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Old 06-27-2004, 04:24 PM   #1
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tow vehicle question

I'm looking @ 1991 Suburban V2500, 5.7L, efi, as a possible tow vehicle for my 1977 31ft Land Yacht. My question is whether this vehicle has what it takes to pull my trailer. All comments welcome. Thanks, Wayne
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Old 06-27-2004, 04:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurandwayne
I'm looking @ 1991 Suburban V2500, 5.7L, efi, as a possible tow vehicle for my 1977 31ft Land Yacht. My question is whether this vehicle has what it takes to pull my trailer. All comments welcome. Thanks, Wayne

Wayne:

Look on the door pillar of the 'burb - it should give you the GVRW and the max tow allowable. Weigh your trailer (normally loaded), and give yourself a good safety factor (don't load the Tow Vehicle to more than 75% to 80% of the GVWR, or max allowable tow weight, whichever limit (the most conservative) you get to first).

Remember, the main thing about towing is stopping and control - not brute horsepower for a straight line pull.

Slow and easy does it, but towing an RV (ANY RV) is definitely a case where more (tow vehicle) is better.
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Old 06-27-2004, 04:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurandwayne
I'm looking @ 1991 Suburban V2500, 5.7L, efi, as a possible tow vehicle for my 1977 31ft Land Yacht. My question is whether this vehicle has what it takes to pull my trailer. All comments welcome. Thanks, Wayne
Your trailer depending on layout weights in about 5005 to 5070 pounds dry with a tongue weight of 620 to 725, look at the tag on front panel behind propane tanks to the lower right and it will give you maximum weight loaded.
I do not know your trucks towing capacity, but I have to say no problem at all, as you could tow this with a smaller truck than that.
Acually I think that tow vehicle is capable of towing any Airstream trailer ever made!
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Old 06-27-2004, 05:01 PM   #4
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I tow with a 99 Suburban Vortec 2500 with a 454 CI eng & 4:10 rear end. Its a good tower & does well in the mountions here in the west. The 350 eng will probably do fine in flat areas, but lacking if you try big mtns. Do you know what rear end it has? That can make a difference. Would the seller let you try towing with it to check it out? Your TT will weigh in at about 7200 LBS loaded for a trip. Have you checked what the tow rating is? Mine is about 10K rating, so that one is probably around 7500, I'm guessing & that might work. You see a a few 31' being towed with 1/2 ton pick ups. I wouldn't recommend that, but they get by.
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Old 06-27-2004, 05:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurandwayne
I'm looking @ 1991 Suburban V2500, 5.7L, efi, as a possible tow vehicle for my 1977 31ft Land Yacht. My question is whether this vehicle has what it takes to pull my trailer. All comments welcome. Thanks, Wayne

Couldn't find the specs on a '91 burb, but the '93 and '94 3/4 ton were rated at 10,000lbs.

6,000 lbs of trailer, plus 1,500 to 2,000 lbs of water, food, clothes, and equipment works out to the 3/4 ton 'burb with a 10,000 lb rating being an ideal tow vehicle with an appropriate safety factor.

Sometimes the "advertised" rating is decreased for various reasons.

I purchased a new 1/2 ton Chevy PU in 2001 - a 'commuter cheapie' -- it had a ridiculously low tow rating - about 2,000 lbs. Always estimate on the conservative side if you can't find the exact numbers for the vehicle you are considering. The sales people will tell you anything you want to hear. -- ...bet they won't visit you in the hospital or testify for you in court though.
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Old 06-27-2004, 06:15 PM   #6
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'91burb questions
thanks guys for the input. I know the spec on that model suburban show a payload of 7500 lbs. the owner doesn't know the rear end gear ratio but said he will find out. I aske d if I could take it for a test pull he said ok. I looked under the chasis but could not determine if it had a transmission cooler, Is this a requirement?
wayne
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Old 06-27-2004, 11:58 PM   #7
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If you want that transmission to last then a trans. cooler is something you will need. If the rear end ratio is lower numerically than a 3.73 i.e. 3.42 then I would pass on this vehicle. I towed a '77 Excella 500 from AZ to TN with a '92 Z71 1500 shortbed Chevy truck with the 3.42 rear end and it was a killer on hills. The 2500 should have better brakes and better rear suspension but the throttle body EFI engine could use a boost. I think a 2500 Burb with the 6.0 is a better towing vehicle due to engine power and torque. If you never plan on hitting mountains and you travel light then the combination you are looking at now might make it but will labor when pushed.
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Old 06-28-2004, 03:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurandwayne
I'm looking @ 1991 Suburban V2500, 5.7L, efi, as a possible tow vehicle for my 1977 31ft Land Yacht. My question is whether this vehicle has what it takes to pull my trailer. All comments welcome. Thanks, Wayne
I have a 3/4 ton van, "SHERA" is her name and she has no problem pulling my 1986 31ft Sovreign, regardless of the powerplant the gears are more important then the latter. I would certainly run a tranny cooler and a deeper pan, I have used my van for thousands of miles and she has done wonderfully. We take it easy on the hills and I pay attention to how she is loaded. That includes through the Catskills in NY and PA--I have real high gears that just require a lot of time to get up to speed
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Old 09-07-2004, 11:09 PM   #9
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I finally bought one. Not the tow vehicle that I mentioned above. Instead I found a '90 suburban 350ci w/ tbi and a 1ton rearend kit added by the previous owner. After driving it, I couldn't pass it up. The miles are high, 175k, but it has been well taken care of. I put my first 500mile trip on it over the labor day weekend. Went off without a hitch. no pun intended. She rides a little rough but I reallly didn't feel the trailer much. Except for going up some steeper grades she pulled great at around 60-65mph. Questions. Can I do anything to get more horsepower? Engine temp was around 200-210 is this okay? Can I get better gas mileage than 8.5 mpg?
Thanks wayne
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Old 09-07-2004, 11:16 PM   #10
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There are lots of things you can do to get more HP out of that smallblock. HP costs $$$ If you got the $$$ you can have almost any HP you want. I don't mean to sound like a smart a$$, but I just went through that whole thing on my Impala SS. First I modded the engine and got it up to about 50hp more, then found that a few mods I did lowered the torque a bit (like the free flowing exhaust) even though in the end it was up over stock. Then I found a chain reaction. More HP and better gears made me have to mod the driveshaft and the posi unit, then better cooling since I reprogrammed the computer for more HP and the timing curve and fuel to air mixture program made it run a bit hotter which then I had to install a 160 degree thermostat, extra trans cooler items, and another computer reprogram for the 160 stat and secondary fan turn on times...and on and on and on and on.....

A few things to consider. If you plan on keeping the truck for a long time, by all means spend the $$ doing some mods, but you have to be careful since adding some HP mods could hurt torque and torque is what gets you going and helps get you up hills.

210 is pretty standard. Our '85 Suburban with a 454 hit 210 on the nose all the time (towing or not). Our new 2004 Suburban with a 6.0L hits 210 just like our old '85 did....more things change, the more they stay the same!

As for getting better than 8.5 mpg....go down hill more often! Our '85 got between 8 and 10mpg and nothing changed that. The 6.0L and even the newer 8.1s are a bit better on fuel, but as I've said before, we folks that buy these trucks are not gonna get a Greenpeace sticker for them anytime soon.

BTW, congrats on your Suburban. Good choice...me, it was either the 3/4 Suburban or I was gonna travel to Canada and get that Can-Am Dodge Intrepid.
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Old 09-07-2004, 11:28 PM   #11
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The truck is way too cool to part with any time soon, so I know I will spend the $ on it sooner or later, probably later. Laura said if I don't start selling some vehicles soon we will need to sell the house and move into one of them. I am going for the sovereign. About that torque thing? I am clueless. I thought it was all about horses.
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:07 AM   #12
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Towing performance

Our 94 Suburban 1500 with 200hp 5.7L engine averaged 10.1 mpg pulling an Excella 25 for 6,000+ miles across western US and back this summer. Mileage for previous Nomad trailer was 8.2mpg, and Airstream is 500# heavier, so drag really is reduced. We only get 15mpg highway solo (14 if I forget and leave ski rack installed..), so yours is about average...

You may have 205 or 210 degree thermostat, designed for compatibility with engine computers and to keep smog system happy. It may be possible to lower to 190 degrees, though dealer might discourage... It'll mostly run where thermostat is happy. May actually have transmission cooler as integrated part of radiator, since many with factory tow pkg (included chevy installed hitch receiver..), but if you don't, it's a necessity...

Suburbans are sensitive to shocks and tire pressures as well, and handling gets better as tires get firmer and spring bars help with hitch load.

Good luck, and keep putting money in the "Oh #^*!" jar, so when something breaks, you can just reach in the jar, pay for the repairs and drive on with a happy attitude... Keep tracking how much you saved v. a new Suburban including taxes and fees and stiff insurance charges and so on... Even a new air conditioner compressor seems like a bargain if viewed through that logic...

John McG
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurandwayne
I finally bought one. Not the tow vehicle that I mentioned above. Instead I found a '90 suburban 350ci w/ tbi and a 1ton rearend kit added by the previous owner.
Hi Wayne,

The 87-95 truck 350s are a good base engine, but the TBI system is very much the limiting factor. Early TBIs are quite unsophisticated, and don't take well to modifications as they stand. Certainly, any engine would benefit from a free flowing exhaust and a set of high quality headers like Hedman Elites or Thorleys. Computer mods such as a chip replacement don't benifit this vehicle much, as the computer doesn't control many functions and doesn't take well to mods like the 96 and later OBD II sytems. A good K&N air filter (probably part# E1500), good spiral wound plug wires (MSD# 31419) and an MSD box (#6200) can all help, but the big gains just won't come with the intake setup you have.

A couple of options;
#1 A Throttle Body spacer (a small, inexpensive modification, still limited by manifold.
#2 Edelbrock TBI Performer manifold #3704 (a bigger improvement, more noticable power, but still a TBI system. You would 'not' use the spacer in conjunction with this manifold).
#3 Edelbrock Multi-Point fuel injection kit (part# 3702 and fuel pump kit part# 3581 for single gas tank or 3580 for dual gas tank) This system replaces the TBI sytem with a new intake manifold with individual port fuel injectors, and comes complete with the manifold, injectors and lines fully assembled, and includes the computer, harness and everything you need for conversion, using your original throttle body (without injectors) as an air valve only. I think with the pump, it runs about $1000, but nothing else can make a TBI vehicle run like the late model fuel injected Vortec trucks.

There's lots more you can do such as computer controlled camshafts, cylinder heads and such, but they won't give you much bang for the buck without eliminating the TBI. As others mentioned, don't even think about towing without a transmission cooler and an engine oil cooler. B&M, Derale and others make excellent coolers. Make sure you get the 'stacked' or Long style cooler, rather than the cheaper 'S' shaped tube and fin design.I hope this helps.

John-Boy
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Old 09-10-2004, 11:03 PM   #14
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Thanks all for responding to my questions. I'm just returning from Indianapolis all week and haven't had time to reply. This gives me alot to think about. I want to first determine the status of transmission cooler and oil cooler. How will I know for sure what the truck has and doesn't have. I do know it is equipped with a huge, looks like aftermarket aluminum, radiator and two identical rectangular, radiator looking units mounted infront of the radiator. Are these the cooling units for the oil and tranny?
Wayne
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