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Old 09-26-2008, 03:07 PM   #1
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1963 26' Overlander
Tacoma , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 12
tow vehicles

Its me again with another newbie question. Having recently bought a 63 overlander I am wondering if anyone is towing one, or one of equal weight with a 1500 series 94-97 Suburban? 350cid motor, tow package and a decent weight distributing tow hitch set up. Any and all comme3nts will be greatly appreciated. Fishboy

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Old 09-26-2008, 07:43 PM   #2
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1996 34' Excella
Americus , Georgia
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 311
Hi and welcome to the forums. I don`t believe you would have a problem at all with the 1500 Suburban and that trailer. The 96 and newer suburbans have the vortech series engune which would have more power and torque and would yield a little more fuel economy than the TBI engines. Good Luck

1991 Airstream Excella 1000 34ft (SOLD)
1994 Chevrolet Crew Cab dually 2WD 6.5td
2005 Chevrolet Suburban LT 1500 2WD 5.3
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
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I agree. A 1500 Suburban should be quite capable of handling that load. The long wheel base of a Suburban will also help with towing stability.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:05 PM   #4
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1964 24' Tradewind
Swoope , Virginia
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I have an '86 c1500 (2 wheel drive) suburban with airbag helpers. my SOB weighs about 6300 empty. While the old style 350 w/ Qjet struggles a little with the wind drag, it handles very well with WD and sway control. I also use a hudson landscape trailer to tow a skid steer loader that weighs 5800 w/out the bucket and don't have WD on that trailer, but I am careful about the machine position for tongue weight. I'm guessing an overlander weighs around 4000. You should be fine.

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Old 09-26-2008, 09:25 PM   #5
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1986 29' Sovereign
Spruce Grove , Alberta
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After having way to many problems with a 79 Chev I was stupid enough to think they were improved by 1990 so I foolishly got another one. The last Chev I will ever own. Now my Cummins powered Dodge hauls the RV in overdrive with ease using less fuel than the Chev needed running empty with no trailer. No more crawling up the mountains at 60 km/h in 2nd gear because the good for nothing 700R4 has to big of a ratio split between 2nd and 3rd.
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
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tow vehicles

Your satisfaction will likely be dependent upon how much you intend to tow in mountainous terrain. One of my shortest lived tow vehicles (only 45,000 miles when traded) was a 1995 K1500 Chevrolet Z71 club cab pickup with the heavy duty trailer towing package -- it was seriously underpowered when towing my '64 Overlader in the Rocky Mountains. I was very relieved to trade it in on my current tow vehicle in the spring of 1998 -- K2500 GMC Suburban with the 7400 VORTEC. On steep mountain grades the 5.7 Liter in the '95 would be traveling about 15 MPH in first gear struggling such that I always was in a near panic whether it would make it to the summit -- no such worries with the 7.4 Liter (currently has more than 190,000 miles with few problems other than with the 4 WD transfer case) -- rarely necessary to use even second gear. The '96 or later 5.7 Liter VORTEC may be a bit more proficient, but I wouldn't expect a tremendous difference. Generally, I make at least one trip each season through the Rocky Mountains so how well a tow vehicle handles grades weighs heavily in my satifaction with any particular tow vehicle.

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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 09-26-2008, 10:48 PM   #7
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1958 22' Flying Cloud
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Yucca Valley , California
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Originally Posted by Fishboy View Post
Its me again with another newbie question. Having recently bought a 63 overlander I am wondering if anyone is towing one, or one of equal weight with a 1500 series 94-97 Suburban? 350cid motor, tow package and a decent weight distributing tow hitch set up. Any and all comme3nts will be greatly appreciated. Fishboy
Wow, this is freaky....your querie resembles my tow rig of last year...a 63 Overlander with a 97 2wd Suburban 1500. I would still have this vehicle if I hadn't totalled it on a 2-lane mountain road due to it's ridiculous brakes, and perhaps due to my poor driving skills.
In any event, my experience towing with this vehicle was excellent. It took me a little while to get used to the higher rpm ( towed with a 5.9l Dodge before). But, it was a healthy and well kept truck until the bitter end.
177000 miles, one transmission replacement ( $ 2500), and a GM sponsored fuel injector replacement were the only major issues.
Fuel consumption towing my 5200lb Overlander was around 12.5mpg towing, and between 14 and 17.5 mpg solo.
Only once did the fuel mileage drop to below 10mpg, and that was going west on I-40 at high elevation, into strong headwinds. It dropped to around 10mpg.
In any event, I often wish I still had this truck, and not only because of the fact that it was paid for.
I replaced it with a 2007 half ton 2wd Suburban. The 07 handles substantially better, has real brakes, and is far superior in all aspects other than bodywork. But the 07 had character was better built, and was more rugged.
I can't speak for all instances, but for regular towing anywhere in teh continental US, this truck should serve you very well.
Wolf creek pass exceeds 10000feet, and crossing it with the 97 and my 71 TradeWind never made it drop below 40mph. Many cars went up the grades slower than that....
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Old 09-27-2008, 05:15 AM   #8
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1990 25' Excella
Currently Looking...
Glenburn , Maine
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Fishboy, welcome to the forums. The choice of a tow vehicle (TV) is a personal choice, once the basic elements of GCVW are satisfied. That said, the combo you propose will be adequate. Not necessarily a perfect TV to trailer match, but I tow a trailer that's a ton heavier with a somewhat similar set-up and while it does the trick, there isn't a trip taken yet that I don't wish I'd gotten the 3/4 ton truck as my wife and I are packrats and accumulaters of the worst sort - nary a garage sale can be passed without a U-turn to check for "stuff" we might need. Not to mention my wife's penchant for rocks from every venue visited...

I've had to add a heavier receiver hitch than stock, airbag "helper" springs, a heavy-duty oil cooler, and Load Range E commercial tires to get the desired level of sidewall stability. While your mileage may vary, the best I see on the Interstates is in the vicinity of 10 MPG while a trip over secondary highways at a more relaxed pace (</= 50 MPH) yields over 12.5 MPG. So far, I have only used the 4WD once while under tow - that to aid removal of trailer and TV from the sand beach on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Good luck. Keep in mind that, as Andy likes to point out so frequently, the Airstream really wants a soft ride. Sadly, old racers want precision control. Each choice of TV is a personal one. Or did I say that already?



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Old 09-27-2008, 08:26 AM   #9
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1994 34' Excella
Mount Vernon , Kentucky
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The gentleman I purchased my 34 footer from originally pulled it back and forth to florida with a Surburban. Sounds like you would be fine.

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