K1500 or K2500 for towing travel trailer??

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by mcbubrooks, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. mcbubrooks

    mcbubrooks New Member

    We are looking at purchasing a suburban for hauling our 19 ft 1973 layton travel trailer. It's small but old so its heavy. This isn't a vehicle we will be using all the time. It will be mainly used for towing. We typically go out 6 times per year but live in Central Washington so we travel over mountains fairly often. We are looking at an '87 3/4 ton 4x4 with a 350 turbo 400, an '89 with a 454 or a '92 with a 454 that has #1 cylinder that is misfiring d/t a faulty headgasket. Price on it is cheap but it would need that work. We are wondering if we need the 2500 due to going over mountains or if a 1500 would work or... if we could find a diesel. We can't afford a lot right now. Any thoughts???
  2. pewterburb

    pewterburb New Member

    Once the experts show up, they'll probably say you need to weigh the trailer for an actual weight. Then determine what vehicles are rated to well-cover what you need. A 1500, K (4-wd) or C(2-wd), has, of course, a lower trailer tow rating. For example, I just got a 32-foot newer travel trailer (2008 Jayco G2 with one slideout) that weighs dry-weight (nothing loaded in trailer) at 6900 pounds. My 1999 Chevy Suburban has right there on the bumper that max tow weight is 5,000 pounds, so I'm in the market for a stronger tow vehicle, too.

    2500s have higher max tow weights, from 8,000 to 12,000 or more. In shopping for 2005/2006 Silverado, I've ran across info that says their max tow rating, with a 3.73: 1 rear gear ratio can pull 8100 to 8400, depending on if K or C, possibly even more. My Suburban has a 3.42: 1 rear gear ratio.

    Good luck and get the best pull for your buck, but be safe!!!
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    The 2500 has bigger brakes, thats a plus in the mountains, usually it'll have a stronger trans and coolers too. If the price isnt to far off your budget I'd go for the 2500 due to the extras it brings.
  4. KidHauler

    KidHauler Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    Even if all you plan on doing is hauling the camper, go as big as your money will allow.

    X2 with tbplus10 on the 2500 having the brakes and coolers - you're gonna want that. The 454's will give you the power to get up the hill, the brakes to get you back down.

    The 87 and 89 are TBI, and can be a little doggy, when compared to the newer injection on the 92. The intake leak on the 92 is pretty common to the era, and can/should be repaired for pretty cheap.

    From the choices you've listed, I'd go for the 92. I've pulled campers with a 78BB, 98BB, 99SB, and soon a 02BB - hands down - give me the 78! But that's a different story, that motor is now in a 12 sec Malibu.

    Look each of them over good, but definitly get a 2500.

    Good luck,
  5. dannys99

    dannys99 Rockstar

    the 2500 would be better, though for that small of a trailer a 1500 would be fine. my 1500 burb has the hd towing suspension and it does great with a newer 27 foot trailer. 1500 have a very under gunned rear end. and smaller brakes with a light frame. The 454 would definitely be nice when pulling the hills. I find my 350 wide open at about 40 mph on big grades. with the lack of power and durability you will be sweating a little more.
  6. murdog94

    murdog94 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Kidhauler the 1992 is also a TBI. The 454 and 350 were tbi until they came out with the Vortec versions (circa 1996???).. Not trying to be a know it all but sometimes since the 92s do look a bit different sometimes people forget...
    The 454 is for sure your go getter with pulling. I have a 2500 with the 350 TBI and a 5spd stick. I need more power and i dont have any mountains here. Just steep hills. If you can do the head gasket yourself go for it and dont look back. You will have more than enough power to pull and that is less of a strain on basically everything.. Also with the 92 you will have to benefit of overdrive when you are unloaded so you will get a slight and i mean slight bump in milage. the 454s are thirsty but the 350 is underpowered for some tasks.

    Also Pewterburb. with the Vortec motor, and an updated hitch with weight distribution, you can increase your load ability. I am not 100% on the older trucks but i know that my F-150 that is had (08) was capable of up to 8000lbs... Now did i ever get close to 8000 no.. I did tow a equipment trailer with weight distribution, surge brakes, and a john deer with it that came in a hair under 7000lbs and the only thing that it was lacking was horsepower since it was 4.6L.. but for a 32footer i would aim larger even if it you were able to tow it since with a slight cross wind and that 32footer suddenly becomes a sail that a suburban is not gonna hold back....
  7. pewterburb

    pewterburb New Member

    Murdog94, Thanks for putting the exclamation point on what I'm already thinking. I might chance it with local tow to a few nearby lakes but definitely not going to haul it to Oklahoma from Georgia like I want until I get something up in the 2500 range. WELL, that is unless someone can convince me that say a 2006 Chevy Silverado (I'm considering, since the tow rating is in the 8100 to 8400 range) can do the job. Or would the 32 footer sail away just as easily from a Silverado (or worse)?

    Not meaning to take over the thread, but I've got similar questions to mcbubrucks'.
  8. kdr358

    kdr358 Member

    My suburban is an 89 1500 with the TBI 350 With 2500 rear springs in it and it will pull anything, Just use the trailer brakes. I personally have pulled 8500 pounds with mine before the 2500 springs were installed, and it did it no problem, but in the mountians I would rather have the larger brakes and the larger trans cooler otherwise you will probably need brakes at the end of the trip. I replaced the head gaskets in mine years ago but if you can do it yourself you will save alot of $$
  9. murdog94

    murdog94 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Ive seen people towing campers very similar to yours with 2003-2007 1/2 ton trucks and even with the wieght distribution hitch they are sacked out in the back and barely doing 55.. For local running around i would say your fine, i had the same problem with my F-150 anything over 55 and i was running in second gear to the floor all the time.
    But for a run to OK i would shoot for a 2500 Suburban with the 454 or Diesel. There is alot more power there and the 4L80E is better equipped for the task that is available in the 1993 up versions, if you are looking at 1992 you will have a heavier version of the 700R4 from my understanding. Plus a Heavier duty hitch is available as well as suspension and axles. I know that in my 2500 with the 350 I am 3rd gear to the floor alot more than i know i should be. And those TBI 350s dont really like 4500Rpms all the time.
    Oh and with any equipment in that weight range and this is for anyone make sure you get a BRAKE CONTROLLER. The stock brakes on any of these rigs arent meant to stop 3K plus extra pounds just as a safety tip.
  10. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Something to keep in mind is if your loading that much camper behind you your gonna have lots of extra gear inside, this is where the higher capacity comes in real handy, yea I've towed trailers that were at or above the trucks capacity but I always felt a lot more comfoertable having a tow rig that was overkill for the same job.

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