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 > New to Towing what is safe to tow with 2012 Tahoe

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Fayetteville, GA

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Joined: 01/24/2020

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Posted: 01/24/20 08:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi All,

I'm new to towing. Been learning quite a bit reading posts here and there. This community is great.

I have a 2012 Chevy Tahoe that is equipped with the Heavy Duty Trailering package. I want to list out some numbers and see what you think would be a good weight to tow safely.

GVWR = 7,300
Curb Weight = 5,567
I expect around 500lbs additional payload (wife, 4 kids under 10).
Max Towing Capacity (8,200) based on Chevy's specs with the HD Tow Package.

From what I've gathered reading here is that payload is really going to be my restricting factor. I don't want to max out anything. I've been looking at trailers under 4,000 dry (5,100 GVWR), with a length of around 25 feet.

I know bigger is always better when it comes to tow vehicles, but want to get your thoughts. Thanks!



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Posted: 01/24/20 08:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recently owned a 18, suburban with tow package and all etc.

Do you have the air ride leveling suspension?

But from what you posted, i would see 0 problem with your towing. A sway control hitch is always a plus to have, and i personally went for a shorter trailer in height(10ft 11in) over some of the taller ones that i seen such as 12 or 13 to have better control.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/24/20 09:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You're good, go for it.

"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.


Kirkland, Wa


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Posted: 01/24/20 10:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll say go for it too. You may be a bit slower than you like, but the Tahoe will get you their safely. Assuming balanced et correctly!

Now my cavete! 4 kids.......them kiddos grow at 10 lbs or so per the time they are adult sized teens, that Tahoe will have lost any and ALL excess payload you currently have. An eight lug 25/35 series rig need to be on the horizon, just from a payload standpoint, to pull a trailer that size. My family of six weighed in at around 1200+/- lbs when my kids were adult sized teens. Been there done that. My trailer was upwards of 7000 total, 600-800 hitch weight and 25' long. We loaded upwards of 3000 lbs into my SW crew cab 3500 all inclusive people, he, dogs, bikes canoe etc.


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London, Ontario

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Posted: 01/24/20 10:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your weights seem reasonable. To be near your listed weights but still have room for a family of 6 I would recommend looking at hybrid trailers. Short tow length, lighter weight but opens up to a much larger space. Personally something like a Rockwood Roo 183 would be on my list with a young large family.
Like this.

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Mc Pherson KS USA

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Posted: 01/24/20 11:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would say your good to go as well. It sounds like you've done your homework.


Near Annett’s Mono Village, Bridgeport, CA

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Posted: 01/24/20 12:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I towed with a 2015 Tahoe that had 1595 pounds of payload capacity...TT was/is 5200 pounds loaded and wet...and was happy. Would have been okay to 6000 but no more. Does your Tahoe have auto level? You’ll need something.

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Brown City, MI

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Posted: 01/24/20 02:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Forget about towing capacity of 8200 lbs. That was calculated without passengers and cargo. That's not how we go camping. As you load up the tow vehicle, it's "true" towing capacity is going down.

Your Tahoe has multiple (inter-related) ratings that dictate what the vehicle can carry or tow. It has a payload rating (what is can carry) that, if exceeded, it also exceeds GVWR and very likely exceeds GCVWR, even though the loaded weight of your trailer is lower than that mythical "max tow weight rating".

The reason payload is very important in towing a travel trailer is, the tow vehicle is actually carrying (not towing) on average 12 - 13 percent of the trailer's weight. At times it is higher.

On your drivers door post, there is a tire / loading sticker. It has a number for your particular Tahoe's capacity to carry the combined weight of people, pets, cargo, weight distributing hitch / equipment, and trailer tongue weight. That number will be listed as "max occupant / cargo weight capacity".

Take that number and subtract your families weight, subtract 100 lbs for hitch equipment, subtract the weight of any aftermarket accessories added to the Tahoe, and subtract weight of car seats, luggage or anything else you would carry in the Tahoe. Whatever you have left is payload capacity available for carrying tongue weight.

Once you know what your capacity is to carry tongue weight, divide that number by .13, and that will be a ball park number for loaded trailer weight that puts you Tahoe at, or near, it's payload capacity and it's GVWR. Say for example, you have 700 lbs payload available ---(700 divided by .13) comes out to 5385 lbs of loaded trailer weight. An 8200 lb trailer would need 1066 lbs available.

When you go trailer shopping, keep in mind, sales people will be talking unloaded (UVW / dry) and gross (GVWR) trailer weights, neither of which are you likely to be towing. They do that because they have no idea what you're going to carry in the trailer. Only time you'll be close to UVW is when you pick up the trailer from the dealer. The average load is 800 to 1000 lbs, and that is usually below what the trailer could carry.

Give yourself some cushion because (1) the closer you get to max weight, the more unpleasant towing will be, and (2) tongue weight is not a constant number. It fluctuates up and back down, during every trip.

You're looking at trailers that are in the right weight class and should be good to go, unless you've underestimated your cargo / passenger weight, or, unless your Tahoe has a low payload capacity.

Good luck

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Tucson, Arizona

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Posted: 01/24/20 05:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Like other people said, you can pull it but the ideal situation would be to have a 3:73 in the differential. I am guessing you have a 3:42 in there now. Just watch the heat in the tranny.

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