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Old 12-10-2003, 08:34 AM   #1
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Surburban 1/2 ton as a Tow Vehicle

I have a chance to buy a 1999 1/2 ton Suburban, 5.7 liter, for $12,700 (loan value) from a friend of mine. It has 32,000 miles and is in like new condition.

The only problem is that I have a 34' Excella.

If I stayed out of the mountains, could this be used as a tow vehicle?

Has anyone towed a tri-axle 34' Excela with a half ton Suburban? If so, how did it work and did you make any modifications to the truck?

Thanks in advance

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Old 12-10-2003, 10:18 AM   #2
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Surburban 1/2 ton as a Tow Vehicle


You would be approaching 200% of the rated tow capacity for the C/K 1500 Suburban for 1999 - - it was either 6,000 or 6,500 pounds - - I know that it was just barely sufficient for my '64 Overlander which is why I ordered the K2500 (with 10,000 pound trailer tow package). It would be ill-advised to consider such a light-duty tow vehicle for a 34-foot Airstream (IMHO).


Kevin D. Allen
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 12-10-2003, 10:19 AM   #3
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I may not be qualified to give you advice, because I don't tow a 34ft trailer, but I do use the same tow vehicle you are considering.
My advice would be NO. I believe that the tongue weight and gross weight is too much for the 1/2 ton Suburban. It is rated to 6500lb max, and less if it is 4WD. If there is no factory tow package, then it is even less than that.
I get along very well with my Tradewind and the Suburban, but that's a far stretch for the 34 footers weight and tongue weight. The 1/2 ton Suburban brakes and transmission are marginal at best, and you would be asking for trouble and undue repairs, in my opinion. The 1/2 ton Suburban as you described it does make a fine and economical daily driver, though. I have seen better than 18mpg hwy, and 14-15 city. Towing drops it to 12mpg.
I believe the 34ft trailer would fully use the capacity of a 3/4 ton Suburban with 4:11 gears and the 454.
Good Luck!
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Old 12-10-2003, 10:45 AM   #4
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1953 25' Cruiser
Brandon (near reservoir) , Mississippi
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Thanks for the advice. Since posting this, I have done some further research and have come to the same conclusion.

Too bad, it is a beautiful truck.
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1/2 ton

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