1995 Chevy Silverado 2500

I have a 1995 Chevy Silverado 2500 (not the HD!) and am thoroughly confused as to the tow rating. I didn't glean any info from the truck manual. I called 2 local Chevy dealers; one told me the rating is 8000lbs, the other told me it is 12000lbs.

The truck has the extended cab, 8ft bed, 5.7 liter (350ci), automatic trans...I have no idea what the rearend ratio is.

It also has a stock transmission cooler and what appears to me to be a factory-installed hitch, 8 lug rims with E load tires, so I'm supposing it has the "towing package"???...

I want to purchase a fifth wheel and I need to know about the weight limitations...exactly how heavy a 5th wheel can I safely pull? And what length 5er am I limited to?


Senior Member
1995 Chevy Silverado 2500

My 2500 HD claims to have a tow rating of about 9000 pounds (with 410 gears and the 'small' 6L gas engine). It pulls 6000 pound 5th wheel very solidly, but has trouble getting up hills. So I'd say the 8000 pound claim is the closest to right. But tow ratings (at least in the past) have been misleading.

The best way to figure out what you can tow is to load up your truck with all the people, gas and cargo you would normally carry when towing and head to the scale. There you need to weight and record the total vehicle weight and the rear axel weight. Subtract the vehicle weight from the GVWR and the rear axel weight from the rear GAWR (on a plate on the drivers door/jamb) and you will know how much weight the trailer can add to the truck, and the rear axel, respectively.

Now you need the GCVW rating, and I'm not sure where you can get it. I'd try the manual; otherwise the dealer who told you about the 8000 trailer weight, since it appears he may be more reliable than the other one. Possibly you could find it online. I'd also have the dealer verify what your rear axel ratio is and whether you really have the best towing package.

Subtract the vehicle weight from the GCVW and you now know the maximum GVWR trailer you want to be looking for. One last thing, assume (and check before purchase) that the 5th wheel will add at least 15% of its weight to the truck, and rear axel, as 'pin weight'. Check that this weight won't cause you to exceed either the GVWR or the GAWR of the truck.

Note that towing right at any weight limit is 'legal', but may not be wise. Giving yourself a 20% or more safety margin may be a better choice. If you need to hug any limit to get the trailer you want, it would be good to hit the scales and verify the total truck weight, the truck rear axel weight and the trailer weight at the start of each trip, to ensure you haven't 'slipped over' any limit.

You may be tempted to run overlimit, and some people do it without serious consequences. However, others pay the price: truck/trailer breakdown, early wear, tire failure, voiding of the warranty, accident and/or lawsuits.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
1995 Chevy Silverado 2500

Bluegrass Flatpicker, Keep it simple, assume the 8000lbs is correct and downsize for the 10 years the truck has been on the road. The engine, trans and rest of drive train is old and worn. Figure 6/7000lbs maximum just to be safe and reduce highway breakdowns. Good luck.