Towing with the 2.8 - color me unimpressed - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Towing with the 2.8 - color me unimpressed

Hey guys I’ve been super impressed with my 17 canyon until today. The fuel economy has been excellent, the fit and finish of the gmc has been great. All my happiness went out the window today when trying to pull my camper.

I have a 2010 Dutchmen TT dry weight is 4600 and the only thing I had in it was about 3/4 full of water and some food so let’s call it 5300.

I used an equalizer hitch, and my prev towing experience with this camper was my 3/4 Cummins and I know it’s not even a straight across comparison but damn.

I live in MT so we have some “hills” but the canyon topped out at 55mph and it felt like the camper was in charge on the way down the pass. Granted it was a windy day but the camper getting blown around made me feel super unsafe at any speed over 60 (made for a long drive)

On the plus side of things, on the flats it was averaging 15mpg and up steep passes it was getting 7mpg. I’m gonna try readjusting the hitch a little and trying on a relatively non windy day to see if my opinion changes but as of right now I not even looking forward to having to drive it home after we break camp.
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post #2 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:03 AM
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Hmmm

This really worries me as i was looking at the 2.8 or 3.6 to tow with on a future camper purchase....

I have been reading over under the non-diesel side and many people with 3.6s have reported it being similar or better than previous full-size trucks they previously towed with... curious what could be causing your difference...

Did you use the Exhaust Brake at?
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post #3 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:09 AM
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When did the term "camper" start applying to travel trailers? I use the term camper to mean something that sits on top of the bed.

Also, could someone explain how the Exhaust Brake is supposed to work. I've yet to tow, but turning on tow/haul mode, which is supposed to activate the exhaust brake, seems to do little or nothing when going down a steep hill.
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post #4 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:13 AM
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It was a windy day and were you towing that much weight over 60 mph? Sorry but I can't blame the truck. Which version of the truck do you have?

2016 Canyon SLT Crew Cab Shortbox Duramax Diesel, Summit White/Jet Black.

Engine built 1/12/16
Placed order 2/20/16
Dealer ordered 2/25/16
Target Production Week 4/11/16
Built and shipped 4/12/16
Delivered to dealer 4/22/16
Drove it home 4/27/16

Last edited by 404 Not Found; 04-14-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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post #5 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
When did the term "camper" start applying to travel trailers? I use the term camper to mean something that sits on top of the bed.

Also, could someone explain how the Exhaust Brake is supposed to work. I've yet to tow, but turning on tow/haul mode, which is supposed to activate the exhaust brake, seems to do little or nothing when going down a steep hill.
I don't own a 2.8L yet, but when I was test driving them the chevy guy told me you had to press the button to turn it on. I used it while we were just test driving and found it nice to not have to press the brakes, would help with braking while towing greatly... especially on mountains.

In regards how it works, the actuator on the turbo closes the fins on the exhaust side, applying pressure on the engine due to lack of space for the exhaust to exit the turbo, turning the engine into a brake. It is mostly used in Semi's to prevent a runaway in the mountains on trucks from brakes overheating, but it became mainstream due to benefits it created and recently been finding its way onto the smaller diesel pickups.


Last edited by Storx; 04-14-2019 at 11:24 AM.
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post #6 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
When did the term "camper" start applying to travel trailers? I use the term camper to mean something that sits on top of the bed.

Also, could someone explain how the Exhaust Brake is supposed to work. I've yet to tow, but turning on tow/haul mode, which is supposed to activate the exhaust brake, seems to do little or nothing when going down a steep hill.

Well it’s not a toy hauler and it’s not a 5th wheel so maybe terms are getting blurred.
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post #7 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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It was a windy day and were you towing that much weight over 60 mph? Sorry but I can't blame the truck. Which version of the truck do you have?
Why can’t I blame the truck? My Cummins pulled at 80 and didn’t blink, wind or not. Yes yes this is a MUCH smaller truck, the point wasn’t even the flats, it was the passes when I had the pedal floored and it could maybe hit 50-55mph.

I’ve read al these post where guys are saying these trucks pull like the second coming and I’m saying I just don’t see where the excitement came from.

If this is too much weight then what’s the cut off? 80% tow capacity? 70% 50% I’m saying I would hate hate to tow any kinda long journey with what I have setup, maybe car haulers with low profile would be a better pull but I tow what I have and so far not a fan.

Also I have a 17 GMC Canyon 2.8l slt 4x4 crew cab
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post #8 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Storx View Post
I don't own a 2.8L yet, but when I was test driving them the chevy guy told me you had to press the button to turn it on. I used it while we were just test driving and found it nice to not have to press the brakes, would help with braking while towing greatly... especially on mountains.

In regards how it works, the actuator on the turbo closes the fins on the exhaust side, applying pressure on the engine due to lack of space for the exhaust to exit the turbo, turning the engine into a brake. It is mostly used in Semi's to prevent a runaway in the mountains on trucks from brakes overheating, but it became mainstream due to benefits it created and recently been finding its way onto the smaller diesel pickups.
My dash is slightly different than that. The left button just says tow/haul, but per both the main and Duramax manuals that turns on the exhaust brake too. I just can't determine that it does anything. I'm wondering if you have to have trailer lights plugged in or have it sense a load. My old Subaru Legacy's CVT did more to maintain speed downhill than that button.

Here's what the manual says:

Quote:
The number of downshifts selected is determined by the length of time the brakes are applied and the rate the vehicle is slowing. The system delivers the correct amount of braking to assist in vehicle control. The heavier the vehicle load, the more active the engine exhaust brake will be.
Maybe it's a combination of my not having anything being towed and they way I brake when going downhill. I don't ride the brakes but instead just push them for a short time to slow down and then release.
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post #9 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Storx View Post
Hmmm

This really worries me as i was looking at the 2.8 or 3.6 to tow with on a future camper purchase....

I have been reading over under the non-diesel side and many people with 3.6s have reported it being similar or better than previous full-size trucks they previously towed with... curious what could be causing your difference...

Did you use the Exhaust Brake at?
I had it in tow mode which activates the exhaust break on the down side of the passes. The exhaust break worked as expected and def was a plus. It just felt like the camper was pushing me down the pass instead of all being one unit.

Maybe my expectations were too high with this truck. I was hoping for the best if both worlds tow capabilities and good fuel economy.
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post #10 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:47 AM
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Goodspike, what year and package truck do you have maybe i can point you to it off a truck like yours.
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post #11 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:47 AM
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It was a windy day and were you towing that much weight over 60 mph?
I could see driving into a headwind would make a huge impact. I was driving in eastern Washington once in my old Ranger and the winds were forcing my mirrors back. Just maintaining speed without a trailer was impacted (but that was at 70 mph plus).
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post #12 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:52 AM
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Has anyone ever towed with a Canyon/Colorado over Teton Pass? I went through there once in a motor-home and my wife will never let me go through there again.
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post #13 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:52 AM
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I had it in tow mode which activates the exhaust break on the down side of the passes. The exhaust break worked as expected and def was a plus. It just felt like the camper was pushing me down the pass instead of all being one unit.

Maybe my expectations were too high with this truck. I was hoping for the best if both worlds tow capabilities and good fuel economy.
If that is the case then you didn't have the brake controller setup correctly, in the past the way i did it, not saying its the correct way, i would pull the trailer to a safe place after hitching up that i could roll to like 35mph and brake safely at, usually grocery store parking lot as my roads in my neighborhood were to short between stop signs..

I would get up to speed, hit the brakes and watch the wheels on the trailer. if they didn't lock up, then i would bump it up, keep doing this tell it was locking the brakes from a 35mph brake apply, then I would drop it down 0.5 on the gain and this always made tow feel 1000% safer... you really need to do this anytime you change the weight of the trailer, i would do it again after removing weight, because the gain would typically be to high and cause the tires to lock up.. The trailer brakes are supposed to make the vehicle feel like its braking at the same rate as it was without a trailer ever attached...

Edit: When I mean brake from 35mph, I'm not saying stab the brakes like your doing an emergency stop, I'm talking about braking like you would if you were slowing down from 35mph at a red light without a trailer, if the gain is too high just normal braking would lock the trailer brakes up...

Last edited by Storx; 04-14-2019 at 12:06 PM.
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post #14 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 11:53 AM
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Goodspike, what year and package truck do you have maybe i can point you to it off a truck like yours.
2019 Colorado LT AWD crewcab.
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post #15 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 12:03 PM
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2019 Colorado LT AWD crewcab.
Here is an image from dealership photo, 2019 Colorado LT 2.8L Diesel..
Just want to make sure, you do have the 2.8L Diesel correct? if not then you dont have exhaust brake..
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post #16 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 12:06 PM
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Here is an image from dealership photo, 2019 Colorado LT 2.8L Diesel..
Just want to make sure, you do have the 2.8L Diesel correct? if not then you dont have exhaust brake..
Yes, I have the diesel, but it's not that dash. The left button is tow/haul.

Here's what the manual says:

Quote:
If the vehicle has a diesel engine, the Tow/Haul button activates the exhaust brake system simultaneously. See ďExhaust BrakeĒ in the Duramax diesel supplement.
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post #17 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 12:12 PM
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Yeah, no way your expectations of it pulling like a 2500 with Cummings diesel power was going to compare...it handles a camper like that, but it's not going to do it like a 2500. Add in high winds and you pulling a kite, it's not going to be anything insane. I do fully agree that some on here paint a painfully wrong expectation of what it's like pulling a 30' 8,000# camper through the Rockies. These trucks do fine for what they are, I'm thrilled with mine, but you are correct in assuming you're at a max for feeling great about working these trucks with a camper at 5-6,000#.
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post #18 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 12:17 PM
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Why canít I blame the truck? My Cummins pulled at 80 and didnít blink, wind or not. Yes yes this is a MUCH smaller truck, the point wasnít even the flats, it was the passes when I had the pedal floored and it could maybe hit 50-55mph.

Iíve read al these post where guys are saying these trucks pull like the second coming and Iím saying I just donít see where the excitement came from.

If this is too much weight then whatís the cut off? 80% tow capacity? 70% 50% Iím saying I would hate hate to tow any kinda long journey with what I have setup, maybe car haulers with low profile would be a better pull but I tow what I have and so far not a fan.

Also I have a 17 GMC Canyon 2.8l slt 4x4 crew cab
You are comparing a full-size dodge 3/4 or 1 ton truck with a 5.9 or 6.7 liter (depending on year) with real torque numbers to a cute little 2.8 liter in a smaller lighter truck with gearing set up to maximize fuel economy.....

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post #19 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Let me once again point out I’m not comparing them side by side, yes the dodge is 3 times what these put out but I’m also not dragging around 12k in weight.

Maybe another tow in better conditions will change my mind but as anyone who pulls knows, the weather can be crappy one hour to the next. I guess my expectations were too high from all the “I towed 9k up a 15% incline and got 20mpg” posts that are all over these forums. I know dropping down in truck would have trade offs.
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post #20 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 01:10 PM
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I have a 17 foot fiberglass Casita camper. Dry weight is 1900 pounds. My ZR2 Diesel pulls it great, but I can tell it's back there. Flooring it on a long flat straight topped out at about 87 MPH. Trailer brakes help a lot on the downhill. I get about 18-20 mpg. I wouldn't want to pull any more than that for a long distance. So, yeah I'd say 50% of the tow rating if you want to tell people "Pulls it like it's not even there" without lying.
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