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Old 12-05-2004, 04:18 PM   #1
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I Just bought a Wilderness Yukon 31ft TT with GVWR of 7500# and an UVWR of 5770#. I have the 4.1 Axle and the Tow Package. I have also installed the biggest possible transmission cooler.

The owners manual says that with the 4.1 Axle and the tow package, the tow rating is 7900#.

My goal will be to keep the loaded weight of the trailer around 7000#.

Thanks for any info

The Pakman
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Old 12-06-2004, 09:50 AM   #2
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Hello and Welcome to the Forum Pakman262

It will do it, but your towing performance may not be something you will be excited about.

To really understand the numbers I would visit a weight scale like the C.A.T. scales and have everything weighed. Have the trailer packed or loaded with a similar load as one you would go camping with and have the truck full of fuel and your family.
I also filled my trailer's fresh water tank completely to get the trailer's number as high as possible knowing I do NOT normally tow that heavy - but it gave me the numbers I needed as a baseline.
(Water is around 8.3 Lbs / US gallon, so since we usually tow with less than half a tank of fresh water, I could deduct around 150 LBS to give me a better idea of my normal towing weight - however do this in spring so you do not have to re-winterize the plumbing)

The CAT scale cost about $12 - $13 CAN and the reweigh was 50 to 75 cents.
It gives you a read out on:
Front axle weight_________
Rear axle weight__________
Axle weights of the trailer_________

Add all those numbers up and you have the actual weight of both vehicles or COMBINED WEIGHT.

Reweigh the truck by itself____________.

Instead of just looking at the max trailer weight number, look at your trucks GCVWR number and subtract that from the COMBINED WEIGHT of your truck and trailer. Rule of thumb is to stay around 80% of maximum capacities and not having the actual numbers from your truck and trailer but using your estimate - you come in around 88 - 89%. Our set up comes in around 81% and anything you can do to bring your towing weight down will help with having some extra in reserve when you need it.
With that trailer estimate you gave, you will most likely find that ON ramps, head winds and hills are a little slower than you expect but still do-able, just do not push too hard or leave the transmission on 3 when towing if it cannot hold OD at all on level highway. Depending on your actual weight number, hopefully you will be closer to 80% than 90%.

Engines, brakes, transmissions, radiators, differentials in 3/4 ton vehicles are usually bigger and stronger and give you more carrying, towing and stopping capacities. One day when it is time to upgrade your tow vehicle you will not believe the difference if you pull the same trailer with a 3/4 ton Avalanche with the 8.1L. The difference will be a night and day improvement.

Also a good sway control trailer hitch would be a great idea if you do not already have one!
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:15 AM   #3
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To add to the first reply and your PM which I had run out of time to shorten, I did say "MAY not be something you will be excited about" - not won't.

I understand you have test towed another trailer of similar size and weight and are not just using dry trailer weights but very realistic weights which is certainly the best way to approach this. You will have exact numbers once everything is weighed.

It was not too long ago that half ton vehicles would NOT tow much past 5000# and for a trailer that size would need at least a 3/4 ton tow vehicle. These days with half ton SUV vehicles rated to tow up to 9200 (Armada), there are many equipment variables to have or use to get near that number. There are some members of these boards who are weight police strict about towing weight or tow vehicle wheelbase numbers mandating that you almost need a 1 ton dullie to tow a pop up. It is not like you are towing a 31 foot trailer with a TrailBlazer or Explorer (which I have seen on the highway) but something with a real truck frame.

Sway control hitch, tranny cooler, towing mirrors, brake controller, load rated tires are some of the things that you have already addressed or will be addressing but your chassis is still a 1500 or half ton.

It will do it but watch your gauges and do not push yourself or the truck too hard especially in the hills. Also change the fluids at the end of each year in the transmission and differentials as a maintenance schedule if not already indicated in the severe service column of your trucks owners manual.

Safe travels,
Mike.
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Old 12-09-2004, 12:33 PM   #4
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I have a very similar setup, an 03 1500 Avalanche 4WD Z-71 with 4.10 gears and an OEM air/oil trans cooler added, K & N filter and Flowmaster dual exhaust.
I am regarded as a fanatic when it comes to maintenance, run only synthetic fluids and change trans and gear lube yearly.
I have towed with this setup for a couple of years, some 100 mile trips and twice to Florida (1200 miles each way)
I generally tow at 55-60 MPH
Our trailer is a 27 ft travel trailer that has a dry weight of 5000#
I have weighed the trailer with all of the options, loaded with our normal gear and it comes in at 6400#
I tow only in 3rd gear/tow haul and the 5.3 struggles on anything less than flat pavement.
my plans are to upgrade to a 2500HD on my next truck since the 1500 AV just isnt enough IMHO.
It will do the job but you will have a hard time on ramps that have an uphill grade.


Scott
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I will be towing my rig from Dallas to Sierra Vista AZ starting on Saturday. So if you see a rig with flashers on going up the continental divide, it is most likely me! I will give you a report after this trip. This will also decide for me wether to stick with Avalanche or buy a 2500 with a Duramax and an Allison transmission.

Wish me luck

The Pakman
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Old 12-11-2004, 04:05 AM   #6
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The 2500 HD/Dmax is what I eventually want to have, just cant swing the 45k for a truck right now. have a safe trip.
Scott
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Old 12-12-2004, 07:57 AM   #7
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Why do you ask the forum now? You've already chosen and have obviously decided to tow with the avalanche... hence the transmission cooler, etc. When you are loaded and ready to leave town, swing by a truck scale and see where you are in terms of GVWR and GCVWR. The question is not usually whether you can pull it... but rather whether you can stop and control the TT. I hope you have a really good sway prevention system... like a Hensley.
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Old 12-29-2004, 04:59 PM   #8
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I wore out two 1/2 ton trucks towing 7000#. They will do fine on the flats but good hills and headwinds will take the pleasure out of traveling. A heavy 3/4 ton will do the job easier with less wear and tear, and of course the diesel is really the only way to go, (if you can).
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Old 12-30-2004, 06:34 PM   #9
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Hello GP:

When you say you wore out two half tons towing 7000#, can you tell me what you mean; mainly what wore out and in how long?

Thanks

The Pakman
Stay Safe & Have Fun
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Old 12-31-2004, 02:17 PM   #10
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brakes, bearings, shocks, springs,overloaded tires, transmissions, and engine life shortened by harder usage than they were designed for.todays 1/2 ton trucks are built for style rather than work. The factory is aware that probably 75% of them will never even be loaded enough to scratch the paint in the bed. For occasional use they will do just fine, but will not stand up to continued hard use. I was towing around 15,000 miles a year and got 3 useful years out of each new vehicle. Just my experiences, I am sure that others have had better luck and I wish them well.
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Old 12-31-2004, 05:10 PM   #11
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I'd like to suggest that you do a search on several of the RV forums about using a 1/2 ton truck to pull any type of trailer.

There will always be a disagreement on this subject. But the majority of the RVer's will tell you to be VERY CAREFUL about what you pull with the 1/2 ton trucks..

Generally speaking, the 1/2 ton is designed to pull light weight trailers only, those not over 5000 lbs total "wet" weight.

Most of the RVs on the road today exceed the safe weight for a 1/2 ton..

That is not to say that there are no RV trailers out there that can be pulled by a 1/2 ton.. because there are.

and remember that the weight of the trailer must include everything in it, propane, food, clothes,pot and pans, dishware, water, etc ...

and then there is the truck weight with it's passengers, ice chest of snacks, clothing, pets,fuel, tools,etc...

everything,,, must be included in the total weight calculations etc::

Please take time to read some of the posts on both this forum and several other forums before pulling a 7000 lb trailer for your 1/2 ton to tow..

best wishes,
John
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:53 AM   #12
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The biggest mistake of my 10 years of RVing was towing my 7200 lb loaded camper with a '94 1/2 ton Suburban. Although the Suburban LOOKS beefy, it really was a *****cat. It's heavy and the non-Vortec engine didn't have the guts to pull. I replaced the springs once, the engine once and the transmission twice!!! in the 5 years I towed with it. I could have easily purchased a better matched tow vehicle with the money I spent trying to keep the 'burb going. I now have an '03 Ford E-350 van with the V-10 and am very happy.
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