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Old 04-20-2019, 04:47 PM   #1
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New to towing, need some advice.

We purchased a 2018 Suburban (3.42 Axles Ratio) with the tow package and our combined weight is 1,484 lbs.

We are interested in buying an Airstream, but we are ignorant when it comes to figuring out the weights, etc. Our Maximum Trailer Weight is 8,600 lbs. and our GCWR in 14,000 lbs. Is there somewhere we can go to figure out which Airstreams we should be looking at?
Thank you.
Lew
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:20 PM   #2
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There have been a lot of Airstreams towed with Suburbans through the years. There are a lot of factors involved in determining what you can tow safely. The GM website or your Chevy dealer can give good advice. And your Airstream dealer can give good advice.

Here is what little I do know. The Airstream you pick will have a tongue weight, which will be applied to the rear of your Suburban. A tongue weight of 800 pounds is typical. That weight will subtract from the total cargo capacity of the Suburban. Same with your passengers and stuff you load into thing.

Then there is the Gross Combined Weight Rating which is the Suburban and Airstream added together, ready for that long travel adventure. What is the weight of the loaded Suburban? I don't know, but 5500 pounds wouldn't surprise. So maybe you are looking at a 8000 pound Airstream including propane, water, and all your provisions.

One key to good towing is a proper weight distribution and sway control hitch. There are many to choose from. Study reviews before buying.

So, sawing on the wrong side of the limb, I might suggest a 25' or 27' Flying Cloud or equivalent would be reasonable behind your Suburban.

I hope others more experienced than me will chime in.

David
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:55 PM   #3
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Payload is term and number to be familiar with. That's how much weight you can haul in the vehicle. The payload number can be found on the door jamb sticker.

Your trailer tongue weight gets deducted from payload, along with everything else you load in to the vehicle, including passengers.

The maximum weight the vehicle can tow is the weight you don't want your trailer to exceed...gross trailer weight.

A quick google says '18 suburban payload might be 1,700 pounds or so, but the number varies based on accessories on the vehicle, ya gotta check the sticker on the door for the exact payload number.

Do a little google searching about towing with the suburban, and payload, and all sorts of stuff comes up.

So, a 7,600 pound airstream would be fine, an 8,500 pound airstream cutting it real close, not my cup of tea, and a 10,000 pound airstream, nope....keeping in mind the payload capacity.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:22 PM   #4
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I can tell you from experience that 3.42 ratio is not the best ratio for towing over mountains. I have 3.73 and. I still get bogged down climbing mountains grades. I wished my burb had a 4.10 ratio.
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by time2travel View Post
We purchased a 2018 Suburban (3.42 Axles Ratio) with the tow package and our combined weight is 1,484 lbs.

We are interested in buying an Airstream, but we are ignorant when it comes to figuring out the weights, etc. Our Maximum Trailer Weight is 8,600 lbs. and our GCWR in 14,000 lbs. Is there somewhere we can go to figure out which Airstreams we should be looking at?
Thank you.
Lew
Thank you all for your input. I greatly appreciate it and it's very helpful.

Lew
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:37 AM   #6
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There are alot of threads on here that we found very helpful on towing and understanding payload etc. There were a few in fact with in the last 2 weeks or so. You can do a search as well and find lots of tid bits or just click on new posts and look through the headings. (If you haven't already figured that out. ) Just think about if you are taking kayaks or anything else and start adding the passengers to that stuff up first then subtract that from your payload # on your sticker and that will give you an idea of what tongue weight you should stay close to so you don't go over your payload.
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
There have been a lot of Airstreams towed with Suburbans through the years. There are a lot of factors involved in determining what you can tow safely. The GM website or your Chevy dealer can give good advice. And your Airstream dealer can give good advice.



Here is what little I do know. The Airstream you pick will have a tongue weight, which will be applied to the rear of your Suburban. A tongue weight of 800 pounds is typical. That weight will subtract from the total cargo capacity of the Suburban. Same with your passengers and stuff you load into thing.



Then there is the Gross Combined Weight Rating which is the Suburban and Airstream added together, ready for that long travel adventure. What is the weight of the loaded Suburban? I don't know, but 5500 pounds wouldn't surprise. So maybe you are looking at a 8000 pound Airstream including propane, water, and all your provisions.



One key to good towing is a proper weight distribution and sway control hitch. There are many to choose from. Study reviews before buying.



So, sawing on the wrong side of the limb, I might suggest a 25' or 27' Flying Cloud or equivalent would be reasonable behind your Suburban.



I hope others more experienced than me will chime in.



David


David, just to quote a Suburban is not enough. There’s a 1500 and then a 2500 Burb, two entirely different vehicles when it comes to towing performances.
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:34 PM   #8
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David, just to quote a Suburban is not enough. There’s a 1500 and then a 2500 Burb, two entirely different vehicles when it comes to towing performances.
Not for retail customers in 2018, just a 1500. Especially with those specs.

The earlier 3/4 ton diesel Suburban listed in your profile had 190 hp and a four speed automatic, both of which would have contributed to your performance issues on grades. The newer models have almost double that hp with the smallest engine, and at least a six speed.
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Old 04-21-2019, 04:16 PM   #9
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I think 23’ to 28’ would work. 28’ tend to have more tongue weight since the kitchen is to the front. Mine is a 28’ and has a tongue weight of about 950bs so when we load I make sure to move weight to the wheels or back of the trailer. 27’ might be the longest and a 25’ would be a good match since the tongue weights are less. I think the 27’ is in the 800’s. Regarding payload remember you CAN put stuff in the trailer, and your WDH will move weight from the tongue to the trailer.

I would not go with a 30’. That would be a tougher tow.
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Old 04-21-2019, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by time2travel View Post
We purchased a 2018 Suburban (3.42 Axles Ratio) with the tow package and our combined weight is 1,484 lbs.

We are interested in buying an Airstream, but we are ignorant when it comes to figuring out the weights, etc. Our Maximum Trailer Weight is 8,600 lbs. and our GCWR in 14,000 lbs. Is there somewhere we can go to figure out which Airstreams we should be looking at?
Thank you.
Lew
.....3:54 gears are a high ratio...
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:36 PM   #11
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I see you are in Charlotte. I am located in Mooresville, just north of you. I had a similar decision to make. I had a 2009 Suburban with the 5.3L V-8 and 3.42 rear axle. I thought I had the max tow package but did not. I had to make the decision of whether to add the HD cooling packages to achieve the max tow weight ratings or to purchase another tow vehicle. I ultimately decided to get a different tow vehicle. I have a post on this process at

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...st-177057.html

We purchased a 2018 Globetrotter 27 front bedroom. Published tongue weight for the GT was 880 give or take. Actual tongue weight after I went to the CAT scales was 1,040. I tell you this just to let you know the tongue weight in the Airstream brochure may not be exactly what you see in the real world.

One issue you will have to get pass is if your rear axle weight rating will be sufficient. Everyone concentrates on the Maximum trailer weight, in your case 8,600, the Suburban can tow. It will be able to tow that amount but you shouldn’t exceed your Rear or Front Axle Weight ratings (RAWR / FAWR). You already know you can’t exceed your GCWR of 14,000.

In my case, the RAWR was 4,200. My actual rear axle weight per the CAT scales with a full tank of gas / 1 passenger and Rear seats removed was 2,720. Adding 1,000 lbs of tongue weight gets me to 3,720. This leaves me with 480 for cargo in my Burb before adding any other passengers, grill or whatever else you pack in your Burb. You can do it, you just have to be aware to stay within your limits.

My 27 FB had a dry weight of 6,600 with the options I ordered. It gets up to 7,300 once I’m packed and ready to camp. 7,600 is the max weight I can have in the GT.

I used my Burb to tow my boat and trailer previously. I would get 10 mpg towing. I figured that would drop to 6-7 mpg’s if I kept the Burb to tow the GT. I also like to travel out West in the mountains. The Burb might make it up the hill…slowly. However, a lot of people forget you also have to keep your speed down when descending the mountain. With no exhaust brake I determined the Burb would not fit my trailering purposes.

If you decide to keep the Burb I would think you could get by with a 25’ or 23’ Airstream. They should weigh less and have less tongue weight.

I ended up going with a GMC Sierra with the Duramax diesel. I couldn’t be happier but that is just me. In my situation, I couldn’t see adding any extra money to my Burb in hopes that it would do what I wanted. It was a great vehicle and I hated getting rid of it but it did not fit the use I needed for the trailer I got.

Airstream has a lot of models and I'm sure you will find the right one for you. Be aware the salesman will tell you that you can tow anything. Don't let them rush your decision. Make sure you are w/n your limits when you select the one that is right for you.
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Old 04-22-2019, 06:42 PM   #12
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Thank you so much, I truly found your advice very helpful.
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Old 05-05-2019, 11:15 AM   #13
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Hello Time2Travel - Lots of good stuff here. I won't repeat any however will give you my experience. I have a 2012 GMC Yukon XL (same as Burb) with the 6.0 and HD tow package. I'm pulling a 1986 29' Sovereign with a loaded 6600 max weight and 700 tongue weight. Upon loading up for two week trips I try and keep the combined below 13,000lbs. On the highway and rolling hills the GMC pulls great. I get too much sway from an old Reese friction bar but it is manageable.

When I get in the mountains on steeper grades (not freeways) my GMC really bogs down and gets very hot. My next TV will be a truck with improved power / torque. I believe a lot of people would be just fine towing a 8000 Lbs loaded trailer on highway grades but I find it light in the mountains. I would be careful buying too much trailer if you plan on heading to the mountains. I purchased a longer pre 1994 as they were lighter back then (or at least rated so).
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:10 PM   #14
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It’s about the brakes

Skip the suburban go directly to A 2500 HD,
It really is about the brakes
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