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Old 04-07-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
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Question Looking at Tow Vehicles

Ok folks, this is my first post but I've been reading the forum for several years (great information and plenty of opinions). I owned a 2010 31 foot Classic for several years and I'm looking for a new TV. I've never towed my AS but have pulled numerous large boats (as heavy as the AS) with 3/4 and 1 ton Chevy 4x4 trucks which I've previously owned. I'll probably purchase a 2500 4x4 diesel. I'm interested in current individuals and their experience towing a similar airstream with a 3500 dually.
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:27 PM   #2
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I use a 2500HD Diesel with our 2006 Classic 30 (actually same length as the 31') It tows perfectly and I could not ask for more.

When I bought the 2500HD new, I also considered a 3500 but could not get a straight answer from anyone - as to whether the 3500 would give a stiffer ride and therefore possibly be more likely to cause damage to the trailer. I even contacted GMC who just told me to check with my dealer - he wasn't sure!

I was concerned about this because some people on the forum said that towing these trailers with trucks was going to cause damage. I have no idea if there is factual evidence of that or not.

Having now towed with the 2500HD for five years, including several trips through Arizona/California to 10.000 feet and more, I am perfectly happy with the abilities of the 2500HD diesel and don't feel any need for anything with more capacity.

I have not seen any damage to the trailer such as loose rivets etc. Not yet anyway!



Brian.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:11 PM   #3
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Brian,

Thanks for your response, I'm currently look at a new GMC 2500 same TV as yours. I know a guy with the same trailer using a Ram 450 for several years. He use the air safe hitch and also carries a large Harley in the bed and has no problems. My only though here is the payload as plan on carrying some woodworking tools when I travel. I may just have to lighten the load. What type of weight distribution are you using?
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
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We've towed our 31' International for the last 19 years (across America twice) with 2500 series being either Suburbans, Avalanches with the 8.1 and now since 2005 a Silverado 2500 Duramax. Love the torque, mileage, but at times we are limited as a truck inside. There is a significant weight difference from 1972 compared to the newer 31 footers as ours empty is #5400, so you don't even know it is back there at times.

I'll looking to upgrade our TV, but I don't think I'd go with a 3500. Even if down the road if we were to go to a new 28 foot Airstream, I've looked into what I would consider for a new TV and if I did switch out TV's and the Airstream I'd go with a GMC Denali. With the 6.2L, six speed and regular fuel, although I love the diesel and under load, the ride is nice, it still is a truck. I guess we are at the point we want something that is easier to drive once the Airstream is parked in and around the cities. I remember the restrictions on the "follow the sun road" at Glacier with the 2500 Suburban, and it being measured by the park service ensuring that it did not exceed the 21 feet max length and having to pull the heavy duty hitch off as that was considered part of the vehicle and it made the truck exceed the limit.

The Duramax has been excellent. The only major replacement on that duramax has been a water pump of all things and of course tires after 130K.

When I do the math in fuel cost as even today the difference between diesel and regular fuel was .73 cents a gallon and at 20 gallons that's a savings of $14.60 per tank and the mileage difference is about 2 miles to the gallon, so you'd never make up that .73 cent difference based on my math.

The new 2014 Silverados are coming out with a six speed and 355 Hp engine as it was announced last week. That will change the competition for sure, but it will also defuse the hope that many of us have been waiting for with a suburban with a duramax.

Those are my thoughts, based on my experiences and investments. Good luck with your decision and get works work for you based on current location and future adventures. When you are climbing those hills going from NM into Colorado on I-25, you don't want to be under powered at 8500 feet and you want those transmissions to do the down shifting coming down those 11% grades that are the norm.

Its great to have choices!

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Old 04-07-2013, 07:14 PM   #5
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SL4BLLT ,

I too noticed the 2014 Chevy/GMC's and I wouldn't consider anything but a diesel. I've own numerous 3/4 and 1 ton gassers TV's and they work fine but I remained around the great lake region. I hear all the pros/cons about diesels vs gassers and I under stand the cost/maintenance difference but I'd rather have too much torque than not enough. Beside, there is something to be said about a good TV like yours; reliability and peace of mind. I noticed several individuals towing the larger AS with a 3500 dually and was kind of interested as to vehicle and trailer faired.

Thanks
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:19 PM   #6
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Brian,

Thanks for your response, I'm currently look at a new GMC 2500 same TV as yours. I know a guy with the same trailer using a Ram 450 for several years. He use the air safe hitch and also carries a large Harley in the bed and has no problems. My only though here is the payload as plan on carrying some woodworking tools when I travel. I may just have to lighten the load. What type of weight distribution are you using?
When we bought the trailer and truck, I decided that since this might be our last RV purchase I would do it up right and so I sprung for a Hensley.

Had the ProPride been a proven product at the time I would have given it serious consideration too, but it had only just come out and I wasn't prepared to take a chance with that much $$ involved.

Once I was over the learning curve of hooking up the Hensley - the manufacturers claim that their "Pro Pride" is a little easier, I don't know - I am very happy with the Hensley.

As far as towing our Classic 30, I really couldn't ask for a better match than we have experienced with the 2500HD and the Hensley - effortless and relaxed towing under all circumstances - never any shortage of power and never a hint of trailer sway.

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Old 04-07-2013, 08:04 PM   #7
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Brian,

I don't know any Pro Pride or Hensley users who are not happy with their choice. Not sure which direction I'll go but I'm leaning toward the Pro Pride. Effortless and relaxed towing and the right products is what I'm looking for. My new TV will probably be a Chevy/GMC 2500 Diesel 4x4, however, other than my wife and I.....I would like to carry some additional tools for wood working and I'm concerned about payload issues. How much of an ancillary payload do you carry (if any).

Dennis
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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If you plan on a lot of extra payload in the truck, You may need to consider the 3500 series single rear wheel models to pick up the additional "legal" payload capability without the mass and width of a dually.

One can fine tune the springs to the trailer, but having the higher weight limits on the door sticker can really help.

I switched out all the steel springs and went with a Kelderman level ride air suspension system front and rear. The rear airbags are rated 10,000 pounds for the pair, so the weak link is either the axle load rating or the tire load rating. The trailer gets a softer ride.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:20 PM   #9
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I pull a 2007 25 Classic with a 2011 GMC 3500 DRW Duramax. The advantage of DRW is stability. I am not going to say you do not feel the trailer, but you barely notice it. I can out accelerate most cars at stoplights. The truck was purchased to pull a 21,000 fifth wheel, which it did admiralty. I don't think you actually save money on fuel, the truck will get 14 or so mpg in Florida. We have a Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch and I can not even get a bobble . The integrated brake controller does not work with the hydraulic disc brakes and I pulled the trailer 500 or so miles with out trailer brakes . I would not recommend this, but the truck has a great set of brakes. I did install a Prodigy brake controller. If I had to buy a truck now it would be a GM 2500 gas 2 wd . This would give the extra capacity that I like.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:20 PM   #10
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Brian,

Thanks for your response, I'm currently look at a new GMC 2500 same TV as yours. I know a guy with the same trailer using a Ram 450 for several years. He use the air safe hitch and also carries a large Harley in the bed and has no problems. My only though here is the payload as plan on carrying some woodworking tools when I travel. I may just have to lighten the load. What type of weight distribution are you using?
You know when you actually use the payload capacity of the heavier duty trucks they don't ride that rough. A 1-ton truck my father had (and used for heavy loads) road smoother then some cars I've been in, once there was more then 3000lbs in the bed and that was a 1970s truck not one of the newer trucks which ride better then those older trucks.

The problem is many people get much a heavier truck then they need, then don't use it's capabilities so the lightly loaded truck rides too stiff.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:05 AM   #11
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Brian,

I don't know any Pro Pride or Hensley users who are not happy with their choice. Not sure which direction I'll go but I'm leaning toward the Pro Pride. Effortless and relaxed towing and the right products is what I'm looking for. My new TV will probably be a Chevy/GMC 2500 Diesel 4x4, however, other than my wife and I.....I would like to carry some additional tools for wood working and I'm concerned about payload issues. How much of an ancillary payload do you carry (if any).

Dennis
Agreed that could make a difference in your choice of 2500 vs 3500.

We carry a couple of bicycles up front on the truck, also have a cap on teh bed and pretty much load up the bed and the back seat with "stuff" to keep clutter out of the trailer.

But it is mostly fairly light weight stuff - a bunch of big rubbermaid boxes full of boots, shoes, extra food items, but also some heavier stuff such as toolboxes honda gennie, beer/water etc.

I'd really like to take my motorcycle on trips, but if I did, at my age - and having some back issues, I'd need one of those auto bike loaders and we would not be able to have the cap on the truck and would lose all the storage capacity of the truck bed, so the bike stays home!

Brian.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:47 AM   #12
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Ditto what Brian says. We love our 2500HD Duramax/Allison. Pulling about the same AS as you are - 39 states and two provinces, so far, in two years. We'd be glad to meet you at Bear Creek Camp in Asheville anytime to kick tires and talk Airstream <grin>.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:34 PM   #13
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Looking for TV

Silver Otter, Switz, SL4BLLT, Wingeezer,Tailpipe, and Awzbro: I want to thank you all for your valuable information and experience. I'm thinking I just need to smart about this and manage my total weight to ensure I'm within payload criteria. I would prefer to buy a Chevy/GMC 2500HD 4x4 (diesel) rather than a 3500. The payload on the 2500HD (2012) is 3431 vs 4700-5000 on the 3500. I can still care some of my lighter wood working tools and be well within my payload. I'll certainly post my new vehicle when purchased.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Range Mark View Post
Silver Otter, Switz, SL4BLLT, Wingeezer,Tailpipe, and Awzbro: I want to thank you all for your valuable information and experience. I'm thinking I just need to smart about this and manage my total weight to ensure I'm within payload criteria. I would prefer to buy a Chevy/GMC 2500HD 4x4 (diesel) rather than a 3500. The payload on the 2500HD (2012) is 3431 vs 4700-5000 on the 3500. I can still care some of my lighter wood working tools and be well within my payload. I'll certainly post my new vehicle when purchased.
FWIW - I have a 2013 Silverado 2500 Duramax and a 27FB Flying Cloud. You asked for experience with dualies which I don't have so I didn't respond but given your last post, just thought I'd chime in. I had my first trip last weekend and found it to be a breeze! Granted, as a daily driver, this is the dumbest decision I could have made for my personal needs but for towing - wow - what a pleasure. I hope to get it to scales this weekend. Hard to go wrong with any of the major brands I suppose but the Duramax barely broke a sweat!
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:25 PM   #15
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I will chim in for a Duramax as well I have a 2007 2500 hd with just under 100K on it and its been a great truck. I pull a 24 ft enclosed car hauler with a 1969 Firebird in it and it has been a dream . I pulled it from WI to Vegas and back in 2010 with no problems and I also use it as my snow plow rig. I plan to run it to 250K. Its over kill for my 23 ft Avion but I am building a 1958 Apache with a 6.0 and auto overdrive to pull it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:27 PM   #16
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I will also chim in for the 2500HD Duramax. We have a 2011 Chevy and a 1997 34' Classic and use the propride hitch and could not be happier with it's ability. From Texas to Idaho and back no problems with power what so ever. As someone else posted, driving a dulley on as a daily driver will be stiff and parking spaces are harder to find. I think you would do just fine with the 2500 in my opinion.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:55 PM   #17
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We now tow our 2005 25FB with a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Duramax single rear wheel. We are also hauling a 3000# truck camper in the bed of the truck while towing the Airstream. We now have 50,000 miles on the Dmax. It works great,

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Old 04-09-2013, 07:58 PM   #18
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A pickup with IFS + rack & pinion steering as well as 4-whl disc brakes is the best choice when it comes to towing performance. Aftermarket changes such as best quality shock absorbers (such as KONI FSD); and inexpensive poly bushings on anti-roll bars, etc., all add up.

Live axle and dead steering (recirc ball) is no friend to knowing what is going on either due to the road surface or the forces acting on the TT. The words of many: "I didn't know it was back there" (yeah, no kidding). The TT can be pretty far off mark before the driver is aware of it. Seen this plenty of times (and hardly restricted to TT's; high winds acting on any long, tall trailer). Deadened isolation is not ones friend.

I'd go with a 3500 SRW truck. Or, at least compare the ride to the 2500. A DRW is overkill for any Airstream. Any number of penalties if it isn't needed to do the work for which it was designed. There is no "upside" otherwise.

Get the WD hitch dialled in on the scale (perfect the TV tire pressures) and a pickup is a fair TV.

And giiven the risk driving a pickup entails, then TT disc brakes and a VPP or PULLRITE hitch would be a help. 16" tires and LT tires on the TT as well. The TT is great . . it is the proposed TV type that needs all the help it can get.

As well, commercial tires from BRIDGESTONE such as the r250 for the TT, and something from the Duravis series for the TV would be my default comparison in researching. This is one place that deserves time and attention. There are tread designs that would work with 4WD, yet have quite good on-road traction. Commercial truck users are giving these very high marks (even over MICHELIN).

Good luck

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Old 04-09-2013, 08:39 PM   #19
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...And giiven the risk driving a pickup entails, then TT disc brakes and a VPP or PULLRITE hitch would be a help.

.
You know, when I was researching hitch options, Pullrite was actually my first choice because a) it was the easiest for me to understand and b) its ACTUAL pivot point is the rear axle (upside down 5th wheel). Unfortunately, they don't make them for my 2013 Duramax - and I even asked them what it would take to let me be the guinea pig for this model year at a premium and they just weren't interested. Andersen seemed compelling for low cost and low weight - I've talked about my (mis-?)understanding of WD being optional for this truck and the 27FB so the sway control seemed the more important factor. But at the end of the day I went with the ProPride VPP because the idea of eliminating sway (vs reacting to it) was my ultimate goal. I think both the Pullrite and PP/Hensley achieve that goal.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:25 PM   #20
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Well I don't have a GMC or Chevy but I do have many , many miles using a '02 Ford Excursion and now a '11 F350 SRW pulling my 25 Safari. Both are diesels and both worked well with my Reese Dual Cam hitch.

Your 31 Classic is a heavier TT but if you use a Hensley or ProPride hitch (once set up properly), I think a 3/4 ton will do fine.

Plan on spending some time at the scale and make room in your budget for a few of the "aftermarket" add-ons you will want.

Safe Travels, D
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