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Old 06-07-2008, 05:39 AM   #1
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Update: Durango and 28' Safari

I shared with you all in the spring my concerns with towing our new a/s with our 2006 durango. it's a subject of much debate, whether these new-breed mid sized suv's can really tow a heavy load. the durango is advertised to tow 8950 lbs, so let's see:

Weighed everything before packing up.

Tow Vehicle & 3/4 tank gas 6020* (GVWR 6750)
Trailer 5260 (GVWR 7300)
GCW 11280 (GCWR 14000)

*Bought a used Hensley Hitch, which added considerably to tongue weight.

Still well over 2500 lbs to play with. I don't plan to push that number, however.

Added wife, small kids, and some gear. Didn't weigh again. I know how much they weigh, and the gear was all laid out before packing, maybe 300 lbs. tops.

Now, the bottom line:

I know this is not the greatest setup in the world, but it worked surprisingly well, and the Durango is a vehicle we can use for the 99% of the miles we drive while not towing. The trailer has absolutely no sway at all, and the addition of a Prodigy brake controller did wonders. The major issue is that we will be driving near the max weight of the tow vehicle, but should not exceed it.

Never felt under-powered, not for a minute. Some slight "porpoising" on hills (heavy vehicle). Looking at adding springs to stiffen up the ride. Anyone who knows about this, let me know. I know you can't use them to expect to exceed GVWR.

And, by the way, I got 15 miles per gallon towing on the highway at 55-60 mph. That's right, 15 mpg. WOW!
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:07 AM   #2
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Very interesting. I think I will be looking for a new tow vehicle in the next year or two. We have a 1999 3/4 ton Suburban that gets 10mpg whether I am towing or not. We only use it to tow. It is great to tow with but it would be nice to have a vehicle that we can tow with and use as a daily driver. Keep us informed on what you think as you drive your set-up. That fuel mileage on a gas vehicle is great.
Tom
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:22 AM   #3
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We've put about 9,000 miles on our Durango Ltd with towing package. 5.7 Hemi, 3.93 axle, Reese Dual CAM-HP hitch towing our 2007 27FB. We usually have 2 adults and 2 teenagers.

We have been to Newfoundland with its many hills and crosswinds and it never felt unsafe to me. On a recent trip to the Smoky Mtns, we just stayed in the right lane at 55-60 and it handled the hills on I-75 fine. Mileage with mid-grade gas was 11.5 to 13 mpg.

I would have no problem recommending this combination to someone.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:23 AM   #4
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I thought you would be suprised how well the new gassers are and no tow vehicle is perfect. The 28 is a great balance of size and weight. We love ours.

As for changing the suspension in any way I would be careful. You may want to start by changing the stock shocks to a heavier brand. I am sure some on the forum will have ideas on this. Anyway your story is like mine, a box stock 08 f150 set up for towing and just does the job. I get by with e85 now running well over 1.50/gallon less than diesel currently and more in some areas. Good luck.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverCottage View Post
Mileage with mid-grade gas was 11.5 to 13 mpg.
What kind of mileage do you get when not towing?
Tom
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari 28
As for changing the suspension in any way I would be careful. You may want to start by changing the stock shocks to a heavier brand. I am sure some on the forum will have ideas on this.
I would take a look at Bilstein or Koni shocks. They are much better than stock, they may wear out, but I have never seen a broken one.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
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What kind of mileage do you get when not towing?
Tom
At 60 mph with cruise...21-22 mpg
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddnich View Post
...Weighed everything before packing up...
good info but a couple of items aren't clear...

-were the weights taken while hitched up?

as i understand it the hitch weight doesn't count as tongue weight, after the w/d bars are tensioned...

but it does count against tv payload along with the tongue weight.

-what tires are on the suv? as in load rating?

clearly the haha helps with the wheelbase issue which is 'worth' the weight added.

-are u traveling with/without water and lp?

cheers
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Old 06-08-2008, 02:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddnich View Post
Trailer 5260 (GVWR 7300)
that seems a tad light for a loaded 28ft safari
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Old 06-08-2008, 02:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
I would take a look at Bilstein or Koni shocks. They are much better than stock, they may wear out, but I have never seen a broken one.
I'll have to send you some pics of the Bilstein off of my Scirocco that decided to gut itself. It pretty much just puked all the seals and guts out and they slid down the shaft of the strut in a sticky oily mess. Incident didn't sour me on their product at all. Bilstein replaced it free of charge under their lifetime warranty. I highly recommend them simply based on their customer service. I now have Bilsteins on all four of my VWs and I'm looking to pick up a set for my truck very soon. They tend to ride firmer than most, which is a good thing for the OP's porpoising issue.
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:50 AM   #11
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i was hooked up when i weighed everything.

the trailer was basically empty, and the w/d setup was transferring tongue weight to the vehicle, which is my explanation for the light trailer. the ubw is 5580. i'm guessing that the 800 lbs. that my t/v took (scale weight - curb weight) came from the weight of the trailer re-distributed to the vehicle.

i've been told that the combined weight is the big number, so i'm comfortable with what the scales told me. and the drive.

thanks for the info about the shocks. i will look into it.
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Old 06-08-2008, 08:02 AM   #12
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the load rating on the tires is 2205 per tire. that's 4410 per axle, right? it seems to me that i should be well within what i'm doing. i've been told that i should upgrade from P to LT tires, load range from D to E.?? I'm not sure about tires. Thoughts?

traveling without water, with LP.

i think i could comfortably add maybe 40 gallons of water, if needed.
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Old 06-08-2008, 08:35 AM   #13
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Hi,

I tow an '89 28ft Excella with an '04 Nissan Titan, like you I
run close to the TV max load. I highly recommend Timbrens
"suspension enhancement system" rubber aux springs. I changed tires and shocks but the big leap forward in towing
handling came from the Timbrens.

Vehicle Suspension Kits - Timbren Suspension Enhancement Systems

Steve and LuLu the Yorky urban camping int he Dallas Design District
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:36 PM   #14
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ok todd that clears up my confusions (for today)...

and agree the gcwr is the big number (no disrespecting payload of course) to watch.

porpoising happens and seems to be more a function of wheelbase/axle spacing and specific sections of roadway...

IF it only happens in limited areas, versus EVERY hill or valley i'd be less inclined to tweak things...

the bilstein or koni shocks are a really nice upgrade but dealing with the tires first is usually a better return on $$...

those few here who have moved UP to E rated tires report many towing benefits...

it is pretty easy to raise the pressures for towing and get full benefit of the sidewalls, then dial 'em back for passenger use.

i'm assuming u have the 1000 lb bars for the haha?

hey how about a pix or 2 of your rig, it's gotta look impressive with that long trailer on the tail of the durango...

i always travel with water, it is pretty useful stuff.

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:50 PM   #15
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here's a pic i took last fall, before i had the haha. the t/v is a little low in the rear, but that has been corrected.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:53 AM   #16
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Its good to see someone else towing with a durango. I am using my daughters Durango 2005 5.7 and only towed AS home, about 60 miles. I noticed some porpoiseing, and plan on putting new shocks Rancho r9000xl which are adjustable 1-9 9 being stiff. I used these on a pickup and was impressed I could tune suspension to minimize porpoise, sway and wind effect out of tow vehicle. In that situation I ran front at 5 rear at 9, then set all back to 1 for normal driving.
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:52 AM   #17
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I towed with two Durangos, an '01 with 4.7 and then a 5.3. I towed a 32' Coachmen with the 4.7. The trailer weighed 9000lbs, I weighed the tongue myself and found it to be 1530lbs. (really, never believe the brochure). The Hensley had heavy duty bars. Of course, the Durango still squatted a bit.

I worked for DaimlerChrysler at the time (engineering) so I ended up with a 3rd Durango, though it was the same set up as the second with the 5.3. I was impressed with the towing. Never any issues.

I have a photo around here somewhere of my little 4.7 hooked up to that beast of a trailer. The Hensley definately makes the difference with a short wheel based vehicle.
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:07 AM   #18
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We're also towing a 28 ft with a TV of similar capacity as the Durango. We're still evaluating the combination. We're in the southern Rockies and we're finding that we bog down a little on some of the steeper hills. We're thinking that we may have to move up to a 3/4 ton diesel. We really don't want to do that since our current 1/2 ton TV also doubles for daily transportation. We'll just have to wait and see how it performs on some of our upcoming trips. If we were in the mid-west we could probably be OK with the current set-up but some of the western hills are killers! Time will tell.

One thing for certain... we love the layout of the '08 28 ft Safari!
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:30 AM   #19
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I tried a number of vehicles, including a Toyota 4runner with v8 and air shocks... Seemed to work, but it was a strain on it. I got 11 mpg.

On curiosity I dug into the numbers with the help of the Forums, and found towing capacity is highly misleading. I had to consider load capacity on the hitch and for the vehicle. Turns out, even with an adequate tow capacity, the numbers said 3/4 ton for a 25' Safari. Now, with minimum loading, it was barely in the range with a 1/2 ton, but did I want to trust the whole family to a vehicle at the top of its towing capacity? What if I miscalculated? What if I get the big wind from the side? What if a shock blows? Entering on ramps that are uphill? Do I want the trailer driving the truck?


See http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post456088 for the numbers and some spreadsheets.
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:37 PM   #20
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A 3/4 ton is overkill for a 25' Safari. It's a waste of money and gas. A small tow vehicle oufitted with a good brake controller and a sway elimination hitch is much safer than a 3/4 ton with a low end controller and friction control hitch.

The best part of owning an Airstream is that they are the safest and easiest towing trailers on the market. That's what you paid for. Tow it with something economical and comfortable.
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