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Old 03-08-2004, 06:31 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle advice needed....

Greetings.

Let's just say hypothetically I was looking for a replacement TV for the VW Eurovan sometime, but not real soon, as I don't want be living at a storage facitlity with our new AS. Just looking for ideas, not trouble...

What would be your choice of a new tow vehicle for the 'ol crazylev? Here are my perameters:

1. I'm thinking SUV, but the wife doesn't like 'em on principle, so a truck is not out of the ?

2. Though the VW Toureg is really cool, the 40-50k seems to high, which brings me to:

3. I'm thinking of either Ford or Chevy. Parts and repair places seem to be more accessable if your are stranded in the middle of Utah than with a VW.

4. Maximum length can not exceed 17 feet (204") so I can get it in my garage. Can't be wider than 7 1/2 feet.

5. Should have enough guts so that if we upgrade to a 25-28 foot trailer, I don't have to go shopping for another tow vehicle.

6. Keep in mind that this would also be my main driving vehicle in Chicago.

7. I can assume that I would be looking at an 8 cylinder something or other, right?

8. It will be just my wife and I in the vehicle 90% of the time.

9. What sort of power am I looking for?

Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.

I've got to go hide now.

Jonathan
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:42 PM   #2
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Crazylev,

My advice would be to test drive the big three BUT be sure to test drive GM's Quadrasteer. I would bet the ranch that it will take only one testdrive to hook you. Like they say "quadrasteer is the biggest advance in towing since the WD hitch."

And driving the streets of Chicago, you will want nothing else. It is simply awesome!
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:24 PM   #3
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You could try a Trailblazer with a V8...the wheelbase is not that long for a longer coach...but look at what I'm doing...so I'm no one to really throw stones, however the SUV does have a higher center of gravity. The Trailblazer V8 is a great SUV, wouldn't be my first choice, but beats your current VW hands down. The other VW you mention, as you know is very pricey and frankly I wouldn't tow more than a 22' coach with it, so if 25' might be in your future, I personally wouldn't consider it.

On paper the V8 Trailblazer could even tow a larger coach and it might fit your specs.

In the end though, I don't subscribe to the V6 towing large coaches. I believe a V8 should be considered standard equipment when towing larger than a 19'...maybe if I reach a 22'.......

Eric
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Old 03-08-2004, 08:01 PM   #4
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The Chevys

Unfortunately the Trailblazer that you can get the V8 is the extended model that is 207" long. A better bet would be a Tahoe. It is 199" long and can tow more than the Trailblazer and comes with a V8. I have the I-6 engine in my 197" long Trailblazer and it is rated to tow 6,200 lbs. so theoretically it should pull my 25 ft. Tradewind with a dry weight of about 4,300 lbs. It just doesn't feel that heavy duty enough to me for the long haul or in the mountains. I think the Tahoe is a helluva an SUV.

But, I have my desires set on the Chevy Avalanche--the SUV/TRUCK hybrid that one reviewer dubbed a SU/CK. It is the same length as the Suburban (221") but shorter than a Silverado extended cab truck so would not fit in your garage. If I go the 2500 I could get a tow rating of 12,000 lbs. That should pull any Airstream.
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Old 03-08-2004, 09:50 PM   #5
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Crazylev,

The Tahoe might barely fit in your garage, as will the Durango, and both might, MIGHT just barely tow a new 28' Airstream (it will be marginal, though), but both of those look an awful lot like an SUV to me.

For a guy who finally wants to move up from a Eurovan, doesn't want a SUV, and has to stay under 204" in total length, there is really only one option: a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, now sold under the Dodge label. 196", turbo diesel engine that will seem like a hot rod to a Eurovan driver, 30 mpg, and 5,000 lb. towing capacity.

Granted, its not going to pull your hypothetical 28 footer, but nothing that will fit in your garage is really a good candidate.

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Old 03-09-2004, 01:11 AM   #6
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No more than 20lbs per square inch in a gas motor. The transmission is the BIG issue. I had a Dodge Ram 1500 5.9 (360 CID)
360x20=7200lbs
The engine pulled my 1980 31' AS just fine BUT the 1500 series trans got COOKED. The 360 in the 1500 and 2500 series Dodge trucks is the same, the 2500 has better gearing in the rear end for towing and a much heavier trans.
If towing alot especially in summer, a trans cooler of at least 6 passes and regular transmission flushes and services are a MUST. I say flushes AND services because a "service" usually means just dropping the trans pan and installing a new filter/screen, new gasket on the pan and topping off the fluid which means only about 20-30% of the fluid is replaced. The fluid up in the torque conveter and valve body stays in whereas with a "flush" ALL the fluid is replaced.........
Also the rear wheel bearings will cook on a 1500 series (half ton) tow vehicle. 3/4 and 1 ton tow vehicles really are a must when towing the bigger campers.
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Old 03-09-2004, 08:20 AM   #7
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Crazylev,

IMHO, the best choice that conforms to all your specifications is the newly updated 2004 Dodge Durango SUV. At 200.8 inches OAL, it will fit in your garage. It has a respectable 119.2" wheelbase and when ordered with the tow package, Hemi V8, and the right rear end ratio, it will have plenty of guts to haul your 25 to 28 in the future. In the April 2004 Car and Driver magazine, a Dodge Durango Limited just won the large SUV shootout beating out the Chevrolet Tahoe Z71, the Ford Expedition XLT, the new Nissan Pathfinder Armada SE and the Toyota Sequoia SR5.

OR

With a small 2' extension built on to your garage ...

I would recommend the Dodge Ram 3500 Quadcab single rear wheel pick-up with the Cummins high output turbo-diesel at only 228" long.
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Old 03-09-2004, 10:21 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your input. I went to the Chevy website and there was a pull down menu for their trucks, and their had to be 150 different option packages...my head is spinning.

In the long run, I'm thinking an SUV would be more practical, and fit in the garage, as well as parking spaces in the city. Got to convince the honey, though.

I do have to make this point: I come from a family that has always bought into the German engineered "quality" concept. It seemed that American products were just built shabby. In fact, I went over to a Ford dealer not to long ago and looked at the new F150. When you close the door on that thing, the whole side of the truck shakes!

You also pay through the nose with the european stuff.

The Avalanche also interested me, because of it's half and half status, but it sounds like it woiuldn't fit in the garage.

As far as the Sprinter, I don't think I would consider another van. Just don't need that much of a vehicle.

The Trailblazer and Durango sound like they would meet the high standards of contributors to the AS Forums...and what ever we decide it is definately going to be an eight cylinder+.
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:17 PM   #9
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crazy,
im a ford man myself....rather then accept my suggestion, here is a spot for you to go to....



www.trailerlife.com/
norby
ps, im reediting this i hope it works
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by crazylev
I do have to make this point: I come from a family that has always bought into the German engineered "quality" concept. It seemed that American products were just built shabby.
Consumer Reports magazine just came out today and is now ranking American cars higher than European but still under Asian.
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Old 03-09-2004, 01:18 PM   #11
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I have a Yukon Denali that I like alot but I am interested in the Nissan Titan.


2004 Nissan Titan

The Titan, Nissan's first entry into the full-size truck category, is built on an all-new pickup platform, featuring a newly designed 300-plus horsepower Nissan Endurance 5.6-liter DOHC V8 with a torque rating of more than 375 lb-ft. The new Titan also offers a standard 5-speed automatic transmission and a towing capacity of up to 9,400 pounds. Titan will be available in both King Cab and Crew Cab models with a choice of 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive. The Titan Crew Cab model will be shown for the first time at the New York International Auto Show in April 2003.

The new Titan, which was conceived, developed, styled and engineered primarily in North America, will be assembled at Nissan's new $1.43 billion manufacturing facility in Canton, Miss., with its Nissan Endurance V8 assembled on an all-new line at Nissan's advanced engine production facility in Decherd, Tenn. The new Titan is scheduled to go on sale at more than 1,100 Nissan dealers nationwide in late 2003.
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Old 03-09-2004, 01:40 PM   #12
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I'd want at least 130" wheelbase for potentially towing a 25-28' trailer in the future.
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Old 03-09-2004, 04:03 PM   #13
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The Nissan Titan would be great for 25' units but not for the new 28' units due the the hitch weight of the 28' units. See the other thread about the Titan. I looked at the Crew Cab. NICE! Lots of power. Probably the nicest 1/2 truck on the market.

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Old 03-09-2004, 04:05 PM   #14
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Greetings.

Did a little research, and it is looking like the Chevy Tahoe LT with a V8 might just be the beast. The LT come pretty loaded, but then again it is listing at over $41,000. The LS model has a V6 engine.

Any Tahoe owners out there that can share your experiances???

Jonathan
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Old 03-09-2004, 05:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by crazylev
Greetings.

Did a little research, and it is looking like the Chevy Tahoe LT with a V8 might just be the beast. The LT come pretty loaded, but then again it is listing at over $41,000. The LS model has a V6 engine.

Any Tahoe owners out there that can share your experiances???

Jonathan
There in NO V6 engine available for the Tahoe. You get a choice of either the 4.8 L or the 5.3L V8.

A Tahoe with the 5.3, tow package and 3.73 gears (4.10s would be better, an option on the 4X4 if you can find one) would be fine for a 25' Safari, marginal for any of the 28' Safari or the 25' Classic.

I've had my 03 Z71 Tahoe for nearly a year and and very happy with it.
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Old 03-09-2004, 05:55 PM   #16
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Tow vehicle advice needed....

Greetings Johnathan!

Quote:
Any Tahoe owners out there that can share your experiances???
While my tow rig isn't a Tahoe, it is its bigger brother, a K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.10 Differentials). Both series share the same production line in Janesville, WI. If you have any questions or concerns about build quality or attention to detail, I would urge you to consider making the (relatively) short drive to Janesville and take the factory tour - - it is truely and interesting experience (I have toured there three times - - once on the day that my Suburban was built - - unfortunately, I didn't get to see it going down the line). You might want to make a quick call to customer relations at the plant to see when the tours for the public are conducted - - the last time that I visited, I believe that they were offered twice a week (but may be more often during the summer).

After nearly six years with my '99 Suburban (Delivered April 21, 1998), I continue to be totally satisfied with all aspects of its quality. The odometer just turned 124,000 miles, and I have had absolutely no unusual repairs - - other than a persistent problem with the electronic controls on the transfer case that were repaird under GM warranty programs. Even at its current mileage, I have no qualms about heading out with the Overlander to any point on the North American continent. I know that my Suburban is of the older design, but I strongly suspect that the current version is just as well built over at the Janesville Assembly Plant.

My advice would be to stick with something under 24' with the Tahoe. The Suburban with the larger motor would make a more proficient tow vehicle for the longer trailers - - I only kept my K1500 tow vehicle for 45,000 miles because it performed so poorly with the Overlander (within 500 pounds of GCVWR).

If you plan to buy new, I would encourage you to hold-out for a special order to your specifications. Most dealers with any kind of history selling Tahoe/Suburban vehicles should be able to special order for a 90-to-120-day delivery window. When I purchased my Suburban in '98, the deal was just as good and it was possible to get the truck equipped precisely the way I wanted it - - it also helped to have a dealer with an experienced truck salesman (this was in an agricultural area in a GMC dealership) who new the ins and outs of ordering heavy duty tow vehicles.

Good luck with your tow vehicle decision.

Kevin
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Old 03-09-2004, 06:16 PM   #17
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IMHO, the Tahoe wheelbase is about right for a 22' International and so is the 5.3L. A young man here is finding the 5.3L marginal towing an empty 25 Safari with only him and his toothbrush.
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Old 03-09-2004, 07:40 PM   #18
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Hi, Craz

Hi, Craz...

I just went thru this very same thing a month or two ago..

Infact you can read some of my inquiries back down the list..

I've got a 29ft Excella, and at the time had a Chevy Tahoe to drag it with. It had a 5300 vortec with a 3.73 rear-end.

As a vehicle we Really liked the Tahoe,....BUT....It was just TOO Light to pull this size trailer for any distance, and especially up into the mountains.

I received some good advice from folks all over the country in this forum.

I recently traded in the Tahoe and bought a Suburban 2500, with a 8100-Vortec engine and 3.73 rear-end.

That thing REALLY has the power, and I like the longer length of the wheelbase for added stability !!

It is infact a "Garage-full" but it fits in a standard sized garage
at my house.

This thing has a built-in transmission temp gage as well.

Of course the mileage is not what we were used to with the Tahoe,.....But I sure like it,....lots of room to carry additional
"Stuff",.....and it'll yank that trailer up and down these mountain passed in Colorado without breaking a sweat !

Many people on this forum recommended the Suburban to me....

and they did GOOD ! ha!

Put it on your list...and take a look at one..

Rick
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Old 03-09-2004, 08:10 PM   #19
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Thumbs up Tahoe

Crazylev,

Had I bought a Tahoe instead of the Trailblazer I probably would not be thinking of a new vehicle again after 2-1/2 years. But then I had no idea I would be an Airstream owner or be towing anything. I think the Tahoe would pull a 25 footer or 28 footer OK. It is essentially a short Suburban and I like that 4.3 Vortec V8. I had one in my previous '99 Silverado.

Since my garage will hold it, as I said before, my sights are set on an Avalanche with the same length and wheelbase as the Suburban. Also the comparable price points seem to be about the same or maybe less than the Tahoe and much less than the Suburban. Also, moving up to a 3/4 ton vehicle is something I am mulling over.

The other thing I like about the Avalanche is it has some of the advantages of a big pickup for hauling gasoline tanks and other messy stuff you might not want to put inside in the back of an SUV yet has the towing capacity of most of the big pickups with less overall length. But I digress unless you are planning on expanding your garage.
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Old 03-09-2004, 08:49 PM   #20
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Crazylev,

If you are partial to "German", then Dodge could be considered German since Chrysler was acquired/merged with Daimler-Mercedes Maybe I should say I have a Mercedes-Durango!

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