Who tows with a diesel Colorado ?

TwinStick

Explorer
Looking for real world experience of people who tow with their diesel Colorado. Good bad or otherwise. What do you tow, how heavy, & what type of hitch set up do you have ?
Weight distributing ?, with sway bar control ?, what is the tongue weight ? Do you get the "wag the dog" or side to side sway ? What kind of mpg do you see towing ? Thanks in advance for your replies.

Trying to decide for our next tow vehicle. Our camper: 18' Starcraft AR ONE EXTREME 18QB, 3500 lbs., 15" tires, single axle, electric brakes, sits high. Our hitch is a Reese Weight Distributing w/anti sway bars, rated @ 12,000 lbs. Tows perfect, with zero sway, regardless of semi trucks passing me or me passing them, behind our 2008 Dodge Power Wagon w/G-56. Looking to see some real world mpgs while towing, of the 2.8L DuraMax diesel. We are keeping the Wagon regardless of what we get. Only 6 lb ft of torque difference between the DuraMax and my Hemi. Doing my homework now.
 
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p nut

butter
Engine power is not going to be an issue. Typically, that's never really the issue with towing. Going from a 3/4 ton to mid-size? You will definitely notice that.
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Just curious, if you're keeping the PW, why get another truck? Seems like a net negative, financially.
 

KAkers

New member
I don't have a Colorado but here is my experience. I have a lightweight TT (4800 dry). I have towed with a 07 Yukon, 10 Silverado and 13 Yukon Denali. None work well. They all did it but they get hot when pushed in the mountains. I bought a duramax 2500 now. Over kill I know but I won't have issues towing. I was in Yellowstone a couple years ago with the Denali. It was not impressive in the mountains. When I went shopping for trucks salesman tried to sell me an eco boost saying it will tow 9000 pounds easily. I routinely see half tons with fifth wheels and some with a trailer behind that. They will tow it but for me it would not be good or safe.

What I'm getting at is someone will say it works great but what works for some won't work for me. There is no substitute for the size and weight on a HD truck when towing. I will waive at the guys going up a hill at 4000 rpm and 25 mph as I go 60 without downshifting.
 

Ovrlnd Rd

Adventurer
Towing is generally less of an issue of "can it pull it" and more an issue of "can it stop it?" The PW is going to have much better braking capacity than a Colorado. Speaking as a former claims adjuster I've seen far fewer accidents because someone was too slow going up a hill and far more because they were too fast going down a hill.
 

p nut

butter
I don't have a Colorado but here is my experience. I have a lightweight TT (4800 dry). I have towed with a 07 Yukon, 10 Silverado and 13 Yukon Denali. None work well. They all did it but they get hot when pushed in the mountains. I bought a duramax 2500 now. Over kill I know but I won't have issues towing. I was in Yellowstone a couple years ago with the Denali. It was not impressive in the mountains. When I went shopping for trucks salesman tried to sell me an eco boost saying it will tow 9000 pounds easily. I routinely see half tons with fifth wheels and some with a trailer behind that. They will tow it but for me it would not be good or safe.

What I'm getting at is someone will say it works great but what works for some won't work for me. There is no substitute for the size and weight on a HD truck when towing. I will waive at the guys going up a hill at 4000 rpm and 25 mph as I go 60 without downshifting.
I agree with you that a HD, 3/4-1ton truck will tow better, it's not from engine power. I have no directly experience with GM V8's, but I know Ecoboost will tow uphill just fine. As much as I don't particularly find any significance to TFL "tests", if you look up their tow test up the "Gauntlet", they had no problems pulling uphill.
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The big difference comes in maneuvering, braking, etc. Crosswind effects is also minimized with a stouter tow vehicle as well. Which is why I think the op should just keep and tow with the PW.
 

Zillon

Member
Diesel Colorado (or Canyon) nets you an exhaust brake standard and integrated brake controller.

They're capable trucks, and real world mileage solo comes out around 25-30 MPG on the highway, which is really impressive.
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
I thought this was a reasonable test with relevant information that may be helpful to you:
Their newer videos seem to be more objective, and less subjective. I think this truck may have also been in their "truck of the year awards".
Like anything, sometimes reading between the lines, or listening to other reviews that compare to this vehicle can get a bit more depth.
Hope this helps,
 

TwinStick

Explorer
Thanks for the replies so far. I do appreciate it.

Just to clarify, I have tons of experience towing. Drove tractor-trailer in Germany for 3 years & have been towing a camper of some sort all my life. I am 53yrs old now. Looking for real world experience from people who have one & tow with it. I have read reviews & watched videos. The guys on TFL towed with it but complained the whole time about the "wag the dog" sway. Well that does not impress me AT ALL. Why, you ask ? Because they were NOT using a weight distributing hitch & they were NOT using anti-sway bars either. IMHO, it was a TOTAL waste of time. What the heck did they expect. If I towed my 30' Keystone Tail Gator Toy Hauler (10,500 lbs), with my Power Wagon with no Load Pro 35 helper springs, no weight distributing hitch & no anti-sway bars, it would tow like crap as well. But with those things on, it towed that camper like nobody's business. The trucks have to be properly set up for what they are towing. In their test, it was not. I do appreciate the help, the links & the vids. As stated in my first post. I am NOT getting rid of the Power Wagon, it is paid for. Just wondering how the diesel tows when set up properly. New camper only weighs 3500 lbs. Colorado can tow 7000 lbs. 3500 lbs should not be an issue at all, going up or down hills. Camper has elec brakes. Looking to get better than 8-10 mpg or less (sometimes 2-3 climbing steep grades) when traveling. If it got 15-20 mpg when towing, it would be a 100%+ improvement over the PW. My Power Wagon towed at max load for 8+ years with no major issues or problems. The most major issue it had was rear diff temps. Changed the fluid every year as a result. Recently put a Mag-Hytec rear diff cover on it. Doubled the fluid capacity. Still runs warm, even with the 3500 lb camper. I think the 4.56's don't like speeds over 55 mph when towing anything.

Looking forward to more input. If this 2.8L diesel won't work, I may just get another Power Wagon. Just looking for much better mpgs. Wife filed her retirement papers today. I retired in June last year. Looking forward to traveling the country. If i use my PW, it will cost us a considerable amount in fuel. It may end up being a wash, IDK. By the time you figure in payments for a new vehicle & all ?
 
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upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
I will be able to give you some first hand info in a couple of months. We have a 23 foot 4,200lb dry weight ultralight camper and just purchased a Dmax Colorado long bed. I have no reason to believe it won't handle our camper well. I plan to use my Reese weight distribution hitch in conjunction.

Two things about the TFL videos, their Gauntlet test is from Silvertborne to the Eseinhower tunnel on I70. If you have driven this stretch it is a pretty steep grade and pretty high elevation. It's one of the ultimate tests I feel because of those reasons. I have had plenty of trucks that couldn't maintain the 50mph the Duramax did there without towing so I think that is a pretty impressive achievement.

Secondly I think the 140" wheelbase of the long bed will make a big difference with stability in crosswinds and passing semis compare to the short bed.

I will share my experiences once I hook it up and give it a run.


I am betting it will out do the mileage of our 3/4 Suburban while towing as well.
 

TwinStick

Explorer
AHHHH, the angels have sung !

Thank you. I am so looking forward to your after action report. I think it will work good too. It looks good on paper anyways. Only 6 ft lbs less than my Hemi's 375 ft lbs. Also, JSYK, I am VERY interested in the ZR2. Same diesel engine, 8 speed transmission (I think, right) but less GCWR. 5000 max tow vs the 7000 on your truck. Kinda like my PW. Less than a reg 2500 but same frame, axles (except the lockers), etc...

Yes, I know Eisenhower Pass. I did it in a 2004 Toyota Corolla, 4 people & a trunk FULL of stuff. The day we did it, it was 80*F at the bottom & 28*F at the top with about 3-4' of snow on the sides. Road was clear. I must have seen at least a dozen vehicles, some brand new, overheating on the side of the road, pulling campers mostly. That is a GREAT test of a tow vehicle.

What I would like to see them add is, differential temps, transmission temps, engine oil temps, coolant temps - both before the hill (at operating temp) and again at the top, and again at the bottom after the decent. I think if they did that, people could get a REAL sense of towing under extreme conditions. Do 1 in the summer when it is really hot out & 1 in the winter.



Not sure of what a loaded up ZR2 will cost me, but am mainly interested in how it tows, when set up properly.

I got lucky with my hitch set up. I was able to re-use the 12,000 lb rated Reese weight distributing w/anti sway bars on our tiny new camper. It don't move at all. Tows so good.

On my 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Hemi/545RFE & 4.10's, I put a 1 ton 24 row trans cooler on it (factory one was 12 row). I also put a 10"x21"x1.5" engine oil cooler on it. We had our toy hauler and my FILaw had his Chevy 2500 HD & his camper. His camper was 3000 lbs less. We went to Tenn & pulled a long steep hill around Kentucky. He disappeared in my mirror. Same year trucks, he also had the tow pkg & 4.10's. He had to drop down to about 15-20 mph because his coolant temp went right up to the red. Not in it but right to it. I waited for like 20 minutes for him to show up. It was 70*F. He said the same thing I did. You should be able to tow what the manufacturer says, without your truck self destructing. I said yeah, I know, I had to explain to my wife why we had to sink more money into a new vehicle.
Looking forward to your results, good or bad.
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
Thanks for the replies so far. I do appreciate it.

... The guys on TFL towed with it but complained the whole time about the "wag the dog" sway. Well that does not impress me AT ALL. Why, you ask ? Because they were NOT using a weight distributing hitch & they were NOT using anti-sway bars either. IMHO, it was a TOTAL waste of time. What the heck did they expect. I
:eek:
You obviously did not watch the video I just posted because they are using weight distribution hitch, and commented on how GM overall has a lack of squat.
Since you were looking for first hand towing info on the Colorado/Canyon, this is a good first hand experience.
Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, because of prior experience. :beer:
 

p nut

butter
If i use my PW, it will cost us a considerable amount in fuel. It may end up being a wash, IDK. By the time you figure in payments for a new vehicle & all ?
Typically, it never works in your favor to purchase a new vehicle in an effort to lessen overall ownership costs.
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For instance, in this case. I assumed 20k miles per year driving.
Gas is $2.29 national avg, and diesel is $2.51.
PW gets 13mpg and 8 mpg towing.
Canyon gets 30mpg and 20mpg towing (I don't think it'll be that good, but that's what I'll use).
Canyon costs you $40k
You tow 50% of the time with each vehicle.
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Annual fuel costs:
PW = $4,624
Canyon = $2,092
Difference = $2,532
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In order to make up for the purchase price, you'll need 15.8 years at those fuel cost savings. This doesn't include extra maintenance costs for the diesel.
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Now since you are looking to also drive the PW as welll, let's say the split is 70% Canyon and 30% PW. This gets even worse at $1,773 annual savings, and almost 23 years to make that up. This doesn't include extra maintenance costs, registration fees, etc.
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If you happen to buy a cheaper version, at say, $27,000, it still takes you over 10 years if you drive the Canyon 100% of the time an over 15 years if you split driving with PW.
 

TwinStick

Explorer
:eek:
You obviously did not watch the video I just posted because they are using weight distribution hitch, and commented on how GM overall has a lack of squat.
Since you were looking for first hand towing info on the Colorado/Canyon, this is a good first hand experience.
Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, because of prior experience. :beer:






You are correct. I thought it was the same video I watched already, where they were complaining about the sway. It was a while back. Sorry, my mistake.
 

TwinStick

Explorer
Typically, it never works in your favor to purchase a new vehicle in an effort to lessen overall ownership costs.
_
For instance, in this case. I assumed 20k miles per year driving.
Gas is $2.29 national avg, and diesel is $2.51.
PW gets 13mpg and 8 mpg towing.
Canyon gets 30mpg and 20mpg towing (I don't think it'll be that good, but that's what I'll use).
Canyon costs you $40k
You tow 50% of the time with each vehicle.
_
Annual fuel costs:
PW = $4,624
Canyon = $2,092
Difference = $2,532
_
In order to make up for the purchase price, you'll need 15.8 years at those fuel cost savings. This doesn't include extra maintenance costs for the diesel.
_
Now since you are looking to also drive the PW as welll, let's say the split is 70% Canyon and 30% PW. This gets even worse at $1,773 annual savings, and almost 23 years to make that up. This doesn't include extra maintenance costs, registration fees, etc.
_
If you happen to buy a cheaper version, at say, $27,000, it still takes you over 10 years if you drive the Canyon 100% of the time an over 15 years if you split driving with PW.

Great info, thanks.
 
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