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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I am new to the forum and just want to get some opinions on new a new tow vehicle. My wife and I have a 2011 27.5 ft dutchmen that we towed last season using my Honda ridge line ! I know it is not a good idea with the trailer weighing in at 4600lbs with the towing capacity on the truck of 5000lbs. So needless to say we are looking for a different tow vehicle. I drive 130 I'm a day to work ( not towing) so i don't want the gas mileage to be too bad. I was thinking a 1500 gmc , but have also toted around with the idea of a tahoe or suburban since we have the two kids and dog along with us. Things get a little tight in the current truck.

we only plan to tow the trailer 2500km a yr or so. So i can't really justify paying for diesel for all the time that i am not towing.

Any opinions would be appreciated
 

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A 1/4 ton truck with a gas engine should do well... You mentioned a Chevy/GMC 1500, there's also a the Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150 and Dodge 1500 that easily satisfy the load rating you are looking for. Get the crew cab for that extra room, then realize that what you put in the truck can affect the tow rating.

I agree the Honda Ridgeline is a stretch, mostly because I'm not sure you have considered all your combination of weight ratings you have to worry about and you only have 400 lbs of margin that I am sure you are over by the time you load up the Honda with gear, people and cargo. Most don't realize the tow rating gets severely impacted by what's in the tow vehicle.

If you need some help understanding how this works, send me a message. I am a great proponent that ANYONE with a trailer must know these facts and that it's NOT just a tow rating to worry about. There are more than a dozen to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply, I do realize there are other brands on the market but i am more of a GM guy. It was more of a question as to weather some of you guys would prefer a crew cab versus a large SUV. I do realize that there are many factors that affect the tow rating of a vehicle, hence why i am in the market for something a little larger.

I would like to have info from people with real life experience with different tow vehicle because any manufacture can make there vehicle sound good in a commercial or on a piece of paper.I have read the ratings , but most of those are not long term tests that show the reliablility and true gas mileage numbers in a real day to day situation.
 

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Nowadays, a crew cab is the more popular option, because they provide near the same seating but when not towing you aren't dragging around the weight of the back of an SUV if you are driving to work and back. An SUV typically tows less and carries less than a pickup. The truck provides more utility, too. Have you ever been to BestBuy when they are trying to shoe horn a brand new bigscreen into an SUV?

You really need to think about your long term uses. Trucks tend to last longer than SUVs, too, only because there are less things to go wrong since the truck bed is simpler than the back end of an SUV.

I've had Vans, SUVs and now pickups. I don't think I'll ever be without a truck now.
 

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Bigger tow vehicle

I have always had a rule about towing, I make it a point to never exceed 80% of my tow vehicle's capacity. As an example my tow vehicle is a 2001 Ram 2500 with the one ton rear springs that were an option, giving me a capacity of about 12k. My toy hauler loaded with our Polaris RZR and all our gear and a full fresh water tank comes in a little under 9k. If I were to haul much more I would go with a one ton. I realize you aren't going to haul that much but it illustrates my rule. Something else many people overlook is rear axle max weight and max weight for those tires, which is listed in the door jam on the driver's side and on the tires. I usually suggest to people new to towing either match their TV to their trailer or find a trailer safe to pull with their truck, whichever they already have. Good luck and trailer safe, Gerry
 

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Also remember that upgrading one component (tires, wheels, etc.) may not allow an increase in your Vehicle's GVWR because there could be a multitude of any other components that provided the rating and not just the component upgrading. For example, many think that adding rear axle air bags will increase GVWR. NOT TRUE. They only help make the ride more comfortable and raise the rear end sag so your headlights aren't turned into highbeams to oncoming traffic.

I like Gerry's thinking but I am at 90% for one weight rating and the rest are under that. I definitely don't want 100% of any rating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright. So that solves my Suv vs. Pick up debacle. Now For your opinions on a pickup. I have been looking at the 1/2 ton gm's and would you guys say the 6spd tranny is a better option or just stay with the old dependable 4 spd, the reasons I ask is there uare pretty good deals on 07' and 08' right now. But the 6 spd was not offered until 09'.
 

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new truck question

Since I tow more weight than you I opted for diesel. If I were in your situation I would get a more heavy duty 1/2 ton with the larger motor. My reasoning is I've never heard anyone that tows complain about having too powerful a motor but a lot the other way. As regards transmissions much has been done since I bought my 01 with a 4 speed and I do sometimes wish that mine had another gear but even pulling 6% grades I seldom go into 2nd. A gasser, depending on weight, will probably shift more so it would be nice if you had the option of trying different transmissions with loads similar to what you have but that may not be an option unless you have some friends you can ask. And regards milage when not towing that would not matter as much to me as performance when towing.
 

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When you're towing you don't need to worry about the 6 speed as much since you'll need the torquier lower gears, however when you are not towing you'll appreciate the higher gears because that's how you get the mpgs you seek.

Note: a gas engine when towing will have real low mpgs. Gerry's point about the diesel and as heavy duty 1/2 ton helps the truck not struggle when there's 5,000 lbs hanging off it's bumper. I have a big diesel for my rig and it gets far better mpgs than any gasser, and is decent when not towing, but I tow 6 tons not less than 3.

Pick the brand you like. Then you'll need to decide on a big gasser or engine or smaller one and pay attention to the differential offerings too. The higher the ratio, the stonger the truck but mpgs will be less too.

It's definitely a balancing act.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
well after reading your posts and input i decided on a 08 2500 gmc diesel, should pull the travel trailer just fine, i really hope the fuel prices dont kill me..
 

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Tow vehicle

well after reading your posts and input i decided on a 08 2500 gmc diesel, should pull the travel trailer just fine, i really hope the fuel prices dont kill me..
I don't think you'll regret the more substantial tow vehicle but with regards to fuel prices I always look at it that you gotta pay to play but it's worth it. We are planning on two trips with our 8.6k toy hauler this year, one 1300 miles rt and one 2000. With our rig my Dodge gets a pretty consistant 10 mpg but can manage 55 mph up 6% grades. I've never seen a gas truck do that so at $4+ per gallon we save up our pennies, nickels and dimes and do it. Those that might find that too much can choose to camp closer to home, but for us the trail riding we do with our Polaris RZR, the country we see and the friends we make is priceless.
 

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Diesel prices are in the gouging stages right now. Since more diesel trucks are being sold they are raising the price to make big profits. If you do the math you might find that if a diesel gets twice the mpgs as a gasser, then it's cheaper for diesel at the pumps. Plus the diesel is so much more capable, you'll be less tired and less frustrated when you are towing your trailer around. The biggest problem you'll have is remembering you are carrying a load and really shouldn't be driving that fast. You try this with a gasser and you'll wish you had a diesel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, now i have towed our 27 foot dutchmen TT and the 2500 made such a difference, could not even tell the trailer was there. So the next logical step was to get a bigger trailer. We pick up our new 29.5 ft springdale this weekend. What better way to try it out the 7 days and 2500km. Anything i should watch out for?
 

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Whatever the measurement will not be real world. Take a tape measure and measure from the tip of the tongue to the last thing that sticks out past the back of the trailer (ladder bumper, spare tire, whatever) and you'll find your trailer is much longer that 29.5 ft. This is important because you'll be making wider turns for the trailer tires to clear curbs and stuff. Keep the tires flat on the road and they'll do better for you. Weigh your trailer to keep under the weights and remember, just cuz there's room for it doesn't mean it can handle the weight.

Mind the truck. The purpose was to gain confidences and lessen stress when driving, not race up and down the highways just because you can. It's still very long, very heavy and small cars around you still drive like idiots. Be VERY defensive. There are a lot of stupid drivers that don't know how to drive around big vehicles.

Congrats on the new gear!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey art, i appreciate you comments regarding longer vehicle and safety for cornering and higher speeds. The truck is rated to pull 13300lbs, so my little 8000lbs loaded is pretty good. I didnt buy a bigger truck to race up the hills , its all about safety for my family and I. I realize the trailer length is not real life, as the trailer is just over 35 ft long. I more than realize towing larger vehicles require wider turns ( i tow 160ft long aircraft with my day job) I was more curious if anyone has a keystone springdale trailer and what experiences they may have had?
 

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Well, you did buy a beast. That's a great travel trailer tow rating. The truck should have an even higher Fifth Wheel tow rating and with the front end of the fifth wheel overlapping the back part of the truck makes for a shorter rig length. But now you need to be concerned about height and losing truck bed storage.

We had a "Sprinter" travel trailer a whole lot of years ago which is very similar to the Springdale and we liked it a lot. A friend of mine has a Springdale travel trailer and they like it a lot since they upgraded from a popup trailer. The only problem he had with it (under than his heavily taxed F-150 tow vehicle) is that on his rig the city water inlet was very close to the black water flush inlet. He accidently plugged the city water into the black water flush which caused the black tank to overflow back into his rig through the toilet area. You can imagine the mess (fortunately he does clean his tanks pretty well and the rig was pretty new). If your trailer is the same way BE VERY CAREFUL to connect your hoses correctly! The cleanup and sanitation takes a long time and is a lot of work. Then he did this AGAIN!

Both these times he arrived late, setup late (and in the dark), was pretty tired after working all day, then driving all night, so he thinks all this contributed to his confusion trying to setup quickly and before "quiet hours". He also made the labeling more obvious and the black flush inlet more of an effort to use to help him remember to connect to the correct inlets. No more problems.
 
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