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Old 11-04-2018, 06:46 AM   #1
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Uphill Towing Concern/New Tow Vehicle Advice

I must admit I didn't perform enough research and listened to the salesman's advice when I purchased our first truck. We are towing a 2015 Forest River 2703WS travel trailer with a 1/2 ton truck using weight distribution and sway control. On flat ground I don't have any towing issues, however, going up hills, the truck seems to struggle (at times impossible to go 55mph). We plan to purchase a 3/4 ton tow vehicle, however, I am not sure if a gas powered truck will provide the needed oomph up hills. I know a diesel engine would, however, based on my driving habits (less than 10K/year) and cost to purchase/maintain diesel, I don't believe that is the correct choice for us.

In addition and correct me if I am wrong, torque plays a big role in towing uphill. When reviewing the manufacturer towing guides, I am not really seeing much of a difference in torque from what I currently own and the 3/4 ton gas powered trucks. With that being said, other than the additional cargo and towing capacities, will a new tow vehicle resolve our concern?

Comments from folks with a similar sized trailer and their towing experiences would be appreciated too?

Tow Vehicle
2015 Sierra 1500 SLT
4x4/short bed
6.2L V8 Gas
GVWR: 7600
Payload Capacity: 1924
Towing Capacity: 11800
GCVWR: 17700
Axle Ratio: 3.42
Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Horsepower: 420 @ 5600 rpm
Tongue Weight: 800 lb (1200 with weight distribution system)

Travel Trailer
Forest River 2703WS
Dry Weight: 6550
Cargo Capacity: 1099
Hitch Weight: 734 (excluding front end cargo)

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Old 11-04-2018, 06:53 AM   #2
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If you are not happy with the performance of the 6.2L engine now, changing to a 3/4 ton with the same engine will not help you. The 3/4 ton will get you more payload but the HP and torque will be the same as now. The only way to get more torque is to change to a diesel.

Hank, Dianna and two fur babies Cody and Bella
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2018 Crusader 338RSK
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:16 AM   #3
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I cannot understand how that set up your struggling to maintain 55mph? What mountain ridge are you crossing? Remember rving is about seeing and enjoying the view.

Well one thing that might be of concern and possibly a cheaper fix but a very small sacrifice on fuel economy say a mile or so per gallon is finding a shop that will change you rear end gearing if 4x4 both but will make a hell of an improvement.

Iím just shocked at having the 6.2 and struggling like that? Like the other guy said if you buy a gassed 3/4 ton itís basically the same setup but with different gearing.. of course leaf springs and stuff. If I were you Iíd go test drive one ask them to let you keep it for a day for decision making and swap your hitch pull your trailer and test the same speeds and acceleration.. make note of the test vehicle to see what gearing it has. The larger the number the more torque.

I run a 430 rear end and have plenty to spare. Keep us informed. Iím sure elevation always plays a part but no need to add a vortec supercharger unless itís still cheaper than the loss on trade for a diesel.
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:20 AM   #4
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What windjamming. Rear gear ratio may be your problem though.

I currently tow a 24 ft car hauler that gets up to 9,000lbs fully loaded with my 2014 Silverado 1/2 ton with very little issue at 55 mph up hill or not. Rear gear is 3.73 and engine is 5.3L v8.

In my old 3/4 ton Suburban with 6.0L v8 and 4.11 rear gear I'd only notice the trailer on hills

I figured our new 20ft TT that will be around 4,500-5,000 will be a breeze.
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:33 AM   #5
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Not sure how that truck can't maintain speed with that trailer. My ram 1500 hemi towed my 9500# trailer fine. It needed 4th gear frequently and was overloaded, but never had trouble maintain speed on hills if I put my foot far enough into it.
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:36 AM   #6
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I have a 15 2500 6.0 with 4.11. The truck pulls in the mountains in ny and i can increase speed and maintain 60mph. The trailer is 38ft little over 10klbs loaded plus i carry about another 7to800 lbs of gas, cargo and people. I traded up from a 14 cc high country 5.3. The downside to diesel in 2500 series is you lose a lot of payload. Yes the truck will do better in the mountains and mpg but the added cost of fuel and maitenance over time for me didnt warrent it. I drive 15000 miles a year roughly
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:56 AM   #7
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you have a camper with a dry weight of 6500 and a truck rated to tow almost 12 and you are worried? the number guys/weight police guys are going to welcome you to the fold.

I wish I would of kept my last camper and stuck with my 1/2 ton truck. now that I have a 3/4 ton truck as a daily driver it sucks on gas and on stiff ride.
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:04 AM   #8
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you have a camper with a dry weight of 6500 and a truck rated to tow almost 12 and you are worried? the number guys/weight police guys are going to welcome you to the fold.
Almost spewed my coffee there Kimber!
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:07 AM   #9
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I wonder what exactly the struggle is? Maintaining the speed without downshifting? Trying to keep it in a higher gear and maintain speed? If so, that may be your problem. I don't know about the Chevy's, but with the Fords, they will downshift to the gear needed to maintain the speed. Sometimes this results in some loud whining of the engine as it starts peaking the RPMs. But it is normal for the engine to do that. The gas engines make their torque at the higher RPMs. So I guess we need a little more info on how you are approaching your hill ascents.

One other thing, my towing mileage has decreased a lot recently. In other words, I don't get out quite as often as I did before. But I still bought a new diesel to replace my old one. It may have a bit of a financial downside, but once I hook up my trailer (it's a 5th wheel and bigger and heavier than yours, but still...), I have no regrets with my decision. If you feel you will benefit, even if it's just to make you feel better, you should not rule out the diesel. It's just an additional thought.
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2011 Ford F-250 XLT - Dead and gone
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:09 AM   #10
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First welcome to the forum. I'm a little confused also about the set up you have and struggling up hills. You have plenty of truck. Are you using tow haul mode. If not then there is the problem. If your concerned about the high rev of the engine you need not as these engines are designed to do that as that where they make the torque. I had a 2500 3/4 chevy with 6.0 and 4:10 gear and was towing a 9000# tt and walked up grades with ease yes RPM rise and makes a engine scream some but that normal. I now have a 3/4 ton Ram with 6.4 Hemi 3:73 gear and no issues. As you mentioned you do not drive a lot of miles a year so a diesel is really not an option and the cost of fuel here is 68 cents more a gal for diesel. As for your truck I see no reason to upgrade unless something else is going on. Later RJD

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