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Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

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  • Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

    '04 chevy silverado 5.3l v8, I need to tow my boat about 15 or so miles, ive never towed it this far as the launch is right down the road never getting over 30mph, ive always used the "trailer" or "tow" function that is engaged by pressing the button at the end of the shifter... Now I need to tow the boat 15 or 20 miles soon on the highway where ill be going around 45 mph... so my question is should I use the tow button at these speeds? To be honest im not entirely sure what all the tow function does, although ive read something about it not changing gears as fast? Pr some thing.. . Any ideas or suggestions? I sure dont wanna burn up my trans... Boat is a 1976 glastron gt-150 with a 1978 85 hp johnson, if that matters and the truck has always pulled and stopped it fine... Thanks in advance!


  • #2
    Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

    I'm no expert so please wait for others to reply, but I think all that button does is lock out the overdrive. I see you are in Destin,Fl so I don't think you have many hills to contend with. Don't worry about it.
    sigpicI've never made a mistake in my life. I thought I did once, but I was wrong.

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    • #3
      Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

      Originally posted by Tyme2fish View Post
      I'm no expert so please wait for others to reply, but I think all that button does is lock out the overdrive. I see you are in Destin,Fl so I don't think you have many hills to contend with. Don't worry about it.
      No hills... But 2 bridges that ark nothing extreme... But 2 bridges nonetheless...

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      • #4
        Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

        The tow button makes your engine shift at a a higher rpm. I have a 05' silverado and have messed around with this a bunch. If your boat+trailer is under 10,000 (duh) with decent brakes you could get away with the move- however anything over 8,000 max generally is "illegal" to tow with a silverado unless you have at least a 3/4 ton. As for burning out your tany, it was made to handle the engine that was put in the truck- just don't floor it to start moving- and the tow button will give you a bit better performance, but at 45mph, unless you live in a hilly area (No duh? Florida?), you probably won't notice. As for your short 30mph trips you really don't need the tow/haul on unless you want. Better to ask then make a $3,000 error. And to tymefish- it doesn't lock out overdrive, just keeps the transmission for shifting for 5 seconds just to switch back out of overdrive.

        Personal; moving my 21ft tri-haul open bow v8 around- yes I use the tow/haul, I lucked out living in the 1 hilly area in Illinois. Guessing my whole set up is about 4,000 pounds looking at similar boat's weight and similar trailer's weight.

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        • #5
          Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

          GM trucks have two buttons. Well actually one button that does 2 functions.

          A quick press and release puts it tow mode which optimizes the shift points for towing. It also prevents the trans from upshifting and downshifting all the time which is what is hard on a transmission.

          A press and hold for a couple seconds puts the transmission in overdrive lockout. All this mode does is prevent the trans from shifting into overdrive.

          For your boat, which isn't all that much of a load, you should use the tow mode, but just using the normal mode (not tow mode and not overdrive lockout) would likely be fine too.
          1988 Sea Ray Seville 16 BRO w/1997 Mariner 115
          My build thread
          My upholstery thread

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          • #6
            Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

            So your saying YES use the tow button right? It wont destroy anything going 45-50 mph right...

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            • #7
              Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

              You'll be fine with the "tow" button on. The truck has a "tow button" cause the truck is made for towing. If it were me I'd lock-out the OD (if indeed your tow button allows it). No need for OD at those low speeds.
              1975 Starcraft SS-16' / 1977 Evinrude 75hp now w/ CMC power trim and tilt
              17p prop- 36 mph @ 5900 rpm ( 2 people, 12 gals fuel, 2 batteries)

              1975 Starcraft Super Sport- Resto currently "in progress"
              http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=547770

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              • #8
                Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                Originally posted by maproy99 View Post
                The tow button makes your engine shift at a a higher rpm. I have a 05' silverado and have messed around with this a bunch. If your boat+trailer is under 10,000 (duh) with decent brakes you could get away with the move- however anything over 8,000 max generally is "illegal" to tow with a silverado unless you have at least a 3/4 ton. As for burning out your tany, it was made to handle the engine that was put in the truck- just don't floor it to start moving- and the tow button will give you a bit better performance, but at 45mph, unless you live in a hilly area (No duh? Florida?), you probably won't notice. As for your short 30mph trips you really don't need the tow/haul on unless you want. Better to ask then make a $3,000 error. And to tymefish- it doesn't lock out overdrive, just keeps the transmission for shifting for 5 seconds just to switch back out of overdrive.

                Personal; moving my 21ft tri-haul open bow v8 around- yes I use the tow/haul, I lucked out living in the 1 hilly area in Illinois. Guessing my whole set up is about 4,000 pounds looking at similar boat's weight and similar trailer's weight.
                The newer trucks do have a higher tow rating than 8K. I know some of the 5.3L are rated up to around 9K, my 6.2 is rated for 10,400.

                I am not sure how the tow-haul mode works on the 04's but in my 2010, it also downshifts the transmission when slowing down to help with braking.
                2010 Chevy Silverado 1500HD LTZ Crew Cab 4x4 L9H-6.2L NHT-MAXX Trailering 6K miles
                2001 Wellcraft 2400 Martinique Mercruiser 5.7L EFI Bravo III 277hrs
                Previously owned;
                1997 Regal 2150LSC Mercruiser 5.7L EFI Apha 1 Gen 2

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                • #9
                  Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                  Not necessary for the tow button since you have a light load........ no hills and you will be fine. Using the tow button will also trash your mpg
                  This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
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                  • #10
                    Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                    As others others have said the tow/haul button just changes the shift points on the transmission to keep it from over working while under load. It keeps it from constantly shifting up or down, thereby creating less work for tranny and keeping it cooler. With that light of a load and short distance you will be finr. I have an 07 chevy 1500 HD rated for 10,000 lbs and I tow my 19ft. 02 Stingray 50 miles on highway with no problems. My truck also has a transmission temp gauge that is very helpful. My mpg are the same towing something or not, I get 12.5 mpg. Believe me I dont drive it much. I make up for it with an 06 corolla that gets 32 mpg in the city.
                    2005 Glastron SX-195 5.0GL
                    2011 Chevy 1500 Crew Cab 5.3l

                    2002 Stingray 190 LS, 4.3l- Destroyed in Texas Wild fires
                    2007 Chevy 1500 HD Crew Cab 6.0L- Destroyed in Texas Wild fires

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                    • #11
                      Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                      Not that there are any stupid questions. I'm glad you asked for your own piece of mind. Did you really think that GM would install a switch that would somehow destroy your truck if you used it over 45 mph?? Most people tow at highway speeds and over. You're towing so use the tow mode. As other have said, it will improve your shift points which gives better performance and it will keep your trans from shifting back and forth which increased the life of the trans. On my work trucks which are always hauling and/or towing something I use the tow mode 100% of the time.

                      By the way, I'm jealous of your only 15 mile tow to the ramp. My closest lake is 50 miles, favorite lakes are 100 miles, biggest lake nearly 200 miles. These are all one way distances.
                      Enjoy that Chevy.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                        You can use tow/ haul on off ANY time at ANY speed, it wont hurt anything! Often I use it around town and switch it off on highways... It doesnt matter. For your light weight you can probably use D and any mode you want.
                        -Chris
                        1999 Wellcraft Excalibur 20' 5.7Merc /A1
                        1997 Stingray 190RS/ 3.0L Merc --- SOLD
                        2005 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6/ 4x4
                        2004 Pontiac GTO M6 5.7L

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                        • #13
                          Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                          Use the tow haul. I have a 01 z71 1500 and pull my Bayliner. You want the low gears to drive you higher in speed before shifting and the tow/haul does this and locks out your overdrive. I drive 55 to 65 with it activated, no problem. The overdrive is a much higher gear that is not designed to take the stress of towing. The tow/haul feature is designed for exactly that, towing and hauling loads.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                            I have a 2010 Avalanche that has the tow button. I use it anytime I am towing my 20' Chaparral and find it responds better with it on. I keep my boat at the property near the lake so I only have a 5 minute drive to the ramp, but when I take it home for cleaning and maintenance I have an hour drive each way and travel 55 - 60 MPH with the tow button on.

                            I would recommend using while towing.
                            Lake Livingston Bound

                            2002 Chaparral 200SSe
                            4.3L VolvoPenta - Sterndrive
                            sigpic
                            Tow Vehicle: 2010 Chevy Avalanche - 5.3L

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                            • #15
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                              Re: Silverado towing question, "tow" button....

                              Tow mode is there to use when towing, not very deep there.

                              It's a completely different computer program, not a lockout. Why would you have a switch that does the same as your shifter?

                              04 2500 hd 4x4 6.0 max tow is 9,000 lbs so I don't know where you guys are getting your ratings from.
                              1982 Baja 16ss

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