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Old 07-13-2008, 07:15 PM   #1
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Will truck I love pull the A/S I Love?

Hi,

I'm new here and have been looking for an RV for full-timing. It's just me - an almost retired woman and my black Lab. Today I fell in love with the 23' Safari - when I went to look at some class C's. I really like the A/S - it's so classy and high quality as opposed to the lesser construction and decor in the others. I currently have a 2002 GMC SLE shortbed 4x4 pickup with a 5.3 liter V-8 engine and a factory tow package. I love my truck - she's a cream puff, quick, plenty of power (empty) decent mileage and turns on a dime - I'd like to keep it. Is this adequate to safely tow the 23' Safari?

I don't know what the hitch on the truck is - it's whatever was part of the standard package GM put on when the truck was built.

I don't have a lot of experience with trailers - a few U-hauls over the years and a boat trailer - but it was all short distance and the boat doesn't weigh much. But how hard can it be to learn?

Any opinions and advice will be appreciated - advance thanks.

Louisa
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:37 PM   #2
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I'm not an expert on tow vehicles, but just wanted to say welcome and ask you to post pics of your labrador in the pet section. Not only are we Airstream lovers, but a good number of us are pet lovers as well. Again, welcome!
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:49 PM   #3
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You should have no problem with the truck, as long as it has a tow package (includes things like a transmission cooler). I would consider a new receiver for the truck, as some of them suffered rust problems, to the point of failure.
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:50 PM   #4
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Is it a new 23 foot Safari or a vintage Safari?
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
Is it a new 23 foot Safari or a vintage Safari?
Oh, yeah, they did start making those again, didn't they?...
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:57 PM   #6
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Dumb question - what's the receiver? the hitch has a removal ball - mounted on square stock which goes into the square "receiver?" on the truck and is held in place by a maybe 1/2 inch pin which is secured with a spring clip. It had a bit of surface rust - which I brushed off and repainted it just this week - it's not missing any metal from rust - just paint.
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:58 PM   #7
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It's a new safari - but I may look for a used one - I'm in no rush.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:04 PM   #8
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Yes, the receiver is the part that bolts tot he frame of the truck, and the head is the piece that slides into it, and holds the trailer ball.
It being a new(er) Safari, it should still be within rating for your truck. You would have to check the GVWR of the trailer, and the tow weight rating for your truck (usually found in your owner's manual under "towing").
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pudentane View Post
Dumb question - what's the receiver? the hitch has a removal ball - mounted on square stock which goes into the square "receiver?" on the truck and is held in place by a maybe 1/2 inch pin which is secured with a spring clip. It had a bit of surface rust - which I brushed off and repainted it just this week - it's not missing any metal from rust - just paint.
The ball is mounted on a hitch bar. The hitch bar fits into the receiver and there is a removable pin that allows removal of the hitch bar. The receiver should be a 2" square. Also look for a 7-pin connector at the rear bumper. That tells you the truck is more than a basic model and set up for an adequate hitch. The remaining question is the presence of a tranny cooler.

5.3L? 23' Airstream? No problem mon... er, m'am!
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:46 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Welcome...

Glad to have you here..

If it looks at all like this..It would be a good idea to replace.
Not just for the rust, I have seen them fail with a lot less corrosion.

Your truck should do just fine with that great little AS.

Good luck
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:08 PM   #11
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Welcome Pudentane
Definately if your hitch(receiver) looks like the one above I would replace it. There was a recall on some receivers that General Motors installed on some vechiles and they replaced them free of charge with a better one.If it comes out of your pocket,U mentioned UHAUL. They have Draw-Tite /Which is identical to Reese. I not sure what ball height U need but get the correct Drop Drawbar(thats what the ball is mounted on) and while U are there get a Weight Distrubition or Straight Line hitch. U Haul has probably the best prices of anybody. I did shop around before I bought mine.
Oh the question about the Shortbed 4x4 It will do a good job for ya.
Best of Luck on what ever you deceide. Have fun Streamin'
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:19 PM   #12
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Just before dark tonight I went out and crawled under the truck and had a look at the hitch - it's in what I would call great shape - looks brand new - I've never pulled anything with this truck - and yes I believe the receiver has a two inch opening - although I didn't measure - just eyeballed it.

The fellow at the dealer's said my truck would pull it but I would need a "brake package" - but sometimes salesguys tell women what they want to hear - ya know what I mean?

Thanks for the info and the reassurances.

Louisa & Jasper Joy
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:28 PM   #13
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I think what the guy was referring to is a brake controller. It sends power to the trailer brakes when the truck brakes are applied. Your truck is most likely pre-wired for this and installation is fairly simple. There are several brands of brake controllers on the market. Tekonsha makes the prodigy and now the P3 model. These are the most popular units today. I have an older prodigy and am very satisfied with it.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:45 PM   #14
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I had to have our brake controller installed on our current truck,as well as the 7 pin plug relocated to use for our trailer. If you find a trailer repair shop, they should be able to sell you a quality controller, install it, and install the connector for the trailer wiring. Most GM trucks have a blank fuse in place of the one that should go in the charge line for the trailer, it would need to be replaced with a real fuse. Location is under the hood, left side, in the fuse/relay box.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:46 PM   #15
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Welcome Louisa!

Your truck will pull fine!!! Just remember to leave plenty of room when pulling into traffic, and that you need to be thoughtful about how fast you start up or when pulling up hills. Your truck most certainly will be up to the challenge, but will require more time to get you up to speed...

You may want to consider new a new trailer if you are like me... Either time-challenged, or have limited skills in mechanics (I qualify in both). The new trailer warranty has value! FWIW...

I also just put the Prodigy on my new Toyota Tundra and it works great. Went on in a few minutes...

All the best!
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:48 PM   #16
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I tow a '69 23foot Safari with a V-8 2001 Tundra with no problems. Total loaded weight of the trailer is around 4000 lbs, but new ones would weigh more. I like vintage trailers and not only because they're lighter, but that's just me. good luck!
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:55 PM   #17
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

Your truck should be good to go. You may want to replace the OEM receiver. Not a big deal. You can get a class IV for $200. The factory receiver is a piece of junk. I had the welds fail on 2 of them.

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Old 07-14-2008, 05:27 PM   #18
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Thumbs up Consider replacement..


Lousia,

What Moose-man speaks is true.

I have worked at G.M. Stores for quite a few years now and have some personal experience on this subject. It's not so much about rust and how the unit looks as it is about poor design and fabrication.

I have just replaced the factory hitch on my new to me 06 Suburban for just those reasons. As you can tell from the photos there is a big difference between the two. Notice how much longer the bars at either end are, better to transfer weight to the front axle. Notice also how much heavier the cross bar and receiver opening are. Both important safety considerations. The replacement is a Reese class five, probably a bit of overkill, but I've always felt it is better to have more than you need, than to need more than you have..

Good luck in your new adventure..
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:33 PM   #19
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Robert,
Who manufactured your replacement hitch and was there any height change up or down from the ground as compared with the factory hitch.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:16 PM   #20
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GMC Tow Vehicle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pudentane
Hi,
I'm new here and have been looking for an RV for full-timing. It's just me - an almost retired woman and my black Lab. Today I fell in love with the 23' Safari - when I went to look at some class C's. I really like the A/S - it's so classy and high quality as opposed to the lesser construction and decor in the others. I currently have a 2002 GMC SLE shortbed 4x4 pickup with a 5.3 liter V-8 engine and a factory tow package. I love my truck - she's a cream puff, quick, plenty of power (empty) decent mileage and turns on a dime - I'd like to keep it. Is this adequate to safely tow the 23' Safari?
I don't know what the hitch on the truck is - it's whatever was part of the standard package GM put on when the truck was built.
I don't have a lot of experience with trailers - a few U-hauls over the years and a boat trailer - but it was all short distance and the boat doesn't weigh much. But how hard can it be to learn?
Any opinions and advice will be appreciated - advance thanks.
Louisa
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX

Louisa,
Dont worry, your truck can pull the 23' without a problem. That particular truck has a 6000# bumper pull rate, and 8000# if you are pulling a gooseneck or fifthwheel trailer. I have the newer version a 2007 GMC same set up and it is rated at 7000# bumper, 10,000 gooseneck/fifthwheel. I currently pull a 31Ft Soveirgn with mine.
I do have 3 friends who all have the same truck you do except for different years, 02,03,04. They did say that they did have to change their reciever hitch because it was not rated for what it was suppose to be, theirs was a class III, and they needed a IV or V and they had the same cracking problem the others have mentioned on here, so I would suggest you look at a new reciever hitch with at least a class IV rating. If you have a Tractor Supply, or any trailer dealer, camper dealer, they would have the proper hitch and then any licensed mechanic or repair shop can properly install it. A camper sales is going to be the most expensive with U-Haul behined them.
You will definately have to install a brake controller if it is not already there, it is a little box inside your truck to control the trailer brakes. If there is not one you can get one from many places from Tractor Supply to a place like Cabellas.
Hope this is of some help.

Sarge
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