Just am fyi - when I'm on a camping trip and have extra air in my airbags, I rarely deflate them when running around. I wait until I get home to deflate them. I also add extra air to my load range 'E' tires before the trip and lower after the trip. Aside from a much stiffer ride, there are no downsides.
I have a 2018 Silverado, crew cab, short box, 4x4 with the 5.3. Here are my numbers from the last time I weighed it: Front axle - 3480, Rear axle - 3040 = 6520. I had a full tank of fuel and an additional 165 pounds of camping gear in the bed. I tow a camper that weighs 7920 fully loaded, and I use the same hitch as you. I disagree that air bags are a band aid, as I do use them. I set up my weight distributing hitch with 5 psi in the bags to get the front axle weight close to the unloaded weight, I then add 15 psi to the bags. I do not lift the rear of the truck with the air bags, I just supplement the rear leaf springs to help the truck not bunce as much as it did without the air bags when towing.
Hey Matt is that a 2600RB ? Looks like my set-up. They are very similar but mine is the 2800bh. The Grand Design website says the 2800 is 2 feet longer than the 2600. I would have gotten the 2600 but we always have others camping with us. What kind of mpg do you get while towing?
I am using an Equalizer Hitch, it is a weight distributing hitch as well as sway control. I think it does a great job. My Silverado is only a 5.3 with the 6 speed. While towing uphill on a long, slow dirt road at 9200 feet above sea level, I saw transmission temps around 220 degrees before I deleted the transmission thermostat.
Like everyone else said, it would be easier/better/safer with a bigger truck. That being said, I tow my 32', 7900 pound (fully loaded) camper with my 2018 Silverado (with the same set up as yours). The only limit I am close to when I tow is my trucks payload, which is 1662 pounds. I have made a few modifications to my truck to help it tow better: deleted transmission thermostat, reprogrammed my electric fans, LT tires, rear air bags and GM factory towing mirrors. I am always towing at high elevations and I never tow over 65 mph. My truck does fine although my towing mileage is low, 6-8 mpg on average.
You will definitely need to adjust your tune to add fuel to keep your air/fuel ratio safe. Depending on your current tune, you may need to upgrade your fuel system. I say this as I had a supercharger on my GMC Canyon and needed to put on a smaller pulley as I live at a higher elevation. I was unable to get the factory fuel system to provide enough fuel with the smaller pulley so I ended up keeping the larger pulley. I did not want to have to start spending money on fuel system upgrades.
I bought brand new factory mirrors, new switch and wiring harness from Phil Gamboa. The most expensive option but I wanted everything to work together with zero issues. @pgamboa http://harnessdr.com
To avoid this from happening to me, I installed a timer to automatically shut my bed lights off after 10 minutes. My process was: Install 6ft of a led light strip to each side of my bed cover side rails. Tap the constant hot power wire on my 7 wire trailer plug and add a 5 amp fuse. Wire up the timer into a small project box with a power button and a master switch. Mount project box under the bed rail near the tailgate with double sided tape. Here is a pic of my set up in my last truck before I moved it to my Silverado.
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