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Old 11-22-2008, 06:48 PM   #1
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Sierra 2500HD tire pressures?

OK, Based on recommendations on this forum, I have just plunked down the $$ to buy a 2500HD 4x4 crew cab diesel to pull our newly acquired 31' AS.

Hope this was not a foolish move in today's economy with the uncertainty surrounding the future of the big three! At least the price was attractive with over $18k off MSRP.

Our previous truck was a 1/2 ton. I felt it was marginal at best for our new trailer. In fact when I checked the numbers more closely, it was "Just" within limits with respect to manufacturer's tow rating, but it was overloaded when I considered the CGVW.

Everything I read here seemed to say a 3/4 was the all around best match for my trailer. I drove it today and it seems like it should be well capable of being in charge of things! I think I'm about to become a diesel fan!

But now I have a new concern! I really appreciate all the good info I have picked up in this forum in the short time I have participated. I have heard people talking about possible trailer damage caused by use of 3/4 and 1 ton trucks.

I don't know what other choice I had as the common wisdom (and the numbers) suggested my 1/2 ton was not enough truck!

Frankly the ride today with the 2500HD didn't seem much stiffer than our 1/2 ton - I have heard it said that GM perhaps gives the softest ride compared to Ford and Doge and that was one of the factors in my decision, but I still have some concerns and want to help things as much as I can.

I don't know much about air suspensions, but I think they may not be an option with the Hensley hitch I just bought - not sure.

So I'm thinking that there are only things I can do to easily help..........

First would be to minimize the amount I pull up on the Hensley spring bars

I could probably not use them at all with the new truck, but I think they are needed to hold the Hensley hitch box in position and must have a certain amount of tension to keep them in place without causing undue wear on the spring detents built into the zerk fittings on the Hensley.

Second would be to reduce the truck tire pressure somewhat to soften the ride.

Does anyone have experience do this, and have any idea what sort of minimum pressure I could run in the tires without drastically reducing their life or creating an unsafe condition?

I realize I would sacrifice a little in fuel economy I but thought it might be a fair trade-off.

Any advice/thoughts/other suggestions appreciated, a great place to learn!

Brian
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
OK, Based on recommendations on this forum, I have just plunked down the $$ to buy a 2500HD 4x4 crew cab diesel to pull our newly acquired 31' AS.

Hope this was not a foolish move in today's economy with the uncertainty surrounding the future of the big three! At least the price was attractive with over $18k off MSRP.

Our previous truck was a 1/2 ton. I felt it was marginal at best for our new trailer. In fact when I checked the numbers more closely, it was "Just" within limits with respect to manufacturer's tow rating, but it was overloaded when I considered the CGVW.

Everything I read here seemed to say a 3/4 was the all around best match for my trailer. I drove it today and it seems like it should be well capable of being in charge of things! I think I'm about to become a diesel fan!

But now I have a new concern! I really appreciate all the good info I have picked up in this forum in the short time I have participated. I have heard people talking about possible trailer damage caused by use of 3/4 and 1 ton trucks.

I don't know what other choice I had as the common wisdom (and the numbers) suggested my 1/2 ton was not enough truck!

Frankly the ride today with the 2500HD didn't seem much stiffer than our 1/2 ton - I have heard it said that GM perhaps gives the softest ride compared to Ford and Doge and that was one of the factors in my decision, but I still have some concerns and want to help things as much as I can.

I don't know much about air suspensions, but I think they may not be an option with the Hensley hitch I just bought - not sure.

So I'm thinking that there are only things I can do to easily help..........

First would be to minimize the amount I pull up on the Hensley spring bars

I could probably not use them at all with the new truck, but I think they are needed to hold the Hensley hitch box in position and must have a certain amount of tension to keep them in place without causing undue wear on the spring detents built into the zerk fittings on the Hensley.

Second would be to reduce the truck tire pressure somewhat to soften the ride.

Does anyone have experience do this, and have any idea what sort of minimum pressure I could run in the tires without drastically reducing their life or creating an unsafe condition?

I realize I would sacrifice a little in fuel economy I but thought it might be a fair trade-off.

Any advice/thoughts/other suggestions appreciated, a great place to learn!

Brian
Brian

It is not a good idea to reduce tire pressure while towing. Here are my reasons: 1.) Reduced pressure means the tire will not handle the rated load of the tire. 2.) Reduced pressure causes the tire to build up heat. 3.) Reduced pressure allows the vehicle to waddle like a duck, the sidewalls loose their rigidity. 4.) Lower fuel economy. 5.) Lower pressure will allows the rear of the truck to squat, you will probably lose the correct ball height. Those are a few quick answers. I have a 2500HD and the ride is just fine for me without playing with tire pressures. Give it a try first I think you'll probably get use to the ride rather quick.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:45 PM   #3
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Greetings, Brian.

I think that you're set to go, 3/4 ton truck, 30 foot Airstream, Hensley Arrow. You can't ask for much more than that.

You really need those Hensley spring bars set at enough tension to send enough of the tongue weight to the front axle on the truck. Not doing this will make you light on the front wheels, causing a possibly dangerous steering situation.

We have pulled our 25FB 40,000+ miles with our 3/4 Suburbans and have not done any damage to the Airstream from a hard riding tow vehicle. We run our tire pressures at 80psi rear and 70psi front.

Brian
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:53 AM   #4
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Thumbs up 2500 ride..

Have worked at Chevy store for 10 years. The ride on your 2500 should have no effect on your Airstream. (3500 yes, unless loaded>max)
As far as T/P goes, when towing ours is set at 75psi. Under-inflation is a tires worst enemy. The difference in ride quality when towing, negligble.
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:11 AM   #5
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I tow my 31 footer with the tires on my 2500hd at max - 80 front and rear.

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Old 11-23-2008, 04:38 PM   #6
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I would weigh first - then inflate per tire manufacturer's charts. The vehicle manufacturer's recommendations are, IMHO, based on maximum loads. If I used GM's recommended inflation pressures my dually would ride like it had steel wheels. I run my duals at 50 psi light and 55 psi loaded - and, even at that pressure, their capacity exceeds my actual load requirements. To date I have 65,000 on the duals with perfect wear across the tread. They're probably good for another 10,000 -15,000 miles. I'm sure that the 2500 (---or a 3500 SRW) will require higher pressures but, until you weigh, you'll never know! On the other hand, running at factory recommended pressure won't hurt anything except your wallet and your ride. This subject has been discussed extensively in prior threads - but you'll never get a vehicle manufacturer to recommend anything other than the listed pressure.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:15 PM   #7
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I agree with the first few posts in particular. I drive my 2500 every day - unloaded and unhitched, I keep the pressures at about 62 front/68 rear which is the low side of the mfr recommendation. Makes the day to day driving a little more comfortable. Loaded and hitched, thought, I increase the pressures to about 68 front/72 rear - the high side of the mfr recommendation. Makes the ride more stable while towing and improves mpg.

The mere weight of your trailer will compress your rear suspension and soften the ride. The higher tire pressures when towing are not a problem and, in fact, make the ride better by making it more stable. When my tire pressures are a little low, I notice increased wobble/buffeting when passing 18-wheelers.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:19 PM   #8
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b/t/w - you're going to love your new truck! the 3/4 ton diesel makes towing a joy instead of a chore! i used to tow with a 1/2 ton Avalanche and the difference is remarkable.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:55 PM   #9
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I run 80 all the way around on our 2500, all the time. It tows our 31' with no problem at those pressures.
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dbradhstream View Post
I drive my 2500 every day - unloaded and unhitched, I keep the pressures at about 62 front/68 rear which is the low side of the mfr recommendation. Makes the day to day driving a little more comfortable. Loaded and hitched, thought, I increase the pressures to about 68 front/72 rear - the high side of the mfr recommendation. Makes the ride more stable while towing and improves mpg.
I didn't mention that I follow GM's recommendations fairly close with reference to the front tire inflation pressures - having discussed this in prior threads - but the front axle scale weight for the dually dictates a minimum pressure of 65 psi. The axle "unloads" by about 200 lbs when hitched (---not enough to worry about) so I don't ever vary the front tire pressure due to loading conditions. This seems to be similar to what you would expect on a 2500 Duramax, or 3500 SRW.
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:10 AM   #11
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Our friends have a 3/4 burb, and with the 1000# bars on their equalizing hitch, stuff got thrown around on the inside of the trailer. No popped rivets. They switched to 600# (or 750# i can't remeber) bars and now stuff stays put: doors, toys, etc.

This might be something to consider if the same thing happens to you..
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