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Old 05-22-2016, 07:12 PM   #1
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1/2 ton Suburban -- gutless?

Bought a 23mb TT this weekend. Approx 4400lbs dry and 6500lbs gvwr.

Towed it home with my 07 1/2 ton Suburban. It was gutless, even though I'm 2000lbs under max tow rating. Had a hard time going up hills that weren't even passes. Front end felt like it was floating.

Anyone else had experience towing with a similar burb? My trailer had no gear or fluids and the burb was empty except for me. I'm guessing the tow experience will be worse when all loaded.

I also have a 3/4 ton burb built much differently. Thinking about ditching the 1/2 ton, though since the burb is a daily runner for us, the gas bill will get worse if we do that.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:01 PM   #2
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1/2 tons are going to have to run higher RPM's to get up hills. It just the nature of the beast as that's where they make their power... I had a 1/2 ton pickup and sold it for the same reasons you mention...
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:45 PM   #3
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1/2 tons are going to have to run higher RPM's to get up hills. It just the nature of the beast as that's where they make their power... I had a 1/2 ton pickup and sold it for the same reasons you mention...
I hear ya. I don't have much towing experience but I'm starting to see why most TTs -- even the smaller ones -- on the road in my neck of the woods are pulled by 3/4 ton or 1 ton trucks. It's just the **** when your tow vehicle needs to also serve as a runner and there are several kids in the equation. Not many choices and they aren't economical!
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:01 PM   #4
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Bought a 23mb TT this weekend. Approx 4400lbs dry and 6500lbs gvwr.

Towed it home with my 07 1/2 ton Suburban. It was gutless, even though I'm 2000lbs under max tow rating. Had a hard time going up hills that weren't even passes. Front end felt like it was floating.

Anyone else had experience towing with a similar burb? My trailer had no gear or fluids and the burb was empty except for me. I'm guessing the tow experience will be worse when all loaded.

I also have a 3/4 ton burb built much differently. Thinking about ditching the 1/2 ton, though since the burb is a daily runner for us, the gas bill will get worse if we do that.
Well, "gutless" would be function of the engine/transmission. Which engine does it have? If it has the 5.3V8, then a 3/4 ton with the 5.3V8 will be just as gutless. What tranny does it have? Ideally it would have a 4.10 or whatever GM's equivalent is.
Front end floating. I assume that means you either have no weight distribution hitch or it is not setup correctly. For a trailer of that weight on a 1/2 ton truck, I think a WDH should be used.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:41 PM   #5
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Well, "gutless" would be function of the engine/transmission. Which engine does it have? If it has the 5.3V8, then a 3/4 ton with the 5.3V8 will be just as gutless. What tranny does it have? Ideally it would have a 4.10 or whatever GM's equivalent is.
Front end floating. I assume that means you either have no weight distribution hitch or it is not setup correctly. For a trailer of that weight on a 1/2 ton truck, I think a WDH should be used.
I left the dealer with a WDH installed. The burb is 5.3L V8 and the rear end is 3.73.

I believe the "floating" issue is also a function of the suspension, which in a 1/2 burb is built more for comfort than towing.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:03 AM   #6
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I tow a '15 White Hawk 27DSRL (7500 lbs) with my '91 Ford Bronco (351W) which is a short, short F150. My total weight TV and TT is a little over 12K. Put 4K miles towing last summer including going through the Eisenhower Tunnel at 12,300 feet. I've, of course, made several changes to the old Bronco but the best bang for the buck was changing from the stock 3.55:1 differential gears to 4.56:1. As for your front end float I would recommend a set of rear air bags or a weight distribution hitch. I use "air lift" rear bags and because of my short WB I use the Pro Pride hitch which I swear by.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:44 AM   #7
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May want to check your cargo capacity also. Do you have the towing package? Your tongue weight on your trailer is going to be about 550 - 600 lbs, May have to adjust your WD, that should help with the front end floating.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:24 AM   #8
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Welcome and congrats on the new rig!!!

With the 5.3/4spd/3.73 (your sure you have the 3.73 gears? Verified per the glovebox sticker?) the motor will definitely need to rev as mentioned to get into the power band of the motor. It is the way the newer motors are designed.

What year is your 2500 Burb? If newer, the 6.0 (not a 5.3 in the 2500's) will do better. If you have the 6sod trans it would do even better as the extra gearing makes a big difference vs the 4spd trans models.

Front end float does sounds like the wdh needs some adjustment. Follow the links in my signature for a ton of wdh info. What pressure did you run the tires at when towing? I would suggest running the rear tires at max sidewall pressure, and possibly the front anywhere from the door jamb suggested pressure up to max. May need to try different pressures to find what feels the best, changing 5psi at a time.

With a 1500 truck/suv you do need to watch the available payload of the tv. All passengers, any cargo (coolers, firewood, etc), the wdh and the tt tw all count toward the payload rating listed on the yellow door jamb sticker of the tv.

If you get rid of the 1500 Burb, what about a more fuel efficient cuv or similar to go along with the 2500? How many family members total?

Good luck!!!
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:38 AM   #9
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welcome to the forum. keep in mind your engine is not producing the power it would if it were at sea level. none of my gas powered rigs ever towed that well up here, especially considering all the hills and wind. my last trip was basically uphill all the way and fighting a 35-40mph head wind , was running 17lbs of boost on the straights for a bit. anyways, have you considered a small cheap car for the commuter and keeping the 3/4 suburban for the towing? that's what I have and it works great and keeps the miles off the truck.
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:42 AM   #10
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The problem with a 1/2 ton is the drivetrain, the brakes, and the wheels/tires. If you are using a WD hitch and IT IS ADJUSTED PROPERLY, the Suburban should feel even more planted and stable than usual, because it is supposed to evenly distribute weight up toward the front wheels. Drivetrains in 1/2 tons usually have smaller displacement motors, lighter duty transmissions. That's antithetical to towing a load like a TT, but it's not a deal breaker. But the brakes. Yes, the brakes. The part everyone forgets. You may have TT brakes, but small brakes often fitted inside 15" wheels are not up to the task of stopping 10,000 lbs. While the Suburban will handle itself in 1/2 ton trim, it's still 6k lbs of heavy metal. Add 4000 lbs of trailer, and you have a system that is not sufficiently braked to stop itself safely, when there is better available. Get the 3/4 ton, ditch the 1/2 ton, bite the bullet, and live with the 3 mpg worse fuel mileage. It will reward you with much lower repair bills, less wear and tear, and safer travels.
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