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Old 09-06-2013, 09:23 AM   #1
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Denver , Colorado
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TV Selection--GMC 1500 vs 2500

Ok, I know..another d&#n thread on tow vehicles. I believe that over the last few months I have read every one of them.

Here's the situation: I'm selecting a TV for our new 2014 Int'nl Sterling 27FB. The key numbers:
GVWR--7,600
Base Weight--5,824
Hitch Weight--770

In addition, we're adding:
Solar Panels (3)
Additional AGM Batteries (2)
ProPride 3P Hitch
The options will weigh (best guess) about 550-600 lbs. with 250 or so right on the hitch (we're putting the extra batteries in the TT).

The new GMC Sierra 1500 with the big (6.2L) gas engine has a max trailering of 11,200. The 2500HD has a max trailering of 17,400. What I'm most concerned about is tongue weight and cargo capacity of the truck.

It is easy to say "just get the big monster", but I will drive this daily around town in addition to on the road...not to mention the $$$. So I'm trying to figure out what is (a)safe; (b)cost effective; and (c)smart!

We live in the Colorado mountains so our towing involves big grades pretty much every trip. The combined knowledge and experience here on the Forum is much appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:55 AM   #2
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Go with the 2500 bigger suspension components and more total capacity. Daily drivability has more to do with wheelbase. Me I have a 25' Classis and my tv is a 2500 with a 200" wheelbase. If I lived in the mountains like you and most of my driving was in the mountains I would buy a Duramax. I live in Florida most of my trips are flat country I drive a gasser.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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Two Words

"Colorado Mountains"

get the 2500

It's a no-brainer for those grades. Nothing like watching the oil temp and transmission temp guages spiking while plodding up a hill after downshifting to 2nd gear to make you realize "I shoulda got the big one!". Another thing to remember is that you not only have to TOW your 27'... you have to STOP it. The Chevy/GMC 2500 has far better brakes and engine braking than the 1500. It's a monster especially in low gear. Oh, and also get the 4 wheel drive version. The numbers say you can get by with a 1500 (I do with an EB 25'... in flatland Virginia) but getting by will be drastically different in the Rockies than in the coastal plain!

How to pay for it?
  • Get a snowplow blade and clear your neighborhood's driveways!
  • carry chains and pull grateful people out of ditches and off of slick streets/wet grass/etc.
  • be the moving man... truck bed plus a rented utility trailer and you'll be busy every weekend.
  • carpool - especially in winter - you're the safe choice to get to work

Happy trails, Paula
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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I have a 2013 25FB International Serenity where the catalog tongue weight was 833 pounds versus the 27FB International tongue weight of 770 pounds. (Catalog weights are the same for both 2013 and 2014).

I had a single 150 watt solar panel, street and rear awning, and a set of Centramatic wheel balancers installed by the dealership. When I got to the dealership, we mounted the Hensley hitch head on the trailer. The Shureline scale I brought reported a jack stand weight of 1,150 pounds. For conversation, take off 65 pounds for the difference in initial tongue weight and the 27FB could be close to 1,075 pounds.

You are planning on three solar panels and larger batteries. So there is a good chance the tongue weight will increase.

The issue to consider is the net payload capacity of the tow vehicle. Many 1/2 ton pickups show 1,500 to 1,600 payload on paper. After hitching the trailer and putting close to 150 pounds of additional batteries in the pickup plus the heavy gage wires necessary to connect to the trailer batteries, you may find that the driver and one passenger weight brings the payload close to the maximum value. You still might want a camper cover, generators, gasoline etc and then the payload would be exceeded.

I would suggest inspecting the actual size of the front disk brake's rotor on a 3/4 ton diesel pickup versus the 1/2 ton gas truck. Since the diesel is rated for more weight of trailer plus truck, it will have greater brake capacity. Having a larger braking margin is a good idea in the mountains in case of a trailer brake issue.

That is why I went with a 3/4 ton Dodge Ram diesel for our current 25FB after exceeding the front axle weight rating and GVW of my Mercedes when loaded for camping that I had planned to tow the 25FB with initially. The Ram has the capacity to handle the 27FB Classic at 9,000 pounds GVW when it arrives in January.

Our first trip with the Ram we were at 16,000 pounds for the rig and 10,120 pounds of that weight was on the truck axles.

I suggest pushing a pencil hard on the numbers before getting out the pen to write a check.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:12 AM   #5
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Yes, another

All I can say is, if you read all of those threads, you knew what the answers would be. Each forum seems to have its most common thread and this is it.
Larry
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:16 AM   #6
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I thought the 1500 was a half ton and the 2500 was a 3/4 ton
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:42 AM   #7
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If you get the same body style, the trucks are the same size. Jim
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srpuywa View Post
I thought the 1500 was a half ton and the 2500 was a 3/4 ton
Yes, the 1500 is 1/2 ton and the 2500 is 3/4 ton.

In terms of size--the 2500 is 10" longer that the 1500.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:51 AM   #9
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I still think they are the same size. Prove me wrong. Jim
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zigzagguzzi View Post
I still think they are the same size. Prove me wrong. Jim
Jim
Check out the GMC website. The Sierra 1500 length overall is 230.2". The Sierra 2500 length overall is 240.2". That's right off their specification sheets. Not to mention I drove both of them in the last week, parked them side-by-side...the 3/4 ton is longer, and taller by 5" too.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:56 AM   #11
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Okay. I will check myself. Jim
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:58 AM   #12
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If they have the same bed length and cab, they are within a few inches of each other, between 1500 and 2500.

Bumper shapes and cosmetics can create small length differences. Cold be small differences between Chevy and GMC as well.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
If they have the same bed length and cab, they are within a few inches of each other, between 1500 and 2500.

Bumper shapes and cosmetics can create small length differences.
Cargo box length for 1500 is 69.3" and for the 2500 it is 78.8". Cabs are essentially the same.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:05 PM   #14
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we moved from a 1500 to a 2500 diesel for our 31ft AS. The 1500 was up to the challenge - sort of - but I found the driving experience marginal.

Years ago we had a 27 foot non-AS trailer that we pulled with a Safari minivan. when I moved up to the 15000 4x4, I was amazed at how much more relaxing the towing was for me.

Then when we switched to the 31' AS, still with the 1500, I found I was back where I started in terms of being slightly nervous with the driving. Moving to the 2500HD completely resolved that and I am very happy with it.

We use the 2500HD as a daily driver and I was a bit concerned the day we bought it that it certainly seemed a bigger vehicle for such use. But it is worked out fine and my wife - barely 5' drives it daily without complaint - except that it is a little harder to park due to its longer wheelbase.

For towing however, I believe the longer wheelbase is a big plus.

I would be inclined to go with the 2500 even though your trailer is a little shorter than ours. Longer wheelbase, bigger brakes for emergencies etc.

Brian.
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