Getting Hitched

Getting Hitched

You had the questions on trailering, and we got the answers!

Sea Ray asked Facebook fans to submit their burning questions on trailering, then took those questions to the experts at GMC. Robert Krouse, lead trailering engineer at General Motors North America, provides answers to your insightful questions.

Robert Krouse, trailering engineer for General Motors North America, has been working with hitches and trailer ratings for more than 20 years. He also offered his expertise in the Sea Ray Trailering Guide.

Are there any long-term test results from towing with hybrid trucks &/or SUVs? Especially in the area of repeated axle submersions at the ramp?

Our hybrids have been subjected to a long durability test with actual trailer towing that we run out of the proving ground in Arizona, and they’ve had absolutely no issues. In regard to axle submersions, the key is to keep the vent tube at the top of the axle, which is routed up over the frame, above the water.

I’m downsizing from a 33 Dancer and want the largest boat I can “comfortably” tow behind my GMC Yukon. Any ideas? I need to make 8- and 16-hour trip. Any help would be appreciated.

What you can comfortably tow is going to depend a lot on the scenario. The Yukon has ratings in about the 8,000- to 8,500-pound range, and a 33 Sundancer is a bit beyond that range. You’ll need to take into account the trailer weight, gear, fuel, supplies and everything in the Yukon. Always remember to stay within the gross combination weight rating, as well as the trailer weight rating.

To ensure your trailer and boat meet the vehicle’s tow capacity, is there a “rule of thumb” to apply when calculating gross weight?

To determine the trailering capability of a GM vehicle, always trust the manual. The ratings are published specifically by model and engine, and are based on an unloaded vehicle. As I mentioned before, you have to take the gross combination weight rating into account. My advice is to load the tow vehicle and trailer for the trip, take it to a scale beforehand and actually weigh it.

I have a continuing problem blowing tires on trips longer than 200 miles. What do you recommend with regard to maximum tire pressure?

It’s unusual to hear about flat tires today. If there’s an issue, it’s usually going to be due to road hazards or improper loading. Always keep your tires inflated to the number that’s on the door or doorframe label, because that number has been set based on fuel economy, handling and load carrying capability, so you don’t want to play with that.

Would a 2500 Sierra Duramax diesel be plenty for a 280 Sundancer? I also have a 1500 Sierra. Could I get away with short trips? I would tow about 50 miles to Lake Michigan twice a year.

A Sierra 2500 would be an excellent candidate for a 280 Sundancer. The Sierra 2500 diesel has a rating of about 13,000 pounds with a conventional hitch, and a 280 weighs in at about 8,000 pounds dry weight. Factoring in the gross combination weight rating, 13,000 pounds will be more than enough.

Now, a 1500 Sierra is going to have a weight carrying rating of about 7,000 pounds, so it would handle a smaller boat. As for trying to get away on short trips, distance isn’t really a factor. Handling problems may be the issue, and that could occur at anytime.

What modifications can be made to a Yukon Hybrid to increase towing capacity?

Unfortunately, you can’t really “increase” towing capacity. Ratings are based on a number of factors—structure, power train performance, thermal handling, braking, etc. As a customer, you never really know what the limiting factor is in all that. But, you can trust that the ratings are based on a lot of testing, validation and development, and you can be very confident up to the ratings we’ve published.

Have some trailering questions of your own? Visit Sea Ray’s Facebook page and ask away!

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