Silverado towing

chevrolet
1500

#1

I have a 2012 Crew cab Silverado 5.3 V8 with the towing package. When I pull my travel trailer (approx. 5000 lbs), the water temp stays 1/2 guage and the tranny temp is 170-190, however, on steep hills the water temp guage goes 2/3 to 3/4 guage for a short time and the tranny temp reaches 200-210 degrees. Is the elevated water and tranny temps okay or should I try to reduce them back to the normal range. What is the max temp I should keep the tranny at?

Any help is appreciated…


#2

5000 lbs should not be too taxing for a new PU with a towing package. If your truck has an OD off (overdrive off) button I’d use it when towing. Higher rpm’s should help circulate more coolant through the motor and aid cooling, and it will also reduce the stress on the transmission.

I don’t think these temps are especially excessive, but you really shouldn’t be having significantly higher temps pulling 5000 lbs at 60 mph. If you are going 75 mph then the air pressure drag could be high and the cause of the stress.


#3

Yep, check your owners manual and make sure you’re using the right gear. How many do you have? It might even say to use 4th if it’s a 6 speed.


#4

If this is a change in performance, you may want to have the radiator checked to be sure it’s free flowing (airflow, I’m thinking). If it’s clogged with bugs it won’t dissipate heat as readily.

If you’ve had the truck since new and the temperatures have always done this, it’s probably normal. There’s no question that the engine and tranny will generate more heat with a 5000 pound load, the only question is how much of the excess heat the system is designed to dissipate. Your owner’s manual might even provide some guidance on this.


#5

The heat wont hurt the engine and I dont think thats excessive on the transmission,however if you do this frequently(you can always add a booster fan on the radiator) reduce the service interval on the transmission and use synthetic oil in the crankcase and use the appropiate gear for the grade as was mentioned,cut the overdrive off(use tow mode)-Kevin


#6

I agree. If everything else is in tack, the big culprits are hills, gears and speed. When towing, regardless of the “package”, you still have to manage them correctly. If you feel you are doing everything right, a trip back to dealer, as it still is under drive train warranty, would be in order. I DEFINITELY would check with the manual but also the service department on these readings (temps especially) for your truck and conditions, regardless ! Milk them for any additional info specific for your truck for driving technique. Any advice given here is tempered by your specific truck and conditions which we will never accurately know for sure.


#7

Thanks guys for your comments as they confirm my ideas. With towing 5-6 times a year, I believe the elevated temps of less than an hour per trip will be okay.


#8

“I believe the elevated temps of less then an hour per trip will be OK”

I have to disagree with that statement again. You don’t indicate you have actual temp marks on your temp gauge and you’re going to believe some of us here who don’t own a Silverado ? Who says higher temps don’t hurt your engine ? Those who don’t own your truck ; that’s who. Go check it out. It’s under warranty and what do you have to loose ? A head gasket can weaken each time it overheats, and often after the warranty runs out, it goes.

Two scenarios; I am right and you are skewed when you don’t check it out, or I am wrong but you take the advice and you’re out a little time, no money and feel better about that elevated temperature gauge.


#9

How hot is hot?some of the new vehicles with pressurized cooling systems can get boiling hot,with the glycol coolant mixtures,but do not,repeat do not even get an aluminum engine close to the over heating stage,on a modern vehicle I do not worry if it gets close to 210 degrees(the Dino oil will breakdown a lot quicker exposed to high temperatures) and of course some engine designs are extremely fragile you absolutely didnt run a D-8 Cat low on coolant(Mack engines seem more tolerant) and some of the older cast iron inline auto engines would stand an amazing amount of boiling events(even occasionaly no water) any rate follow manus recommendations and keep your cooling system serviced(its not hard and use the correct type of coolant-unless you want to flush and go with another type)-Kevin
PS some of the older Caterpillar tractors had water pressure gauges with about three different ranges on the acceptable temps(depending on the pressure in the cooling system) so if you have a gauge with a red zone-stay out of the red


#10

What you describe is pretty normal for most any truck towing a load. Press the towing button on the shifter stalk - shows a little yellow trailer icon on the dash and the shifting program will change to the best for a trailer. The trans temp is fine, just change it every 30,000 miles. Water boils at 212 F so the tranny isn’t even boiling off the moisture. The water temp, as long as it stays out of the red is OK. As you see the temp climbing while pulling a hill, shut off the A/C, if it still climbs, turn on the heater in the truck, full blast full fan, open the windows. That should bring it right down for a slog up the peak of the hill. Having towed 8000 lbs up Tennesee’s Jellico Pass with a Chevy 5.3, I know this works.