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Old 05-18-2009, 04:30 PM   #1
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3/4 ton pickup safety (side airbags, etc)

I'm in the "research" phase of our first TT purchase. I'm looking at my options for a tow vehicle for a 25-27 foot Classic or Safari. My primary concern is safety for my family while towing.

With that said, I've come to the conclusion that I'll feel most comfortable with a 3/4 ton pickup. Enough so to easily justify its additional cost to buy, operate and maintain versus a 1/2 ton.

But I'm a concerned about the lack of stability control and side/side-curtain airbags on these trucks.

Late model 1/2 tons have stability control plus side and/or side-curtain airbags. Maybe, along with a Hensley or ProPride hitch, this is the better option?

Was this a consideration when you bought your TV?

Thanks!
Jared
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:34 PM   #2
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All the new(er) 1/2 and 3/4 tons have a lot more safety features than they did even back in 2004. Speaking only GM, I believe they have stability control on all the trucks, On-Star and at least 4 airbags in front that I can recall. The brakes on my 2004 3/4 ton Burb are as good or better than that of a Mercedes I have driven, which is particularly interesting given the Benz is not like a brick as the Burb appears to be.

One of my main concerns with towing as always been weight vs tow vehicle. At about 6000lbs you start to crawl into 3/4 ton territory and frankly with the upgraded engine, trans, hubs suspension, etc, it is well worth it. If you are talking family, a Burb is really a great ride to have when traveling. From a young pup being in the "way back" to an adult now towing with my own, it really doesn't get much safer or better. The thing is the 3/4 ton is only marginally more exp than the 1/2 ton and with rebates and offers, that gap closes even more to the point of almost undetectable.

I have had 2 emergency manuvers towing my 25er with the Burb....each encounter was unreal how well the Burb manuvered.

I would wholeheartedly recommend a Suburban. If Ford still made the Excursion, I'd say that would be a good bet too, but for now, the Burb pretty much stands alone IMHO. I was concerned about safety, but I have to be honest, no vehicle, even a Mack truck is a sure thing to walk away from a bad wreck, but I will tell you I have seen many a Suburban and Excursion on the highway and few of them are in the shape where most folks couldn't walk away. I can't say that for the vehicles the Suburban and Excursion encounters. Just a few years ago, a woman in a Chrysler mini-van was tearing down a side street and hit a burb head on. The burb was beat up pretty bad, but there was no damage south of the engine bay. The minivan driver was killed and there was nothing left of the minivan up to the back seats. I feel very safe in my Burb, I don't think it's undestructable, but I have to say, it a great performing truck and the newer ones are even better than my 04. I think pick em up trucks by GM are also very safe as well. I am sure Ford and Dodge light trucks are as well.

I don't think you can go wrong here almost any way you go if you get the right tool for the job....though I will admit there are some spirited discussions as to what that right tool might be....but you seem to have your head on straight, so enjoy the feedback you'll get...this is one of the hottest subject on this forum.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:00 PM   #3
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Side impact airbags drove my decision. I couldn't find a 3/4 ton with them on a lot so I bought the 1/2 ton. Of course, I could have ordered a 3/4 ton with the airbags and the MSRP wouldn't have been much different, but the amount I paid would have been.

The other big reason I bought my 1/2 ton was Andy R's warnings over an overly still suspension. Of course my 25' doesn't weigh as much as a new one, and the 23 year old body sure enjoys the extra cushion. It is very much a personal decision so weigh all the circumstances as you decide.

Good luck.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:01 PM   #4
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Unless you are towing full-time the 1/2T is likely the better choice, IMO. A 3T trailer just ain't that heavy, overall. Get the best hitch, too. We towed our heavier trailers in the 1960's and 1970's with cars. Sure, they worked hard at some points, but they were a heckuva lot easier to live with when not towing.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
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I'm not a big fan of side curtain airbags in trucks. Usually, if you get in an accident bad enough to need them, they probably won't make that much difference. I'm thinking "broadsided by a Peterbuilt". 3/4 and 1 ton trucks are bigger than 85% of the other vehicles on the road. Both our B van and tow vehicle are 3/4 ton trucks, so I may be a bit biased in my opinion.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:05 PM   #6
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Guys, thanks for the feedback. The 3/4 Suburban may be just the right fit.

For those that tow w/ an SUV, do you miss having a truck bed for things like a generator? Either way it sounds like a small compromise.

Jared
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:55 PM   #7
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Yea, it takes some ways around it. I solved the generator issue by getting an LP generator, so no stink in the Sub when in transport. I also keep it in one of those tubs you can get at Target...seems to work great.
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:02 PM   #8
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Even though we've got a truck to haul it in, I put the generator inside the trailer, in the front, in one of those plastic totes you can get at Walmart for about $5-$8. The bicycles go in either the trailer, between the beds (center bedroom), or in the back of the truck.The truck has a camper shell, so it's fairly secure. While I like Suburbans, I also like being able to haul lumber, propane tanks, gas cans, etc, without worrying about messing up the interior.
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:28 PM   #9
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I have side impact airbags in my 05' Dodge Ram 2500 4x4. It's still offered as a factory option. This has been the best pickup I've ever owned. We were a Ford family for years....but..the 6.0 Diesel changed that. I believe when it's time to trade, Dodge will get my business again.
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:48 PM   #10
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Now is the time to Buy American! There is so much more quality in American vehicles then any one from across the pond.

3/4 ton trucks are much more solid. There is a big difference between platforms of 1/2 or 3/4 ton trucks. Just like the major upgrade from foreign to American. Safety is an issue. Thats why I bought the SuperDuty, although I have to agree the international engines leave alot to be desired, I chose the new 5.4 liter. I am not a big fan of Airbags, They do alot of damage them self. But as mentioned side curtains are available. Good luck with your choice. You are headed in the right direction with American quality
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:49 PM   #11
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3/4 ton pickup safety (side airbags, etc)

Greetings Jared!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jared09 View Post
Guys, thanks for the feedback. The 3/4 Suburban may be just the right fit.

For those that tow w/ an SUV, do you miss having a truck bed for things like a generator? Either way it sounds like a small compromise.

Jared
In 1998, I traded a 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z71 pickup on my 1999 K2500 Suburban and have never looked back. I have never, in any way, missed that pickup (it was top of the line with leather buckets and every luxury option offered in 1995) -- it rode like a log wagon and was a nighmare on slick roads. My Suburban now has 200,000 miles (7400 VORTEC), and has been among the most trouble-free vehicles that I have owned -- and it is a pleasure to drive in any kind of weather with predictability that my pickup truck never had. The Suburban (premium SLT Leather bucket seat interior) has a near Cadillac ride (I own two Cadillac Eldorados as well) with the brute hauling capacity of the pickup upon which its chassis is based. I plan to keep this Suburban in service as long as my mechanic can keep it operating in a dependable manner.

Kevin

P.S.: The only option that I have on my Suburban that I wouldn't recommend is four-wheel drive. For the three times that I have needed it in 200,000 miles it had not been worth the additional maintenance cost.
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:57 PM   #12
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IIRC, GM made stability control standard on some 2009 3/4-ton trucks.

Keep in mind that side curtain airbags aren't only helpful if you get hit from the side. They also protect you in case of a rollover accident.

Personally, I would also go for a Suburban or one of the loaded GM 1/2-ton pickups with the 6.2-liter, like a Sierra Denali. Note though: the side crash test results weren't too impressive for the GM trucks.

Tom
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:09 PM   #13
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I think it's a good idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutcth View Post
IIRC, GM made stability control standard on some 2009 3/4-ton trucks.

Keep in mind that side curtain airbags aren't only helpful if you get hit from the side. They also protect you in case of a rollover accident.

Personally, I would also go for a Suburban or one of the loaded GM 1/2-ton pickups with the 6.2-liter, like a Sierra Denali. Note though: the side crash test results weren't too impressive for the GM trucks.

Tom
Rollover accidents are the primary cause of death and severe injury in truck accidents, exactly the reason we made sure our Dodge was so equipped, it is especially important if you get a 4X4. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:42 AM   #14
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I think the 2500 'Burb is probably the way we'll go. But things are never as easy as they sound. I'd like to get a newer model, but the 2007+ models only have 1000# tongue weight, and no third party hitch is available to fix that.

Current plan is to look for a low mileage 2005-2006 and run it for a long time.

Jared
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