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Old 01-29-2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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Need tow vehicle recommendations.


I have purchased a 2013 International Signature 30 with a propride 3p hitch and now need a tow vehicle. I would like to use it as a daily around town driving vehicle, and I prefer an SUV to a pickup. After extensive reading here as well as on other forums, I seem to be running in circles.

The main problem I seem to be running into is exceeding the trailer tongue weight which is listed as 880 lbs with propane but no other options. I really like the QX56 which has a listed tongue weight rating of 850 lbs. I do not anticipate us being heavily loaded for trips. Dry weight for our TT is 6737 lbs. Have not been able to get to scales to TV yet, but am looking to rent an Enterprise truck to weigh it.

I have also looked at the Yukon XL / Suburban 1/2 & 3/4 ton as well. The Suburban 3/4 ton would probably be a great choice, but the mpg is horrendous. The Cayenne is also appealing but low on tongue weight rating and wheel base length. Plus I am unable to travel 1500 miles to Canada in the winter to have the hitch rigging optimized and reinforced as has been suggested by Can-Am. Plus, how will that affect the TV manufacturer's warranty?

I really would like the manufacturers to come up with a regular way to list their ratings so we can compare the vehicles better. Some list a single tongue weight with no qualifiers, some list 2 tongue weights depending on the presence or absence of a WD hitch, and some just say stay within 10-15% of trailer weight (if within towing weight limit). Can you load a TV hitch with a TT tongue weight greater than its rating if using WD hitch? Or does this apply only for specific models, such as stated in the Escalade specs (600lbs w/o WD and 1000 lbs w/ WD).

I am not sure exactly how to measure tongue weight. For me, is it just 880lbs or is it 880 lbs + 200 lbs for the 3p hitch = 1080 lbs? Or do I have to use a Sherline scale or can I use a CAT scale?

What if the tongue weight for your TT is > TV tongue weight rating? If this TT/TV setup is then weighed at a CAT scale, and the calculated tongue weight is within towing specs for that specific TV, can you assume that you have met the manufacturers requirements for tongue weight or is this a misleading measurement?

If OK to tow, how do you predict the measured tongue weight before weighing it? I don't want to purchase a vehicle only to find out later when weighing it on the scales that the vehicle cannot pull the TT within given specs. I suspect few, if any, dealers would allow you to tow your TT with their vehicle on a test ride.

Of course to add to the confusion, there are potential liability issues, anecdotal experiences, and of course, personal opinions.

Anyway, any suggestions are greatly appreciated. One more thing...I do not live in a mountainous region and would be making relatively few trips up/down steep grades. Thank you.

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:58 PM   #2
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My two cents is that you need a long wheelbase SUV for a relatively heavy 30 foot trailer. With a properly set up weight distributing hitch, tongue weight is spread onto all four wheels and the issues are towing capacity, gross vehicle weight (including the tongue weight) and combined gross vehicle weight.
Ford, GMC and Chevy all make a long wheelbase SUV with a tow rating big enough to handle your trailer.
Like you say, the 3/4th ton Chevy and GMC's have big 6 liter engines which would give you plenty of power at a fuel economy penalty.
Half ton Denali and Esculade SL's have the hot Cadillac engine with more than enough power to pull your rig and have self leveling air ride suspensions as well. Even used, these vehicles are expensive.
Any big SUV is a pain to park and drive downtown.
Your other choice is to get a used diesel truck or Excursion an use it as only a tow vehicle. If you shop carefully, you could get a good one for about $15,000 and drive a smaller cheaper vehicle as a comuter.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:37 PM   #3

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My baseline advise...take the factory tongue weight and add 400lbs.

Most accurate TW....load the trailer as used, full FW and LPG tanks and provisions. Measure static un-hitched weight at tongue ball socket.

You can use the CAT scales. Weigh the TV str and drive axle, hitch and re-weigh no WD, str, drive and trlr axles.

POI...we are very happy with our 2500 2006 Suburban.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:44 PM   #4
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When you want your vehicle to be both a TV and a daily driver you run the risk of not being satisfied with it in either regard. The twin-turbo Toyota V8 Diesel SUV would meet your compromise, but it's not available in America. We just returned from Australia where we saw many in use over there pulling larger trailers.

I know you say you don't want a pick-up, but a 3/4 ton turbo diesel GMC, Chev, or Dodge would best fill the bill for you in power to tow, mpg, and overall towability. Even the rolling hills of Florida will have you craving enough power. Unless you are not planning much towing, or it's going to be an extra bedroom parked in the back yard, you bought a big, heavy trailer and when you hook up and take it out you won't really be happy with minimal performance.

We started pulling our l988 25 ft A/S tt with a 1999 1500 suburban. Five years ago we acquired our GMC 2500 turbo-diesel(duramax). It's great, has seating for 6, crew cab has folding back seat for extra dry cargo.

I live in Tampa and would be glad to help you pick-up your trailer and let you experience first hand the Duramax. Incidentally, this is a good time to get a hefty discount on any unsold 2012 models of Chev, GMC, or Dodge trucks.

Feel free to PM me at Pat
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:46 PM   #5
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Dude - you are really out of date. The market for SUV's has been to down size and go to unibody. That started about 5 or 6 years ago. The SUV market is really not targeted at people that want to lug around 30' trailers with over 800lbs. of down force at the bumper.

Lol - I would like to tow with my Honda Accord.

But no - I 'need' a dreaded truck. A machine that is designed and built to lug heavy trailers around. If you have your heart dead set against a truck that now rides nice, has heated and cooled seats, sat radio, is comfortable, carries 5 people, gets better mpg than an SUV, and oh, by the way can also tow your trailer then:

Look at ...humm, let me think....humm, maybe the pre uni-body big SUV's. Ford Excursion, Expidition, maybe the heavy duty vans from Chevy or Ford.

There really are not many SUV's anymore that I have seen that can carry the hitch weight.

Good luck.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:05 PM   #6

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Oh no here we go....

I see a trip to C eh n eh d eh on the horizon, eh

"We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know."
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:27 PM   #7
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If you can afford a new 30-foot Airstream, I don't understand why you would now scrimp on the tow vehicle. Personally, I'd just buy a 3/4-ton crew cab pickup and be done with it.

If you want a good in-town commuter with excellent fuel economy (characteristics that don't exist in a vehicle that can satisfactorily tow a 30-foot Airstream), then buy a Prius, too. That way you'll get the both of best worlds, heavy-duty towing capability and excellent city handling and mileage, attributes that you won't find in a single vehicle.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:47 PM   #8
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What do you drive now? Trading seldom solves economy issues. Maybe a combination of what you have and a late model work truck (without bells and whistles) dedicated primarily for towing would be a good solution.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:02 PM   #9
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An older Ford Excursion V-10(it's on an F-350 frame/springs) and a Smart Car is your best combo. If you average the mileage, you'll be way ahead of everyone else at the end of the year.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Oh no here we go....

I see a trip to C eh n eh d eh on the horizon, eh

I won't fall for the bait. I won't fall for the bait. I won't fall for the bait. Oops. Fell for the bait.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:51 PM   #12
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I'm Lucky

I say I'm lucky because I don't drive that far to work. I have a smaller second car that the wife drives for better mileage. I DID NOT LIKE THE PRICE OF THE TRUCK!(Silverado 2500 crew cab diesel ) Let's be clear about that. But I didn't like the price of the camper, either. But when I'm driving down the road pulling my dream to my next adventure, I forget gas mileage, cost of the truck, DEF fluids and the like. We are enjoying the ride. No swaying, no white knuckling uphill or down. Just food for thought. Cheers.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:02 PM   #13
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Traded in my 2010 gas F250 for a 2013 diesel F 250 and its a world of difference. The ride is great and I drive this around town more than my 2011 super charge RR. Even my wife notice the better ride. After hard negotiations I got it lower than invoice.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:40 PM   #14
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We were originally going to purchase the 30' and it was confirmed by Andy Thomson of CanAm that we could tow it with our Ford Expedition with the Hensley Hitch. We bought the 27' FB and adore our Expedition as our TV. Good luck!!

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