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Old 10-27-2012, 05:45 PM   #1
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What Can I Tow?

Hello, I have a 2012 GMC 1500 Crewcab Truck.5.3 engine,4X4,3.42 gears tow package. Can I tow a 25ft A/S? Thanks
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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The combination of 5.3, 4X4 and 3.42 differentials will result in disappointing towing performance as soon as you leave the straight and level towing in Florida. Even the 5.3 with a 3.73 differentials pulls a 25' Airstream poorly in mountains. The 4X4 saps some amount of towing capability. Some say 300 pounds others say 500.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
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Thanks, I should be OK with a 19ft A/S?
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #4
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Complicated, but important answer.

There will be three limiting factors you need to consider.
  1. The combined gross weight rating of the pickup. (Weight of the PU and Trailer together.)
  2. Max alowable weight of the pickup.
  3. Max allowable weight on the rear axle.
Remember the weight of the tongue will be placed on the rear of the PU.

Best to go to a CAT scale now and get the individual weights of your unloaded PU axle. Next, you will be able to (on paper) add the gear will carry in the bed of the PU (easy to UNDER estimate this - estimate on the high side), the weight of the tongue of the trailer and your weight distribution gear, and the people, gas, and gear inside the PU.

In the past many people would recommend to not exceed 80% of any of the three above listed limiting factors.


In any case, do not exceed any of the limiting ratings of your truck.

It only costs about $12 to get a CAT scale of each individual axle and the actual weight of your truck together with the individual ratings (usually found on the door post of the truck) will determine what you can pull.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:09 PM   #6
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I pull my 28 footer with a 2011 silverado with the same rear end. I don't have 4x4 and only the extended cab, but I have no problem in the mountains. You do go slower on the steeper grades but I don't go to those areas but every couple of years, so I can deal with it when I do. I have no problem in any of the Smokies. I would suggest you find one to tow and try it. I did prior to buying mine because I didn't think I could do it. After a test drive, I bought the trailer. If you really want a 25 footer, I would give it a try before you go down to a 19.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:41 PM   #7
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We towed our 25' through the Southwest with 4.7 Toyota Tundra, light on power at altitude and grades but 90% adequate. We traded for a new 5.7 Ram and are camped in Mississippi after a trip through the Mountains from western Pennsyl to the coast, back through Blue Ridge and Smokies never short of power.

For stability get a good weight distribution hitch with sway control. Factory 1/2 ton truck tires have soft sidewalls that when trailering will push side-to-side when big trucks pass or in gusting wind. Trade them for stiffer XL (extra load) or LT (light truck) tires for a world of improvement. Use lower gears to keep the rpm in a good power range when you need it, and never tow in overdrive.

We had a 20' Airstream and when we bought the 25' Airstream could not tell the difference in towing. It's about frontal area wind resistance, not length and barely about the weight difference. Get the 25' Airstream, see the country. The smaller trailer wouldn't make a noticeable difference.

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Old 10-30-2012, 11:06 AM   #8
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It's about frontal area wind resistance, not length and barely about the weight difference. Get the 25' Airstream, see the country. The smaller trailer wouldn't make a noticeable difference.doug k
Agree
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MODLIN5 View Post
Hello, I have a 2012 GMC 1500 Crewcab Truck.5.3 engine,4X4,3.42 gears tow package. Can I tow a 25ft A/S? Thanks
I towed a 25 footer ('01) with a simular truck, except it was an '07, so had the four speed transmission. Your's has the six speed, and a very big difference in towing performance.

I wouldn't hesitate to tow a 25' at all with your truck. It will be fine.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:05 PM   #10
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Others are too conservative.. We towed our 25' Excella with 7,250 GVWR using a mid-90's Suburban with much weaker 200 hp 5.7L V-8 and were just fine.. Took it through Canadian Rockies, home from Wisconsin via Interstate 80 to California, and we've been north over Siskayou's and south over Tehachapies and Grapevine.. We did upgrade to a 5.4L Excursion with 250 hp a few years ago, and it even works better.. No, we don't average 70 mph pulling uphill over the mountains, but we can hold 55 which seems a very reasonable option...

There are a number of options including towing with fresh water and holding tanks empty or partially full (fresh and holding tanks combined can add more than 600# when all are full) and just taking it easy.. A lot of Forum members are towing new 25's and 27's with 1500 or F150 series trucks, and no problems, so long as they are equipped with tow packages (rear ends and transmission coolers) and they aren't determined to go really fast up every mountain...

If you search long enough, you can find members who feel a diesel 3/4 Ton truck with Hensley hitch is necessary to tow a 19' Bambi, and others are out on the road enjoying themselves with a 31' trailer and an old series 1500 Suburban...

Bottom line is you should look at Chevrolet documentation of YOUR truck version and their calculation of tow capacity, and then calculate you can safely tow 85% - 90% of that amount of weight in a trailer, since that weight number must also include people, luggage and stuff added to the inside and bed of the truck...
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MODLIN5 View Post
Hello, I have a 2012 GMC 1500 Crewcab Truck.5.3 engine,4X4,3.42 gears tow package. Can I tow a 25ft A/S? Thanks
I have towed with my 2012 Chevy 1500 5.3 Crew 4X4 and 3.42 gears in the Virgina and NC mountains. I have no problems keeping up or struggling. My 29 FT Excella weighs about 6600 tricked out for camping.
You will be fine but will really excite the 3/4, 1 ton crowd. Feel free to venture out of flat Florida.
Regards,
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:49 PM   #12
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Condoluminium and AirHeadsRus make valid and instructive observations. Condo says, "we can hold 55 which seems a very reasonable option."
For me, being able to hold 55 is not a reasonable option, it's dangerously under-powered.
For others, being under-powered is smugly self-righteous.
So, a great deal will depend on you and what you consider a safe and effective towing capacity.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:35 PM   #13
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I had a 2010 1500 Chevy Crew 4x4. I towed my Safari several thousand miles, including from home to FL and back to NC. Then to MI and back. Also I traveled up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway and through the mountains many times. This truck did a good job towing. The 6 speed was way better than the 4 speed in my prior truck.

Though, once when I went to the Cat Scale I found out that the combined loads of the tongue weight of my partially loaded trailer, my tool box, a Honda 2000, and a few other odds and ends in the truck bed, along with only two passengers, exceeded the GVRW of the truck. And, the load on the rear axle was right at the rated axle weight. I had to shift some loads from the truck into the trailer. I had to be really careful with what I put in the truck. I felt if I loaded the truck more heavily I would not be safe, but I wanted to carry more stuff sometimes. I decided to get a tow vehicle with a higher payload capacity.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:42 PM   #14
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I don't disagree with any of the information that you have been given. My recommendation would be to buy the 25' Airstream that you want. Load it carefully and visit the CAT scales. Then go tow with it. If it works fine for you then you are all set. Personally, I don't mind going a little slow up the mountain. I am more concerned about going too fast down the mountain. If you don't like the way it tows, then go to a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton TV with a larger V8.

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Old 10-30-2012, 08:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
Condoluminium and AirHeadsRus make valid and instructive observations. Condo says, "we can hold 55 which seems a very reasonable option."
For me, being able to hold 55 is not a reasonable option, it's dangerously under-powered.
For others, being under-powered is smugly self-righteous.
So, a great deal will depend on you and what you consider a safe and effective towing capacity.
Ken,

I'm one of the smugly self-righteous people, although it's not because I feel my TV is underpowered. Quite the contrary, actually, as I think my TV's 263 HP is more than adequate. I can tow comfortably at 60-65 mph and don't mind a bit if I lose some of that speed on a hill. I guess that's me being smugly self-righteous, eh?

Seriously though, I don't see the correlation between going faster and staying safer, especially when towing a few tons of trailer around. The faster you go, the more momentum you have; get a problem and everything is magnified with speed, including the dreaded trailer sway. Have a mishap at 55 mph and you're far more likely to walk away than you are if it happens at 75 mph.

I'm aware that there is a school of thought that says you should be able to maintain the speed of those around you on the road; that way, people don't get stuck behind you, have to slow down and therefore get frustrated. Indeed, there are sections of highway that have posted minimum speeds, and that's fine, but I don't know that anyone should feel pressured to drive faster than they are comfortable with (given the posted minimum), especially when towing; towing imposes, or should impose, a greater margin of required safety on you and therefore should require a lower speed than the unencumbered vehicles around you.

If that's being smugly self-righteous then I'm happy to be so because to me, it's safer.

Not safety related, but keeping the speed down also keeps your gas mileage down, ever important at today's gas prices.

So in assessing trailer/TV combos, I'd always suggest to the OP (as others have) that he shouldn't be too concerned about weight, power and speed.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:03 PM   #16
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There is some comment about tongue weight as though it all is added to truck payload. It's not, the weight distribution hitch will transfer roughly 1/3 of tongue weight to the trailer axles.

Payload in the truck bed is often optional stuff, you can adjust it as needed.

Bottom line is the bottom line. You have the truck and it has plenty of capacity for your 25'; a larger truck is a waste of money and a smaller trailer will make little difference. Your truck is a good match for a 25' Airstream.

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Old 10-30-2012, 09:42 PM   #17
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After stressing over TV/TT combination myself, and reading posts by others who did the same, I can certainly relate to your perceived dilemma. After towing my 22' AS over 800 miles (including several Rocky Mountain passes) with a mid-size SUV, however, I found that I was unnecessarily concerned. Granted my SUV does have 450hp/450lb ft, but I found that I never used all that power and easily maintained highway speeds. I would not hesitate to tow a 25 or 27 foot AS with my SUV. The aerodynamics, light weight and even distribution of the weight makes the AS worth the extra money over other TT's--they are easy to tow!

FWIW, I believe the handling of your TV is more important than its power, especially the stability of the rear suspension. I do agree with the previous comments about having stiff sidewall tires and WD hitch. If you go with those recommendations, I'd say you have more than enough TV to tow the 25-footer of your choice.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:41 PM   #18
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Hi, slightly mentioned, but newer trucks don't need the 3:73 gears because of the gearing in the six speed automatics. [four speeds definately need 3:73's]
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Condoluminum View Post
Bottom line is you should look at Chevrolet documentation of YOUR truck version and their calculation of tow capacity
This is the best advice you will get! IMHO
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:47 PM   #20
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Don't really feel smug or self-righteous, so can't be me..

Probably should clarify that our typical towing speed is 60-65... Slowing to 55 is typical for climbing 6% to 8% grades, like the Grapevine southbound... Hard to imagine dropping to posted towing speed limit up a hill that steep is unsafe...

As for handling, good tires and correct pressures in tow vehicle are critical as well as suspension and mass..
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