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Old 02-06-2006, 12:26 PM   #1
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tow vehicle opinions wanted

Id like some opinions about upgrading my tow vehicle.
My current set-up:
2005 19 CCD
2001 Nissan Pathfinder, 6 cyl, 240 HP, 5000 lbs towing w/ load-equalizing hitch

The Pathfinder works fine, but does get pushed around a bit by the trailer. Its been a great car when not towing.

Id like to get something slightly larger to use with the trailer that would also be used as my everyday vehicle, (driving approximately 40 miles per day during the week).

Heres what Im considering:
Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan Armada
Toyota 4 runner, 8 cyl
Volvo XC90
Chevy/GMC Tahoe/Yukon
Land Rover Range Rover ($$$$!)

All opinions will be greatly appreciated!

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Old 02-06-2006, 12:42 PM   #2
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If your Pathfinder is getting pushed around, you may want to try a sway bar and load distributing hitch (if you're not already using them) before escalating all the way to the purchase of a new vehicle! Unless of course you just want to buy something new anyhow

I'm able to pull a 26' Overlander with my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee (AWD, 5.7liter hemi). It was horrible the first time I tried, but with a sway bar, the right tires and tire pressure, and load distributing hitch it got much easier.

Of course, there are a million factors, but physics says the longer the wheel base of your tow vehicle, the easier it'll be to keep control over your trailer.

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Old 02-06-2006, 12:46 PM   #3
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1992 34' Limited
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TV info

C -

Welcome! You will find that everyone has an opinion on the 'perfect' TV and none of them are shy about sharing those opinions. Get ready to do some reading - try the search feature and plugin Tow Vehicle and see what you get! Your eye's will wide up square!

As to my opinion.... Get the longest wheelbase TV that you can. The wheelbase of the TV is what limits the 'pushing around' feeling that can happen. IT takes a LOT more physical force to move a long wheelbase vehicle around its vertical center point than a short wheel base vehicle. Simple physics.

One other possible consideration. Most people trade 'up' on the trailer before they trade the vehicle. If you get a bigger trailer will your current or 'new' TV be able to pull it?? Wheelbase, tranny and engine all factor into that question.

That said, there are considerations for the daily travel portion of you driving - the preponderance, likely. That is your call as well. What can you live with daily that also makes your towing time fun and enjoyable. Some trade one for the other. Some say "No compromises" when towing and just bite the bullet on the daily drive.

Is a big TV and option with a small daily driver?? Best of both worlds, if you can swing it!

Best of luck and keep posting! Oh, and use that search feature!

Talk with you soon!

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Old 02-06-2006, 12:51 PM   #4
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2005 25' Safari
San Marcos , California
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Can't Go Wrong

...with any full-size SUV or Truck, 1500 or above. I currently pull with a 1500 GMC Yukon XL and have had NO problems whatsoever in regards to power (and having the equalizer bars it feels like I'm not towing a thing! ) I do have to mention though, a friend of mine towed his 25' toyhauler with a regular-size Yukon Denali and had considerable swaying problems, even with anti-sway bars and equalizer. The shorter wheelbase argument holds there...
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:56 PM   #5
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hi chilao

based on the list you suggest....seems you'd prefer something other than an american truck based t.v.?

consider the v.w. touareg.....plenty of capacity for your trailer....several folks do pull the bambis with them...rated to >7000lbs with or without w/d.

very nice when not towing.....devoman and some others here sing their praise....and it would be better, but still in the same your list.

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Old 02-06-2006, 01:01 PM   #6
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Get a 'Burban

JamesDean is right. You will never regret moving to the full-size, 1500 Chevy Suburban or GMC Yukon XL. You really don't need the 2500, so no reason to sacrifice the wonderful ride and handling of the 1500 Suburban.

After three Suburbans, I finally had to trade my 2003 Z71 Suburban when I got the 31' Sovereign. I love my new 2500 HD Chevy Duramax Diesel when I'm towing, but I sure miss the Suburban when the trailer is parked and I'm sightseeing at my destination.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:22 PM   #7
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Crestview , Florida
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1500 Burb lover here

I love our 2002 1500 Suburban. They couldn't make (in my eyes) a better vehicle for me. I traveled 98% of the time w/out DH when we had our pop up (DH did NOT like the pop up). So when it came to towing something bigger, I was SUPER nervous-so much that I did NOT even look at 25' Airstreams because from the outside, they looked HUGE compared to the 22'. Let me say this, three minutes into towing the 22' for the first time, tears started rolling down my cheeks-I looked at DH and said "I think I could have towed the 25' with no problems!!!" All 8+ hours home, our Suburban, Equal-I-Zer, and 22' Safari were one. NO 18 wheeler even bothered us once. We could have gone up to the 25' weight wise with the 1500, but I didn't want to push it. I am super comfortable with towing this alone and won't get rid of my Burb unless it dies!
Minya and the kids

2005 22' Safari-
...lost her in the divorce-
Would like another (Airstream), please!

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Old 02-06-2006, 02:52 PM   #8
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1996 28' Excella
1974 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Florida
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H/A arrow

Have you considered the Hensley Arrow? We just ordered ours this AM. We are pulling a 28' w/a Lincoln Nav. and sway bars. Still had some sway. Everything I have read about the H/A has been good. May be a consideration and would be cheaper that a new car. Good luck, Kathy
The Boogie Bunch
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:55 PM   #9
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1993 34' Excella
1962 16' Bambi
New Haven , Connecticut
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Nissan Armada

I've been towing with the Armada for two years now. I'm VERY HAPPY with the decsion to go with it. I tow a 34 and a 31 with no problem. 315 HP and tow mode makes it a dream.

While not the longest wheel base out there, the Hensley makes up for it. Transmission is as tight today as when it rolled off the lot. Can't say the same about my first tow vehicle - Chevy Van - 2500. The tranny on that had minor issues after 5000 miles of towing. Hard or banging shifts from gear to gear. note that i never found out if it was caused by towing - but the problem started around the same time i put some miles on.

The Armada is not 100% perfect. The AC comes on when i start the car. Driver door rattles on hard bumps. I bought the first model year so these problems may have been fixed by now. Oh yeah...gas guzzler. When I town the 34 I only get 10.5 MPG.

While Nissan is not American, the trucks are assembled in the USA - down south somewhere - AL maybe. I did feel my purchase was helping to employ Americans.

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Old 02-06-2006, 03:00 PM   #10
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2004 25' Safari
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The issue with your current TV is that it's rated tow capacity is about 92% used not including passengers, cargo, fuel etc. Add to the fact that the wheelbase is very small, you have the ripe makings for problems.

Though I do like the Touareg for smaller, lighter coaches, it is not an inexpensive TV (tow vehicle). The V6 starts retail about $37k and the V8 which I'd recommend based on having towed a Bambi starts at $44k retail.

I would not recommend any TV under 120". I think even a Grand Cherokee would be hard pressed and you could find yourself in a similar position down the road.

My suggestion based on power, wheelbase, cost and drivability when not towing would be the Chevy Trailblazer ext. Nearly loaded, the truck costs about $35k retail, has a V8, can come with 3.73 gears or 4.10s (which I'd recommend you go with the 4.10s), has the power, torque you'll need and gets, for an SUV that tows, expected fuel economy when not towing (15-20 cty/hwy mpg) and a 129" wheelbase for even greater stability. In addition, the truck at it's GVWR weighs more than the Bambi, so when the winds come a blowin', the Bambi may not outweight the truck. You could even bring bring a couple of people with you and not worry about the weights.
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Old 02-06-2006, 03:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by micsupply
I've been towing with the Armada for two years now. I'm VERY HAPPY with the decsion to go with it. I tow a 34 and a 31 with no problem.
No offense meant Dave, but towing a 34' or 31' with the Armada, even though you use a Hensley, the Hensley doesn't counter everything that a 34' or 31' coach will bring, particularly in a number of situations. Nor can the Hensley be used as a brake. Though your Chevy van may have had issues, they could be pale in comparision to what you're doing now. I would implore you to reconsider your decsion to tow a 31' to 34' coach with an Armada for both your saftey and that of people around you. In reality, either coach excees any tow rating I have seen for the Armada by a wide and comfortable margin....and before you say that it has a 9100lb tow rating, consider the passengers, fuel, cargo that you haul in it, plus the fact that the 9100 tow rating only gets that rating by a number of smoke and mirror add ons in the "big tow" packages. The 34' itself can weigh nearly 2x what the Armada weighs, needs a far longer wheelbase and no Hensley in the world can make up for that fact, let alone the laundry list of reasons. Again, I don't mean any disrespect Dave, I just feel what you are doing is extremely dangerous.
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Old 02-06-2006, 03:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
No offense meant Dave,.
Silvertwinkie, I've never been offened by your comments. I have comfort in knowing you are always looking out for all Americans.

My trailer weights meet the mfg towing specs. To date, the Armada has performed extremely well, even with the 34. However, I have yet to encounter a dangerous situation on the road pulling either of my Airstreams. The Armada does not get pushed around either. I always maintain proper speed limits - especially on exit ramps and turns.

However, I suspect any vehicle would have trouble in a dangerous situation. I've heard of a number of Suburban accidents while towing. The Suburban TV and it's wheelbase length did not help friends in their accidents.

And in the situation of towing a Bambi - the Armada could almost be considered overkill, as might the Hensley.
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Old 02-06-2006, 03:36 PM   #13
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Dave, you are totally right, not even following the golden rules can prevent every and all accidents. There are no promises in life.

I myself towed our Bambi and our Safari at first with our Impala SS. It had the meat to do the job and I even put another $2500 in the car to tow the Safari more safely. I upgraded the rear gears, driveshaft, engine mgmt, cooling of the engine and trans, Bilstein shocks, upgrades suspension components, etc. In the end, that Impala could move a 34' coach and even move across the country if I wanted to, but in reality, it was way outclassed and undersized for the 25' Safari, in wheelbase, weight and overall stability. I am sure a Hensey would have made it a more rigid connection and safer, but there were some things I knew the Hensely in my case would not and could not fix.

Just for the sake of identifying what makes the tow rating upgrade on the Armada (9100lbs) different that that of a regualr Armada (6500lbs), here are the goodies that get it the upgraded tow rating of 2500lbs:

SE Tow Package
• 9,100 lbs. (4x2)/9,000 lbs. (4x4) maximum towing capacity
• Underbody receiver hitch
• Lower final gear ratio
• 7-pin wiring harness
• Trailer brake pre-wiring
• Transmission temperature gauge
• Heavy-duty battery
• Auto-leveling rear suspension

Few of these to me add any real meat to what is needed. I think if you look most tow packages upgrade the trans, rear end, etc, yet none of that is found here, with the exception being the lower final gear ratio, but that is done by playing with the gearing in the transmission, not at the rear axle where it really should be IMHO. That is how they get by with a 1/2 ton rear axle and an overall 1/2 truck, yet still try to keep the vehicle in the 3/4 ton sandbox.

I don't want to come across as the sky is falling, it clearly isn't. To me there is a difference between moving something and towing something. I moved the Safari and towed the Bambi.

I'm glad to hear you're not an Indy car driver when towing, that's great, but I'm not sure I'd do what you're doing after my Impala SS/ Safari SS tow combo exp.
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:17 PM   #14
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chilao, twink and others

agree the vdub is but post says upgrade...not new.

there should be a wide selection of vdubs coming off lease or in the near 3 year old segment...and these will be less expensive.

i agree look for the v8.

and ownership cost should be less than the rr disco...which is on the list.

of course, any flavor of 1/2 or 3/4 ton gee'em, ford, or dodge would work fine...and prices on those are fallin fast.

love the superduty....


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