3.0L Duramax Towing?

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MrMike1289

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Has anyone towed with the 3.0L Duramax yet or have general towing knowledge? Specifically looking at the ‘21 Yukon SLT 4WD 3.0L Duramax w/max trailering package. We also have a weight distributing hitch. We have ran into a deal on a travel trailer that is VERY hard to pass up. However we are pushing it as far as the max tow rating goes with this trailer. Curious what y’all think and if it’s safe tow? It’s just me and my partner so no kids to add to the car and we plan to tow empty as far as water goes to be on the safe side. Specs on the trailer: dry weight - just under 6k lbs. GVWR - 7,800. 24ft long. 610 tongue weight.
 
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Snowbound

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That’s pushing the limits of that Yukon. It’s 8000lb tow capacity and short wheel base may result in “tail wagging the dog” scenario. It’ll pull it fine, and the weigh distribution hitch will help but it’s walking a fine line and your gonna have them moments where you can’t drive a straight pin up your *** with a sledge hammer. We all know that travel trailers get loaded down even if you keep the tanks empty. Whatever you decide, be safe doing so.
 

Stbentoak

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I'm in the camp of always have more than you need. WAY more. That why I keep a 17 year old Cummins 2500 around. I have a 6K TriToon and lets put it this way, even with proper braking and etc. you still know its back there on the RAM. I don't test the limits of anything when family is involved....
 

Bill 1960

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I have a lot of towing experience, so on occasion I’ll run a rig at full capacity for one reason or another. That said, I almost never recommend it. It turns an otherwise pleasurable experience into work.

I would personally be looking for something with a longer wheelbase. And the weights advertised by RV builders are frequently deceptive. Tongue weight needs to be near 12% for a stable tow. And it probably will be with batteries and propane that they forgot to mention when they stated the claimed weights.
 

Geotrash

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In my opinion, the Yukon is not the right tool for that job.

I tow a camper that was listed by the mfr as having a 5700 lb empty weight and a 600 lb tongue weight, and is 32' from ball to bumper. A trip to the CAT scale showed those weights to be pure fantasy. Minimally loaded, it weighs 6500 lbs and puts 750 lbs on the tongue. Loaded with camping chairs, chocks, food clothes, and such, it weighs 7200 lbs. with empty water tanks and puts 850 lbs on the tongue. I tow it with a 2012 Yukon XL Denali (6.2) and I'm within all weight limits, but only *just*. It's cammed and conservatively I estimate it puts out 450 hp and 460 ft. lbs. of torque. But that's not the limiting factor - there's plenty of power. The limiting factors are 1/ how much that trailer will wag the truck in windy conditions, 2/ keeping the engine and transmission cool in the summer heat, 3/ long-term durability with that kind of load.

As others have said, the short wheelbase will be an issue. The XL does okay with sway but I've pulled heavy trailers with 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks before and there is a significant difference in overall stability. I definitely wouldn't want anything shorter. I also spent 2 weeks of experimenting to get the hitch set up correctly to properly distribute the weight and minimize sway. I've had to modify the cooling systems in mine to keep the temperatures under control (larger radiator, fan-assisted transmission cooler mounted below the bumper, one upgraded radiator fan motor of two, and an upgraded torque converter that won't eat itself when towing). Other guys I know towing similar weights have replaced their rear diffs 2-3 times, and our old solid rear axles are built hell-for-stout, usually lasting 300-400K without towing. TBD on the independent rear ends in the new ones.

Will the Duramax shorty pull it? Sure. All I'm saying is know what you're getting into and be prepared to get into a 3/4 ton at some point when you're tired of white-knuckle windy drives and throwing money into upgrades and repairs. These trucks just weren't engineered to pull that kind of duty for long.
 

Jeremie

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#1 Learn about GVWR, GCWR, and max tongue weight. Get a tongue weight scale (or go to a scale once loaded up) and weight everything since you're going to be close. Make sure you're within all of the the weight ratings. Since there's only 2 of you you should be fine here.
#2 Wheelbase and sway are a real concern, especially with the shorter wheelbase Yukon. Make sure you have a really good WDH with lots of sway reduction - don't skimp out here.
#3 Drive safe.

My 2 cents - as long as you're within ratings and drive smart you'll be safe. Yes driving with heavy loads will increase wear on the truck, so if you're doing it all the time then you should get something bigger. But as long as you're within ratings you shouldn't have any issues with warranty, etc. If it's just for a few weekends a year should be fine - but if it's all the time then you should definitely get something bigger.
 
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MrMike1289

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Thank you all for your input! I really appreciate all of your knowledge and advise on this.
 

George B

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I parked my 13 Burb next to a 21 Hoe and was surprised to notice the Hoe was nearly as long as my Burb. The wheelbase on the 21 is 120.9 while the 13 Burb is 130 compared to the shorter 116 of the older Hoes. It's gotta help some.
 

Campingfamco

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I think it depends on your comfort level towing. We have a 21 Denali with the 6.2, max trailering, and air suspension. We also have a 21 Jayco 24MBH which is 29.5’ long and weighs 6800 empty and 7600 max gross. I had a curt WDH with it originally and I was being pushed around like crazy and really upset I let the DW talk me into the Yukon instead of my 3500 Sierra. I was really looking forward to the 900+ ftlbs of torque.

I then put the equalizer with four point sway control on and I can barely tell the trailer is behind me. This weekend I drove from Denver to Ridgeway CO and had to take several passes which in my opinion would push the vehicle to the max. On the way there we found out the road we were taking was closed due to construction at the time we were coming through and had to change our route over Hoosier pass. Then we had to go up and down vail pass. In both situations the Yukon pulled up the passes and did a great job. Yes I wasn’t going 80 over them but I was moving plenty fast for having a 30’ trailer behind me. On the descents the unit did a great job grade shifting. I didn’t have to once engage the manual shift mode. I only had a few brake applications down vail pass. Having the brake controller setup properly with the right amount of gain really helped ensure I didn’t over work the Yukons breaks too much while also doing the same for the trailer.

I think the only limiting factor is the wheel base. Being shorter the trailer will push around at times in heavy winds. On the way to ridgeway for example the winds were howling at 15-25 knots. I ended up going from a comfortable speed of 67 to about 64 and sometimes 58. If I felt any sway at all I either gave it a little gas or applied the trailer breaks gently and corrected it with no problem. On the way home we had no winds and I found myself pushing towards 74 at times very comfortably. I easily maintained 67 even going up the passes. I had no sway either. So in my case the winds are a big factor.

One other thing to keep an eye on is the payload. While the vehicle has a payload at either 1400 or 1600 pounds roughly, the hitch is limited to 800 pounds. I have no doubt with my setup I’m pushing those limits. The right WDH being setup properly is definitely needed.

So in short, it sounds like the trailer your getting won’t be a problem. Take your time and know your limits. I think you’ll be really happy with your setup.
 

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