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Old 08-22-2005, 09:02 PM   #1
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Titan vs GMC 2500 ?

I've recently bought a 25 Foot 2005 Classic (7300 lbs). I now need something to tow it with. I was considering a 6L GMC 2500 Sierra 4x4 Extended cab (4.10 Ratio/6 Foot box) but I'm now tempted, hoping for better fuel economy, by the 5.6L Nissan Titan 4x4 King cab with the Big Tow Package (3.36 Ratio - Nissan claims similar to a 4 speed automatic's 4.10). As the Titan is relatively new on the market I was wondering if anyone had towing experience with it (or the Sierra) pulling something similiar to my 25 Foot Classic. Thanks.
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:12 PM   #2
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Either would do a good job with a 25' coach, but I'd err on the side of a real 3/4 ton. The Titan, though a nice truck isn't truely a 3/4 ton vehicle.
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:24 PM   #3
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Considering the way it is built, it barely qualifies as a 1/2 ton. Nissan makes nice cars and small trucks, but they should either get in with both feet and build a 1/2 ton the way it should be built or not bother.

Get the Chevy.
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:13 PM   #4
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My Tow is the Nissan Titan

We are pulling a New Classic 25 with the Titan.
In the last 2 months we have traveled about 5000 miles with no problems.
We went to Rocky Mountain National park then traveled over the top at 12000ft over to MOAB where the temps were 114 degrees during the day. Had a great time. Above 9000 ft the truck was slow but in the park with posted limits of 30mph we were able to do that. We never let the RPM run over 2500 rpm and selected the appropiate gear. Level pulling at 60mph the engine turns around 1900 in 4th gear. We broke the rear end as the book calls for at 50mph for the first 500 miles. Acceleration is far better than my older GMC motorhome. Stability with the Hensley is excellent. We got 10 plus on gas mileage. We are sold on both the Titan and the Airstream and hopefully this information will help you make your decision. Even though this does not atest to the long term reliability of the Titan I thought I would put in my two cents.

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Old 08-22-2005, 11:17 PM   #5
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Titan owner chimes in...

Go to website of choice and look up the GVWR of the Titan. Do not consider anything about GCWR or 'tow capacity' (9000 pounds is totally unreal if you pay attention to the math). GVWR is the max weight that can be put on just the tow vehicle. Count up weight of passengers, gasoline and anything you might put in the truck cab or box; add tongue weight to your sum. This will allow you to look at a trailer that loaded does not exceed 5500 pounds or so. And it barely makes that... With my Argosy I have wiggle room to carry 2 bicycles or my canoe, just not both at the same time. Forget about carrying the perpetual fruitcake you are going to take back to your Auntie...

I had one very tough incident of keeping the tranny temp gauge from topping out in 30-degree weather while slow grinding up and down tiny US-50 in West Virginia.

Better yet, do a search on this website for 'Titan' or 'Armada' -- I've spewed enough about the limits of the basic math as it applies to this platform. As a moderately capable truck I do have many points I like about my Titan. As an owner of a 2006 Safari 25 footer I am going to be shopping for a new tow vehicle once the current purchase and my bank account stabilize. Until then, I'm sticking to the prairies. 25' Classic? No way!
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Old 08-23-2005, 12:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
Do not consider anything about GCWR or 'tow capacity' (9000 pounds is totally unreal if you pay attention to the math).
Wait a minute! GCWR or GCVWR is not the same as "tow capacity" or "tow rating". As RoadKingMoe has taught me, tow ratings are marketing gimics created by the Big Three. But GCVWR is not a gimic and is VERY important as it is the maxium WR for both the truck and trailer and EVERYTHING else. Must never violate the GCVWR.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:16 AM   #7
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I agree, the Titan, though nice is barely a 1/2 ton.

Bottom line is that if it were me, I too would have gone with the 3/4 ton or the 1500HD for a 25' or larger coach.

I fully agree and support the comment that Nissan makes a heck of a vehicle, but if they want into the big boy sandbox, they gotta get fully into it and truely comapre apples to apples...anything less is just propaganda to push tin.
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Old 08-23-2005, 01:33 PM   #8
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Titan owner here....and my $.02.

I've logged about 2,500mi in my Titan with a 19' Globetrotter behind me without any problems whatsoever, on the highway it is easy to forget the Airstream is back there.
The Titan is more than capable of hauling a 19 footer fully loaded with wife and dog in the cab and gear in the bed, but to haul a modern and fully loaded 25' safari, I think I would opt for the 3/4 ton.

I've owned both the GMC 1/2ton and recently the '99 Ford f150 (trade-in for Titan), and Silvertwinkies & VAN's comments about the Titan not up to snuff with those trucks strikes me as misplaced patriotism. The Nissan is more than capable as a dependable 1/2ton work truck and is the most powerful and stable while hauling truck between the three half-ton trucks I've owned. But again, it is a 1/2 ton, not 3/4 ton.

-Brad

http://www.nissantitan.info/
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Old 08-23-2005, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadRivets
Titan owner here....and my $.02.
Silvertwinkies & VAN's comments about the Titan not up to snuff with those trucks strikes me as misplaced patriotism.
http://www.nissantitan.info/
Not accurate at all.

If you look at the Nissan website, you clearly start to get the sense that smoke and mirrors are being brought in and that unlike comparisons are being drawn.

Maximum towing capacity (lbs.)
Standard 6,500 7,400 7,200
With Big Tow Package N/A 9,500 9,200

What does the "big tow" package include to get a rating jump of 2,000lbs?

Here (again off the Nissan site):

Big Tow Package (SE and LE Only)
• Class IV receiver hitch (clearly going to help tow 2000 more lbs)
• Additional 7-pin wiring harness plug (this too will be a big help with the extra weight)
• Trailer brake controller pre-wiring under instrument panel (another good helper)
• Heavy-duty battery (710 CCA) (Still waiting for some meat)
• Lower final gear ratio (3.36:1); similar to 4.10:1 on a 4-speed automatic (this is good, but why not just put 4.10s in back instead of playing games in the transmission to get it to be similar?)
• Extendable tow mirrors (a must for those looking to tow an additional 2000lbs)
• Transmission temperature gauge (good to have so you can see when you begin to cook your trans with all that fancy gearing in it as some here have posted and reported)
• Increased tow capacity (this speaks volumes, it has an increased tow capacity....how, what did they do, what is the cost breakdown of this line item)

Clearly, I can see that most of the items here would in fact allow 2000 more pounds to work. No brake upgrades, no trans upgrades, no real gears for torque multiplication, no frame upgrades etc (sarcasm off).

Now if you look at the GM site, or Ford, Dodge, etc, you will find that the 1/2 tons will take you up to a limit, however, to get to the next level, one needs to go to a 3/4 ton or the 1500HD which will in fact give you a 6.0L engine, upgraded trans, brakes, rear end and, real gears in back without having to do things in the trans. Someone posted here that the trans got hot on their Titan....any ideas why?

Being patriotic has nothing to do with it...it's plain facts. I have towed our fully loaded 25' Safari with the equiv of a 1/2 several thousand miles. I now tow with a 3/4 Suburban. It's a night and day difference. The Titan doesn't even have what I had in my 1/2 equiv.

It goes so far beyond the horsepower and torque ratings....but I do agree 100%, I'd go to the 3/4 ton at or above a 25' (newer) coach.
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Old 08-23-2005, 02:46 PM   #10
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I don't understand. how is it "not qute a half ton", with a 14,800lb gcwr?????????


(my dodge "half-ton" has a 12,500gcwr, and likely weighs more than the titan....)


one thing they don't tell you in the owner's manual is the empty weight. But I'd guess that its probably around 5k lbs. maybe 5500.
with a tow rating of 9400lbs, you could surmise that the empty weight is around 5400lbs. if they include a 150lb driver and a tank of gas with that number...5200lbs.

even if you fill the truck up w/ payload (1500lbs), you're still inside the limit for a fully loaded 25footer.
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Old 08-23-2005, 04:20 PM   #11
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Well, the not quite a 1/2 ton was a bit of a joke poking fun. But a 25' Safari for 2004 could weight upward of 6300lbs. Mid year 2005 and beyond that was raised to 7300lbs. Now will everyone get near the max, most likely not, but it is possible and probable that folks will get to 75% to 80% of the Safari's total GVWR.

My whole issue with the Nissan truck line is not that it's not a well made truck, it is, but if you really look at most of the other manufacs of trucks, you'll find solid answers how they might get to 9500lbs from 7500lbs. In the Nissan website, you can see from my post what the "big tow" package includes to add that extra 2000lbs of towing. Moreover, for the sake of the discussion, let's say the other side of the camp is correct, the Titan could tow a 7300lb 25' new(er) Safari. It would do so at over 75% of the pre- "big tow" package addition. Closer to 90% actually. So could it do it, sure, is it a good idea? Not IMHO, but again, it all comes down to choices. I think you'll find most folks here doing the right thing. If it were me, I think the Titan would do just fine with a 19' or 22', but I feel that at 25' (again, newer coach, not vintange), having the exp I've had, you begin to get into 3/4 country, which the Titan is clearly not.

Bottom line, I don't dislike the Titan. If anything it makes for good competition keeping GM and Ford in line. Clearly, GM and Ford see the issue of quality and design....two items the Nissan clearly has....if the Nissan trucks ever get totally there, GM and Ford are gonna be in trouble, no question.

The real issue though is fuel. None of the manufacs discussed here (in terms of gassers) get much better than 10-12mpg, and if you ask me, at near $3/gallon, few folks aren't buying the big V8s unless it's needed (but is a whole 'nuther thread).
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:10 PM   #12
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Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions. This is my first post (and first Airstream...) and I'm finding the experience extremely interesting. Would gas consumption be similar with both vehicles?
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:23 PM   #13
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websites are run by the marketing department. I wouldn't trust that whatever is on the corporate website is accurate, or includes every technical detail that motorheads like us are looking for.

some of us here hang on those numbers like these were airplanes, or something. they're not. what happens when you exceed those numbers in an airplane? it stops flying. that would be bad. But the numbers mean something concrete, and they are derived from extensive flight testing. "exceed these specs, and you won't be able to fly out of the box canyon. you will smash into the mountain on the other end, because you won't be able to climb over it". that kind of thing. "at weight "x", air temperature "y", you can go "z" high." What happens in a trailer-towing truck when it comes to a mountain? at worst, it comes to a stop.

My point is that I think these numbers from any truck manufacturer are somewhat arbitrary. the number at which they're willing to gamble that there won't be premature component failures, perhaps.

Another point is that all of the half ton trucks have suddenly jumped up 2000 lbs in their manufacturer's-stated towing capacities. What's so different between a '00 ram, and an '02 ram? ok, well, the '02 might have a "hemi". but you know, if you look at the towing charts in my owner's manual, the trucks with the biggest engine has the same gcwr as my truck, with a smaller engine. so that is not the limiting factor. what else could it be? they don't say. Shouldn't a bigger engine be able to tow more?
My truck came with a "tow package", too. it did not include a "different" transmission; but they did add a transmission cooler. and a few other things, too, that as you pointed out, don't really make a dent in the TV's actual hauling capability.

Even so, if the gcwr is actually based on something solid, the 25 footer is well inside the spec. In the old days, they went by horsepower and wheelbase...the Titan has both of those, too.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadRivets
Titan owner here....and my $.02.


I've owned both the GMC 1/2ton and recently the '99 Ford f150 (trade-in for Titan), and Silvertwinkies & VAN's comments about the Titan not up to snuff with those trucks strikes me as misplaced patriotism.

My comment doesnt come from misplaced patriotism. It comes from finding out how they are built. I'm talking about the strength and design of the frame, gears and even the number and size of the bolts holding the bed to the frame.

Ford overbuilds their trucks. Better that than cutting corners.

To each their own though. The Titan is a nice looking truck but there is a reason that Ford trucks are #1.
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:21 PM   #15
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Said about all I can say...at this point, darwinism will kick in.
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:45 PM   #16
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Angry There he goes again...

You have touched on a capacity crossover question of some contention. Van makes comments about the Nissan Titan that more aptly apply to the Toyota Tundra -- now that is a vehicle with specifications only about 7/8ths of your standard half-ton truck. Yet there are forum members that want to pull 25-footers with Tundras (they mostly live in the flatter southeast U.S.). There have been very critical comments on Tundra mileage and lacking power for 22 foot CCDs! Titans would certainly perform better with those than Tundras. Some forum members have mentioned the small rear differentials on half-ton trucks, Titan included -- less mass and heat dissipation equals more wear/tear. I don't have the exact comparisons at hand.

I am probably the earliest forum member with a Titan. Mine was purchased in Dec 2003 and was used to pull an empty 3900# 24' Argosy from the east coast back to Minnesota. I've already mentioned my alarm at being unable to keep the tranny temp gauge from climbing "to the top" in 30 degree temps on an old fashioned switchbacked 2-lane highway up and down the ridges of northeast West Virginia (US-50, from Winchester VA to Grafton WV -- I'd like to hear how many 3/4-tonners have negotiated this highway!). At least the tranny cooler was efficient at lowering the temp promptly when I managed to find spots to pull off -- keep engine running to maintain circulation to the cooler! This experience was not comparable to any conditions you'll see on interstate highways -- but it is a consideration for serious adventurers who wish to get away from it all. I'm a boondocker at heart and know of many comparable ascents and descents.

I can't say I've had Pappy's experience of 10 plus gas mileage. It's too easy for me to get just under 10mpg while towing and I certainly keep the speed down. Pappy is correct in not using the Overdrive for Airstream-type loads. I barely got 10mpg with overdrive pulling an empty 12' cargo trailer back from Madison WI at 65mph this last weekend on rolling freeway. Yes, I'd have gotten better at 60mph...

I firmly believe the Nissan Titan is a comfortable, indeed admirable, tow vehicle for older 24-25 foot range trailers that have an empty 'Unit Base Weight' not much above 4000 pounds. The engine is a powerful delight and very capable of pulling the 'Tow Capacity' and 'GCWR' advertised. Weights of newer trailers have climbed! My 2006 25' Safari SE is 5380 pounds empty. The 2006 25' Classic is 6050 pounds empty!! One can put 1900 pounds in each of these trailers but figuring even half that and a tongue weight at the higher end of 10-15% (necessary for a stable tow) says you could conservatively count on 1000 pounds of tongue weight under many realistic circumstances. Remember that almost every pound of any weight distribution gear will end up at the ball!

I can agree with much of Eric Silvertwinkie's post this afternoon. I haven't cooked my transmission but he has probably read about my inability to control temperature rise with a moderate load in cool conditions. His rear-end ratio argument is less critical, considering Titan is the only 1/2-ton truck with a 5-speed automatic; the slightly higher top gear at the tranny does not need quite as high a ratio at the differential to be equivalent to a 4.10 in overall effect. The Big Tow package provides one with a fully equipped starting point for serious towing. Big Tow's 'tow mode' lowers the shift points so you accelerate through the gears at a lower ratio; I'm sure I've seen this feature on the highest capacity Ford & GM truck literature. I'm not sure the 25' Classic and a Titan is where you want to start. My study raises doubts about it pulling the 25' Safari. Tow capacity and GCWR are meaningless if you blur the rest of the details.

Titan comes in various trim levels. Be aware that the factory applied 'High Utility Bed' adds 200 pounds, subtracting from on-truck capacity (or tow vehicle's GVWR) in the final analysis. The federal required weights sticker on my driver side door post states my GVWR is 6499. My front axle GAWR is 3500 and rear axle is 3800; now adding these two numbers does not add up to a 7300 pounds GVWR!!!!!

Section 9-20 of my manual states that my 4WD King Cab high-trim LE model has 1202 pounds Federal "Vehicle Load Weight Capacity" (King Cab = bench rear seat only, not the four-door; most Titans I've seen have the lower-capacity-yet Crew Cab!). The LE by definition has the 'Big Tow' package, thus the hitch receiver and bed liner are already figured into my Weight Capacity (the 'Load Weight Capacity' for a less adorned 2WD truck is 1641 pounds). This is the starting point for my argument.

Only one of many sources, you might wish to start at the Airstream FAQ's discussion on weight ratings. Dismissing whether we must count gasoline weight against my truck's individual GVWR capacity, 1202 pounds does not go far when adding 2 passengers, 2 dogs and the hitch weight (the latter being in the neighborhood of 1000# with any newer 25-footer. I have purposely avoided buying a topper for this very reason. Canoe`stream?? My 42 pound kevlar canoe is already in excess of my capacity. Bikes? Huh? I truly want to carry much more than this in my box and on my truck! Do you see why GCWR becomes meaningless if the tow vehicle is overloaded already? Sacrifice of stability, emergency maneuverability and braking are the consequence. But it will run beautifully until I have an Oh-S*** moment.

The preceeding absolute argument has faults. Weight distribution aims to unload some tongue weight from the rear axle and transfer it to the front axle to assist compliance with the GAWR. It does unpredictable things to shifts of truck and trailer load across the hitch. The ultimate understanding of your tow vehicle - trailer combination is to get to a CAT Scale and measure each axle with the weight distribution fully engaged. This is too expensive an experiment to start from scratch and pay out big bucks for a new truck with what is already known.

I may be a couple weeks from picking up my 2006 Safari FB SE, but fully intend to do so with our Nissan Titan in this prairie environment (Eric! You STAY AWAY from Fogdall RV!! ). Once the immediate finances settle I am still going to be looking critically at my need for a gutsier tow vehicle -- 2006 at the latest! The 3/4-ton Chev truck is going to figure strongly for me, as I am thinking Duramax/Allison. As a public service to these forums I plan on getting to a CAT Scale and will post the numbers for this very Titan/25-footer combination questioned by Monsieur Daniel. The time scale for my promise unfortunately is 1-2 months. Until then I renew my respectful welcome to this new member and encourage him to share his experiences as he grows in the Airstream world!
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Old 08-23-2005, 10:20 PM   #17
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As an idiological free trader, I have no problems whatsoever with foreign brands. However, I am as bewildered by the appeal of the Titan as I am that of the Toureg. I purchased my (then new) '04 Chevy 2500 HD Duramax for approximately the price of a new Titan. Granted the Titan was new and in short supply at the time; that may have changed. But mercy, to me, and for the same money, it was a no-brainer!

For the record, I have had zero problems with my 2500 HD in the first 35,000 miles. Nothing whatsoever. The diesel engine and Allison transmission aside, the truck has been more than satisfactory in every respect - comfort, handling, road noise, climate control, everything. It is not at all obvious to me how Nissan or Toyota is going to improve on that quality.

As I am around construction people a good deal, I hear a lot about their trucks. The satifaction level with Dodge and Ford seem to be equally as high, particularly the last five years or so. These are people who use their trucks hard and pile up a lot of miles.

So just what is the appeal of the Titan? When I looked at one I saw a very nice $20,000 truck being offered for over $30,000. I do not intend to demean the vehicle in any way (nor the Toureg mentioned above either), I ask the question for information as at this point I simply do not understand.

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Old 08-23-2005, 10:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
(Eric! You STAY AWAY from Fogdall RV!! ).
You know I planned to camp out there with folks and protest.

You crack me up!
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Old 08-27-2005, 03:45 PM   #19
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As a Titan owner pulling a 31 ft Classic, I'll admit it is probably pushing it's limits, but I have learned not to tow in 5th gear. If you place the tranny in 4th gear and engage the "Tow" mode, the transmission temp gauge will stay well in the normal range, even in the mountains. I have towed through the mountains of NC, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia with no overheating problems. My gas mileage runs 10-12 mpg (in 4th gear), depending on hills and speed. I've towed well over 5000 miles with the Titan and it will handle a 25 footer with no problems.
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