My experience towing a heavy load - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-27-2016, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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My experience towing a heavy load

I figured I would do a quick write up about how the truck handles towing. I just moved from Roanoke, Virginia to Phoenix, Arizona. My girlfriend in Arizona has two Polaris Razors and we currently don't have a trailer big enough to take both at once. We normally have to borrow a truck and trailer. So rather than paying for a U-haul we split buying a 26ft enclosed trailer.

First off the truck. I've got a 2015 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab. It has a Zone 1.25 level on the front. I added a RedArc Elite Brake Controller and a Reese Weight Distribution Hitch with Sway Control.

I chose the RedArc controller because every other controller I looked at made the interior feel cramped. The interior is already small and I liked that over a Silverado. Only issue we had installing the control head was the location I picked. After some research, where I wanted the controller mounted was where a plastic trim piece connected behind the dash. I took the truck to my local car audio shop and they filed down the trim piece and drilled a hole so the switch could mount properly. I'm very happy with how it looks. Pretty much stock. I'm also very happy how it preformed. It was very easy to adjust as we drove. I found that if we were in stop and go traffic I would turn the controller down. The truck could stop the load no problem and I didn't need the brakes on he trailer. At highway speeds I would turn it up and never felt like it was over controlling the truck.

With the hitch, it looked HUGE on such a little truck but I would highly recommend it for pulling a large trailer. The weight distribution was easy to set up and the sway control worked fantastic. This was my first experience with weight distribution and sway control and I'll probably never go back. There was a little sway when we would get passed by cars or trucks but the trailer straightened out quickly.

Now for how the truck did. It did FANTASTIC!!!! I was actually a little worried towing something so big with such a little truck. Maybe if I was towing professionally I'd need a bigger truck but for my recreational towing, the truck did great!!!! I found that using Tow/Haul with M5 worked best as Tow/Haul in D caused the truck to want to shift into 6th gear which would cause the truck to lose speed. The truck conquered the hills of Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee with ease. We weren't exactly driving with the sedans, more the semis, but the truck handled great!!! I also never did any research before we left about transmission temperature. The highest I ever saw it was around 190F. Most of the time it was around 170-180F the whole trip. I will say we probably sacrificed fuel efficiency for time. We did over 2200 miles and averaged around 9 mpg. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. My worse fill up had the range showing 135 miles on a full tank of gas.

We did the trip in around 35 hours and all in all I was quite impressed. Both my girlfriend and I were comfortable the whole time. We never felt too beat up after 14-16 hours in the truck. The truck ran flawless and I'm looking forward to getting it out in the desert!!!! Here are some pics from the trip.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-27-2016, 09:13 PM
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Great write up and pics. Thanks for sharing your experience!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-27-2016, 11:14 PM
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Thanks for sharing, sounds like the truck did awesome considering the size of the trailer and the hills.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-27-2016, 11:58 PM
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You have any idea what that setup loaded up weighed?


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry it took me so long g to reply. Ended up going to work and haven't driven the truck or thought about it in 3 weeks.

Anyways, the trailer empty is 3600lbs. I towed it 300 miles from the factory empty then added all my stuff. As a guess it's probably around 6500lbs gross weight. Once I put the Rzrs in it will be pushing 6500-7000lbs. I didn't notice much difference from empty to full though. It was more about beating wind resistance. The hills you just did around 45mph instead of 70. Stopping never seemed to be a problem anywhere.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 12:33 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to write up your experience. I've been sitting on the fence about a full size RV @ 4600 Lbs empty, most likely another 1000Lb of gear. The fact that you (for the most part) reported that you had no issues towing is really reassuring.
mike

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 01:44 PM
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This is good to know, because I have a 28 ft enclosed trailer that I will be using the Colorado to tow. My trailer weighs just under 4,000 pounds empty, so I'm way under what you towed with yours.
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