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Old 08-10-2015, 07:17 PM
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4
Default Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

My band is looking about buying a 2002 Chevy 1500 LT with the 5.7 and the towing package. This Van will have a 2000+Lbs single axle trailer on it 24/7. Will the 1500 be up to the task? It says the capacity of w/towing package is 6000Lbs, so it should. But we drive through city's and bad roads all the time. Do you all think it will be fine stock, or will I have to get some helper springs or other suspension components? How about the brakes, I'm not sure how much they differ from a 2500 or 3500. Thanks for any insight! We will definitely be putting this van to the test.


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Old 02-09-2008, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 28
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

The 1500, means the payload capacity is 1,500 pounds you can carry inside the van. 2,500 for the 2500 and 3,500 for the 3500.

The towing capacity of 6,000 pounds is the total weight of both the trainer and payload capacity. Lets say your trailer and contents are 3,000 and you have 1,500 pounds in the van, you are "hauling" 4,500 pounds. Well within your capacity.

Most of the weight in the trailer will be on the trailer axle and wheels. The "tongue weight" is the amount of weight on the ball and hitch. You want to have some weight on this, ok, about 10% of the total weight of the trailer. 2,000 pounds would be 200 pounds. If you don't have any or too little tounge weight both the van and trailer will start swaying when you get about up to about 50 miles an hour and if you don't slow down in time it will get worse until the van and trailer wrecks.

The 3500 will have a slightly heaver duty transmission, but that probably won't matter. Although you would probably be better off with a 3500 given the choice, as the gas mileage is the same, but everything else is heavy duty and less likely to give out. But if the 1500 has low miles and has been serviced then that's good too. The 03 was the last major upgrade with the vans, where most of the major parts were improved, so the 03 would also be less likely to give out.

The brakes should be ok, but I have read the owners manual that said to have brakes on the trailer for anything over the payload capacity. Maybe someone will known more about that but I would think you wouldn't need them for towing less than say 3,000.

It will take you longer to stop when you are towing or you will wind up rearending the car in front of you. It happens all the time when people pull trailers.

You can check out for used vans for all of the listings.

good luck! hope this helps!
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 28
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

Just wanted to add that I had a 2000 2500 with a 5.7 and didn't have any problems at all. The only thing I towed was a 17' Maco motor boat with a 115 engine, which weighed about 3000 and I couldn't even feel it back there.

the only difference between the 1500 and 2500 is the leaf springs in the back.
The 2002 is still a great van. I would be more concerned about the price and condition, but all things equal the 3500 2003 is the best choice because it should be slightly more reliable for a used van.
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Old 02-10-2008, 01:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

Thanks John for all of your insight.
The van has only 23,000 miles on it and we are getting a 45k/3yr full drivetrain warranty with it. What are some of the warning signs to look for in the 5.7 1500? Anything in particular I should pay attention to? We have been using a 1992 GMC Vandura2500 for that past two years. It now has 230000 miles on it! Granted we put a new engine, rebuilt tranny, and rear axle. But it's put up with quite a beating, now it's time to move onto something more reliable. I hope the 1500 can handle what we throw at it, would of gone with a 3500 but there is a little more comfort with the 1500LT. We are in our van ALOT and need comfortable seat's not just bench seats.
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 28
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

J.R. that sounds like a great van with low miles. The 3500 can only pull 7500 pounds, so there really isn't much difference there. 6000 pounds is large capacity. You can check all of the ratings on the driver side door to make sure.

Look for any bad rust underneath, always keep the right mixture of coolant in the radiator, you may not need to add any for like six months, then just keep it to the full mark on the resevoir... it's not going to last 100,000 miles before it needs to be serviced… no big deal. Just use the service schedule for extreme conditions to be on the safe side for everything.

You could also have someone check the brake rotors to see what kind of shape they are in. Should be fine though.

If it's from up north where they put salt on the road you could have rust problems, or if it was used for a salt water boat there could be minor problems.

Maybe someone else knows more if I missed something.

I think you are making a wise purchase for your needs. You are buying it for about 1/4 of the original price and will be getting about 80% of the use.

You are also carrying a light load so if the seats and inside are comfortable then that sounds perfect!

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Old 02-10-2008, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 28
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

I added Monro gas shocks to my 2500… the ones with the "load stabilizer"


these have an extra spring around the shock that can handle an extra 1200 pounds. It also self adjust for comfort.

You may not even need these but I did notice an improvement. It will keep the back up to level and more stable when driving.

I bought mine from a local auto parts supply then went to Pep Boys and had them install all four (the front don't have springs) for about three or four hundred total (I can't even remember)

the auto parts place should make sure you are getting the right size. I think he used heavy duty car gas shocks for the front, and the truck load stabilizers for the back.

You can even buy them directly from Monro with their website sizing and pricing. $100 for the pair in the back!

I really liked these.

that says its for older vans, ? don't know why? here is the other link... maybe someone knows more about these and can find you the right shocks... I had the 2500 and the guy at the auto parts place (who really knew his stuff) sized these for me. It took him a long time to search through all his charts, (it was Advanced Auto, in an industrial part of town)
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Old 02-10-2008, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 28
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

I found this sizing info on the Monro site:

according to this you can install the load stabilizers for the back for extra capacity. you may want to call before ordering. and like I said you may not even need them. I got them to help with the wind blowing it sideways and did notice an overall improvement. YMMV.
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Old 02-10-2008, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

Thanks again. The Van is from the Philadelphia are and supposedly garage kept. I took a flashlight underneath of it, and it all looked good, gonna do another thorough investigation before we pay for it in full. Shocks seem like a better option than helper springs, last time we put on helper springs, it just caused the old leaf springs to bend! One other thing, It didn't look like it had an external trans cooler, I'm thinking this would be a good investment for it. Especially when were traveling through mountains. Thanks again for your input, I'm feeling more and more comfortable with going with a 1500.

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Old 02-12-2008, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 28
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

The ext trans cooler sounds like a good idea.

You can install brakes on your trailer if you think you might need them... a lot of states require brakes on the trailer if it is 2k, and some if it only 1k… keeps the ambulance chasers away.

If you get a chance let us know how it works out for you!

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Old 06-06-2008, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4
Default RE: Towing with a 2002 Express 1500 LT.

Well we went with the 2002 Express LT and it has been great, already put 13K miles on it! I installed a trans cooler and we ended up getting an unlimited mile drivetrain warranty as well. The van hauls everything with ease! We are upgrading to a 7x10 trailer with brakes, so we are really going to be putting her to the test now. I'm going to be installing an Air Lift kit on it to compensate for the extra weight of the new trailer. thanks again for everyones insight on this, helped me feel more comfortable in purchasing the van.
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