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Old 10-18-2008, 07:52 PM   #57
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Brian:

As I recall, it was around $650 through a very reputable heavy duty truck shop that specializes in suspension work. A simple 2.5 manhour switch with no other modifications required - permitting me to go back to the original springs for about $250 - including parts. Going back to the original springs will require new OEM shackles since the shop told me that they would not re-torque the old shackles. Accordingly, I threw the old shackles away. Although I was told that the replacement springs are an alternate offered for other GM vehicles (i.e. - ambulance body I believe) I don't know if GM would authorize the change. For the record, I would not sell the vehicle without replacing the original springs for fear someone would unknowingly overload it. My usage is based on careful weighing.

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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
Well, I won't be getting the duals but hopefully the hensley will make up for that.

Appreciate the feedback. Is the modification to put in softer rear springs something that any GMC dealer should be familiar with -or easily able to get info? Presume it would not be too costly a modification - under $1k?

Thanks ......... Brian.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:46 PM   #58
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Air Safe Hitch

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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
Not so much that I "want" a one ton, just that in my local search I haven't come across any recent 3/4 ton 4x4 trucks equipped the way i would want, and all of a sudden, my local GMC dealer has 5 one tonners all diesel, low mileage, equipped for towing. All that I want, except being one ton rather than 3/4 ton.

I know I don't need one ton - just trying to get a feel as to whether it would be a really bad move to buy one rather than waiting for a deal on a 3/4 ton!


Thanks .............. Brian.
Brain, check out this thread. It may be something that
would help out with the 1 ton.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...hes-44641.html
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:33 AM   #59
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Wingeezer,

You are correct. Towing on flat Ohio terrain and the mountainous SW are two totally different scenarios. Having towed campers for 230,000 miles in 46 of the 48 states I strongly second your consideration of the 1/2 ton not being enough truck for the grades, both up and down. Obviously you have already justified the purchase price and the question now is simply "is 1 ton too much?" While I cannot speak with any authority about separation or damage from the TV I do know that the modern truck suspension is a far cry from yesteryear's. I encourage you to buy the 1 ton and then install a 110 gallon auxillary fuel tank in the bed of the truck which will, as someone stated above, give a much better ride when even half full and allow you to fill up with diesel fuel in Oklahoma where it is less expensive. Stopping to fill the tank only once from Canada to AZ is a bonus!

My gut feeling is you will not regret the 1 ton at all!

Godspeed,
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:06 AM   #60
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Heed the warnings concerning WD bars

Hi. Rather than hijack this thread I started a new one concerning my experiences towing with a 1 ton and too heavy bars.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post628736

Wheather you go with the 1 ton or a 3/4 ton, be very careful selecting your WD setup. Andy from Inland RV in particular has been warning folks about this for some time now. jk
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:09 PM   #61
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I would guess that the hill climbing performance of the 5.3 towing about 9000 lbs would be acceptable as long as you were comfortable with the fact that a lot of mountain passes would have the truck in first gear at about 30 mph. However you might still find yourself passing tractor trailers. I live about 25 miles from a long, steep grade (last 5 miles at 8%) and most cars drive up at less than the speed limit, so slowing down to accommodate RVs is not a big deal. Otherwise, the superior aerodynamics of the Airstream will make it easier to tow than just about anything else.

The biggest concern is probably overheating the differential on the half ton.

Sway should not be a problem with a properly set up Hensley with 1000lb bars. You will need 1000 lb and maybe 1400 lb bars with lots of tension on them because the slide out increases tongue weight substantially. You will want to get detailed advice on the setup.

It sounds like you want a new truck, but need to justify it and you don't want to do harm to the trailer. Note that a 2500HD is basically a 3500.

It really depends on how fast you need to go up the hills. Speed always costs money.
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:03 PM   #62
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Brian,

I have a 2004 3500 SRW Chevy Duramax Crew Cab with full 8' bed. It is a big truck and handles our '93 Ltd with ease. No power issues here!

There are suspension issues though. After towing the trailer all over the USA (about 100k), we are seeing the separation nearby the frame at the front of the trailer nearby the banana skin. Molding covers it and continues to come apart.

I didn't realize why it was doing this until Andy Thompson from Can-Am Airstream told me about it. I thought maybe it was a problem from Airstream, but he said that the trailer was built and designed during some of the best years that Airstream had. I guess there are some particular years when they really dropped the ball in both design and construction.

Andy Thompson was at the Region One Rally on PEI this past summer and did a wonderful job with seminars on Airstream repairs and maintenance. In my opinion he is WELL READ on body separation, hitch platforms, and suspension.

He pointed out why my Airstream had body separation. About my truck, he said that the bottom slat or bottom leaf spring is very thick and should be separated from the others unless the truck is loaded down. Mine is right up against the others like it is in overload mode. But, my truck isn't overloaded to the point where it should be this way.

(I have a fiberglass cap, a bed slide and roughly 500-1,000 lbs on the bed slide. The truck weighs 8850 like this.)

He says that sometimes the GM springs get a little soft and the overload spring comes into play too soon. He asked how my truck took the bumps. I told him that it changed from the very beginning and that now it slaps in the rear. This, he said, is a result of riding on the overload springs.

I understand that there are some 1 ton truck (SRW) owners that have removed this overload spring completely or heated it so that the spring is softer and is away from contacting the other springs in the stack.

Another fellow in the group looking at my truck (a crowd gathered around because lots of 3/4 ton and 1 ton truck owners were there), said that Andy had beefed up his hitch platform because the GM hitches (among others) are not up to par or safe enough to tow with. He checked my hitch and found my hitch platform from GM to have 5 major cracks in it.

Andy took a look at it and said it was beyond repair and should not tow another inch. I replaced it that week with a Reese and recently had it beefed up so that it wouldn't twist or tip up and down. I think I have one of the best hitch platforms going now.

But, I have to bring my Airstream to London, Ontario to have Andy's boys put the front end of my trailer back in shape.

Brian, this truck is just wonderful to drive, handles the trailer like you wouldn't believe and with 91k on it, (I just replaced the tires last week), the brakes have 60-70% left on them. Amazing braking!

When my wife drives the truck without the trailer (empty), she gets 19-21 mpg. When I drive it empty, I get 17 or so. When we tow the 9k lb trailer we get between 12-14 mpg. My wife does all the calculations each time we fill up....we don't use the mileage computer.

Mine in white with dark gray interior with all the bells & whistles.....Go For It!

Just deal with the suspension!
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:37 AM   #63
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1 Ton Truck?

Hi, Brian. I have read this whole thread and a few of these posters have hit it pretty close for you, especially wbcci3371 and JK3500. My opinion is that if the deal on the one ton is that good, buy it. Most one tons are basically a 3/4 ton with heavier suspension. You can fix that by removing the top overload spring that looks like it never hits anything and removing the very thick bottom leaf spring that you will never miss. In other words reduce the rear spring rate to that of the 3/4 ton.
A 1/2 ton truck is not enough for a trailer like yours. As for the brakes, the trailer has the brakes to stop the trailer. And the tow vehicle has the brakes to stop the tow vehicle. If you try to stop both vehicles with the trailer brakes, they are going to burn up. [overheat] and if you try to stop both vehicles with the tow vehicle's brakes you are going to cook them too. The brakes on the tow vehicle and trailer need to work together equally and I have gone down many hills without vertually touching my brakes. Let the engine and transmission do the work of holding your speed down or assisting the brake system. Basic rule of towing on hills: Use the same gear going down hill as you did going up that hill. If you had to go into second gear to get up the hill, use second gear to go down the hill. [This means that you will need to manually shift your transmission, unless you have one with the tow-haul mode.]
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:25 AM   #64
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Thanks for that excellent write up!

We live only an hour or so from the Airstream dealer in London Ont. When we bought our 2005 Classic 30 a couple of months back however, we chose to buy it from a dealer in Ohio as prices were a whole lot better! Of course with our sinking Canadian dollar, the deal wouldn't have been quite so good today! It will certainly be to your advantage in having your trailer repaired there though!

My situation has now changed a bit since I initially asked the question about one ton trucks.

Earlier this week, I went to look at the lightly used one tonners that my local dealer had just brought in from the US.

They all looked great, and the price was right, BUT they were all long box trucks. I'm thinking maybe the one ton only comes in long box configration, and my wife just won't go for that due to parking problems - this will be our daily driver.

So, it looks like I will be waiting to find a 2500HD after all!

Nevertheless, I have learned a lot here and I appreciate all the input from everyone.

I imagine that the 2500 also has helper springs and I will watch them closely to ensure they are not coming into play when i tow.

I have just bought a Hensley hitch, not installed yet. I believe the bars are 1000# bars. From what I have read here, when I use the hitch I don't plan on cranking those bars up very much in an effort to minimize chances of damage.

I'd better take a close look at the used trailer we bought to see if i can see any signs of separation damage already - obvioulsy a whole area I should have studied before buying a used AS. Fingers crossed!

Thanks again! .............. Brian.
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:31 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, Brian. I have read this whole thread and a few of these posters have hit it pretty close for you, especially wbcci3371 and JK3500. My opinion is that if the deal on the one ton is that good, buy it. Most one tons are basically a 3/4 ton with heavier suspension. You can fix that by removing the top overload spring that looks like it never hits anything and removing the very thick bottom leaf spring that you will never miss. In other words reduce the rear spring rate to that of the 3/4 ton.
A 1/2 ton truck is not enough for a trailer like yours. As for the brakes, the trailer has the brakes to stop the trailer. And the tow vehicle has the brakes to stop the tow vehicle. If you try to stop both vehicles with the trailer brakes, they are going to burn up. [overheat] and if you try to stop both vehicles with the tow vehicle's brakes you are going to cook them too. The brakes on the tow vehicle and trailer need to work together equally and I have gone down many hills without vertually touching my brakes. Let the engine and transmission do the work of holding your speed down or assisting the brake system. Basic rule of towing on hills: Use the same gear going down hill as you did going up that hill. If you had to go into second gear to get up the hill, use second gear to go down the hill. [This means that you will need to manually shift your transmission, unless you have one with the tow-haul mode.]
Many thanks for your input. Sure glad i asked the question as I have learned a lot here!

The more I read, the more I am determined to get a bigger truck than our 1/2T. If I do use it this winter to tow the AS to Arizona, it will only be because I have not managed to find a suitable larger truck yet. And if I do, I will be taking it real easy, both up & down some of those long grades!

As it turns out, it looks like I will be waiting to find a 2500HD instead of buying one of the 3500HD's my dealer has - I want a short box crew cab, the long box version is just too big for us to use as I daily driver.

Still plan on watching the suspension closely and maybe following up on some of the suggestions re helper springs. Also, I will be extra carefull with use of the tension bars on teh hensley hitch.

......... Brian.
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:49 PM   #66
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I just returned from a short trip from Miami to key west. I have a dodge 3500 dually a Airsafe hitch, Cummings diesel. We are towing a 77/31 AS and the ride is incredibly smooth. We got an average of 17.2 miles per gallon! Granted the speeds are low about 55 miles per hour. I feel that the added stability and traction of the dually and the soft ride with the aisafe hitch cant be beat for over all stability control and safety. I am using a Reese dualcam hitch. If you are floundering on your decision I would push you toward the 1 ton just factor in another 800.00 for the airsafe and forget the price hyped Hensley!
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:13 AM   #67
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Quote:
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I just returned from a short trip from Miami to key west. I have a dodge 3500 dually a Airsafe hitch, Cummings diesel. We are towing a 77/31 AS and the ride is incredibly smooth. We got an average of 17.2 miles per gallon! Granted the speeds are low about 55 miles per hour. I feel that the added stability and traction of the dually and the soft ride with the aisafe hitch cant be beat for over all stability control and safety. I am using a Reese dualcam hitch. If you are floundering on your decision I would push you toward the 1 ton just factor in another 800.00 for the airsafe and forget the price hyped Hensley!
Thanks Phil,

I am sort of focussing on GMC since I have been very happy with the 1/2T Sierra we now own (first truck). I'm sure I would be be happy with any of the big three, but from what I read, I have the impression GM gives the most cofortable ride.

I dropped the idea of a 3500 because If I am correct, I now think it comes only as a long box. We want a crew cab, and with a long box that would be just too much for us as a daily driver, plus I have the impression far more people opy for the 2500HD for a trailer our size.

I certainly might have been interested in the Airsafe had I learned about it before buying a Hensley hitch! At this point it is academic as I don't think the two are compatible. I'm still impressed with everything I have read about the Hensley despite the cost. I just installed in on Friday and all went well. Haven't had chance to tow with it enough yet to really appreciate it, but already I have the feel of a much more stable towing situation compared to the conventional equalizing hitch/sway bar that I had.

Once I get the new truck, if the ride feels too rough, I'll look at other options to improve!

Thanks again ........ Brian.
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Old 10-26-2008, 04:02 PM   #68
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hyped Hensley!
Phil

You have towed with the hyped Hensley?
Did you return it within the 60 days?
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