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Old 03-05-2004, 10:18 AM   #29
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Fred, please excuse one question about the GM gas engine problem-

Can somebody please tell me what the symptoms of CSK or piston slap are? I have the 6 and have been VERY happy with it but I am wondering if I can expect probelms in future?
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:35 AM   #30
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Why I like 3/4 ton trucks for towing...

Quote:
Originally posted by 1985air345
If you disagree, please explain why.
(1) There are better options
(2) You don't think it's a good tow vehicle
(3) Other

After re-reading this thread, it appears some of you are comfortable with 1/2 ton trucks and others prefer a bigger vehicle that even farther exceeds the requirements for comfort and safety reasons.
Fred,

IMHO, the Titan looks like a great truck. The specs look very good. The axles, frame, trans and engine all appear to be up to the task. I'm not sure I'd try to pull any where near the rated 9500lbs with it tho.

My hesitancy with 1/2 trucks has to do with physics. A 7000 lb trailer waggin' a 4000 lb dog. Once moving, your trailer pushes you, and it has more momentum than your truck does. Period. We do many things to mitigate that; brakes on the trailer, various methods of sway control etc. etc., but the bottom line, even with a Hensley, is that your trailer is pushing you. How the physics plays out when that happens depends on many factors, not the least of which, of course, is your hitch and sway control... BUT...

The more weight (and therefore momentum) you have in your tow vehicle, and the longer the effective wheelbase of your tow vehicle, the more difficult it is for your trailer's momentum pushing on the tow vehicle to have catastrophic effects.

It's relative, of course. A Bronco II or Jeep CJ (or YJ) pulling a 16' Bambi is probably more unstable than a 1/2 ton long wheelbase pickup pulling a 25' trailer. Obviously the 1/2 truck would do much better with the Bambi; however when you get into trailers, say 28'+ at 7000lbs+, you may be overreaching the ability of the physics of your 1/2 ton tow vehicle at 4000lbs to resist being pushed.

The other thread I started on gas mileage is really showing that the 10-12mpg range is what folks get when they tow regardless of the size of their engine or trailer. rluhr gets 10-12mpg towing a 2800 lb Caravel with his Honda Pilot. I get about the same mileage towing a 34' tri-axle. Honestly, I don't see a huge difference in gas mileage between tow vehicles. I can get 16.5 mpg with my Ex on the highway, and he gets 22mpg. I guess 5.5 mpg is a fair difference, but I can seat eight in relative comfort and pull nearly 10k lbs (NOT at the same time, of course...)

Other than the obvious, parts are typically more expensive for a 3/4 ton, there aren't many reasons NOT to tow with one. I bought the Ex to tow with and to be a family car. I leave it in the garage most of the time. My wife commutes in a Nissan Altima, and I bought a '92 Toyota 4WD pickup for $2k to drive around town and to drive to work. I realize that's a luxury that some folks don't have, but it works for me.

The problem then, with 1/2 ton tow vehicles and 28'+ trailers is that although the truck may have the power and capacity to tow the required amount of weight, they may themselves not be heavy enough to control that weight when you need that control the most. In 99.5% of the situations you'll normally find yourself in it won't be a problem; however, the peace of mind that knowing I have those few extra pounds, the extra power, and extra braking capacity gives me while towing makes a huge difference in my ability to enjoy our travels.

I guess I see it as the difference between making your tow vehicle squeeze out enough to make it work, or trying to give yourself as much cushion as possible to cover exigencies.

My $.02 worth...

Roger
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Old 03-05-2004, 12:40 PM   #31
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here's my thinking

In answer to your question (and mind you, this only my personal opinion based on a lot of miles towing), yes there are better options. As to it being a good tow vehicle the question should be is it an appropriate tow vehicle for the your use.

Here is the basis for my opinion for going the 3/4 ton route whether it be Ford GM or Dodge, as all three are good vehicles that are pretty much trouble free. My first trailer was a 27' Jayco and if I remember right the empty weight was around 6,000 lbs. I towed it with a '96 GMC 1500 4x4 auto 3.73 rear end 5.7 V8. According to the specs on the truck the camper was within the capability of the truck. The truck would be loaded with four people, a generator, four 7.5 gallon jugs of water, firewood from two wheelbarrows, a bbq pit, an extra spare tire, a compressor, trailer ramps, an ice chest and some bicycles. The trailer got loaded with food and other provisions for three days to 14 days.
Get on the interstate and the truck would hold 60-65 with overdrive locked out. However, the wind would usually kick up and fighting a strong head wind the combo would have trouble holding 50-55 on gently rolling terrain. One particular trip to Padre Island I had to shift to second gear to maintain 55 on an interstate (I-37 to Corpus Christi) where the speed limit was 70 and the 18 wheelers and other traffic are passing you at 80. And as each 18 wheeler would pass the truck would start to be sucked towards the 18 wheeler; not a good feeling. I took a couple more trips like this and traded for a short bed '97 Ford 4 door with 4x4, 460 auto and the 4.10 rear end. All of the towing problems evaporated. The stress level while driving went way down and economy wise I think the larger truck used a little less fuel and didn't work anywhere near as hard.

That unstable feeling while towing makes for some awfully long trips. And it all boiled down to the fact that the 1/2 ton in the application I had it was not appropriate.

I went with the V10 because I think the 5.4 is too light for a truck that weighs over 6,500 lbs empty. The mileage is good (especially compared to the 460 in the '97 truck) and the performance is nice. I don't feel I need the torque of the diesel for what I'm towing and the extra cost to buy and maintain a diesel is pretty steep. The torque of the GM 6 litre or the Dodge 5.7 should be adequate for what I tow now too if I owned one of those brand trucks.

In short it just boils down to a realist survey of the trailer weight, how you travel and the road conditions you might encounter on those trips. (sorry for being so long winded.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:32 PM   #32
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Roger,

That was the best argument for the 3/4 truck I have ever read. Very nice. Hard to argue against your logic. But you have a tow truck AND a everyday car. If you can't have both, then it's a compromise between the two and I think a 1/2 ton can work as a compromise.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:41 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by Big Dee
Roger,

That was the best argument for the 3/4 truck I have ever read. Very nice. Hard to argue against your logic. But you have a tow truck AND a everyday car. If you can't have both, then it's a compromise between the two and I think a 1/2 ton can work as a compromise.
And I think you're right, Dee. There are many competent half-ton trucks out there that will tow a trailer very nicely. With a half-ton truck, you just have to be realistic in the size trailer you're towing. If you stay in the 5000lb range (give or take) with your trailer, you're going to be OK. When you start to challenge the upper limits of what the half-tonners are capable of towing, you begin courting serious problems.

I was greedy in that I wanted a 34' tri-axle. Honestly, a 3/4 ton long-bed crew cab would be ideal for my situation. Unfortunately, I didn't want a 'truck', I wanted a family station wagon. The Ex, while a little short for towing a 34' from a wheelbase standpoint, is adequate and fits the bill for both purposes.

BTW, the reason I bought the '92 Toyota truck wasn't as much that I was concerned about the Ex as a daily driver or about the gas mileage as I only live about 8 blocks from work. It's that I'm frugal (ok, let's call a spade a spade...I'm a cheapskate) and every mile I put on the Ex depreciates it. The Toyota won't depreciate much more regardless of the mileage. Also, two daily trips of 8 blocks become a maintenance nightmare with rusted exhaust components etc. etc. and they're a whole lot cheaper and easier to replace on the Toyota than the Ex!

Roger
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:43 PM   #34
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As for the weight difference, the 3/4 GMC is only 1200# heavier than my 1/2 Denali GVWR. Does that 1200# make that much difference?
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Old 03-05-2004, 02:06 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by Big Dee
As for the weight difference, the 3/4 GMC is only 1200# heavier than my 1/2 Denali GVWR. Does that 1200# make that much difference?
From a physics perspective, I'd have to say yes. I haven't looked up the real-world figures, but if your Denali weighs approx. 4500lbs, that would make the 3/4 ton GMC about 5700 lbs, an increase of around 20%. I'm neither a physicist, nor mathematician, but every increased pound your tow vehicle weighs requires that much more energy to change it's direction of movement. I'd say that a 20% increase in weight IS pretty significant.

Roger
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Old 03-05-2004, 04:26 PM   #36
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1/2 ton confirmation

I'm a new a/s owner (bought a used 97 Safari last fall) and am delighted with it. Moved up from a long history with pop-ups, and always knew that the only hard-side for me was gotta be an Airstream.

My tow vehicle is a 96 Tahoe with the tow package, but I still lost my tranny on my first trip, up at Rocky Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I didn't know then that towing in top gear (OD) was deadly and suspect that this was the cause. When I got my new (rebuilt) trans, I ran all the way home in 3rd, and since the RPMs never got above 3000 or so at highway speed it felt jsut fine.

I do like the versatility of an SUV as opposed to having a dedicated tow vehicle. Is it the sense of the group that a 4-door Tahoe-type has too short a wheelbase, even if I can get a 3/4 ton model? The description earlier in this thread about getting sucked and pushed every time a semi passed was on the button as far as I was concerned.

By the way, I've been reading for about a month and I can't tell you how much I've learned.

Thanks - Pat.
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Old 03-05-2004, 05:09 PM   #37
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Re: 1/2 ton confirmation

Quote:
Originally posted by pmclemore
I didn't know then that towing in top gear (OD) was deadly and suspect that this was the cause. Thanks - Pat.
Hi Pat while you won't know for sure, it may have been a contributing factor. One of the nice things about my 3/4 ton van is its ability to use O.D. for towing due to the heavier duty transmission and oil cooler. I could only use 3rd gear in my 1/2 van.

Bottom line for all newbees reading this thread. Read your tow vehicles owners manual. You will find the information you need about towing and recommendations whether O.D. towing is allowable.

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Old 03-05-2004, 07:05 PM   #38
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Re: 1/2 ton confirmation

Quote:
Originally posted by pmclemore
I do like the versatility of an SUV as opposed to having a dedicated tow vehicle. Is it the sense of the group that a 4-door Tahoe-type has too short a wheelbase, even if I can get a 3/4 ton model? The description earlier in this thread about getting sucked and pushed every time a semi passed was on the button as far as I was concerned.

Thanks - Pat.
Hi, Pat. I'm not sure you're ever going to find consensus. Each of us have our different experiences, successes and near failures. Our advise will be colored by our experience.

Presuming that your Tahoe is on the Chevy pickup 1/2 frame, and if your Safari loaded is under the rated towing capacity of the Tahoe, and the entire thing is under the GCVWR you're probably OK in that regard. Your hitch setup and tire configuration/pressure may have as much to do with the "semi-sucking" phenominon as your wheelbase and curb weight. I experienced that with the Ex and Behemoth until I figured out that the hitch tow bar was too long for my application which allowed it to flex negating some of the effect of the Dual-Cam sway control. The sidewalls of my tires were also too flexible allowing the whole thing to wallow and wobble down the road. Once I changed over to the correct length draw bar, changed the tires from D range to E range, and aired them up properly, all that vagueness disappeared.

Before I'd trade off the Tahoe, I'd certainly experiment a little with your hitch settings and tire pressures to see if you can tweak it to make your towing more comfortable.

Roger
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Old 03-05-2004, 08:14 PM   #39
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I have had some experience in this regard. As a newbie I had to rely on my dealer, and the manuals to figure out if I was within spec.

First trailer 74, 27 foot overlander 6200 LBS GVWR towed with a '95 F150 4X4 5.0L V8 Extended cab, with factory trailer package that was rated at 7500 LBS.
Standard equalizer hitch and NO sway control ( I know, I was a newbie, remember?) I had no trouble towing with this truck and even put the whole rig to the accident avoidance test. The rig passed, the deer was a fur covered pile on the shoulder.The truck was in the shop for 4 weeks with 5K in damage, but the trailer was undamaged and I was able to maintain control without nay trouble. I towed this combo almost every weekend for 2 summers without a lick of trouble. I did not tow in overdrive, per the manual.

Second trailer was a 77, 31 footer that had a GVWR of 7600 LBS. Same truck at first. Added sway control. The same truck would pull it but was not happy. This trailer was at the absolute max of what I was rated to tow and I did not feel as comfortable as I had with the 27. I upgraded trucks to a 96 F150 4X4 5.8L V8 Extended cab, with factory trailer package that was rated at 7900 LBS. This truck was able to tow without a problem and I was able to tow in OD on the flats. I towed this trailer twice from Wisconsin to N, Dakota two years in a row and it was a dream of a TV. No sway, or sucking as the trucks passed.

Then we bought a behemoth to tow with when we full timed. 1 ton crew cab diesel dually F350. It got 10 with or without the trailer 3 speed trans with a 4:10 Rear.

Both of the F150 trucks were my daily driver and I did not want to have one be a single use vehicle. One of the things to look at is what is realistic to tow whit the vehicle you have. A lot of folks hear the RV sales rep say yeah, that will tow this. And believe them. Do your homework, and check your manuals. See if a dealer will allow you to do a test tow. You will be at the least confident in what you can tow. If you can go Vintage you can get more trailer at the same GVWR.
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:49 PM   #40
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It appears from the specs that the Titan could easily handle up to the 25' units. Problem is I'm not keen on the 25' models (even though I'm totaly dreaming about the future) since I have two boys entering their teen years (13,10) that will be growing into adults.

What kills the 28' units is the hitch weight. The Titan is rated for 930 pounds with the tow package. The Safari 28' W comes in at 890 pounds at the hitch without variable items (i.e. cargo). The Safari 28' with slide out weighs in at a whopping 1,250 pounds on the hitch. That's way over the Titan's limit of 930 pounds.
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Old 03-06-2004, 06:23 AM   #41
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Johnhd on this forum has had no problems with his 6 litre engine and I have had no pr

yes craig is correct!

44,000 miles and no problem with cold start knock or anything else for that matter.

as for the nissan, i would tend to stay away from imports. i'm sure both toyota and nissan make fine vehicles for the odd run to home depot or the garden center. but, towing heavy items is best left to domestics for all the reasons mentioned earlier. why buy a titan when you could purchase a 1 or 2 year old chevy or ford 3/4 ton for half the price, and most likely still under factory warranty? no flames folks just my .02 cents.

as for usefullness of a 3/4 ton truck as a daily driver, "it is tough to drive and park in town"....SO WHAT! you guys and gals should try driving a 53,000 4x4 line truck in traffic! talk about owning the road!

i have a jeep wrangler for bombing around in and running errands, nice small second vehicle. horrible to drive and maintain. it reminds me of a 74 dodge dart i owned once, except it has a transfer case! the mileage isn't that good, around 18 on a good day with a tail wind!

i towed my 29 with a number of 1/2 tons over the years, all chevys with 350's, did o.k. but the current setup is a much better combination for all around towing. the longer wheel base is really the key!

john
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Old 03-06-2004, 06:26 AM   #42
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Fred,

You need to keep you eyes open for a 31 foot rear double Sovereign. 77-81 vintage. You will stay 10-15%under the Titan's tow rating and have plenty of room. Even fully loaded. This model is very abundant and can be had for 25-30% the cost of a new 28 foot safari with slide out.

Of course all the caveats apply regarding leaks and floor rot. but is you factor a couple of grand into the purchase for carpet, tires, the AC, etc. you still end up with a very nice coach. Besides no one but another Airstreamer can ever tell if a coach that is nice shape is new or not. Other Rvers thought our 77 was new in the late 90's all the time.
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