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Old 11-28-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
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2011 34' Classic
Scottsdale , Arizona
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2011 Suburban 2500

Thanks for checking out my post. I'm new to this forum . . . The wife & I are going to take the plunge into trailering. I grew up trailering with my dad most summers in a 25' Prowler TT about 7K miles per year.

I'll be taking delivery of the Suburban this week. It is 4WD and has the 6.0 Vortec with 6 speed trans and 3.73 locking diff.

We're considering a Flying Cloud 30 or a Classic Limited 30 or 34.
I have two questions:
Will this TV handle a Classic Limited 34'?
Will the hitch receiver plus WDH be adequate or do I need to upgrade to a class V?

The main reason I am going for the larger trailer is most of the time we travel, we will be visiting family for 2-3 weeks at a time. I'd rather have more room than less? It's just the wife, myself, and our 14 month old daughter in the TV. Most gear and such will go in the trailer.

Off the top of my head, the payload for the 'burb in my configutation is about 21XX lbs. Not sure what the real world hitch weight is for the mentioned trailers.

If anyone's wondering, the TV needs to be ABLE to fit in my garage (less than 240" long) due to HOA rules etc.

Any input is gladly accepted!

Ernie
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:07 PM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

The 3/4 ton Suburban should be able to handle the larger Airstream trailers. The 34 might be pushing it a bit.

We tow a 25FB with 2500 Suburbans ('04 & '05). They have the 6.0 gas engine. Our 25FB weighs in at 7400# ready to travel. We have pulled the Airstream 70,000 miles with these Suburbans. This combo works well in all circumstances. You should do a little better with the 6 speed transmission.

We use a Hensley, and have never experienced a single anxious moment related to trailer control. Others seem to do well with other hitches.

One word or caution. On both of our Suburbans, the OEM (Class III) hitch receivers failed. The welds started to separate. I replaced both with aftermarket Class IV receivers, and have not experienced any further problems. The OEM receivers just couldn't handle to pressures of the weight distribution function.

Hopefully, the new body style (post 2006) has a better designed receiver, but I would keep an eye on the welds.

Brian
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:43 PM   #3
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If you can get a copy of the last issue of Airstream Life Mag. It has a great article on recievers and hitches.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:51 PM   #4
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Some of the same problem as in this current thread: pushing the manufacturer towing guidelines.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...-tv-71923.html

You'll want to start with factory ratings: GVWR, GCWR, FAWR, RAWR, etc. Same for trailer.

Start by weighing the Sub with full fuel & driver, solo. That's the baseline from which one makes deductions, NOT the published shipping weight (which is always low; about 450lbs or so). The higher the actualTV weight, the lower the towable weight (primarily as a function of tongue weight).

Then, what are the factory guidelines? Put it all into this thread: the manufacturer numbers and your own three line scale ticket reading of FF, RR and combined TV weight. (Google CAT Scale Locator). Then, what are the manufacturer guidelines for how to set up a weight-distributing hitch. With that info you'll get a very good approximation of what the numbers/guidelines reveal for your case.

The current '34's are pretty heavy. No question the room is nice. My folks, though, had a 28' we traveled in for years, all five of us. And all of us taller than average. The longer the trip the nicer the space, but much of camping is spent outdoors, so . . . .

Go for a PRO PRIDE hitch, and trailer disc brakes. The best possible brake controller as well. These will be of help to any size/weight of trailer.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:30 PM   #5
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Ernie, I have a like new 2005 34' for sale in the classifieds. You won't have any trouble pulling a triple axle with your Suburban. And tons of room to enjoy your vacations. Check it out...................... DW
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:47 PM   #6
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Hi Ernie:

Welcome to the forums. We just sold our 2002 GMC Yukon XL 3/4 ton truck with the 8.1 liter engine, which is no longer available, with 4:10 rear end and we tow a 2004 Classic 30 ft. trailer. Don't forget there is more to towing a trailer than just a 3/4 ton truck and a big engine. You also need to consider the wheelbase of your tow vehicle to the length of the trailer. I found two formulas which showed for a 30 ft. trailer you need either 160 or 167 inch wheelbase. One of these formulas was found on the RV.com site I believe. Our truck has a 130 inch wheelbase and we had some real issues towing the trailer with the Reese dual cam hitch above 60 MPH. We didn't understand the problem until we had a friend drive our combination who was also an Airstream owner and drove semi-trucks for 20 years. He felt what we were feeling and suggested the problem might be too short a wheelbase. Our issue at the time was do we trade the truck in and get a diesel pickup and come up with $20,000 for the difference or try the Hensley for $3K. We opted for the Hensley and that did tame the sway we were experiencing. But have we really fixed the problem or have we just disguised it with the Hensley?Probably more of the second situation than first. We have successfully towed the trailer to AZ at 70 MPH in AZ (Four Corners Unit Rally) from Sacramento area and also up to WA state two years ago. Our average MPG for both trips was 8.7 so don't expect much more than that with a 30 ft trailer that weighs what the Classic model does. Figure about 240 to 280 miles for a tank which is about what we drive in a day in order to see the sights. Our last trip from Sacramento area to Bridgeport, CA was 230 miles and 34 gallons of fuel or 6.76 MPG. But the trip from Sacramento is UP I-80 to Truckee from our elevation of 300 ft. to over 6,000 feet. Then it's UP highway 264 OVER the Sierra's past Lake Tahoe then downhill in second gear into NV and 395 south. Then past Gardnerville to Bridgeport is UP and DOWN. So you may want to think about a shorter (meaning lighter) Airstream. With our towing experience past six years, I WOULD NOT even try a 34 ft. trailer unless you live in Iowa and NEVER have a thought about towing over the mountains.

We also changed our stock wheels and tires from the 15 inch and Goodyear Marathon's to 16 inch wheels and Michelin XPS Rib tires so going 70 MPH is not as much a concern. I check the trailer tires in the spring and that's the only time for our travel year, no need, they are always at 65 lbs. We had three failures of the Goodyear tires, only one at speed, and it was goodbye Goodyears.

Our current truck has 51K on it and we sold it to a couple with a 25 ft. Airstream Safari which probably weights 3,000 lbs less than our Classic. I think a better match both weight and length. If you look at the torque curves for the current 6.0 and the old 8.1 we have our torque curve peaks at 2,000 rpm, your's is considerably higher but you have a six-speed transmission, our's is only four with OD.

We are ordering a 2011 GMC 3500HD Crew Cab, Short Box, Duramax, Denali SRW pickup in January. We wanted a vehicle with better mileage so we can go visit Yogi and Booboo at Jellystone. Doing a trip over the Sierra's and then the Rockies at 7 MPG drove us to diesel. Wheelbase on the new truck is 154 inches so 24 inches longer than the Suburban. I believe the formula would get us to a 29 ft trailer so close enough. We did not want a long bed and a dually was out of the question because sometimes difficult to park at your site due to space. We will miss the Yukon because everything was inside, now we have to deal with a shell. We're going with a one-ton only because we may decide to go for an Arctic Fox cab over camper someday and the extra payload capacity is cheap going from a 3/4 to a one-ton. I don't understand why they even make 3/4 ton trucks.

Hope this helps

Paul
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by solobaric View Post
Any input is gladly accepted!
I have a 2004 3/4 ton 'burb and a 30' classic. The 'burb has the 8.1 liter engine and the 4.10 gears. The traylah has a propride hitch. The 'burb and the traylah play well together. No complaints.

Like posters upthread I have replaced the OEM hitch due to signs of weld failure.

With the 3.73 gears and the somewhat narrower and higher rpm power band of the 6.0 engine you may find that you have to downshift with the attendant increase in engine noise. I sought out an older 'burb with an 8.1 specifically to get the improved torque performance.

Nonetheless, a new 'burb should work out great.

With the right hitch I don't think a 34' would pose a problem, but that's just my opinion.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the welcome wishes and more importantly, the great feedback and information.

For those with Hensley or ProRide hitches; is there any significant decrease in turning ability (low speed maneuvering/parking)?
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:14 AM   #9
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We use a Hensley hitch - your turning radius is actually tighter using one of these type of hitches. The trailer sticks farther away from the truck which allows the truck to turn tighter. Helps with maneuvering around the fuel stations.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:09 PM   #10
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Ernie

Welcome to the Forums and the Airstream life.

I am not saying that you can tow the weight of a 34 ft with your 2011 Burb, but one of the advantages is that you have 50% more tire capacity, braking and just general safety margin, but you are only towing 10-15% more weight.

I have a 31 ft and even though it weighs more and would be harder to tow in the mountains, I think that I would rather be towing a 34 due to two extra tires and brakes. I also would go with disc brakes.

Dan
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:37 PM   #11
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Hi Everyone--

We've been towing our 2009 International 28 with a 2000 3/4 ton Suburban (6.0/3.73/4 speed) and an Equalizer hitch--skipped the Hensley at the insistence of our dealer who said that you don't need one with an Airstream--and he was right. Rock solid towing platform, adequate but not great holding power up hill, but terrible NON-towing highway mileage. The Airstream is 6100 dry and less than 6900 fully loaded. Hope that helps--I wouldn't want to tow a lot more with the rig so I don't know about a 34.

Question for all of you out there--has anyone towed with the Yukon XL 1/2 ton 6.2/3.43/6 speed? The torque to rear axle seems the same for towing, and it claims much better highway mileage while not towing. I've been told that the more modern 1/2 tons are quite stable and will have no trouble with 7000 lbs--can anyone "weigh" in on that one? We're thinking about upgrading to a newer vehicle, and would like to get better mileage when the Airstream is parked as a base camp.

Thanks.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:49 AM   #12
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IMO, it may depend on how many miles per year you're going to tow. Fewer miles, maybe less need for a 3/4 ton TV.

On the other hand, my wife & I just took delivery of our 2011 3/4 ton Suburban, and so far I think the ride and such is more than livable. To me, it rides as good or better than the 2010 Audi Q5 we traded. I'm thinking that the additional brawn you'll get with the 3/4 ton may be worth the HP deficit from the 6.2.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gecko View Post
Hi Everyone--

We've been towing our 2009 International 28 with a 2000 3/4 ton Suburban (6.0/3.73/4 speed) and an Equalizer hitch--skipped the Hensley at the insistence of our dealer who said that you don't need one with an Airstream--and he was right. Rock solid towing platform, adequate but not great holding power up hill, but terrible NON-towing highway mileage. The Airstream is 6100 dry and less than 6900 fully loaded. Hope that helps--I wouldn't want to tow a lot more with the rig so I don't know about a 34.

Question for all of you out there--has anyone towed with the Yukon XL 1/2 ton 6.2/3.43/6 speed? The torque to rear axle seems the same for towing, and it claims much better highway mileage while not towing. I've been told that the more modern 1/2 tons are quite stable and will have no trouble with 7000 lbs--can anyone "weigh" in on that one? We're thinking about upgrading to a newer vehicle, and would like to get better mileage when the Airstream is parked as a base camp.

Thanks.
I'll be towing with this setup next season. First trip won't be until March though, so not much good to you now.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:45 PM   #14
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Smile "Same set up" from West Texas

I have a 1995, 30ft AS and a 2003 Yukon XL 3/4, 2WD, 373 rear end and 6.0. I love the TV and have been all over Colo. and have done fine. I usually get 10MPG and sometimes more. I had a severe sway problem as my trailer has approx 7% tongue weight. I was not a happy camper about this and certainly was not enjoying towing any longer. This was my second AS and several tow vehicles so I knew to expect more and I knew I had a great tow vech. First, I got a Hensley. No more problems! No more white knuckles! Best dollars ever spent. Next, in 2008 I had Disk Brakes put on at the factory, in the middle of a 6000 trip. They are wonderful, Wow! what a difference. Next, after three blow outs with "official" Travel Trailer ST tires with over $4000 damages, I got some excellent advise from the great folks on this Forum. I purchased new 16" aluminum wheels thru mail order, again info. from same great folks. I now have 16" GF Goodrich LT225-75. They fit just fine and look great.
I now drive like I don't even have a huge AS behind me. What a pleasure. As far at the 34" and 373 rear end, I probably would stay at 30ft. Hope this helps.
Gary
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