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Old 07-25-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
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1986 29' Sovereign
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New Suburban / Yukon - 5.3 or 6.2 Engine

I'm in the market for a 27' or 29' (1970 - 1980) Overlander or Ambassador. My old suburban needs to be replaced now. My question: Does anyone have experience pulling these trailers with a Suburban/Yukon XL? Is the 5.3 L 330 HP enough for a 4800 Lb dry weight trailer loaded to 6500lb. According to GMC I have a 14000 GCWR which leaves about 6600 - 7100 for a gross trailer weight (depends on if you subtract tongue weight from trailer and add to truck). So it sounds like I'm technically covered as long as I get the HD trailering, and brake controller. What about your experience do you need the bigger engine (6.2L 400HP)? I have 4 boys and need a big SUV for non trailering days. Moving into the 6.2 L means a $9000 more expensive Denali. Although I'm a Minnesota flatlander, this combo will go all thru the West.

Appreciate your experience and wisdom
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:44 PM   #2
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Perhaps my recent tale of long distance towing will help with your decision:

Adventures of a Curious Fellow: Key West Camping Trip

Tom
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:50 AM   #3
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TomW, Thanks for your info. I enjoyed your trip report. I assume your Yukon is a late model with the 5.3 engine and the heavy duty trailering package. Did you get into any large hills or mountains with this combination. Your Airstream is within just a couple 100 lbs of what I'm looking for.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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Hi - I recently towed a similar weight Airstream from Denver to California with a 6.0 liter 2001 Yukon Denali XL rated at 320 hp and 365 torque, which is very close to the current 5.3 specs. Mine has only a 4-speed transmission and 3.73 gears.

Personally, at 8,000 feet elevation going uphill into a 30 mph headwind I found it a bit underpowered. OK, but not great. Entering freeways I always wished I had more power. The 6-speed transmission in the newer generation will improve your performance.

I think this will come down to your personal feelings about performance (I like to have a big cushion) and economics.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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Harrysheets,

Thanks for the nod about my trip report. My Yukon is a 2009 model. According to the owner's manual, it has the 5.3L with a 3.42 axle.

I purchased it new for my wife, and did not ask for the HD cooling package since I never thought I would be towing with it.

But, as equipped, its 5700 lb maximum trailer weight rating provides in excess of 1000 pounds reserve for towing my Overlander.

I was very pleased with the truck's performance.

Tom
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrysheets View Post
I'm in the market for a 27' or 29' (1970 - 1980) Overlander or Ambassador. My old suburban needs to be replaced now. My question: Does anyone have experience pulling these trailers with a Suburban/Yukon XL? Is the 5.3 L 330 HP enough for a 4800 Lb dry weight trailer loaded to 6500lb.
I have a 2004 Suburban and don't know much about the newer (2007 and later) ones.

You probably want the 2500 version, mainly because of rear axles considerations. With 5+ people, gear, full fuel, and a variable tongue weight that is likely to approach 800 pounds at least at times, you would be pushing the rear axle weight rating for the 1500.

Quote:
Although I'm a Minnesota flatlander, this combo will go all thru the West.

Appreciate your experience and wisdom
Well here in Minnesota there's always the river valleys.

Again I don't know much about the fancy new engines.

The 8.1 I have is supposed to produce around 350 HP and seems like a pretty good match for my 30' classic. So on paper the 5.3 with the newer 6 speed transmission should do fine.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:03 PM   #7
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May I suggest you procure your AS first. Trucks in various configurations are a lot easier to find than that specific AS. You just may find, and fall in love with some AS which is very different than what you now conceive. If you get a bigger or newer AS, you'll need more truck....just after you ate the depreciation on the one you just bought.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:51 PM   #8
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The 5.3 w/ the 3.42 rear-end (HD Trailering package) will probably be more than enough for the flat-lands. You're not going to win any drag races but it'll get you moving and keep you moving. Use tow-haul mode.

If you think that you need more, my advice would be to move up to the 6.0 3/4 ton with the 3.73 rear-end. Not only is the gearing better for towing but you'll have over 2000lbs of available carrying capacity as opposed to 1300ish for the 1/2 ton chassis.

The payload capacity of the 6.2 1/2 ton is actually less than the 5.3 1/2 ton because the engine takes up more of the total. Don't forget the Denali and the Escalade may come with the 6.2 but they're still built on the 1/2 ton chassis.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:38 AM   #9
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Some Longterm follow up - We did purchase the 2012 Denali Yukon XL with the larger 400HP engine and a 1986 29' Sovereign. While traveling to Yellowstone we took the route through the Bighorn National Forest with 13,000 Lbs Gross. Everything got very hot. I was very happy we had larger engine and all the cooling options. Other routes have not presented any issues yet. As much as we love the GMC Yukon XL the next TV could be a GMC 2500 HD truck.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:11 PM   #10
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...and the rest of my story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrysheets View Post
Some Longterm follow up - ... As much as we love the GMC Yukon XL the next TV could be a GMC 2500 HD truck.
We just completed an epic trip out West towing my American Classic with my 2013 Silverado 2500HD. What a beast! My 6'-2" son fit comfortably in the back seat, and the truck had all the power we needed through all 18 states on the odyssey.



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Old 09-16-2017, 05:20 PM   #11
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Some Longterm follow up - We did purchase the 2012 Denali Yukon XL with the larger 400HP engine and a 1986 29' Sovereign. While traveling to Yellowstone we took the route through the Bighorn National Forest with 13,000 Lbs Gross. Everything got very hot. I was very happy we had larger engine and all the cooling options. Other routes have not presented any issues yet. As much as we love the GMC Yukon XL the next TV could be a GMC 2500 HD truck.
That gross weight is comparable to my parents rig when first acquired. A 1976 Cadillac with larger engine and far less power. Somehow went 187,000 miles in 12-years and soldiered on with next owner.

That rig covered the US and Canada.

Did it get a little hot? Sure did.

My old man was from Colorado. You wouldn't have wanted to have ridden with up Mount Evans in that Cad. Hairy ride at those speeds (ha!)

It ain't the rig. It's the operator.

Take your time. A one ton isn't an improvement to rig stability. Quite the opposite.

.
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Old 09-16-2017, 05:27 PM   #12
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I've had the 5.3 max tow in a 2015 Silverado high country. Long tow day are tough on it. I just swapped for a 6.6 duramax. I would go 6.2 in that suburban
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:28 PM   #13
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We have a 2016 27FC FB and the GVWR is 7600 lbs. Our initial tow vehicle was a 2002 Yukon XL 5.3 L 1/2 ton 2x2 with 4.10 gear ratio and tow package with an Equalizer 10k lb hitch. Although on paper this set up appeared adequate but in a 6 month reality, no.

Still wanted a full size SUV. Sold the 2002 and bought a 2005 Yukon XL 6.0 L 3/4 ton 4x4 with 4.10 gear ratio, tow package, cold air intake, performance muffler and a tuner (only to change the gas setting to "premium"). Worth every investment to upgrade. Still using Equalizer hitch. Totally towing with confidence now especially up and down grades. In my opinion, everything helps but 4.10's really helps power to go up, and especially going down hill. For me it's the total package-I feel our set up is to my liking and therefore the power to travel with confidence.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:50 PM   #14
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I ran VIN decoder on my 2015 Suburban LT 4WD as well and was wondering what the difference between these are:

Dead Weight Hitch - Max Trailer Wt.: 5000 lbs 5000.0 min 5000.0 max
Dead Weight Hitch - Max Tongue Wt.:
500 lbs 500.0 min 500.0 max
Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Trailer Wt.:
8000, 6000 lbs 6000.0 min 8000.0 max
Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Tongue Wt.:
800, 600 lbs 600.0 min 800.0 max

Does it mean that I can tow up to 8000 lbs if I use a wt distributing hitch such as equalizer or hensley?

Also, does this mean I have a transmission cooler?
"Cooling, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, heavy-duty air-to-oil"

Thanks in advance!
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