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Old 07-29-2012, 02:03 AM   #1
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Hello,

I'm sorry to ask, but we are totally new to RV'ing and I would really like to make sure that I"m not making a mistake before spending my money on a new RV!

We are looking at purchasing a new ST30RE, which the dealer has a scale weight of 6300 lbs on, and noted that it's tongue/hitch weight is 682 lbs. I pulled numbers from the cross roads web site, but, reading the forums, it sounds like their numbers are not always accurate...but here is a summary of the numbers on the TT:

Dealer Noted TT weight: 6300 lbs

Site Numbers: GVWR: 7682, Carrying Capacity: 1484, Hitch Weight: 682, Axle Weight: 5279

We currently have a Chevy Avalanche 1500 4WD with the 5.3 L V8 engine, with the factory towing package and the 3.73 Rear Axle. The tow rating is 8100 lbs with a 7000 lbs GVW rating on the sticker. I'm not exactly sure on the vehicle weight, but found a dry weight of 5300-5400 lbs noted online.

All passengers (me, my wife, and 3 dogs) come in at around 540 lbs. We expect to travel pretty dry, but it sounds like it is pretty standard to say that, and then end up with a loaded trailer over time!

I don't mind driving slow up hills, but I want to make sure that I'm not going to destroy the truck or the TT with this pair.

In the near future we plan on getting a better tow vehicle (I think - an Infinity QX56), but plan on using the Chevy for a year, if it will work.

Alright - thanks for any insights and suggestions - I'm sure this type of question is asked again and again, so I'm sorry to be on the asking end of it for now, but hope to be on the other side in the near future!





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Old 07-29-2012, 06:21 AM   #2
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The dry weight of our ST30RE is 6320 lbs. We load up pretty well with generator, firewood, water. etc. and tow with an 09 Ford F150. The TT tows really well. but we do have a good weight distribution hitch with anti sway (Husky brand). Tongue wt is pretty solid, about 750-800 lbs. so you'll need a good hitch set up. The tow rating of 8100 lbs is going to be maxed out at times, as the TT capacity is 3000 lbs. bringing the total TT weight at over 9000lbs. We really do like our Sunset Trail 30RE. It's a solid unit! Digital antenna really sucks though, but we really don't watch much TV.

Happy Campin' and good luck!
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:36 AM   #3
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I hate to dash cold water on anyone's dream, but I think you have more trailer in your sights then you have truck. You say your truck has a GVW of 7000#
Truck -- 5400#
passengers --- 540#
hitch --- 680#
Total --- 6620#
If I'm not missing something, that won't leave much room for anything else.
Like water, LP, food, clothes, etc.
Is this trailer the one you have to have, or is it possible you could get by with something smaller, or a bigger TV?




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Old 07-29-2012, 07:36 AM   #4
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From the web site info, the total dry wt. of the ST30RE is 5961 lbs and the hitch wt. is about 11.5% of the dry wt. Assuming the TT at max. GVWR of 7682 lbs and 12% of that will be hitch wt., that is 922 lbs on the tow vehicle. Plus passenger weight, you will still most likely be under the TV's 7000 lb. GVWR. And with a good weight distribution hitch you won't overload the TV's axles or exceed their GAWRs. If you don't have LT tires, make the switch.

While the ST30RE's GVWR of 7682 lbs is less than the truck's MAX tow rating of 8100 lbs, in reality you will exceed the tow rating for your specific truck. That is because the 8100 lb number is based on a basically empty truck (they typically assume a 150 lb driver and 1/4 to 1/2 tank of fuel). Every lb added for the hitch, gear and passengers reduces the MAX tow rating below 8100 lbs. If you know what the truck's GCWR is, then subtract your actual, loaded weight from that to get your real world tow rating.

Having said all that, the only real impact of exceeded the GCWR or tow rating (if the other ratings are OK) is decreased performance, i.e. slower acceleration and hill climbing. This may be something you can live with depending on travel distance, road grades and altitude (since you will loose 3% HP for every 1000 ft increase in altitude). Only you can decide.

10 yrs ago I had a Silverado with the 5.3L and 3.73 axle ratio and pulled a fiver with a dry wt. of 5000 lbs and GVWR of 6550 lbs, so about 1000 lbs less than the ST30RE. It did OK even at 9000 ft altitude. And it did OK with moderate grades and/or head winds. But as should be expected, steeper grades, strong head winds and/or running the A/C required downshifting and more patience.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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Alright everyone, thanks for the input, we'll keep pondering things. We did put new Michelin LTX's on last month, so I think we are good there.

Are there mods to the truck that would help - I'm thinking I may want new shocks, an upgraded air intake, and possibly converting to dual exhaust - do these types of things help with towing and performance?




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Old 07-29-2012, 08:45 AM   #6
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Gas vehicles do not respond much to those kinds of mods. I would be more concerned with good brakes and maybe a set of air bags or Timbrens.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:36 AM   #7
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You need to go weigh your avalanche loaded and ready to camp. Then subtract that weight from the avalnaches GCWR to find out what your adjusted towing capacity is. Also you can subtract the weight of the truck from the trucks GVWR to obtain your available payload (if weighed w/ everyone and everything you want to take in the truck camping it will compensate for that for you). What is left will be what you have available for a loaded tongue weight. Remember that as the TT is loaded your tongue weight will increase. The tongue weight should be about 13-15% of the loaded trailer weight. If you have a WDH (and you should w/ that TT), then about 80% of the tongue weight will be on your TV. Now you don't know how much you will load your TT so it is safer to do all calculations using the TT's GVWR. But if you insist on doing it as a loaded TT weight, then you can figure the average campers add about 1000-1500 lbs gear into a TT (plates, clothes, chairsetc add up really quickly!!!)

Looking at the weights listed, I would calculate a max tongue weight of 1000-1150 lbs based on the GVWR. Does your avalanche have that kind of available payload after calculating in family weight? Having bought a TT with not enough truck to tow it comfortably, I can tell you it is not fun. I had an Armada rated to tow 9100 lbs (or so I thought). It turns out it's payload before calculating for family was only about 800 lbs. My TT weighs 7000 lbs loaded ready to go and we calculate a tongue weight of approx 980 lbs (figure 784 lbs applied to tow vehicle). That doesn't leave enough for one driver, let alone 2 adults, a kid and a 70 lb dog. We struggled on the highways when passed by SUV's, pickups, and tractor trailers. We struggled towing up a 7% grade (1st gear and around 25 mph by the top of the mountain). The final straw came when I found I didn't have enough truck to stop the TT going down a twisty 7% grade. That was with upgrades done to make my towing experience better. No amount of upgrades can account for not enough truck. It is up to you as to how comfortable towing near your limits you are, we weren't (and I towed horse trailers for 20 yrs before this). I also think it will be too much trailer for the infinity you are considering as well.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ritchyandmary
Alright everyone, thanks for the input, we'll keep pondering things. We did put new Michelin LTX's on last month, so I think we are good there.

Are there mods to the truck that would help - I'm thinking I may want new shocks, an upgraded air intake, and possibly converting to dual exhaust - do these types of things help with towing and performance?




You haven't stated the age or mileage of the truck, but new/better shocks will help it handle heavier loading. I agree with Keith, most gas aftermarket performance equipment is aimed at increasing HP, not torque and will have minimal impact on towing ability, not worth the $$$. Save your money for the new truck. I might disagree with Keith about air bags, maybe Timbrens as well, not sure, depends on how close you are to the individual GAWRs and making sure these 'helpers' don't interfere with setting and maintaining the correct weight distribution setup. Meaning don't use air bags as a band aid to level the vehicle because the WD setup is wrong.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:03 PM   #9
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Note that your Avalanche has the same rear suspension as my Suburban. It's more car like than truck like - but does have a real nice ride.



If you tow anything substantial with this truck, you'll need air bags to support the rear springs. Still won't allow a higher payload or hitch weight, but it will ride more level. You'll probably be at around 800 lbs on the hitch when you are loaded, if not more. Make sure you get big bars - probably the 1000 or 1200 lb bars on your WD hitch, not the wimpy 600 lbs the dealer will probably say will work.



Good luck!
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:45 AM   #10
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I tow my GT32QB with my 07 Avalanche LTZ with 3:73 gears Corsa Exhaust and K&N Intake Prodigy P3 and Equalizer hitch. It does fine but personally I just do not feel very confident in the set up whencompletelyloaded for camping. My TT dry weight is just under 5k lbs. I do not go very far from home so it works fine.Personally knowing how mine tows I could not imagine adding an extra 2k + lbs.
The after market parts do not do anything to the vehicle. The computer basically detunes the truck for the modifications. I was planning on getting a custom tune from EFI Live for the truck as its performance is one of my main complaints with the truck.
I believe I have been bitten by this camping bug and actually am looking at a 2500 HDdiesel and plan on upgrading to a 5ver in another year or so.
As much as I love my Avalanche, I love my family more and just could not see pulling anything heavier than I have and feel good about it. JMHO
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