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Old 06-06-2010, 07:57 AM   #1
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Chevy Trailblazer towing

Hi Guys

We are new here. We are currently looking at a Surveyors, the dealer has shown us the SV 264. Our tow vehicle is a 2008 Chev Trailblazer, 4.3l inline 6, The manual says we are good for 5500lbs. Dealer says we will be okay. We really like the layout and size but are a little concerned about the tow weight. We are planning to add a transmission cooler and equalizing hitch. Does anybody have any experience with this combination of vehicle and TT? Are we trying to tow beyond or capability?
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:28 AM   #2
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Well, if you go by the GVWR (which you should) of 7841 pounds, you will be well over tow ratings for the TB. I have a TB myself (a 2007 with the 3.73, which gives me better tow ratings). But I would not pull that much trailer. In addition to the "potential" weight, that is a very long trailer for a TB. The TrailBlazer is a very admirable and capable truck, but I believe you would be taking on more than you can chew with that trailer. You didn't say anything about kids or pets or how much you plan on taking (what kind of camping you plan on), but after just the initial loading (passengers, gear, etc.), plus the "real dry weight" (what the trailer actually weights, not what is on paper), you will probably at your weight limit for the TB. That leaves you no "fudge factor". And if you have to pull it with some water (waste, fresh, etc), you will really feel it.

But, this is just my opinion (and some experience). Just remember how you can tell when a salesman is lying...whenever he opens his mouth. He is out to sell you a trailer. He will tell everyone that they "should be alright". Run your numbers and you will see for yourself.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:44 AM   #3
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Thanks Ed.
It will be the two of us and our small dog, Our trips are usually within 4 hours of home and in Ontario it is relatively flat. I think we better look at something smaller.
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Old 06-06-2010, 03:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeds View Post
Hi Guys

We are new here. We are currently looking at a Surveyors, the dealer has shown us the SV 264. Our tow vehicle is a 2008 Chev Trailblazer, 4.3l inline 6, The manual says we are good for 5500lbs. Dealer says we will be okay. We really like the layout and size but are a little concerned about the tow weight. We are planning to add a transmission cooler and equalizing hitch. Does anybody have any experience with this combination of vehicle and TT? Are we trying to tow beyond or capability?
I sent you a pm. Let me know what you think!
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:08 PM   #5
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Dealers will tell you you can pull a 5er with a motorcycle too if it will make the sale. Don't trust them. Ed gave good advice. Beyond just the engine and transmission there is wheelbase of the TV which must be considred. Add to that the fact that SUVs come from the factories with "car" tires and not LT or "truck" tires that are not up to the job of heavy hauling and suspensions that are tuned for a soft ride not towing. Would trading to a good quad cab pickup to replace the Trailblazer be an option?
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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Ditto to Ed and Jeeper, as you read through any of the posts here you will find that the dealers are less than reliable, you will also find that most 1/2 Ton towables built today are best if pulled by a 3/4 or larger tow vehicle, but you are going to have to be the final judge.

When I was looking at trailers, several dealers told me my 1/2t Suburban would pull any trailer on their lot (even 32 ft with two slides), the dealer I bought from, his first question was what do I have to tow with, when I told him, he directed me to 4 of the trailers he had on his lot, when I questioned the larger trailers, he told me that they are 1/2 ton rated, but that he would not sell one to me as they were too large and that I would be dissapointed.

The trailer I purchased was the Wildwood 23 BHLE, no slides, my suburban pulls it good, no sway, slows on the grades etc., but I am glad I listened to his advice, I would not even think of pulling a larger trailer now that I have experienced this set-up, when my budget affords it, I will be buying a 3/4 or larger truck, most likely a deisel.
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:05 PM   #7
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All the advise here is well founded. I am glad you are looking at other options to pull with your TB.

I recall a terrible accident that once happened here in Colorado on a flat Interstate. A Jeep Grand Cherokee was towing a very large and long travel trailer. It jackknifed during an emergency stop and killed occupants in the tow vehicle. I strongly believe this turned into a battle of mass between the Jeep and the trailer. Whoever sized up that tow vehicle made his decision based on power. I suspect he was quoted once as saying, "Sure, the big engine in my little Jeep has enough power to pull that trailer.". However, no one gave consideration to its ability to overcome the momentum of the trailer during an abrupt stop.

I find that the auto manufactures DO take the mass of the tow vehicle into account (among other factors) when specifying the towing capability of their vehicles. And therefore, their maximum capacities should be trusted, and adhered to.

For our family, our Expedition is rated for 8,650 lbs max. However, we shopped for trailers that would not exceed 7,000 lbs which is approximately 80% of maximum. This self-imposed derating was primarily due to limits on power because of the altitude of Colorado, but it provides us with some spare GCWR so I can carry our family of six at the same time too.

I highly recommend you contact Chevrolet and request their RV & Trailer towing guide specific to your year. I was able to find the one that pertained to us on the Ford website, even though our model-year was 7-years old. These guides provide copious details that will provide any purchaser of a TT with the information they need to make a well-informed decision.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:43 PM   #8
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And wheelbase is a big and often over-looked factor. Check some of MtnGuy's posts. He has a great table relating wheelbase to trailer length.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:48 AM   #9
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smeds, as Bob indicated, I tend to be commissioner of the length police on this site.

Here is the chart that Bob is referring to:

110" 20' ******* 150" 30'
114" 21' ******* 154" 31'
118" 22' ******* 158" 32'
122" 23' ******* 162" 33'
126" 24' ******* 166" 34'
130" 25' ******* 170" 35'
134" 26' ******* 174" 36'
138" 27' ******* 178" 37'
142" 28' ******* 182" 38'
146" 29' ******* 186" 39'

The figure on the left of each column is the TV wheelbase, and right figure is the maximum "suggested" total trailer length. You can also take your wheelbase in inches, divide by 5, and that is what your maximum trailer length should be in feet.....it works out pretty close to the chart figures. In my case, I have a 145" wheelbase, and according to the chart that is just shy of 29", and the calculated figure is 29'. I have a 28.5' trailer, and that is just about all that I would feel comfortable pulling.

I have the sister ship to the SV 264......the SV 263. The dry weight coming back from the dealer was 4760 lbs., and the listed dry weight according to brochure was 4139. You can probably expect close to the same weights, although the tongue weight on the SV264 seems to be quite a bit lighter. I regularly travel with about 5500 lbs behind my truck, with a 700 lb. tongue weight. Now your tongue weight might be less, but I betcha your total weight will be near our trailer.

I am not sure what the Trail Blazer wheelbase stats are, but if you have that information, compare those to the attached chart and see what you come up with.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:37 AM   #10
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mtnguy, Thank you for sharing the chart. It seems to me that this chart is based on the often-quoted rule-of-thumb introduced by rv.org. However, it is not entirely clear if this accounts for sway control or not. My guess is it does not.

Does anyone have a copy of "How to Tow Safely" by JD Gallant? If this book is the source of this rule-of-thumb, perhaps it covers the value in introducing sway control to figuring maximum trailer length.

I know I have sway control between my SV291 and my 119" wheel-base Expedition. However, it tracks very well even in stiff crosswinds and when passing--or being passed--by semi trucks. According to the rule of thumb I am about 7 feet too long . Other than my own limited experience, I am unable to challenge the suggested length.
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:07 PM   #11
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I think the risk is in the exceptional conditions. Let's say you are descending a mountain pass; the trailer is pushing you; you round the bend; and there, for your driving pleasure, is a pile of fallen rock, a large animal, etc. You need to stop quickly, perhaps in the middle of the curve. This scenario is not so far-fetched and one could conjure up numerous similar situations. IMO you need substantial reserve capability to cope with those scenarios safely. Undoubtedly, one could tow for years without incident; and then . . . .

We saw skid marks, a torn out guardrail, and a huge drop-off (on the other side of the guardrail) in the mountains last year. It gave me the creeps. Please don't push your limits.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:58 AM   #12
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Hi everybody - I just recently decided to join the forum club. I must say many thanks to all of you that had provided plenty of wisdom to my current TT knowledge. Keep it up!

We just got our 2011 FR Wildwood 27BHSS two weeks ago and went for our 1st trip last weekend. I do agree with you folks, safety for your family and piece of mind is first when it comes to traveling.

Having said that, what do you guys think of my setup? (after reading this thread) TV is a 2007 Sub 5.3L 3:73, i only have the WD kit but no sway package (yet). TT is 6100 (dry) with a 760 TW. We always travel light since we only camp locally (no more than 2-3 hrs). I noticed a bit a of sway on TT (first trip) than my previous so I 'm not sure if I need to adjust the WD or just get a combo WD. TV feels good pulling it and it doesn't feel to forced towing.

any comments good, bad or indifferent are welcome.

Jorge
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:28 PM   #13
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The cheapest upgrade for you is just an anti-sway friction bar. Try that as a first step. If you need more than that, you can always go the next step of a Reese Dual Cam or an Equalizer etc.
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:54 PM   #14
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Thanks Bob, I was thinking about that but wasn't sure if I should just bite the bullet and start looking for the RDC or Equalzr. I know they are not cheap. anything you recommend on the Anti-sway bar?
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:21 PM   #15
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Just to give you some insight from my recent experience. I currently have a 28 foot Terry 28J that weighs around 6500 pounds dry so it will go around 7000 pounds loaded. I have been pulling it with a 93 F150 rated at 7000 pounds, that has a 5.0 engine and a 3.83 rear end. It was adequate but not the easiest tow, any grade and it was into 2nd gear and down to 45 mph.

In anticapation of a TT upgrade I just upgraded the tow vehicle to an 04 GM 2500 HD diesel that is rated to tow about 10000 pounds.

There is a world of difference between these tow vehicles, the F150 is struggling while the 2500 diesel loafs along. Best of all with the 2500 you feel like you are in full control of the situation; while towing with the F150 you feel like the trailer is in control.

Tomorrow I am picking up a 2008 Forest River Flagstaff 831RLSS. It is actually lighter than my Terry 28J but is about 5 feet longer. I expect that it will be a breeze to tow.

I have also picked up a Hensley Arrow hitch that I will be installing on the Flagstaff.
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:36 PM   #16
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Thanks Doc, I hear ya....I just don't want to entertaint the thought of updgrading TV ..if it can tow the WW 27. it seems that it does decent job but you are right....I can imagine the 2500 would be a breeze to do it with. I got to buy me sometime to save and bite the bullet to upgrade TV. have been looking at Chevy Suburban 2500 6.0L 4:10

Congrats on the TT upgrade, 31 is quite of bit of space and I'm jealous.
27 is all we could afford for now.
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:21 PM   #17
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you might be able to add dual cam to your current WD setup depending on what it is. The dual cam requires a curved bar end (by the chains). you would have to compare the price of replacing pieces to the price of just getting a whole new system. check etrailer.com they have great pictures of numerous setups. i bought my system from them and they were great.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:58 AM   #18
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Thanks again Bob, I will be checking etrailer.com.
See, i know all of you experts have the right answers.......
you're all Great people!
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