Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
2003 Escalade ESV
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I recently purchased a 21 foot toy hauler and as all I owned at the time was a 2012 VW Golf TDI, I figured I should probably find something that can.... tow things... I know what you are thinking: "Who the hell uses an Escalade as a tow rig???" Basically, due to the fact that I have three large dogs I was limited to either a Suburban, Yukon XL, Excursion, or Escalade. I initially started looking at diesel Excursions because that seems like the logical choice for heavy hauling but after doing a ton of research I started to become very leery of the 6.0 diesel engine. A family member has an F-250 with that engine and it has been a financial ruin due to the repair costs. So I shifted my search to the GM line of large SUVs. I set a budget of <$10,000 because I didn't want to finance and hit CL and Autotrader. After looking at many many vehicles I noticed a pattern. The trucks that were cosmetically very clean tended to have neglected mechanicals. Oil leaking, rusted, and blown rear shocks. The converse was true as well. I finally found one that had some cosmetic blemishes but that was mechanically sound. There wasn't even a moist spot of oil anywhere on the bottom and the entire RTD suspension system was recently replaced with OEM parts. The engine sounded great and seemed to be in mechanically/electrically sound condition despite having a ton of miles (132,000). I jumped on this and took it home that day. If you are wondering why I went with an Escalade instead of a Suburban 2500 or something, here is why. I plan on going on 1,000+ mile road trips with three dogs so I want to be comfortable first and foremost. Second, I am a real big fan of an auto-leveling suspension when hauling heavy loads. Third, there is some crazy depreciation on Escalades. A similar 2500 would have been several thousand dollars more and they are far more difficult to find in the wild so I was able to buy a nicer vehicle for the money by going with an Escalade. Now then, I have a few questions regarding this set up. I would be greatly appreciative for ya'lls feedback.

Basically all I am going to be using this thing for is towing at its MAX capacity. Like right at the 7,400 tow rating. I understand that this isn't a new vehicle and most people would be retiring their cars at this mileage. I have faith that this ol girl has at least another 50,000 miles left before she gives up the ghost and I want to make sure I do everything I can to get her to 180,000+ miles even with all that I will be asking of it. From what little research I have done this vehicle seems to have a pretty reliable powertrain. I will be changing the engine and diff fluids to Mobil 1 (If this stuff is good enough for airplane engines its good enough for my truck). I am still not sure what fluid to put in the transfer case and transmission yet? I will put in new iridium spark plugs and wires. Flush the coolant system (Which antifreeze to put in?). Going to put on a high load rating tire (yet to be determined) and new rotors and pads. Ohh, and possibly an AUX tranny cooler. Anything I am missing? Any tips/feedback are greatly appreciated. Even if it's just to say "That's dumb and you are stupid for being so dumb!" Thanks everyone!
 

·
Registered
03 cadillac escalade
Joined
·
11,902 Posts
Ok I ain't going to say towing with the escalade is dumb as I am many others on here have towed with our escalades and haven't had a problem

As far as mileage mine has 206,850 exactly and still runs strong and pulls great

I have towed a camper that was pretty close to the max limit and the truck handled it fine(just remember to use the tow/haul mode) with passengers in the truck remember the limit on the door plate is less then what is listed in the owner manual

----------

Dex 3 is the tranny fluid

I will check my service manual for the transfer case but I think it's the same as the tranny

----------

You will want to use the Orange dexcool anti freeze
 

·
Registered
08 Escalade ESV awd, 05 Yukon Xl Denali awd, 06 SRX sold
Joined
·
1,852 Posts
I see your in so cal...i am as well, i have an upgraded trans cooler(tru cool 40k) and a prodigy p2 brake controller, everything else is ac delco plugs wires brakes rotors etc. i tow a 23 attitude toy hauler not too often, but i tow a 25 foot boat often, to lauglin and havasu
 

·
Registered
2003 Escalade ESV
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback the cadillac man and weyder. I am glad to see no one says "don't tow that much or it will blow up." I saw that Dex 3 is the required fluid but I was reading elsewhere that it can be hard to find real Dex III because it has been replaced with DEX VI. Is this safe to use in the transmission? Wesyder, did you install the tru cool 40k yourself? I am very curious how hard that install is. How have you liked the prodigy p2? I am really considering buying a P3. It seems to be rated highly. I have started going through all the posts that come up with the "towing" search keyword and I am making a list of what I need to do to "bulletproof" this thing so she doesn't leave us stranded in the rockies somewhere. Thanks again, I appreciate the responses.
 

·
Registered
08 Escalade ESV awd, 05 Yukon Xl Denali awd, 06 SRX sold
Joined
·
1,852 Posts
Yes, i do all my work myself, i found an install kit on another forum that made it a breeze, i like the p2, its simple and reliable, the p3 is awesome but a little more than what i needed in a controller
 

·
Registered
03 cadillac escalade
Joined
·
11,902 Posts
Dex III or dex vi same stuff different badge

Gm changed it for the newer trucks to (again)to fool more people into thinking its a new fluid(it's not) even my dealer admitted it to me when I had the tranny fluid and filter changed in my truck

----------

Proper care and doing the maintenance at the intervals as listed in the manual(pm me if you don't have one) and it will be pretty much bullet proof

Gm's drivetrains were made to last(I know my uncle worked in the gm power train plant for 30 years) he told me about a lot of stuff (including the new 2015 escalade) as he would get insider info from gm even after he retired

----------

Also if you want great brakes for a great deal get these(I have them on mine and they are awesome)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FKXXNG?ie=UTF8&force-full-site=1&ref_=navm_ftr_fullsite

I have yet to replace the pads(front or rear) and am surprised how they have lasted over stock

Plus they shorten the stopping distance a lot
 

·
Registered
2004 Escalade ESV
Joined
·
13 Posts
I'm told that the stock 4L65E gearbox in my 04 escalade is a weak link, and that I should get it rebuilt with all the good gear (apparently these box's are used for racing, once they are suitably rebuilt) before doing any serious long haul towing.

I'm also told that the front diff might likewise need some strengthening?
 

·
Registered
03 cadillac escalade
Joined
·
11,902 Posts
Ozburb said:
I'm told that the stock 4L65E gearbox in my 04 escalade is a weak link, and that I should get it rebuilt with all the good gear (apparently these box's are used for racing, once they are suitably rebuilt) before doing any serious long haul towing. I'm also told that the front diff might likewise need some strengthening?
I find that a bit hard to believe as I have towed heavy loads multiple times and haven't had a problem
It's how well you take care of it(fluid and filter changes) that makes the difference in it failing or not(no fluid changes and towing is not a good combo)

The front diff is prone to wear bearings over time

----------

I forgot to mention I have the fluid checked and changed when needed(same with the filter)in the tranny

Most don't change it as they think it's ok to leave the old fluid in the tranny as they assume it adapts to it(it compensates but it's hard on the tranny when it can't get fluid well due to clogged filter)
 

·
Registered
08 Escalade ESV awd, 05 Yukon Xl Denali awd, 06 SRX sold
Joined
·
1,852 Posts
Yeah no issues here, just over 250k and still going strong, and i tow often and mainly in the summer heat and its not flat here in cali, quite a few grades
 

·
Registered
05 Escalade
Joined
·
14 Posts
Smart man for staying clear of the Ford 6.0 Powerstroke. Unless bulletproofed (head gaskets/ studs/ EGR delete/ External Oil Cooler/ ~$6000), they're terrible. 7.3's aren't as bad though

The Escalade is a fine tow rig. I tow a 4500lb dual axle flatbed with a Pintel hitch carrying my VW...no issues at all and that's hovering its max towing capacity. Put a Corsa Sport exhaust on and enjoy the sounds it makes haha
 

·
Registered
2003 Escalade ESV
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the input everyone. I am very happy to see people have 200,000+ miles and these trucks are still running strong and that people seem to tow heavy loads all the time with no problems. I am ordering Mobil 1 75W-90 to put in the front and rear differentials. Mobil 1 High Mileage 5W-30 for the engine with a mobil 1 oil filter. Mobil 1 synthetic ATF for the transmission and the transfer case. I will be flushing the cooling system and putting in new 50/50 mix DEX-COOL. I just had some Michelin LTX M/S^2 E1 rated tires installed. They are boring but they should get the job done safely. Just got my P3 brake controller in the mail but I haven't installed it yet. Still waiting for the 1,200# weight distributing hitch to arrive because UPS sent it on a tour of the US for some reason. Just put the weathertech floormats in... Anyways, here are my remaining questions: Is it worth installing a larger transmission cooler and is there a good write up anywhere on how to do this on these trucks? Would it be beneficial to put a 160* thermostat in or is that a bad idea? And finally, does my truck have a 4L60E HD like the RPO code M32 denotes or a 4L65E? I have been confused by this for awhile... Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the input from ya'll.
 

·
Registered
08 Escalade ESV awd, 05 Yukon Xl Denali awd, 06 SRX sold
Joined
·
1,852 Posts
I would definitely install a larger cooler, there is a write up on the full size chevy forum, both of those trans types should be one in the same, i also run a 160 degree thermostat, as long as I'm moving its effective but in stop and go its the same as stock because my electric fans are still are programmed to the factory temp but i do recommend the mod
 

·
Registered
03 cadillac escalade
Joined
·
11,902 Posts
wesyder said:
I would definitely install a larger cooler, there is a write up on the full size chevy forum, both of those trans types should be one in the same, i also run a 160 degree thermostat, as long as I'm moving its effective but in stop and go its the same as stock because my electric fans are still are programmed to the factory temp but i do recommend the mod
The trannies are same build just slightly different torque rating due to the different engines
 

·
Registered
EXT
Joined
·
88 Posts
I pull a 6x12 enclosed, loaded with tools about 2-3 days a week..pulls great and gets tons of looks & compliments
I am looking into lifting it a bit tho. I get some sag in the rear...thinking 2" torsion front, 1.5" spacer rear, and possibly helper bags ...
With a bigger trailer you should get a weight distribution set up to prevent sway on the highway.
6.0 diesel a NO NO, 7.3 all day but never be as comfy as a caddy haha

----------

 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top