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Old 11-04-2015, 07:46 PM   #1
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Opinions on what I can tow

Hi All,
I have a 2015 GMC Savana extended 2500 van. Quigley 4wd and 6.0L gas engine 3.42 axle ratio.
Specs are 8600# GVWR and 16000# GCWR and 10000# max trailer wgt. if I read them correctly.
My van weighs about 8000# as outfitted leaving 8000# available for trailer gross weight. I've heard to use 80% for safety margin so that equates to a 6400# loaded trailer.
Am I digesting this information correctly? If so that means a 23 ft AS (6000 GVW) is about as big as I should tow.
What are your thoughts and experiences?
Thanks in Advance!
Greg
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:06 PM   #2
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Opinions on what I can tow

Welcome to the forums!

Sadly, you've wandered into the most contentious mine field of a topic on the forums. I think you are off to a great start, doing your own calculations and considering what your tolerance for risk is. If you browse just some of the most recent threads in the towing and tow vehicles category, you should see what to expect.

Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:39 PM   #3
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(So far - holding true to the life and death of a thread pattern &#128515

Sorry, Greg - when you see that thread you'll get the joke!

I think you have the right idea. You have to think about what else is in the van (people, pets, gear, etc) that also reduces capacity and the fact that a stated GVW rating for a trailer may not be the weight in use. My 27FB Flying Cloud for example comes in loaded for camping (full FW tank, propane tanks, clothes, dishes, etc) at about 6000# on the scales though its GVW rating is 7300 (or is it 7600...brain cramp! &#128515.

Another consideration is where you'll be driving. Folks will typically say if you're doing a lot of mountain driving (e.g., Colorado Rockies) you want to be sure you can get up and down the mountains safely without over-stressing engine, transmission, cooling systems, brakes, etc. if you're in flatter territories - that's a bit less of a concern.

Bottom line - with some caveats and more info to check, you should likely be in good shape for anything up to a 27 with that tow vehicle.

Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:53 PM   #4
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If your van weighs 8000 lbs and its maximum loaded weight is 8600 lbs, you have little left to carry the trailer tongue weight. If you want to apply an arbitrary 80% safety margin, you're already overweight.

I would start by dumping the 80% margin in favor of vehicle rated limits, proper weight distribution setup, good driving practices, and an easy and stable trailer to tow (you are looking at a good one).

Then see if you need everything you have in the van as set up. Depending on your own expectations from the engine going down the highway and climbing and descending grades, you may be okay for a mid-size Airstream.

No one else knows what you will really expect. My sense is that some will find the available power okay and some would be greatly disappointed. Plan to use the transmission shifting down a lot either way.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:05 PM   #5
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Hi Keepon

I have a 2500 GMC crew cab with canopy 4x4 6.0l. My truck weighs in at 6600 lbs when we are loaded up compared to the book weight of 5600 lbs. Your vehicle book curb weight appears to be 5300 lbs, are you sure that you are packing nearly 2700 lbs payload?

My truck has the 3.73 rear end with 6 speed tranny. I tow our 1976 26 ft Overlander 7300 lbs GVW. my issue is that on my truck the GVCW is only 14,600 lbs which leaves me very little wiggle room for added rock collections that my 5 year old daughter adds all the time. We live in BC and tow over all the mtn passes without any worries up or down. The gear selector is very helpful for long down hills. You will likely get brake pulsating on the GM's they just build them that way, poor design.

Happy streaming.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:11 PM   #6
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Hi Greg,

You asked for experiences, here's mine. I had a 1988 Chevy half ton van with a 350 (5.7 liter) and a 3.42 rear end. I pulled a 25 ft white box from 1989 to 1997 when I got smarter and bought a '97 25' Safari. I added a transmission cooler and a transmission oil temperature gauge to the van. With the white box, strong west Texas winds forced me into second gear at least one time (only 3 speed with OD). My Airstreams have never had that problem. Drive conservatively and you will be alright. Take your time going up and especially down mountains). I do recommend transmission cooler and gauge.

In 1998 I moved to a 1-ton chevy van with a 454 (7.4 liter). No problem with power but I could only get 9 mpg towing -- and 9 mpg solo around town. Ouch. I traded to a 25' A/S Classic in 2008 and I think the 1-ton suspension with a short hitch overhang was not doing good things to the A/S. In 2009 I moved to an F150.

Vans are great for towing. Short distance from the rear axle to the hitch and tons of room to haul stuff. I moved to a P/U so I wouldn't have to smell the gas from my generator and since my kids were beyond college and didn't need moving help anymore. btw, a full size van with the all the rear seats removed will haul a LOT more than any pickup. And do it without rain worries.

Good luck.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:25 AM   #7
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In my opinion you can pull any trailer Airstream ever made, even though I would leave the 34's alone.

I have pulled a 30 ft. Classic for 5 years and close to 45000 miles with no problems with less TV than you have.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by larryglarson View Post
In my opinion you can pull any trailer Airstream ever made, even though I would leave the 34's alone.

I have pulled a 30 ft. Classic for 5 years and close to 45000 miles with no problems with less TV than you have.
Today I went through the van and took out what I felt wasn't needed. I may take a ride to the scale later and get a new weight without food, water, clothing or the motorcycle. My thinking is that if I'm pulling an AS I wont need 20 gallons of water in the van and most food and clothing will be in the AS. I know what the bike weighs so I can add that back in later. If I take a side trip with just the van I can pack what I need from the AS. It will be interesting to see what the new weight is. My weakest link right now seems to be tongue weight.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keeponcampin View Post
Hi All,
I have a 2015 GMC Savana extended 2500 van. Quigley 4wd and 6.0L gas engine 3.42 axle ratio.
Specs are 8600# GVWR and 16000# GCWR and 10000# max trailer wgt. if I read them correctly.
My van weighs about 8000# as outfitted leaving 8000# available for trailer gross weight. I've heard to use 80% for safety margin so that equates to a 6400# loaded trailer.
Am I digesting this information correctly? If so that means a 23 ft AS (6000 GVW) is about as big as I should tow.
What are your thoughts and experiences?
Thanks in Advance!
Greg
With that van you can tow any Airstream made. Go get what you want.
I tow a Classic 30 with a Tundra.
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Old 11-10-2015, 12:25 PM   #10
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I'd agree that the van can likely tow the trailer fine, but the question I still have is what the available payload is after considering the Quigley 4wd conversion (about 300-400 lbs) and any other items added to the van. If the curb weight is actually 8000 lbs that only leaves 600 lbs for passengers, cargo, and trailer tongue weight. A scale ticket is required to see what is really available.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:07 PM   #11
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You could consider this Avion:
1987 32' Avion Travel Trailer

Looks like a beautiful trailer.
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryglarson View Post
In my opinion you can pull any trailer Airstream ever made, even though I would leave the 34's alone.

I have pulled a 30 ft. Classic for 5 years and close to 45000 miles with no problems with less TV than you have.
The 34' models are actually quite light considering their size, lighter than some of the newer, shorter models - especially in the heavy Classic trim version. Our 34' International has a factory weight of 6025lbs, ready to camp around 7200lbs. Additionally, they are the best towing Airstreams ever made.

We tow ours with a minivan.
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