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Old 02-22-2008, 08:43 AM   #15
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Can I Tow This

I have a 91 GMC Rally STX 3500 (1 ton).
It has a 350 engine.
I think it has a 4L60E as it looks identical to the transmission in my 84 Camaro.
What kills transmissions is heat which causes hydraulic pressure loss.
The hotter the transmission fluid gets the thinner it gets.
The thinner the fluid gets the harder time the pump has keeping the hydraulic pressure up.
The clutches in a transmission are not slip clutches (like in a straight stick transmillion) but lock up clutches.
They are supposed to lock completely in less than 1 revolution.
The hydraulic pressure pushes on a piston that accomplishes this. If you dont have the pressure you dont have lock up and the clutch packs are allowed to slip. The clutch facing on the appear to be a paper or celloluse material and is very thin. However as long as they stay wet with oil they last a very long time.
Back to the subject at hand.
The 4L whatever transmissions don't like to tow in overdrive. The overdrive clutches arn't large enough to handle the torque, and as the oil gets thin and the ability to lubericate diminishes the bearings in the OD unit start to gauld and burn (not good).
All that being said as long as you don't tow in overdrive and install a large cooler you won't have problems.
Keep the transmission fluid below 200 degrees (180 would be nirvana) you will be fine.
What produces the heat in a transmission is the torque converter. The harder the pull you have it in the more it heats up the oil because it is trying to compress it.
Th let up on the pull just get in the right lane, shift down and enjoy the view. At 45 MPH you can see a lot that you would miss at 65 MPH.
I have never burnt up a transmission.
I have pulled some heavy trailers with not enough tow vehicle but because of shifting down and the installation of external Transmission oil coolers I have never had problems.
Also, change oil and filter every so often (5 years or so or when the oil smells stale.
Beginner.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:22 AM   #16
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Raise the hood and on the crossmember by the radiator there should be a tag with the vehicles information; including the engine infor. A 5.0=300 c.i., 6.0=400 c.i. and 7.4=454 c.i., more or less. Each manufacturer is slightly different in their cubic inch designation but this will be close. If yours is 7.4 or above you have more than enough power to do the job.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:43 AM   #17
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Can I tow this?

Greetings Breiz!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breiz
How can I tell?
If your '95 Suburban is like the '95 Z71 pickup that I had, there is an emissions control label on the front radiator support that is visible when the hood is open. It should list the engine as either 5.7 Liter (350 cubic inch) or 7.4 Liter (454 cubic inch). When I purchased my pickup in '95, the dealers in my region rarely stocked the 7.4 liter, and one even indicated that they only special ordered vehicles equipped with the 7.4. My pickup was a K1500 so it was only available with the 5.7 liter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breiz
Overlander64 said:" I have axuilliary transmission fluid coolers of appropriate rating. In fact, GM included a fan-cooled auxilliary transmission fluid cooler on my Suburban as part of its trailer towing package (10,000 pound package)."

How can I tell if I have that in my Suburban??
The trailer tow packages vary from one model year to the next and also sometimes vary to some degree between the GMC and Chevrolet variants of the Suburban. On my '99 Suburban, the rectangular cooler with auxilliary fan is readily visible through the grille ahead of both the radiator and air conditioner condensor. My '95 K1500 had the factory heavy duty trailer tow package, and it included an auxilliary transmission oil cooler, but it did not have the auxilliary cooling fan on the transmission oil cooler -- I don't know what the case was with the 2500 series in '95.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breiz
We're so nervous about towing something so big, but we so want an Airstream
I think that you may be very pleasantly surprised by the towing ease even of the larger Airstream Ambassador. I know that I was very at ease towing my Airstream within the first 200 miles of my trip home with it after purchase. At that time, I was upgrading from a 17' Nomad Light. Two keys in my experience (beyond having an adequate tow vehicle) are a properly rated and adjusted weight distributing hitch with built-in sway control, and a premium set of trailer towing mirrors (after trying many designs, I am very well satisfied with my McKesh trailer towing mirrors and have sets for both my Suburban and Cadillac).

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Old 02-22-2008, 12:59 PM   #18
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Hello Breiz,
Welcome to the Forums the advice you have received is the way to go. I was born and raised in Latrobe and I would also recommend a trip to South Greensburg to visit Airstream Of WPA. very knowledgeable staff and mechanics ,and if nothing else a good place to dream.
When you get on the road check out Penn Wood Airstream Park two hours north near Clarion Pa. a great park where we spend part of our summers.
Good Luck.

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Old 02-22-2008, 01:59 PM   #19
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A/S of W P.A.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pintoman
Hello Breiz,
Welcome to the Forums the advice you have received is the way to go. I was born and raised in Latrobe and I would also recommend a trip to South Greensburg to visit Airstream Of WPA. very knowledgeable staff and mechanics ,and if nothing else a good place to dream.
When you get on the road check out Penn Wood Airstream Park two hours north near Clarion Pa. a great park where we spend part of our summers.
Good Luck.
I will second the visit to Airstream of Western P.A. Traveled there last

July to have the Dometic recall done. (no AS dealer in NYS). Don't let

the look of the physical plant fool you. (they may be in there new showroom

by now) The people there are great, a lot of AS experience. They have

a very well equipped shop, actually build a variety of trls. Full metal and

woodworking shop. Jack Fedorek gave us a full tour while the work was

being done on our rig.

Good luck, hope your on the road soon.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rceptex
Raise the hood and on the crossmember by the radiator there should be a tag with the vehicles information; including the engine infor. A 5.0=300 c.i., 6.0=400 c.i. and 7.4=454 c.i., more or less. Each manufacturer is slightly different in their cubic inch designation but this will be close. If yours is 7.4 or above you have more than enough power to do the job.
6.0L is more like 366 c.i.
My 6.5L diesel is only a 396.
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:29 AM   #21
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Here is the formula
Quote:
1 cubic liter = 61.023744095 cubic inches
61 X liters is close enough...
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:40 AM   #22
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Trailer size

Hi there. I'm not commenting on any of your tow vehicle questions.

But from what I've been reading on the forums as a newbie, some national parks limit anything over 27' in length. If that's vitally important to your plans for camping, you may want to take that into account.

HTH

j
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:46 AM   #23
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probably the 454

We had a 1996 K2500 and they are hard to find with the smaller (350) engine in my neck of the woods. You still haven't said what size engine so I will assume the 454. We had our 96 and had no trouble at all towing our 27 FB. In fact, I sold it to another couple who bought it for their new 27 FB. Great tow vehicle for the weight we had and I believe you will be lighter with your AS. Make sure you use a good load leveling hitch and you should be just fine if you have performed normal maintenance on your burb.
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Old 03-04-2008, 11:44 AM   #24
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We run a 2003 5.3L Vortec, 4WD, K1500, has the towing package, and we have NO problem towing our 1982 31' Excella. Have a 1000# weight dist. package (with no sway control), plus brake control and have towed from Charleston, SC to Townsend, TN...through the mountains. Even towed all around North Carolina. Speeds at 60-70 like a dream.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:02 PM   #25
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Well I've not posted what engine it is cause i'm not real sure. My husband said he thinks it was the 454 and the guy we had bought the suburban from a couple of years ago was using it tow a huge modern day travel trailer. It has the 10,000 lb tow package he thinks. I know there's some sort of extra fan or something visible through my front grill. There's already an electronic brake controller (although i'm assuming the brakes on the 77 As are prob not working, it was used in a parked situation by PO).

We looked at the AS on saturday and bought it. It needed all new tires as 3 were dry rotted and 1 was flat. So it's getting new tires put on tomorrow morning and we'll be getting it in the afternoon. We did have to buy a weight distributing hicth (bought it from the rv dealer) because of the recomendations on our bumper's hitch.

Someone said don't tow in overdrive. Do I have an overdrive? Nothing says overdrive on it. Or is that why there's a circle around the letter D in drive? I thought it was to make sure you saw you were in DRIVE.

If I don't tow in D, what do I tow in? 3?
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:36 PM   #26
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Thumbs up Overdrive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breiz

Someone said don't tow in overdrive. Do I have an overdrive? Nothing says overdrive on it. Or is that why there's a circle around the letter D in drive? I thought it was to make sure you saw you were in DRIVE.

If I don't tow in D, what do I tow in? 3?
You have guessed right, the O around the D indicates overdrive.

We also have a 95 Burb 454, have used it since new towing our Streams.

First our 63 22' Safari, and now the 25' Classic. Been an outstanding TV.

We have always towed the flats in OD, but the first indication of grades,

or tranny temp above 186-190 have dropped to 3rd. Have not experienced

any transmission concerns in 163000+miles. Regular tranny service every

year, and a complete flush and new internal filter every third year I'm sure

have contributed to the trouble free service. Our total weight (TV&TRLR)

has always been less than 14k, anything more stay out of OD. IMHO.

Good luck and keep us posted.

OBTW..you might consider this as a worthwhile accessory.


Remote transmission filter with temp gauge.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:19 PM   #27
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Congratulations on your new-to-you Airstream. I won't try to guess on the condition of your Surburban's transmission. A mechanic that has inspected it should know what he is talking about and may be giving you a head's up about a problem that may be down the road. You might want to invest in a trip to a transmission specialty shop or to a GM dealer and have it thoroughly inspected before hitting the road to Disney World (my favorite destination, I might add) or other long trip. AAA might also be another wise investment. Other than your transmission, any 3/4 ton tow vehicle is adequate for towing anything Airstream makes or has made in the past, save maybe the short-lived Integrity 5th wheels and that's just because I think any 10K lb 5th wheel should be towed by nothing less than a 1 ton...MHO.

Anyway, I will address one area that I do have experience in and that is Ft. Wilderness. My first travel trailer was our 30' Safari and I had never towed anything more than a 16' ski boat in high-school 30 years before that. On our third trip I had my first backing experience into a campsite (first two trips we had pull-throughs) and as you probably know, Ft. Wilderness was laid out in the '70's when most families had pop-ups or very short travel trailers or short motorhomes. The streets are narrow and there was a long 5th wheel parked across the street from our campsite with the tow truck parked crossways across the driveway in front of it. I came within an inch of its front bumper with my truck on more than one pass to get our 30 footer in the camp site, but I did without touching the other truck. It often takes maneuvering, but patience will get you in your site. Of course as soon as I got in the site three golf carts that had been waiting for me to get out of the street sped by at full throttle!

There are some National and some State Parks that limit size, but very few private campgrounds(think KOA) limit size. You can always ask when making the reservation and not be turned away when you get there. However, there are quite a few private campgrounds that limit travel trailers to 10 years old or less so that, too, is something to consider and ask when making those reservations.

We love our Airstream and in the 18 months we have owned it have traveled to the Fort six times and have three trips planned for '08 (maybe more if the annual leave works out right!). We always see at least four other Airstreams on each trip. Enjoy your other destinations and just don't get in any hurry when you hit the road and you should be fine as long as there are no pre-existing problems with your Suburban.
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Old 03-06-2008, 06:33 AM   #28
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Towed it home!

We got our new (to us) AS yesterday, yay! We didn't seem to have any problems towing it. Although I have to say when those big rigs fly past you on the turnpike, it's a bit nerve wracking. We towed it in overdrive on flats and then in 3rd on any inclines, steep declines. Overall it seemed to go well. The AS electrical brakes weren't functioning so we'll have to figure that out. Oh and when we'd be in 3rd going uphill we'd smell a bit of coolant. Is that a bad sign? Engine temp gauge never got too hot.

Still not sure what engine is in my burb. I looked all through the engine compartment and didn't see it written anywhere. The only thing I saw at all relative could be the air filter housing has a sticker on it that said 7.4 liter.

So we got it home and now we'll have tons and tons of questions. Starting with one I've posted in a thread on the Ambassador forum.... We couldn't find the electrical plug to plug the camper into an outlet. We looked in every hidey hole on the exterior of the AS, but didn't see it. Help?

Thanks to everyone for their help on my towing questions!
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