What Suspension Upgrades Does a Suburban Need to Tow Safely?

Find Out How to Tow Heavy Loads With Your Suburban Without Squatting

If you’re thinking about purchasing a Chevy Suburban to take with you on your next vacation, this short article will provide you with important information about its popularity and capacity for towing and hauling. Below are five questions that are answered with you in mind:

Chevy Suburban in Presidential Stockade

What makes Suburban a popular vehicle?

How did the Chevy Suburban become so popular? There are 2 reasons: 

  1. Fleet sales. Governments large and small across North America buy Suburbans and other GM SUVs by the trainload.\
  2. Tremendous speed. The Suburban has enough power and torque to accelerate from zero to 60 mph with relative ease while fully loaded. Dynamic Fuel Management technology provides a mix of speed capability and fuel efficiency.

new and classic suburban - Getting a star on the walk of fame

Why are Suburbans good for hauling and towing?

Here are 3 reasons why the Chevy Suburban is good for hauling and towing:

  1. A Chevrolet Suburban can successfully tow a trailer. In fact, the new 2021 Chevrolet Suburban has an impressive towing capacity of 8300 lbs (3760 kg), which should cover just about any fully-loaded trailer plus the weight of 6-7 passengers. 
  2. According to U.S. News, there’s also plenty of cargo capacity with almost 145 cu. ft. of cargo space when all rear seats are folded down. 
  3. The Chevy Suburban has a huge 6.2-L V-8 engine.

Spacious rear of a new Chevy Suburban

What is a 14-bolt rear axle?

First appearing in 1973, the 14-bolt is one of the most used rear axles in the General Motors pool of trucks and SUVs. Found under ¾- and 1-ton GM trucks and SUVs, the 14-bolt received a maximum torque rating of 6,242 pounds. A 14-bolt rear axle can be identified by simply counting the exterior bolts on the differential.

The General Motors 14 bolt is a heavy-duty, full-floating rear axle used in Chevrolet and GMC 1-tonne pickups. It is not to be confused with the smaller, semi-floating 14-bolt axle which uses a 9.5" ring gear and is built for 3/4-ton applications.

If your vehicle has a 10-bolt or 12-bolt rear axle (count the bolts on the differential if you’re not sure), it might be possible to swap out your smaller rear axle for the larger, more heavy-duty 14-bolt rear axle.

13 of 14 bolts on a 14-bolt rear end of a Chevy Suburban

Do I need 4wd to tow with a Suburban?

4×4 is necessary for towing when you're facing situations with minimal traction. Some examples might be mud, snow, ice, gravel, and very irregular terrain. If the ground is muddy, you will need a 4WD for maximum traction. Rule of thumb: If you would use 4-wheel drive without the trailer, then you should use it with the trailer.

Due to their lighter weight, a 4x2 SUV has a superior towing capacity and fuel economy compared to the 4x4.

Suburban towing a trailer

What suspension upgrades should I consider for my Suburban?

There are several aftermarket products that are available for your Suburban. The most popular are metal, air, and rubber.

Metal Springs are usually an add-a-leaf style that fastens to your existing leaf springs. Additional leaf springs can help keep the vehicle level even when the existing suspension is starting to sag. These easy-to-install, low-maintenance upgrades will add an additional 500 pounds to the capacity of your suspension. 

Air Springs are airbags that replace the existing factory bump stops. Remember, it’s the compressed air inside the airbag that does the lifting. An airbag system is more complicated to install and operate. This premium-priced, high-maintenance upgrade will add somewhere between 3,000 – 5,000 lbs of capacity to your suspension. 

Hollow Rubber Springs are just as they sound: They are springs made of rubber that are hollow inside. Aeon® hollow rubber springs are made by Timbren Industries designed to replace the factory bump stops. These affordable, zero-maintenance upgrades are easy to install. Depending on which SES kit you purchase, you could add up to an additional 12,000 pounds of capacity to your suspension.

Heavy Duty Timbren Helper Springs for Chevy Suburban

For more information on which kit to install on your Chevy Suburban, click here.

Hopefully, you have found this short article about the Chevy Suburban informative. You’ve learned why they’re so popular, why they’re good for both towing and hauling, what a 14-bolt rear axle is, and why all large SUVs have them. Furthermore, you now know what suspension upgrade is the obvious choice for both you and your Chevy Suburban. For additional information about a suspension upgrade for a Chevy Suburban visit Timbren.com.