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Old 07-07-2005, 05:18 PM   #1
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'67 Overlander and '03 Yukon...

Im sure the subject of towing as been beat to death, but please help out a noob!

My wife and I bought our first Airstream and need to make a road trip to get it. We got a NICE '67 Overlander (25'). Will our 2003 Yukon (2WD, 5.3L, OE TOW w/3.73) have a hard time pulling it back home? "ITS NOT AN XL"

I'm having a Prodigy Ebrake installed tomorrow, and purchasing a Reese WD/Sway kit at the same time. I am also prepared to bag the rear as well. The Yukon also has an aftermarket exhaust and open air filter, so it makes plenty of power.

My max tow capacity is 7700#s. The dry weight of the trailer is listed as 4180#'s. Even when fully loaded I cant see the trailer weighing more than 4500-5000#'s. However Im not sure of the FW tank capacity (20-25?)

The Yukon's curb weight is 4800 and my best guess is about 5250#'s fully loaded (full tank gas, 2 adults, 1 child, 1 large dog, some gear).

If my math is correct this puts us at about 10,000 GCWR, which is 3000#'s under our max. How am I looking so far?

To complicate things even more I'd like to put a 3" lift kit on the vehicle and run 33" tires (305/75/16). I don't expect that this will add much more than about 250#'s to the vehicle. Yes, I know the 33's will be harder to turn, so Im hoping to swap in 4.10's shortly after.

If all goes well were still about 2500#'s under GCWR.

Ive read a bit about wheelbase and trailer lengths, but not sure how the older Airstreams fit into that theory. Im sure a 3/4 ton is the way to go, but its just not feasable right now. Ive got some cash to spend prepping the Yukon so fire away with suggestions. Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2005, 05:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMGAZ
To complicate things even more I'd like to put a 3" lift kit on the vehicle and run 33" tires (305/75/16). I don't expect that this will add much more than about 250#'s to the vehicle. Yes, I know the 33's will be harder to turn, so Im hoping to swap in 4.10's shortly after.

If all goes well were still about 2500#'s under GCWR.

Ive read a bit about wheelbase and trailer lengths, but not sure how the older Airstreams fit into that theory. Im sure a 3/4 ton is the way to go, but its just not feasable right now. Ive got some cash to spend prepping the Yukon so fire away with suggestions. Thanks!
Max GVWR on a 26' Overlander is 6200 pounds.
The big sidewalls on the 33" tires may set you up for a sway-related problem, the taller the sidewalls, the more sway-prone you will be. A body lift would also cause a tendency to sway, as the center of gravity would be higher. I read on the other thread you have going that you want to "bag" the rear axle. Does this mean you want to install airbags on the truck, in addition to the springs? If so, it is not recommended, as it will counter the weight distribution setup you are getting.
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Old 07-07-2005, 07:20 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info on the tire issue. 2WD Yukons have about a 2' rake to the front. Id like to correct this by using a set of Fabtech 3" spindels. This will allow for a slightly larger tire, more than likely a 285/75/16 (D) on new 16X8 wheels. I will also be upgrading the OE shocks to either Bilsteins or Rancho RSX9000's.

Overall I dont think the vehicles center of gravity will change by more than 2", and NO body Lift!

The rear suspension components will remain OE, sans new shocks. Regarding the rear bags, I was considering that as an option to eliminate any sagging the trailer may cause. If it will be counter productive then I'll scrap the idea.
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Old 07-07-2005, 08:20 PM   #4
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'67 Overlander and '03 Yukon...

Greetings JMGAZ!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Overlander ownerhsip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMGAZ
Thanks for the info on the tire issue. 2WD Yukons have about a 2' rake to the front. Id like to correct this by using a set of Fabtech 3" spindels. This will allow for a slightly larger tire, more than likely a 285/75/16 (D) on new 16X8 wheels. I will also be upgrading the OE shocks to either Bilsteins or Rancho RSX9000's.

Overall I dont think the vehicles center of gravity will change by more than 2", and NO body Lift!

The rear suspension components will remain OE, sans new shocks. Regarding the rear bags, I was considering that as an option to eliminate any sagging the trailer may cause. If it will be counter productive then I'll scrap the idea.
I would encourage you to avoid any changes to your tow vehicle that will increase the stiffness of its suspension -- the weight of the tongue as well as towing supplies carried in your Yukon are best handled by a quality weight distributing hitch -- your coach will thank you for the easier ride that softer suspension will provide (popped rivets, and cracks in the skin are just two of the issues that can be the result of towing with a stiffly sprung tow vehicle -- I know as I had tremendous problems with both during the three years that I towed with a stock 1995 K1500 Z71 Chevrolet club cab pickup). Two buget-minded choices would include the Equal-I-zer Hitch and the Reese Strait-Line Hitch with Dual Cam Sway Control both of which include built-in sway control. I utilize the Reese Strait-Line Hitch with both of my coaches on both of my regular tow vehicles, and have used this system since 1995 exclusively. Particularly with the Reese system, it is critical to carefully match the weight distribution bar rating to the actual hitch weight.

When looking at the specifications for your coach, be aware that the published empty weight of your coach is in all propability somewhat less than the actual empty weight as optional equipment/accessories were not included in the weight. Realistically, be prepared for your loaded Overlander to weigh in at 6,100 pounds plus -- I know that it is unusual for my '64 Overlander to weigh much less than 6,100 pounds when it is loaded for an extended trip -- its empty weight is 4,440 pounds (advertised weight was almost 500 pounds less). The typical loaded hitch weight on my '64 Overlander generally runs about 775 pounds (my coach has been upgraded to 40 pound Worthington LP tanks which does add some weight to the hitch over the original 30 pound tanks).

While your "current generation" K1500 Yukon is less likely to pose issues with sufficient drawbar drop, at least in stock form, you may be facing some issues with your proposed chasis modification if they raise the rear of the vehicle much beyond stock. Obtaining the correct hitch height, which is necessary for stable towing, can be very difficult if you need more drawbar drop than about 9" -- my '99 K2500 Suburban in stock form requires the maximum drop drawbar that is readily available from Reese to get the correct hitch height for my '64 Overlander.

Good luck with your Overlander!

Kevin
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:58 PM   #5
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The goal here is to level the truck, not lift it. I apologize for not being that specific in my original post.

I hear where you are coming from with regards to suspension changes. The only suspension parts that will be replaced will be the shocks. The front spindles are what are going to provide the "lift" to the truck, and then its only the front end (2-3"). The new 265/75/16 or 285/75/16 will raise the vehicle just a tad as well. However it would be no more than 1" if I go with the 285's (1/2" with 265's).

When all is done I expect to actually have a ride equal to stock, if not better due to the adjustable shocks and better tires (BFG Radial AT/KO or Yokohama Geolander AT).
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Old 07-08-2005, 12:41 AM   #6
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Not be belabor (sp?) the point, but here is the difference between what I plan to do and what I think you thought I was...


<----- Spindle

<---- Full suspension lift
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Old 07-08-2005, 06:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JMGAZ
Not be belabor (sp?) the point, but here is the difference between what I plan to do and what I think you thought I was...
The spindle will change the ride height, not the ride quality. BTW, the weight of the trailer will make the front end come up slightly also, maybe 1/2" or so, depending on how you set up your WD system.
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Old 07-08-2005, 06:54 AM   #8
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jmgaz,

welcome to the forum!

you may want to reconsider going with larger tires, the more sidewall you have the more flex in the tires. this could lead to having an issue with sway.

not saying it can't be done, just something to consider. knobby mud rated tires can also cause problems with handling with a heavy load.

try towing with your truck as it is and see how you like it. then you can weigh your options.

good luck!

john
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Old 07-08-2005, 07:08 AM   #9
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With a 265/75 tire my overall diameter is only going to increase 1/2". Will that make that much of a difference? Current size is 265/70.

Here are the two tires Im looking at:


Will a load rating of D be enough?

And how about the rear bags, now that we know the rear suspension is not going to be modified?
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Old 07-08-2005, 09:13 AM   #10
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jmgaz

the last two sets of tires i have had on my silverado had/has a continious tread at each edge with no openings. they seem to squirm less, the tread in the center is quite open and provides good grip as i live in the snow belt.

since your truck is essentially a half ton rig d rated tires should be fine.

stay away from air bags an just use a weight distrubuting hitch.

john
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Old 07-08-2005, 10:50 AM   #11
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Own a 2004 Safari 28W and a 2003 Suburban with the 5.3L 4WD 3.73 and the tow package. Uses a friction-based sway control, a load EQ hitch, and the prodigy. We are probably closer to the hairy edge than your combo...

This will tow goonybird well at 60 MPH and hills encountered in Smokey Mountains/Ozarks at 50 MPH. It tracks well and sways less than our Coleman Bayside pop-up did. It just wiggles a bit. Thinking about rear tires with stiffer sidewalls when we replace them, from the OE tires. On flat ground, it will go as fast as you dare to go, which for me is about 65. I drive like an old lady. I do overinflate the Suburban tires 3 PSI when towing.

For the most part, we camp at local places and our average tow is less than an hour both directions, in W Ohio, which is flat. We take it on vacation for long distances, and we stay East of the Rockies. Suburban gets about 14 MPG towing.

Have had a couple of transmission firmware downloads when in for other service issues. The latest one seems to keep the Torque Converter locked no matter what when in trailering mode...and that trip was to the Ozarks and the hills there varied a lot. The firmware upgrades -- could find a version number if DW still has the paperwork -- the truck is her daily driver.

Hope this helps. I had thought about upgrading the disk brakes to something aftermarket, but we seem to stop fine with the OEM brakes.

Our next tow vehicle needs to be able to go across the continental divide and up the Alaska Highway...that trip is not for 5 years. We could probably make it with what we got....slowly. I seem to remember somebody going up the Alaska highway with a 28W and a 1500 Suburban hereabouts...

My druthers would be a 2500 for the big trip, though. With empty tanks when possible...

Still have not put in the Transmission temp gauge, but it is on the list.

We do not tow more than 50-60 engine-hours per year. Hope this helps.

-RobH
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:00 AM   #12
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Not sure I'd overinflate the tires Rob....reason being is that they are rated at a certain pressure for a reason. As the tire heats, the pressure increases. I know a more firm tire has less rolling resistance, and I know it's only 3lbs, but after the tires heat up, they will go beyond the max pressure on their own. I find our tires typically gain about 3-4 lbs particularly on the warmer days, which from what I understand is engineered to accept this fluctuation and as such how they came up with the max pressure. So you could be actually 6-7lbs beyond the max pressure if you are taking your tires 3lbs beyond the max inflation listed on the sidewall. If the tire gets hot enough and is under a good load, it could be an issue...then again I could be wrong, but that's what I typically do.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:30 AM   #13
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Yukon can Tow,

JMGAZ,

Our last tow vehicle was a 2000 Yukon SLT with the factory tow package and Prodigy brake controller. The trailer was SOB 29' w/slide (dry weight was 5500). We towed this many places including 4 corners, Grand Canyon, Branson many times, Oklahoma, Arkansas.

The only modifications were Rancho adjustable shocks, Gibson exhaust, low restriction air filter assy and Hypertech programmer.

This was a great tow vehicle, I miss it but we bought a 34' Airstream and needed more capicity (Excursion).

Hope this helps, John
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:35 AM   #14
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Ok, so to summarize:
Your Tow vehicle is just fine to tow your trailer, without modifications.
You need make sure you have a good Weight Distribution hitch more than playing around with your tires or suspension on your vehicle.
Observe all published tire pressure requirements.
And drive safely.

John
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