With or without Towing Package????

03-13-2009, 08:33 PM

Sorry if this same question has been asked before. If it was, I've accidently missed the thread.


Doing research of new, demo or used '08 Uplander EXT with 3.9L engine. In the '08 or '09 years - which is still available in my region.

If wondering new purchase on GM page contains:

* Trailering Package $620 + taxes

Includes trailer wiring harness and heavy duty turn signal flasher. Does not include trailer hitch. 1588 kg (3500 lb) capacity applies with no more than 2 people.

Base unit Uprades:
- Sport Suspension
- Auto Load Leveling Suspension
- Auxiliary "built in" Air Inflator Kit

This option features:
- Sport suspension
- Rear auto-levelling suspension
- Compressed air rear shocks
- Air compressor
- Wiring harness

In comparing, I don't see an Aux tranny cooler. Question: Does factory 3.9L rad have its own larger size built in tranny cooler system? Or, written differently. Is an Aux Tranny cooler system also needed for towing more then 2,500 lbs?

Can I obtain non-towing package Uplander and upgrade with my own towing items afterwards? For example:
- Timbrens SES rubber inserts in rear coil springs? approx $150-200 ??
re: http://www.timbren.com/ses-van-suv.htm
- Or, Coil Spring air bags with manual air valve? approx $100
re: http://www.truckspring.com/firestone-coil-rite-kit-rear-4155.html
- My own "T" wiring harness? JC Whitney for under $40
re: http://www.jcwhitney.com/wcsstore/jcwhitney/images/imagecache/G_14472G_SW_1.jpg
- My own local HD turn signal - if its really needed for my utility trailer. My current Tow Vehicle did NOT need HD signal flasher. Why would Uplander model need a HD flasher upgrade?

If wondering, I'm not a fan of "air" shocks. To me, they put too much stress on factory shock mounts, and did a terrible mess on my dad's previous vehicle. Thus, I'd use 3rd party air or pure mechanical Timbren SES upgrades. I also don't care about better wheels either (that GM forces one to buy with their Factory Towing package) either. To me, rims / rubber is rubber. In my region, I use steel rims with better winter rubber 6 months of the year anyway.

Bottom line is... Is obtaining factory Towing Package or adding one's own towing item upgrade items afterwards the better "cost savings" selection? And yes, I'm ok "with a wrench" (sort of speaking). Installing coil spring air bag inserts, coil spring Timbrens SES inserts, Class III trailer hitch, its T wiring, Brake Controller, 7-pin outlet and 12V "+" lead into 7-pin plug is a no brainer for my skills. Just wondering if their factory $650 + taxes upgrade is worth it?



03-30-2009, 03:39 PM


I did some local price checking... Here's my findings:

- Discovered "T" wire (for 4 pin towing wire connection) can be purchased from my local Auto parts store. Approx $50. This is a typical "on shelf" available item.

- Discovered Timbren SES units for rear of my newly purchased '09 Montana EWB van is $185 + taxes. Total of $204. If wondering, I ordered these "special order" items a few moments ago - parts to arive this Thursday April 12 - which is ok with me. I don't need haul or tow trailers with my new van until early May.

In total, cost of $254 for same results that factory "air shocks / air compressor" system. And, best part of all NO AIR. No air leaks to worry about and no air compressor parts to worry about.

Just wanted to share my current results - if others are looking for non-air REAR Suspension upgrade solution for their van as well...

Note: Money I saved by going with pure mechanical solution can be applied to a needed much stronger Class III hitch. (Giant smile).


04-20-2009, 06:47 PM


In comparing, I don't see an Aux tranny cooler. Question: Does factory 3.9L rad have its own larger size built in tranny cooler system? Or, written differently. Is an Aux Tranny cooler system also needed for towing more then 2,500 lbs?





I chatted with my Transmission Mechanic a few days ago. He recommended that if one hauls stuff with their van, often has 3+ more adults, drives in a hot temperature climate, lives in a hilly region, &/or does lots of stop/go traffic, then one "must" install an Aux Transmission cooler as well. For example, 10"-12" LPD design - which is made for towing up to 5,000 lb trailers. re: http://www.makcotransmissionparts.com/OC-1678.html Yes. This size of aux cooler may be "over kill" for the average 2 people within van driving conditions but if one is going to buy an Aux Transmisison cooler, one should spend a few more dollars and get a larger then needed size. Thus, keeping their transmission oil cool. As he put it, "Cool(er) transmisison oil = longer life for the 4T65E transmission"

Based on this info, I now plan to install an Aux Transmisison cooler (as seen in above URL) in my 2009 Montana van within the next few weeks.

Hope this info share helps others as well...


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