Best Truck Upgrades for Towing

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A diesel truck for towing allows you to pull lots of cargo, but also causes people to get way in over their heads. You want your towing experience to be way less problematic, and more pleasant instead. This makes towing safer for everyone on the road. Here are the best truck upgrades for towing:

9 Ways to Upgrade Truck for Towing

1. High-Capacity Hitches

Most normal factory-tow-packaged diesel trucks include a conventional or under-bumper hitch of Class 4 or 5 mounted to the frame. This is great for towing up to at least 10,000 lbs. You want to be sure to use a weight-distribution system to place your trailer’s load on the trailer ball evenly. This still goes for those who plan to stay within factory guidelines. 

Your truck will need a trailer brake controller and a seven-pin trailer wiring kit if not equipped with one from the factory. It’s good to compute tow ratings by considering the braking, cooling, steering, and handling to bearing capacities, gear strengths, real-world testing, and more. When hooking up a heavy trailer, you may not have these attributes in mind. 

Also Read: Best Weight Distribution Hitch Travel Trailer in 2021f

Most drivers surpass the bumper hitch limit, not realizing that exceeding the weight rating is worse than you’d expect. Upgrade to a fifth-wheel or gooseneck ball hitch that’s mounted between the rear frame rails, right over the rear axle. This way you can properly tow a trailer that goes beyond your conventional hitch’s rating. 

Maxxhaul 70231 hitch mount truck bed extender (for ladder, rack, canoe, kayak, long pipes and lumber) , black , 37 x 19 x 3 inches

The MaxxHaul 70231 extends your truck bed for when you carry longer payloads. It has adjustable length and width and its heavy-duty all-steel construction allows for a 300lbs load capacity. 

2. Transmission Toughness

Heat and transmission do not get along. This is because parts are more likely to break, causing a chain-reaction disaster if they reach beyond their heat limits. The usual heavy-duty transmissions come with all modern diesel engines, making them excellent works of engineering. 

Ppe heavy-duty deep aluminum allison transmission pan (black) 128051020 compatible with 2001-2019 chevy/gmc 6. 6l duramax diesel

Gm genuine parts 20880895 automatic transmission auxiliary fluid cooler

However, once they get overheated, you can bet that these “excellent works of engineering” are no longer excellent nor work. It’s best to circumvent surplus heat and maybe even choose a preventative transmission upgrade if you plan to tow heavy trailers. You can upgrade your diesel transmission with the installation of the PPE Heavy-Duty Deep Aluminum Allison Transmission Pan. Also, the GM Genuine Parts 20880895 Automatic Transmission Auxiliary Fluid Cooler

The PPE Heavy-Duty Deep Aluminum Allison Transmission Pan has external cooling fins and includes a large 1-inch drain port. Its internal heat sinks decrease oil temperatures with a 4-quart additional oil capacity and decrease trans temperatures up to 40 degrees. 

The GM Genuine Parts 20880895 Automatic Transmission Auxiliary Fluid Cooler helps with proper transmission operating temperature maintenance. It’s also a GM-recommended replacement part for the original factory component of your GM vehicle. 

It’s better to invest in a full transmission upgrade or replacement if you’re for sure going to max out your towing capacity. This way your gearbox is able to handle more and problems and risks can be avoided. 

3. Electronic Elec-Tricks

Using an electronic engine programmer allows you to observe numerous temperature points without cluttering your dash or A-pillar with multiple gauges. You also get the obvious benefits of reprogramming your engine and transmission computers for a maximized functionality when towing. 

Sct performance - 40490 - bdx performance tuner and monitor - diagnostic preloaded and custom tuning

With the SCT Performance – 40490, you can read and record immediate stats & parameter effectiveness on a full-color display. It comes pre-loaded and can hold up to 20 custom tuning files with Dyno-proven performance.

4. Gauging Good to Prevent Breaking Bad

When towing, it’s crucial to always inform yourself of the temperature of parts in your drivetrain to ensure you don’t damage your transmission. The transmission is vulnerable to heat and should be your main concern, along with other parts. The EGT should also be the main concern with the turbodiesel under a heavy load. 

If the EGT exceeds 1,200 degrees for prolonged time periods, then the turbine wheel could melt and disintegrate into your exhaust system. The excess heat might even lead to blown head gaskets, cracked valves, and internal damage to the engine. Stress can add to the rear axle when towing as well, so it’s good to monitor the temperature inside your rear differential. 

Maximum temperatures can vary depending on the gear ratio and the trailer’s weight. It’s better to just keep oil and the transmission fluid in the same range. Consider installing a temperature gauge and high-capacity differential cover with heat-dissipation fins to keep your gears from melting and melding. Also, replace the fluid on a regular basis.

5. Exhaust Exits

Towing a large trailer will result in large amounts of heat dumping into the exhaust manifold. The heat leftover from spinning turbos must still be expelled. Once the turbine is spun, the exhaust system functions as a path provider that quickly removes heat from the engine. 

Older trucks may be able to depend on tremendous straight-pipe systems, but new laws require diesel truck smog checks. While this may get rid of the option to tamper with post-turbo emission parts, you can still upgrade your exhaust system. It’ll just have to be limited to maybe pre-urea injection, post-catalytic exhaust systems. 

6. Suspension Sweetness

You may be stuck with a specific trailer weight limit because of your driver’s license laws or specification sheet for your truck. Nonetheless, you can still improve the suspension system’s ride characteristics. 

Stiffen the rear suspension with an add-a-leaf setup or use off-road technology like reservoir shocks to upgrade your shock absorbers. Consider installing an airbag suspension to expand your suspension system’s capacity, better control sway, and improve ride quality. 

7. Braking Your Best

Improve your diesel tow rig’s deceleration with the addition of an exhaust brake. They sell all diesel trucks now with turbo-based exhaust brakes, but a traditional aftermarket exhaust brake can also be added. An exhaust brake installation allows you to use the engine’s compression power to slow your rig. This saves wear and tear on the braking system of your trailer and truck. 

Bd diesel performance 2023144 exhaust brake

The BD Diesel Performance 2023144 Exhaust Brake is proven to resist harsh, high-heat conditions of the exhaust environment. It also comes with an air compressor. It’s good to have a trailer brake emergency disconnect system as another braking upgrade. This is so that your trailer brakes are able to stop your trailer if it gets loose from your truck. 

Also Read: Best Trailer Brake Controller in 2021

You should also use a trailer brake controller on the tow rig. This is for proper modulation of the stopping power on trailers equipped with electric brakes.

8. Strap Safety

High-quality ratchet straps are well-worth investments as well. Buying new ones in numerous lengths assure that your cargo will always be secured in place. That way your cargo’s weight is steady, it doesn’t end up on the road and can resist rough bumps and evasive maneuvers. 

9. Tough Tires and Work Wheels

It’s vital that you have good trailering tires. Besides supporting your cargo, they also ensure your trailer and truck steer predictably and stay fixed to the road. When purchasing a trailer, you want to make sure that the tires can handle the duty cycle you have in mind. Make sure the wheels are up for the job or purchase some that can handle the weight you plan to tow. 

Doing so will help you avoid dangerous blowouts and maybe improve your fuel economy as well. Old trailers equal old wheels so be sure the bearings are in well enough shape and avoid aging, rusted steelies. If you get new wheels, be sure to carry a spare for wherever your travels may take you. 

Ark motoring radial trailer tires w/white rims st225/75r15 lrd 6 lug/5. 5 modular rim, 10-ply load range e, set of 2

The Ark Motoring Radial Trailer Tires are designed with double steel belts and double polyester cords, which help increase durability. Also, its shoulder design provides better heat dissipation, which results in longer tread life and even wears. This tire is made specifically for cargo, utility, stock, boating, horse, toy haulers, and towable RVs.


Is horsepower or torque more important for towing?

You may wonder which is more important for towing, horsepower or torque? Well, to answer your question, it’s torque. While horsepower makes the work go fast, torque makes the work possible. Heavy-duty and giant vehicles run on diesel because of the greater torque generated by diesel engines. 

The piston moves somewhat farther than in gas engines. This results in long strokes and greater torque. Torque is more important because of the low-end rpm, that the higher levels of torque generate. This allows the engine to carry heavy loads with ease. A vehicle of higher torque can tow trailers or other things with a very low rpm value. 

Does higher torque mean faster acceleration?

Some might think that a vehicle with higher torque means it’ll have faster acceleration. A vehicle with a diesel engine and higher torque may accelerate quicker than one with a gasoline engine and lower torque. This is because it has a greater sustained force to make more power. 

Although, higher torque doesn’t necessarily mean one vehicle will be faster than the other. There are other factors that weigh in on the topic, with the most essential one being the power-to-weight ratio. 


You should always consider truck upgrades for towing, to receive the best functionality and safety possible. For more information, visit our website or contact us today.

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