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Old 12-06-2012, 03:18 PM   #1
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Arrow Looking to Upgrade TV After First Pull of 28' FC with Tahoe

Hello all --

As someone who has frequented message boards for the better part of the last ten years, I do know the value of the search function and have read 100's of posts on here regarding tow vehicles and different setups. That being said, they leave me feeling a bit smarter about the whole process, but not totally resolved. So, I'd like to give you my stats and hear your impressions.

We recently purchased a 2012 Flying Cloud 28' -- 5919# dry; GVWR 7600#. The trailer came with a WD hitch, although I couldn't tell you the name off the top of my head. It's not a Reese, Hensley, or PPP. We own a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3L with the towing package and a towing capacity of 7500#.

We (wife, two toddlers, and a small dog) took a 300-mile round trip last weekend from Houston to Austin -- so we started flat and ended up in rolling, hilly terrain around Austin. On the backroads around my house, going 45mph, I tow with ease. In fact, I feel comfortable with one hand on the wheel and the other hanging out the window. Smooth sailing.

Once on the interstate around Houston, though, the terrain is flat, but everyone is driving 75mph. Eighteen-wheelers are ubiquitous. I just parked it in the right lane at 60mph. Anything over 60mph, and I didn't feel like I was in total control -- even at 65mph, I would start to feel like the trailer was more in control than the TV; you'd start to get that very slight feeling of sway or like you're on ice. Keeping it at 60mph eliminated that problem -- until an 18-wheeler would whiz by and suck me in.

Anyway, once I got off I-10 and onto TX-71, things were A LOT better. But, as we entered the hills, I found that the Tahoe really had to work quite hard to maintain speed on the hills -- quite high revs to even maintain 50-55mph and sometimes I'd find myself dropping to 45mph. I'm sure several others were cussing me as they flew by. Whatever. I'm not concerned about that.

So, I found the TV to be "adequate," but the drive was not by any means enjoyable. I'm not looking to cruise along like there's nothing back there, but I don't exactly want to be white-knuckling it either.

So, we camp with our family a lot and 90% of people seem to use F-250's (including my dad). I have driven one recently, and they are really fantastic, but a) I am not really a truck guy and b) they are so freaking huge. I would not have my wife drive that and I work downtown, so it would be nice to have something that I could actually commute in. I know a lot of Texans commute in F-250's, but it just feels too big to me. As a side note, I will probably be given my grandpa's old F-150 someday, and I think it might hurt his feelings if I bought a truck beforehand.

I have also driven the F-150 Ecoboost. It was OK. The same issues as above, except it doesn't present the size issue. I must say, though, that personally I can live with the F-250 styling, but am not a big fan of the F-150 styling -- no offense intended.

My strong bias would be to buy an SUV that is more capable than my Tahoe. This line of thought leads me pretty quickly to a Suburban 2500 or a Yukon XL 2500. As far as I can tell, they are the most-capable SUVs out there. I drove a Suburban 2500 last night and while it's a bit bigger than our Tahoe, it still feels manageable and maneuverable. It's definitely taller and heavier, but I don't feel like I'm driving a big rig necessarily. It also has the added benefit that it could replace our Tahoe and become the new "Mom-mobile." But, I find myself wondering if the extra 2000# of tow capacity or the extra 14" of wheelbase are really going to make *that* much of a difference? Of course, no dealer is going to let me do a test-tow, so I am hoping some people here on the forum may be able to give me a relative sense of how different it might pull or have some glowing reviews for the 3/4-ton SUVs.

I'm leaning towards this fairly heavily and have found a decent deal, but I'm just looking for a little affirmation to push me over the edge. I figure I will stick with my current hitch for the time being (came with the trailer), but might eventually upgrade to one of the more renowned ones if I start to think that might upgrade my towing experience even more. I'm not concerned about price; I'd rather pay for the best and enjoy the trip that much more.

Thanks in advance for your time and your insight --

Zep
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
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By the way, I just figured out which hitch I have -- Fastway E2 Hitch (Fastway Trailer Products - Home). If you have any commentary on that, feel free to chime in. It definitely pulls more nicely than my pop-up did straight on the TV hitch. On the other hand, the metal-on-metal of the bars on the brackets make loud popping and creaking noises when turning at low speeds that are a bit jarring and embarrassing in a campground setting.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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Go with the upgrade. Our trailers weigh the same and I have to say that I couldn't imagine towing it with anything less than a 3/4 ton truck/SUV. The buffer goes a long way for your safety and ultimately the whole towing experience. Grandpa will understand, just visit him more often.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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If I have my year models right, the '08 Tahoe has a 4-speed auto, and a new 'Burb or Yukon XL would have a 6-speed, and the 3/4 ton would come with the 6-liter engine by default I believe. As long as it's got a usable rear axle ratio, that would make a big difference in the vehicle's ability to tow.

If your current Tahoe is squirrelly, there may be a couple of things going on. You may have softer-sidewall tires that ride great in its capacity as the mommyMobile but aren't well-suited to dealing with the forces of a heavy trailer. You may also have inadequate anti-sway provisions, that hitch you linked to requires an external friction sway bar to have any influence over sway at all.

Sorry, I wrote the part I struck through above just glancing at the listing and thinking it was the same as an EAZ-Lift, I see on further inspection that it claims anti-sway properties. It may not be set up correctly, though.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:10 PM   #5
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Not familiar with the Fastway E2 Hitch. One observation...it looks as though adjusting the WD is quite a bit different. Raise the tongue jack and and re-position the bars and re-tighten the brackets?

Bob
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:12 PM   #6
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Zep, If you think, even half way that you` will ever get a Hensley or a Propride, I would do that first. (I'd go propride, if I were buying new, otherwise either used, depending on the price).

If you feel that your Tahoe is "adequate" as a TV, but it move around on you, I'd bet a PPP hitch would change that dramatically. I've used several brand of conventional hitches and now a used HAHA. It is pretty remarkable. I have driven with nothing but one hand since installing it.
If you still don't like it, then look for a TV, but I think you my be money ahead to try it and drive out the Tahoe. $2 - 3K (new hitch max) vs. maybe $25k - 30K to trade????

Above is correct, nothing like a 3/4 ton if you have a lot of toys, but don't take a potential beating on a trade. Hey the PPP hitch is super sweet on the 3/4 ton too!
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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If goal number 1 is solving the white knuckle issue, then I would look first at the hitch. Is the weight distribution dialed in? First using a measuring tape at the wheel wells - and then at a scale to finalize and validate.

I'm not familiar with your hitch - I'm sure others will chime in.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:14 PM   #8
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Welcome to the Club...

... whose members will never tow with a marginal tow vehicle again.
Your experience is entirely consistent with my own.
There is no comparable experience to towing with a "big enough," slightly overpowered tow vehicle.
You will find you can tow all day long and arrive at your destination much less harried and fatigued.
And you will always feel in control of your rig.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxTow View Post
If goal number 1 is solving the white knuckle issue, then I would look first at the hitch. Is the weight distribution dialed in? First using a measuring tape at the wheel wells - and then at a scale to finalize and validate.

I'm not familiar with your hitch - I'm sure others will chime in.

BTW - I pull a heavier trailer with an F150 EB and the ProPride hitch. Never a white knuckle moment. F250 not required unless for payload.

There are other towing similar sized trailers with smaller vehicles - but with careful attention to hitch selection and set-up.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by zeppelin View Post
Hello all --
So, I found the TV to be "adequate," but the drive was not by any means enjoyable. I'm not looking to cruise along like there's nothing back there, but I don't exactly want to be white-knuckling it either.Zep
Your towing experience should/can be enjoyable.

DBK has led the way with what the problem may be. Don't make the mistake as many folks before you have done and assume it is "the vehicle", and blow a pile of money on something you may not need.

It is quite possible a simple connection adjustment is all that is required. If you do not have the skills or experience to evaluate the problem suggest getting the rig to someone who knows what they are doing.

PS... There are folks on this forum with much smaller vehicles than yours towing good sized Airstreams and they are having a safe, enjoyable ride.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:32 PM   #11
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Thanks for the responses so far guys. You're making me think that I might be well-served to learn a bit more about this hitch first and also make a visit to the scales or a dealer who knows a lot about this sort of thing. My wife is fine upgrading to a Suburban 2500, if need be, but I think our preference would really be to be able to use the Tahoe as the TV and for our next car to be something a bit more sporty for myself (currently drive a 4Runner).

My dad and I just adjusted the drop on the hitch, plugged it in, and started pulling. I haven't really done any further calibration or measurement. I suppose I'm the type of guy that just likes to "plug and play," but maybe I can find someone in the Houston-area who knows about these sorts of things and can advise me on whether the incremental $40k on a new TV is worthwhile.

Still hoping for feedback from others, but wanted to chime in midstream and give some thanks for the responses so far.

-Zep
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:41 PM   #12
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Zeppelin,

What you really need is a minivan with a V6 engine....that's what all the Canadians say is THE best!

Ok, all joking aside, there are several things you need to do first. Check the type of tires you have on the truck, and if they are at least "XL" load rated (they should be), make sure the rear tires are aired up to maximum...should be 50 lbs. That will help eliminate the sway. Definately do some checking on how the hitch is setup as said above.

Then, if you are still not satisfied with the handling, the ProPride hitch is THE BEST investment you will ever make in trailering.

Don't worry about the high engine RPM, that's what it's designed to do. Being an '08, you should have the six speed transmission...it's a big improvement over the four speed.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:44 PM   #13
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Zep,

If you dropped the hitch to level the trailer, and are still using the same adjustment on the WD bars....that IS your white knuckle problem. CAT scales here you come!

Bob
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:47 PM   #14
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Zep,

If you dropped the hitch to level the trailer, and are still using the same adjustment on the WD bars....that IS your white knuckle problem. CAT scales here you come!

Bob
I will look at this immediately. I have admittedly taken a lot for granted about the hitch setup that perhaps I should do a bit more homework on. I appreciate you guys pointing me in the right direction.
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