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Old 12-23-2013, 08:07 PM   #1
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LARKSPUR , Colorado
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Should I have a GMC 2500 vs 1500 for towing a 25'?

We will be purchasing in 2014 either a 23' or 25'. Currently own a 2011 GMC Sierrra 6.2 liter pickup. Certainly no concern with power, but I also don't want to beat up the suspension on the truck and am more than willing to trade the 2011 in and upgrade to a 2500 if this would be a preferred vehicle. My 2011 is low mileage having just turned 11,000 miles. Opinions / advise would be greatly appreciated. We also live in Colorado so mountain travel would be the norm.



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Old 12-23-2013, 08:19 PM   #2
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Luv our 2500 Duramax 4x4. 1999 Excella 34' loves snuggling behind it.

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Old 12-23-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
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Do you have a tow package on your existing truck? In any case, what is the towing capacity, and how much load can it handle relative to the total weight and the tongue weight of your chosen trailer? That should help you decide.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:32 PM   #4
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I have 2013 2500 suburban for my 19' bambi.
2006 Bambi CCD ("EireStream!!")
2010 Funfinder
2005 T@B
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For some perfection takes a little longer...
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:40 PM   #5
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We had a 2005 Safari 25FB that we towed 120,000 miles and spent almost 1,400 nights in. The 25FB weighed 7,400# ready to camp. We towed it with two different 2500 Suburbans with the 6.0 liter gas V-8. They both handled to job very well. About years ago we added a 2011 Silverado Duramax to the fleet. I will have to admit that the Duramax is the best tow vehicle that I have ever driven.

That being said, much would depend on how you plan to pursue your Airstream adventures. Light duty use in the flat lands don't require a super duty tow vehicle. Rougher duty use might require more of a tow vehicle. Since you are in a mountainous area, a more robust tow vehicle may be in order.

Since you already have the Sierra, I would suggest that you start out towing with that. Pretty quickly, you will get a feel for weather or not it is enough tow vehicle for your needs.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:54 PM   #6
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With a 25' trailer, you only need a 2500 if you are going to carry PAYLOAD that exceeds the 1500's capacity. Or, if you want a diesel engine.

I have towed my 25', 30', and 34' Airstreams with both 1500's and a 2500 Silverado. Both will do the job. Which truck you need depends on what "additional" equipment you carry along while you are towing. 1500 series GMC's payload capacity range between 1,500 and 1,900 lbs +/- depending on specific equipment. If your passengers, tongue weight, and equipment in the bed will exceed the payload, then you will need the 2500.

All of my trucks have had gas engines. 5.3L or 6.2L in the 1500's. 6.0L in the 2500. The 25' trailer tows great with either vehicle. I towed the 30' trailers all over the US with half ton trucks. I can tow my 34' Excella with my 2014 Silverado 1500 while staying within the manufacturer's load limits. BUT, I have to limit what I carry in the truck. With the 34' the tongue weight and two passengers only leaves me about 300 lbs for additional equipment.

Another thing to consider; a 2500 weighs a lot more than a 1500 while using an engine that are almost equal in power (excepting diesel). So a 2500 will use substantially more fuel to lug around all that extra weight. That is why I went back to the 1500.
2014 Silverado 1500 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:59 AM   #7
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We have a 2014 25 FB CCD that we tow with a 2008 GMC 1500 with the Max Tow 6L, and live in BC where you can't go anywhere without running into a Mtn pass and couldn't be happier with the towing capabilities of this engine. Your 6,2 should be fine.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:09 AM   #8

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Thumbs up Payload..... mentioned "payload" will be the determiner. If your like us and can't leave the fun stuff behind when 'dock'n, then the carry ability of the 2500 will come to the fore.

Disclaimer....our opinion may be compromised.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:11 AM   #9
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What AW said. Going to a 2500 will give you more payload. If the engines are the same , there is no advantage to the 2500. Getting the diesel is where the mileage and power pluses come into effect. Jim
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Old 12-24-2013, 06:59 AM   #10
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We live in Colorado and tow a 25 Safari with a 2000 diesel Excursion. We live in the mountains and have driven all of the challenging passes in the state.
Our the gvw of our trailer is 6300 pounds.
Some of the Airstream 25's have a gvw of 7300 pounds.
My opinion is that your half ton truck will tow any of the trailers you are looking at more than adequately, particularly with the 6.2 engine which is a power house.
Power up the hills is never an issue, rather it is braking and the trailer pushing the truck on steep downhill curves.
Start slow on top of the steep grades, use the engine and gears to maintain a slow speed and use the brakes as little as possible.
I have an Equalizer hitch and it is fine for my rig. If I had a bigger trailer and a smaller truck, I would upgrade to a premium hitch like a Hensley which minimizes any handling problems. If you are planning to drive lots of miles over steep and curvy passes, it might make sense to start out with a premium hitch.
It is not just the $$ to buy a new 3/4 truck, there is a downside to a big truck as a daily driver particularly in the city.
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:56 AM   #11
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Excellent - appreciate everyone's feedback. Sounds like the smartest thing I could do now is stick with the 1500 (which does have the tow package) and invest in a good hitch. I'll need to do some research on hitches since I don't understand at this point the value a good hitch brings. But this is what I was looking for . . . steering me in the direction of things I need to get a handle on now before we make our purchase. Thanks!
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Old 12-24-2013, 08:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DSK View Post
Excellent - appreciate everyone's feedback. Sounds like the smartest thing I could do now is stick with the 1500 (which does have the tow package) and invest in a good hitch. I'll need to do some research on hitches since I don't understand at this point the value a good hitch brings. But this is what I was looking for . . . steering me in the direction of things I need to get a handle on now before we make our purchase. Thanks!
Uh oh - strap yourself in for the hitch wars! :-)

Let me save you some time - get a ProPride :-)

(Look - I am obligated by the laws of bad comedy to say that anytime someone talks about a hitch - do your research, lots of x-factors, especially where you're concerned about payload - know WHY you want what you want - get it, go camping, be happy as a pig in a pile and don't let anything get in your way :-) ).
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:22 AM   #13
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We had a Sierra 1500 4x4 when we bought our Classic 30 & towed it home to Ontario from the dealer in Ohio.

I had decided to do that and allow the trip to help me decide whether to keep it or move to a 2500HD diesel.

I think we could have made do with it, but then the route we took home was pretty darn flat. We do travel pretty far afield, so in the end I decided to treat myself and not have to worry about payload, power for hills, etc. and opted for a Hensley hitch and the 2500 diesel. Certainly don't regret the switch one bit, it really does tow with authority and we load the truck bed with all kinds of toys and luggage to keep the trailer uncluttered.

Would do it again for sure.

It might come down to the financial factor - if that isn't a big deal for you, I would go with the 2500, otherwise, I don't doubt all will be well with a 1500 as long as all the weight numbers work.

Heck, people tow with a lot less!

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:36 AM   #14
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I have a 25'. I go on lots of caravans so I see a lot of rigs in action. Many people pull with half tons and are very happy with them. Some pull with 3/4 tons and are happy. I pulled with a wimpy Ford 150 and then with the 2500 diesel. I got 10 mpg and went 40 uphill with the gas 150. I get 14 mpg and go 63 uphill (my choice) with the diesel. I do not think it makes an essential difference in which you use. You can put good tires and maybe airbags on the 1500 and be happy with it Even if it wears out quicker it is probably a lot cheaper than trading for and maintaining a diesel. If you do go the 2500 route you will love it when pulling. My wife drives our 2500 as her everyday ride. She claims to like it. We live pretty suburban so mostly on good roads and large parking lots. I have tried to get her to change to another ride and park the truck. She won't do it. So I guess some people like trucks and maybe some don't. I drive the 150 so we do not have a car. If you do keep the 1500 you should switch to the heavy duty schedule for the differentials and transmission. I ran overloaded vans (wheel chair lift) for quite a while and bought several differentials and transmissions at high milages.

The 23's are cute. I would get the 25 no matter what I was going to pull it with.

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