By on April 4, 2013

Remember GM’s boast about how their new trucks could tow a segment best 11,5000 pounds? Turns out there’s a big ol’ asterisk that wasn’t expanded upon.

PickupTrucks.com reports that the 11,500 pound tow rating will only happen when a special package is ordered.

The maximum towing capacity for the Silverado and Sierra is 11,500 pounds, but that will be only with trucks outfitted with the max-trailering package (special note: the gross combined weight rating is said to be 17,500 pounds). The highest tow ratings without the max-tow package for regular cabs is 10,200 pounds; for crew cabs it’s 9,700 pounds. And all max-tow package-equipped trucks will be running 3.73:1 ring and pinion gears; 4.10:1 gears will not be offered for 2014.

Despite the slightly misleading claims from GM, Ford’s own site is a convoluted mess of different wheelbase lengths, engines, axle ratios and different towing packages that doesn’t tell nearly the full story either. For now we can say GM has the win in towing capacity, but nobody has the moral high ground in making things clear.

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41 Comments on “New GM Trucks Will Beat EcoBoost At Towing – But Only With A Special Package...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    Will 4.10 still be offered at all on 1500s?

    6 speed or not, that’s always one of my first options, then again I usually get 2500s but they also have more power for that weight.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Truck sites are always confusing with wheelbases + cab configurations + engines + transmissions + axle ratios. Theoretically trucks should be infinitely customizable from that standpoint but usually you only see limited configurations on dealer lots.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I feel a bit like the headline is misleading (whether that as a result of GM or TTAC, I know not). My guess is EcoBoost vs. GenV SB V8 is only one part of the story. Tow capacity depends on a few different factors, including; rear end gearing, presence or not of transmission, oil, various coolers, 2wd vs 4wd, and basically weight. A truck with a heavier curb weight can typically handle a heavier braked trailer due to the fact that, the truck is just massy enough to handle the trailer in turns, etc.

    So basically its no suprise to me that GM quoted their max tow capacity first, with the (not?)obvious caveat that not all trucks would be so equipped.

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      Ford does the same thing.

      They REQUIRE a max tow package to get the egoboost to tow 11,300 pounds.

      TTAC is just showing their colors again.

      http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/specifications/towing/

  • avatar
    Loser

    Isn’t the max tow package only available with the 6.0?

  • avatar
    Onus

    I would think the ecoboost will be easier to tow with. It does make more torque at lower rpm than any n/a v8 would only wish for.

    Oh well no one seriously tows this much with a 1/2 ton right? They will easily overload the truck. The gvwr rating on half tons is low and tack on the crewcab and your getting a really heavy truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      All though without looking I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt and say the ecoboost wins by a small margin, but don’t forget the 8.1l v8

      Since your comparing n/a v8 to TTv6 I believe I’m safe to compare it to a discontinued engine.

      8.1 gives it a run for the money without the added problems of turbos, all while running at low rpm (lastin longer) in fact for several years the 8.1 had more torque then the duramax

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        Sure the 8.1 gives it a run but it drinks fuel like it is going out of style. A buddy had the 8.1 in a 3/4 ton Avalanche. Made the 6.0 in my 2500HD crew cab PU look like a fuel miser. I got better fuel economy towing my 25′ cruiser than he got towing his little Malibu ski boat.

        And a little premature to state that turbos in the Ecoboost are problematic. I would prefer a 4 banger turbo diesel in my next truck, but if GM offered something like that in their 1/2 tons I would give it serious consideration over a small V8.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Yea it does like the fuel, but it’s a truck if one were to care about mpg they wouldn’t buy one to start with, but that apples to oranges were talking power which is much higher on the list of reasons people decide on a truck then gas which is nontrivial.

          And the turbos you have to assume wont age well, it’s rare for them to last more then 150k on any vehicle let alone a ford, which can’t even be trusted to build a steering system that doesn’t fail in 60k miles. That’s cost that must be factored in to anyone planning on going the long haul with the vehicle

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            I guess there are always exceptions but most truck owners I know do care about mileage. Mainly because they are also daily drivers versus dedicated tow vehicles.

            One of the bigger complaints about my truck from a lot of owners is the smallish fuel tank. When I have my big boat behind me I have about a 200 mile range and then I need to start looking for gas. 1 or 2 MPG can make big difference. Having to pull into a gas station with 34 feet of boat and trailer behind you can be a pain depending on the station. I would rather just make it home, unhook the boat and then go put gas in the truck.

    • 0 avatar
      BunkerMan

      I have a 2011 crew cab ecoboost and I tow a 6000lbs (dry) travel trailer with it multiple times per year. It does so just fine and it can easily handle more. It accelerates well at highway speed, even on some pretty steep hills.

      I’ve towed my friend’s 4000lb trailer once and left two strips of rubber down the road until the traction control kicked in because I wasn’t used to the lower weight.

      Mine is rated at 11,300 but I would never tow close to that on the highway. I’d call that white-knuckle time.

      Also, to get that 11,300 tow rating, I had to purchase Ford’s Max Trailer tow package as well (brake controller, tranny cooler, diff locker, etc).

      Just don’t ask about the fuel economy while towing on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        Your 6000l lb. RV probably pulls harder going down the highway than my 8000 lb. boat. Mainly because of all the air your moving. I’m sure it accelerates the load just fine but how does it hold highway/interstate speeds? Just curious if the turbos help make it tow more like a diesel than a traditional gas engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        what kind of mileage do you get when towing? Chrysler made a big deal about their mpg holding up to towing while implying that Ford’s ecoboost mpg falls off a cliff when towing.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    So what’s the story? Nothing new that to obtain the highest tow rating with a truck you need to equip it accordingly. That means getting taller gears in the rear than what would be standard among other things.

    Tow ratings are born in the marketing, not engineering department these days anyways so they are for the most part meaningless. When manufacturers start putting their trucks through a standardized series of tests that determine what they can safely tow without sacrificing long term reliability they will have some real meaning.

    And damn that’s a good looking truck!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …Despite the slightly misleading claims from GM…

    Sorry disagree. In advertising and marketing speak this is very common, and not just in the automotive industry. The below not directed at any car company, just examples…

    WE HAVE THE MOST HORSEPOWER!!! (if you get the biggest engine)

    WE HAVE THE BEST HANDLING!!! (if you get the handling package with 19″ rims and summer only tires)

    WE HAVE THE LOWEST BASE PRICE!!! (but seriously, you would never want to buy the base model because tires, windows, and an engine are optional)

    WE HAVE THE MOST INTERIOR CAPACITY!!! (if you fold down all the seats and/or rip them out first)

    WE HAVE THE BIGGEST TOUCH SCREEN!!! (which is actually the same size as everyone elses biggest touch screen, and only with the optional upgraded stereo package)

    I think you get the point. Hey – if you want the most towing capacity you need the towing package. Meh – I don’t care who would claim it that way, I say borderline no d’uh.

    WE HAVE THE BEST FUEL ECONOMY IN CLASS!!! (but only with a certain engine and a certain transmission and even then you might not actually get the mileage because your mileage may vary wink wink)

    Is it 100% honest??? Nah. Is it a wrong made right by doing something in principal everyone else does already? Not really. Do you put yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you don’t play the game? Absolutely.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I think it is just the nature of trucks being available in so many different configurations. A base F250 has a 4,240 lbs payload. If you add a double cab, 4WD, thirty inches to the wheelbase, and several hundred pounds of luxury features, you can eat a great deal of the axles’, springs’, frames’, and brakes’ capacities. The gross vehicle weight rating stays constant, but more of it is used up by truck and less if left over for payload.

      The only concern I’d have here is if GM announced that they had a V8 that beats Ecoboost economy and towing capability when they know darn well that their engine can beat the Ecoboost’s EPA numbers with a tall rear gear OR tow more with a short rear gear that greatly diminishes mileage. Is that what’s going on?

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “The only concern I’d have here is if GM announced that they had a V8 that beats Ecoboost economy and towing capability when they know darn well that their engine can beat the Ecoboost’s EPA numbers with a tall rear gear OR tow more with a short rear gear that greatly diminishes mileage.”

        CJ

        You do realize that Ford uses a granny rear gear to generate the Egoboost FE numbers right?

        3.15 which then drops your MAX tow rating to 8600 pounds.

        To get anywhere near the 11,300 pounds towing, you first need a MAX TOW PACKAGE and then 3.73 gears…which will severely lower your fuel economy on that gas guzzling Egoboost V6.

        http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/specifications/towing/

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I notice when in the States staying at my mothers every adverstisement for vehicles is always, biggest, most, largest, cheapest etc.

      We don’t have no wheres near as much here. Our vehicle advertisements focuses more on the experience of owning a particular vehicle.

      I suppose super sizing is more a US centric ideal.

      Maybe TTAC can do a story on different trends in vehicles advertisements from around the world.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Anyone with existing Tow Nuts is already loyal to their brand and sticking with it regardless of the silly bickering over fractions. But you always want to overbuy for your tow needs. Not just for safety but wear and tear. Subsequent breakdowns, broken ball joints, U-joint and axles leads back to the safety topic. If not downtime.

    Get the a biggest V8 and truck that’s big/long enough and set up to tow without eating away at the max “combined” CGWR. Bigger is better, but only up to a point.

    If you’re serious about towing and frequently near the MAX towing, you’re going to buy a 3/4 ton anyways. Maybe not right away, but once you get tired of fixing crap not unlike head gaskets, transmissions and rear ends, you’ll wish you’d started there in the 1st place.

    Get the right tool for the job. I’ve seen mid-size truckers learn the hard way and subsequently step up to 1/2 tons. I’ve also seen 1/2 ton truckers reluctantly, but finally step up to 3/4 tons. There’s no FREE lunch.

  • avatar
    j10dave

    You guys at TTAC are sharp as tacks! Next you’re gonne tell us that 20 inch wheels are ONLY available if I order 20 inch tires as well!

  • avatar
    Dan

    I don’t know if this is still true and am not going to take the time to go and look it up but in the recent past Ford’s HD payload package on the half tons wasn’t just a different axle. It was also an entirely different frame made of 25% thicker steel.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    While memorable and in some cases, cleverly animated, Ford’s numerous Denis Leary-narrated, testosterone-laced F-Series and Super Duty ads spew out a ton of facts and figures, not all of which apply to one single truck model. Rather than spend five minutes explaining which trim level or bed length gets which engine or has which fuel economy or towing rating, the best of all of these figures are wrapped into one 30-second rundown. Of course, the alternative to this is a “lifestyle” ad that ditches facts, figures, and dick-measuring altogether and simply shows the truck trudging through mud while a guy shouts “OH, LIKE A ROCK…”

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      or the homoerotic “Max and Al”.

      I liked the old “Like a rock” ads, and loved the Ram “Farmer” ad. I’ll watch that any day over the cocaine-fueled epilepsy test that Ford ran as an ad.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Those truck commercials with the wording printed must appeal to the sport bar crowd that can’t hear the TV.

      These towing figures have allot of fudge factor built into them.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    Here’s a nasty little secret about Ford’s Ecoboost trucks that you don’t hear much: Ecoboost trucks cannot be used with plows. The plow attachment mechanisms interfere with turbo breathing. This has severely hampered its appeal in the Northeast.

    And heck yes, a small truck’s turbo is a $4000 repair waiting to happen. They inevitably burn out after 120k miles. If the turbo doesn’t fry, then the injectors burn out.

    Ecoboost is a scam, IMO. The Ecoboost engines in the new Fusion have been discredited. Its use in trucks is a bad idea.

    • 0 avatar
      lahru

      hey sketch,
      thats wrong. Ford doesn’t want plows on F-150′s with electric power steering, they have a snow plow prep for F-150 w/ 6.2 liter V8 due this truck not having electric PS.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      That seems unlikely. It’s not like the plow is completely sealing up the air intake. The air might be marginally warmer entering combustion so not as efficient, but I doubt this is going to be a problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        Actually that makes perfect sense. I know of at least one person that had trouble with his truck overheating(A GM gasser) while running down the highway with the plow attached. They can severely limit air flow to the engine bay. Plus the motor is working that much harder pushing the plow through the atmosphere.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Are you saying turbo-charged engines with direct injection or just direct injected engines in general?

  • avatar
    DGA

    Fords need a special towing package as well to get to 11,300 even with the 6.2L. Regardless, no on manufacturer follows the standard towing rating procedure, so they can technically say what ever they want.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    And the extreme GM bias continues.

    Why is it when GM makes claims, TTAC says they are misleading. But when Ford makes equally questionable claims, TTAC says nothing?

    Why does TTAC not call out Ford for that fact that while Ford claims the Egoboost will get 22 on the highway and tow 11,300 pounds, REALITY is that to get the (fairy tale) mileage of 22 MPG, you need 3.15 gears, which then DROPS your maximum tow rating to 8600 pounds.

    AND TTAC, not that I want to point out any further bias you deny that you have, but at Ford, YOU NEED A SPECIAL TOW PACKAGE TO TOW THE MAX 11,300 POUNDS. IT HAPPENS TO BE CALLED…”THE MAX TRAILER TOW PACKAGE”.

    http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/specifications/towing/

    Research, what a concept.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Agree…this one is pretty bad. It either represents a fundamental lack of understanding on how fuel economy and towing are promoted and advertised (for trucks especially) or an intentional jab. I’m guessing its the former. But, the research isn’t that hard.

      EPA ratings and advertising are for the vehicle with its standard equipment. You can advertise a trim level (like an ECO) and put that number out there if its clarified.

      Ever wonder why some OEMs are making the spare tire an option? So they can do the EPA on the vehicle with its standard equipment. Why is the manual transmission the ‘standard’ transmission on a Cruze ECO? So, they can advertise the 42 EPA highway rating. It drops for the automatic transmission…but the automatic is an option so they are ok. GM isn’t the only one that does this.

      Max towing always is (and should be) with a package because not everyone needs (and wants to pay for) the features of the max trailering which usually has some heavy duty cooling,differential changes and some brake upgrades if needed.

      Derek-enjoyed a lot of your recent work..this one isn’t one of your best.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “Agree…this one is pretty bad. It either represents a fundamental lack of understanding on how fuel economy and towing are promoted and advertised (for trucks especially) or an intentional jab. I’m guessing its the former. But, the research isn’t that hard.”

        Based on the headline alone, it’s, yet again, a very clear attempt to trash GM.

        Just the headline alone rips GM while the Ford their comparing it to needs the very thing their ripping GM for.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    When I claim the EcoBoost truck can’t be used with a plow, I’m not trying to knock FoMoCo trucks. My family uses a Ford truck. I grew up with them.

    But here in MA, dealers have been promoting EcoBoost trucks with special outreach campaigns. They’ve been visiting houses, allowing extended test drives, etc. The PR guy told my brother that EcoBoost can’t be used with a plow for engine breathing reasons.

    He did not bring up the electric power steering issue. However, I have heard that. If it is true, that is outrageous. It is certainly true that 99 percent of plow-users will automatically step up the the 8-cylinder anyway. However, they should be given the option to use the EcoBoost with no restraints.

    Look, I’ve always been a Ford guy, in cars and trucks. I think a Ford truck with the base 3.7L is a great deal. But Ford’s move to turbos is unsettling. Turbos are not fulfilling their promise. The Fusion turbo is a guzzler. And now GM is discovering that its ATS turbo is sucking down the fuel. But at least GM had the wisdom to not use turbos in its new trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The ATS 2.0T is matching EPA combined. And it’s wintertime too as these owners are breaking them in for the first 5K miles or so.

      Much better than the 3.6 V6 in the ATS and probably on par with the 2.5 4-cylinder.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The ATS 2.0T is matching EPA combined. And it’s wintertime too as these owners are breaking them in for the first 5K miles or so.

      Much better than the 3.6 V6 in the ATS and probably on par with the 2.5 4-cylinder.

      http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-ats-general-discussion-forum/278629-fuel-mileage.html

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      “But at least GM had the wisdom to not use turbos in its new trucks.”

      GM is planning to use a twin turbo V-6 in its trucks. They said it would not be based on a passenger car engine.

      http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2013/04/more-information-about-2014-silverado-sierra.html


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