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Old 07-18-2011, 09:28 AM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
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2007 Suburban in the Mountains

I want to go to the Rocky Mountains, specifically Estes Park. We used to go there before the 1971 Overlander, but we haven't been in the last few years. Now that the Airstream is finished, I want to take it to Estes Park. My 2007 Suburban is AWD 1500 with a 5.3L V8 with a tow package. Anybody think my TV is adequate from Boulder to Estes Park? Anybody know the percent grade of Hwy 36? If I remember correctly, it's something like 7%. Like I said, it's been a while and I wasn't towing anything!
Thanks
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:51 AM   #2
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Estes Park

I just returned to Texas from Estes Park and took that section of 36. You can do that sedtion, it is a pull but just take it easy and stay on the far right hand side using the slow vehicle lane. I came in to Estes from the West side towing up and over Trail ridge and descended the section of 36 to Boulder you are discussing with no problem (2500 Suburban/8.1 & Safari 30 at 7100 lbs).

Where are you camping? We stayed three nights in Moraine park in the national park and one night at Spruce Lake.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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If your foot is on the floor the whole way and you're maintaining 35+ mph, I'd call it good.
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:39 PM   #4
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What REDNAX said. That is going to be a hard pull with that TV.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:16 PM   #5
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I hate the fact that I would have to put the pedal to the floor to make it 50 miles form 5000 feet to 8500 feet. I have this fear that at some point at a 7% grade, I'd have to stop and could not move forward. I knew I should have gotten a 2500! Thanks for your input. May there are others out there that have real experience with a similar TV and trailer.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:21 AM   #6
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I should re-state what I said. I wouldn't be unhappy with any TV that can tackle a difficult grade even at a low speed and full throttle for a reasonable trailer size. 35-mph should not be cause for anxiety, IMO.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:36 AM   #7
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Welcome to CO!

The entire HWY is not 7% only short sections. That gives you time to recover your speed in between. If you take it slow and steady you'll be fine...

Standard protocol is to put your blinkers on when you are traveling less than the speed limit, use the turnouts to allow others to pass, don't attempt this in the heat of the day - mornings are best, it's cooler and finally, relax and enjoy the scenery!

Shari
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ag'71 View Post
I hate the fact that I would have to put the pedal to the floor to make it 50 miles form 5000 feet to 8500 feet. I have this fear that at some point at a 7% grade, I'd have to stop and could not move forward. I knew I should have gotten a 2500! Thanks for your input. May there are others out there that have real experience with a similar TV and trailer.
Not a similar TV and trailor but we did it 2 years ago with our Ridgeline with no problem. Can't see why you should have. Yes, you will have to use high RPM's.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:42 AM   #9
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I'm a former Estes resident, and would reiterate what Shari said: hit it either before or after the heat of the day, and watch for deer and elk! Does your tow package include a transmission cooler? I hope so, because it's going to be working hard with a small engine and presumably under-geared rear differential. Empty your water tanks before making this pull, but have a gerry can full of it for the radiator if you should need it..An alternative to all of this is to camp down below and take day trips up. Lyons has a couple other Airstreams camped in Meadows Park, as of 2 days ago. The sites are on the St. Vrain river, with sandstone bluffs above. This public park with camping is on the far west edge of town, walking distance to groceries and restaurants. Just an idea for you, depending on when you arrive (Lyons has at least one music festival in August, and maybe in September, in which case the whole town is FULL). Enjoy your trip! -tim
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
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The entire HWY is not 7% only short sections. That gives you time to recover your speed in between. If you take it slow and steady you'll be fine...

Standard protocol is to put your blinkers on when you are traveling less than the speed limit, use the turnouts to allow others to pass, don't attempt this in the heat of the day - mornings are best, it's cooler and finally, relax and enjoy the scenery!

Shari
That is my opinion also. I live in Grand Lake, Colorado over the hill on Trail Ridge Road from Estes and have driven trailers and motor homes over the routes many times.
Most of the grade on both 34 and State 66 is modest as the roads follow forks of the St. Vrain Creek and only short sections are steep. Also roads are posted 45 maximum so your speed in lower gears won't be that much less than limit. Both roads have turn outs for slow moving vehicles.
You will have lots of company in the slow lane. Many flatland tourists towing r.v.'s are on the roads.
Sections of The Trail Ridge road from Grand Lake to Estes Park are over 12,000 feet and should not be attempted with a marginal tow vehicle as non turbo charged vehicles loose horsepower with altitude increases.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:21 PM   #11
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All of you guys are great! Thanks for the encouragement and experience. Hey, I even checked with a storage place in Boulder to see if we could store the AS there for a week or so, so we could just drive up to Estes and stay at the YMCA of the Rockies. We could enjoy our travels to and from, but just leave it in Boulder. Thanks for the tip about Lyons. I do know that I have a display for the transmission temp but I don't know if I have a cooler. My differential I believe is 3.73. And, by the way, I won't attempt Trail Ridge road with a trailer. I drove it without a trailer a few years ago and I was 'white knuckled', wet your pants scared! It was quite beautiful, though.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:45 PM   #12
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You should be fine as others said just take it slow. The worst tow I have done was from Lansing MI to Asheville NC. '93 S-10 4x4 towing a 1900 pound trailer with a '84 camaro on it. Just had to go slow up hill and use gears to help slow down going down hill.

Just remember to use the same gear you climb the hill in to go down it.(I am in no way trying to insult you or anyone else, I've just seen people make the mistake of not doing that)
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ag'71 View Post
I hate the fact that I would have to put the pedal to the floor to make it 50 miles form 5000 feet to 8500 feet. I have this fear that at some point at a 7% grade, I'd have to stop and could not move forward. I knew I should have gotten a 2500! Thanks for your input. May there are others out there that have real experience with a similar TV and trailer.
What rear end do you have? That makes a difference on how it will pull the grade.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:53 AM   #14
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I've got a 3.73 rear end. On another thread, someone with a Suburban was thinking of upgrading their 3.08 to a 4.0. Isn't that expensive? And, is there THAT much difference in towing? When I bought my Suburban, I was assured that a 5.3L and 3.73 differential would be more than enough for my little old, light 1971 Overlander!
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