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Old 03-13-2006, 08:46 PM   #29
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Pam,
John McG has hit the nail squarely on the head with his description of towing with a 5.7 liter Chevy with 3.73 rear axle. You will be pulling the mountain grades at 40-45 MPH. To me that is inadequate, but others can live with it.

As with most things in life, it's a matter of personal preference. I find that pulling a trailer all day long is much less tiring when I can keep up with the flow of traffic. Fo me it is too distracting and tiring to be lugging up the grades with a string of irritated drivers behind me. Since I Airstream for the fun of it, I think towing should be as safe and carefree as you can make it. That being said, I did go through three Suburbans (5.7, 5.7, and 5.3 liter) before I bought the Chevy Duramax.

Airstream25, also on this forum, had a similiar experience with the 5.7 liter 3.73 combo in a Yukon. He pulls a 25 ft Airstream. He recently traded for a Yukon XL with 8.1 liter and 3.73. He loves it.

Thanks John McG for clarifying the dialogue. The 5.7 liter Chevy is a great engine and "adequate" for Airstreams all the way up to 27 feet, if you don't mind dropping into 2nd gear and taking the hills at 40-45 MPH.

Ken
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:49 PM   #30
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On the road again...

John....Thank you for the comforting words. A couple of days ago I was actually contemplating selling the Airstream. I really can't afford to make a huge finacial mistake and I was having nightmares about buying a TV and then getting stuck on a mountain pass without the power to get over the top. Once I took a few deep breaths (and sips of a martini!) I looked back over the postings and reevaluated. The reality is I don't often pass cars or drive fast over the pass when I am in my Honda Accord! So, I am going to buy a 1999 Tahoe. It has an extended warrenty and has been very well cared for. I am paying well under KBB and have already priced out an additional transmission cooler (it comes standard with a system that runs through the radiator). I already have a WD hitch. So, I am once again excited and happy about my Airstream and planning lots of fun this summer with the kids and grandkids! Thanks for taking the time to post, Pam
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:01 PM   #31
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Ken

We must have been posting at the same time....Thank you. I do understand and if I could afford to buy anything I wanted I would definitely go for something bigger with a longer wheelbase. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I can foresee a couple of years of fixing up the Airstream along with some local camping experiences with the family and then I will be better prepared to purchase something else to tow with. Heck, I may just sell the house and hit the road in 4-5 years! And think of all of the experience I will have then. Maybe I will be helping to advise newcomers like me. Thanks for your thoughts on my struggle... Pam

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Old 03-13-2006, 10:12 PM   #32
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Pam,

Congratulations on your purchase, I know you'll have many good towing experiences with your 99 Tahoe. My 2000 Yukon pulled my 28 SOB well.
You were smart and diligent to seek and exchange ideas from Forum members. I learned a few things and surely it helped other readers!

Good wishes, John Baker
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:49 PM   #33
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Congratulations and Be Fearless!

Pam-

Congrats on decision and purchase, and I think you'll be surprised how well the Tahoe pulls your trailer... For all our travels in old Suburban, we did drive at 65-70 mph 99% of the time, keeping up with traffic flows and mixing well with trucks. Some of the big pulls uphill on 6% grades or worse required some patience, but usually only for 10 to 20 minutes.

Now that you've made decision, don't let anxieties keep you from trying it and making some trips to interesting places... There are lots more threads on towing, hookups, checklists, etc around, but here are my suggestions to make towing part go better:

1. DO use either integrated anti-sway hitch (like Reese) or add Anti-sway bar (friction bar) to minimize trailer swaying when passing trucks, or in high winds, and learn to use trailer brake controller gently to pull trailer back into line if it sways... <A little trailer braking can stop swaying if Tahoe brakes not applied)
2. Check threads in tires and inflation, but I'd pump up tires on Tahoe to high end of load range (may be 65 to 70 psi) and trailer tires to their load range (may be 45+ psi) when you are taking a trip, and don't always trust gas station hose guages. Firmer tires are going to run cooler and handle better, though high pressures are uncomfortable and bumpy when not towing...
3. Unless we know we're heading somewhere without hookups, we try to tow with fresh water tank 1/2 full or less, and holding tanks usually near empty. One hundred gallons of water and "fluids" will add 700+ pounds to trailer weight. We also keep heavy stuff in trailer near front and down low. (or at least ahead of axle..)
4. I'd consider extended side mirrors of some sort to see around trailer and avoid surprises of other vehicles coming up on you suddenly. Can also help you monitor trailer tires, etc.
5. Finally, Chevy transmissions don't enjoy towing heavy weights in Overdrive mode, so plan to drive in 3 or Little "D" when pulling, especially when roads are at all hilly, or engine feeling any stress...

John McG
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:44 PM   #34
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Wow, thanks for the kind words and great advice. I have a word document that I cut and paste all of this great information into so I will have it at hand when ready to roll. This will be very useful. I pick up the Tahoe tomorrow and plan a trip to a near by commericial parking lot on the weekend to practice backing up etc. The next trip is to the scales to get a real weight on the AS before I start witn my planned modifications.... Yea Hoo!
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Old 03-16-2006, 08:48 PM   #35
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Whew!

That's it -- Whew! Congrats pamelake. You've gotten some good advice. May your TV last a long time -- but enjoy each moment!
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:32 PM   #36
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Forwards can be exciting too..

Pamela;

Many new Airstreamers get more anxious in reverse than drive, but as many dents are created going forwards.. Don't forget to delay start of turning a corner a little bit and then to turn a little sharper (sort of square off the corner, and slow down some) so the right wheels of the trailer don't bounce over the curb.. It's not difficult, but different than when driving the Tahoe alone..

I'd also recommend trying a "panic stop" once in the parking lot, if you know there aren't any loose object to fly around the trailer, just to see how it feels and how anti-lock brakes are going to behave..

As for backing, there are two schools (hands on bottom of wheel, move them direction trailer needs to go, or hands on top, opposite direction..) but it's equally important to think of rate of turn and whether getting sharper or straighter... Also important to NOT let trailer angle keep getting sharper and reach limit of hitch and springs and sway.. If trailer keeps turning at sharper and sharper angle backing up, stop and pull ahead a little to straighten it some...

For backing into campgrounds or parking at home or storage, the secret weapon is handheld FRS radios, at approx $15 for a pair.. Your helper stands behind and lets you know which way the trailer rear needs to go, and when to stop! Very reasonable insurance against boo boo's..

Finally, search here for Checklists.. We have one in Word I'd send as pm if you wanted it. It is size of 3x5 card, and works for setup or departure, and is very simple but covers all the items you're likely to miss to create future camping humor... (Like not retracting jacks, or TV antenna, or unhooking power cord and hoses...)

John McG
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Old 07-22-2006, 08:48 AM   #37
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GMC Yukon $2700

Im glad I came accross this Yukon thread. I just talked to a guy about buying a Yukon as a TV. I want to possibly buy it today or maybe tomorrow. Will this be a good TV for a 1972 25' Tradewind?

1992 GMC YUKON SLE 2 door Red - $2700

1992 GMC yukon sls 2 door, Red, 5.7L V8 Chevy 3500 engine NEW, overdrive automatic trans. Engine and transmission both new with less then 20,000 miles. New engine Chevy 3500, trans, paint, alternator, radiator, water pump, fuel pump, many more. 16 inch chrome gmc wheels, tow hitch, grey interior, pwr windows, pwr locks, alarm with REMOTE START, window automation unit, tinted windows. Needs new front tires and hitch needs to be rewired. Possible slight antifreeze leak.


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Old 07-22-2006, 09:09 AM   #38
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Harestream,
Nice looking Yukon. The 5.7 is a good engine for '92 but a little down on power as compared to it's VORTEC brother which was introduced in '95 I think. Why the reference to the 3500 behind the 5.7? This vehicle has a short wheelbase and may be a little tricky but can tow your '72 25' Tradewin depending on what the rear end ratio is. If the ratio is 3.08 or 3.42 then pass on it immediately. If it is 3.73 or 4.10 then maybe there is hope. You would be better off with the Yukon XL which is the Suburban size or a 4 door Yukon which is slightly shorter than the Suburban but longer than the 2 door Yukon.
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Old 07-22-2006, 12:07 PM   #39
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Probably Less Than Ideal...

That's a nice looking Yukon, but it is probably less than ideal for towing:
  • Short wheel base compared to distance between hitch ball and trailer axles will contribute to squirrely handling
  • Two-door configuration in conjunction with tailgate will be an inconvenient combination in a tow vehicle. Tailgate may not open all the way in any but straight alignment. Reaching over partially open tail gate, or even fully open tail gate is a drill. Most Airstreamers prefer the "barn door" (1999 and earlier) or liftgate (2000 and later) configuration in their Suburban style tow vehicles.
  • 5.7 liter (350 cu. in.) is barely adequate for a 25' Airstream unless it has a 4.10 differential, which I doubt
Check my post on "Towing in the Mountains" for other experience, based observations.

I know this kind of feedback can be frustrating, but we want you to find a tow vehicle you'll really enjoy.
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Old 07-23-2006, 11:09 PM   #40
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harestream -- I never know what sort of answer to give when we get an "I've got to buy it tomorrow" post. But my 2 cents -- be sure to do the math on loading. And Airstream's posted tongue weights are only a starting point. Actual tongue weight could easily be 200# higher before you put any personal gear in the trailer!

How to do the math: I hope it's easier than your average IRS form but see my example (post 4) in Towing with Escalade ESV or a Yukon XL. Your prospective vehicle and trailer combination will be different.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:50 AM   #41
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Was following your thread Pam - and Glad you made your final decision - it is really hard trying to wade through all the different opinions.

I think these type of threads should start out with style of driving first

To buy a vehicle to run up mountains at 70mph possibly once or twice a year seems a bit excentric.

When comparing safety - how safe is it to run at 70mph vs say 55mph on the flats. How safe is it to "worry" about the other guy because they may be irritated?? I would be more inclined to worry about the other guy on a defensive driving approach.

While wheel base gives you better stability - these people who drive so fast while towing NEED it.

We have a 1999 GMC Yukon - and have towed both our Globetrotter and the 26' Overlander - with NO issues. We have the WD and Sway system and both setups are nice and stable. We drive a bit slower than our friends to the south and our roads are much smaller. But for heavens sake - you have plenty of LANES down there not to have to worry about "the other guy". And Mountains in most cases I would think there are two lanes on either side - faster traffic can always pass. If not - so it takes a couple of extra "minutes" (not hours) to get up the "hill".

I'd be more worried about coming down the otherside - and making sure you got real fresh brakes on that Yukon/Tahoe - and on your trailer and making sure your brake controller is up to snuf and that you know how to use it safely if you need extra braking power in an emergency. These are all the little things that people forget When they are so hung up on getting the Big TV that can handle anything

Just my two cents - now that it is worth a bit more these days

Happy and safe travels Pam
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:27 AM   #42
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Follow up

I posted this to another thread I had started about tow vehicles... here it is again to complete this thread for anyone researching...

Just wanted to get back to this thread and post an update for anyone interested... I just completed my most challenging trip. A 6% grade going up to 5000 feet in a pretty short distance. (Oakridge to Crescent Lake for those who are familiar). I was quite concerned, since this was my 'first time', and everything went very well.

On the way up, I never dropped below 50 MPH, and that was because I wasn't anticipating the next hill and let my speed drop down. The engine only heated up by 2 of the little hash marks... no more then it does on the freeway at times and it was 75 degrees out. My brother had advised me to not be intimidated to use the passing lanes to get past the big rigs and so I just kept my speed up and had no problems.

On the way down, I had my step father who is an ex trucker ride with me to school me in how to use my transmission and stay off of my brakes. The Tahoe did great! I only used the brakes a couple of times and just stayed at the speed limit and followed the warning signs for curves.

I am very happy after all of the worry about what to purchase. I love my Tahoe!
BTW, I stopped at the scales on the way and the Tahoe weighs 6400#’s and the Airstream 4850#’s…. Pam
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