In searching around I've found suggestions that the towing capacity is 5-6,000lbs, with an engine oil cooler, transmission oil cooler, and weight-distributing hitch.

How can I tell if I have these things? And if I don't, what is the towing capacity without those features?


I have the 1500 4WD, with 6-lug wheels

  • 2
    Which model of Suburban do you have? Is it the 1500 (six lug wheel) or the 2500 (eight lug wheel)? Which engine does it have in it? Is it 2WD or 4WD? Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 0:16
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 added to my question Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 22:19
  • No worries. I think I covered it in my answer. Hopefully it helps. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


According to Trailers.com, the max towing capacity for the 1997 Suburban is:

  • 1500 4WD: 6,000lbs
  • 1500 2WD: 6,500lbs
  • 2500 4WD: 10,000lbs

The way you can tell what equipment came on your vehicle is by looking at the RPO codes which you should be able to find in the glove compartment. Look on the inside of the glove compartment door, there should be a sticker affixed to it with the trucks serial number and then a bunch of three letter codes. The main one you're looking for is the first one here. The other ones should be there if the Z82 is there.

  • H05 : AXLE REAR, 3.73 RATIO (Could be GT4) - 1500
  • G84 : AXLE REAR, 4.10 RATIO (Could be GT5 or GT8) - 2500

The sticker should look something like this (not exactly like this though ... I just pulled this random image from Google):

enter image description here

I am not able to find anything showing what the towing capacity of the Suburban is without the Z82 package on it. More than likely you won't find the 2500 without the Z82 option as they were meant to be towing beasts. As an educated guess, I'd suggest the following if it doesn't have the HD equipment listed:

  • 1500 4WD: 5,000lbs
  • 1500 2WD: 5,500lbs
  • 2500 4WD: 7,000lbs
  • Looks like I've got the Z82, VR4, and GT4. But no V02, so I'm guessing that would be a max capacity of 5,000? Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 22:24
  • @WayneWerner You can always add an external transmission cooler, which is never a bad idea, especially if you're towing anything. They really aren't that expensive and can save you some real headaches. If that's all you're missing, I doubt you'll have any issues by adding one and then using it as you will. The biggest part of towing is actually braking. If you are going large in your towing, consider getting a trailer brake installed. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 22:26
  • @WayneWerner - Sorry, just reread what I commented ... what I should have said is, getting a replacement heavy duty radiator would not be a challenge either. They are relatively cheap, when you consider what the alternative is (buying a more capable vehicle). Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 22:32

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