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Old 10-04-2007, 01:24 PM   #1
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Need opinions on tow vehicle

I am contemplating using a 2003 Avalanche 2500 8.1 with 4:10 gears to tow a 27' Safari. I've read pros and cons so what do you think? Is it adequate? Better yet is it more than adequate?
Brian
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Old 10-04-2007, 01:58 PM   #2
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Hi Brian -- The engine is huge -- 8L is almost without comparison. 3/4 ton. Rear end ratio is 4.1 -- good. Wheelbase is 130" (2003 standard cab Silverado pickup = 133"). Never thought I'd say this about a 27'er and an Avalanche -- looks good.
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Old 10-04-2007, 03:11 PM   #3
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Yeah, those are hard to come by...grab it fast!
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Old 10-04-2007, 04:25 PM   #4
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Hey BillTex thanks for your opinion. A fellow RI'er cool!! Once we get our new Safari maybe we'll see you around.
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:40 PM   #5
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Yeah-hey I noticed you were from RI.
Grab the truck, you can't buy the big block any more.

When do you get your AS?

If you need help with anything, let us know,

Bill
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:13 PM   #6
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fuel mileage

Rstreamn,
Listen, the Avalanche will do fine, we went several thousand miles with a couple this year pulling a 34 foot w/slide-they had absolutely no problems.
Now, a question for you. The big block is sweet, no doubt, and the trans is too, however, a 27 foot behind a big block with a 4.10 rear? My gosh, your fuel mileage will be close to 6-7 MPG!
The 5.7 liter with a 3.73 pulls a 31 footer with absolutely no problems, not even a wheeze. The RPM's are much lower-your engine and your wallet will be much happier.
Now, if, in the future your plans are for a much larger unit, the preplanning might be a better idea.
Just a thought......
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:27 PM   #7
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Bill, we get the AS around 3rd week of October. We can't wait!! I appreciate the offer for help I'm sure we're going to have many questions. We're coming from a MH so the whole towing thing is going to be new.
Steelbird, I hear you on the mileage but after a MH I'm used to it. I'm more concerned with enough power{more than enough}. In the long run I think it will last longer and I'll feel like I'm not pushing the limits of the truck.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:28 PM   #8
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By way my name is Brian. Sorry for not posting it before......
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:37 PM   #9
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Ok, Brian.
I, too, have a MH-390 with the 330 CAT. It actually gets right at 10MPG pulling my toad. I run about 62-65.
I now have a 2500 Duramax that I pull the trailer with, and a Goldwing in the bed. Gets much better fuel mileage than the 350 did, however, the 350 did a great job. I was running 3.42 gears in it, with a locker differential. Did quite well on the interstate, however, with the higher gear, it worked over the trans while in the mountains. The thing that helped me most, I think, was ordering both an auxillary engine oil cooler as well as adding an auxillary trans cooler myself after I got it. I used synthetic fluids always, and it worked wonderfully.
Congrats on your new acquisition. Travel, and enjoy!
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Have no intention of arriving at the grave safely, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand,throttle in the other, totally worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO, WHAT A RIDE!"
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:44 PM   #10
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The truck has an aux trans cooler. Do you feel I need an aux oil cooler? We will travel and we will definately enjoy. Thanks for your help
Brian
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:48 PM   #11
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Steelbird, would you suggest a diesel vehicle instead?
Brian
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:06 PM   #12
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Brian,
It's all a matter of wants.
Like I said before, a 350 gas, 3.73 gears, probably 4 wheel drive due to your location as well as where your travels will take you; a full 4 door cab as you may want to take someone with you somewhere or it is good to have the convenience of storage is good. That is all you would NEED.
Now, a big block for a 27' Safari is WAY overkill, but it makes you feel real good when you mash on the accelerator. The higher revs for the big block aren't such a good idea, yet, with the different trannys out there, the corporate engineers may have a good high ratio final gear w/overdrive. That truck will easily take care of towing anything Airstream makes.
The diesel is mostly for someones ego, IF they are only pulling Airstreams. I admit to some of that, however, I do use mine for other things. I did need the 2500HD to be able to put the motorsickle in the bed as the carrier and the bike weight 1400 lbs. The Duramax is wonderful, however, the Allison transmission is without equal!
Do you need a diesel, heck no. Do you need the Avalanche w/ the big block, no, but it is nice and what you want. Anything above the first mentioned 350 gasser is 'icing on the cake'
If you were to get a diesel, make sure it has a 4 wheel drive as they have so much torque, and Airstreams have such light tongue weights, you caan get stuck on level grass if it's wet!
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:19 PM   #13
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Compared to .... what...?

Brian -

Firstly, welcome to ASF! Best place for AS info - period! I mean, why else would YOU be here, right? For that matter, why else would WE be here?

Saw your question about the Avalanche and it got me to thinking - "Compared to what...?"

Saw that what you are thinking about is maximal power out of the minimum set-up, or better than that, maximum power out of the maximum set-up. Great set of parameters to start the thinking from.... Really!

Lots of folks start from the other end of the spectrum - best case scenario out of a "already have this TV, will it pull it?", or the "will this straight 6 pull this 34 OK on most roads" type stuff. Do a minimal amount of 'search' function in the upper right and it'll load hours of interesting/terrifying reading into you screen....!!!! Really...

Back to your question though.

If I read it right, you are looking for maximal travel with minimal worry, long term durability and hopefully minimal upkeep/repair due to overstressing of the TV...??? Really hope I read that right...! Forging ahead, ...

The critical elements to really proper and stress free towing is NOT the motor. It is certainly central to a great trip however. Don't mis-read what I am saying. Motor is key to going to a set speed, over whatever terrain you select to run on.

The MOST IMPORTANT element to a stress and worry free towing experience is brakes and suspension. *****MY OPINION!!!****** Just being clear. That is not what you are likely to hear from the salespeople (I are one! - not cars thank goodness) or the neighbors. Not even from the general camper population. Most of them are over motored and under braked - BY A LOT!!!!

Once you get to knowing what it takes for TRUE SAFETY, and then look around when you're in your favorite KOA, or Camperland, JellyStone village, or where ever is enough to give you an MI event... ie. heart attack.

SO many folks are pulling rigs with plenty of muscle to get it to speed (or over) and then keep it there. When it comes to evasive maneuvers, panic stops, or getting cut-off by someone.... they are BEGGING for a wreck. Me I got a family in the TV with me! No way am I putting that into play.

OK, ok, ok - soap box is going away..... Not sure why this particular thread got me riled but then, there it is.

Again, my opinion. Get plenty of brakes and suspension to pull whatever you have in mind (consider an upgrade too! - AirStreams do tend to cause upgrade fever!) and the motor that comes with the proper brakes & suspension will be ample to satisfy your desire to be "at the max"....

Nothing looks better than with an AS on the hitch!!!!

All the best, and hope to see you "on the road"!!!

Axel
SilverToy
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:54 PM   #14
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Brian,

My comments are based on having a 2003 2500HD 300hp 4.1rear Sierra 4x4 extended short bed pickup. I think your unit is the same frame, etc.

I pull a 29ft 87 Sovereign that loads out at approx 7300 lbs when I am caravanning. Your widebody 27' will weight the same or more.

Your choice is a good one (if 8-10mpg is not a problem). My 6liter does a good job but, there are plenty of times that I could use more power. (1) you will stay in overdrive nearly all of the time (2) western mountains last year were a very good test, hills with long 3rd gear climbs, (3) not having to get a running start for big hills, (4) higher average cruise speed, less loss on hills, (4) downshifting of the trans at 50-55 on big hills(increased wear).

My truck delivers very good mileage with the trailer (10.5-12) depending on wind, hills, cruise speed, etc.

Would I buy the same rig again. No!!!!!!! I would opt for the gm 8.1, duramax, or ford v-10.
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