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Old 01-02-2019, 08:26 PM   #1
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Towing 30' International with 2017 Yukon XL Denali

My current TV is a '15 2500HD with Duramax, arguably one of the best TVs on the market. When we purchased our plan was to full-time out west, thus the best truck we could buy.

Plans change, and now I'm looking at traveling a bit less, just a couple trips a year and shorter trips in the midwest. In the meantime, the 2500HD is an absolute PITA to drive when not towing, I'm afraid my teeth are going to fall out. We don't drive it when my 6 month old daughter is with because she cries due to the jarring ride (yes, I've tried lowering PSI to 50 all around, helps but doesn't do enough). In addition, the crew cab is at full space capacity with 2 adults, 2 car seats and the dog.

I'm considering getting a 2017 Yukon XL Denali w/6.2L, 10 speed and 3.23 gearing. It comes with the "trailering package". I figure the 1/2 ton SUV frame and other luxury features will make for a better daily vehicle, which is it's job 75% of the time, while being able to perform as a capable tow vehicle as needed.

Looking for any feedback for those that have actually used a 6.2L Yukon XL with a larger AS.

Airstream International 30 Twin:
  • Hitch Weight (with LP and Batteries): 898
  • Unit Base Weight (with LP and Batteries): 6,517
  • Maximum Trailer Capacity (GVWR) (lbs.): 8,800
  • Net Carrying Capacity (lbs.): 2,283
2017 Yukon XL Denali (AWD):
  • Max Trailer Towing Capacity: 7,900 (this is 900 short of the AS max GVWR, but still 1,400 over the empty weight)
  • Available payload (from door frame sticker): 1,498
  • ProPride P3 WD hitch
  • Total Passengers weight: 455 (2 adults, 2 kids and dog)
If I'm doing my math right, I have a payload of 898 (AS tongue weight) + 455 (passengers) = 1353, which is offset by some small percentage by the ProPride hitch - giving me +/-150lbs of payload.

The AS weights 6,517 empty and 8,800 max, the Yukon XL is rated at 7,900 max, meaning we'd want to be sure we stayed around 1,500lbs of extras in the AS when towing.

I know the conservative answer is stick with the 2500HD, but honestly it's not working as a family vehicle at all. I need something that's 75% family mover and hauler and 25% tow vehicle. What does the crew say about this combo?

BTW - I've seen plenty of King Ranch/Platinum F150s pulling 27'+ Airstreams and know those things have between 1150-1450 lbs of payload...
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:39 PM   #2
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Towing 30' International with 2017 Yukon XL Denali

Iíve towed the same trailer with a similar suv (infinity QX80). Similar payload, towing capacity and slightly shorter wheelbase.

If you stay on flatland with your propride and keep it under 65 youíll be OK. Your biggest issue will be payload though - 1,500lbs goes fast. Your tongue weight is 900-1,000 on that trailer and remember that your propride will reduce payload by another ~200lbs as the entire head assembly is carried by the hitch receiver on the TV not the AS frame. So that only leaves about 300-400lbs for people if you want to be within your limits.

With the long wheelbase Yukon youíll also need quite a bit of tension on the WD bars to transfer weight to the front due to the long overhang.

I live in Denver, and after 3k miles towing the 30í with the suv I actually upgraded to the same truck you have now (2500 duramax). Much better for mountains / elevation / payload. But I tow maybe 7k miles per year, and I have the benefit of not having to run around in the 2500 as my daily driver (still have the infinity).

You might also consider an f150 or gmc 1500 or what have you - longer wheelbase but soft suspension for going around town... and you still get ~2,000lbs of payload.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:07 PM   #3
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I got rid of my 2016 Expedition and replaced it with an F250 Diesel. The F250 ride is very smooth on all but the roughest of roads. I suspect you will be very disappointed in the Yukon after having a diesel...
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:57 AM   #4
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Towing 30' International with 2017 Yukon XL Denali

Thanks for the feedback guys, would still love to hear from someone towing with the same combo.

In the meantime Iím going to see what can be done to the 2500hd to improve the bone jarring ride - sounds like I can play with tire pressure more and maybe look at a new set of Bilsteins. Itís at 60k miles which seems early for suspension replacement but itís worth a shot before moving into a replacement.

Would LOVE to see a large SUV with more payload, our options are pretty limited here!
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:58 AM   #5
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Iíd consider trading trucks and not going with an SUV. My wife and daughter love road tripping in my Ram 2500 mega cab. Plenty of room for the wife, baby, and two dogs to ride all in the back seat if they want. And itís plenty smooth.

I suspect a new GMC would be the same.
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:27 AM   #6
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We towed our 2011 Flying Cloud 30 with a Yukon Denali XL (4wd) with the 6.2L engine for a number of years. The only problem we had was in the mountains where it clearly did not have the right fit for higher elevations and steep grades. Resulted in some minor overheating situations, but was a great tow combo for the majority of our travels on more level grades.

Finally upgraded to a 2015 Ram 500 mega cab which makes towing a real breeze. Plus, my wife loves the truck.
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:32 AM   #7
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Have you considered a Duraburb converted Suburban?
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:32 AM   #8
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Ď13 Yukon XL Denali, Ď88 29í.

My setup is similar. Same engine, 6 speed tranny, same weight specs on TV.

As was mentioned youíll have a lot of tensio on WD hitch bars. Iíve found that getting the WD hitch dialed in is critical.

That said, Iíve towed this setup well over 1000 miles and had to lock it up in the rain on a Houston freeway. Itís a good ride. Plenty of power from the big motor. Weíll be driving mountains in September so Iíll know more then, but I have confidence in the setup. No straining, good handling, good braking.

FWIW the axle, brakes and tires on the Aistream are all new.
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:58 AM   #9
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similar setup

Hi there. I tow my 25 flying cloud which is very similar on weights (860 lbs of tongue weight fully loaded per scale). I have a 2018 yukon w/ 6.2L & 10 speed. This is PLENTY of power for your needs...towing up & down heavy mountain grades is not a problem at all (the engine & tranny combo is very tough to beat). Issue is hitch weight's effect on payload, and I upgraded my tow bars to throw a LOT more weight on the front tires (in order to do this you actually have to have bars able to pick up the weight of the back of the truck and your airstream, especailly if the yukon XL has automatic air suspension).

My original 1,000lb bars bent like blades of grass and moved almost zero weight to my front end. My 1,500lb bars bend pretty easily too (one has actually permanently bent slightly), but they do a MUCH better job of throwing more weight to the front end. I'm toying with the idea of putting 2,000lb bars on my rig to even the load out even more, but don't want to put too much stress on my TV frame. Upgrade your WD bars and you shouldn't have any issues. Also be sure to use the CAT scales a few times to get a feel for your actual axle weights (makes a massive difference towing in high winds & passing big rigs). Doing this I am well within the weight range of my axles & truck feels incredibly stable. Don't do this and you will very likely overload your rear axle and experience a lot more "swimming" of your TV front end.


Everyone has different opinions. Like you, I personally love the soft ride of the Yukons, especially on those long drives.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:34 AM   #10
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How about putting 4 bags of peagravel from a big box store garden center in the bed of the truck.?

It will take the jarring ride out. Remove the bags when camping. Drive on.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:43 AM   #11
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I used to tow a 30' bunkhouse with an '07 Yuckon XL Denali 6.2L. It was a fantastic combo.
I've changed to a 27' and a 1/2 ton Sierra with the 6.2L and I like it even better, but both the engine and transmission are upgraded over the '07. I decided I'd rather have the pickup bed with a cap over the large SUV, but either one are great to tow with.

The fuel economy while towing with the 6.2L is better than any other gas engine. Check out the tests on TFL Truck for validation.
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:07 PM   #12
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Our TV is an 18 1 ton Duramax and are not experiencing anything close to what your saying, I'm guessing does the age difference make the difference?
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:18 PM   #13
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Like Jekerrville said try putting a little ballast in the back of the truck when not towing. I use a load lock right behind the wheel wells about 18" from the tailgate. Then a row of cement blocks fit nicely and won't slide around. Makes a 3/4 ton ride like a baby buggy. Load locks available at big truckstops as well as online. The load lock makes a handy tool for other uses on the farm as well.
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:51 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone! Great to hear that the combo has worked well for others, based on the stats the 6.2L doesn't seem like it'll have any issues with power except on the steepest of mountain passes. As someone who used to live in the mountains I'm OK with using the slow semi-lane, I don't need to or expect to be doing the speed limit up those passes.



I have the 1,500lb bars on my ProPride, so I should be able to shift a good amount of weight.



Also appreciate the ideas to make the 2500HD ride better. I think if I keep it I'll replace the shocks/struts with Bilsteins and toy around with carrying some weight around in back - but as the wife has reminded me, that doesn't solve for the 75% of the time where having a bit more cargo/interior room is required.
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