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How to Make 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche Ready to Tow Travel Trailer

Question:

Id love some assistance with parts #s for my 2002 Chevy Avalanche 1500 4x4 Z71. I am about to buy a travel trailer and want to upgrade my suspension and towing capability. I think that I need: Prodigy Brake Controller 4 new shocks Firestone Ride Rite Kit Class IV Hitch Weight Distribution Hitch/Anti-Sway Combo Id like to see if you can put a package together and hook me up with good deal so I can one-stop shop Any other expert suggestions are welcome! Thanks in advance.

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Expert Reply:

According to the online manual I reviewed for the 2002 Avalanche, its towing capacity will vary based on how it is equipped. The V8 with 2WD has a maximum trailer weight rating of 7100-lbs (with the 3.73 axle ratio) or 8300-lbs (with the 4.10 axle ratio). The V8 with 4WD has a maximum trailer weight rating of 7100-lbs (with the 3.73 axle ratio) or 8100-lbs (with the 4.10 axle ratio). These are the maximums, and must be observed. Your trailer when fully loaded with water, propane, supplies, food and equipment, must weigh no more than the vehicle's stated towing capacity.

While there are suspension enhancement products offered for your truck, such as the Firestone air bag systems you referenced and rubber jounce springs (please see link), none of these can increase a vehicle's towing or weight carrying capacities. In general, rear-axle suspension kits like air bags or jounce springs are best suited for hauling heavy loads in the truck bed, more than for towing a large trailer. For a trailer that weighs more than 50-percent of the tow vehicle weight, a weight distribution system is the way to go.
Also, please note these these aftermarket enhancement products are not a substitute for a suspension in good working order. We do not offer standard OEM replacement shocks.

The highest-capacity hitch we offer for your truck is the 2-inch Curt Class IV # 14080, rated for a maximum trailer weight of 12,000-lbs. Note that since your truck has a lower towing capacity than the hitch, the truck's limit becomes the limit for the entire system. This hitch is rated for use with weight distribution.

Proper selection of a weight distribution system requires an accurate measurement of the fully-loaded as-towed trailer's tongue weight. Dry weight is not enough. You need to load the trailer exactly as it will be when you are heading out on the road, full water and propane tanks, and all other gear, before taking your tongue weight measurement. The linked article will explain several ways to do this. I also linked another article concerning general questions about these systems. Once you know your actual loaded tongue weight you can select a system with sway control using the link provided. Click on your measured tongue weight at the top of the page and you will see the systems suitable for that trailer tongue weight.

The Tekonsha Prodigy brake controllers such as the P2 # 90885 and the P3 # 90195 are versatile, reliable and popular units that work with both electric and electric-over-hydraulic trailer brakes. If your Avalanche has a factory 7-way connector, your brake controller installation will be simple since in this case you can use a quick-connect harness # 3025-P to plug it in to the under-dash port. If not you can hardwire-install it using part # ETBC7, which is a brake controller installation kit complete with 7-way vehicle connector, wiring, circuit breakers and connectors. A linked video and article explain the process in detail.

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