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Old 02-25-2013, 11:39 AM   #1
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Towing a Suburban.

Hello, My family and I are gearing up for a big vacation. We have a 1983 33í Southwind MH with a Chevy 454 and 400 tranny. Our Family Truckster is a 97 GMC 4x4 Suburban. I know I canít tow 4 down. I am not sure if my RV can handle pulling Suburban on a car hauler trailer. Other than having my wife drive the Suburban while I drive the RV I feel the only option is to use a 2 wheel car dolly and disconnect the rear drive shaft.

Anyone have any ideas or good solution on what I could do?
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:05 PM   #2
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Most 4X4 suburbans can be towed 4 down but I don't think your Southwind can pull it. The suburban most likely weighs 5500 lb or so and my old 89 Southwind With same engine & trans. only had a 4000 Lb hitch. I think you 33' probably has a frame extension on it which would lower your towing ability.Also most dollys I've seen have a 3500 lb Max. We used to rent a car when we really needed to $45.00 a day a couple times wasn't to bad. Art.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:35 PM   #3
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I agree with ARTWERKE. Rent a car.

If you had a DP, it may be worth exploring ways to tow the Suburban but I'm thinking the same, that it will just be too heavy for your 33' Southwind. Especially since it sounds as if you'll be loaded down with not only people but a lot of gear since you mention "family vacation."

It also sounds as if you just occasionally will be towing the Suburban. So even if it could be towed, remember, it's expensive to set it up for towing 4-down ...baseplate intallation, wiring for lights, supplemental braking, towbar, etc. Buying a trailer to haul it would also be expensive as would a dolly. And this is all assuming that you are within weight parameters which we are guessing you are not.

Your DW driving the Suburban separately would be the next option to consider behind renting a vehicle but it's obviously better to have the whole family together while going down the road.

-harry
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #4
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I am planning a 4000 mile round trip this year too. Thought about towing the car behind as well but when I factor in the gas consumption, wear and tear on the motor and tranny ect. , it just makes more sense to rent a car as needed when we get there. jmho
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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Don't forget to add the weight of the tow dolly so many forget. My opinion it would be a lot of weight, I vote rent a car maybe the offset of saving the gas not drive the extra car would make the rental cheaper.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:40 PM   #6
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You have frame extensions my 1985 I boxed the frame custom hitch I toy a Chevy 4 door truck you will have enough power but as said the set up for 4 down will set you back around $2000 or so
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:08 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. Actually are moving so DW and I decided we would make it moving vacation, go see some places and make some great memories, so renting a car is not really an option since we will need the the Suburban when we get there. Looks like were down to DW driving. Thanks again for the replies.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:19 PM   #8
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T-37, It took me a bit to recognize the Fender badge of your "Baby Goat" I cut my teeth on a 60 Catalina wiht a 4bbl 389 . Go Poncho!
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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I'm not sure how to tell what the rating my hitch is.

whem2fish To clarify, your saying if I beef up my frame extensions and hitch I should be able to tow my Suburban?
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:25 PM   #10
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Tempest -- I tow our Suburban behind our MH whenever we take all of our kids with us camping. We have a 10,000 lb hitch with a Cummins 8.3 with 380HP with 1,050 ft lbs of torque at 1,400 rpms and I can definitely tell the difference between our Jeep and the Suburban. The extra 1,000 lbs that the Suburban has over the Jeep make a big difference. I would have the DW drive the Suburban and not tow it behind your MH. Just my $.02 worth If you did decide to tow it 4 down would you be purchasing a supplemental braking system?
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #11
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For my $0.02; an average Suburban will weigh about 7000 lbs. My 99 GMC Suburban 2500, with a 454 weighed in at 7500 lbs. and I now have a 2004 GMC Yukon 1500. The Yukon is shorter and lighter than the Suburban and it weighs in at 6500 lbs. I tow them with a DP, MH with an 8.3 Cummins ISC 350, with no problems just slow going up hills. So if you decide to tow a Suburban it should be with a DP.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTWERKE View Post
T-37, It took me a bit to recognize the Fender badge of your "Baby Goat" I cut my teeth on a 60 Catalina wiht a 4bbl 389 . Go Poncho!
It is a 70. I owned it from 1982 to 2011. I still have my 70 lemans sport conv. that I bought in 87. I love the body of the 60 Cat/Bonny.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:25 PM   #13
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We have decided to drive the Suburban and buy a small enclosed trailer to tow behind the RV. Thanks for all of the advice.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:30 PM   #14
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"We have decided to drive the Suburban and buy a small enclosed trailer to tow behind the RV"

Certainly a much safer choice, but trailers usually aren't particularily useful for getting the family from the campground to McDonalds.

Your rig is just too "small" for the Suburban, period.

The max manufacturer's rating on you hitch is going to be 5,000lbs (and could be less) and any 4X4 Suburban is going to exceed that. That said, the hitch is just one part of the puzzle. Your drivetrain will be grossly over stressed.

Every thread on weight capacities, whether here in the toad and motor home towing forum or on one of the trailer forums, will get someone pop up and tell you how he/she has exceeded their ratings with no issues to date. No doubt careful defensive driving can reduce the risk, but there's always that unexpected emergency stop (had one recently, for the first time in years) that could ruin not only your day, but that of some "Innocent" as well. Steep grades will have you crawling at a walking speed and will put you at risk of over heating and/or of burning up the transmission. Nothings much worse for an engine than high power demand, slow speed.

You need to find out what the tow rating is for your motor home and stay within it. I typically advise, for the best performance, to try and stay at or below 80% of the rating.

Any Suburban, of any year, will have great resale value. Sell it and get something that works for you and that you can use to explore the area in which you are camping.

Happy trails.
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