Tow Rating for Suburban

I am sure that every newbie to both this bulletin board and RV'ing poses this question. "Do you know what my car tow?".

Well I have already purchased a TT :) , yet have NOT purchased a truck to pull it with. :eek:

My father has a 1986 Chevy Suburban for me. It has a 350 with the Full Tow package with a tranny cooler (what ever the hell that is).

Does any know where I may be able to find the rating on line?

Thanks, mates.
Tow Rating for Suburban

The best place to get the tow rating is the manufacturer. If you have a good raport with a dealer who has been around for a while, they might still have the factory literature around. If not, there are folks who deal in automotive literature who may have a towing guide for an '86 Suburban. If it is a 20 series (3/4 ton) model, there is a good chance it will do the job. If it's a 1/2 ton, you may be pushing the limits if it is o.k. at all. Remember this is an 18 year old automobile, so it needs to be driven gently to last.
As for the tranny cooler, it is an additional finned coil of tubing that the transmision fluid is run through to help disperse extra heat that is generated while towing.
All that said, the numbers you get will be for absolute maximum towing. A reasonable safety margin is always good, but the trick is to balance towing ability with a vehicle that makes sense the other 90% of the time. A 1-ton dually will handle your trailer very well, but do you really want to feed and park such a beast every day? That is the trick to having a big trailer.
Whatever you get, make sure someone who knows what he's doing shows you how to hitch up and use the weight distributing hitch and sway control. These devices make the difference between a relaxing vacation and the "white knuckle" express.
Tow Rating for Suburban

Hi Ed,
Thanks for your insight. I really appreciate it. I will find out from the Old man if it is 3/4 ton. I believe it is as he used to trail a 26' camper with it. But I will not assume any thing when it comes to this.
I want the relaxing vacation you speak of, NOT the white knuckle ride.

I am going to have the RV dealer give me tutorial on just about everything I need to know, is that too much to expect of them?

Ed H.

New Member
Tow Rating for Suburban

As I recall, a 3/4 ton Suburban with a big block engine could be rated as high as 10,000 pounds towing. That would be the minimum rating you would need for the size of your trailer.
The Turbohydramatic #400 was GM's "bulletproof" automatic for something like 20 years. It would take all kinds of punishment, but if used for heavy towing, make sure it has a good auxilery cooler and gets regular service. 4.11:1 gears also help a lot with towing.
I had a 1 ton crew cab with a 350 in it that was rated for a 2900 pound camper and a 7000 pound trailer. I hauled a 2500 pound camper and a 5000 pound trailer all over westen Mass. and nearby Conn. and N.Y. with that truck and it did fine, but I wouldn't have wanted to move much more with it.
As for asking the RV dealer to show you how to hitch the trailer, that is the very least they can do. They have a strong interest in making sure you are happy with your purchase.