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Old 09-02-2013, 07:05 PM   #1
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Towing Advice / Suburban 1500

Looking for some towing advice. Took delivery of a 2014 25FB Flying Cloud a few weeks ago and took her on her maiden voyage, towing with a 2011 Suburban 1500 with the Heavy Duty Trailer package. Took it into the Texas Hill Country and it did just fine. However, I am concerned about taking it in to higher altitudes and into the Colorado mountains next year. Should I upgrade to a 2013 2500? The 2500 will be discontinued for 2014 so if I am going to get one I have to do it quick. Your thoughts?
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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Well, you are asking one of the 3rd rail questions on this Forum. Many believe that towing with anything less than a 3/4 ton is suicide. Others tow with minivans with great success. I have a half-ton pickup (Titan) that has served me extremely well in 50000 plus miles of towing all over the country. Sure, I have spent some time in the "granny lane" climbing or descending but those moments are such a small percentage of the miles I've traveled that I have never felt the need for more truck.

No matter what you choose, someone here will criticize the choice you make.
Ultimately, it is up to you and what you are comfortable with...

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Old 09-02-2013, 07:28 PM   #3
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Nothing 'sez you have to buy new. We bought our 2006 Burb used, working well for us.

I would do some more towing with what you have, re-assess after a few more varied miles.

Bob
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:29 PM   #4
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My dad used to tow his 28' box with an 1989 1500 suburban, This truck had always been taken care of and never abused, but after blowing the tranny twice in Pensylvania, he changed it for a 2500. This thing pulls like if there's nothing behind even in the mountains.

What engine do you have in the 1500? If you have the 6.0L or the 6.2L with a 3.73 or above axle ratio, I think you should be fine since you have the HD trailer package.

If you have the 5.3L, prepare for some 40mph pass in the mountains.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:37 PM   #5
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Martin, the 1500 has the 5.3 engine and a 3.42 rear end.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:53 PM   #6
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Martin, the 1500 has the 5.3 engine and a 3.42 rear end.
Keep towing.....and start shopping around.

Bob
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:23 PM   #7
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I just today stopped at a Chevy dealer to look at 'burbs and 1500s. They told me that 2500 Suburbans were impossible to get, and they never see used versions. If I change TVs, it's either going to be a F150, or a Chevy 1500, and it will be a crew cab.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:52 PM   #8
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I did the same. Stopped at a Chevy dealer today and they had one 2500 burb on the lot. Did a check on the computer and there wasn't another one within 600 miles. I am sure I will get a call tomorrow pushing me buy this one. Hopefully they will be ready to give it away!
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:52 PM   #9
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Re: Test Drive on Steep Mountain Grades

I do not have a Suburban, but I'm sure someone with a similar vehicle and the same model Airstream will advise you on whether this combination will perform satisfactorily in the Colorado Rockies. However, I think a test drive on a steep grade would allow you to see for yourself how your rig would perform in the mountains.

In looking for nearby mountainous areas for this test, it looks like the steepest grade in Texas is the road to the McDonald Observatory on Mount Locke, near Fort Davis, which is about 600 miles away from Montgomery. Unfortunately, after looking at parts of it on Google Earth, it doesn't even approach the grades on most mountain roads in the Rockies. I have never traveled in Texas, but after looking for a suitable road for a test drive in Texas, Louisiana or Arkansas, it looks like you live in the flattest country in the United States!

It appears the closest, steep mountain grade that would give your rig a good test is Highway 82 between Cloudcroft and Alamogordo, NM. Cloudcroft is about 700 miles from Montgomery, so it's up to you to decide whether it's worth the drive to see if you can save some money and keep your Suburban. However, there's lots to see and do in both of these cities; so it might be worth a long weekend or mini-vacation to also test your rig on a long, steep grade, before next summer.

Below is an excerpt from a campground review for Cloudcroft. (See link to review below quote.)

"... be aware that the main way to get here (Cloudcroft) is via 82. From Alamogordo, it's a 17 mile climb up the mountain and could be difficult in a gasser if you're close to tow capacity. I personally wouldn't want to leave going this way if I had a gasser because going back down looked like it could be very difficult without air brakes. It's over 14 miles of 6% grade or more."

Source: Cloudcroft (New Mexico ) - Campground Reviews - RV Park Reviews

I have driven this road; and if you can make it up and down this grade, you should be OK in the Colorado Rockies.

Attractions and activities in Alamogordo, include the following:

* New Mexico Museum of Space History & IMAX Theater
* Toy Train Depot & Museum
* White Sands National Monument
* Trinity Site - Test location for world's first atomic bomb blast (only open one day per year)

There are more sights further away from Alamogordo; please send me a PM if interested in details on these.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:32 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry too much about climbing the passes in Colorado. The others who replied are correct, you may be climbing in the granny lane with the big rigs, but I wouldn't go and spend a ton of money unless the 2500 Suburban has a duramax diesel powerplant and a lot bigger brakes(I don't think they do).

The biggest concern is slowing down coming off of those mountain passes in Colorado. We had an 09 Silverado and the tranny did a fairly decent job of slowing us down, but we had a boat that only weighed in at 3000 pounds.
Good luck....
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:00 PM   #11
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I did the same. Stopped at a Chevy dealer today and they had one 2500 burb on the lot. Did a check on the computer and there wasn't another one within 600 miles. I am sure I will get a call tomorrow pushing me buy this one. Hopefully they will be ready to give it away!
My SIL tows a 31 SOB with a 1500, and dropped his tranny. His tongue weight was pretty close to mine. Of course his burb had high mileage, and that could have been a contributing factor.

I suspect the dealer with the new 2500 knows that they're kind of hard to come by at this point in time, so I wouldn't be anticipating a gift from that direction.

We've only had our 25FB and the 2500 since March, so anecdotal stories from me probably won't help.

Bottom line, if your 1500 is fairly new, as another poster said, "keep towing your 25 and be on the lookout for more tow capacity.

Obviously a new 2500 is overkill, but only the future lurks ahead.

Good luck, Pat!!
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:35 PM   #12
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Murray, the 1500 is 2 yrs old with 30,000 miles. Why do you say the 2500 is overkill? I have considered replacing it with a pickup but I really need a SUV for my business.
You're so right about the dealer not giving me a deal on the 2500. She called back this evening and came all the way down to $47500 from 52,000 including all of the labor day and end of model year incentives. Not a deal I felt was worth considering.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:44 PM   #13
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I would say keep the truck and get a good hitch like the ProPride and have fun!
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:58 PM   #14
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Murray, the 1500 is 2 yrs old with 30,000 miles. Why do you say the 2500 is overkill? I have considered replacing it with a pickup but I really need a SUV for my business.
You're so right about the dealer not giving me a deal on the 2500. She called back this evening and came all the way down to $47500 from 52,000 including all of the labor day and end of model year incentives. Not a deal I felt was worth considering.

Pat,

You've got the AS, the TV and the time. Take advantage of them all.
Tow vehicles tend to come and go.
Nothing has to be done in a hurry.

Bob
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