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Old 07-16-2011, 08:53 PM   #15
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Just some info for you. Ford use to claim you lose 2% of your towing capacity for every 1000' of elevation gain above sea level. I have towed since 1955 and everything from 14' to 33' using 55 Chevy with a 265 ci engine to my current 99 F250 with 7.3 Powerstroke Turbo diesel. Ooops, left out the cab-over campers I had from a 73 Datsun cab-over (Wolf Cr Pass was horrible!) to again my current F250.

You just cannot beat cubic inches and torque for towing in the mountains. A turbo charger helps equalize the loss of oxygen from altitude.

I will not own another diesel even though mine has been an awesome vehicle! It towed my 29' 11,000+ lb HitchHiker II 5th wheel through the Eisenhower Tunnel at 55 mph (3400+rpm...that's maxed out). The cost is not worth the power for my current purpose. I have a Lance cab-over camper and tow a 20' Airstream. It does great, but when I replace it I will get a gas engine.

All this being said, use the 2%/1000' rule to spec your vehicle and you should be OK. The Suburban is awesome, but way underpowered for its weight. The 3/4 T model with the largest gas engine (6.0 until they get the 6.2 in it) is what I would look at utilizing a 4.10 axle. You won't get any mileage out of it towing or not, but it should tow OK. Also a good option is a 3/4 T van. They have lots of storage space for "stuff". They will work as a "guest room" in an emergency. You can make side trips and sleep overnight in them. You can get the biggest gas engines in them. Just a thought.

I am a pickup guy (lots of tows to haul, ie kayaks, fishing/hunting gear, screen room, generator, spare fuel, spare propane, spare water, etc), so it is a little easier for me. I have lots of choices in engines and gears. The weight of the tow vehicle ideally should be at least (preferably more) than the trailer for max stability and braking (in my experience).

I have a friend with a 2005 Tundra (small one) with the 4.7L V8 and tows a 16' Casita. He has plenty of power and if he keeps his speed below 65 mph he gets nearly 16 mpg. Unbelievable!

Guess I have rambled enough to confuse anyone. Good luck in your choice.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by star kitty
Sorry...forgot to mention that I will be buying a used vehicle in the more affordable price range. Hoping between 18-23 thousand.

blmitch - I test drove a touareg as that is my favorite and preferred vehicle. But the one I test drove (V8) had an on-board computer and only once did it tell me I was averaging 10 mpg. Most of the test-drive the computer stated I was getting 7 mpg. Yikes! Plus, the older ones have a poor maintenance record and the newer ones are too spendy for my budget.
I'm averaging @ 16 mpg but I also have a lead foot! 2007-2008 will be close if it's not loaded with options. CO is higher but if you can travel to buy it it might save you $$. I flew to Chicago to get mine and saved a lot and got the color and options I wanted. Good luck with your search.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:07 PM   #17
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Star Kitty

Sounds like there is something wrong with your Suburban. Find a knowlegable mechanic to figure out what the problem is and to fix it for you.

Good luck.

Dan
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:08 PM   #18
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GM RPO codes

star kitty,
Check your glove compartment for the RPO build code sheet glued to the inside of that door. Here are a few of the axle codes:

GV1 2.73
GU4 3.08
GU5 3.23
GU6 3.42
HO5 3.73

If you have the 3.42, 3.23, 3.08 or worse, the 2.73 then you have a rear end ratio not conducive to towing. I had a '92 Chevy 1500 Z71 4X4 that had the 3.42 rear end and a 350 V8. The engine was good but it was hell going up hills.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:51 PM   #19
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Star Kitty

If you decide to switch vehicles, I recommend a 2007 Toyota Sequaia with the 5.7 liter motor. I have a Toyota Tundra with the same motor and it has lots of power. In addition to having lots of power, it has a 6 speed transmission and a 4.30 rear end ratio that gives it even more towing capability.

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Old 07-16-2011, 10:11 PM   #20
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Here is a real tow vehicle.
02 Suburban 3/4 ton 2500 Big Block 8.1L 8 pass Loaded 97K Mi
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71 View Post
star kitty,
Check your glove compartment for the RPO build code sheet glued to the inside of that door. Here are a few of the axle codes:

GV1 2.73
GU4 3.08
GU5 3.23
GU6 3.42
HO5 3.73

If you have the 3.42, 3.23, 3.08 or worse, the 2.73 then you have a rear end ratio not conducive to towing. I had a '92 Chevy 1500 Z71 4X4 that had the 3.42 rear end and a 350 V8. The engine was good but it was hell going up hills.
I found that label but the only number with a decimal point is 131.5. That does not sound right according to your description. There are a bunch of letters and numbers but nothing with a decimal point.

It sounds like the consensus is there is something wrong with the engine. It very well could be old and worn out. It has low miles for the year - 1999 with 113k. But you can tell from the hitch pin it has done some towing in its life. I will take it to my mechanic and have him check the compression....or just sell it and get a newer vehicle!
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:53 AM   #22
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Re: the RPO label:

The actual axle ratios will NOT be on the RPO label, just the 3-character RPO code that represents it. Look at the codes again, looking just for the codes.

If you don't find it, but take the 'burb to a mechanic regarding the problem, have them find the axle ratio. A low numeric ratio really kills the truck's towing ability.
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:15 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
Re: the RPO label:

The actual axle ratios will NOT be on the RPO label, just the 3-character RPO code that represents it. Look at the codes again, looking just for the codes.

If you don't find it, but take the 'burb to a mechanic regarding the problem, have them find the axle ratio. A low numeric ratio really kills the truck's towing ability.
That is correct. You will only see the RPO code on the left. I put the axle ratio to the right of the code so that she would know what ratio she had and could give us maybe an idea what is going on.

So star kitty, do you have any of the RPO codes I posted?
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:01 PM   #24
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I agree that with a light trailer like that a 1500 Suburban should be plenty. If after having it looked at by a mechanic you still conclude you need something larger, consider a Suburban that is set up better for towing, ether with one of the more powerful engine options, or a lower rear end ratio, or with the 2500 3/4 ton package.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:46 PM   #25
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At the last Chevy store I worked at it was not uncommon for the new and used car departments to regularly let potential customers do a towing road test. We sold a lot of work trucks for contractors so it was not uncommon at all. Look for a Dealer that sells a LOT of trucks.

Sad but true.... on the older GM's, up and thru 06, inspect the hitch receiver for rust and weld cracks, OEM=junk, plan on replacing with a good aftermarket.



I agree with Moose T and Jammer, your Burb has a problem, the 1500 should have no problem pulling your trailer.
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:58 AM   #26
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Doing a search trying to find someplace that has older vehicles listed by tow rating ( havent found one yet) I did come across an article written for the 2005 vehicles that were new at the time. Since those are now almost 7 years old now, this could be useful info for someone looking to buy a used TV in the 2005 model year range, or probably a year or so on either side.

RV Lifestyle - Feature Article
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:43 AM   #27
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Gringo..

Trailer Life has all the way back to 1999 on their site
Towing Guides
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:02 AM   #28
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cool. Trailer Life was a good find for me. I've already signed up.
I've been jumping around all morning trying to find some kind of 'classic' vehicle that can tow the 7600 lb 27FB. Since we are looking at a vehicle that would only be used two months a year, I am thinking it would be way cool to have something a little bit more fun than just another cookie cutter carbon copy F-250. I've been looking at classic Landcruisers, Lincolns, Cadillacs, etc. Not having a lot of luck even finding the tow ratings on the older vehicles.
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