My impressions towing with an 2002 Suburban 1500

Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by 1980RS, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. 1980RS

    1980RS Veteran Member

    2,129
    117
    Jun 17, 2006
    MN
    This past weekend I got to tow with my renovated 2002 Suburban 1500 with a 5.3 engine.
    For the past 5 years I have towed with my wife's 2011 Silverado with a 5.3 and it's been great, but now she needs here truck more and I needed a second tow vehicle. The 02 has 243K and runs like everyone else has said about those older 5.3's and it runs fantastic. After fixing a bunch of stuff on the 02 I added rear air bags, trailer brake controller, new rear brakes and some 10 ply tires.

    This truck has amazed me in everything that it has done, pulls better than my old 89 with a 454 except in 3rd. (89 had 4.56 gears) gets 14 mpg towing and is smooth and strong. I am thinking of adding a small turbo with about 3 to 4 lbs of boost to it next year for a little extra pulling power. The 2000 to 2006 5.3 trucks were some of the best ever. Very happy for a $1000 truck.

    20180910_140344.jpg
     
  2. 351maverick

    351maverick Veteran Member

    3,374
    266
    Aug 11, 2010
    erie, PA
    I drove a 2004 Suburban (all wheel drive, which was weird) for a few years and it pulled trailers FANTASTIC
     
  3. bracketracer-78

    bracketracer-78 Veteran Member

    690
    35
    Sep 5, 2003
    Stevens, PA USA
    IMG_20170418_191215691_HDR.jpg I have a 03 with the 5.3. It tows great.
     
  4. 1972_Z-28

    1972_Z-28 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,787
    52
    Oct 6, 2005
    Sugar Land, Texas
    Have a 04 tahoe brought new. Not much towing but a hard life in Houston hot stop and go traffic. This was on the way to work today. 20180910_073603.jpg
     
  5. Mike N

    Mike N Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    2,448
    335
    Jan 13, 2002
    Spencerport, NY.
    Not surprised to see the gas gauge on empty..... :D
     
    1972_Z-28 likes this.
  6. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    21,377
    387
    Apr 14, 1999
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    My Son has a 1/2 ton pickup with the 5.3 and a 3/4 ton Suburban with a 454. The 5.3 is helpless when trying to move a heavy trailer through mountains while the 454 handles the load with ease. Those 5.3 engines rev nice, but have very little torque for towing.
     
  7. 1972_Z-28

    1972_Z-28 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,787
    52
    Oct 6, 2005
    Sugar Land, Texas
    Yeah leave like that on the weekends to keep wife and kid from driving it ;)
     
    Mike N likes this.
  8. GoldenOne7710

    GoldenOne7710 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    4,470
    275
    Jun 23, 2004
    Athens, GA
    Find a tuner and have it tuned. Getting the torque management turned off will be one of the biggest differences you'll be able to feel. I'd probably lean that way before I spent the money on a forced induction setup. Might be worth looking into http://www.blackbearperformance.com. They can do a mail-in custom tune on your ECU.

    My '02 Silverado has a custom tune, long tube headers and a K&N FIPK. It tows as good as ANY 1/2 ton pickup I've ever been in.
     
  9. SRGN

    SRGN Veteran Member

    531
    164
    Feb 20, 2009
    Central NJ
    My 2000 suburban has almost 249k. It's towed everything I ever needed it to. Be careful with the tuning, if you take all the torque management out, the trans won't be happy for long. I got the fuel and timing where I wanted, so I pull over 20mpg highway unloaded.
     
  10. GoldenOne7710

    GoldenOne7710 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    4,470
    275
    Jun 23, 2004
    Athens, GA
    Yeah, that's the other part. Luckily, I had a shop build me a "Level 3" 4L60 that makes it highly unlikely I could ever hurt it.
     

Share This Page