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Old 06-08-2015, 11:26 AM   #1
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SUV as TV

Hey guys,
In our original post, we inquired about wanting to have an SUV vs a truck (although we are open to both options) as a TV.

We want feedback specifically from those of you out there who currently have or have had an SUV as your TV.
Which kind of SUV?
Did you have to make modifications? If so, what modifications?
Do you wish you had a truck instead?
If you used to tow with and SUV, but now use a truck, was it because of a performance issue or just a change of taste/need?
Any other information regarding SUV use as TV is welcome and appreciated.

We really like Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4runner, Tahoe, and Suburbans. We think that we will like having the extra covered space of an SUV, rather than having a covered truck bed.

Post pics of your SUV and trailer if you want - to help us visualize!!!
Thanks,
JenandJes
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:48 AM   #2
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We tow our Trade Wind (roughly 4000#) with a 2005 Tahoe w/ factory tow package. I'd like a little more power going up the 6% grades around here, but I've never felt it to be unsafe. The secret is having the right weight-distributing sway control hitch.
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:56 AM   #3
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https://www.google.com/search?q=chev..._AUoAg&dpr=0.9
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:59 AM   #4
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We tow with our 2013 Ford Expedition Limited EL 4x4. Plenty of power, plenty of space. I try to keep the loading of the SUV to a minimum as I hate unpacking it when we get to our destination.

If was to choose a new vehicle today, I would probably go for the same.

I always liked the idea of a truck with crew cab and long bed, but the reality is we don't need that much and having the SUV is more practcal - FOR US Your milage may vary
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:36 PM   #5
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Benefits of a SUV as a Tow Vehicle (TV)

My input on using a SUV is based on my personal experience using a 2003 Ford Excursion Limited 4X4. I've made a few handling and power mods.

The SUV is very useful to carry the folding chairs and have a place to put the spring bars & sway control when disconnected. Without the 3rd row seats, I can carry the driver and 4 passengers. I also carry a toolbox, and some camping equipment on the load floor. It is as secure as any vehicle can be knowing that a thief can break out the windows. A thief that would steal spring bars and old tools should get a different line of crime.

My tip to you is this: you cannot drive your SUV like it is a big car when you are towing a trailer. The Ford V10 is powerful, but it won't tow uphill in Overdrive. Likewise, it is not safe to coast downhill in OD, either.

If you get a TV with many gears, you will need to find which gear is good for uphill towing and lock into that gear. Try to get somewhere around or above peak torque. You may need to use that same gear to descend the hill, save the brakes & keep them cool by using engine braking. Without overspeeding the engine, you won't damage the engine during descents. Watch the tach. The higher the engine speed while descending, the greater the braking action. Just don't exceed any redline engine speed. Maybe stay 1000 rpm or more below that. You may find that different gears are best for different grades, depending on steepness.

You may be able to run OD when on level or slight downhill grades, but you will need to pay attention and downshift early when the uphill resumes.

My account has photos of the trailers and TV, if you want to view.

Let's Roll !
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:38 PM   #6
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Just finished 3,800 miles from Northern Ca to Sedona and up to Salt Lake City. Our TV is a 2015 Tahoe, now for sale. I find it a bit underpowered for my 25 FB and I would like to haul more stuff. I have a truck on order.
Good luck!
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:38 PM   #7
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We tow our 25' AS throughout colorado with a 2012 Infiniti QX. We use an equalizer WD hitch. It has worked out very well for us. It tows 8,500# with a max tongue weight of 800#.

Next year I will likely change out for a 2016 Mercedes GL 350 diesel (and will re-inforce the hitch)...
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:45 PM   #8
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I've really enjoyed towing with the Expedition. I'd definatly replace it with another when the time comes.
At Alumapalooza a few years back I asked Andy of Can-Am what he thought of the hitch set-up. The only mod he recommended was to add a reinforcment to the bumper from the receiver.
A few years back in an artical in Airstream Life he wrote he liked the Expy as a SUV tow vehicle because of the independant rear suspension.
My Expy uses airbags solely for the rear suspension and load leveling. We generally bring too much stuff but the ride has never been compromised.

Good Luck with finding the right TV for you needs,
Tom.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:57 PM   #9
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Thank you all for the input so far!!! Definitely gives us something to think about! Glad to hear there are success stories with SUVs!!!
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:59 PM   #10
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Performance will vary depending on what you are towing. You don't mention what size/vintage trailer you are looking for. Our Ford Flex handles our little vintage Caravel with no problem.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drboyd View Post
We tow our Trade Wind (roughly 4000#) with a 2005 Tahoe w/ factory tow package. I'd like a little more power going up the 6% grades around here, but I've never felt it to be unsafe. The secret is having the right weight-distributing sway control hitch.

What does 6% grades mean? Sorry, new to all the lingo!
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:01 PM   #12
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We are wanting to live Full time in our Airstream, so we are looking for a 25'. Should have mentioned that before!! I will add it to the original post for new viewers.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:01 PM   #13
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We are wanting to live full time on the Airstream we end up buying, so we are seeking to buy a 25'.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:03 PM   #14
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I have a 1996 2500 Suburban with 54000 original miles and barndoors. I love it and have had many offers from folks wanting to purchase it. The barn doors make loading heavy items like a generator easier as its not as high as a truck. Many have told me they regret selling their Suburban. My only wish is that it has 4 wheel drive but I wouldn't give it up. You can see pictures on my blog Knead2travel.com
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenandJes View Post
What does 6% grades mean? Sorry, new to all the lingo!
means the road rises (or falls) 6 feet in every 100
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:08 PM   #16
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May be a dumb question: but what are the true, long-term benefits of going with a diesel? Is it just gas mileage?
We were wanting to steer clear of a diesel since we will drive this vehicle even when we are not towing; that said, we are more concerned with making the right choice for when we ARE towing.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:14 PM   #17
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So here are pictures of our 2010 1/2 ton and then 2012 3/4 ton Suburbans with out dear departed 25" Eddie Bauer. We currently have a 2015 Yukon XL Denali which I would have loved to tow with.

Anyway, the 1/2 ton had the 3.08 gearing which was rubbish and the 3/4 ton was fantastic to tow with but a little rough (both on the back side and on the gas) when solo.

The new generation GM SUVs are fantastic. If you haven't tried one yet, give them a shot. While I haven't driven them, the Ford Expedition/Expedition EL are now available with the 3.5 Ecoboost which I understand is a great combo.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:21 PM   #18
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Another question: Since we are looking to buy a used TV, and we are wanting to travel full time, and we will need to keep this vehicle for many years (or at least the foreseeable future):What do you think the odometer reading should look like on our new (used)TV?
What little I know about cars is dealing with my previous Honda Accord and my current Toyota Camry, so any insight would be most helpful.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:22 PM   #19
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Thank you for the information, and the comparison pics!
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenandJes View Post
May be a dumb question: but what are the true, long-term benefits of going with a diesel? Is it just gas mileage?
We were wanting to steer clear of a diesel since we will drive this vehicle even when we are not towing; that said, we are more concerned with making the right choice for when we ARE towing.
Better gas mileage and much better low-end torque for towing.

My neighbors have a Mercedes Bluetec diesel and they don't tow a thing ... they just like the better mileage and 700 mile range between fillups. Interior is identical to the gas version. Modern diesel cars / SUVs are quiet and refined, not like the old days...
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