With 7 people, you're going to be over the limits on payload and rear axle loading, even with a good WDH. If I were in your shoes, I'd be shopping for a Duraburb conversion. It's a regular Suburban body (newer gens are available) with a Duramax 2500 truck chassis underneath.

https://www.facebook.com/duraburbinc/

Or, Duramax Specialties:

https://www.facebook.com/duramaxspecialties/
 
Last edited:

swathdiver

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I currently own a 2005 Yukon XL 2500 and I'm looking to upgrade to a model post 2015 because of the more powerful engine options that began in 2015. I need the Yukon XL because we are two adults and five kids.

I'm also towing a Jayco 23MB which weighs about 6600 fully loaded.

Some background:
The problem I'm currently having with my 2005 is I have to continually keep shifting down to 2nd gear to climb hills and on some really long grades I might even need to shift to 1st gear for the last mile stretch. On my most recent outing, the car actually almost overheated twice and I had to pull off the road on a steep grade with my whole family in the car(two adults & five kids)...not fun!

What I'm Looking for:
In a perfect world, I'm looking for a two vehicle that fits all 7 of us and when I'm going up the steepest grades (Many of these are off the I-70 and I-80 in Utah and Colorado) and keep the vehicle at 60-65 mpg while at 3000 rpm. I don't need need to fly up the hill like a 2500 Duramax would, I just don't want to struggle up the hill. So all the research I've been doing shows the 2015 Yukon XL Denali with 460 lbs of torque might be able to deliver what I'm looking for.

Would a 2015 Denali do the trick or do I need to go newer and maybe get a 10 speed transmission?

I've looked briefly at the 2015 Lincoln Navigator as well but I've always been a GMC Yukon person and not sure I can make the switch even if reviews show the Navigator is a smoother ride and can tow slightly more than the Denali.

Also, I may upgrade trailers in future but don't foresee going over 8,000 lbs on any trailer I would ever purchase...I just don't want to be towing any bumper pull larger than that.

Would love any comments or insights.

Thanks!

On that run on I-80, I think you'll need to slow down a little more, hold the 6-speed in 4th gear for maximum cooling as the shop manual says. If you get a 2015, get a 2015.5, I think they were built in or after April and have the more advanced features like the automatic tailgate (swing your leg under it to open it).

@intheburbs
 

rwbana

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I tow a 6500 lb. camper with a 2012 Yukon XL Denali, and lived in Colorado for 25 years until last year, so I know the places you're speaking of. Yes, the 6.2L engine has plenty of power for hauling that camper. Mine has a stage 2 truck cam in it so I'm probably making similar or slightly more power than the newer trucks. I have a 6-speed and it's fine, but the 10-speed would be even better. The problem I (and others) run into is that the stock cooling system isn't quite up to the job once you get into the upper 80s and 90s for ambient temps - at least with the GMT900 version. I've upgraded to a Cold Case 2-row radiator that's almost 3" thick, and a fan-assisted Derale plate-fin transmission cooler mounted below and behind the front bumper. Engine cooling is no longer an issue but I'm still tweaking the transmission cooler setup.

All of that said, I'm guessing the tongue weight on your camper will be around 800 lbs and you'll only have maybe 1500 lbs of payload to work with on a newer XL. With 7 people, you're going to be over the limits on payload and rear axle loading, even with a good WDH. If I were in your shoes, I'd be shopping for a Duraburb conversion. It's a regular Suburban body (newer gens are available) with a Duramax 2500 truck chassis underneath.

https://www.facebook.com/duraburbinc/

Or, Duramax Specialties:

https://www.facebook.com/duramaxspecialties/


Thanks for the reply...we have looked into the Duraburbs...just a matter of cost on those. I like your comments on upgrading the cooling system. I just test drove a 2018 Denali and thought it would be a more comfortable ride but it was stiff as heck and me and my wife were bouncing more than we do in our 2005 3/4 ton Yukon XL.

Any recommendations on what kind of shop to take it to so we can add those upgrades? What would you say the estimated cost is to add them?
 

Geotrash

Dave
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Thanks for the reply...we have looked into the Duraburbs...just a matter of cost on those. I like your comments on upgrading the cooling system. I just test drove a 2018 Denali and thought it would be a more comfortable ride but it was stiff as heck and me and my wife were bouncing more than we do in our 2005 3/4 ton Yukon XL.

Any recommendations on what kind of shop to take it to so we can add those upgrades? What would you say the estimated cost is to add them?
Any competent 4x4 shop or transmission shop can make the radiator and transmission cooler upgrades. You're probably looking at $800 for the parts plus another $500 in labor and shop supplies, plus coolant, etc. But if I were in your shoes I would probably run the truck on a few trips keeping an eye on the coolant and transmission temps and come back here with what you find. Swathdiver is offering good advice also for how to drive it.

All of this said, I wouldn't pull an 8000 lb. camper with it because it's so close to the max towing capacity of the truck, and that's before you add the 7 people. Good safety practice for towing is 10% margin on towing capacity and GWR of the truck. My camper is 6500-7000 lbs. loaded for camping, plus 4 of us in the Yukon XL, and I'm right at the limit for rear axle capacity on my rig. Here are my CAT scale numbers. The first is just the truck, 2 adults and a full tank of gas, and the second is the truck, camper, 2 adults, 2 kids, full tank of gas and all of our gear. Yours would be very similar numbers plus another 3 people on the truck axles and probably another 1000 pounds on the trailer axle.

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TollKeeper

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I would also have to jump on the Duraburb wagon. They are kinda rare thou.. Every now and then, they do pop up, and are cheap for what they are...

Upgrade the seats, put in some carpet, and call it a day!
 

TollKeeper

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Also, you could call 4072579657 . Its a company that has access to 1 ton fleet suburbans, and also do diesel conversions.
 

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