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I am looking into buying a 2021 Chevy or GMC 1500 3L Duramax. My son bought one and I love it. But, I have a 7x16 enclosed trailer, max weight of 7500#. I will most likely never load it beyond 5000. On paper, The truck boasts 9300# towing capacity but I've driven a F150 that had a 12000 towing capacity and it got 6.8 mpg with an empty trailer. I'm hoping to do better with this truck.
What I'm asking is has anybody actually towed with this new motor and how did it actually perform? How was your mileage? any special configurtations I should look for or avoid?

Thank for your advice!
 

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I'll leave the vehicle-specific commentary to those who have actual experience with that truck, but I can say definitively that towing fuel economy is a stronger function of trailer frontal area / aerodynamics than trailer weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll leave the vehicle-specific commentary to those who have actual experience with that truck, but I can say definitively that towing fuel economy is a stronger function of trailer frontal area / aerodynamics than trailer weight.

Good point. My trailer has a v front and a tapered roof. it should cut the wind as efficiently as possible, but my 2500 6.0 goes from 14 to 8 gmp with it in tow. Obviously, I'll loose some MPGs. I just don't want to kill the truck in the process. If it's better to go with a 2500 6.6 duramax, I'd rather find out now before making a $55,000 mistake.
I've talked with 4 dealers and their service departments but none will give me any more info than what the specs are.
 

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Good point. My trailer has a v front and a tapered roof. it should cut the wind as efficiently as possible, but my 2500 6.0 goes from 14 to 8 gmp with it in tow. Obviously, I'll loose some MPGs. I just don't want to kill the truck in the process. If it's better to go with a 2500 6.6 duramax, I'd rather find out now before making a $55,000 mistake.
I've talked with 4 dealers and their service departments but none will give me any more info than what the specs are.
Like I said, I haven't towed with that particular vehicle, but for what you describe I think a half-ton will be fine. I wouldn't necessarily expect towing fuel economy to be that much better with the half-ton than the HD, though.

That aside, I have a personal aversion to light duty diesels. As far as I'm concerned they come with all of the diesel problems (initial cost, insane complexity, emissions nightmares, etc.) and none of the benefits (big boy towing capability). I know the diesel probably gives a better driving experience but it comes with a steep price tag. I think if you're not put off by the larger size of the HD, I'd go the HD route. And of course when you're towing the size of the tow vehicle isn't that big of a deal since any enhanced maneuverability of the smaller truck is more than cancelled out by the trailer, and the bigger truck will handle the trailer better in terms of sway, pitching, etc.

The one exception I'll grant is the exhaust brake capability. I suppose if you were towing a relatively light trailer in mountainous areas frequently then the improvement in both driving experience and safety might be worth all the costs associated with the half-ton diesel.
 

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From the numbers you've stated, you'd have plenty of headroom. Even a fully loaded 7500# 16' box trailer is well within specs, and sway should be minimal (which is where a lot of 1500s suffer with linger trailers -- sway control). We dont know the payload of that truck, but a 12% average tongue weight ratio is 900#... which by most 1500 standards should still give you a comfortable margin.

Fuel mileage... just plan for it to be terrible (ha) whether gas or diesel. You wont be towing ALL the time anyway, right? The countered trailer shape might help, but I haven't found a tow vehicle yet that I'd label as "efficient". :)
 

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I guess it would depend on how often your towing your trailer... if it’s just occasionally, I’d think you would be fine, but if it’s more than that I’d definitely get 2500 6.6. I’m just thinking handling, wear & tear on suspension, brakes. I also drop to about 8 MPG’s when I tow my trailer (5000 lbs)with my 02 6.0 gas... but w my Duramax I get around 12-14 and it just tows SOOO much better. Yes, the newer 1/2 tons have impressive payloads but you don’t want to wear it out in the first 50k miles. Just my 2 cents.
 

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I just bought a new 1500 with a 6.2 and kept my 03 duramax for heavy duty stuff. I would never buy any diesel with the new emissions. You can't save enough on fuel to pay for the higher maintenance cost on a diesel And once off warranty the repairs to the emissions system is even worse. And that engine has less power than the 6.2. I would not even consider it. I did not even consider it. I did tow my travel trailer with the 1500. It dose not handle the trailer very well. It's not stable enough. It dose have plenty of power though. But the 6.2 has a lot more power and at more useable RPM ranges than the toy diesel.
 
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I’ve pulled 4500 lbs with one and it did it very easily, IMO. Cant comment on mpg though.
 

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Good point. My trailer has a v front and a tapered roof. it should cut the wind as efficiently as possible, but my 2500 6.0 goes from 14 to 8 gmp with it in tow. Obviously, I'll loose some MPGs. I just don't want to kill the truck in the process. If it's better to go with a 2500 6.6 duramax, I'd rather find out now before making a $55,000 mistake.
I've talked with 4 dealers and their service departments but none will give me any more info than what the specs are.
Can't speak about the 3,0 mileage but I also have a v nosed with sloped front end enclosed trailer and pull it with my 2500 Duramax. While I love the trailer it is as aerodynamic as a brick. Mine is a 7x12 for hauling my bike so it does not carry much weight. Bike and gear maybe 2500 lbs. The 2500 Duramax pulls it easily but it does hit the mileage. Fighting a bit of a headwind at 70 mph I can get down to 10 mpg. Take the speed up to 75 makes things a bunch worse. I get better mileage pulling my gooseneck with a 9000 lb load. It is all aerodynamics. My buddy has an Ecoboost 3.5 and pulls a toy hauler with it. Doing 65 he only gets about 6 to 7. It really comes down to how much you haul the trailer. If you only do it 10 % of the time then you are better off with the 3.0. More than that go the 6.6 route. Just my opinion. I would not go into this thinking about mileage while pulling a load. It is more about the mileage you get when not pulling a load. Dean
 

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I just bought a 2500hd, but had a ram ecodiesel and I have a 7x14 enclosed trailer, so pretty comparable numbers. You notice that it is there and do not expect to do 80 mph all the way. My ram could do it but would get pretty warm. With normal driving 65 mph, no issues whatsoever.. In comparison the 6.6 will tow it all day long with 80 mph. I traded because I am getting a 24ft enclosed with 7k axles and that my 1/2 ton will not do lol
 

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There's a video floating around in the 3.0L LM2 specific drivetrain section that compares the Silverado 3.0L with the Ram Eco Diesel. The Chevy actually came in with slightly better gas mileage compared to the Ram, and that was towing a 7000# pound trailer with horrible aerodynamics (roof rack). It came in at about 13mpg with that trailer. Unloaded (well, loaded with Corvette wheels/tires and a pallet of computers the last couple of days) through mixed driving conditions I am averaging between 23 and 25 MPG in my 4x4 GMC, which gets worse mileage than the Silverado. Unloaded going to Galveston, TX over the weekend it was showing I had another 410 miles of range after driving 167 miles on this tank so far.

I have just under 1300 miles on it now, and I'm loving every minute of it. :cool:

EDIT: Here's the video...
 

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Watch this and you will probably buy it, I would.


I myself would do it all day and I see it is only a $3K option. I have also heard of folks towing 5K with the Colorado with no complaints.

What you always have to remember that the real diesel advantage is not only the torque but the torque at 1800 or so RPM. Any gasser you have will be running at 4,000 RPM up the hills and I never enjoyed that myself. The diesels just grunt along.

I just wish I had a good reason to buy one but my 5'er isn't going to allow me to do so.
 

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I am looking into buying a 2021 Chevy or GMC 1500 3L Duramax. My son bought one and I love it. But, I have a 7x16 enclosed trailer, max weight of 7500#. I will most likely never load it beyond 5000. On paper, The truck boasts 9300# towing capacity but I've driven a F150 that had a 12000 towing capacity and it got 6.8 mpg with an empty trailer. I'm hoping to do better with this truck.
What I'm asking is has anybody actually towed with this new motor and how did it actually perform? How was your mileage? any special configurtations I should look for or avoid?

Thank for your advice!
We towed a 25 ft travel trailer with our 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Duramax--towed weight was 7000 lb, tongue weight 825 lb., roughly 600 lb cargo/people in the truck. The powertrain was awesome and had no problem with the load. We averaged 11.5-12 mpg in hilly country and occasionally saw 13 with a tail wind. The problem was the suspension--it was a nightmare and would start to gallop with the slightest road undulation (like uneven concrete freeway slabs or rolling mountain roads). In many cases it would not settle down before the next road dip--then we had a white knuckle problem. Put a set of Timbrens on it--didn't help at all. I'm sure the high tongue weight (close to max) and the softer Z71 suspension contributed to this. If I had to stick with a half ton I'd not get the Z71 suspension next time. I'd also consider an aftermarket shock like a Bilstein--which was next on the list before I decided to stop worrying about it and put the trailer behind a GMC 2500 HD Duramax. Not a solution for everyone--but that truck was so easy to live with I kicked myself for not doing it earlier.
 

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We towed a 25 ft travel trailer with our 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Duramax--towed weight was 7000 lb, tongue weight 825 lb., roughly 600 lb cargo/people in the truck. The powertrain was awesome and had no problem with the load. We averaged 11.5-12 mpg in hilly country and occasionally saw 13 with a tail wind. The problem was the suspension--it was a nightmare and would start to gallop with the slightest road undulation (like uneven concrete freeway slabs or rolling mountain roads). In many cases it would not settle down before the next road dip--then we had a white knuckle problem. Put a set of Timbrens on it--didn't help at all. I'm sure the high tongue weight (close to max) and the softer Z71 suspension contributed to this. If I had to stick with a half ton I'd not get the Z71 suspension next time. I'd also consider an aftermarket shock like a Bilstein--which was next on the list before I decided to stop worrying about it and put the trailer behind a GMC 2500 HD Duramax. Not a solution for everyone--but that truck was so easy to live with I kicked myself for not doing it earlier.
That's my experience with the 1500 as well. I still have my old 2500 for the travel trailer. The 1500 does fine with the dump trailer and the tilt deck with a Corvette or my tractor. But the TV trailer is in my opinion unsafe. The truck is just not designed for that. If it was no one would buy one as the ride would be rough.

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We towed a 25 ft travel trailer with our 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Duramax--towed weight was 7000 lb, tongue weight 825 lb., roughly 600 lb cargo/people in the truck. The powertrain was awesome and had no problem with the load. We averaged 11.5-12 mpg in hilly country and occasionally saw 13 with a tail wind. The problem was the suspension--it was a nightmare and would start to gallop with the slightest road undulation (like uneven concrete freeway slabs or rolling mountain roads). In many cases it would not settle down before the next road dip--then we had a white knuckle problem. Put a set of Timbrens on it--didn't help at all. I'm sure the high tongue weight (close to max) and the softer Z71 suspension contributed to this. If I had to stick with a half ton I'd not get the Z71 suspension next time. I'd also consider an aftermarket shock like a Bilstein--which was next on the list before I decided to stop worrying about it and put the trailer behind a GMC 2500 HD Duramax. Not a solution for everyone--but that truck was so easy to live with I kicked myself for not doing it earlier.
What are you using for a WDH? If your camper is sitting tongue high that too could be a factor.
 

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We towed a 25 ft travel trailer with our 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Duramax--towed weight was 7000 lb, tongue weight 825 lb., roughly 600 lb cargo/people in the truck. The powertrain was awesome and had no problem with the load. We averaged 11.5-12 mpg in hilly country and occasionally saw 13 with a tail wind. The problem was the suspension--it was a nightmare and would start to gallop with the slightest road undulation (like uneven concrete freeway slabs or rolling mountain roads). In many cases it would not settle down before the next road dip--then we had a white knuckle problem. Put a set of Timbrens on it--didn't help at all. I'm sure the high tongue weight (close to max) and the softer Z71 suspension contributed to this. If I had to stick with a half ton I'd not get the Z71 suspension next time. I'd also consider an aftermarket shock like a Bilstein--which was next on the list before I decided to stop worrying about it and put the trailer behind a GMC 2500 HD Duramax. Not a solution for everyone--but that truck was so easy to live with I kicked myself for not doing it earlier.
What are you using for a WDH? If your camper is sitting tongue high that too could be a factor.
 

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What are you using for a WDH? If your camper is sitting tongue high that too could be a factor.
Just sold the trailer and the hitch went with it so I'm having a hard time remembering the brand--Hitch Rite comes to mind could be wrong there-- but it had the friction wd bars on it. I set them as high as they would go and the trailer sat just slightly tongue-low, truck was otherwise level. With propane tanks, batteries and the drop-frame pass thru all on the front the weight naturally stayed on or in front of the axles.
 

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The worst was wind. It was white knuckle in wind. With an Eazlift hitch. I don't even use the weight distribution hitch on my 2500. And it's fine in worse wind on the same highways. A 1500 is just the wrong truck for a travel trailer unless your families safety is not important to you. They are just too light with too soft suspension. My other trailers are the same weight or heavier. But no box to catch wind or be controlled by windflow. They tow fine behind the 1500 without the WDH.

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I am looking into buying a 2021 Chevy or GMC 1500 3L Duramax. My son bought one and I love it. But, I have a 7x16 enclosed trailer, max weight of 7500#. I will most likely never load it beyond 5000. On paper, The truck boasts 9300# towing capacity but I've driven a F150 that had a 12000 towing capacity and it got 6.8 mpg with an empty trailer. I'm hoping to do better with this truck.
What I'm asking is has anybody actually towed with this new motor and how did it actually perform? How was your mileage? any special configurtations I should look for or avoid?

Thank for your advice!
We have a 2021 Silverado 1500 Z71 Duramax 3L and regularly pull an 8000 lb travel trailer. Just got back from a trip thru Colorado with passes up to 12k feet. No problems! In the past five months have put over 16k miles on the truck, much of it pulling the TT. While pulling we have seen mostly 12 to 14 mpg. Replaced TT tires with Goodyear Endurance (Made a big difference over China Bombs that came on it). Mostly pull at 60 to 65 mph and use the tack to decide what speed to pull. It seems to do the best between 1500 and 2000 rpm. If the rpm's get over 2000, we simply slow down a bit. Wind seems to be the biggest factor in determining mpg. Was able to get over 14 mpg in the mountains when there was no wind and slowed down to 60 mph. It pulls very comfortably at 70 to 75 mph but mpg sucks, so we just slow down. When not pulling and running mostly 70 mph on freeways have consistently seen 26 to 28 mpg, again biggest factor seems to be wind (we live in Texas). Have used regular factory maintenance schedule.
 

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My 3.0 tows my 4600 lb deep-v, full windshield boat just fine. It has about 620 lbs tongue weight and catches air due to the high windshield. We averaged 14-15 mpg going to/from northern WI. If I stayed at or below 70, I was is the 17-18 mph range. I had no issues with handling but will say I did add a set of Supersprings Solo Coils (1000 lbs and really easy install) to help with the sag. They helped a lot with any side to side roll.

The 10 speed trans kept the motor in its happy place most of the time.

I can’t imagine a v-nosed trailer having any more drag than my boat. I trailer long distances with the cover on it. Without it, my mileage drops quite a bit.
 
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