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Old 07-25-2003, 01:04 PM   #29
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I have a friend with a 34 Classic, Excursion and Hensley Arrow .. he says it tows like a dream.

I was going to get an Excursion to tow my future 34 ... until I studied the weight issue.

After you fill that big fuel tank with diesel, and hitch up the trailer ... you do not have much weight left before you exceed the Excursion's GVWR.

Wet weight of a 4X4 Excusrsion is at least 7,538 pounds.

GVWR is 9,200 pounds.

You now have 1,662 pounds to work with.

Now figure in the maximum tongue weight of a 9,800 pound 34 Classic at roughly 11% of the trailer.

That comes to 1,078 pounds.

You now have 584 pounds left for you, your passengers and all of your gear before exceeding the vehicle's GVWR.

Needless to say, I will be getting a Ford F-350. This truck will give me 1,502 pounds for driver, passenger and gear. Also a longer wheelbase.
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Old 07-26-2003, 07:11 AM   #30
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You know until last weekend, I'd have said any GM truck you can get that has the 8.1L engine. However, I met 3 folks this past weekend, one manages a fleet of 8.1L trucks. Each of them said that the 8.1L burns oil like we breathe air.

A few blamed the piston slap, while others were unsure.

I'll be monitoring that pretty closely, but for now I am leaning toward a 2500HD with the Duramax and Allison trans. I met another guy that has the Cummins (Loud as hell) diesel in his RAM and he even said that he's a diesel man through and through and more importantly a Dodge man. He said the Duramax (GM & Isuzu designed and built) engine and the Allision are the thing to have. He said the Allison trans puts the rig over the top in ability and longevity.

All this and not even starting to talk about the better fuel economy-- even when towing. Most folks here that are towing with gas engines get anywhere between 9-11 MPG. I have spoken with a few diesel folks (besides this last guy) and they all claim 15MPG average (towing). In some cases this could add 100 miles of distance compared to a gas engine based on 10mpg gas and a 20gal tank.

A few months ago while my car was in and out of the shop, I drove my dad's diesel 350 SDL. On 20 gallons of diesel, I went over 500 miles on a tank. I think that's about 25mpg and I was pretty liberal with might right foot getting the turbo to kick in with several highway runs in excess of 80mph. Still got 25mpg and only had to fill up 2x in a month!

Bottom line, I'm not ruling out the next rig to be diesel.
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Old 07-26-2003, 08:27 AM   #31
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The Bronco is not a good tow vehicle for the 34'. It is too light and the wheel base is too short. Safety has to be a concern. I just returned from a trip of 8100 miles towing my 34' with a Silverado 2500 HD 8.1 liter, crew cab. I always felt in control of the trailer. I will not pull with anything less than a 3/4 ton truck regardless of the brand. A 3/4 ton suburban or Yukon would probably work as well but it needs the larger engine if you plan on towing in mountains or hilly terrain. Prior to this vehicle, I had a 2500 Dodge with a Cummins. Too noisey but did a great job.
The only, only problem with the GM 8.1 liter engine is excessive oil consumption. Mine consumes 3 quarts between oil changes of 3,000 miles. I plan to go back to a diesel. A Duramax or PowerStroke. Good luck.
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Old 07-26-2003, 09:35 AM   #32
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The 8.1L is avail in a 3/4 ton Suburban, but not in the Tahoe.

The oil consumption thing is what I'm concerned about on the 8.1L. You are now the 4th (with one that does fleet mgmt of 8.1L) that has mentioned the oil consumption problems.

I would suggest going with the Duramax/Allision combo. It looks, sounds and feels like a real winner in the 2500HD series.
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Old 07-26-2003, 02:41 PM   #33
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Oil a Real Problem?

I was also thinking of the 2500 Burb, and toying with the 7.4 L large block available before 2000, or the 8.1L available 2001 and after.

Price will probably make the difference as the '99s will now be 4 years old with 60-80K miles and the 2001/2002 will be $10,000 more money - ($17,000 ave vs $26-27,000).

There are not many diesels in those models for sale - I think only for the earlier years 1999 and older and they command a $4-5,000 premium. Towing miles may not be great enough to make the difference - (I hear need to tow 100,000 to make it worthwhile).

What say you guys?

Steve
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Old 07-26-2003, 04:55 PM   #34
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The 2003 Dodge Cummins is considerably quiter than pre 03. The HO model has lots of horse power and torque. Mine is a silver quad cab Dually and it looks awsome with the 34 foot Airstream. With the Dodge wheel base, a Reese hitch and dual cam sway controll, and prodigy controller this set up is hard to beat.
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Old 07-26-2003, 05:05 PM   #35
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Tow vehicle for 34 footer

Greetings Steve!

I dont' think a 2500 series Suburban in the pre-2000 design would disappoint you. My 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban was special ordered to my specifications with all options expect the off-road package and the sun roof - - this included a special heavy duty transmission and the 7400 VORTEC V8.

It has served me very well for the past 111,000 miles - - the only recurring problem has been with the Automatic Four Wheel Drive system - - the electronic servo that controls the system failed seven times before GM finally released a revised part that has solved that problem. I am still not impressed with the 4WD drive system as a new problem developed at 85,000 miles that keeps the "automatic selection" system from operating properly - - manual mode still works, but the electronic componet responsible for this portion of the system is likely failing (estimate of $1,200 for repair). Since I no longer require four wheel drive to insure my ability to get to work, I don't think that I would consider another GMC with 4WD as this is the second that I have had with this type of problems. I am fully expecting 300,000+ miles from this vehicle - - of course I feel short-changed if a vehcile doesn't accumulate at least 275,000 miles before it is traded.

Thus far, I have averaged 14 MPG solo with several tanks at nearly 16 MPG (I always use Mobil or Citgo Premium unleaded). When towing my '64 Overlander, I average 12 MPG to as much as 13 MPG depending upon terrain and weather. For solo travel, my cruise is always set 2 or 3 MPH below the speed limit; and for towing the cruise is set at 55 MPH or 2 or 3 MPH below speed limit if below 55 MPH (I also always use overdrive unless the transmission begins to hunt.)

The one thing to remember with the '99 Suburban model year is that it began shortly after the first of the year in 1998. My '99 was ordered in January of 1998 and delivered April 27, 1998. I hope that you find the 2500 series more plentiful in your area than they are around here - - they are a rare animal around here and most have the 5700 VORTEC motor rather than the 7400 VORTEC.

Good luck with your search!

Kevin
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Old 07-26-2003, 06:26 PM   #36
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I agree. I am having second thoughts about the 8.1L. The 7.4L is a tried and true engine. If not that, then diesel, diesel, diesel!

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Old 07-26-2003, 11:40 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silvertwinkie
I agree. I am having second thoughts about the 8.1L. The 7.4L is a tried and true engine. If not that, then diesel, diesel, diesel!

What you need is a F350 crewcab dually with a 275 HP 7.3 Powerstroke diesel, a 6-speed manual transmission and 4.10 gears.

I happen to have such an animal for sale if anyone is interested!
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Old 07-27-2003, 06:29 AM   #38
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We agree with Steve H. We have a 2002 F-350 powerstroke diesel with a Superchip performance upgrade. It is the absolute best for towing! We averaged 14 to 16 MPG with the fully loaded Tradewind and three kids on our recent trip to Myrtle Beach. We couldn't have been happier with the ride and the performance of the truck and trailer.

Debby
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Old 07-27-2003, 07:32 AM   #39
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Thumbs up New Hauler

Ok, everyone... after following this thread, I've decided that my Excursion is probably unsuited to hauling a 34' trailer. I decided to upgrade to a true hauler.

I had my trusty-rusty '87 Toyota pickup handy, so I hitched 'er up and gave 'er a trial run. She's bone stock with a 22R 2.2 liter gas engine, and a 4spd automatic with O/D. I just put new $9.99 O'Reilly's shocks all the way around, and she's got a Class I receiver hitch fitted and a one-and-seven-eighths hitch ball. There is no brake controller. It's probable curb weight is about 1800lbs (including the dash-mounted stereo). The tires and brakes are new.

I'm pleased to report that I towed my 34' tri-axle at speeds of up to 85mph without sway control or weight equalizing equipment at all. I experienced absolutely no problems panic stopping my 9800 GVWR trailer at all, even without a brake controller installed. I averaged about 35mpg even at 10,000 feet. The mountains were a little tough, as it was uphill both ways, but the old girl managed just fine. I just slipped the trans into second going down the other side uphill.

I am now convinced that wheelbase, vehicle weight, sway control, and trailer brakes are all superfluous issues and are of such insignificance as to merit no further discussion. Obviously, as proved by my trusty-rusty Toyota that it is perfectly reasonable to pull a 34' with a VW Beetle, if that's your choice. End of Discussion.

As witness and testament to this great experiment and marvelous hauler, I include this actual unretouched photograph.

Roger
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Old 07-27-2003, 09:16 AM   #40
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Are those stabilizer jacks I see helping hold that red bomber up?

By the way, the Powerstroke has had some issues with it. I don't recall what I have heard, but two folks that had one that I've met at some campgrounds this summer claimed that one small part failed and the whole truck came to a stop.

They too were in the process of either selling them or waiting for the time when they could get a different truck.

I don't own one, so I can't say for sure this is an issue, but two different folks from two seperate campgrounds mentioned this same problem. It could be just a fluke, maybe not. You decide.
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Old 07-27-2003, 11:03 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silvertwinkie
Are those stabilizer jacks I see helping hold that red bomber up?
Uh, yes... no... uh... they're JATO rockets... yeah, that's it... JATO... and I didn't inhale either...

Do I qualify to do Joe Isuzu commercials now?

Roger
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Old 07-27-2003, 01:56 PM   #42
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Good one, Roger .. but it isn't April 1st yet!
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