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Old 07-16-2021, 07:25 AM   #1
TrybalRage
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C10 Towing - feedback wanted

So I've been making some upgrades to my truck over the past couple years with the plan to possibly do some occasional towing with it. Well last year I upgraded my 17' center console boat to a 23' Cuddy and I'm wondering if the guys with more experience towing with these trucks would feel comfortable with this setup.

1985 C10 LWB, optioned with 1G50 'heavy duty rear springs' and 1J55 'heavy duty brakes' (the larger rotor and drum package).
5.3 LS swapped (factory tune, electric fans) with 4L60E and added an external cooler
Factory 10 bolt rebuilt with 3.73 gears with TruTrac
B&W Receiver with rating for like 16k lbs (LOL)

Boat dry weight from what I can find is around 3000-3300lbs
525-600lbs motor
Estimate 650lbs if the fuel tank was full
Trailer weight, 1500 or so?
So assuming on the heavier side of things 6-6500lbs total max with a full tank of gas.

Trailer would be dual axle with brakes on both axles.

SO, for those with more experience towing with these rigs, how would you feel with this setup? Or would you keep an eye out for a more modern truck that has a higher tow rating than these older trucks? I suspect that 6500 might be pushing over the GCVWR for this thing.
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Old 07-16-2021, 08:57 AM   #2
mongocanfly
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

I've pulled my share of loads over the yrs..I've pushed the limits more times than I care to admit..
I pulled a racecar all over the place, as well as loaded horse trailers,campers ,4 wheelers,you name, it I pulled it with my bone stock 85 with a 305 and 2.73s
Truck wise you have a solid setup...but I'd say at 6500 ,your probably at the upper limits I'd feel comfortable with..
I pulled a tractor on trailer that weighed in around 7000 with my 99..although it pulled it just fine you could tell I was overloaded..wound up adding airbag helpers to the truck..
the bigger boats I've pulled have surge brake type hitches on them..those work great...are yours elec or surge?
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Old 07-16-2021, 10:03 AM   #3
TrybalRage
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

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Originally Posted by mongocanfly View Post
I've pulled my share of loads over the yrs..I've pushed the limits more times than I care to admit..
I pulled a racecar all over the place, as well as loaded horse trailers,campers ,4 wheelers,you name, it I pulled it with my bone stock 85 with a 305 and 2.73s
Truck wise you have a solid setup...but I'd say at 6500 ,your probably at the upper limits I'd feel comfortable with..
I pulled a tractor on trailer that weighed in around 7000 with my 99..although it pulled it just fine you could tell I was overloaded..wound up adding airbag helpers to the truck..
the bigger boats I've pulled have surge brake type hitches on them..those work great...are yours elec or surge?
Current trailer are surge. But I'm looking to replace it at the end of the year, so not sure what the new one would come with. I haven't actually towed the thing anywhere yet, I left it at the marina last winter sitting on the trailer.

Yeah, in my head I'm thinking 5k is more of a 'safe' load for this truck. I've seen how the frames on these things can deflect, they're just not built like newer half tons.

I think there's also a difference between a <30 minute drive and a 3 hour drive.

Other option is to talk the wife into getting one of those C30 crew duallies I drool over
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Old 07-16-2021, 10:16 AM   #4
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

Haha.....but honey,...we have to have the C30 to pull the new boat with..!!
I once pulled my buddies 38ft offshore boat with my 99 z71...that was a sight..!!..twin 454s and all
That boat alone weighed in around 10,500lbs
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Old 07-16-2021, 11:02 AM   #5
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

the set up you have would be fine for local stuff id naturally take the 4l80 out of overdrive when towing and as long as you go easy you should be ok.. from time to time i tow a 97 Proline 20 ft on a dual axel trailer with surge brakes with a 1500 dodge 4x4 and it works great
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Old 07-16-2021, 11:50 AM   #6
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

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Originally Posted by old Rusty C10 View Post
the set up you have would be fine for local stuff id naturally take the 4l80 out of overdrive when towing and as long as you go easy you should be ok.. from time to time i tow a 97 Proline 20 ft on a dual axel trailer with surge brakes with a 1500 dodge 4x4 and it works great
We had a 1500 RAM crew cab a couple years back (2016 model), 3.92 gears I believe and it was a beast. Lease ran out though and we didn't replace it. I started building up my C10 to be the tow vehicle, but then upgraded the boat haha.
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Old 07-16-2021, 11:51 AM   #7
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

If everything is in good shape, should work fine. Be aware that a properly balanced 7000lb trailer should put about 700lbs of weight on the tongue. So don't load 800lbs of crap in the bed then add the trailer. Wouldn't hurt to leave the boat gas tank mostly empty if possible.

How old is the brake master cylinder? I found out the hard way that towing a boat with a truck that hasn't seen a load in several years can become exciting fast. The extra load on the brakes meant the piston in the MC was going into rarely used and apparently rusty territory. The third or fourth stomp on the brakes due to traffic had the pedal going to the floor and the brake warning light coming on. Got home ok but lesson learned.
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Old 07-16-2021, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

What do you have for tires on this truck?. Stock suspension?
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Old 07-16-2021, 01:07 PM   #9
TrybalRage
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

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What do you have for tires on this truck?. Stock suspension?
Stock suspension, front end rebuilt with Moog parts and bilstein shocks all around. Tires are Firestone Destination LE3 109T with a load rating of 2271lbs.

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How old is the brake master cylinder? I found out the hard way that towing a boat with a truck that hasn't seen a load in several years can become exciting fast. The extra load on the brakes meant the piston in the MC was going into rarely used and apparently rusty territory. The third or fourth stomp on the brakes due to traffic had the pedal going to the floor and the brake warning light coming on. Got home ok but lesson learned.
Good point, it's original to the best of my knowledge.
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Old 07-16-2021, 04:13 PM   #10
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

I'd put air bags on the back and 6 ply tires
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Old 07-16-2021, 05:16 PM   #11
Nick_R_23
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

Personally, I would err on the side of caution. I’ve had too many close calls or just general idiots on the road wanting to cut you off or slam on their brakes to take chances at “cutting it close”. Your most important part of any haul is the ability to stop the load in an emergency. Most trucks will pull the load with no issue, but would you have confidence in your brakes, tires, and suspension to safely control this load if anything outside of your control were to happen, such as being cut off unexpectedly?
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Old 07-16-2021, 11:19 PM   #12
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

I can't find any evidence of a GCVWR for these trucks.

Instead, you have to calculate tongue weight. For safe trailer towing, you want 10% to 15% of the total trailer weight on the tongue. With the correct weight on the tongue, the rear axle GAWR and the total vehicle GVWR cannot be exceeded.

The GAWR and GVWR are fixed to the VIN. Any upgrades you've done will not change those numbers.

This is only from a legal standpoint. What's safe to tow is another matter entirely.
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Old 07-17-2021, 07:34 AM   #13
TrybalRage
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

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Originally Posted by kipps View Post
I can't find any evidence of a GCVWR for these trucks.

Instead, you have to calculate tongue weight. For safe trailer towing, you want 10% to 15% of the total trailer weight on the tongue. With the correct weight on the tongue, the rear axle GAWR and the total vehicle GVWR cannot be exceeded.

The GAWR and GVWR are fixed to the VIN. Any upgrades you've done will not change those numbers.

This is only from a legal standpoint. What's safe to tow is another matter entirely.
According to the door sticker, GVWR 5600. 3250 Front 3500 Rear

From what I can see on the GM Heritage website, curb weight was around 4100lbs with a split of 2600 front/1500 rear.
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Old 07-17-2021, 09:32 AM   #14
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

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Originally Posted by TrybalRage View Post
According to the door sticker, GVWR 5600. 3250 Front 3500 Rear

From what I can see on the GM Heritage website, curb weight was around 4100lbs with a split of 2600 front/1500 rear.
According to those numbers, you can legally carry 2000 additional pounds on the rear axle, so axle loading is not a factor here.

The GVWR is going to be a limiting factor. You only have 1100 pounds to play with before you exceed the GVWR. Add the weight of two people in the truck cab and 10% of the trailer weight, and you're bumping into the maximum allowed weight.
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Old 07-17-2021, 11:14 AM   #15
TrybalRage
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Re: C10 Towing - feedback wanted

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According to those numbers, you can legally carry 2000 additional pounds on the rear axle, so axle loading is not a factor here.

The GVWR is going to be a limiting factor. You only have 1100 pounds to play with before you exceed the GVWR. Add the weight of two people in the truck cab and 10% of the trailer weight, and you're bumping into the maximum allowed weight.
Yeah I think I've come to the conclusion that for very short distances I would use it, but for any real towing I'm going to look at other options.

Luckily right now I don't need to do so, but not sure what next year will bring. I wanted to bring the boat home in the fall (~60 miles on the road) and for that I may do an enterprise truck rental. Looks like I can get a 2500 series for a day for fairly cheap.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
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