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Old 06-22-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
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Would like to use a '06 Trailblazer as toad

We have a 04,30' LY , 8.1 Chevy with 4 speed trans.and love it. We have made two short trips with no problems. This is one of the best running and handling moho I have driven. We are not new to RVing, this will be our 3rd moho and have had a class B and one trailer in the past. We started camping off the back of a motorcycle in our younger days. To my question, I would like to use my 06 trailblazer as one of our toad's 4650 lbs.
I know that's heavy but I have think the 8.1 could handle it. The manual says that the max for towing on this moho is 3k. the hitch that is on the moho is rated at 4k. The GCVW ratting is 22k. The moho empty is 14,609
If we traveled with a full tank of water (67gal @8.3=554) which we never do had two guest with us (650lbs) which is unlikey. Full LP (90lb) and 1000lb of cargo (food,clothes lawn chairs, bikes) the weight of the coach would be 16,903lbs. Lets round up to 17k add the Trailblazer @ 4650 =21,650 gross combined vehicle weight, within the 22,000lbs. My wieght would actully be more like 20,400lbs (Two people, 15gal water, 600lbs cargo.) I do not want to be unsafe, but I don't see a problem as long as the hitch is upgraded and the trailblazer is fitted with a braking system.Any advise would be welcomed,
Thanks Steve
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:27 PM   #2
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Pulling a toad, four-down (as opposed to on a dolly or trailer) means that you've got a straight pull on the hitch, but no tongue weight to speak of. With my Honda Fit toad (3500# GVWR) and a Roadmaster Sterling A/T towbar, tongue weight is right around 45 pounds (half the weight of the towbar, plus the full weight of the removable mudflaps), but "trailer" weight is the full 3500 pounds.

I can't tell you that it's okay to exceed what your motorhome and toad owner's manuals say; you'll have to make that decision all on your own.

Your toad definitely needs a supplemental braking system. Plus lights, either removable magnet-base or relays so that your toad lights work together with the moho's lights. Most jurisdictions will require an emergency breakaway switch, too, but that should come as part of the supplemental brake system. If you use a removable supplemental brake system that fits in the driver's footwell, then go with removable lights, too. If you go for a permanently-installed supplemental brake system, go with the relays for the lights as well.

In my case, I figured that, since the towbar base plate was a permanent install on the Honda anyway, I might as well go for permanent install on the brakes and lights, too. More work and cost to install, but a lot easier for hooking up and unhooking, especially at campgrounds where I can't get a pull-through site.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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Protagonist,
Thanks for the reply
What do you pull the Fit with in your post you listed the Fit's GVWR @ 3500# whats the vehicle curb weight.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:42 PM   #4
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Protagonist,
Thanks for the reply
What do you pull the Fit with in your post you listed the Fit's GVWR @ 3500# whats the vehicle curb weight.
Curb weight is right around 2600 pounds. But I use the Honda as supplemental storage for things like my barbecue grill, inflatable kayak, and other things that will be used outdoors anyway so I don't have that stuff cluttering up the motorhome in transit. Especially since my Interstate has nada when it comes to interior storage space. So actual towing weight is bumped up by about 100~150 pounds depending on how long I plan to stay and how much outdoor furniture/equipment I bring.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:49 AM   #5
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Steve, I know this is not what you want to here, but I would not want to come close to the mfg. maximum tow vehicle weight. I pull a 2010 Toyota Corolla (stick shift) behind our 2004 LY 30 ft w/slide. It has presented no problem to the toad or to the MH. There are times when I would like a different toad, but I hesitate to even approach the recommend tow limit.

From my experience towing Airstream trailers, I know the mfg. exagerates the maximum weight that can be towed behind their vehicles. I would never want to exceed something like 75% of the published tow rating. I always used the Tim Taylor philosophy, "More Power". For example, I used a 2002 GMC 2500HD with Duramax/Allison to pull our 27 ft. Airstream Safari. I had an earlier 1500 GMC that was set up for towing, but it would run out of "stuff" on the grades at high altitudes. It was a throttle body 350 CI so, to some extent, the newer engines with true fuel injection would not be as effected by the altitude. The 2500HD hardly knew it had the trailer, even over the high mountain passes.

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Old 06-23-2013, 10:26 PM   #6
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Like an earlier post I would not want to appear to endorse going over the maximum capacity of the hitch and MH, however I do push the limit by towing a Taurus X, curb weight 4012 pounds, four wheels down with our 2000 30' LY. We are careful to keep the unnecessary weight down such as not keeping the potable water tank full and we don't fill the TOAD up prior to leaving either. The 454 has the Banks System headers, Cold air induction and low restriction exhaust. We have a Blue Ox tow bar and a permanently installed brake system in the car. So far so good.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:13 PM   #7
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Toads & weight

We tow either a 3600 lb car or A 2600 LB car on a 1100 lb trailer,
but it's a diesel pusher with tons of torque and all toad have brakes.
My experience with RV's powered by gas engines is that they use up
all their power just moving the coach.
We tried out a 36 foot gas Land Yacht and could not make merge speeds with it even when not towing anything.
The 230 Cummins has no problem, but I won't go much heavier than what I'm doing. To me the 16,000 lbs of your coach and the 4500 of the toad is an overload to the engine, brakes, transmission and cooling system.
Also keep in mind that if you are overloaded and rear end somebody, the guys with the full page color phone book ads will have a field day in court.
Buy an umbrella policy in the big millions.
Remember a VW can get a train rolling but can't control it or stop it.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:49 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies,
jrkeef I didn't realize the Taurus weighed that much. Do you use a braking system and if so what kind?

Paul....I would have to disagree with some of your opinion as far as being overloaded pulling the Trailblazer. I would be over the 3K that Airstream states as the limit for towing. I would not be over on the GCVW of the chassis which is 22,000 per workhorse. As for as power goes I would dare to say that the 8.1 has both more HP @ 340 and torque @ 455 foot pound than the Cummings you enjoy. The 30' Airstream has the best performance of any MoHo I have driven, thats why I bought it. But be that as it may I have elected to tow my sports car an MGB weighing in at approx. 2200lbs. The down side to that is no AC in the B and if we take our bikes will have to get a dual receiver. Just another project!
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:19 AM   #9
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My 454 is older and doesn't have the banks system so just doing stock 454 I can tell the difference between pulling my pu at 4000 and the fit at 2600 using the same towbar and their own brakes, but only when pulling away from traffic stop, neither is detectable at speed and flat roads of Florida. I keep the rear camera on to know they are still there

Without toad do you find your 454 has plenty of power and accelerates thru the gears to merge easy on interstate with power left over? or do you have to watch for opening entering acceleration ramp and have a running start to be up to speed before the merge?
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:50 AM   #10
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My 454 is older and doesn't have the banks system so just doing stock 454 I can tell the difference between pulling my pu at 4000 and the fit at 2600 using the same towbar and their own brakes, but only when pulling away from traffic stop, neither is detectable at speed and flat roads of Florida. I keep the rear camera on to know they are still there

Without toad do you find your 454 has plenty of power and accelerates thru the gears to merge easy on interstate with power left over? or do you have to watch for opening entering acceleration ramp and have a running start to be up to speed before the merge?
That is in line with my experience towing a Honda Fit with my Airstream Interstate with its dinky 3.0L turbo-diesel. Takes a little longer to accelerate, but I honestly can't say whether that's mechanical or just a matter of me being more cautious. Merging onto the highway, you need a bigger opening in traffic for the extra length of moho+toad anyway, so I haven't noticed much difference in performance there.

However, stopping distance is no different with the toad than without, as long as the toad brakes are adjusted properly. I've only had to panic-stop once with the toad, and it stopped just fine, with everything tracking straight.

Of course, all of my driving with a toad so far has been on relatively flat terrain along the Gulf Coast and in south Georgia. The few hills I encountered in Georgia weren't really steep enough for major downshifting. Not sure I'd want to try pulling my Honda on Arkansas's Scenic Byway 7; I had a stressful enough time without the toad last time on AR-7; it's not very scenic when you don't dare look away from the road.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:41 AM   #11
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The braking system I use installed in the Taurus X is the SMI Stay in Play Duo Proportional towed car Braking System with Breakaway activation. The weight you have behind you reduces your braking distance at speed thus requiring the use the Toads brakes to help stop it. The braking system is expensive but we thought necessary and required by some States.

I think some of the posts get away from your question. You obviously already have a front motored gas MH so musing about the inferiority of gas versus diesel in torque and HP is not to the point of your thread. I was in the diesel camp pulling a 30' A/S Classic trailer with a F350 7.3L turbo diesel and let several good deals to buy my MH get away before I bit the bullet and accepted the fact that Airstream Classic diesel pushers were rare and expensive. Compounded by the fact I am a life long Ford guy that 454 Chevy was nearly offensive to me. Having said all that my 454 Banks assisted Land Yacht pulls the toad flawlessly and has more than enough power to accelerate getting on the interstate and up to speed effortlessly.
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:56 AM   #12
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Steve said "But be that as it may I have elected to tow my sports car an MGB weighing in at approx. 2200lbs. The down side to that is no AC in the B and if we take our bikes will have to get a dual receiver. Just another project!"

There may be negatives to your decision, but the "WOW" factor will far outweigh any negatives. My son had an MG B and it was a fun machine. Will be looking for you "down the road".

Sam
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:31 PM   #13
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Once again thanks for the feed back,
I have ran into a road block with the MGB as the toad, I have to make the base plate and that will require some modifications to the front bumber which I'm not sure I want to do. In fact my have pretty much made my mind up not to. So now I'm back to the Trailblazer.

jrkeef question .... what was the tow rating on your hitch? mine is a Drawtite with a 4,000lbs limit. I've look at other hitches rated at 5k and can not see any difference both made from 1/4 inch steel with 5/8 inch bolts. Did you install the SMI Stay in play in the Taurus X.

Protagonist, you gotta have more than a 3.0L turbo-diesel I thought it would be a 5.9 Cummins

jrkeef...I have friends that pull a large 5th wheel (14k) with Ford 7.3 and the love it.

DaveFL.....The first Airstream I test drove was a 99 with the 454 and it ran fantastic but the couch had been neglected and needed some serious work and cleaning so I kept looking and found my couch in Ohio a 2004 with 31K one owner stored inside, like new. And as good as the 454 ran the 8.1 was even better, I wish it had the Allison Trans., but the GM 4 speed does a good job. What is your hitches weight ratting ?
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:36 PM   #14
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Sam.... thanks for the reply but do to some mods that would be required to the MGB I am not going to tow it, I'm back to the Trailblazer.
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