Many manufacturers offer packages that increase towing capacity, and GMC is no exception. The GMC Sierra comes with the Max Trailering Package, which features many upgrades to boost the numbers. So, what exactly is in this package, and how does it affect your truck? Let’s find out in this article.
What is the GMC Sierra Max Trailering Package?
The GMC Sierra Max Trailering Package is an option that increases towing capacity. The Max Trailering Package includes a longer rear axle with a larger axle ratio. Plus, it comes with stronger shocks, heavy-duty rear springs, and better cooling. With this package, the most powerful GMC Sierra can tow up to 12,200 pounds. Other powerplants can tow respectable numbers, but not as high.
Trailering packages look to improve areas of the truck that come under stress due to the increased load. When towing, the Sierra has to handle more weight, which means that the engine, transmission, radiator, and brakes work extra. The added strain on these components usually translates to heat. Higher operating temperatures can decrease lubricating properties.
Then, there’s the topic of the weight itself. When a vehicle is heavier, it can have difficulties stopping and turning. Manufacturers solve these issues by upgrading the components to a more robust version.
Most towing packages, like the GMC Max Trailering Package, can increase the towing load considerably. In the GMC Sierra, in some cases, up to 2,900 pounds. But, how? Does it magically happen? Well, let’s discuss how this option helps in ramping up pulling power in the next section.
How does the Max Trailering Package increase the GMC Sierra’s towing capacity?
The Max Trailering Package increases the GMC Sierra’s towing capacity by upgrading vital components. We are going to cover each in the next section, starting with the rear axle.
Larger rear axle
The GMC Sierra powers the rear wheels through an axle. Imagine a large metal bar with gears at the end that connects to the differential. If the axle is wider, then it produces more force on the wheels, at the cost of turning at a slower rate.
So, manufacturers increase the torque is by installing a larger axle. Not only does it generates more torque, but it adds ruggedness and can withstand more loads. The GMC Max Trailering Package has a 9,76-inch rear axle, which increases the axle ratio to 3.42. By the way, let’s discuss what this means.
Higher axle ratio
The standard GMC Sierra comes with a final drive axle ratio of 3.23:1. This means that for 3.23 rotations of your transmission, your wheels will turn 1 time. The closer this ratio is to 1:1, the faster the wheels turn, but the less torque they will have.
Thanks to a larger axle, the Max Trailering Package offers a final drive axle ratio of 3.42:1. So, the wheels take longer to turn, but they have more torque.
Suspension in itself will not increase your towing capacity because it doesn’t improve on torque. We’ve covered this before, so you can check out our article on the topic.
But, it is a vital part of a vehicle being able to tow more weight. Shocks act like pumps. They work at constant pressure to keep the tires on the road.
If a shock cannot handle the weight, it cannot keep the vehicle stable during cornering and braking. So, towing packages include stronger shocks that help keep the vehicle balanced.
It’s common for trucks to drop the rear end when having heavy loads, especially if it’s too heavy. While the vehicle might still be able to run, this disbalance can impair braking and steering. Never exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity and, if you want to know more about this topic, read our article.
Heavy-duty rear springs
Just like we mentioned with the shocks, the springs are a vital component for towing. They will not increase your towing capacity but will make it safer. Springs work as a cushion between the ground and the truck.
If the springs are too soft, they won’t support the weight of a trailer and sag. This is a common sight in overloaded vehicles. And yes, some of them can still work. But it doesn’t mean they should.
Not only is this sagging adding stress to the truck’s frame, but it also impairs steering and braking. As the rear drops, the front tires have less contact with the surface, meaning there’s a lot less grip. Steering can turn light and unresponsive, and the front brakes can become useless.
The GMC Max Trailering Package includes heavy-duty springs that level the truck, even with the maximum load possible.
Enhanced cooling radiator
The GMC Sierra currently comes only with automatic transmissions. You can choose between six-, eight- and ten-speed options. And, this is important because it affects how the truck’s cooling system works.
You see, automatic transmissions use the radiator’s coolant to keep temperature with a safe range. When you increase the weight on a vehicle, the engine and transmission must work harder to move that load.
Increased worked means that the transmission can reach higher temperatures. When this happens, lubricating and cooling properties can deteriorate, which leads to faster wear.
So, the Max Trailering Package has a larger radiator. This improves cooling and allows for more airflow, which can keep temperatures stable for much longer.
If you’re towing a trailer, it should come with its own braking system. But, you need a way to operate it. That’s where electrical connections are vital. Through these, the truck’s power can feed the trailer.
Increased electrical loads can wear out the truck’s electrical system. So, in the case of the GMC Sierra, the Max Trailering Package comes with a 220-amp alternator. With such a high capacity, it can feed the trailer and tackle other jobs.
These are the main features that the Max Trailering Package offers. But, other options can make trailering a breeze when using the GMC Sierra. Let’s find out what they are.
Other GMC Sierra towing features to consider
As we said above, you need to be able to stop the trailer. But it’s always best to have as much control of the trailer’s brake as you can. GMC offers the Integrated Brake Controller.
This system allows the driver to monitor and control the trailer’s brakes from the center console.
One of the most critical parts of towing is starting off. If you’re facing a hill with a hefty load, your truck can roll back when you lift your foot off the brake and into the gas pedal.
GMC’s Electric Parking Brake Assist applies the electronic parking brake automatically, so you don’t have to worry about rolling. Additionally, the GMC Sierra comes with the optional Traction Select System. It adjusts the throttle to better suit the conditions.
All these features make towing with the Sierra easier. But, how much does it increase? Well, let’s find out.
How much does the Max Trailering Package increase towing capacity?
The GMC Sierra comes with plenty of engines and configurations, so it’s not unusual to feel lost with all the different towing capacities. We’ve used some configurations as examples of how much the Max Trailering Package (MTP) increases the towing capacity.
By the way, we’ve written about towing packages in general before. If you want to know more, you can check out this article. For now, let’s see how the GMC Sierra performs with and without the tow package.
|Engine||Cab||Bed||Towing without MTP||Towing with MTP|
|5.3L EcoTec3 V8||Crew 2WD||Short||9,600||11,300|
|5.3L EcoTec3 V8||Crew 4WD||Short||9,300||11,100|
|6.2L EcoTec3 V8||Crew 4WD||Short||8,800||12,000|
|6.2L EcoTec3 V8||Double 4WD||Standard||9,300||12,200|
As you can see, in the best conditions, with the 6.2L V8, towing increases by an impressive 2,900 pounds. There is a marked difference in performance, which makes towing safer by knowing your Sierra can carry heavier loads.
It’s important to highlight an interesting detail of GMC’s information. The company only provides towing differences (with and without the Max Trailering Package) for the 5.3L EcoTec3 and 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engines.
Other engines, such as the 3.0L Duramax Diesel and the 4.3L V6, do not offer the Max Trailering Package option.
This article aimed to answer what the GMC Sierra Max Trailering Package is. This option comes with upgrades and features that increase the Sierra’s towing ability.
Towing packages increase the pounds you can carry and make it safer for you and your vehicle. But, it also comes with enhanced cooling, stronger axles, and upgraded suspensions. So, your vehicle handles situations like braking and turning in a safer fashion.
While the GMC Sierra comes with many engines to choose from, the Max Trailering Package is available for only some. And, you can get the best performance if you choose the 6.2L V8 and 4WD.
With this option, you can tow up to 12,200 pounds. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best and safest way to tow heavy loads. Hopefully, this article helps you understand better what the Max Trailering Package consists of. It’s up to you to drive away happily and safely.