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Old 06-26-2011, 05:02 PM   #1
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Suburban 2011 LTZ TV for new 25' Airstream Intl?

I really appreciate the input so far on pickup (f150 w/ the ecoboost engine) vs a more traditional vehicle like the Suburban. Much as Id prefer the Ford 150, my wife really thinks the Suburban would be more practical for us as a family....I suppose my question is, will this vehicle be an adequate TV for the 25' Airstream Intl?? Any input would be greatly appreciated!



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Old 06-26-2011, 06:03 PM   #2
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Since you are likley to get a variety of opinions, I'll start...

YES, that Suburban (with Tow Pkg) can pull the 25 well.. We towed our 25' Excella (GVWR 7600#) for years and across US and Canadian Rockies with a 94 Suburban with 5.7L engine and barely 200hp.. Finally upgraded to used Excursoin to get 50 more hp, Airbags, more comfort and a little extra heft in truck frame, but Suburban should be fine... Just don't plan on climbing mountains at 70 mph in left lane on interstates...


In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:38 PM   #3
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Yes to the Suburban, if you get the 6 speed tranny and tow package.
I tow my 25' Safari in the mountains with a 2010 Chevy 1500 crew cab. It is very similar to the Suburban, in frame, capacities, and drivetrain power.
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:17 PM   #4
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Having had a 99 Suburban 1500 5.7L with the 3.78 rear end, I found it down right scarry in any up hill driving, was on the shoulder maxed out in second gear with emergency flashers activated with every semi tractor-trailer on the road screaming by me. We were towing a l988 25' A/S T/T. It was only a four speed and I imagine the new tow haul feature coupled to a six speed would be an improvement. For about the same money you could have a 3/4 ton duramax crew cab work truck model with a turbo deisel and the six speed Allison transmission. It has seating for six.

A 1500 suburban is more alligned with taking the family boat to the nearby lake a couple times a year. If you do go to the Suburban why not consider the 2500? It'll have more power, bigger brakes and differential, a better transmission and will be a more stable towing platform. Your wife can be happy with it and your only draw back will be fuel economy.

Yes ,you could conceivably get by with the 1500 Suburban. As far as being happy with it, probably not. If you are going to be mainly a flatlander staying close to home you could get by. Many on the forums recommend the 4.1 rear end with 1500. If you go that route you might as well get the 2500 as your fuel economy will be way down there.

Just my opinion. I love my duramax W/T and would have a hard time going back to a 1500 now that I have experienced both. Pat
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:05 PM   #5
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Newer Suburbans...

I too had a 99 suburban K1500 Suburban however I had the 4.42 rear end. I actually think the newer suburbans have a little more upphh, I would suggest the 3.72 or 4.10. I have a larger 3/4 ton with the 8.1 liter and I get the same mileage I got with the 6.0 towing or the old 5.7 towing. The lower rear end tows so much better and your mileage will only suffer on truck alone on the highway.

We are on our 4th Suburban and it is without compare as far as a family vehicle.
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:13 PM   #6
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You will see a variety of opinions on what is the best tow vehicle. For me it all comes down to the vehicle being capable of doing the job safely. I see a lot of posts about max towing capacity and relatively few about payload. Both are important.

The 2011 brouchure I just viewed shows a 1/2 Burb has about 1500+ lbs of payload capacity. Sounds like a lot but when you add in a full tank of fuel, vehicle options, passengers, pets, cargo and tongue weight, I think it would be VERY easy to go over that amount with a 25'.

The 3/4 ton has quite a bit more payload capacity. Check out the sticker on the driver's door and you'll see how much of the payload capacity is actually left, after options and fuel, for passengers and cargo.

Good luck and safe travels.

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:43 AM   #7
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If you have not towed with the 6 speed tranny you need to try it. It is night and day difference compared to the old 4 speed.

Before, I towed with a 2000 silverado 1500 3.7L gas, 3.73 gear ratio, with the 4 speed tranny. Now I'm towing with the 2010 silverado with the exact same motor and exact same gear ratio but the 6 speed , so I am telling you this with personal experience.

Ron is correct, you do have to watch the tow vehicle's payload weight closely. Payload is borderline!

This month I have been over the Appalachian Mountains three times. Once on I-40 and twice on I-77. These are 8 to 10 mile steep grades, varying between 6% and 8%. I can tow my 25' trailer up those grades without a problem. I typically drive 55 to 60 mph on the interstate. I had no problems maintaining 55mph uphill on these grades. Starting uphill the air temp was in the 90's, the tranny temp is around 185 F. At the top the tranny temp is around 215F. The engine temp went up less than 10F. It did shift down to 3rd or 4th at 3,500 rpm. Other than that the truck did this effortlessly. I had a little less 1,000 lbs of payload in the truck, not including tounge weight. The trailer was loaded pretty lightly since I only had about 10 gal of fresh water in the tank. Probably less than 700 lbs of food, water, clothing, equipment, etc.

But even better is what happens on the downhill grades. I shift into manual mode at the top of the grade, slow down to 45, and shift down to third gear. I can go down these grades in third gear and touch the brakes very little. I have no problem maintaining speed and control at 45 mph. Since the brakes do not heat up at all, I could stop at any time going down, if I need to.
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the outstanding advice....i think that if i do go the suburban route, ill upgrade to the 3/4 ton.....either that, or try to convince my wife that the F150 with the ecoboost engine is the way to go........

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