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Author Topic: Older Yukon and travel trailer  (Read 656 times)

yepitsadam

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Older Yukon and travel trailer
« on: August 04, 2017, 08:03:40 PM »
Hello all! This is my first post. My wife and I have recently decided to enter the world of trailer camping, and I need some advice. After looking at a lot of trailers and discussing it, we feel we would be comfortable with 18-25', preferably with one slide. We plan to spend $3-5k on it, so we are looking at 2006-older.
Here's where the question comes: We are also looking at buying a new (to us) vehicle to pull it. We are looking at 2001-2006 tahoe/yukon/escalade (not XL). I've been reading forums that dance around this subject for a while, but I've not seen this exact question asked.
What is the longest trailer I SHOULD tow with a short wheelbase yukon?
I've seen many posts about weight/towing capacity/GVWR/etc, and I've seen many posts about how a longer wheelbase on the tow vehicle helps with stability, but I've not seen anyone actually put a number on what length they think is best to tow with a short wheelbase yukon.
Thanks for your time!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 08:12:56 AM »
I don't think length is much of an issue, though I grant that a long trailer on a short wheelbase tow vehicle is less desirable.  Any weight you can reasonably tow is probably within a reasonable length as well.  You are looking at 6500-7500 lb max tow limit on the Tahoe/Yukon, so probably need to be under 6000 lbs trailer GVWR for comfortable towing.   I doubt if any trailer that meets the weight criteria will exceed 25 ft. More likely 21-24 ft.
Gary
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Tom

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 08:26:18 AM »
Gary gave you a good answer.

Meanwhile FWIW, wheelbase is a factor, but so is 'overhang' between the rear axle and the tow ball. We used to regularly tow a 20 foot boat behind our 29 foot class A motorhome, and would have no issues backing the boat trailer into tight spaces on boat ramps, thanks largely to the long overhang. When we got home, I'd disconnect the boat trailer from the motorhome and hook it up to our Ford Bronco (short wheelbase SUV) to put it in the side yard. I'd have all kinds of problems getting the boat/trailer into the yard thanks to that short wheelbase.
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yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 08:31:27 PM »
Thanks for the advice, fellas! I've told my wife I would like to test drive a Yukon XL, but it's no guarantee because it would be a daily driver for one of us (I wouldn't mind driving in the city as much as she would), we only have one kid, and would probably only be towing the trailer 2-3 times a year.

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 09:30:48 PM »
Tom, just to make sure I understand what you're saying... Are you saying that the more "overhang" behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle, the easier it is to control the trailer when backing up? Growing up on a farm, I've moved a lot of different types of trailers with a lot of different types of vehicles, but I don't guess I've ever thought about that before. I'm guessing it has something to do with the pivot point of the tow vehicle?

Lou Schneider

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2017, 09:37:51 PM »
A long rear overhang amplifies the steering movements while backing.  The hitch moves sideways as angle between the tow vehicle and trailer changes, steering the trailer in the direction of the correction before the tow vehicle completes it's rotation.

A 5th wheel hitch is directly over the rear axle, so it lacks this movement.  The tow vehicle has to actually change it's orientation before the change is transmitted to the trailer.

The bad side is a long overhang creates instabilities when going forward.  Side forces on the trailer push on the hitch, the distance to the rear axle creates a lever with it's fulcrum at the rear axle, pushing the front end in the opposite direction.

That's why 5th wheel trailers are inherently more stable and don't require external sway controls.  With the hitch directly above the tow vehicle's rear axle there's no leverage to affect the direction of travel.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 09:41:48 PM by Lou Schneider »

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2017, 09:45:12 PM »
That makes total sense! Thanks, Lou!

regval

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2017, 10:12:20 PM »
Hello all! This is my first post. My wife and I have recently decided to enter the world of trailer camping, and I need some advice. After looking at a lot of trailers and discussing it, we feel we would be comfortable with 18-25', preferably with one slide. We plan to spend $3-5k on it, so we are looking at 2006-older.
Here's where the question comes: We are also looking at buying a new (to us) vehicle to pull it. We are looking at 2001-2006 tahoe/yukon/escalade (not XL). I've been reading forums that dance around this subject for a while, but I've not seen this exact question asked.
What is the longest trailer I SHOULD tow with a short wheelbase yukon?
I've seen many posts about weight/towing capacity/GVWR/etc, and I've seen many posts about how a longer wheelbase on the tow vehicle helps with stability, but I've not seen anyone actually put a number on what length they think is best to tow with a short wheelbase yukon.
Thanks for your time!

If you are contemplating buying a used 2001-2006 GM SUV vehicle then be sure to pay close attention to the transmission's past life. The Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade all use the 4L60 Automatic, some with tow/haul mode switching.  The average life expectancy of these transmissions is about 120K or less with frequent towing, so if you're going to tow frequently and will tow anywhere there are substantial hills, transmission life will be an issue in a stock GM series sport utility. Check the service records. Just my 2 cents.
2005 Forest River TT 27BHSS and 2009 Heartland Sundance 2998RB 5vr
2007 Chev Silverado 2500HD WT crew cab, LB, 6.6L, Allison 6sp, B&W Companion Hitch
Retired Biomedical Engineer
Lawrenceville, GA

"Some come to the fountain of knowledge to drink, others just gargle."

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2017, 10:39:10 PM »
Thanks, Regval! In my research, I've seen people mention other GM auto transmissions that were available in the early 2000s in vehicles like the XL or the Denali. Would those vehicles have stronger transmissions that I should look for, or are you just saying that in regards to any transmission?
(I used to be a Ford guy, so please pardon my ignorance of GM stuff.)  :)


kdbgoat

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2017, 04:57:10 AM »
If you like Ford's, look for a decent used Expedition. Excursion would be better for towing, but if I read the posts correctly, you don't want anything that big.
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Tom

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2017, 06:25:17 AM »
Quote from: yepitsadam
Are you saying that the more "overhang" behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle, the easier it is to control the trailer when backing up?

That was my experience, although I hadn't thought much about the geometry explanation. I just know I could put that boat/trailer anywhere I wanted with the motorhome, but felt like a complete newb when I switched to the Bronco to get in the side yard.
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yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2017, 02:16:27 PM »
If you like Ford's, look for a decent used Expedition. Excursion would be better for towing, but if I read the posts correctly, you don't want anything that big.

My wife and I really like the Expeditions and strongly considered them, but all of my research keeps leading me to believe that they would have a much greater chance of catastrophic failure of some kind. No vehicle is perfect. They are all imperfect machines made by imperfect humans, so they all have a chance of breaking down. I just keep finding more cases of Fords breaking down in a way that leaves you stranded. Most of the big problems I'm seeing with the Tahoe/Yukon are gauges and brake lines. I can still drive without gauges and brake lines are easy to diagnose and replace before they blow out.

regval

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2017, 02:38:43 PM »
Thanks, Regval! In my research, I've seen people mention other GM auto transmissions that were available in the early 2000s in vehicles like the XL or the Denali. Would those vehicles have stronger transmissions that I should look for, or are you just saying that in regards to any transmission?
(I used to be a Ford guy, so please pardon my ignorance of GM stuff.)  :)

GM makes a 4L80 transmission that is found in larger pickups and is more suited for towing but you won't find it in the XL, Tahoe, Denali or Escalade. I used to have a 1999 GMC Suburban 2WD with a 4L60e trans that I pulled a Coleman TT that weighed about 6000lbs and a Forest River TT that weighed about 5000lbs. When the trans went out at 90K I rebuilt it with a performance kit that included better clutch discs, improved valve body and a heavy duty torque converter. Since I rebuilt the trans myself, I saved quite a bit. When I sold the Suburban with 240K miles, it was still going strong.
I believe GM introduced the 4L65e  beginning in 2001 or 2002 and that transmission will produce higher torque but it may only be found in the larger 6.6L motors. The standard motor is a 5.7L.  I'm not trying to discourage your choice of a GM SUV as a tow vehicle, just offering my opinion based on experience. I switched to a Chevy Silverado 2500HD with a 6.6L diesel for my towing needs. A truck provides more towing stability overall as compared to the sport utility or SUV vehicles.

 SO.... your buying checklist for the tow vehicle...(assuming the engine is strong with no defects)
1. Before you buy, test the transmission or have it tested (fluid and diagnostics). A replacement transmission will cost $1500+.
2. Check the drive train for service issue (rear-end differential oil, axle seals for signs of leaks and drive shaft universal joints for play)
3. If the vehicle only has the factory trans oil cooler, consider investing in a larger after market trans oil cooler as heat from high oil temp is what kills most transmissions.
4. If the vehicle doesn't have a transmission temperature gauge in the instrument cluster,(it's an option- some have it, some don't), consider getting an aftermarket guage to monitor the transmission.
2005 Forest River TT 27BHSS and 2009 Heartland Sundance 2998RB 5vr
2007 Chev Silverado 2500HD WT crew cab, LB, 6.6L, Allison 6sp, B&W Companion Hitch
Retired Biomedical Engineer
Lawrenceville, GA

"Some come to the fountain of knowledge to drink, others just gargle."

keymastr

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2017, 05:11:08 PM »
The Expedition is a great vehicle but makes a poor tow vehicle for longer, heavier trailers. I just traded up from one with an 8600 pound tow limit and 1460 pounds of payload which should have been ideal for my 6500 to 7000 pound 27' overall trailer but the Expedition has an independent rear suspension and that creates a little instability with heavier loads.

Maybe a really excellent pair of shocks and a beefy rear sway bar would have solved it. In the end a 3/4 ton pickup was my solution. I loved that vehicle for 12 years and it was the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. Total parts bill for 120,000 miles was one alternator, 2 sets of tires, 3 batteries and a turn signal relay.

If you stay under 25' and 6000 pounds an Expedition would make an excellent choice. I went longer and heavier and just felt it was too much for it.

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2017, 12:49:23 PM »
I had the day off today, so I did some test-driving.

05 Yukon Denali (short WB) - 6.0, AWD
06 Yukon XL - 5.3, 4wd
06 Escalade ESV - 6.0, AWD
06 Escalade (Short WB) - 6.0, 2wd
05 Navigator - 5.4, 4wd, 6sp

What I learned:
- The Escalade ESV is not my style.
- The 6sp in the Navigator made takeoff fun.
- The Yukon XL did not feel that much longer than the short WB Yukon. I really don't think my wife would have trouble driving it in the city. It was my favorite today.
- The 6.0 in the Denali and the Short WB Escalade were LOTS of fun to stomp on.

Here are my new questions:
1. Would the long wheelbase of the Yukon XL help with feeling more stable while towing at all?
2a. When you turn on the Tow/Haul mode on the AWD Denali, does it change the power bias? I know it changes the shift points and prevents O/D, but does it make it more rear-wheel biased than normal mode?
2b. Is it better to have a 5.3 with all the power going to the rear wheels or a 6.0 with AWD when towing?

Thanks again, for all of your advice!

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2017, 02:14:00 PM »
In case anybody is still reading this thread and cares, I'll put this on here so it might help someone else in the same scenario.

As I'm continuing to research, I'm really leaning toward having a long wheelbase if I can convince the wifey. I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it (like carrying a gun). The same goes for the 6.0 vs the 5.3 = more power and slightly stronger trans. In my case, the 6.0 can only be found in the Denali or Escalade, which will also come with auto-leveling air ride.

As far as trailers go, we've narrowed down to two for sale close-by in our price/weight/length ranges that fit our layout needs right now. They will serve as examples of what we're looking for until we can get cash in hand to buy. If they're still available when we're ready to buy, great!

2000 KEYSTONE RV SPRINGDALE 260TBL
2007 FOREST RIVER SALEM 25FP

Both of these appear to fit within the limits of a Yukon XL Denali. The Keystone looks to be pushing it a little on the gross weight, so I guess we would have to be careful how we pack. I can't find much on the Salem. The only number I can find is a dry weight of 4650. I would like to know the dry hitch weight and gross weight. If any of you have access to those numbers I would appreciate it.

The 06 2wd Escalade I test drove has a hitch cap of 740# and the Keystone has a dry hitch weight of 760#, so that wouldn't work. All of the other Yukons I've looked at have a 1000# dry hitch cap.

keymastr

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2017, 06:45:05 PM »
Ignore dry hitch weight, it tells you nothing. Look at gross trailer weight and multiply by 13% to get the max tongue weight and add 100 pounds for the WD hitch. Nobody tows a dry empty trailer and even empty it will weigh hundreds more than the brochure dry weight.  Some of those dry weights do not include the AC and none of them include propane and battery and even the tanks. If you are trying to figure what it will weigh when "lightly" loaded then you are already pushing the limits.

The thing is that trailers get heavier with age because you rarely decide to leave something home but often find some item you would like to bring along. Starting out on the edge weight wise is a bad idea because there WILL be things you have not thought about that you will want to bring along. Maybe a couple golf cart batteries and a generator to charge them for instance.

As for the EL versions of those trucks, the difference is so small as to not really matter. When I went from an Expedition to a crew cab truck the difference was about 3 feet in actual wheelbase, not 10 inches. Any of those vehicles would do well just know that the Expedition/Navigator has that independent rear suspension which gives a great ride for passengers but is slightly more prone to sway with heavier trailers than rigs with solid axles.

steveblonde

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2017, 08:18:00 AM »
why not a truck? cheaper than an SUV easier to find better suited to pull a trailer and still very comfortable
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yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2017, 09:45:03 AM »
why not a truck? cheaper than an SUV easier to find better suited to pull a trailer and still very comfortable


My wife doesn't want to road trip with our toddler in a truck, or I wouldn't even be asking these questions. I've tried to talk her into lots of different truck cabs, but she ain't going for it. She wants an SUV, so that's why I'm trying to do my research and make this all work out for the best.

kdbgoat

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2017, 09:50:45 AM »
The back seat of a double cab pick-up is probably as safe, if not safer.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


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HornesRV

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2017, 12:01:42 PM »
It would appear you are budget minded and looking for a good tow vehicle I would stay with the 2wd 6.0 suv's because no 4wd to maintain and the 6.0 vehicles come with a slightly better trans than the older 5.3 tahoes and Suburbans. They do make 2500 suburbans that have the 6.0/4l80e, but they are kind of rare.
2017 Keystone Bullet 2510BH
2001 Tahoe 5.3 3.42's 302Kmiles

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2017, 10:38:52 AM »
The back seat of a double cab pick-up is probably as safe, if not safer.

It's not about safety, it's about the fact that taking a road trip with a toddler means you have to be able to reach everything you own at a moment's notice.

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2017, 10:41:43 AM »
Ignore dry hitch weight, it tells you nothing. Look at gross trailer weight and multiply by 13% to get the max tongue weight and add 100 pounds for the WD hitch. Nobody tows a dry empty trailer and even empty it will weigh hundreds more than the brochure dry weight.  Some of those dry weights do not include the AC and none of them include propane and battery and even the tanks. If you are trying to figure what it will weigh when "lightly" loaded then you are already pushing the limits.

The thing is that trailers get heavier with age because you rarely decide to leave something home but often find some item you would like to bring along. Starting out on the edge weight wise is a bad idea because there WILL be things you have not thought about that you will want to bring along. Maybe a couple golf cart batteries and a generator to charge them for instance.

As for the EL versions of those trucks, the difference is so small as to not really matter. When I went from an Expedition to a crew cab truck the difference was about 3 feet in actual wheelbase, not 10 inches. Any of those vehicles would do well just know that the Expedition/Navigator has that independent rear suspension which gives a great ride for passengers but is slightly more prone to sway with heavier trailers than rigs with solid axles.

Thanks, keymastr!
Just so I understand what you're saying... say the trailer gross weight is 7500#. That would make the max tongue weight 975#, and then a WD hitch would add 100#, making it 1075#.

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2017, 11:52:36 AM »
Does anyone happen to know the gross weight of a 2007 Forest River Salem 25FP?

kdbgoat

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2017, 11:57:23 AM »
Does anyone happen to know the gross weight of a 2007 Forest River Salem 25FP?

The closest thing I could find was a 2006 25FB. GVWR-7640#
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

yepitsadam

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Re: Older Yukon and travel trailer
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2017, 11:41:26 AM »
Well, it's been a while and we've learned a lot. We had a plan of selling my project truck (74 F100) and buying a camper with $3k-5k cash after Labor Day when people are wanting to get rid of them before winter, and then financing a tow vehicle before spring. After looking at a few campers in this price range, we quickly discovered the problems with this plan: 1. Any camper in this price range that would fit our lifestyle would need repairs/upgrades before we could use it. 2. Because we are newbies in the travel trailer world, but relative veterans in the vehicle world, we decided we were much more comfortable with our ability to asses the condition of a $3k-5k vehicle than a $3k-5k trailer.

Long story-short: We got a great deal on a 1999 Suburban in great condition with low miles. We bought the Suburban with cash and plan to invest (finance) in a a $10k-15k trailer at some point in the near future. Right now we're being drawn toward layouts like the Coleman 1805RB and the Keystone Crossfire 1800RB.

I just wanted to wrap-up this thread in case it might help someone else attempting to make similar decisions.

 

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