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Old 09-19-2016, 11:37 PM   #1
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A Towing Question and request for advice

Hi All. This is a 2-parter:

My current tow vehicle is a 2002 Chevy Suburban 1500 LS. I added the hitch receiver. I want to get a 2500 HD Crew Cab, but that is 4 years away.

Here's part 1: Is there an significant difference in towing safety or performance between the long bed and the short bed, for towing a travel trailer?

I have a 2015 Sunset Trail super Lite travel trailer model ST240 BH. Dry weight is 5200. I haven't weighed it loaded yet (will do so soon), but I'm under 6000 lbs. My suburban is rated to tow 7400lbs, and I have an Equa-Li-Zer WDH.
Reading some other threads here, I think I've learned the following:
a) Get rid of my P rated tires for a good set of LT's, ASAP
b) Consider adding air-assist to the TV rear suspension
c) Invest in a good quality tire pressure/temperature monitoring system

Here's part 2: What are your thoughts on a, b, and c above? Is there anything else I should consider, or should do now?

Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:08 AM   #2
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We are towing the same trailer with our 2011 Toyota Sequoia which is very similar to your Suburban. What you listed is exactly what we have done and it made a world of difference towing. I use a blue Ox Sway Pro with 1,000lb bars, we upgraded to load range E tires (only went to E because I could not find a D that would fit our 20" rim that I liked) We run them at 65PSI while towing and drop it down to 52PSI when empty. Believe it or not we think the truck rides even better on the stiffer tires while empty over those squishy P rated tires that are stock. I also added some 1,000lb airbags that were really easy to install and costs less than $100. Here are the bags for your truck 2000-2016 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 1/2 Ton 2WD & 4WD - Air Lift 1000 Air Helper Springs w/o Auto Leveling System [REAR] [60769] | $81.63 | SD Truck Springs | Leaf Springs, Helper Springs and Suspension Parts Those made a huge difference as well. All in all our camper is weighing in at about 6300lbs when fully loaded ready to camp and I got about 815lbs of tongue weight. Technically on paper I am maybe 100lbs over my GVWR, but with the added suspension and tire upgrade I am not too worried about it. and I live in the mountains of WNC and the truck will pull that camper all over the place with no problems, no sway at all, and at highway speeds even up steep grades. The tires and airbags are well worth the investment .
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:09 AM   #3
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If you are really 4 yrs away from a new row vehicle, you have plenty of time to consider LB vs SB.

a) is #1 priority
c) is #2 priority and with LT tires on the Burb, mostly a trailer tire issue. If possible get internal sensors, they cost more and require more effort to install, but are more accurate and more likely to show bearing and brake issues as well. Discount Tire charges me nothing for the dismount, install sensor and remount, but do charge for balancing.
For air bags, start with manual inflation and see how good they work, you can always add an onboard pump later.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:37 AM   #4
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Are you comfortable that a suburban can handle the extra load ?
Not pulling load, but carrying load ?

Most SUV's are taxed with just what they can carry inside, much less putting tongue weight as well !

Reason I'm asking is that it might be prudent to consider upgrading vehicles now instead of putting money into your current one and not getting anything back from it...

Just trying to save you the tradeins we went through as I LOVED my diesel Excursions, but adding all kinds of stuff to make it work with a large trailer was money not well spent
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Old 09-20-2016, 10:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayle1 View Post
If you are really 4 yrs away from a new row vehicle, you have plenty of time to consider LB vs SB.
I know, I 'm just interested in the physics, and if there is any noticeable difference between the two when towing.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post
Are you comfortable that a suburban can handle the extra load ?
Not pulling load, but carrying load ?

Most SUV's are taxed with just what they can carry inside, much less putting tongue weight as well !

Reason I'm asking is that it might be prudent to consider upgrading vehicles now instead of putting money into your current one and not getting anything back from it...

Just trying to save you the tradeins we went through as I LOVED my diesel Excursions, but adding all kinds of stuff to make it work with a large trailer was money not well spent
Actually, on the short (<100 miles) trips I've made so far, it seems to handle things well. If the trailer gross weight is 6000 lbs and the TV is rated at 7400 lbs, that puts me at just under a 20% margin. not as high as I'd like, but manageable. And I am still well below the GCVWR also. I just don't get in a hurry, I stay in the slow lane and do not exceed 60 MPH. I have not pulled it on and significant grades yet, but will put it in 3rd with tow/haul engaged and take it slow up or down the hill.

Having said that, I would love to upgrade my TV now, but it is just not financially possible, as we already have one $550/mo car payment. I totally get what you are saying about investing in an older vehicle, but I've taken good care of it over the years and have a very reliable mechanic that is the only one who works on it. It has 162K miles, and it is likely the transmission will be the next major item to go. But I figure I can replace that for $3,500 and easily get another 100K miles out of it. Just a better option for me at present than dropping $45-$50K on a new TV.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:38 AM   #7
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I would recommend anytime you are towing to use "tow-haul" mode, that adjust shift points & assist in transmission braking going down steep grades. You may want your mechanic to add another/or larger tranny cooler to help save on the transmission.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:37 PM   #8
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Steve, I was more leaning toward what the carrying capacity of your SUV is once you load it up with people and 'stuff'

The rear Axle weight rating on pickups is usually the biggest thing to worry about when towing big 5'ers so not sure how that relates to a tt on a suburban,
just trying to help !
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:32 PM   #9
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Here are some specs for a 2002 Suburban:

Weight Information
Curb Weight - Front (lbs) 2584
Gross Axle Wt Rating - Front (lbs) 3150
Gross Combined Wt Rating (lbs) 13,000
Curb Weight - Rear (lbs) 2230
Gross Axle Wt Rating - Rear (lbs) 4000
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Cap (lbs) 7000

Available rear axle payload 4000 - 2230 = 1770 (adding helper springs, air bags, LT tires, etc. will not increase this)

Available vehicle payload 7000 - 2584 - 2230 = 2186 (passengers, gear, pets and tongue weight)

Your number one consideration should always be the safety of you and your family.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post
Steve, I was more leaning toward what the carrying capacity of your SUV is once you load it up with people and 'stuff'

The rear Axle weight rating on pickups is usually the biggest thing to worry about when towing big 5'ers so not sure how that relates to a tt on a suburban,
just trying to help !
Ahh, OK. I missed your real point first time
Funny thing is, the new TT is a step up from a tent trailer we had. The problem with the PuP is it is very limited on storage space. So whenever we'd go anywhere, I removed the third row bench seat and cram the entire back end full of gear, and I mean full! The tongue weight of the PuP was about 320 lbs, and the new TT is about double that, btwn 600 and 650. But most of the heavier gear I used to haul in the TV is now distributed in the TT. I plan to load the trailer before the next weekend outing and take it to a local scale, and see how my numbers compare to the list DavisK posted. My WDH is 110 lbs by itself...
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