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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I towed our upgraded camper and ended up fighting with the tranny. Any ideas on this?

New camper is teardrop style TT (Little Guy Max). 3000# dry + 500# loaded up. Single axle, 7' wide, 21' long. Old camper was hard-sided pop-up (Aliner LXE). 2000# dry. Also single axle & 7' wide 18' long. Small campers! compared to what folks say they tow here, so I was surprised to have any issues.

Our old Aliner was great to tow. It literally felt like "is it back there?" :)
Towing the new TT gave me a couple issues -- the biggest is the tranny.

Acceleration was sluggish. Do folks smash the pedal when getting up to speed? >3k RPM for on-ramps?

I tend to drive slow at 55mph or 60 max. >55mph, I had to feather the pedal around to force the tranny into 5th gear & <2k RPM. Also had to turn off Cruise to keep the tranny from dipping back down to 4th for even the tinniest hill. Manually feathering pedal would keep in 5th but with a loss of 3-5mph on small hills. Heavy pedal / Cruise made the tranny stay in 4th & >2k RPM.

My Better/Smart half likes to drive w/ Cruise @ 65mph. That wasn't possible without a lot of downshifting to 4th & rev'ing.

Same problem whether Tow/Haul mode was on/off. I turn Tow/Haul off b/c the exhaust brake is too aggressive, and both campers have electric brakes that I calibrate.

On the plus side, trans temp <190F. So I don't think I'm towing "hard".

Is a tune the only way to get at better on-ramp acceleration & cruise control @ 65mph w/out downshifts? Or is this a bad tranny? I've started to get the dreaded shudder :(
 

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Have you done the fluid and filter? How many miles on it? Id do that first, get a fluid exchange and filter and gasket change. Takes 12 qt with a fluid exchange but also changes fluid in the torque converter. IIRC the shudder is generally in the 8 speed, not so much in the 6L50 we have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did have service dept change out the trans fluid, and yes it's made a difference.

Just did a 500mil (round trip) towing the same camper across basically same terrain (hilly but not mountainous) and all the problems are gone.

Tranny temp also never went >180F on this latest trip so ever better than last trip, though it was about 20F colder than my last trip.

Hopefully that takes care of it for the next 37.5k mile. Next time I'll do drop pan & filter change.
 

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Yeah thats your best bet. Im at 150k now and my trans is doing good. I carry a popup camper in the bed, about 800# dry with plenty of wind resistance, through all manner of steep hilly mtn roads, rough dirt roads and long freeway trips. Its done great. Going in tomorrow for another trans service as a matter of fact. I couldnt imagine going to 100k on these like gm says before a service. Madness.
 

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@vap0rtranz If you’re going to be towing quite often, I would recommend the GDE tune. Even their EPA compliant tune with their trans tune will make a world of difference in your truck. Agree about the exhaust brake being aggressive for lighter loads. You can still use tow/ haul and set the trans to run 1st-5th in “M” mode. That will give you the same long shift benefits but turn off the exhaust brake for lighter loads not needing it.
 

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I struggle to tow the same Little Guy Max trailer with my ‘18 Z71 (stock-no tune). I tow through The Rocky Mtns so that adds difficulty - rarely ever able to use 6th gear except on gentle downhills. Averaging about 12-14 mpg depending on headwinds. I do have to mash it quite often on freeway on ramps and other situations. Am thinking about getting a smaller/lighter trailer.
 

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Wow, yeah thats not great mpg. Even with my pop up driving up and down in the sierras i get 15-19 at 5000ft and up. My shits a giant windsock, basically a toolshed.
 
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