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Old 01-23-2016, 04:33 PM   #1
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Davis , California
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2011 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 5.3

Would there be any issues with my truck towing a 2014 Airstream 27FB? Thinking about a purchase and want to make sure it will tow. Any upgrades needed or additions to the truck??

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Old 01-23-2016, 06:15 PM   #2
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I doubt there would be any issues if it is set up for towing. Look in your owners manual for the truck and see. Then weight weight the combination to see what you have.
Not rocket science but important to know what you got.
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:10 PM   #3
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Santa Ynez , California
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You will get different opinions on the question of adequacy, but most would agree there are three "issues":

1) For a relatively large trailer (28' in length) and a relatively small tow vehicle, weight distribution and sway control is an issue

2) The hp and torque compared to the weight of the trailer many would consider an issue

3) with only a half-ton chassis and the tongue weight of the trailer the remaining payload capacity of the rig is an issue.

This might work if you have the trailer set up with a great hitch system, if you don't expect much performance especially at elevation and/or on serious grades, and if you don't carry a lot of stuff. That is a lot of "ifs".

My personal opinion for me: I would be looking for a 3/4 ton chassis and considering a diesel.

The "Search" feature on this website is a great place to research this question. Most find that the Google search option is more effective.
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:38 PM   #4
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With our 31' classic ,we use our dodge ,6.7 cummalong, And a duel cam reese, it works well , Mont. to both coasts and canada, we do centeral cal. in march and April you might look at a 3/4 ton chev or ram as it will handle the trailer better...
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:39 PM   #5
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1975 31' Excella 500
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My 5.3 equipped 08 1500 does a fine job of towing.

As a point of reference, my truck makes about 30 HP more than any factory 454 built after 1977.

Before I got my Hensley, I towed it on the ball for several months, the lack of weight distribution was never a safety factor, and sway was not a real concern if I kept it at 60 mph or less.

With the hitch, well it is smooth sailing.

I don't tow in overdrive.

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The fact that I am opinionated does not presuppose that I am wrong......

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Old 01-24-2016, 10:53 AM   #6
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Make sure that you have the factory heavy duty towing package. If not, you should add an auxiliary tranny cooler.

My 08 half-ton with the same engine has the built-in brake controller and heavy duty towing package, and it pulls great.

Just be sure to not exceed any of the usual limits: payload, gvwr, gcwr, and axles. And use weight distribution and sway control, like the Reese straitline, or any competitive hitch system.

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Old 01-24-2016, 11:27 AM   #7
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2016 30' International
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Quartz Hill , California
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I towed my 2007 25' with a 2004 Sierra with a 5.3. It was "adequate" but not ideal in my opinion. I am sure that on occasion I was over payload capacity especially when on a boondocking trip. Carrying generators, fold up tables and associated gear can get heavy. Check the door frame on your truck for its payload. Subtract hitch weight and weight of passengers and start from there. GM has improved the power of the 5.3 and stiffened the chassis since 2004 so you might OK.
I finally stepped up to 2500 HD Duramax and could not be happier.
You will probably get a hundred different opinions here. Do a little homework and decide.
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Old 01-24-2016, 01:08 PM   #8
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2014 27' FB International
Clearwater , Florida
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I recently discovered the 2011 Chevy version of that truck was ok in Florida, but not so ok with hills, mountains and western speed limits. The 8cyl-4cyl programing would not allow for steady cruising speeds. Plenty of acceleration, no cruising torque when the gas was backed off.
I tow a 2014 27FB International. Highway fuel economy 6+mpg small 27 gallon gas tank. Made for a miserable drive. Reese style equalizer with sway control made tow steady and smooth. Only time it would cruise was drafting a semi. Scary! Traded it in Albuquerque for a 2014 2500HD Duramax. What an relief. Towing became a pleasure.
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Old 01-24-2016, 01:48 PM   #9
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Hailey , Idaho
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I have to agree with Greenflag...I have an 05 Yukon and '12 Tahoe, both with the 5.3L engines, and all I pull is my little 20ft FC. Based on 5 years of towing her backnforth across this fine country I would not want to tow anything heavier with this size engine. jon
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Old 01-24-2016, 01:48 PM   #10
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Charlottesville , Virginia
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For what it's worth........when I purchased our 2015 Airstream 28 ft. FC I did not expect to purchase a new tow vehicle. I already owned a 2010 Infiniti QX-56 with a tow capacity of 8,900 lbs. To make a long story short I towed the new AS for about 4,000 miles with the Infiniti however I was never comfortable with the way that it handled. It was "white knuckle" driving all of the time especially when coming to a stop.

Safety is huge concern so I began researching tow vehicles. It became apparent that the truck that would best satisfy my towing needs was not the best truck for "daily driving". In the end I decided to purchase a 2500 GMC Diesel short bed pickup with a heavy duty tow package. Many people will say that I bought more truck than necessary, especially the diesel, to tow my AS but I am very happy with my decision. I was concerned about spending the extra money for the diesel, as well as using the 3/4 ton truck as my daily driver. I love the truck and the way that it handles, and yes it is more cumbersome to drive as a "daily driver" but I'm use to it now. Even if I didn't like it as a "daily driver", it is an excellent tow truck; it tows like a dream you barely know that the trailer is behind you. It easily tows both up steep grades and down steep grades. Money is always important in decision making but so is safety. My personal opinion is that 1/2 ton truck is "borderline" as a tow vehicle for a 7,500 +/- lb Airstream. Check your tongue weight and your over all payload capacity I think that you will find that there is not much capacity left with a 1/2 ton truck. You will hear lots of discussion both pro and con about what I am saying; carefully check the numbers yourself and leave some room for margin of safety. I use a Hensley Hitch which helps with weight distribution and sway control. my wife calls the Hensley Hitch the "divorce hitch". I hope that this post is helpful!
Bald Eagle
28 Ft. Flying Cloud
2015 GMC Diesel
Charlottesville, VA
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Old 01-24-2016, 03:57 PM   #11
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2014 30' Classic
Princeton , Iowa
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I tow a 30' Classic with the TV and I am very happy. I do not use weight distribution or sway control and have no problems. I just got 20 miles per gal. not towing.
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Old 01-24-2016, 04:36 PM   #12
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2007 25' Classic
1993 21' Sovereign
Elm Grove , Wisconsin
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Prior to this last year, we had a 2009 GMC Sierra 5.3 SLT with the heavy duty towing package. We towed a 1993 21ft. Sovereign over many, many mountain passes throughput the west---it towed like a dream. Then however we sold the 21 footer and upgraded to a 2007 25ft. Classic Limited. The 25 probably added 2000 lbs. over the weight of the Sovereign. What looked on paper to be totally workable, turned into a less than pleasurable towing experience. The truck did not have the torque to handle any of the mountain passes that we love so much. We tow many thousands of miles every year. I want the experience to be fun and not a struggle.
I sold the GMC in November and bought a new Ford 15 Eco-boost. Check the reviews by other members of the Forums, you may come to the same conclusion.
Best of luck with your decision!

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Old 01-24-2016, 08:22 PM   #13
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2005 25' Safari
Springville , Alabama
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I have a 2007 GMC 1500 and have towed my 2005 Safari on several 5,000 miles trips in last two years (Yellowstone, Nova Scotia) and countless 500 mile trips closer to home. Trailer dry weight is 5,200 lbs. I did not do anything to the truck to prepare it to tow the trailer, just hook up my WD bars and go. Not a bit of a problem, very pleased.

But all my camping friends have 3/4 ton diesels all tricked out to tow....I just smile and drive happily along.....
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:17 AM   #14
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2014 27' FB International
Clearwater , Florida
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Reminder, the earlier 5.3 came with a four speed transmission, without 4-8 cylinder deactivation. They did a great job of pulling into the weight class. The newer truck 6 speed even in Tow-Haul mode wants to cylinder deactivate and really wants to upshift. If you want to hear the V-8 roar, third gear at 60 mph is really a cool sound.

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