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Old 08-08-2008, 06:56 AM   #1
Manky bobber
 
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Need advice for towing 30' Slideout

Hello all, first time poster here. Also first time airstreamer. Also first time travel trailer. Also first time driver. Just kidding about the last one.

I'm getting set to purchase a 30' slideout and I am trying to decide between a 2500 and a 3500 truck. The vehicle will carry up to 4 people, 4 kayaks, 4 bikes, and a generator with a few extra 5-gallon containers of diesel. I estimate the maximum payload (exclusive of tongue weight) to be about 1500 pounds. Tongue weight on the 30' slideout is 1K plus change. I will be purchasing a hensley arrow hitch.

The payload capacity on a GMC 2500 is 3000 pounds, 3500 pounds for a 3500 truck with single rear wheels, and 4700 pounds for a 3500 with dual rear wheels. Tow rating with a ball hitch is the same for all 3, 13000 pounds.

I know the slideouts have a heavier hitch weight and are about 1K pounds more overall, but it seems like I will be OK with the 2500 truck (within payload and less than 80 percent of max towing capacity even at the trailer max GVWR). I would prefer to have a 2500 truck because most of the time we will be leaving the airstream at parks and heading away for cycling and kayaking "adventures." I am a city boy who wants to keep his fillings in and has no other use for a 1-ton or dual rear wheel truck. However, this rig will be dragged around 1 week a month, and I would like the safest and most stable towing arrangement.

Is there any tangible advantage to going with a 3500 or a 3500 dual wheel here? Or would that just be overkill?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:27 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

I would not want the dually; it makes for a super wide truck that's hard to park when not towing. A single rear wheel 3500 would do the job just fine. The 3/4 ton would also work well, but you might as well go with the 1 ton as the cost factor is negligible. I don't think that it would ride empty much differently than a 2500. The 3500 would have a beefier frame and suspension components.

Brian
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:34 AM   #3
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If your in the tow range of the 2500 it is probably cheaper than the 3500, I don't think you will notice the difference, The frame may be beefier but your not gonna brake the 2500 frame even if you tried. My farther in law has a 1 ton dodge and it is a very hard ride with nothing in the back, thank god for the soft seats in it..... And a dually is way overkill, although there are people who tow with them, I just think they use them for other things as well..
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ycookmd View Post
..... The vehicle will carry up to 4 people, 4 kayaks, 4 bikes, and a generator with a few extra 5-gallon containers of diesel. I estimate the maximum payload (exclusive of tongue weight) to be about 1500 pounds. ......

You might want to reweigh all of your "stuff"... 1500 lbs is way on the low side with what you just described. Diesel is 7.3 lbs per gallon so each 5 gallon container of fuel will be about 35 lbs, that's 100 lbs for 15 gallons of 'spare' fuel, plus the 30 (or more) gallons of fuel in the vehicle will be at least 200 lbs, 3 kw generator plus fuel and wheel kit is about 150 lbs (way more, if you are talking diesel, a little over 100 lbs if you are taking along two honda 2000's), you have to add the weight of the Hensley in there also - 200 lbs.

Right now, without the people, bikes, or kayaks, your described load is 650lbs. I would estimate maybe 50 lbs each for the bikes and kayaks (with helmets, vests, mounts, brackets, hold downs, and paddles), so that's another 400 lbs...

That leaves 450 lbs for 4 people - hardly possible.

And we haven't even talked about firewood, tools, shovels, bar-b-que pits, coolers, ice, and "other stuff" - it all adds up surprisingly quickly.

Don't want to seem to be harsh here, but underestimating total load should not be a complication when shopping for a tow vehicle.
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:55 AM   #5
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I have a Chevy 2500 with an ARE bed cover and a 30' with slide out. Also, I have a Hensley hitch. I do haul a generator and fuel, camping shovels, rakes, wood maul, coolers, chairs and tables, etc. Everything you need to dry camp for a month. The truck seems to handle the load fine. Also, have pressurepro tire monitoring system and an IR temperature gauge. The tires do not run any hotter when I put all my camping gear in the bed of the truck than the times we go to local RV parks without all that gear.

In my opinion the 2500 is plenty of vehicle to do the job you are describing.
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:05 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forums. What year is the Airstream you are considering? I'm not sure what the tongue weight is on the newer 30' slides but the older ones are more like 1200#s. Some owners use a class 5 hitch. Something I would look into a little more in depth. Here is another thread to help you out:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f302...out-27330.html
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:16 AM   #7
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hi y' and welcome to the forums...

my situation was similar to yours 3 years back, deciding on 3/4 vs 1 ton trucks...

went with the 3/4 version, which was FINE initially.

BUT with lots of towing the spring stack eventually fatigued...

so an extra leaf was added (similar to a 1 ton)...

eventually this 3/4 with be replaced with a 1 ton, which i should have purchased initially.

the primary difference is payload/carry capacity and YOU will need ALL of it...

dual rear wheel option is NOT needed but the carry capacity IS.
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perhaps u won't travel far or often and not notice the 3/4-1 ton difference for years, if at all...

but i've logged 60K+ miles towing in 3 years and the issue became clearer at about 35-40k miles.

the trailer is a 34, but otherwise many issues are the same,

and on some 30/slides the tongue is HEAVIER than on 34s.

-bikes and support tools, genset, extra spare tire, and the usual camping gear, maybe a little extra water or beer...

-hensley adds 250 lbs (or uses that much payload) u can read about the users here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ide-26279.html

-expect the tongue mass (with lp gas and spare tire) to be well over 1200 lbs...

-how about a SHELL on the truck? another 2-300 lbs.

so the load is significant and grows quickly.

the ge'em factory receiver isn't really UP TO THE TASK and u may want to replace it at the onset.

i prefer the ford 250/350 because of...

the better mirrors, better factory receiver and built in brake controller that WORKS with the classic disc brakes...

the ge'em brake controller has to be disabled and replaced with an aftermarket version, to work with the disc brakes.

but regardless of truck brand the 1 ton flavor will carry the load better, and you WILL need that extra carry capacity.

i LIKE the truck a LOT, but it was a mistake to go with the 3/4 ton version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ycookmd View Post
...I would like the safest and most stable towing arrangement.

Is there any tangible advantage to going with a 3500 or a 3500 dual wheel here? Or would that just be overkill?
...
sometimes overkill is just right!

the dual rear wheels might add some stability while towing,

but e rated tires and the haha and a LONG bed have provided a smooth relaxed stable towing experience...

the haha allows for some pretty TIGHT backing to park in challenging rv slots...

i've had MANY situations where the additional WIDTH of dual rear tires would have restricted getting in to spots.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:40 PM   #8
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I have waited for all week for today as i picked up our new (to us) 2001 30' S/O. I have a 1989 F 350 Dually Crew Cab. The truck is about a mile long itself. I mainly use the truck to carry my willys jeep around for parades and meets. G503 Album - ford_dually_pics_040
The truck has a 460 coupled to a manual 5 speed. I have to admit that i was a little white knuckled but i quickly realized that i could relax as the long wheel base this trailers amazing towability made it seem like it wasnt there.. but the weight! Man is she heavy. I pulled it south of the San Francisco bay area up an hour north of the Golden Gate bridge. Usually i have to watch my fenders as they stick out but the airstream is far wider than my truck. All and all im certainly not complaining.. It was a very fun day for me and cant wait to get to work on a few upgrades.

Vin
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:03 AM   #9
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I have waited for all week for today as i picked up our new (to us) 2001 30' S/O.
I have a 1989 F 350 Dually Crew Cab...
congrats on the new 'stream!

and that's a great looking work horse of a GP TRK!

cheers
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for the helpful advice

I'd like to say "THANKS" for all the helpful advice above. I appreciate everyone's candor.

As a few of the posters noted, I underestimated my prospective load (failing to include the fuel in the tank, have a realistic weight estimate for the diesel generator, or include the weight of the camper shell). Consequently, my estimated maximum load is probably closer to 2000-2500 pounds.

So... I decided to go with the 3500 with a single rear wheel. My office manager's husband works at a local Chevy dealership and hooked me up with a very nice deal on a loaded 3500HD Silverado crewcab Duramax LWB truck which I drove home the other night. The 30' slideout has been purchased and will be picked up later this week or early next week. My brother is helping me with the setup and after talking with the guy at Propride, we decided to go with the 3P hitch over the one made by Hensley Mfgr.

The rig hits the road next week... first stop -- Wichita Falls and the Hotter n' Hell Hundred!
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:57 PM   #11
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I...The rig hits the road next week... first stop -- Wichita Falls and the Hotter n' Hell Hundred!
ok y' good followup! thanks for doing that.

a diesel genset? good luck with that!

and let us know how u like the hitch, not many here have used one, yet.

IF/WHEN you weigh the trailer, get a tongue weight too.

it wouldn't be a surprise if the tongue is over 1400 lbs...

-so u really should put a class V (5) receiver on the truck.

-and don't forget a brake controller that WILL work with the trailer disc setup.

-i don't have a slide but the BIG caution often noted here on these units is...

do NOT under any conditions try extending the slide withOUT the stabilizer jacks engaged.

u may get the slide out, but NOT back in, if the jacks aren't down.

that applies even when hooked up and spring bars tensioned.

the HnH 100 is a great bike ride, i've done it twice and one year it wasn't so hot...

mid 90s as i recall, so we snacked on jalapenos and takillya...

don't forget to post some pix of the first big trip, we love to watch

cheers
2air
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:32 AM   #12
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sounds great! now get some miles on that truck before you start towing!
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:30 PM   #13
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Well, we made it. I have no earthly idea how we did it, but we managed it.

We purchased a new Airstream, purchased a new tow vehicle, installed a Tekonsha brake controller, installed a Propride hitch, replaced the stock stereo with a navigation/backup camera/xm traffic & weather unit, stocked the trailer... and then somehow got it to Wichita Falls in time for the ride... all in less than 10 days. Big thanks to my brother for doing everything.

Also thanks again for the wealth of advice and good information on this forum. In return, here's my advice to anyone purchasing a GM with the factory brake controller: read 2Air's posts and buy the Ford! Ha, just kidding... I swore a solemn oath years ago to never buy another Ford... but that's another transmission and another story...

Seriously, my brother said the Tekonsha install is a nightmare until you figure out where the "super top secret" x126 connector is. Neither the RV dealer, nor the Chevy dealership had even the remotest clue how to install that stupid thing. After hours of no help from them, my brother finally figured it out with the help of an online expert and $15. GM hid it under the fuse box, which had to be taken apart. The unit works great after the install.

Also, he said the Propride hitch is well built, but doesn't think the instructions are spot on. I didn't install it with him, so I can't offer any details on the following, but his basic impression was that building the unit from one end to the other as the instructions say is ill-advised. Due to the weight of the components, it "sags" and makes connections difficult -- because of this, he stripped 2 bolts which had to be replaced. Instead, he said he ended up building it from either end and tightening everything at the finish. Just his comments after 5-6 hours working on the thing.

Thanks again for the advice on this forum. Here's a picture of the rig on its maiden voyage at the Hotter-n-Hell Hundred. Next stop: Deception Pass and 2 days with Body-Boat-Blade...

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Old 08-24-2008, 12:52 PM   #14
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Hello and welcome. My advice is if the 1 ton is within 2 grand of the 3/4 well do the 1 ton. Are you a person that replaces every 60,000 mile? might not matter either way. I tow an 11000 lbs race trailer with a 250 super duty not a problem. Fords have a higher capacity, Chevy rides better. If money is not an issue, after all it seems your buying a deisel, I would go 1 ton, better to much then not enough. Good luck with your choice.
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