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Old 12-18-2012, 11:51 PM   #1
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Newbie with question of size

Hello all. I have been a member for awhile. I have owned a DP motor home. I recently sold it and now looking to purchase my first ever TT. I am totally new to this. I own a 2012 Suburban 1500 4x4 as a tow vehicle. I also have a weight distribution hitch with anti sway bars. My Suburban is rated with a tow capacity of 8200 lbs. here is my question - what size(length) and dry weight can I safely tow. I know there are many opinions but really value the advice I have gotten in the past from members. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks, Joe
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:43 AM   #2
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You cannot tow more than 8,200 lbs. The weight distribution hitch doesn't allow you to increase the towing capacity of your vehicle. It only lessens the hitch weight. If you tow more than 8,200 lbs. you run the rish of yanking the hitch off your vehicle
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:55 AM   #3
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Welcome, You want to have a margin of safety and I personally wouldn't want to go more than 7500# gross for the trailer. You would be looking at something rather small and that is something you will have to choose when you start looking at small TT's.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joebear View Post
Hello all. I have been a member for awhile. I have owned a DP motor home. I recently sold it and now looking to purchase my first ever TT. I am totally new to this. I own a 2012 Suburban 1500 4x4 as a tow vehicle. I also have a weight distribution hitch with anti sway bars. My Suburban is rated with a tow capacity of 8200 lbs. here is my question - what size(length) and dry weight can I safely tow. I know there are many opinions but really value the advice I have gotten in the past from members. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks, Joe
According to Chevrolet's website the 2012 4WD has a max conventional trailering capacity of 5,000 lbs. 2012 Chevy Suburban Half Ton | Large SUV Capabilities | Chevrolet

That would be a rating for a class 3 hitch. Do you know what class hitch it has?

The 2013 is rated at 8,000 for 4WD.

Do you have the OEM Heavy Duty Trailering Package?

(Copied from the Chevrolet Build Your Own 2012 Suburban)
OPTIONAL: "Heavy-Duty Trailering Package, which consists of an auxiliary external engine oil cooler, an auxiliary external transmission oil cooler, a 2-speed active transfer case on 4WD models and a 3.42 rear axle ratio. This critical feature protects your engine and transmission by helping prevent overheating and is available on 1/2-ton models only."

I had a 2005ish 4WD Suburban and pulled a 29ft Single Slide Coachman TT with it and it wasn't a pleasant experience even with a sway bar hitch and electric brakes. Everytime a tractor trailer passed us, it felt as if we were going to get blown off the road. It didn't take me long to get into a Silverado HD Crew Cab with Duramax Diesel.

Sorry I didn't answer your question, but I wanted to at least see if I could help add to your research.

Rob
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:02 PM   #5
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I used to tow a 22 foot, 5,200 lb trailer with a 2011 F-150. I was well within the 8,500 lb. limit of the truck. That towing experience was not too bad. I used to tow the same trailer with a Honda Ridgeline which was maxed out - this was a terrible white knuckle experience. So I recommend staying well within the limit. Maybe 5,500 or 6,000 lbs. Maybe higher with a more aerodynamic trailer like Air Stream.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:49 PM   #6
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I agree with a prior post that it would be best to limit the trailer to around 7,500 lbs max weight for a number of reasons. Towing is hard on the tow vehicle, the heavier the load, the more you work your engine, transmission and brakes. You may have the power to pull the trailer, but you need the brakes to stop it too. The longer the trailer the more apt you are to have trailer sway. I would look at the lite line of trailers, there are a lot to choose from.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:23 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the great information. I have looked deeper in exactly what my Suburban can handle. I have concluded my maximum tow load is 5000 lbs, which is limiting for what I wanted. I have seen a couple of Lite models that will work for weight but length of 28-30 ft is now a concern because of some of the comments. I do plan on putting on a weight distributing hitch with anti sway bars. Again thanks for the continued support from this web site. It is my goto place for answers and suggestions.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:30 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the great information. I have looked deeper in exactly what my Suburban can handle. I have concluded my maximum tow load is 5000 lbs, which is limiting for what I wanted. I have seen a couple of Lite models that will work for weight but length of 28-30 ft is now a concern because of some of the comments. I do plan on putting on a weight distributing hitch with anti sway bars. Again thanks for the continued support from this web site. It is my goto place for answers and suggestions.
28 to 30 feet won't be much of a concern as I doubt you'll be able to find a 5000# 30 foot TT.

My TT is a 2012 Arctic Fox 22h, and I pull it w/ a '08 Tundra, 4.7L. I have no problems at all and routinely get 10.5/11 mpg.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:07 AM   #9
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Your limiter is probably the stock receiver.

Carefully read the sticker or embossed specs on the receiver. You care about both hitch weight and gross trailer weight. Ignore the WC specs and go by the WD (weight-distributing) specs. Your receiver is probably limited to 5,000 pounds trailer weight with a max hitch weight of 500 pounds. If so, then your limiter is hitch weight, and a TT with a GVWR of 5,000 pounds will overload your hitch. Usually that's no disaster because you simply replace the receiver with one that has more hitch weight capacity. But nobody makes a heavier-duty receiver for the Subbie - probably because the receiver is part of the rear-end crash proofing built into the "truck". (Ford Excursion had the same restriction.)

If your limiter is 500 pounds hitch weight, then you are indeed restricted to a very light weight trailer. My 19.6' TT without a slide has a wet and loaded hitch weight well over 500 pounds. So you're probably looking at pop-up or tent trailers, and not even the biggest of those. Look at those that have a GVWR not more than 3,850 pounds.

To determine probable wet and loaded hitch weight of any "bumper-pull" trailer, use 13% of the GVWR of the trailer. Some trailers have as little as 12% and some (including mine) have over 15%, but most have around 13%, so use 13% as an estimate. With a 500 pound weight limit, that's a trailer with a max GVWR of 3,850.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:13 PM   #10
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I went way under what my truck could tow. Nice to know that it can be loaded up with no issues. As I get older, I find I am becoming more and more of a minimalist. It is nice to go without a lot of stuff.

A place to cook out of the rain, an inside bathroom, and a place to sleep that is safe was all I wanted.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joebear View Post
My Suburban is rated with a tow capacity of 8200 lbs.
Nope. Your 2012 Suburban 1500 4x4 is rated with a max tow capacity of 5,000 pounds. Probably because of the standard receiver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevrolet.com

2012 Suburban 1500 with Vortec® 5.3L V8 SFI FlexFuel engine with Active Fuel Management® and E85 FlexFuel capability 4WD

Curb Weight (lbs.) 5824.00 lbs

Max Payload (lbs.) 1576.00 lbs

GVWR (lbs.) 7400.00 lbs

Max Conventional Trailering (lbs.) 5000 lbs
Here's the link to the specs:
2012 Chevy Suburban Half Ton | Large SUV Capabilities | Chevrolet
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:59 PM   #12
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Nope. Your 2012 Suburban 1500 4x4 is rated with a max tow capacity of 5,000 pounds. Probably because of the standard receiver.



Here's the link to the specs:
2012 Chevy Suburban Half Ton | Large SUV Capabilities | Chevrolet
The 5000 lb tow rating in the spec for that particular burb is with the std 3.08 axle. The optional 3.42 axle gives the burb a 8000 lb tow rating.
Model Information - Online Ordering Guide
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:07 PM   #13
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The 5000 lb tow rating in the spec for that particular burb is with the std 3.08 axle. The optional 3.42 axle gives the burb a 8000 lb tow rating.
True, but only if the truck also has the the heavy duty towing pkg. Joebear
didn't say his Subbie has the HD towing pkg, so I suspect it doesn't have it. And even if it has the HD towing pkg, the fine print warns that the hitch weight will probably still be the limiter.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post

True, but only if the truck also has the the heavy duty towing pkg. Joebear
didn't say his Subbie has the HD towing pkg, so I suspect it doesn't have it. And even if it has the HD towing pkg, the fine print warns that the hitch weight will probably still be the limiter.
I do not have the HD towing, however I have a weight distribution hitch rated for much more than I can tow, at 10,000 lbs, with anti sway bars.
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