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Old 04-25-2016, 09:52 PM   #1
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Towing w a Chevy Avalanche

Recently purchased a 33FKS Sunnybrook vintage 1999. I would like to purchase a 2004 Chevy Avalanche to pull it. It is a 1500 w a tow pkg. any opinions whether this truck will do the job?
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Old 04-26-2016, 02:37 AM   #2
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Is that a 5th wheel ? I searched around some on the web and it looks lie a 5th. I could not find any specs for that trailer. If it is a 5th wheel, generally half tons are not suited for that purpose. Never have seen a Avalanche pulling a 5th, or with a 5th wheel hitch. I would think you would have clearance issues as well as being over the payload of the Avalanche.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:16 AM   #3
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The 33FKS is a travel trailer. HERE is a link to the brochure. Dry weight is about 6,400 lbs, and GVWR is 10,000. Even with nothing in it, the trailer is probably very marginal for a half-ton Avalanche.

Not only is the trailer relatively heavy, but FKS is front kitchen, which tend to have higher tongue weights.

I had a 2002 Chevy 1500 4x4 extended cab pickup, and the tow capacity with 5.3 liter engine and 4.11 gears was around 9,000 lb. The Avalanche is probably heavier than a pickup which means lower tow capacity. Not only that, but I'm guessing very few (if any) Avalanches will have 4.11 gears lowering the tow capacity even more.

If you want a trailer that big, I would look at a 3/4-ton tow vehicle. If you already have the Avalanche and don't want to replace it, look at smaller trailers.
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:24 AM   #4
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Had a 2005 Ave 1500 we pulled two different TTs many miles. Both were in the 5 K range. I don't think I would try towing your TT with a 1500 Ave but if you could find a 2500 Ave you could probably do it.
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Old 04-27-2016, 12:50 AM   #5
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Thanks Paz, my google-fu was a little off it looks like. so not a 5th wheel.
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Old 04-29-2016, 12:10 PM   #6
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I towed our old 19ft. TT behind my 2002 1500 4wd Avalanche like it wasn't even back there. Moved up to a 29ft. TT that was around 7000 lbs and, while I could tow it ok, it was obvious that I was at or over the limits of the vehicle. Without getting into GVW etc.. I'd say around 5,800 lbs would be limit for this vehicle.
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Old 04-30-2016, 06:02 AM   #7
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Typically a 33' trailer is too much for a 1/2 ton truck. Especially a heavy 1999 trailer.

Now on the other hand of you are not towing very far and travel on back roads at 45 - 50mph you will be fine. It is when trying to tow on the highway at highway speeds you will have trouble.
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Old 05-01-2016, 04:39 PM   #8
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Thx

All feedback is helpful. Decided against an AV. Looking a new.
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:32 PM   #9
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Recently purchased a 33FKS Sunnybrook vintage 1999. I would like to purchase a 2004 Chevy Avalanche to pull it. It is a 1500 w a tow pkg. any opinions whether this truck will do the job?
I'm glad to see you later determined the Avalanche was not a suitable tow vehicle for that trailer.

The trailer has a dry weight of 6,925 so plan on about 8,000 when wet and loaded for towing.

No, a half-ton Avalanche cannot tow an 8,000-pound trailer without being overloaded. The max tow rating with 3.73 axle ratio is only 7,300, and that's only when the wet and loaded Avalanche weighs only 5,700 pounds or less. Good luck in trying to keep the weight of a 2004 Avalanche down to 5,700 pounds including passengers, pets, tools, full tank of gas, and the WD hitch. But tow ratings are notoriously overstated. The Avalanche would probably be overloaded with a TT that grosses 6,000 pounds. My tow rating is 8,000 pounds, but I'm overloaded over the GVWR of my tow vehicle when towing a TT that grosses only 4,870 pounds on the highway. My earlier tow vehicle had a tow rating of 13,000 pounds, but it was overloaded with a small 5er that grossed only 8,000 pounds.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:46 AM   #10
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Ford Excursion

I have a 1990 Sunnybrook FKS. Max weight 10000 lbs. trying to find an suv to tow this has not been easy. I pretty sure a Ford F-250 will do the job, but was also looking at an 04 Excursion (Ford) as an SUV is better for the family. Any opinions about tow capability of a big-a??? Excursion and a our TT.
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:52 PM   #11
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I have a 1990 Sunnybrook FKS. Max weight 10000 lbs. trying to find an suv to tow this has not been easy. I pretty sure a Ford F-250 will do the job, but was also looking at an 04 Excursion (Ford) as an SUV is better for the family. Any opinions about tow capability of a big-a??? Excursion and a our TT.
The Excursion with a diesel engine is a wonderful tow vehicle. It can easily pull a 10k TT over the hills and passes.

The problem is the GVWR of a 4x4 is 9,200 pounds, so you an either haul a wagon load of family or tow a 10k TT, but not both at the same time without being overloaded. 4x2 has about the same payload capacity because it's about 300 pounds lighter but th GVWR is also a300 pounds less at 8,900. You probably won't find a better SUV for towing a TT, but you'll need to reduce the max weight of the TT to around 7k if you don't want to be overloaded.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:36 AM   #12
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Beefed up Ford Excursion

Hello - want to tow a 10000 lb tt with the ford excursion. Does any one know if I can beef up the Excursion to do the job. Mostly trips around Florida. Great suggestion to get a deisel version. Use will be mostly - 3 or 4 day shorter trips.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:13 PM   #13
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Hello - want to tow a 10000 lb tt with the ford excursion. Does any one know if I can beef up the Excursion to do the job.
It's easy to pump up the drivetrain so it can pull that load easier and have a more pleasant towing experience.

With the 6.0L diesel in a 2004, you can replace the 3.73 axle ratio with 4.30. 4.30 was optional in the V-10 X-Car, so Ford parts are available. X-Car is the nickname for an Excursion. However, the 6.0L diesel needs lots of mods to make it a bullet-proof tow vehicle. Not my area so I won't get into it, but the experts hang out on 1999-2007 Ford Super Duties - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com. Go there and get knowledgeable about what it requires to bullet-proof the 6.0L engine so it will last at least 400,000 trouble-free miles. The X-Car is basically an F-250, so whatever works for an F-250 will also work for an X-Car.

With the much more reliable 7.3L engine in the earlier X-Cars, you don't need anything to bullet-proof the engine except change the oil and filter every 5,000 miles and use Shell Rotella T or Chevron DELO 400 motor oil.

Nothing you can do officially to change the GVWR and payload capacity of an X-Car - within a reasonable effort of time and money. All you can do is install air bags in the rear suspension and pump them up to hide the sagging rear end and headlights aiming at the stars symptoms of being overloaded. I'm not a fan of an overloaded tow vehicle, but lots of folks do it.

A 2002 7.3L X-Car in good condition will probably cost you more than a comparable 2004 6.0L X-car in comparable condition. That's because you and I are not the only ones that know a stock 6.0L requires lots of expensive mods to make it reliable.

If you can find a 7.3L X-car you like, then it still requires some mods to make it bullet-proof. Mainly, you must replace the oil-to-air tranny cooler with the much bigger one from a 6.0L, and you must install a good tyranny temp gauge and watch it when poking along with a 10k trailer. The weak sister in the drivetrain is the tranny and torque converter, so even with the good tranny temp gauge, the life of the tranny is about 100,000 miles before it requires an overhaul. And the power of the 7.3L is "adequate" for dragging a 10k trailer, but barely.

Here's what I did to my 7.3L way back when:

1: gauges. Tranny temp, and pyrometer (for engine exhaust gas temp = EGT), and turbo boost. Tranny temp is required, and the red line is 225. Pyrometer is required only if you hot-rod the engine with a "tune" to pump it up to around 290 HP (230 stock plus a 60-tow tune), Boost gauge is not needed for towing, if you never allow more than the 1,250 red line for EGT. My source for gauges was the complete gauge package from ISSPRO EV1 Gauge Kits for Ford Powerstroke from DieselManor . Read the install instructions. Main points are to install the thermocouple for the pyrometer before the turbo (pre-turbo), then use 1,250 as the red line for EGT when working the engine hard. Install the sender for the tranny temp gauge in the side of the tranny where the instructions show. That will give you "sump" temp, then use 225 as the red line for tranny temp.

2: Tune. My 7.3L had 230 HP and 500 lb/ft torque stock. Adequate, but no fun. I used DP-Tuner 80-tow tune to pump up the HP to 300 and the torque to 600. Much, much better, indicated by how often the tranny downshifted out of OD for overpasses and minor hills.

Your 10k trailer is a bit much for an 80-tow tune (mine was only 8k), so back off to 60-tow.
F5 1-16 Position Switch on the fly Chip - Chips - Chips, Programmers and Tuning - 2000 - 2003 Powerstroke 7.3L Excursion - Ford Powerstroke

The least expensive way is with the F-5 chip and 60-tow tune. I would also add the decel tune (exhaust brake) and a tune switcher so you can switch tunes "on the fly". You need to be able to instantly switch from 60-tow to decel when you top out of the pass and head down the mounain, then instantly switch back to 60-tow at the bottom of the pass. Another neat tune is the 1,200 RPM fast-idle tune. Use that to warm up the engine oil on freezing mornings, or to cool down an overheated tranny if you don't have adequate tranny cooling capacity. Each tune for an F5 chip will cost $50, but I spend a lot more for an exhaust brake and an idle RPM controller. Mine also had the best of the stock Ford tunes. If you take your X-Car to a Ford dealer for some diagnostic work, you need to have a stock tune installed before you drop it off to the dealer. With the F5 chip and tune switcher, adding that stock tune will cost you only $50. Ask Jody at DP-Tuner which is the best stock tune for your X-Car.

3. Tranny cooler. Back before the 6.0L tranny cooler was available, as part of step 4 below I replaced my small stock oil-to-air (OTA) tranny cooler with the bigger one from a V-10. That helped, but the better answer today is to replace the OTA cooler with the much bigger one from the 6.0L.

4. Tranny overhaul. My stock original 4R100 tranny lasted 112,000 miles before the torque converter began acting up. I was on the road in Oklahoma and decided to go with the best in the business- Brian's Truck Shop (BTS) in northeast Arkansas near Branson Missouri. E4OD | 4R100 | 5R110 Ford Diesel Powerstroke Transmissions. Expensive but then the tranny will outlast the rest of the drivetrain. Brian uses only the best parts to overhaul a 4R100, including a Precision Engineering torque converter.

If your 4R100 tranny goes south, there are several options to get it fixed.

1] Last choice is to have a tranny shop or Ford dealer overhaul your tranny and replace the torque converter.

2] Better is to have a Ford dealer replace your 4R100 tranny and torque converter with a Ford factory rebuilt 4R100.

3] More money but better than a normal 4R100 rebuilt tranny is a Ford 4R100HD tranny. Yes, Ford makes them. Probably not as good as a BTS, but much better and longer lasting than the stock 4R100.

4] Even more money, but the last transmission you'll ever need for your X-Car is a BTS (or a similar rebuilder in SoCal whose name I cannot remember, but the guys on TheDieselStop will remember it).)

If you go for the 2004 6.0L X-Car, then the 5R110 tranny is good, so it probably won't need an overhaul anytime soon. So instead of paying out the big bucks to overhaul the tranny, you'll spend it bullet-proofing the 6.0L engine. (There is no free lunch!)

But just in case your 5R110 tranny needs an overhaul, BTS does those too.
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:45 PM   #14
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More than I could hope for..

Thx man, incredible advice. For now, we will be camping around Florida so we'd only know what hills are. I have to read and sstudy your guidance a few more times but think I'm on the right track. From a future x-man. D
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