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tow with all wheel drive?

LVJJJ
Explorer
Explorer
Our 94 Suburban cracked a head so were looking for a newer Suburban. Many of them seem to be all wheel drive, can you tow with those?
1994 GMC Suburban K1500
2005 Trail Cruiser TC26QBC
1965 CHEVY VAN, 292 "Big Block 6" (will still tow)
2008 HHR
L(Larry)V(Vicki)J(Jennifer)J(Jesse)J(Jason)
25 REPLIES 25

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
JRscooby wrote:
mkirsch wrote:
Grit dog wrote:
Although LLVJJ is one of the those post n disappear folks. Although to be fair they don’t actually have a question that needs anyone’s help answering.


Well now, not necessarily.

There may be something based on real world experience that "we" know that the manufacturer isn't telling. Such as, the AWD systems not holding up well under towing conditions.

The manufacturer will happily tell you that this hypothetical AWD Tahoe is rated to tow 8500lbs, BUT they won't tell you that the transfer case goes out at around 78,000 miles when the vehicle is used to tow, for example. That's only something people with real world experience would know.


I don't know anything about it, but watching 1 youtube channel about off-road vehicles I have learned Jeep uses a form of AWD in higher HP models. And at least 1 transfer case has had issues after towing.


Great to hear ….nothing to do with the OPs question. But thanks for the random specific yet wholly generic warning about high HP jeeps. Lol.
Fact remains OP asked a silly question and now has poof disappeared.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

deltabravo
Nomad
Nomad
blt2ski wrote:
turning to right you get AWD,


It's not all wheel drive, it's auto 4WD
Auto mode engages 4 wheel drive when slip is detected.

You can't run it in Auto 4WD 24/7

A friend did that with his 2008 1500 Silverado and after about a year, he burned up the transfer case.
He did that because that's what the sales person said to do, and he didn't read the manual.
2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2018 Arctic Fox 992 with an Onan 2500i "quiet" model generator

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
^Fair enough. Except the Op didn’t appear to even remotely be asking if certain models were prone to issues. (Which would certainly include other components besides the t case, reliability.). Probably looking at one with lifter issues anyway, lol.
All good anyways.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

JRscooby
Explorer II
Explorer II
mkirsch wrote:
Grit dog wrote:
Although LLVJJ is one of the those post n disappear folks. Although to be fair they don’t actually have a question that needs anyone’s help answering.


Well now, not necessarily.

There may be something based on real world experience that "we" know that the manufacturer isn't telling. Such as, the AWD systems not holding up well under towing conditions.

The manufacturer will happily tell you that this hypothetical AWD Tahoe is rated to tow 8500lbs, BUT they won't tell you that the transfer case goes out at around 78,000 miles when the vehicle is used to tow, for example. That's only something people with real world experience would know.


I don't know anything about it, but watching 1 youtube channel about off-road vehicles I have learned Jeep uses a form of AWD in higher HP models. And at least 1 transfer case has had issues after towing.

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
Grit dog wrote:
Although LLVJJ is one of the those post n disappear folks. Although to be fair they don’t actually have a question that needs anyone’s help answering.


Well now, not necessarily.

There may be something based on real world experience that "we" know that the manufacturer isn't telling. Such as, the AWD systems not holding up well under towing conditions.

The manufacturer will happily tell you that this hypothetical AWD Tahoe is rated to tow 8500lbs, BUT they won't tell you that the transfer case goes out at around 78,000 miles when the vehicle is used to tow, for example. That's only something people with real world experience would know.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

hawkeye-08
Explorer II
Explorer II
2008 GMC Yukon XL Denali has AWD (page 4-8 in manual)

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) System
With this feature, engine power is sent to all four wheels
all the time.
This is like four-wheel drive, but there is no separate
lever or switch to engage or disengage the front axle. It
is fully automatic, and adjusts itself as needed for
road conditions.

I don't know what years have AWD, we had one and it towed fine with AWD.

wnjj
Explorer II
Explorer II
I think some of the confusion here is in what people are calling 'AWD'. My definition matches what is described on wikipedia:

"Particularly in North America for several decades, the designation AWD has been used and marketed - distinctly from "4X4" and "4WD" - to apply to vehicles with drive train systems that have permanent drive, a differential between the front and rear drive shafts, and active management of torque transfer, especially following the advent of ABS."

To me that means if you have a switch to select 2WD, you don't really have an "AWD" vehicle.

Since at least 1999, GM has offered an 'AUTO' mode which is really a conventional 4WD system with computer-controlled shift on the fly. Some vehicles like the Yukon I have offer 2WD,Auto,4WD and others have 2WD,Auto,Neutral,4HI,4LO. My '05 pickup has 2WD,Neutral,4HI,4LO like the old days which I assume is still available at least on the pickups.

There was also an actual full-time AWD option in 1998 called AutoTrac. Some version of that was likely still around in later years.

Any/all should be fine for towing if the vehicle is rated for it.

dodge_guy
Explorer
Explorer
The newer stuff may have an AWD setting, then 4WD lock N and 4 low. But yes you can tow with them.
Wife Kim
Son Brandon 17yrs
Daughter Marissa 16yrs
Dog Bailey

12 Forest River Georgetown 350TS Hellwig sway bars, BlueOx TrueCenter stabilizer

13 Ford Explorer Roadmaster Stowmaster 5000, VIP Tow>
A bad day camping is
better than a good day at work!

Bionic_Man
Explorer
Explorer
APT wrote:
2007-2014 6.2L equipped Yukon Denalis have a different 4WD/AWD system than all the others with part time transfer cases. Anyway, reliability has been great for both types.


I had a 2011 Yukon Denali XL. It was AWD, and I don’t remember it having a 4 Low setting.

Used it to tow my 7000 pound boat, and other than the tranny getting very hot over the Rockies, it was fine.

My 2022 Grand Cherokee L is full time 4x4 and has a 7200 pound towing capacity.

So I would say two things. First, yes AWD vehicles are fine for towing. And yes some full size GM SUVs were AWD.
2012 RAM 3500 Laramie Longhorn DRW CC 4x4 Max Tow, Cummins HO, 60 gallon RDS aux fuel tank, Reese 18k Elite hitch
2003 Dodge Ram 3500 QC SB 4x4 Cummins HO NV5600 with Smarty JR, Jacobs EB (sold)
2002 Gulf Stream Sea Hawk 29FRB with Honda EV6010

APT
Explorer
Explorer
2007-2014 6.2L equipped Yukon Denalis have a different 4WD/AWD system than all the others with part time transfer cases. Anyway, reliability has been great for both types.
A & A parents of DD 2005, DS1 2007, DS2 2009
2011 Suburban 2500 6.0L 3.73 pulling 2011 Heartland North Trail 28BRS
2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R
2x 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV (Gray and Black Twins)

whjco
Explorer
Explorer
Check the tow rating of the vehicle you are considering. That should answer your question.
Bill J., Lexington, KY
2006 Starcraft 2500RKS 25' Travel Trailer
2015 Ram 2500 Big Horn 6.7 Cummins.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
LVJJJ wrote:
Only kinda disappeared cause I couldn't remember if I posted or if I did where? I don't feel like 77 but my brain seems to work that way. Thank you all for responding, did not know that AWD was selectable, so that would be ok.

So far 1994 has been my newest tow vehicle, don't like the newer ones with all the OBDII computers, but may have to do that. So am not familiar with all the recent inventions. I'm stuck in the '60's, towed with a 1965 Chevy Van for years. Has 292 6 very torquey. Still have it, will still tow.


Well fortunately for you there are still a lot of nice GMT400s in our area. And even more GMT800s.
Your paranoia about obd2, while wholly unfounded, will limit you to only earlier model 400s though. Think obd2 became standard around 95?
Nice thing is the old Tahoes and Burbs are way cheaper than the equivalent pickups. $5-6k will get you a pretty nice rig with relatively low miles.
I agree though GMT 400s are a great platform and drivetrain. Still old school simple and quite reliable. That said, early GMT800s are every bit as reliable as well IMo.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

LVJJJ
Explorer
Explorer
Only kinda disappeared cause I couldn't remember if I posted or if I did where? I don't feel like 77 but my brain seems to work that way. Thank you all for responding, did not know that AWD was selectable, so that would be ok.

So far 1994 has been my newest tow vehicle, don't like the newer ones with all the OBDII computers, but may have to do that. So am not familiar with all the recent inventions. I'm stuck in the '60's, towed with a 1965 Chevy Van for years. Has 292 6 very torquey. Still have it, will still tow.
1994 GMC Suburban K1500
2005 Trail Cruiser TC26QBC
1965 CHEVY VAN, 292 "Big Block 6" (will still tow)
2008 HHR
L(Larry)V(Vicki)J(Jennifer)J(Jesse)J(Jason)

ktosv
Explorer
Explorer
LVJJJ wrote:
Our 94 Suburban cracked a head so were looking for a newer Suburban. Many of them seem to be all wheel drive, can you tow with those?


What vintage Suburban are you looking at? If I am not mistaken, the GMT800 (2001-2006) Denalis were AWD, or at least most of them were. There was a 2005/2006 Suburban LTZ that was AWD. Most others had the auto transfer case. The early GMT900 Denalis were also AWD.

With the exception of the 2005/2006 LTZ, I am only aware of the Suburbans being offered with the auto transfer case allowing the driver to put the truck in auto and for the truck to decide when it needs to be in 4wd or 2wd. With where I live, we use the auto mode more than the full time 4wd. Can’t say I have ever had to tow in either.
Kevin and my...
Wife and six kids
2017 Suburban (5.3L/6A/3.08)
6x12 Enclosed Utility

Sold...2011 Express 3500 (6.0L/6A/3.42)
Sold...2010 Passport Ultra Lite 2910