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Old 08-05-2015, 07:37 PM   #1
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Chevy Suburban for Towing

Looking for the right sized Chevy Suburban to tow our 29', 6K lb Wilderness travel trailer. We have a growing family of five and my F150 isn't cutting it since we have to travel in separate vehicles. I'd like all of us to ride together and am looking for input on which Suburban would be suitable for longish drives. I'm not looking to buy new and I think a 3.73 axle is the way to go. Any thoughts! Or another vehicle option?

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Old 08-06-2015, 04:01 AM   #2
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I would suggest the 2500 with LT tires and tow package.
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Old 08-06-2015, 07:51 AM   #3
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Without actually checking, I suspect the newer the Suburban you find, the smaller the engine will be. I have a friend who had a GM Denali (Suburban equivalent) with the 8.1L (496) engine. I think it was a 2000 model. When he traded for a Ford Diesel truck, the dealer had a waiting list of people wanting to buy the Denali.

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Originally Posted by BillM2 View Post
Looking for the right sized Chevy Suburban to tow our 29', 6K lb Wilderness travel trailer. We have a growing family of five and my F150 isn't cutting it since we have to travel in separate vehicles. I'd like all of us to ride together and am looking for input on which Suburban would be suitable for longish drives. I'm not looking to buy new and I think a 3.73 axle is the way to go. Any thoughts! Or another vehicle option?

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Old 08-06-2015, 02:38 PM   #4
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Suggest going on line and downloading Suburban specifications which will include towing capacities. Also, access Trailer Life website which publishes annual towing guides for all vehicles.
Just make sure the vehicle you are looking at and considering is equipped with all components required to achieve the towing capacity you need. You can look at the prospective vehicles build sticker, often inside the glove box, and see a list of build options. These numbers can be cross referenced to the manufacturers codes to verify all options are on the auto you want. You do not have to rely on someones sales story!
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Old 08-06-2015, 06:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillM2 View Post
Looking for the right sized Chevy Suburban to tow our 29', 6K lb Wilderness travel trailer.
There is only one size Suburban. There are different towing and hauling capacities based on engine, rear axle ratio and whether it has the required towing package that adds a tranny cooler.


Way back when, GM built the Suburban 2500, which has lot more payload capacity than the current 1500. But they stopped building new ones a few years ago.

GM also builds the Tahoe, which is a shortened Suburban. But a Tahoe won't tow any more trailer than a Suburban. And for the older Suburbans, they didn't make Tahoe 2500s those years.

GMC makes the same thing they call a Yukon XL, and the shorty equivalent is the Yukon without the XL (xtra long)

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We have a growing family of five and my F150 isn't cutting it since we have to travel in separate vehicles.
If your F-150 is a SuperCrew, then two adults in the front seat and three rug rats in the back seat is a full load but doesn't require a second vehicle.

My F-150 SuperCrew is overloaded with just me and DW and two dogs, towing a 19' TT that grosses less than 5,000 pounds when wet and loaded on the road. So unless an F-150 SuperCrew has the heavy duty payload pkg, then it will probably be overloaded with your 6,000-pound TT. So you probably need more than a half-ton pickup if you don't want to be overloaded. That's why Ford makes F-250s, F-350s, and F-450 pickups. Buy enough truck to tow your trailer without exceeding the GVWR of your tow vehicle.

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I'd like all of us to ride together and am looking for input on which Suburban would be suitable for longish drives. I'm not looking to buy new and I think a 3.73 axle is the way to go.
A half-ton Suburban is not going to be any stronger than your half-ton pickup, so it will be overloaded with your TT plus family. And the 2500 Suburbans are too old to be a reliable family tow vehicle.

The biggest problem with a late-model Suburban is lack of payload capacity. It can pull a heavier trailer than it can haul the hitch weight of that trailer without being overloaded when hauling a family of five plus their stuff.

So if a three-quarter-ton CrewCab pickup won't do your for druthers, then your best choice is a "one ton" full-size van with single rear wheels (SRW). The ancient-design GM vans are a decent choice, and the 3500 window van (wagon) is available with a diesel engine. The new Ford Transit van is a better choice. You probably won't find a used one, but if you order a new one be certain you order the heavy duty towing package. Three engines are available, a regular 3.5L V6, the wonderful 3.5L EcoBoost, and a diesel.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:26 PM   #6
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So I've basically towed the same trailer your looking at with an 03 chevy 1500 suburban. It was 33ft and 7000lbs loaded. If I would have had the equalizer hitch I have now, sway most likely wouldn't have been an issue. The 5.3 V8 with 3.73 gears was not enough to keep 63mph in OD and fuel economy suffered as well as ride comfort with the constant gear hunting. I then bought a 2002 GMC yukon XL 2500 with the 8.1L and it could tow the same trailer at whatever speed with no weight distribution or sway control. Completely different animal in terms of towing. We now have a 37ft 10,000lb trailer and besides mountain passes out west, it tows at 63mph in OD.
Here's my suggestion on a TV. I don't know your budget but the 09+ suburban/yukon XL 2500 with the 6.0 V8 is a good option because these came with a 6spd tranny and it will do well with that trailer. They stopped making these vehicles in 2012 I think so it'll have to be used. If you have a new vehicle in mind and really want to stay with the suburban/yukon xl vehicles, go with the denali version or cadillac sister vehicle and get the 6.2 v8 and an equalizer 4pt sway or reese dual cam hitches and you will have a very adequate setup.
OR buy yourself a duraburb and have the best family/toy hauler imaginable!
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:17 AM   #7
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They made a 2500 series Suburban up to 2013 so you should be able to find a low miles used one that would work. Also keep a used Ford Excursion in mind, it is a 3/4 ton chassis and came with V8, V10 gas and Powerstroke diesel engine options.
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Old 08-07-2015, 11:51 AM   #8
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I would suggest the 2500 with LT tires and tow package.
X2 but expect about 8mpg towing.

That's your only (modern) option in an SUV for that trailer.

But I will say our Megacab Ram 2500 has worked very well as a family hauler. Split bench is great in front to seat 6 for shorter trips, and we can get 2 kids (10 and 12) + 2 large dogs in the back seat with one side folded down.
Three kids in the back would be No problem.
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:15 AM   #9
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As said, unless you can find an older 2500 with a big engine, you are not going to have a vehicle capable of doing what you want to do. I would be looking at a one ton passenger van. A Ford E350 with a V10 or a Chevy Express with the biggest gasser would be the way to go ....
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:16 PM   #10
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I had a 2001 Yukon XL 2500 4X4 with 4.10 gears in it, pulled a 2001 Wilderness 31G camper with it 8800 lb class, and I not only got about 6 mpg towing, 12 mpg when not towing out of the GM 6.0 L gas drivetrain. I also got a lot of White Knuckle experience with that combo.
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:15 PM   #11
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Also keep a used Ford Excursion in mind, it is a 3/4 ton chassis and came with V8, V10 gas and Powerstroke diesel engine options.
Agree partly. The V8 was a weakling = not adequate to tow a 6,000-pound TT. The V-10 is good, except for the awful MPG of any big-engine gasser. The 6.0L diesel was not reliable and required a lot of smart investment to modify it into a reliable engine. So that leaves the 7.3L diesel, which was a wonderful, reliable engine that will last for 400,000 miles with proper maintenance.

But the last 7.3L diesel in an Excursion was built in the fall of 2002 as a 2003 model. That was 13 years ago. I sold my 7.3L diesel when it was 12 years old with almost 200,000 miles on the clock, and it was still going strong. But it had a $5,000 BTS tranny and about $2,000 in upgrades to give it enough power to tow my 8,000-pound 5er without downshifting for every little bump in the road. Those old Excursion 7.3Ls are still very much in demand in west Texas, so the price is still way more than any 13-to-15 year old wagon should be worth. On EBay, look up the price of a 2001 thru 2003 Excursion Limited with the 7.3L diesel that has a BTS transmission overhaul and you'll be amazed.

Ford built the V-10 Excursion until 2006, so you can find a slightly newer used one than the 7.3L diesel.
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