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7000lb travel trailer with 2015 Suburban


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Hello all,

Just wanted to see if anyone has any experience towing with a 2015 Suburban, or can offer me some advice. We just bought a Jayflight travel trailer that will have a dry weight of around 6700lbs. My Suburban has the max trailer package, so I'm supposed to be good up to 8000lbs. I've never towed anything beyond a wood splitter before, so I'm kind of freaking out about the what ifs. I'm getting the Equalizer 4 point sway control WDH, and I know to be conscientious about adding weight, so I'm sure I'll be fine on local state park trips (Ohio). However, I see more ambitious trips in our future. (Florida first, out west eventually). I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet, and get a truck? I hate to take a big hit on the Suburban and start over with another car payment, but I want to be confident that my vehicle can handle any situation I find myself in, when I have 7000+lbs attached to me. I see 3 possible scenarios:

 

1 - keep the Suburban. Keep it well maintained. Drive slowly. Maybe switch to LT tires instead of the stock P tires? (Hold breath and cross fingers when crossing over continental divide)

 

2- get 1500 truck w/6.2L engine. Am I getting enough truck to really make a difference, or is this a slight improvement, for a lot of money?

 

3- get a 2500 truck. gas or diesel? Is this overkill for that 1 cross country trip per year, or well worth the piece of mind knowing you can tackle anything you come across?

 

I appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!

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My trailer (Cougar 30RKS) has a rated dry weight of 6,762. Loaded without water, I hit it's max weight rating of 8,200. But my wife brings a lot of scrapbooking stuff camping :)

 

I'm pulling with a Max trailering package. So I have a tow rating of 10,800, and consider it COMPLETELY irrelevant.

 

You will run out of payload long before you run out of trailer capacity. In my case, I have the 7,600 GVW and my truck weighed in at 7,540 loaded for 2 weeks holidays. So I was very close to the limit.

 

Estimate the trailer weight based on the loaded (dry plus carrying capacity) weight. Figure tongue weight of 12.5% (middle of the range) and add 100 lbs for the hitch ( I have the same one and it's not light). Compare that to the trucks payload capacity on the yellow sticker on the door jam. Whatever is left (if anything) is what you have for whatever you weigh over 150, plus all passengers, gear etc. in the truck.

 

In short, I really doubt the Suburban will be able to do it.

 

If you get a 1500, make sure it is the NHT package (either 5.3 or 6.2). While I am at my limit, I am happier with this truck for all the non-towing driving I do and do not miss having a 2500. I had a 2001 2500 with a Duramax and it was a harsher ride and didn't suit my daily commute (~3.5 kms). But it was a better tow vehicle. Some hills I am now limited to 80 kmh where with the diesel I could do 110. Not sure if the 6.2 would make a lot of difference there, but as I bought an lower trim level truck, I didn't have the option.

 

I live in BC, Canada so I know all about hills etc.

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Thanks for the fast response. I didn't go into the GVWR, but that is a concern of mine as well. On a 4wd Suburban it should be 7500lbs. Curb weight is about 6000lb, so a 800-900lb tongue weight + family of 4 + cargo eats that GVWR up pretty quick. Guess I'm leaning towards a new truck (and dooming myself to forever parking outside of the garage) unless somebody talks me out of it.

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Look on the drivers side door, there will be a sticker that tells the specific payload capacity of your suburban as it left the factory. It will say something like total passenger and cargo weight should not exceed XXXXlb. What does it say?

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Bear,

 

Welcome and congrats on the new tt!!!

 

What did you guys get???

 

As mentioned, with any 1500/150 tow vehicle (truck or suv), it will usually max/exceed the payload limit before reaching the max tow rating.

 

Look for the yellow sticker in the drivers door of your 'burb, as well as any possible new truck if you decide to go that route. It states "All occupants and cargo not to exceed: XXXXlbs". That is the rated payload for that vehicle as it rolled off the assembly line, before any accessories have been added. I disagree with Kenzie regarding 150lbs for a driver being in addition to the stated sticker payload. I post this based on the wording of the sticker- "ALL OCCUPANTS...". To me that means any occupant in the vehicle, which includes all of the driver weight.

 

How much does the whole family weigh, what do you anticipate hauling in the rear of the burb or truck bed (cooler(s), firewood, bikes, etc), what accessories do you think you may add to a truck (step bars, tonneau cover or truck cap/topped, etc)? Add those weights up plus the ~100lbs for the wdh, and see what's left from the yellow sticker as mentioned.

 

Keep in mind the average rv owner adds about 1000lbs to the "brochure" dry weight if the trailer. So you could be very close to 8000lbs all loaded up for a trip. And with a 12-15% tw, that could be ~ 960lbs-1200lbs tw. For a tt, you generally need 12-15% of the loaded trailer weight to be tw. Obviously this will vary from trailer to trailer, but in a lot of cases having a lower tw can and will result sway which can be very dangerous. While the E4 is a great wdh system, the integrated sway control could mask a light tw issue until it's to late, so still be careful loading!

 

Speaking of tw, the "brochure" dry tw usually does not include the weight of the propane tanks or a battery on the tongue. That adds ~120lbs for 2-20lb tanks and a battery, or ~160lbs for 2-30lb tanks and a battery before even loading the trailer with anything else.

 

So to answer the big question, will your burb tow the trailer? Yes, it will. But pending on the family weight, and actual loaded tw, you may be over the payload, and possibly the rear axle rating. Same thing with a 1500 GM Truck, pending the family/cargo/accessories/tw total and what towing options the new truck has.

 

Do go for the NHT Max Tow package if you stay with a 1500. 5.3 would probably do the job with the NHT option, but the 6.2 would do it better towing cross country. If you go for a 2500HD, gas or diesel will do the job. Just depends on how much you want to spend, and if you like keeping the motor rpms down or don't mind letting the motor rev if needed to make it up inclines. With the gasser you may need to let the motor rev 3k + when towing depending on the terrain.

 

Good luck!!!

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Thank you everyone. To answer a couple questions:

It's a Jayco Jayflight 27BHS. It's a little under 32' long, and the one on the lot we looked at had s dry weight of 6600lbs. We added few options to it. My understanding is that dry weight includes a full load of propane and generator fuel when applicable.

 

I'm not at my vehicle at the moment, but the gvwr should be about 7500lbs. Curb weight is listed as 5800, I believe, but again I maxed out the options on it, so I assume around 6000lbs. My understanding is that curb weight includes a 150lb driver and a full tank of gas.

 

So to sum it all up, we knew we would be pushing the limits of the gvwr, gcwr, and rear axle limits. We figured we'd pack very carefully, and hit the scales before leaving, but the more I think about, I think we'll be much better off with a truck that can handle anything we throw at it, without agonizing over every pound.

 

Thanks for the advice. If any one has an opinion on gas vs diesel, I'm all ears. I know nothing about diesel, so will hit some dealers for some test drives soon.

 

And if anyone is in the Cincinnati area, and could recommend a good place to get weighed, that would be awesome too.

 

Thanks!

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Diesel are great for towing, no question. If you plan to tow a lot, diesel is the answer. But if you plan to commute everyday with the vehicle, do short runs, stop and go, the diesel will not like it. They need to be worked for their own sake.

 

I parked my diesel for the last couple of winters I owned it and drove beaters. The thing wouldn't come close to operating temps on my commute and would start coughing black smoke at times.

 

Diesel is more money up front, fuel can be more expensive, maintenance is a little more and if something breaks, it can be more to fix.

 

If you do go diesel, check the trucks payload. On a 3/4 ton, it can be in the 2,300 lb range vs over 3K for gas. Honestly, if I wanted diesel, it'd be 1 ton only.

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gmckenzie,

Thanks for following up. I agonized over the decision, but I've decided to go with diesel. The couple people I know with diesel, swear to me that I won't be dissapointed. And I am taking GMC at their word that I'll get gas-like engine start up all the way down to -20F. I loved the fact that I averaged 20mpg on the highway during my test drive, if for no other reason than, that's a couple less times I'll need to stop for fill ups when on vacation and pulling a 32 foot trailer. I also really like the idea of an exhaust brake. I hope it's not the wrong decision, but if it is, I'm told diesel trucks really hold their value. Hopefully, worst case, I can swap it with a gas truck down the road, without too much of a loss. As far as payload, the 3/4 ton will have plenty for my needs. So, Denali here I come....

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Diesel are great for towing, no question. If you plan to tow a lot, diesel is the answer. But if you plan to commute everyday with the vehicle, do short runs, stop and go, the diesel will not like it. They need to be worked for their own sake.

 

I parked my diesel for the last couple of winters I owned it and drove beaters. The thing wouldn't come close to operating temps on my commute and would start coughing black smoke at times.

 

Diesel is more money up front, fuel can be more expensive, maintenance is a little more and if something breaks, it can be more to fix.

 

If you do go diesel, check the trucks payload. On a 3/4 ton, it can be in the 2,300 lb range vs over 3K for gas. Honestly, if I wanted diesel, it'd be 1 ton only.

 

 

This brings up a question that I have. A lot of people say how you have to load a diesel.. they don't like to be commuter vehicles, etc etc. If you aren't towing, the engine won't be happy, etc etc.

 

I can't help but thinking this is maybe an old school way of thinking? I know many people that have diesels in their trucks and commute with them and road trip them (unloaded) all the time. Granted, in my case, I have a 60 mile round trip, so it's not quite as bad as the guy doing 10 miles. I'm more talking about the towing/loading of the engine.

 

It just seems that with modern engines and technology, a diesel should have no problem running mostly unloaded, with some weekend towing. With the advanced fuel systems, computer controlled injection, large improvements in fuel economy, why would an internal combustion engine be harmed by having light work?

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That's kind of what I'm banking on. Hopefully GM is building these engines knowing that most of us are weekend warriors. I want a vehicle that will get me from Cincinnati to Yellowstone without trouble, but I also want a vehicle that will get my daughter to preschool 10 minutes down the road every morning. I hope this is it. I plan on making my purchase in the next week or two. I'll post my first impressions after that.

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The concern is when the motor doesn't heat up enough to burn off the blow by in the oil. Oil becomes acidic and eats away at things. Also it tends to gum up the valves when not hot. Difference is that a gas motor will heat up pretty quickly and a diesel won't. Leave either idling in the driveway and the gas will get up to temp, and the diesel will not.

 

Now mine was a 2001 so things may be different now, but I do know mine would puff black for a few minutes when I pushed it after not towing it for a month or so. In the winter, it would be worse as I would never get to normal operating temps. My commute is about 2.5 miles and the truck just couldn't warm up in the winter at all. I'd have to go for a drive just to get the truck warmed up.

 

I loved my diesel for towing. I just don't tow enough for it to make sense for me.

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You'll be fine driving unloaded. 90% of folks that spread the negative info about diesels have never driven one. I just did the same thing as you're contemplating. Had a 1500 sierra, bought a 7k dry/10k gvwr toy hauler, and decided to jump into a duramax denali. It's awesome, i've had it for about a month and have no complaints (except for the crap stock "rancho" shocks, which i dumped for bilstein 5100s).

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The concern is when the motor doesn't heat up enough to burn off the blow by in the oil. Oil becomes acidic and eats away at things. Also it tends to gum up the valves when not hot. Difference is that a gas motor will heat up pretty quickly and a diesel won't. Leave either idling in the driveway and the gas will get up to temp, and the diesel will not.

 

Now mine was a 2001 so things may be different now, but I do know mine would puff black for a few minutes when I pushed it after not towing it for a month or so. In the winter, it would be worse as I would never get to normal operating temps. My commute is about 2.5 miles and the truck just couldn't warm up in the winter at all. I'd have to go for a drive just to get the truck warmed up.

 

I loved my diesel for towing. I just don't tow enough for it to make sense for me.

 

 

I appreciate your info... I guess my response would be that the average commute (at least in a city) is much more than 2.5 miles, your situation is not typically the norm. With a commute that short, it will have negative effects on the engine, gas or diesel... diesel more so.

 

I guess from my perspective, I will drive it like any other vehicle, I will do regular maintenance, I'll run a grille cover in the winter, and I won't lose any sleep over it. My neighbor has a 1 ton as a daily driver and couldn't be happier. Has had it for 2 1/2 years here in central MN.

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Bear,

 

Congrats on the Jay Flight 27 BHS!!! Yes, we may be a little partial to Jayco as we have a 32 BHDS. :) The yellow sticker in the tt that shows the weight as it rolled off the assembly line does include the full propane tanks weight, but I still can't find info as to if it includes the battery weight. I was referring to the brochure weights as they can be very misleading. From what I have found, the brochure weights don't even include the weight of options, even those options which are "mandatory".

 

As I understand the yellow payload sticker that is in the drivers door jamb does not include a driver, but think (haven't found any confirmation) that the yellow payload stickers does state the rated payload with a full tank of fuel. The yellow sticker states : "ALL OCCUPANTS and cargo not to exceed: XXXXlbs". All occupants means all of the drivers weight needs to be counted as well.

 

Now if you are referring to the tow rating, that did include 1-150lb driver, but as I understand with the new tow rating now includes 2-150lb occupants in the truck, with a 10% tw.

 

Hope all goes well with buying the new truck!!! Keep us posted.

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