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Old 03-21-2013, 05:06 AM   #1
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1979 28' Ambassador
Cave Springs , Arkansas
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How many horses?

First, a thanks for all the "newbie" advice on this forum. A lot of great wisdom and I have read "The Newbies Guide to Air Streaming" by Rich Lubr. Very good book. So the bigger question: I have an '02 Denali Yukon XL with a 6.0 liter V8. Strong engine. The other is a 1500 Series Silverado, 5.3 liter. I towed the 28' Ambassador through a torrential rainstorm nearly 200+ miles with no problems. But, the Chevy got thirsty and I could see my gas mileage plummet. Didn't check, but it was surely below 10 MPG. Traveling uphill into the northwest Arkansas hills is about a 1500 foot elevation gain, all gradual except the route on I540 north deep into northwest Arkansas. Even the big trucks flip on their hazard lights and crawl at 10 MPH. I really don't want to run out and buy a 3/4 ton unit right now, but is that the reality of towing?
I have not towed the Airstream with the GMC Yukon yet, but the 6.0 liter is a pretty buff motor.

Second: black box braking. Is this an absolute? Do I run over to the RV store and rig this up? I've had no problems braking at this stage, I take my time, go slow and make sure there's plenty of room. I can certainly feel the weight but the Chevy had no problems. Curious as to the conventional wisdom and application.

Third (and last), will a locksmith help re-cylinder a locking latch? My latch on the furnace exterior has become worn and won't lock or unlock. Frozen.
I pulled the unit, lubed, etc., but no luck. The part would probably cost $$$
and it's simply a bad cylinder. Any luck with old parts?

All the best,

Beartooth
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:32 AM   #2
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2003 25' Classic
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

Disclaimer.....

Have no experience towing with either of your TV's.....but a lot of Chevy Store experience.

The 6.0 GMC should do fine.

Inspect the factory receiver for cracks and bad welds.
Personal note...If it's a "round bar" hitch I would replace it.


"Black box" towing is an absolute, for your safety AND ours.

Bob
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:36 AM   #3
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Hi! Welcome! Handy to be able to pull the lock out and take it to the locksmith. I have had good luck with that (beats having to pull the entire trailer to them!)

I'm sure others will chime in with opinions on your tow vehicle and brakes. The general consensus is functioning brakes are a must. There are several threads that address both TW and brakes. You can try a search or go to the Subforum on Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches for a look around. Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches - Airstream Forums

When is Arkansas going to complete the I49 project?
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:08 AM   #4
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A better photo of the "round bar".

The OEM on our 06 2500 Burb...wimpy?


Bob
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:24 AM   #5
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1979 28' Ambassador
Cave Springs , Arkansas
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I49 is a really pickle. Missouri did their part, but Arkansas? Who knows. The estimates are 6 billion dollars to tie into Louisiana, which to their credit, is moving forward. Hard to imagine how the FED is going to let go of 6 billion to build in the treacherous mountain terrain through western Arkansas. It will happen--just don't hold your breath.

Thanks for the locksmith tip. It just makes sense. Can't see throwing the baby out with the bathwater on this one.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:45 AM   #6
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Put a temp gauge on the Denali transmission if it does not already have one. Get the black box for the brakes and hook them up. Legal requirement. And you have to have a charged battery in the trailer for break away stopping. The brake box should come with a harness for the factory wiring so it is not difficult to hook it up.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:40 AM   #7
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Beartooth,

You've gotten good advise so far, and I would only add a couple of things...yes you must have working brakes on the trailer. The 5.3 1500 should do fine with your 28' if it has the six speed transmission and the towing package. If it's the earlier four speed, not so much.

The 6.0 should do fine, and yes pulling, and especially working hard to climb grades, they will all use more fuel. Takes fuel to make power, and takes power to do work.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:49 AM   #8
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The Denali is the better one for in the mountains. The only other thing I can think that has not been mentioned is having a heavy duty transmission cooler put on. JMHO
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:19 AM   #9
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I tow with a 2001 Denali with the 6.0 motor, and it will definitely pull noticeably better than the 5.3. On the plus side the Denali does have 3.73 gears and a tranny cooler as standard equipment, but unfortunately this generation Denali has the 4-speed transmission that in my opinion is not great in the mountains as it makes a lot of 1500 rpm increase downshifts into second!

I got 12 mpg average towing the trailer back from Colorado to California after getting 18 mpg on the way out to get it. That included a lot of climbing, a lot of high elevation travel, and a lot of headwind.

As others have said, the brake controller is mandatory.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beartooth View Post
...

Second: black box braking. Is this an absolute? Do I run over to the RV store and rig this up? I've had no problems braking at this stage, I take my time, go slow and make sure there's plenty of room. I can certainly feel the weight but the Chevy had no problems. Curious as to the conventional wisdom and application.

...
Black box braking? Does that mean that you have no brake controller and, therefore, no working trailer brakes at all? That's what it sounds like.

You absolutely need properly working trailer brakes. Especially up in the hills where you live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beartooth View Post
I49 is a really pickle. Missouri did their part, but Arkansas? Who knows. The estimates are 6 billion dollars to tie into Louisiana, which to their credit, is moving forward. Hard to imagine how the FED is going to let go of 6 billion to build in the treacherous mountain terrain through western Arkansas. It will happen--just don't hold your breath.
...
Just an aside. While I'd like to see I49 completed, the FED has nothing to do with highway funding. That's the bailiwick of the Department Of Transportation (DOT).
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