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Old 05-01-2019, 10:15 PM   #1
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GMC 1500 AT4 2019 & Airstream Classic 30RB 2019

Hi All,

I'm hoping to get input from someone with experience towing with a truck with a smaller towing capacity than the GVWR of the trailer.


I have a GMC 1500 AT4 2019 with the tow package it has a max towing capacity of 9,400 pounds. It has a 6.2L V8 gas engine with 10-speed automatic transmission, 435 horsepower, and about 469 lb-ft of torque.

Here are the specs for the truck:
  • Curb Weight - 5,554
  • GVWR - 7,000
  • GCVWR - 15,000
  • Payload - 1,446
  • Towing Capacity - 9,400

My wife and are planning to purchase the 2019 Airstream Classic 30RB. Here are the specs of the trailer:
  • UVW - 7,788 (includes LP and batteries)
  • GVWR - 10,000
  • Hitch Weight - 886

I used a spreadsheet with some formulas to get a better understanding of the towing limitations according to the hard numbers "on paper" numbers.


Please see the two image attachments*

Based on the math it seems the truck is ok to tow the 30RB Classic up to 8800 pounds which means I can put about 1000 pounds of stuff in the trailer without going into the "red".

I've taken into account the Passenger Weight and Cargo Weight (again see screenshot images in the attachments for visual clarification).

I know a 2500 truck would be better-suited tow the trailer but I do not have the money for a 2500.

I plan on purchasing the Hensley Hitch to help with sway and safety and plan on towing the trailer across country full time.

My questions are:
  1. Will I have trouble pulling the trailer?
  2. Is it dangerous to pull the trailer with this truck?
  3. Will I have issues going up steep grades?
  4. Based on the specs of the trailer, truck, and spreadsheet screenshots what is your assessment?
  5. What should my major concerns be?
  6. Have you as the person answering had experience pulling a trailer under similar circumstances if so can you please give me your honest opinion?

Thank you in advance for your insight.

Best Regards,
Mike
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:47 AM   #2
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Welcome Aboard....👍

The 6.2l should tow it very well.

I would...

Get E LT rated tires for the GMC. (Michelin)
Check the GAWR front & rear,(axle) and load to the axle limits.
Get a better hitch receiver, I used a Reese class V TowBeast on our Burb, transfers the needed weight much more efficiently.
The PPP is a good choice for with your combo.
Confirm all weights at the CAT scales.
Be prepared for a tongue weight of 1000lb plus, possibly less with 3 axles though.
Our 25' Classic is 1200lb...hence the receiver up-grade.

Good Luck

Bob
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Old 05-02-2019, 06:30 AM   #3
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A few thoughts.


The engine is not the issue IMHO, and odds are this will move the Classic well.


There are a few things that might be missing in your equations:


1) Water, LP, Batteries
These may be included in the GVWR, but not in the unloaded weight, so include those in your calcs.


2) If you think the hitch weight is really going to be 886lbs, I have a gently used Airstream to sell you that has only been through one hail storm and is virtually perfect.



In reality, hitch weights can and do vary significantly from the printed weights. Of course some of this is dependent on how you load the trailer. It's not uncommon that these stated weights can be a few hundred pounds more than stated.



Bottom line, unlike back in the mid 2000s when there were clear distinctions in 1/2 to 3/4 ton, those lines have blurred a lot. A number of 1/2 tons are far more robust than they were in prior generations.


My only concern is that it is entirely possible, and highly probable that you will easily exceed your 1000lbs of stuff once you take into account water, LP and batteries, along with your other "stuff" and likely come a heck of a lot closer to the full 10,000lbs of trailer than you think.


This might not be an issue on the flatland, but if you go out west, in the mountains, you may have some white knuckles at times. I have a 3/4 ton Suburban with about a 9800lb rating and I can tell you, even with my 25' which is close to 7k, though there was no white knuckles, the truck worked extremely hard in the mountains tugging along my 25', and I have the 6.0L with 4.10s. The diesels were handing me my lunch all day long....so, if you plan on a lot of trips to Yellowstone, Banff, Rocky Mountains, etc where there will be a good deal of mountain towing, think carefully.
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Old 05-02-2019, 06:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebrownvb View Post
. . .
I know a 2500 truck would be better-suited tow the trailer but I do not have the money for a 2500.

I plan on purchasing the Hensley Hitch to help with sway and safety and plan on towing the trailer across country full time.
. . .

Welcome to the forum! Sorry to rain on the parade . . .

First, the Hensley hitch weighs a lot does it not? Factor that in right off the bat.

If you are serious about full-timing with your rig, in my personal opinion, it is time to re-calibrate your plan. Could you "make" this plan work? Maybe.

But when your two vehicles are fully loaded for full-timing, it will be very difficult to make all the weight limitations work, especially the rear-axle weight limits on your tow vehicle.

A plan that is basically, "the only thing I can afford right now," is not a good plan, again in my personal opinion.

Wait to execute . . . get a smaller trailer . . . get a better tow vehicle used if necessary . . .



Something has to give.

Happy trails,

Peter
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:03 AM   #5
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Having already owned a 1500 when I bought my trailer, I used it for 4 years before I upgraded to a 2500. I have a ProPride hitch, similar weight to the Hensley. First, you should care about payload. I also suspect you will be over 1000 lbs on the tongue, add the people and your payload will be very limited. It was somewhat amazing how much stuff began to add up, that I wanted to carry in the truck. Then you will want a bed cover and even a tonneau adds weight. A topper would be over the weight.
My 1500 was adequate but only adequate. You have enough power, but I found the suspension and brakes in the 2500 contributed to a much more relaxing towing experience over the course of a day. While the debate rages on tow vehicles, my own personal experience is that the 2500 is the right tool for the job, the 1500 was indeed just adequate.
Larry
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:30 AM   #6
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You need a bigger truck or a smaller trailer. If you are towing over loaded and are involved in an accident, you can be assured that you will be found to be at fault. You have been warned.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Having already owned a 1500 when I bought my trailer, I used it for 4 years before I upgraded to a 2500. I have a ProPride hitch, similar weight to the Hensley. First, you should care about payload. I also suspect you will be over 1000 lbs on the tongue, add the people and your payload will be very limited. It was somewhat amazing how much stuff began to add up, that I wanted to carry in the truck. Then you will want a bed cover and even a tonneau adds weight. A topper would be over the weight.
My 1500 was adequate but only adequate. You have enough power, but I found the suspension and brakes in the 2500 contributed to a much more relaxing towing experience over the course of a day. While the debate rages on tow vehicles, my own personal experience is that the 2500 is the right tool for the job, the 1500 was indeed just adequate.
Larry
Agree...think your at the limits with your description if your getting a 30' Classic for use with that 1/2T.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:31 AM   #8
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You have a TV, you have an AS...

Before doing any TV upgrade...try what you have.
Bob
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:40 AM   #9
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Hi Robert,

Thanks for your input.

I'm really torn on this.

If money was not a factor I would just get a bigger truck but money is a huge factor and I need to stay in my budget.

Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Before doing any TV upgrade...try what you have.

Bob



Good advice!
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Welcome to the forum! Sorry to rain on the parade . . .

First, the Hensley hitch weighs a lot does it not? Factor that in right off the bat.

If you are serious about full-timing with your rig, in my personal opinion, it is time to re-calibrate your plan. Could you "make" this plan work? Maybe.

But when your two vehicles are fully loaded for full-timing, it will be very difficult to make all the weight limitations work, especially the rear-axle weight limits on your tow vehicle.

A plan that is basically, "the only thing I can afford right now," is not a good plan, again in my personal opinion.

Wait to execute . . . get a smaller trailer . . . get a better tow vehicle used if necessary . . .



Something has to give.

Happy trails,

Peter
Hi Peter,

Thanks for your input.

Unfortunately, money is a major factor and is pretty much the linchpin on my plan and probably the linchpin for most peoples.

Thanks weighing in on the subject.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Having already owned a 1500 when I bought my trailer, I used it for 4 years before I upgraded to a 2500. I have a ProPride hitch, similar weight to the Hensley. First, you should care about payload. I also suspect you will be over 1000 lbs on the tongue, add the people and your payload will be very limited. It was somewhat amazing how much stuff began to add up, that I wanted to carry in the truck. Then you will want a bed cover and even a tonneau adds weight. A topper would be over the weight.
My 1500 was adequate but only adequate. You have enough power, but I found the suspension and brakes in the 2500 contributed to a much more relaxing towing experience over the course of a day. While the debate rages on tow vehicles, my own personal experience is that the 2500 is the right tool for the job, the 1500 was indeed just adequate.
Larry
Hi Larry,

Thank you for your insight.

I agree a 2500 would be ideal but really hope I can make it work with the 1500.

The AT4 is a pretty nice truck it's brand new and fully loaded.

Cheers!
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:24 AM   #13
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Hey Mike. The advice I got when I started down this road was that if towing vehicle was a constraint, pick a trailer that will work. And if it wasn’t, pick the trailer you want and get a towing vehicle to match.

A 30’ Airstream is not a big trailer in comparison to other RVs, for sure. But it is a big trailer. Can you pull it forward with a 1500? Sure—that class machine can tow pretty much anything in the Airstream lineup. And there are things you can do such as empty water tanks and keep your load light to help.

But will it be safe or perform well in the conditions you mention (steep grades, etc.)? I can’t speak with any authority to safety—others have mentioned the possible legal implications. But I can say I highly doubt it will tow well on grades or against winds. The other thing I’d say is that if you’re using the Airstream-published numbers for hitch weight, they are at best aspirational. My trailer has a similar published hitch weight but actual tongue weight is a little over 1,100 lbs. That difference will further subtract from your available payload, which if I’m reading right is 2 lbs? Also be honest with yourself about these numbers—only 168 lbs for cargo in the truck?

You’re probably going to get a lot of criticism and righteous preaching from this crowd—it’s the way these threads tend to go, I’m afraid. So don’t in any way take my post as that. Just trying to help you understand what it is you’re getting into—you make whatever decision is best for you. It would suck, though, to have a 30’ Airstream that you didn’t feel safe bringing anywhere you want to go.

A lot of people look to Andy T of CanAm for guidance on these equations. Maybe reach out to him and see if the information or services he provides will make this setup more comfortable or feasible for you.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:17 PM   #14
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Mike in respect to the specs for your truck. What does the yellow drivers side door sticker say your specific truck has for payload? Advertised specs, if that's where they came from, don't reflect all of the options on a truck. Or better yet get the truck filled with fuel and get actual weights at a CAT Scale (truck scale found at truck stops) to get full details on weight with stuff you have in the truck. If you travel with family and stuff in the back or canoes/kayacks or have a topper load it all up when you go. Then you have a really good baseline.

Your list of questions is missing one item. It isn't about getting up the hill but will you feel comfortable coming down the hill with the brakes, transmission etc that you have on the 1500 to be able to stop.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:48 PM   #15
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My experience with an FC 30

Have you considered an FC 30 or an international 30? They weigh and cost less.

I pull an FC 30 with a Ram 1500 hemi and 3.92 rear end, Equalizer hitch. I have no problems starting, stopping, going up hills, or with swaying. What I do have a problem with is staying within my payload limits of 1650 lb.

My measured hitch weight is 960 lb on the truck with WD hitch on and ready to camp. Add in passengers, fuel, and a modest amount of cargo and I am at my payload limit.

My trailer when loaded is 8120. Unloaded and dry it is 6382 About 200 pounds of teh 8120 is from the WD hitch, Rest is stuff in the trailer including a full water tank

Your truck has more HP and torque than mine, but lower payload.
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaynes755 View Post
Mike in respect to the specs for your truck. What does the yellow drivers side door sticker say your specific truck has for payload? Advertised specs, if that's where they came from, don't reflect all of the options on a truck. Or better yet get the truck filled with fuel and get actual weights at a CAT Scale (truck scale found at truck stops) to get full details on weight with stuff you have in the truck. If you travel with family and stuff in the back or canoes/kayacks or have a topper load it all up when you go. Then you have a really good baseline.

Your list of questions is missing one item. It isn't about getting up the hill but will you feel comfortable coming down the hill with the brakes, transmission etc that you have on the 1500 to be able to stop.
Hi Gary,

Thanks for joining the conversation.

Yes - The specs for the truck came from the sticker on the door and thanks for addressing the question I forgot to ask.

Although I forgot to include the downhill performance question it has been something I am taking into consideration.


Thanks.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nryn View Post
Hey Mike. The advice I got when I started down this road was that if towing vehicle was a constraint, pick a trailer that will work. And if it wasn’t, pick the trailer you want and get a towing vehicle to match.

A 30’ Airstream is not a big trailer in comparison to other RVs, for sure. But it is a big trailer. Can you pull it forward with a 1500? Sure—that class machine can tow pretty much anything in the Airstream lineup. And there are things you can do such as empty water tanks and keep your load light to help.

But will it be safe or perform well in the conditions you mention (steep grades, etc.)? I can’t speak with any authority to safety—others have mentioned the possible legal implications. But I can say I highly doubt it will tow well on grades or against winds. The other thing I’d say is that if you’re using the Airstream-published numbers for hitch weight, they are at best aspirational. My trailer has a similar published hitch weight but actual tongue weight is a little over 1,100 lbs. That difference will further subtract from your available payload, which if I’m reading right is 2 lbs? Also be honest with yourself about these numbers—only 168 lbs for cargo in the truck?

You’re probably going to get a lot of criticism and righteous preaching from this crowd—it’s the way these threads tend to go, I’m afraid. So don’t in any way take my post as that. Just trying to help you understand what it is you’re getting into—you make whatever decision is best for you. It would suck, though, to have a 30’ Airstream that you didn’t feel safe bringing anywhere you want to go.

A lot of people look to Andy T of CanAm for guidance on these equations. Maybe reach out to him and see if the information or services he provides will make this setup more comfortable or feasible for you.
Hi Nryn,

Thanks so much for your insight and the perspective. I also appreciate the referral to Andy T and will look him up as suggested.

The numbers in the spreadsheet are basically "forced". I wanted to see what the payload had to be in order to keep me in the "GREEN".

It just sucks right now because I just purchased the truck thinking we were going to go with the Globetrotter 27'' and thought it would be a good fit for that model airstream.

Now that we ideally want to go with the Classic things are getting more complicated.

Anyway....thanks again for the insight and referral.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:11 PM   #18
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Mike when I had my 2015 Classic 30 tongue weight was 990#. Trailer with gear and full water was 8700#. Your numbers all look correct. Only other thing you might want to do is take the truck to a CAT scale loaded like you would for camping just to validate all of the weights.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim J View Post
Have you considered an FC 30 or an international 30? They weigh and cost less.

I pull an FC 30 with a Ram 1500 hemi and 3.92 rear end, Equalizer hitch. I have no problems starting, stopping, going up hills, or with swaying. What I do have a problem with is staying within my payload limits of 1650 lb.

My measured hitch weight is 960 lb on the truck with WD hitch on and ready to camp. Add in passengers, fuel, and a modest amount of cargo and I am at my payload limit.

My trailer when loaded is 8120. Unloaded and dry it is 6382 About 200 pounds of teh 8120 is from the WD hitch, Rest is stuff in the trailer including a full water tank

Your truck has more HP and torque than mine, but lower payload.
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the suggestion and providing me with the experience you are having with your Ram 1500.

We originally wanted the Globetrotter 27FB because we like the model better than the Flying Cloud models.

Appreciate the comments and thanks again for sharing.
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Old 05-02-2019, 04:42 PM   #20
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Before purchasing my FC30, I naively assumed that I would never get close to overloading my 2500HD.

According to CAT scales, my FC30 tongue weight (including my ProPride) is 1100 lbs. When I first added up the weights of the bed topper, Bed Rug, consider the weights of the 4 of us in the truck, and then all the camping equipment in the bed...I was surprised to see that I have used up quite a bit of my available 2235 lb. payload bandwidth. There are only very few half-ton trucks that might work for me.

If you do an honest assessment of your weights, you might be overloaded in a real-world situation (i.e. real camping trip) with your 1500. If you are...and if you're fine with that, then at least you're making a decision with real data. But as someone who will potentially be sharing the road with you, please choose wisely.
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