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Old 08-31-2010, 08:58 PM   #1
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Tow Vehicle Consultant

I'm trying to pull a 34 ft Limited with a Yukon 5.3L. Want to go out West next year and run around in the mountains for a while. I think I need a new vehicle (judging from my white knuckle event getting out of a fishing camp on Dale Hollow lake this Summer - 30 seconds of 9MPH at 1800RPM with cliffs all around). Can't get any straight talk from the dealers and all I see from most of the forums is to go with a 3/4 ton diesel. Anyone know of a consultant (I don't mind paying a fee) that can advise me on a tow vehicle that isn't "overkill" but is comfortable to drive with confidence? I just installed a ProPride hitch and it solved my sway problem but the Yukon just doesn't seem to have the guts to pull it uphill. Regards, Don Hetzler.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:04 PM   #2
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Frankly you need torque for a 34 footer in the mountains. If you want to be relaxed with plenty of go under your right foot. Diesel or a V10 is the way to go. If you can get by with less then your choice is a big block.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:09 PM   #3
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I agree with Goin camping....diesel or a V10 is a must for you. I've heard good things about the new Ford V8 but its early yet.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Emh142 View Post
I'm trying to pull a 34 ft Limited with a Yukon 5.3L. Want to go out West next year and run around in the mountains for a while. I think I need a new vehicle (judging from my white knuckle event getting out of a fishing camp on Dale Hollow lake this Summer - 30 seconds of 9MPH at 1800RPM with cliffs all around). Can't get any straight talk from the dealers and all I see from most of the forums is to go with a 3/4 ton diesel. Anyone know of a consultant (I don't mind paying a fee) that can advise me on a tow vehicle that isn't "overkill" but is comfortable to drive with confidence? I just installed a ProPride hitch and it solved my sway problem but the Yukon just doesn't seem to have the guts to pull it uphill. Regards, Don Hetzler.
Your dilema is easily solved by buying a 3/4 ton suburban with a 6.0 or 8.1L engine and switching your ProPride to it.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:29 PM   #5
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Cummins is the way to go.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:56 PM   #6
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Cummins is the way to go.
Your love for dodge is well taken, but there is nothing more irritating than a ford or dodge diesel pulling into a campground hammering and clattering.
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:03 PM   #7
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The newer diesels are not nearly as loud as they were in the past.

If you want to stay with gas, you really need to find a Suburban 2500 with the 8.1 liter gas engine or a Ford Excursion with the V-10 gasoline engine. Neither of these is available new any longer. You may be able to find a good used one, though.

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Old 08-31-2010, 11:19 PM   #8
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My ideal tow vehicle would be a newer Suburban with the 8.1 (which was only ever available in a 2500 chassis). I would think it would work fine for what you're doing. The 8.1 doesn't have much more horsepower than the 6.0 but it develops it at considerably lower RPMs.

I don't believe that the diesels perform much better for towing though I realize opinions vary. But most people are comparing it to the 6.0.

I don't think there are any substantially better choices, unless you want a pickup.

I will note that I have an older (1997) Chev 2500 longbed with the 5.7 and am really quite happy with it except for the lack of seating. Though it is a 4x4 and I am not afraid to drop the transfer case into low range if I'm going up a steep hill with the traylah.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:06 AM   #9
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Hi, the only way that I can see that Yukon working, would be to replace the differential gears with 5:88's. Other than that, you need a real truck to pull that real trailer.
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Emh142 View Post
all I see from most of the forums is to go with a 3/4 ton diesel.
What part of that don't you understand?
The voice of experience?
Been there/done that?

You should re-read your post...get out your checkbook, and go drive one of the new diesels.
They are all amazing.

Beg/borrow or steal a test drive WITH A LOAD behind you. Driving an unladed truck doesn't tell you much about the towing prowess...

You need a substantial TV for that rig...don't kid yourself.
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:34 AM   #11
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I'm trying to pull a 34 ft Limited...
Can't get any straight talk from the dealers and all I see from most of the forums is to go with a 3/4 ton diesel.
Anyone know of a consultant...
consultant?... there are 100s of them right here...

straight talk?...also here

instead of asking OTHERS what to buy, post examples of what YOU think might work...

then the members here can offer insight into the vehicles listed.

pick a brand, pick a model, pick a color and post it.

it would also be useful to post DETAILS about the trailer.

34s and limiteds span a LOT of years and widths and weights...

details matter.

trailer life publishes an annual booklet/electronic list of ALL the vehicles available in north america...

the basic towing specs are included on that list, so it's quick n easy to scan n find the candidates...
________

so as a consultant, the first suggestion is YOU do the work and discovery process.

be assured this group will provide a few straight answers.

cheers
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:52 AM   #12
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When we brought our 30' classic home from Ohio, I towed it with a Sierra 1500 that I owned at the time.

When I bought the AS, I suspected that a new tow vehicle would be a likely requirement and the ride home confirmed that.

the 1500 handled it "sort of ok" on that trip, but the terrain between Findlay Ohio and our home couldn't be much flatter and we like to travel right across the continent.

I also had the feeling that with this length and weight of trailer, I was only barely in charge - not a real relaxing experience, pretty tight grip on the wheel!

After digging deep in my pockets and moving to a Sierra HD2500 diesel and adding a Hensley hitch, I am very happy with the setup - I don't think it could be much more of a match for all conditions. It just sails up the mountains in the south west!

If GM isn't your choice, I don't doubt the Ford or Dodge comparable 3/4 ton diesel would do just as well for you.

I don't know the weight of your trailer - ours has a dry weight of about 7300# I believe.

I would go this route again in a heartbeat. We also use the vehicle as a daily driver. It can be a bit of a pig to park at times, and even being diesel costs a bit more in fuel that a smaller car. but we are both retired and it seemed to me a financially better option than ownership cost of two cars.


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Old 09-01-2010, 03:17 PM   #13
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I am happy with our setup (2009 F150 5.4 and '97 34' with ProPride hitch) in my part of the country Southeastern US. I would NOT take my setup into the Rockies or any real mountains (the Appalachian chain doesn't count). I would either by a diesel or slap a supercharger in my current truck. IMHO a normally aspirated V8 doesn't have the necessary power to climb mountains. You will loose approximately 3% of your power per 1000' in altitude gain. That means by the time you top a 10,000' pass you have lost one third of your power.
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:04 PM   #14
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We have a 32' Excella and pull it with our Chevy 2500HD/6.0gas/4.10 rear/Hensley hitch, with 150.000 plus miles on it. She still pull great, but we are going to be on the road alot more. Since General Motors became Government Motors, I'm going with either
a Ford F-350 4x4 diesel (non-dually) or over kill it with a F-450 4x4 diesel (dually). I've driven both and I'm sold.. Good Luck
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emh142 View Post
I'm trying to pull a 34 ft Limited with a Yukon 5.3L. Want to go out West next year and run around in the mountains for a while. I think I need a new vehicle (judging from my white knuckle event getting out of a fishing camp on Dale Hollow lake this Summer - 30 seconds of 9MPH at 1800RPM with cliffs all around). Can't get any straight talk from the dealers and all I see from most of the forums is to go with a 3/4 ton diesel. Anyone know of a consultant (I don't mind paying a fee) that can advise me on a tow vehicle that isn't "overkill" but is comfortable to drive with confidence? I just installed a ProPride hitch and it solved my sway problem but the Yukon just doesn't seem to have the guts to pull it uphill. Regards, Don Hetzler.
I'd be happy to be your consultant at my customary $500/hr rate.

Regards,

Ken
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:41 PM   #16
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Since General Motors became Government Motors, Good Luck
They all 3 got bailed out. GM is making big money now and paid back the loans i seen on the news last week.
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:45 PM   #17
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Take the trailer to a certified scale -- full water & propane -- plus a good approximation in weight of what you travel with. With axle and tongue weights available (and Airstream's gross trailer weight rating) you ought to be able to eliminate quite a few TV choices (based on your displeasure with your current TV).

I had no desire for a 3/4T truck, but, were I to do it over I'd have gone for a 1T (Dodges ride stiffly) as I can easily approach GVWR I've learned. What I did want was better fuel mileage and power in all applications than my 1/2T shortbed. A longbed 4-dr Dodge with manual transmission fit the bill for me: great fuel economy, greater work ability, and -- with a bed topper -- 170 cubic feet to sling all the stuff I "might" need in the back.

The truck was also necessary for business purposes, so I might have gone for a Suburban otherwise . . but their fuel economy is lousy by comparison. The 305/555 Cummins makes a superior vehicle solo and towing. Just a leetle hard to park, though.

What a retired guy can use is different from a family man, etc. Same with those who might run the truck 8,000 miles annually versus 28,000 annually (I've been in both positions); the ownership expense becomes higher.

I, too, agree with finding a nicely used TV. Use it a year or so and then decide if a newer one is the way to go. A 3/4T 2004.0 Dodge with the Cummins is at a good price point now, and unlikely to depreciate much the next few years. Stick with 2WD for fewer repairs and maintenance, plus the better ride/handling of IFS + rack & pinion steering. Tires and brakes last forever (Michelin & MOPAR, respectively).

Two engine configs in '04: Be sure it is the 305/555, not the 325/600.

http://www.autotrader.com/dealers/dd...=&cardist=6672

Add a rear axle anti-roll bar [HELWIG], lose the gimpy "running boards", add BILSTEIN blue/yellow shock absorbers, MICHELIN tires, TORKLIFT hitch receiver, tonneau cover or topper, and change the fluids, lamps, etc. This truck can easily get 16-19 in town and 21+ on the road (see sig). I've only had to replace the u-joints on mine (the single repair) in 170,000 miles.

Good luck

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Old 09-01-2010, 06:09 PM   #18
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3/4 T diesel is the your best choice. It will get you up the mountains and most improtant it will help you slow down going downhill.
We recently spent a month in British Columbia through the Okanagen Valley on up the Ice Fields Parkway to Jasper. I can atest to the fact that if we did not have our F-250 diesel we would be stranded someplace. The tow haul features of the modern diesels are excellent at helping to slow you down on the 6-8% downhill grades. The lugging power of the diesel going up these same grades for 3-4 miles makes for good towing capacity. Don't even consider something less if you want to be safe and capable of handling a 34' AS.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:16 AM   #19
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had a 350 gas with a 26 foot sob that weighed 6500lbs and that truck struggled with the hills in pennsylvania.with a 31 or 34 size trailer going into the rockies the best answer from experience is 3/4 ton diesel,or 3/4 ton big block gas motor.however drive both and i think you will prefer the diesel.as far as noise the newer diesels are almost as quiet as gas models.my 2005 6.0 diesel is noisy at idle but quiets down under highway speeds.gas or diesel is going to be loud under load going thru the rockies.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:28 PM   #20
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We have a 32' Excella and pull it with our Chevy 2500HD/6.0gas/4.10 rear/Hensley hitch, with 150.000 plus miles on it. She still pull great, but we are going to be on the road alot more. Since General Motors became Government Motors, I'm going with either
a Ford F-350 4x4 diesel (non-dually) or over kill it with a F-450 4x4 diesel (dually). I've driven both and I'm sold.. Good Luck
Let me suggest a quick rethink on a F350 or F450.

While both of those trucks are great. You may want to consider that those rear suspensions are way more than you need and they are very stiff. That stiffness will transfer to your trailer and beat it pretty bad. Rivets will pop and things will come a loose.

A F250 will have all the pull and stop you will ever need for your trailer and treat your trailer to a more gentle ride which will save you in trailer repairs.
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