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Old 06-01-2017, 06:46 AM   #1
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Bradenton , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 2
Question about towing with a GMC Canyon Diesel

I am new to towing.. just sold our Class A diesel, and now jumping in to trailer life. I want to purchase a GMC Canyon Diesel (with tow pkg) to tow an Airstream. I guess there are many considerations beyond just towing capacity of this truck which is rated at 7600, so any words of wisdom are appreciated. I realize I will need extendable side mirrors. I have a blue ox that I used on my Tiffin. Will that be something I could use to improve stability (or is this a dumb question??)..?
Anyone have a GMC Canyon Diesel Denali? Currently my vehicle is a Lexus RX350. With the factory installed tow pkg, it is rated at 3500 lbs. Actually, the Airstream website shows my car pulling a couple different models, one of which is an Airstream 22. Not sure that is possible. Hate to give up my comfy ride, so if you have an RX350 and pull an Airstream, please tell me about your experience.
Thank you for any info and/or advice. I am ready to get started on my travel journey ASAP.

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Old 06-01-2017, 06:57 AM   #2
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 6,263

Welcome to confusion

Do you have a specific trailer in mind? If you have not locked into one specific model, I'd work on that end first. A 16' Basecamp is a very different thing to pull than a 33' Classic. I would hold off on the TV purchase until you know what you will be towing. If you are buying new, trucks will only get cheaper in the next couple of months anyway

The next layer to this decision involves how much you will be tossing into the truck in addition to pulling the trailer. There are a lot of ways to look at it. Some people get pretty rigid about the manufacturer's numbers. Others seem to take a few liberties with this and that.

The last thing I would worry about is re-using the hitch. If the bars and ratings on it are correct for the trailer you decide on, that's great. If it is still in good shape, that's fine as well. If it fails this or that check or rating, toss it (or rebuild it).


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Old 06-01-2017, 07:20 AM   #3
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Bradenton , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 2
Thanks Bob. I am more concerned about what kind of TV I need right now, rather than what model Airstream I get.. I do NOT want a super duty huge truck. that is a deal breaker at my age. I am going to be driving this vehicle all the time. I can compromise with the mid size truck, but would love to think I could keep my SUV.
My ideal Airstream would be 20-25ft, with a head, and a shower. Can be vintage rebuild, or used. I am actively looking, but don't even have a tow vehicle to bring one home. Need to decide on a TV first.. Want to be on the road this summer.
Would love to know if anyone has seen or has used a GMC Canyon Diesel pull an Airstream? Every GMC dealer I talk to says something different. And the Airstream Dealer I went to last week referred me back to the Truck dealer.. go figure!
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:36 AM   #4
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2013 31' Classic
billings , Montana
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,348
Very small towing unit...
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:00 AM   #5
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2003 22' International CCD
East Durham , New York
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Here's a link to more info:

I have the Colorado Diesel. Very happy with it.
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:23 AM   #6
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 6,263

Simply put, you need to look at three numbers:

1) The towing capacity of the model of TV you buy.
2) The payload rating on the exact TV you buy.
3) The gross combined vehicle weight rating on the TV, as equipped.

The first and third numbers don't change a lot as you put in some of the options. They do change with things like rear axles. The second one can be the gotcha. The numbers on the standard data sheets may be off (optimistic). It's best to look at real stickers on real trucks.

The Colorado has a 7,700 towing number. If 10% of that is tongue weight, you get 770 lb. That 770 lb comes off of the rated 1,513 lb of payload. Essentially you have 743 lb for added payload. That sounds ok, but there is a footnote about "2 WD, crew cab, short bed". If your truck is some other configuration, the 743 drops. If the sticker on the post of your truck reads 1,070 lb (rather than 1,513) you only have 300 lb of payload available.

Any time you look at payload, you need to read all the fine print nonsense. Do they figure it with five passengers all weighing 200 lb each or with two at 150 lb? Is it with or without a full tank of fuel? Does it drop by 2% for every 1,000 feet you go above sea level? Does it only apply on alternate days of the week

If you can find a 22' Sport to look at close to you, I'd run over and take a look. If it's an ok fit, then move forward. At 4,500 lb max, it will do fine with a Colorado. You can move up to some other models, but you want to be sure there is *something* you can run with.

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Old 06-01-2017, 08:24 AM   #7
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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I'll bet it won't be easy to move from a Tiffin to a smaller tow vehicle and trailer combo because weight management in both becomes so very important.

The Colorado has a nice little turbodiesel for towing a smaller Airstream, but you already have the Lexus and you like it. The Lexus has a more stable suspension and more rigid structure, both important towing considerations.

Either vehicle will need a quality weight distribution hitch that is expertly set up for satisfactory towing. Contact this Airstream dealer and towing shop who specializes in these setups, they can help you. They have helped us a lot, the second generation owner has written extensively in various publications on towing. Good opportunity to learn.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
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Old 06-01-2017, 05:49 PM   #8
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Peterborough , New Hampshire
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towing with 2.8?

Just read your question about towing capacity with a mid sized diesel truck. I drive a 2016 Colorado, 2.8 crew cab, 4 wheel drive. My trailer is a 23FB with two axles. I took a 5000 mile trip last year to visit with family and see some sites. The TV worked very well for me, I just set the cruise control and let it do it's thing. Previous TV was 2010 Chevy Silverado, 5.3 gas. Because of the fuel tank capacity I could not drive more than 200 miles without having to top off. The exhaust brake and tow/haul mode are combined which isn't one of my favorite things, but work very well at keeping the downhill speed under control. Google
"towing the gauntlet with a midsize truck"
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:15 AM   #9
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2017 30' International
Cumming , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 67
Why I like Diesel

Lots of good recommendations here.
I understand why you don't want to drive a 3/4 ton pickup or even a 1/2 ton.
Please remember, if you pick your TV first and its small, like the Colorado, you will not be able to pull say a 30' AS. You will be limited to the capabilities of your TV. I'm sure you know that, just stating the obvious.

After pulling my 30' AS now for a few months and pulling it with a 3/4 ton GMC Diesel I can tell you the that the Diesel engine has some nice advantages over gas.

First, diesels have much more torque and are amazing how well they will pull a trailer through mountains, mine never even downshifts as I keep cruise control set at 65. It pulls my AS through the mountains with less apparent effort than my wife's Toyota Seqoiua with a 5.7 V8 gas engine pulling nothing.

The Diesel gets much better fuel mileage. I just went from Atlanta to Michigan and averaged 14 mpg with my 6.6 turbo Diesel Duramax.

One real nice feature is the advantage I have when it's time to stop for fuel. I can always pull into the truck Diesel lanes which are wide open and easy to maneuver. A gas vehicle is often bound to fuel where cars fuel, often much tighter situations than I care to pull into while towing the AS.
Diesel pumps at truck stops are never tight.
Yesterday stopped at a Flying J to find their RV pumps under construction. The guy behind me was pulling a 35' trailer with a gas truck. He had no good options as the station was crowded. I happily pulled over to the semi truck fueling area with no problem and much less anxiety.

I hope you enjoy your Airstream, what ever model/ size you buy. And I know you'll enjoy the Diesel truck.

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