I've relied on Can-Am for nearly 10 years and highly recommend Andy and co. When we bought our first 30 foot TT (SOB) I was a little nervous about towing it with the V6 Astro van I had at the time and after reading all the scare mongering on the towing forums (big mistake) I went out and bought a 2001 Yukon even though Andy said it wasn't necessary. Andy didn't think too much of Yukons (poor handling characteristics) but he tweaked the Hensley, stiffened the OEM hitch and installed a Jordan brake controller for me. The truck towed "OK" for the next 8 years but in retrospect it did handle like a pig (high centre of gravity, poor aerodynamics etc.). I bought the Hensley but not because Andy recommended it, I just wanted piece of mind.
In the mean time we downsized our 30 foot SOB for a 25 foot Safari and when it came time to trade our Yukon I started working with Andy a year ago to find a suitable cost-effective replacement for the Yukon.
Finally last Tuesday we pickup up a new-to-us 2011 Chevy Traverse which I'll be taking into Can-AM next week to be setup for towing. This may be a little premature, but I'll respond to your questions as best as I can.
Our new Traverse does not have the tow package so it will to be set up from "scratch" for towing. This is where Can-Am really excels. Can-Am have set up scores of "lambda" vehicles (Enclave, Acadia, Traverses) for heavy towing and hundreds (thousands?) of V6s over the past few DECADES and I'm comfortable to turn over everything to them.
So if you are a customer of Can-Am I have some questions for you:
-What is your tow vehicle year and model, cylinders, transmission, engine, fuel, etc?
2011 Chevy Traverse 3.6L V6 AWD 6-speed
Engine: 3.6L DI V6 VVT
Horsepower: 281 hp @ 6,300 RPM.
Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 3,400 RPM.
Transmission: 6-Speed Electronic Automatic 3.16 Rear Axle Ratio
Curb weight: 4790 lbs. GVWR: 6459 lbs Payload: 1621 lbs
4-wheel disk brakes, Independent Rear Suspension
Towing Capacity: 2000 lbs w/o trailering package, 5200 lbs with.
What is the trailer you pull with it, model, length, year, etc,?
2001 25SS Safari -- 4850 lbs dry, 6000 lbs GVWR.
How much prep did they do for you? Hitch, reinforcement, coolers, etc.?
- Heavy-duty radiator: Included in factory tow package but probably not on mine. As per Andy Thomson's recommendation, it's a good idea if you tow in the southern US, but since I won't be I'm going to skip this.
- Tow/Haul mode switch: Included in factory tow package. The default transmission shift points are geared to maximize mileage, which tends to work against towing power. It would be nice to have but unfortunately it is difficult to install after market so I'm going to try and go without it. I'm hoping that the 6-speed tranny with paddle shifter will suffice. We shall see, if necessary I can retrofit the Tow/Haul circuit later.
- Transmission cooler: May come standard on AWD (to be confirmed), but will install otherwise.
- Wiring Harness: Will install.
- Brake Controller: Going with DirecLink. This is basically an inertial based controller similar to Tekonsha. What I like about it is that it plugs into the computer diagnostic port and has access to real-time vehicle data, including tranny temp. It also has separate gain adjustments for both normal "highway" speeds and low speeds which is nice to have with the Hensley. More expensive than a Tekonsha, but more capable too, and modular.
- Class III hitch: GM OEM comes with the weak tubular type; Can-am will install a class III and weld reinforcements forward of the hitch to better distribute the hitch weight/torsional forces.
- Given the Traverse's relatively short wheelbase I'll continue to use my Hensley Arrow. It adds 100 lbs to the average hitch weight but aside from it's anti-sway capabilities it's clean (don't have to remove spring bars) and the additional foot it adds between the TV and trailer lets me open the rear hatch on the Traverse without it hitting the electric tongue jack.
- Tires: Going to stay with the OEM's for now as the're in good condition. The Hensley allows you to get away with poorer towing tires than you might otherwise when towing at max weight.
How long ago did you have this done?
How much have you traveled with this rig, years, miles, area, mountains or flats, etc?
How do you feel about the set-up now after driving it over time? Safe, good idea?
Based on actual owners reports and my own experience with Can-Am, I fully expect I will be completely satisfied, it being noted that I am a conservative driver that does not tow much faster than 100 KPH (60 MPH) in the right lane while all the traffice passes me by, and it doesn't bother me when slowing down to 80 KPH up steep grades and that the engine will rev to over 3000 RPM much of the time. These are the things you have to expect when towing a modest gas-based TV. You will get a lot more power with a diesel, but I'm not paying twice the price for that privilege!
What changes would you make in your rig if you did it again? Same? Larger TV, smaller trailer, different hitch, etc.?
Towing a ~25 foot AS with a comfortable, reasonably fuel efficient mid-sized SUV is our idea of perfection...wouldn't change a thing.
What suggestions would you offer an RVer who were considering a Can-Am towing set-up/rig?
Trust them, and don't read towing forums.
Thanks for any suggestions and comments.