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Old 03-09-2008, 11:37 AM   #1
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Adequate tow vehicle??????

I'm a 57 year old teacher and am planning to retire in several years to live in an Airstream, travel, do environmentally-oriented volunteer activities, and just hang out in beautiful spots. I own a 2004 Chevy Silverado 4WD, short bed pickup with 5.3 liter V8, HD trailering equipment, 3.73 rear axle, and GVW rating of 6400 lb (according to the original window sticker). According to the original dealer brochure, my maximum trailer weight is 8200 lbs. The most recent Airstream brochure lists the UBW of a 25' Safari SE at 5210 lbs. In real world conditions, will my truck be able to tow this 25 footer, and are there disadvantages (or advantages) to towing with a short bed truck? I'm not interested in buying a new truck unless there are safety or other issues that I'm not aware of.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:46 AM   #2
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THat truck will do just fine with a 25'r. I pull my 31' with an '06 express van (5.3L 3.73 HD) with no issues.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:09 PM   #3
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I have the exact same truck and do just fine towing with a short bed. My trailer is lighter than yours though.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:56 PM   #4
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I started a thread just recently when we purchased our 31' sovereign..... It seems that some things needed to be done to our 1985 F-150 shortbed to tow our Airstream. We are contemplating doing the upgrades per some really good advice from other forum members... the following is what we plan on doing:

1. Putnam Receiver Hitch (about $162)
2. E-Q-Lizer (Equilizer) Weight distributing hitch attachment (about $358)
3. Fireside Ride Rite suspension helpers (about $234)
4. Fireside Ride Rite Level Command II (controls suspension helpers) (about $150)
5. P-3 Tekonsha Brake Controller (about $125)

Not sure if that helps but it may....
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:25 PM   #5
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That will probably work fine. You may need to add some towing accessories to your truck. Check out the threads on hitch systems and trailer brake controllers. These will be a must. There are a lot of choices out there.

Welcome to these Forums. We're glad to have you with us. Ypu'll find all the Airstream information that you need here.

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Old 03-09-2008, 03:32 PM   #6
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Your truck will be fine. Just make sure you have and electric jack on the trailer as loading a Weight Distributing Hitch without it you will tend to misload the hitch and lose all of it's advantage.

I would advise against any form of air bags. If your hitch is set up right there is no reason for them.
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:45 PM   #7
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As far as I know (and I could be wrong), in 2004, GM did not make the 1500HD truck with a 5.3L engine. If you do in fact have the 1500HD, from what I understand, you have a 6.0L engine. If you are sure you have the 5.3L, then you simply have the 1500 (1/2 ton). Might have a HO engine (high output), but there are HUGE differences between HO and HD.

Now I don't have the 2004 1/2 specs (I had the sales brochure up until recently), but the 08 specs for the 5.3L are rated between 7400 to 7900 in terms of tow rating. I would expect the 08s to have equal or greater tow capacity to 04.

That all said, the newer 25' units will weigh, loaded on average, between 6300 and 7300lbs. For the sake of conversation, lets say you don't fill the 25' unit up to capacity and load it to 6500lbs, which is entirely possilbe and easy to do (I have a 25') Add about 200lbs per passenger, about 250lbs for fuel and then add any weight for cargo you might haul and you may fall around 7000lbs.

By numbers alone, you can tow it, but you are really getting into the 3/4 ton sandbox, where upgraded hubs, trans, engine differential (typically a full floating axle in the Silverado line), etc start to pay some benefits.

So yes you can tow it, but if you have any idea of going mountains, you might really consider the 2500HD. The numbers are pretty close at a 1500 IMHO.
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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Looks like a 25' SE is well within the specs of your truck. Transmission overheating is a commonly overlooked gremlin for 1/2 ton towing so you may want to consider a tranny fluid temperature guage to keep an eye on it. If needed, a tranny cooler upgrade is not too expensive.

I'd also suggest 4:10 gears - but you could hold off on that until after you see how the Chevy tows.

.......Scott
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:44 PM   #9
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I don't have an HD but the window sticker lists HD trailering equipment. This includes a switch on the transmission shifter for towing mode.......
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:50 AM   #10
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I have found the Firestone RideRite air suspension very helpful in tweaking the tongue height to the optimal level when the weight transfer bars leave a less-than-desirable level gap. The air springs have proven to be well worth the investment to me, and are a lot easier to manipulate than moving the ball angle up-and-down when the hitch weight varies due to truck or trailer loading requirements.
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:01 PM   #11
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Hello Everyone, I'm another newbie to trailer towing and this is my first post to this site (which has been very, very informative, thank you). I actually signed on this evening to post a question very similar to jrporter's. My TV is also a 2004 (Avalanche, though) with trailering package, 5.3L, 3.73 axle. It's a Z66 2WD but it has the Z82 suspension which I believe is the trailering suspension. My wife and I toured the Airstream factory on Monday and walked through a bunch of different size trailers on the assembly line. We went down there to look at 16's and 19's but really fell for the 25' (sound familiar?). I expect that the information you have given jrporter is pretty much what you would give me, so I'm thinking maybe I'd better back down to the 23' or even a 20'. My truck may be a little less capable than his. One question he asked, however, didn't get answered. It's puzzled me from other threads as well. Just what is the relationship between TV wheelbase and trailer length (if any). People keep saying that short wheelbases TVs are not as good as long wheelbase ones, but I don't understand the physics involved. My understanding is that the Avalanche is built on the short wheel based Tahoe chassis, so I guess I fall into that category. Thanks for any information you can provide.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaB
Hello Everyone, I'm another newbie to trailer towing and this is my first post to this site (which has been very, very informative, thank you). I actually signed on this evening to post a question very similar to jrporter's. My TV is also a 2004 (Avalanche, though) with trailering package, 5.3L, 3.73 axle. It's a Z66 2WD but it has the Z82 suspension which I believe is the trailering suspension. My wife and I toured the Airstream factory on Monday and walked through a bunch of different size trailers on the assembly line. We went down there to look at 16's and 19's but really fell for the 25' (sound familiar?). I expect that the information you have given jrporter is pretty much what you would give me, so I'm thinking maybe I'd better back down to the 23' or even a 20'. My truck may be a little less capable than his. One question he asked, however, didn't get answered. It's puzzled me from other threads as well. Just what is the relationship between TV wheelbase and trailer length (if any). People keep saying that short wheelbases TVs are not as good as long wheelbase ones, but I don't understand the physics involved. My understanding is that the Avalanche is built on the short wheel based Tahoe chassis, so I guess I fall into that category. Thanks for any information you can provide.
wannaB,

IMO if you have towed anything before, and you know what you are doing behind the wheel your truck will pull a 25' just fine. I do not beleive in double or triple tolerancing things. The longer wheel base means it takes a little more time to get squirly and out of control, they also track straighter.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrporter
I don't have an HD but the window sticker lists HD trailering equipment. This includes a switch on the transmission shifter for towing mode.......
Then you have a 1500, not a 1500HD. The 1500HD is essentially "3/4 ton" truck.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaB
Hello Everyone...
hi wannab and welcome to the forums...

up to a 25 your tv will work, it will just be SLOW in the hills with the wimpy engine...

as to the 'length vs wheelbase' issue...

here are the numerical suggestions, but keep in mind they are only guidelines,

and many things go into making a good or bad tv/trailer combo (the rig)...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/219479-post15.html

so pick out the 'stream you WANT and then update the tv as needed.

don't 'buy down' to the towing vehicle unless it's the last one you'll ever own.

there are several folks here towing with that thing,

so search using "avalanche" in the 'tow vehicle' forum and their threads will appear...


cheers
2air'
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