towing experience with a 2017 denali - GMC Acadia Forum: AcadiaForum.net
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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towing experience with a 2017 denali

So, I've towed before, I had a Saturn ion with a very capable hitch and manual transmission. It actually towed my 6x12 trailer very well, even on the highway at 3500LBS combined trailer/load weight. The engine (some bolt ons and a tune) the OEM brakes, open differential, and stock mirrors, all did very well and instilled enough confidence to safely tow it across the hilliest parts of Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. the only thing was tongue weight had to be carefully managed and being fwd traction on gravel hills was just barely enough to start from a stop.

I was all excited to try the acadia, because I figured it was built to tow. I was sort of right and sort of wrong. Total vehicle length is within a foot of the Saturn, GCVW is within 100LBS, and I'm up about 110HP, but aerodynamics is not the .31 (not stock) of the Saturn and relatively low drag of a utility trailer. so, it's closer than you think.

the trailer is a starcraft 12 foot pop up camper, and I have no delusions about it, the Saturn could not handle the tongue weight safely with that hitch and sock suspension. The acadia barely even squatted with the tongue weight around 300LBS, did fine around town for power, brakes were great (trailer also has a brake), but I'm glad I didn't get anything bigger, which they tried getting me to do. The mirrors are terrible compared to the Saturn, and fwd grip couldn't maintain momentum on a gravel hill, much less start from a stop. Hill hold is really nice, and once I engaged AWD, it went up the hill without any wheel spin. Anyway, on the highway it seemed to struggle more than the Saturn, so I'm guessing aero is to blame for this, and the mirrors gave me no vision of behind the trailer unlike the Saturn's, I had to turn around and get tow mirrors. The transmission was around 180 on the hills, which I'm not a fan of, but it doesn't seem excessively high. A trailer sway management system like ford has would be appreciated, but it didn't sway too easily. I got 24MPG on hilly terrain at 50MPH, which isn't bad. I would imagine with a utility trailer it would be fine to do the 4000LBS, but I wouldn't do it with anything bigger than a popup trailer unless you put some serious effort into aero.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoldmysaturn View Post
So, I've towed before, I had a Saturn ion with a very capable hitch and manual transmission. It actually towed my 6x12 trailer very well, even on the highway at 3500LBS combined trailer/load weight. The engine (some bolt ons and a tune) the OEM brakes, open differential, and stock mirrors, all did very well and instilled enough confidence to safely tow it across the hilliest parts of Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. the only thing was tongue weight had to be carefully managed and being fwd traction on gravel hills was just barely enough to start from a stop.

I was all excited to try the acadia, because I figured it was built to tow. I was sort of right and sort of wrong. Total vehicle length is within a foot of the Saturn, GCVW is within 100LBS, and I'm up about 110HP, but aerodynamics is not the .31 (not stock) of the Saturn and relatively low drag of a utility trailer. so, it's closer than you think.

the trailer is a starcraft 12 foot pop up camper, and I have no delusions about it, the Saturn could not handle the tongue weight safely with that hitch and sock suspension. The acadia barely even squatted with the tongue weight around 300LBS, did fine around town for power, brakes were great (trailer also has a brake), but I'm glad I didn't get anything bigger, which they tried getting me to do. The mirrors are terrible compared to the Saturn, and fwd grip couldn't maintain momentum on a gravel hill, much less start from a stop. Hill hold is really nice, and once I engaged AWD, it went up the hill without any wheel spin. Anyway, on the highway it seemed to struggle more than the Saturn, so I'm guessing aero is to blame for this, and the mirrors gave me no vision of behind the trailer unlike the Saturn's, I had to turn around and get tow mirrors. The transmission was around 180 on the hills, which I'm not a fan of, but it doesn't seem excessively high. A trailer sway management system like ford has would be appreciated, but it didn't sway too easily. I got 24MPG on hilly terrain at 50MPH, which isn't bad. I would imagine with a utility trailer it would be fine to do the 4000LBS, but I wouldn't do it with anything bigger than a popup trailer unless you put some serious effort into aero.

I tow a 6x12 enclosed utility trailer with mine, no trailer brakes, no anti-sway, 3500 lbs loaded.

Did you purchase the factory tow package? If you purchased the tow package and you put the dial into tow/haul mode then the Acadia automatically engages AWD and changes the shift points. I was very disappointed in the towing ability of my original Acadia (and my V8 Sierra too) until I realized that it sucks in 5th and 6th gears.... really Sucks!. Drop it to L4 and it tows great. The fuel consumption gets better with the higher engine speed but lower load (closer to power band) and the transmission temperature stays nice and low. Once you're on a level freeway, let it use 5th gear but 6th is just too hard (and it will hunt 4th-5th-6th drastically raising your transmission temperature)

The Acadia is really weak pushing a trailer in reverse, but that makes reversing day to day without a trailer a very smooth and easy function. My truck can push a trailer in reverse as easily as pulling it forward, however the trade-off is a very sensitive and jerky reverse when not loaded.

2008 SLE AWD 8psg Medium Brown Metallic RIP<br />2010 SLE2 AWD 8psg Summit White / Sunroof / tow pkg Traded-IN<br />2012 SLE2 AWD 8psg QuickSilver / Sunroof / Bose Traded-IN<br />2017 SLT1 AWD 7psg Summit White / Navigation / Sunroof / Bose / Tow pkg
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:23 AM
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Just to add a little... The Acadia has enough HP to haul much more then it's 4000 lb rating, it is just too light duty and small to handle that weight. If you're having problems pulling your popup and feel that aerodynamics are to blame, then try my other suggestion and use a lower gear.

I tow a 30 foot travel trailer with my Sierra (previously with my 2012 Acadia) that was last weighed at 6006 lbs when fully loaded.

My 2011 Sierra 5.3 V8 has 315 HP at 5200 RPM and 335 foot lbs of torque at 4000 rpm

My 2017 Acadia 3.6 V6 has 310 HP at 6000 RPM and 271 foot lbs of torque at 5000 rpm

My Sierra feels underpowered when towing that trailer if I leave it to use all 6 gears. I manually shift up with the M setting (L on the Acadia) to keep the engine closer to ideal speed for power. It makes it way easier to tow and keeps both fuel consumption down and transmission temperature down.

2008 SLE AWD 8psg Medium Brown Metallic RIP<br />2010 SLE2 AWD 8psg Summit White / Sunroof / tow pkg Traded-IN<br />2012 SLE2 AWD 8psg QuickSilver / Sunroof / Bose Traded-IN<br />2017 SLT1 AWD 7psg Summit White / Navigation / Sunroof / Bose / Tow pkg
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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I'll try that. I'm used to my saturn where most of the time I could use top gear, even on hills, but it didn't have a double overdrive like I'm sure the acadia does. It also had a manual with synthetic oil, so heat wasn't a concern.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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I tried tow mode with a smaller, lighter pop up camper, and trans temps rose to almost 200, fuel consumption fell to 22. I'm starting to wonder why the transmission is getting so hot...
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 04:11 PM
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I tried tow mode with a smaller, lighter pop up camper, and trans temps rose to almost 200, fuel consumption fell to 22. I'm starting to wonder why the transmission is getting so hot...
Are you leaving it in D? The transmission might be 'hunting' 4th 5th 6th

Fuel consumption dropped to 22 mpg? I don't normally get 22 mpg when not towing. When towing my 6 x 12 enclosed utility trailer I was averaging 13.5 mpg this past weekend, transmission temperature was 175 degrees F

2008 SLE AWD 8psg Medium Brown Metallic RIP<br />2010 SLE2 AWD 8psg Summit White / Sunroof / tow pkg Traded-IN<br />2012 SLE2 AWD 8psg QuickSilver / Sunroof / Bose Traded-IN<br />2017 SLT1 AWD 7psg Summit White / Navigation / Sunroof / Bose / Tow pkg
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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mine has selectable AWD with modes. I'm leaving it in tow/haul mode which is supposed to eliminate this problem, and watching it, it didn't seem to hunt for gears too much.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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The first camper weighed 2500LBS and was 14 foot long. this one was 1900LBS and 10 foot long. Both were empty (buying first one, borrowing second one while first one gets repaired, bringing them home to load them up on exactly the same route). The first camper was driven in D with FWD selected, the second in AWD/tow/haul mode, which keeps the revs higher and limits gear changes. economy on the first run was 24MPG, the second 22. Seems like tow/haul mode is a failure on this car.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 09:37 AM
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The first camper weighed 2500LBS and was 14 foot long. this one was 1900LBS and 10 foot long. Both were empty (buying first one, borrowing second one while first one gets repaired, bringing them home to load them up on exactly the same route). The first camper was driven in D with FWD selected, the second in AWD/tow/haul mode, which keeps the revs higher and limits gear changes. economy on the first run was 24MPG, the second 22. Seems like tow/haul mode is a failure on this car.
I'm not sure that tow/haul is a failure... it isn't designed to prevent the Acadia from using all 6 gears.

It does indeed raise the shift points a tiny bit higher, but more importantly.... and I can't stress this enough TOW/HAUL IS NOT A LEARNING MODE and therefore using it when hauling a trailer or carrying an unusually heavy load will not interfere with your fuel mixture and shift points for daily driving that the Acadia has learned. SPORT mode and SLIPPERY mode also act this way, they are all predetermined modes.

I'm still not sure how you are getting such great fuel economy, but good work!

I tow very heavy compared to you, I even had to purchase a Sierra for my largest trailer because it was just a little too big for my previous Acadia (but I did tow a few times with it) at over 6000 lbs and 30 feet long and DID NOT see transmission temperatures that you see. Just humor me and try my method for a bit, drop it into L4 and see what happens, you might be surprised.

2008 SLE AWD 8psg Medium Brown Metallic RIP<br />2010 SLE2 AWD 8psg Summit White / Sunroof / tow pkg Traded-IN<br />2012 SLE2 AWD 8psg QuickSilver / Sunroof / Bose Traded-IN<br />2017 SLT1 AWD 7psg Summit White / Navigation / Sunroof / Bose / Tow pkg
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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I've towed trailers that handily outclass the tow vehicle, so I'm used to driving as such. I drive 5 under the speed limit (50 in this case), use conservation of energy to help me up hills (like semis do), and let friction slow me down as much as possible where possible, but otherwise that's the only change from most people.

I'll have a chance to try this hopefully tomorrow, this time with a 21 foot pop up at 2600LBS.
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