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Old     (ctimrun)      Join Date: Aug 2009       12-05-2009, 9:58 PM Reply   
Our boat is a 2008 SAN 210. We have been towing it with a Dodge Ram that is less than convenient for our large family (basically have to take two cars on trips to the lake) and the ride is horrible while towing and not towing. We have been looking for something a little more family friendly and I have read good things about the 3/4 ton Suburbans/Yukon XL's.

We are trying to make a deal on a 2007 2500 Suburban that appears to have been lightly used and well taken care of, but before I finalize it I want to make sure I am not making a mistake. I know I wont be able to drop the hammer up the hills with a gas engine versus the Cummins, but I don't drive like that anyways, so that is not a huge issue for me.

Looking for any advice I can get from all the people using or who have in the past used a 3/4 Suburban to tow a boat similar to ours. What was your experience towing with this vehicle?
Old     (tp83)      Join Date: Nov 2007       12-05-2009, 10:20 PM Reply   
we have an 06 3/4ton sub with an 8.1 and it tows our boat like its not there. also the ride in it is really nice much different than in my f250, really smooth and quiet. not sure about the other chevy motors but the 8.1 is a hog on mileage it gets 11 not towing and 10 towing.
Old     (99_slaunch)      Join Date: Oct 2005       12-05-2009, 10:45 PM Reply   
Yep the 8.1 is a beast. It will tow as good as any diesel. I had one but got rid of it because of the fuel mileage.
Old     (ctimrun)      Join Date: Aug 2009       12-05-2009, 11:49 PM Reply   
When I started researching and looking at the 3/4 ton Suburbans I found that 2006 was the last year they put the 8.1 liter engines in them, probably some EPA deal they cut, which is a shame. From 2007 on the only engine available is the 6 liter, which I have also heard decent things about. The good thing, this Sub we are looking at has the 4.10 gearing on it which I would imagine should also help.

Any more thoughts?
Old     (ship_of_fools)      Join Date: Sep 2007       12-05-2009, 11:51 PM Reply   
The rear diff ratio options will play into how it tows and the mileage it gets as well.

Make sure you are looking at that too.
Old     (ship_of_fools)      Join Date: Sep 2007       12-05-2009, 11:55 PM Reply   
Looks like you already are!!

We must have been typing at the same time.

I have a 1/2 ton Suburban with the taller ratio. It tows our 21 foot Sea Ray just fine but doesn't like my 14 x 7 enclosed trailer as much.
Old     (99_slaunch)      Join Date: Oct 2005       12-05-2009, 11:59 PM Reply   
When I bought my Dodge diesel I told them I wanted to drive it over the weekend. I told them I was going on a 500 mile round trip. I told them if every thing went well I would buy it. When you find one see if you can get it for the weekend and hook the boat up and see how you like it.
Old     (johnny_gatsby)      Join Date: Sep 2009       12-06-2009, 12:37 AM Reply   
I have the 2007 Tahoe--it easily tows my boat--hard to tell the boat is back there...
Old     (ctimrun)      Join Date: Aug 2009       12-06-2009, 1:12 AM Reply   
FJK, too funny, we must have been typing at the same time! Good to hear your 1/2 ton does wqell with the boat. My boat is the only thing I have to pull that is mine, but also have access to borrow a small 4,000 travel trailer that we only go local with so thats not as much of a concern as being comfortable pulling the boat longer distances.

Aaron, It is interesting that you mention taking the vehicle out to test it out for the weekend. We are currently doing the same thing with this one, in fact my family is really loving the unloaded ride of it compared to the truck, they have been driving it around all day today. Timing is everything..... unfortunately my boat is at the dealer being serviced and won't be ready until this next Friday so I can't hook it up and do a test pull. I need to take the vehicle back on Monday and either give it back to them or buy it.

Anyone in SoCal wanna let me hook this thing up to their boat and do a test pull?
Old     (mhunter)      Join Date: Mar 2008       12-06-2009, 6:27 AM Reply   
First Congrats on the 210 I bought mine in Jan.
I went through the same towing dilemma. My Safari van was overwhelmed with the added weight of the 210. After checking out pickups and SUVs we decided on a Savana van. Its better suited for camping and has the same chassis and drive train as the 2WD Suburban.
Mine is a 2005 with a 60L and a 373 rear. It pulls without effort 60-70 mph it doesnt even downshift going up mild hills. It got 15.5 mpg average not towing [from Chicago to Atlanta] and 10.3 miles towing the 210 fully loaded. You can expect about the same from a Suberban. Make sure it has a towing package and a good trans cooler.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       12-06-2009, 6:41 AM Reply   

I have been towing with 3/4 ton burbs for years. Great tow vehicles. My current '01 has the 8.1 in it and is going strong with almost 190,000 mi.
My brother has an '07 with the 6 liter and it tows his v-210 just fine. The 4.10 rear end really makes a difference.

Is the one you're looking at 4x4? If so, I'd jump on it If I were looking for a newer one.
Old     (ship_of_fools)      Join Date: Sep 2007       12-06-2009, 9:15 AM Reply   
With my 2005 1/2 ton Suburban it seems to me the towing issues I have with my trailer is more the shift points then the engine size or the gear ratio.

No doubt a bigger engine (I have the 5.3) or the lower gear ratio would help. But the uncomfortable part of hauling with it is how and when it shifts. Before you hit a decent size hill on the highway, I need to pick up speed to avoid bogging the engine down. If I don't it will get about half way up then drop into a much lower gear (it may even be 2 gears). When it does, it jerks the whole truck and the rpms go way up. It would be nice if it would shift into that lower gear a little sooner (then maybe it would only drop one gear). I do use the trailer button but it doesn't make a big difference.

I have been told that there are computer modules that I can use to change the shift points to help with this. But, I don't haul the trailer much and I have gotten used to it. The trailer is a V-Nose 7 x 14 trailer (so it is really about 16 feet long) and is about 7 1/2 feet tall. The height is what really kills me.

As I mentioned, it pulls the boat just fine.
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       12-06-2009, 9:17 AM Reply   
I've had several different tow vehicles...

08 GMC Sierra 5.3L, 3.73's
05 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L, 4.10's
06 Chevy 2500HD 6.6L, 4.10's
04 Chevy 1500 5.3L, 3.73's
05 Yukon Denali 6.0L 375hp (more than the 2500HD 6.0L), AWD, not sure on the gearing
1999 Suburban 2500 with 454
04 F-250 6.0L Powerstroke

The boat is a 2007 Supra 24SSV Gravity Games, and has about 1,000# of extra gear, stereo, etc.

The 6.6L Duramax and the Denali are the only ones that I cared for. The Ford towed okay, but front and rear leaf springs made it impossible to keep the truck and boat driving straight. It followed the grooves in the road like there was no tomorrow. My drive from home to the camper at the lake is 45 minutes with lots of hills and curves. The 2500 gas burner was awful. Going up a slight incline, it would lose at least 15-20 mph by the time you got to the top. The Duramax never skipped a beat, the Denali loses a little, but it still has enough to get you there. I towed the boat to Nashville (2 hours) last summer and it did really good.

Maybe you could keep the Dodge, and add a camper shell to keep everything dry in the bed. Some of the nicer shells look good on these trucks, not all look like old man toppers.

(Message edited by jonyb on December 06, 2009)
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       12-06-2009, 9:36 AM Reply   
The 3/4 ton has the tow /haul mode, which eliminates the shift point problem...
Old     (lifetimewarranty)      Join Date: Oct 2008       12-06-2009, 10:42 AM Reply   
I've heard great things regarding the 6.0 - I've heard they tow like the old 454's.

I've towed a bunch with a Sub with a 8.1 and I agree with those that say it will tow your boat like it isn't there.

Ride is excellent, the 3/4 ton brakes are awesome, definitely a winner imo.
Old     (wakeboardsam)      Join Date: Jun 2008       12-06-2009, 10:52 AM Reply   


The Ford towed okay, but front and rear leaf springs made it impossible to keep the truck and boat driving straight. It followed the grooves in the road like there was no tomorrow.

Sorry, but front and rear leaf springs is NOT the problem. Many issues could be the cause of this, but not the leaf springs. It could be tire selection, wheel offset, a lift with poor steering setup, but the leaf springs were not the problem.

A Gear Vendors is the best thing that you can add to any truck to help with towing and shifting... Every vehicle that I own from here on out will have one!
Old     (witness140)      Join Date: Dec 2008       12-06-2009, 10:56 AM Reply   
My 04' Suburban 1500 also has tow/haul mode, as does my brother's 03' 1500 Suburban. My 2001 Tahoe also had tow/haul mode.

I tow an 09' X2 with my Suburban. I have the 5.3. It does alright. If I went with a boat bigger than an X15 I think I'd be pushing it with the 1/2 ton 5.3 platform. (for serious towing other than short distance type stuff)

I wonder how different the 1500 drives compared to the 2500 as far as being a daily driver for the family. The 2500 has rear leafs afaik.

(Message edited by witness140 on December 06, 2009)
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       12-06-2009, 11:11 AM Reply   
Whatever you think Sam, but it rode like way.
Old     (ctimrun)      Join Date: Aug 2009       12-06-2009, 12:07 PM Reply   
Great info everyone!

The one I am looking at and testing out this weekend is fully loaded (interior wise) and 4 wheel drive. The only thing I can't tell is if it was built with the larger radiator and the HD trans cooler. They are telling me that all of the 2500 Sub's came standard with the larger radiator and HD trans cooler, but I don't think they did. I have two print outs that contradict each other on what the vehicle is equipped with. Obviously the interior items are easy to see but I don't have another one here to compare to as far as the radiator and trans cooler. I know 3.73's and 4.10's were available in 2007, this one has 4.10's, does that mean it has the bigger radiator and the trans cooler?

jonyb - The problem with the truck is that we can't take our whole family because there are not enough seats in it, so we have to drive two cars when we go out. This has gotten really old! It would be really nice to have some adult company (my wife) with me in the tow vehicle, getting there should be part of the fun/relaxation. We are thinking that with the suburban we can get our family in it (one extra seat in this suburban), then others can drive themselves.

The Dodge also rattles our teeth out on SoCal freeways (worse when connected to the boat), the ride is very uncomfortable. I am hoping the better empty ride will translate to a more comfortable towing ride.
Old     (bakes5)      Join Date: Aug 2006       12-06-2009, 12:18 PM Reply   
Not sure you need a 3/4 ton for towing a 21' boat anyways. Our 2008 1/2 ton suburban tows our 22' Tige easily. I can't give you mileage figures for towing but for daily driving it gets around 15 mpg and on trips it gets aroung 18-19mpg. Which is surprisingly better than my midsize Dakota. The only reason I could see to justify a 3/4 ton is if you just have to go 65mph up the hills, live in a valley and ski in the mountains (kind on like Salt Lake City to Jordanelle reservoir trip).

The best feature on our tow vehicle is the rear mounted camera. Makes trailer hookup instant.
Old     (wakeboardsam)      Join Date: Jun 2008       12-06-2009, 12:40 PM Reply   
For options on the truck, check the glove box tag with all the option codes. For gm vehicles the options codes are listed there, and begin with a letter and end with two numbers... G80 stands for the locking diff option...
Old     (ctimrun)      Join Date: Aug 2009       12-06-2009, 1:11 PM Reply   
Sam - Thanks! After looking at the glove box tag it looks like this Suburban has every option that a person could order in 2007. It is fully loaded with Nav, backup cam, rear DVD, quad captains chairs, etc. The things I wasn't sure about, but now have confirmed are the HD radiator, HD trans cooler, and the locking rear diff.

Sounds like this may be a great tow vehicle for us, anyone else have any input?
Old     (wakeboardsam)      Join Date: Jun 2008       12-06-2009, 1:24 PM Reply   
Cool, glad I could help... V02 looks like the heavy duty radiator code...
Old     (ship_of_fools)      Join Date: Sep 2007       12-06-2009, 3:17 PM Reply   
My '05 Suburban 1500 has the tow/haul button but it doesn't seem to me that it makes much of a difference in the shift points.

It helps hold first gear a little longer but doesn't seem to do much for the others. I wonder if it is working correctly??

I am very happy with how it tows the boat and agree that I wouldn't need to step up to a 3/4 ton for hauling my boat ('99 210 Sea Ray). And, I only have the 5.3L with the 3.42 rear gear ratio.

I wouldn't want the trade off in gas mileage for the times that I am not hauling the boat.
Old     (ixfe)      Join Date: Aug 2008       12-06-2009, 4:42 PM Reply   
I have a 2008 Suburban LTZ 1/2 ton. My boat + trailer weights over 5,000 lbs dry. The only time I wish it was a 3/4 ton is when I tow over mountains. It slows down a bit, and during that moment I wish I had a diesel rig. But for the other 99% of the time when we're driving/not towing I'm glad we got the LTZ. You can't get LTZ in 3/4 ton which was a deal breaker for us.
Old     (2006maliblue)      Join Date: Mar 2009       12-06-2009, 5:51 PM Reply   
Towing with it won't be a problem, granted the 6.0l is no where near as powerfull as the duramax 6.6l, however pulling my Malibu VLX only the steepest hills well slow it down, I have the 4.10 gears and 4wd. Towing is not a problem. The problem is the gas mileage! I have an 06 2500hd and I get 10-11 mpg towing and unloaded down hill with no load the best I can squeeze out of it is 13mpg. I wish I would have gotten the deisel but I got a deal to good to pass up when I bought it and chevy didn't offer any rebates on the duramax. If you can live with poor gas mileage it'll tow just fine!
Old     (duramat)      Join Date: Feb 2008       12-06-2009, 6:30 PM Reply   
I have an 02 duramax with shell. I love it. I have an 04 6.0 I love it, you can't go wrong with the 6. It will perform. It pulls my family of 7 and my Elite just fine.

My bro inlaw says there are two models of the 3/4. One had the 6 lugs the other had the 8 lugs. The auxiliary trans cooler wasn't necessary specific to one or the other, just depended on how it was ordered. Example: here in Utah burbans are 4x4, If it's not it's a rareity. If in doubt just look through the grill and you would see it staring you back
Old     (travisz)      Join Date: Jun 2008       12-07-2009, 12:48 PM Reply   
i have a 1500hd crew can on 33's with 4:56 gears... also throttle body spacer intake and programer. i tow a 05 sanger v210 with and extra 1000lbs of led in it all times and it pull like no tomorrow rpms are kinda high but i can run up the rape vine at 60mph in 2nd gear screamin 4k rpms (does wonders for the tranny) but that 6.0 done right is a tank!
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       12-07-2009, 6:16 PM Reply   
Travis some people want more than 2 mpg, and that's about all mine got when I had to drive it like you're saying. I towed my boat back to the Boatmate factory one day and my 08 Sierra hit a spot going up hill, 45mph, 1 mpg, and losing speed.... Sad. It'll drop down to 4 cylinders though when it goes down hill.... GENIUS!!
Old     (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       12-07-2009, 6:29 PM Reply   
6.0 is a much better motor for towing than the 5.3

Unless you tow everday I think you'll be totally happy with that vehicle.
Old     (travisz)      Join Date: Jun 2008       12-08-2009, 8:40 AM Reply   
Yea I never said my mileage was any good. lol my local lake is 99 miles away and Ill use a good half tank each way, but it looks good doing it, does that count for anything? Yea with any kind of luck ill be moving into a deisel here before next summer and uprading from a sanger to a malibu. Anyone wanna buy a sanger?
Old     (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       12-08-2009, 5:58 PM Reply   
haha, I've always sacrificed fuel mileage for appearance too....
Old     (ctimrun)      Join Date: Aug 2009       12-10-2009, 11:11 PM Reply   
Well I bought that 07 Suburban and used it to tow the boat home from service today. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with how well it towed the boat. No bucking and rough ride like the truck had, just a very smooth ride. The only thing I can figure is the way the Suburban is weighted compared to the truck with more weight distributed over the rear wheels vs the lighter rear end of the truck.

The 6 liter did a great job and had more low end torque than the truck has before the turbo winds up. I did not pull any really big hills, but the hills I normally pull my boat up the Suburban and 6L did a great job. No downshifting or hunting like I have read about, and I drove the same speed I always do with the boat which is between 60 and 65 mph. I think the diesel trucks are great if you want to pull at 80 mph like I see so many of them doing here in SoCal, but I have never felt comfortable towing that fast.

Knowing now the way this Suburban pulls my boat I am not sure I could justify the extra $6K or so upcharge I have been paying for my last few diesel trucks.

I am very pleased to say the least. I just hope now that it will last 10 or so years which shouldn't be a problem since it is not a daily driver and we only use it for pulling the boat and our yearly trip to the local mountains.
Old     (sangerlover)      Join Date: Sep 2005       12-11-2009, 12:37 PM Reply   
My 07 3/4 ton with the 6.0 and 3:73's does ok with the boat but...pulling my small rv (5000 lbs),5 bodies and several hundred pounds in the rear, it struggles big time. I weighed the rig while loaded and was just at the GCVW. In the flats would be fine but going from the bay area up to south lake tahoe was stressful. I was in 1st gear at times at about 4500 rpm's and tranny was at 230 degrees.
Old     (travisz)      Join Date: Jun 2008       12-11-2009, 1:38 PM Reply   
JTW yea my 6.0 with 4:56 gears lags up hills with my travel trailer aswell. Any good size hill im dropping the hammer and shifting to 2nd gear, it pulls hard and strong but sure is screaming!
Old     (gwnkids)      Join Date: Nov 2003       12-15-2009, 9:35 PM Reply   
This is the one I want- Lots of $$ for an 03
But the dmax/ally wow
Old     (gwnkids)      Join Date: Nov 2003       12-15-2009, 9:40 PM Reply   
Or this one but 50K is alot of change
Old     (wakecumberland)      Join Date: Oct 2007       12-16-2009, 4:57 AM Reply   
links dont work
Old     (gwnkids)      Join Date: Nov 2003       12-16-2009, 8:33 PM Reply   
Lets try this way
03 temZ160386014362QQptZUSQ5fCarsQ5fTrucks

07 S_Cars_Trucks?hash=item2a01e6cf23
Old     (gwnkids)      Join Date: Nov 2003       12-16-2009, 8:35 PM Reply   
OH and one just for the "G" man


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