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Old 02-19-2016, 12:34 PM   #1
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Powertrain Lessons

I need a lesson on power trains.
I usually keep my vehicles 10 to 15 years. Iím considering purchasing either a 4x4, with a tow package, 2016 (1) GMC Yukon XL, (2) Chevrolet Suburban or (3) a Ford Expedition EL.
I will purchase one of these 3 TV and use it to pull my 2016 30 foot Flying Cloud.
The 2016 GMC Yukon XL has a 6.2L 8 cylinder engine, an 8 speed transmission, and a tow rating limit of 8,000 pounds.
The 2016 Chevrolet Suburban has a 5.3L 8 cylinder engine, 6 speed transmission, and a tow rating limit of 8,000 pounds.
The 2016 Ford Expedition EL has a 3.5L twin turbo 6 cylinder engine, 6 speed transmission, and a tow rating limit of 9,100 pounds.
Question 1: Why would a 3.5L twin turbo 6 cylinder engine have a larger tow capacity than a 6.2L 8 cylinder engine?
Question 2: Over the long run, would towing a 30 foot Flying Cloud create more wear and tear (and therefore maintenance) on the 6 cylinder engine than on the big block 8 cylinder engine?
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:41 PM   #2
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Buy one and try it,I like the dodge with a cummins....
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:16 PM   #3
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Gmc

The only engine I see shown in a 2016 GMC Yukon XL is a 5.3.............?

Denali maybe? It does have the 6.2 but, I don't see an XL Denali...

The 3.5 EcoBoost pulls like a diesel (low end grunt) and Ford claims the durability of the EcoBoost is VERY high.

But, there is more to a tow vehicle than just engines....

The 2016 30' Flying Cloud shows a "base" weight of around 6,400#

I would bet you will run out of rated payload on all of those vehicles pretty quick once the actual tongue weight is known..........what all else will be in the vehicle?

Normally, you will run out of available payload before you approach the "mystical" published towing weights........

Of the 3 you mentioned, the Ford "may" best fit the bill.............

You will be at the upper end of TW capability with a 30' FC with any of them.

Personally, for that trailer, I would most likely get a 3/4 ton pickup.

Just my opinion.
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:36 PM   #4
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The engines don't have different tow ratings, the vehicles do. Engine power is but one factor. Look to the chassis, cooling, braking, and so on. Any of those three have sufficient power. You may be happier with more power, so I would consider the 6.2 or Ecoboost. I like the greater torque at low rpm with the Ecoboost.

There is no data for comparative maintenance costs. I wouldn't presume any significant difference in either direction. The Ecoboost has been around longer. And I think you will find that GM calls the 6.2 a small block.

Drive both, choose the one you like. And as noted above, make sure you have sufficient payload capacity on the specific configuration you choose, not just on the generic platform rating.

Jeff
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:46 PM   #5
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I would go with a 3\4 ton to. Having lost my brake controller on the way down the pass to Jackson hole wyoming , you learn to quickly appreciate the heavier brakes that come with it. Also having towed around 100,000 mile in the last 15 years I have had a # of people pull out in front of me. The closer you are to max towing cap. The less actual stopping power you have. You only need to get pushed thru a stop sign or an intersection once. Granted they cost more but worth it . Also the heavier vehicle strains Les and lasts longer. Good luck.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:28 PM   #6
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Good Information

All good information here for either an expert or a newbie.

My opinion only - there is no better method of determining tow ratings than the actual manufacturers. Why would anyone want to pull more than what the manufacturing company recommends?

I have been seriously looking at tow ratings for the last 25 years.

I believe that the first rating to be busted is usually the rear axle rating. Be sure to accurately estimate the gear you will be hauling in the truck/SUV, then add the weight of the tongue to the hitch. Don't kid yourself that a weight distribution hitch will transfer some weight to the front or to the trailer...if you are that close you need to go up to a vehicle with a higher rear axle weight rating.

For many years it was recommended here in the Forums to estimate the total actual load on the vehicle, then add 20% as a safety margin, THEN shop for a safe tow vehicle....good idea as far as I am concerned.

Be advised that both trailer manufacturers and auto manufacturers will lie to you about weights. You will only know the actual weights after you take your particular vehicles to a weigh station and get a certified printout. Best alternative is to study these Forums and find those with similar vehicles that have shared CAT sale tickets, and believe the Forum members rather than the manufacturers.

Lastly - all salesmen WILL lie to you to make a sale...insist that any capacity or weight claims be backed up by black and white on paper that would be admissible in a court of law.

Good luck - visit as many Forum or WBCCI rallies as you can and ask questions of owners of similar vehicles that you may be interested in.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:56 PM   #7
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Lots of good advice above.

My 2 cents: if you are the type to load the Airstream and the truck with lots of stuff, I would focus on the GVWR for both. Add them together. If you'll be towing mainly in the flat lands, and don't mind slowing a bit on the hills, then a truck with a GCWR equal to the total GVWR's would work. If you don't want to slow down on the hills back East, then shoot for about 10-20% extra margin. If you are going to tackle the mountains out West, look for about a 30% margin; unless you'll be there rarely or don't mind slowing down over the passes (you lose 3% of your HP/Torque for every 1,000 ft above sea level).

If you don't load up your vehicles with "stuff", you could subtract 10% from these recommendations.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH View Post
...all salesmen WILL lie to you to make a sale...
SO TRUE!!!! Do NOT believe a WORD that a car salesman tells you about towing capacity, cargo capacity, etc. Don't even bother asking them for the info... you MUST determine this for yourself for the specific vehicle that you are looking at!


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
...make sure you have sufficient payload capacity on the specific configuration you choose, not just on the generic platform rating.

Jeff


Quote:
Originally Posted by 7GenTex View Post
I would bet you will run out of rated payload on all of those vehicles pretty quick once the actual tongue weight is known..........what all else will be in the vehicle?

Normally, you will run out of available payload before you approach the "mystical" published towing weights........

You will be at the upper end of TW capability with a 30' FC with any of them.

Personally, for that trailer, I would most likely get a 3/4 ton pickup.

Just my opinion.
And my opinion, as well. Pay close attention to how much cargo capacity/payload you will require! A great many vehicles will be able to two the trailer, but which ones have the cargo capacity that you require! This is a specification that so many people totally ignore and is a critically important one.

With our 2016 30' Serenity we needed to go with the 3/4 ton to get the cargo/payload capacity that we needed. (We initially tried to go with a Yukon XL, but the cargo capacity just wasn't there - same with the 1/2 ton pickups we liked.)

Tongue weight with the 30', when loaded, can vary from around 900 to 1200#. Then we add the weight of my wife & myself, the two dogs, the tonneau cover on the truck, Honda 2000 generator, generator fuel, outdoor camp equipment, BBQ, camp chairs, some tools, some campfire wood, and a few cargo containers with miscellaneous items that we like to have along brought us up to around 2065# cargo capacity, with around 229# of remaining available cargo capacity with the heavily optioned Denali HD pickup.

Man 190
Woman 140
Golden Lab Dog 100
Staff/Heeler Dog 60
2 EU2000i Gen 100
5 gal. gas 35
Retrax Pro Cover 90
BBQ & Charcoal 15
6 gal. bottled water 42
2 camp recliners 15
Camp Table 8
Bag of dog food 40
Tool Chest 10
Camp Fire Wood 20


=======
865 lbs.

Tongue Wt. 1200 lbs.

TOTAL 2065 lbs.

Denali HD Cargo: 2294 lbs.
Our cargo cap 2065 lbs.

Remaining capacity: 229 lbs. (a nice buffer to have if we want to bring along a raft, another passenger, pick up some stuff along the way to bring home, etc.)

With the Duramax/Allison, towing up mountain passes, restraining on mountain descents, and stopping the 30' Airstream is a breeze. We're very happy with the choice.

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Old 02-19-2016, 08:35 PM   #9
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Since 1977 many thousands have towed Airstreams many millions of miles with 1/2 ton Suburban's Expeditions etc. There have not been any horror stories, no problems with wheel bearings axles etc. Many of these customers travel extensively full time and put huge towing miles on their Subs and Expeditions. Today brakes on a 1/2 ton are larger for the weight they handle than they are on 3/4's.

There are a few advantages to the SUV. One is much less chassis flex, pickups have huge chassis flex from the back of the cab to the bumper the body on the SUV eliminates 95% of that. The Expedition has the advantage of independent rear suspension which widens the rear suspension stance by almost 50% and eliminates a great deal of un-sprung weight. In an emergency maneuver or panic stop it is hard to beat its capability compared to a large pick up. The Expedition and Suburban have a 131" wheelbase which is considerably more maneuverable than the 156" Wheelbase of a large pick up.

I know plenty of people love their 3/4 ton trucks and if you enjoy one why not own one. However there is no more proven vehicle than a Suburban or Expedition so for those that find these vehicles suite their lifestyle better there is no reason not to own one to tow pretty much any Airstream.

As with any other vehicle it is important to properly set up the weight distribution system and fewer than 5% are. So to answer your question I would lean towards the Expedition for the independent rear suspension.

I hope this helps.

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Old 02-19-2016, 08:49 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=DHart;1751850]SO TRUE!!!! Do NOT believe a WORD that a car salesman tells you about towing capacity, cargo capacity, etc. Don't even bother asking them for the info... you MUST determine this for yourself for the specific vehicle that you are looking at!


As a 30 year veteran of car/ truck sales I take deep offence at that blanket statement.

It was always the fault of the salesman when the customer bought the wrong truck usually based on the information supplied by the customer as to the size and weight of trailer that they thought they were going to buy.
Most of the time there was a problem it was when the new owner went to the RV store and was talked into too much trailer/ fifth wheel/ or camper and then came back and complained about not enough truck. I always encouraged the customer to purchase the RV unit first, then come and see me.
We had our own saying" buyers are liars"









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Old 02-19-2016, 09:05 PM   #11
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No offense intended to you, George. But people need to know that many car sales people can and do say anything, that they may or may not really even know, to sell a vehicle. I've experienced this first hand on a few occasions. And, obviously, many other people have, as well.

Simply because you may be fully knowledgeable and honest about such matters doesn't mean that people in general should trust car sales people in general.

Let me rephrase my comment this way... Do NOT believe a WORD that anyone else tells you about towing capacity, cargo capacity, etc. DO your OWN research and determination regarding these factors!

I hope you like that better.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Since 1977 many thousands have towed Airstreams many millions of miles with 1/2 ton Suburban's Expeditions etc. There have not been any horror stories, no problems with wheel bearings axles etc. Many of these customers travel extensively full time and put huge towing miles on their Subs and Expeditions.
Andrew... many thousands of shorter/lighter Airstreams, in particular. When it comes to shorter (lighter) Airstreams, I have no qualms about considering 1/2 ton Suburbans and pickups. And would be fine with one IF it met my cargo capacity requirements. I've owned several Yukons/Yukon XLs and LOVE them!

My comments are specifically with regard to 30'+ Airstreams. And if one's particular needs for cargo capacity exceeds the manufacturer stated limits of a tow vehicle, my belief is to pay heed to that. If you recommend that others exceed such capacity limits, that's on you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
I know plenty of people love their 3/4 ton trucks and if you enjoy one why not own one. However there is no more proven vehicle than a Suburban or Expedition so for those that find these vehicles suite their lifestyle better there is no reason not to own one to tow pretty much any Airstream.
I would add that a Suburban or Expedition would be a fine choice, provided that one's particular cargo capacity/payload requirements ARE fully met by such vehicles. In many cases with 30+ Airstreams and individual's cargo requirements, Suburbans or Expeditions may not offer the payload capacity to meet the needs of these individuals. And for some individuals, they may.

It is up to each individual to determine their own, unique cargo capacity/payload requirements and see that the vehicle they choose is up to handling that particular specification. This is something that many tow vehicle buyers (thinking that "towing capacity" is the only consideration) blindly and completely overlook.

There is nothing wrong with choosing a Suburban, Yukon, et al, as a tow vehicle, provided that it fully meets one's unique requirements for towing capacity, cargo capacity, and vehicle design needs.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:55 PM   #13
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Thank you Dhart.


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Old 02-19-2016, 10:05 PM   #14
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Thank you Dhart.


George
You're welcome. And I'm sorry for any offense that you may have taken to my earlier comment.

People of all sorts can and do say all sorts of things that are WRONG.

When considering matters of importance, I try not to believe what ANY single person has to say on the subject - I'd rather seek opinions from numerous and PROVEN RESPECTED sources, do my own research as well, and then draw my own conclusions. There are far too many single sources of (mis) information floating around giving opinions in the world.
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