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Old 07-18-2011, 08:08 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by davidz71 View Post
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?
I have a label called Service Parts Identification and its full of codes that I don't know how to read. The only code with a decimal point is 131.5 on the top of the list and that doesn't sound right.

I didn't realize these cars came with different axle ratios. Anyway, I plan on taking it to a mechanic for a check-up and looking for a new vehicle from there. It sounds like I'm gonna have to step up financially to get a good vehicle. Like the Touareg and Tahoe so far and they are priced about the same in the used range. You always need more storage capacity than you think!

Gringo - love your blog and your dog. Can I come visit?
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:30 AM   #30
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Sure, but that Globetrotter is going to max out American Airlines on the luggage allowance.

We're having a heck of a time figuring out how to get the dog to the USA next month, at the moment. For anyone who is interested, American Airlines is absolutely OUT of the running for transporting pets. They won't take them if any temperature on the itinerary is forecasts to be 85 deg.F or higher. Pretty much leaves that out as an option for flying from Provo to Miami to Houston in August.

Continental is looking good, They provide airconditioned accomodations for pets as baggage, but we might have to fly to Nassau to get the direct flight to Houston....sigh...

Any of you guys wanna work a deal to pick us up in a Citation or even a nice Pilatus turboprop? We'll pay the fuel....

Hmm...has Airstream ever considered building a catamaran?
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:09 AM   #31
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If its a '99 4x4 it may be impractical and too expensive to swap the axle gears so I won't suggest that.

In the next vehicle just look for the biggest engine possible in that vehicle, and the highest numerical axle ratio (4.11 etc) . Perhaps big block suburban, or the 6 liter versions would work better.

One thing I'd like to add, and really is my reason for posting is expectations for towing performance. Any vehicle towing anything is going to be down on performance on your high mountain passes. Any non turbo gas engine is going to be severely down on power at 11,000 ft. Even with the most powerful near 400 hp. gas trucks w/ tow packages you will feel a 3500-4000 pound load at 10,000 ft.

There is a lot of "can't feel it back there" statements posted on internet message boards regarding trailer towing. Most of them are the result of people having no sense of sensation, and oblivious to the actual dynamics of how the vehicle is handling. On all but the smallest trailers you can feel it back there and the effect is huge.

So what I'm trying to say in this post is maybe a bit of lay back, relax, find a gear where the tow vehicle is comfortable at 3800 RPM (or so) even if its at 30-35 MPH on these high passes. You won't be the slowest out there. Who cares if a semi passes you? You are in the country's toughest area for towing performance.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:33 AM   #32
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I had a 2001 GMC 1/2 ton Yukon pulling my 26 foot 1973 Argosy in Colorado years back and it did very well. It did have the lower axle gear ratio and on long climbs it really revved but I always kept up with or passed traffic. I now have a 1973 29 foot International and I pull that with a 2000 3/4 ton Suburban that has a 6.0 with 249,000 on the clock. I had the computer tuned by a gentelman from wait for me performance and that made a huge difference with the 6.0, I have even been able to pull 17mpg after the tune. I can feel the better torque with the 6.0 but hated giving up the ride of the 1/2 ton. I do have and use the equalizer hitch and antisway bar when traveling and it does make a huge difference. The old 350 is beat hands down with the new 5.3 or 6.0. Not sure if that helps you but I think getting into the "newer" GM body style would help considerably with power AND handeling. That would be the 2000 to 2006. Good luck and have a great day.
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:04 PM   #33
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Star Kitty, I understand your reluctance to buy a truck. We considered lots of tow vehicles and settled on a passenger van. It does so much! It is a great tow vehicle with oodles of towing capacity, super visibility, and amazing storage space. With the seats in it takes a crowd to the ball game. Take the rear seats out and you have another bedroom for your camping or room for all the lumber for your next project.

And the best part is the price. Most of the used vans started out as rental or van-pool vehicles, and never had any towing miles. It doesn't have all the bells, whistles and leather of an SUV - which in many ways is a good thing!

I took a quick look on the Denver Craigslist and found this sample using "express passenger" as search terms in the cars/trucks page:
2007 Chevrolet Express Van 8 Passenger ALL WHEEL DRIVE 12 Pass

Pretty good price for an AWD that should do well in a Denver winter. 42k miles, tow package, and $16.5k. A pretty good deal, I think. I have no relationship with or interest in the seller.

Happy towing!
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:36 PM   #34
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Star Kitty, I understand your reluctance to buy a truck. We considered lots of tow vehicles and settled on a passenger van. It does so much! It is a great tow vehicle with oodles of towing capacity, super visibility, and amazing storage space. With the seats in it takes a crowd to the ball game. Take the rear seats out and you have another bedroom for your camping or room for all the lumber for your next project.

And the best part is the price. Most of the used vans started out as rental or van-pool vehicles, and never had any towing miles. It doesn't have all the bells, whistles and leather of an SUV - which in many ways is a good thing!

I took a quick look on the Denver Craigslist and found this sample using "express passenger" as search terms in the cars/trucks page:
2007 Chevrolet Express Van 8 Passenger ALL WHEEL DRIVE 12 Pass

Pretty good price for an AWD that should do well in a Denver winter. 42k miles, tow package, and $16.5k. A pretty good deal, I think. I have no relationship with or interest in the seller.

Happy towing!
Hi John.

Thanks for the idea...another guy had mentioned that as well. Unfortunately, I live in a very old house in Denver that does not have a modern garage. It's barely long enough for the Suburban and will not have the head room for a tall vehicle!

But I love the price....
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:14 PM   #35
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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.
7,600-lb GVWR was right at the top of passenger car tow "limits" with big block engines circa 1976. Optional axle ratios (3.21, 3.23, etc) were to be preferred over standard ones (2.94, 2.76, etc).

Much as I love old cars (my daily driver do-it-all vehicle just a few years ago was more than 30-years old) the maintenance, parts and 1,001 details to keep in mind may as be a full-time job. I'd stick with OBD-II vehicles or later. TV's have never been better (which was untrue circa 1973-1987).

"Classic" is more a state of mind. A showroom pristine 1999 vehicle is rare. Especially with 134k miles on it.

To the OP: compression check, a gearing change, and do whatever else it needs (steering components, etc). No slop, anywhere.

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Old 07-18-2011, 04:22 PM   #36
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I think I would actually rather have a vehicle I can work on myself without a computer, if I can find one. Doesn't look promising, though.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:42 PM   #37
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I think I would actually rather have a vehicle I can work on myself without a computer, if I can find one. Doesn't look promising, though.
That would be pre-1980. Before buying be sure you can locate factory-authorized wiring harnesses. Be best to re-wire the entire car to ensure reliability while towing. I'd rather run an old car in heads-up quarter-mile racing week after week than tow once cross-country. The computer bug-a-boo is overrated. Plenty of help online for us greybeards. Let us know in another thread.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:48 PM   #38
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Hi John.

Thanks for the idea...another guy had mentioned that as well. Unfortunately, I live in a very old house in Denver that does not have a modern garage. It's barely long enough for the Suburban and will not have the head room for a tall vehicle!

But I love the price....
IMO...stay away from an older GM AWD, the system can be very expensive to repair and they don't have a stellar,(no pun) reliability record.

4WD is a much better choice if you want it.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:00 PM   #39
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Tow vehicle

Hi, for what's it's worth. You should not be afraid of a six cylinder. I tow my 2003 22ft. CCD with a 3.0 BMW X5 and it's fantastic. My last tow vehicle was a Honda Ridgeline and it too was great. That being said, I have not towed in Colorado but my AS is heavier than yours and I had no problems whatsoever, and as an added benefit, as a daily driver the mileage is great.

Do your research and I'm sure you'll make the right decision.

Happy camping!

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Old 07-18-2011, 08:36 PM   #40
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Another vote to consider a 6cyl. I tow a 73 AS 25', weighs 4,000 empty....My tow vehicle is an 05 Toyota Tacoma, 6speed manual Tramsmission....21 mpg when not towing, 12-15 towing....I tow lots thru the mountains in VA and WV although nothing in comparison to the Rockies...The weight you will be towing should allow you to look at some 6cylinder engines....
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:34 PM   #41
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Help a girl find a tow vehicle

Greetings Gringo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
I think I would actually rather have a vehicle I can work on myself without a computer, if I can find one. Doesn't look promising, though.
Don't give up! There are Vintage cars out there that can do the job, but do be prepared to do quite a bit of preparation before your first major trip. My coaches are both lighter than yours - - my Overlander maxes out at 6,100 pounds. I have towed both of mine with my 1975 Cadillac Edlorado Convertible - - it is rated lower (at 6,000 pounds) than its rear drive cousin the DeVille. In 2008, I completed a trip with the Cadillac and Minuet that included Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman, Montana, Glacier National Park and points between those locations and Southern Illinois. The only issues encountered in more than 4,000 miles of towing were the newly rebuilt alternator that failed in the first 200 miles and the speedometer cable that broke toward the end of the the last week of travel. Other than those two issues, the biggest challenge was keeping the fuel tank filled -- that 500 cubic inch V8 likes to stop at nearly every gas station -- and in the mountains it can get a little scary when the gas stations can be almost too far apart (in the mountains, I averaged between 4 and 6 MPG). Elsewhere on the Forums, I have posted the list of modifications that were necessary to make the Eldorado a good tow vehicle as well as the modifications on my older 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible.

Good luck with your search!

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Old 07-18-2011, 09:48 PM   #42
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Greetings Star Kitty!

Your Suburban shouldn't have any problems towing a coach the size of yours. When I ordered my K2500 Suburban in 1999, the dealer tried to talk me into a K1500 with the HD towing package as it had a 6,000 pound trailer tow rating (with max tow package, the differential was 3.73). I suspect that you will find that your Suburban has either the 2.73 or 3.08 differential which would pose issues when towing in the Rockies. If the truck has the 3.73 differential, I would suggest some potential culprits that might include:
  • A partially plugged catalytic converter.
  • A dented/restricted exhaust or tail pipe.
  • A partially collapsed "double-wall" exhaust pipe.
  • A muffler with collapsed baffles.
  • An exhaust heat riser valve that isn't operating freely.
  • Dirt in the fuel injection/throttle body system.
  • Weak fuel pump.
  • Leaking intake or exhaust gaskets.
  • One or more Vacuum Leaks.
  • Mechanical issue with the motor.
Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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