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Old 06-16-2005, 07:46 PM   #1
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Thumbs up tow vehicle

hi i have a 23 ft 1976 safari and am concidering a 1994 Z-71 chevy truck to tow it with antone have any experience or advice the truck has a 5.7 L engine the trailer weight is 3800 empty

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Old 06-16-2005, 09:50 PM   #2
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Towing with a Z-71 Chevy?

Greetings Paulk!

Originally Posted by Paulk
hi i have a 23 ft 1976 safari and am concidering a 1994 Z-71 chevy truck to tow it with antone have any experience or advice the truck has a 5.7 L engine the trailer weight is 3800 empty
My current tow vehicle's predecessor was a 1995 Chevrolet Z71 Club Cab with short bed (5.7 Liter/3.73 Differentials). I believe that the 1994 had similar trailer tow ratings to the 1995 -- when equipped with the heavy duty trailering package and 3.73 gearing the factory trailer tow rating was 6,000 pounds. With your Safari, you should be well within the towing capacity of the truck -- it was woefully underpowered for my 6,100 pound gross weight Overlander.

Something to keep in mind with this truck is that its suspension is overly stiff -- something that Airstream coaches do not appreciate. A regular-issue K1500 will be kinder to your coach -- I know that my K2500 Suburban has much better suspension characteristics for towing than did my Z-71 (I notice far fewer popped rivets and other related issues since switching to a tow vehicle with a gentler suspension.

Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin D. Allen
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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 06-16-2005, 09:54 PM   #3
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I towed a 24 foot Argosy with a 1995 Z71 with the trailer package. It did all right but, like Kevin said, the stiffer ride was not the greatest. Also, I noticed when I went to the GMC Safari that the lower center of gravity made it a lot easier to tow the 24 footer.
I did not have a problem towing but I did notice an improvement in handling when I switched tow vehicles.
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Old 06-17-2005, 06:07 AM   #4
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If I recall isn't the Z71 an off road package? I'd go with what folks say about the stiff suspension. The as for can it do it, without question, it can do it.
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Old 06-17-2005, 09:24 AM   #5
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With the stiffer suspension, you need LIGHTER weight distribution bars for more flex and gentler ride if using a Reese Dual Cam setup. It is an inverse relationship.
If using a soft suspension, STIFF bars can be used to help out the tow vehicle.
If the tow vehicle needs little help, go LIGHT bars to help the ride of the trailer.
Make sense?
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Old 06-17-2005, 07:47 PM   #6
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Not their greatest engine..

The '94 Chevy 5.7L V-8 was pre-Vortec, and rated horsepower was only 200, v. 250 for Vortec models... That could make a difference if you're pulling up and down hills, and trailer at gross weight, but patience becomes a towing virtue...

If other choices available, I'd look for '96 or newer with Vortec engine..

John McG

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:00 PM   #7
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I have ( and may be soon selling ) 1996 K1500 Z71. I really noticed the difference when I put a new axel on the Caravel. While it's a little rough empty it runs very smooth with the trailer. In fact the last outing I didn't use the WD coming home and it was fine.
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:23 AM   #8
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I had the '92 Z71 and my son has a '90 4X4 Sport K15 with skidplates. Both were 5 sp. manuals but his has the 3.73 rear end and mine had the 3.42. I could tell the difference in pulling power. His engine bit the dust so we replaced it with a '96 Vortec engine, marine manifold and maintained the throttle body fuel injection. It pulls better than the '90 engine did by a long shot. I would be more inclined to go with the 5.7 Vortec in a '96 over the 5.7 in the '94 as previously stated. The only problem I have heard with the Vortec 5.7 is that the 2 piece manifold has a tendency to leak antifreeze. Having said that, if it does, I would replace the manifold with an all aluminum one to eliminate it happening again.


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