View Full Version : New TV, need new camper

07-20-2021, 10:16 PM
Hello everyone,. In March of this year I purchased a new GMC 21 Yukon XL AT4 with door sill stamped at conventional trailer 7500lbs. I do not have the automatic ride control suspension. My previous tow vehicle was a 2018 Chevrolet Suburban LT 4WD with 5.3 V8. That vehicle had a towing capacity of 6300lbs. I own a 20' 2018 KZ 181BH Sportsmen Classic. The previous TV towed it well in mountains of Colorado and Yellowstone. My camper is cheaply made. From day one of owning, anything over 40mph, and drivers side window and corrugated siding from nose all the way back to slide out would bow out. I found out just how cheap camper was last August while in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming. Driver side window on master bedroom flew out. Lucky for me, I carry a cordless milwaukee drill and sheetmetal screws...... the wall continues to bow and flex while on interstate. Poor design. No supports in wall above under stow. Fast forward a year. My family is larger, and I'm looking at a 2021 Keystone 243BHS. This camper has tandem axles, weighs in dry at 5013lbs. Hitch weight of 580lbs. My yukon xl maxes out at 7500lbs. Hitch weight for truck maxes at 750lbs. My family and I pack light. But, I'd say my wife, kids, and I with our crap, add an additional 1200 pounds. That puts me roughly 6200lbs of my 7500 max capacity. Im estimating 82% of my max towing capacity. I wanted to be at or less than 80%. Dealer says I will be fine. But, he'll say anything to make a sale. I do not have integrated brake controller. Not available for 5.3 V8 AT4. But I do have a Tekonsha Prodigy P3 from my previous TV. I care a great deal about the little fuzzy heads in the backseats and the beautiful woman riding shotgun. Shoot me straight guys. Is this TV and TT setup safe pulling in mountains of Colorado and Yellowstone? Thanks guys.

07-21-2021, 02:57 AM
It's your statement " My family and I pack light" that has me concerned. Your RV will weigh the gross 6500 before you can bat an eye, believe me. And that will put your tongue weight at about 850 pounds plus 100 pounds for your WDH. Now lets add in the weight of you, Momma, and the back-seat fuzzy heads. Your maximum cargo capacity of your XL is 1600 pounds. I will let you do the accurate math because of weights of everybody, but I can almost promise that you will be over gross on that GMC. Remember, you only have 1600 pounds to play with and RV and hitch took 950 of those.
These are REAL numbers you'll have to deal with. I'm sure other members will chime in with items I've forgotten, but their opinions won't be any rosier than mine.
Welcome to the forum and good luck to you.

Laredo Tugger
07-21-2021, 04:10 AM
The problem with SUV (full size/midsize) towing platforms is wheelbase. The Tahoe is around 10 ft. and it will be towing a large "sail" that is almost 27 ft. (with the tongue) down the road while trying to navigate normal side winds and the turbulence from big rig trucks. The term "white-knuckle" comes to mind.
And when you add all that weight in the mountains you plan to tow in you have to picture where all that weight is going to go in a quick stop or turn situation, where wheelbase will become your friend and not allow the trailer to over power your tow vehicles grip on the road.
Maybe the Tahoe serves a great purpose for your family when you are not towing, but to hitch that trailer (the 243 BHS) and tow would defeat that purpose. A crew cab long bed would be ideal for the mission for many reasons, the main one being wheelbase. Gas or diesel? Well that's another debate. I will say that I had a gasser with a 27 ft. tow behind and found that getting fuel (which was very frequent) was always, let's say a "challenge".
Good luck.

07-21-2021, 04:32 AM
Thanks for the responses. So a full size yukon xl would be inadequate for that TT?

07-21-2021, 04:38 AM
The biggest lie is the sales people using “shipping weight” and “tow capacity”. Your new trailer will never be near that weight after it arrives from the factory. Use the GVWR and then calculate roughly 13% of that for tongue weight. It’s not how much weight you can drag as much as it is how much weight you can carry. It looks like your going to exceed that unless you keep your trailer choices very light. Your brake controller is the best IMO.

07-21-2021, 05:39 AM
Saw this guy last year in Yellowstone. Think overloaded?🤣

07-21-2021, 06:33 AM
As Chuck posted, the "Sales pitch" too often uses "Apples" to compare to "Oranges" while trying to sell a customer "Peaches".....

They use "MAXIMUM" tow vehicle ratings and compare to "MINIMUM" trailer ratings and "safely omit talking about the customer's family and cargo" that is a real part of EVERY trailer towing event.....

Here's the "reality of the Bullet 243BHS:
Shipping Weight 5,036 lb.
Carrying Capacity 1,464 lb.
Hitch 615 lb.
Length 28 ft 3 in
Height 10 ft 8 in
Width 8 ft

What "THEY" don't tell you is this:

The shipping weight is as it leaves the factory, empty propane tanks, no battery, no fluids in any tanks, no camping equipment other than "mandatory OEM safety equipment and the "obligitory ugly bedspread". (no pillows, BTW)

"THEY" omit the enormous size of the trailer "sail area" (sidewall square footage) and seldom, if ever, talk about the "vehicle frontal area" limitations.

That trailer is almost 11' tall, is 28' long with about a 3' "A-frame" so 25' of "flat wall on the side" and is 8' wide.

Let's do some "quick math"...

The frontal area is 11x8 = 88 sq ft
The sidewall area is 11x25 = 275 sq ft That's larger than most 26' sailboat "sail area". And the wind pushes those sailboats at 25+MPH using a breeze off the bay..... That same "breeze" will push your Yukon just as effectively on dry land.

The "empty tongue weight" is 615 pounds. Add a 40 pound battery, 40 pounds (two 5 gallon tanks) of propane and a Equalizer 4 point hitch and the tongue weight becomes 795 pounds, AND THAT'S BEFORE YOU PUT THE FIRST PERSONAL ITEM IN THE TRAILER !!!!!

Why is any of this important?

First, look at the "maximum trailer frontal area" in your tow vehicle owner's manual.
Next, look at the payload of your vehicle, deduct ALL owner added accessories like floor mats, maps, GPS, tool kit, bungee cords in the rear door pocket, etc. Then add the occupants, all their "toys and travel items like blankets/pillows, books/I-pads, etc. Add to that, 800 pounds for the EMPTY trailer plus 10-15% of the weight of everything you put into the trailer like food, linens, camping equipment, tools, spare tire (that's not included in the "shipping weight" above either) and anything else you take camping, like the kid's bikes, skateboards, dolls, etc.

It quickly adds up to likely at or probably over the vehicle payload of your Yukon.

Don't "leave GM out of the "salesman's game" either... Take a look at the three "big brags" they use:
Maximum trailer weight
Vehicle GVWR
GCWR (the rating for maximum tow vehicle AND trailer)

They'll list the "Maximum trailer weigh" using an EMPTY vehicle weight and use the "Maximum vehicle weight to get the best payload"

Then, down at the bottom (where they hope you won't notice it) they'll list the GCWR (gross combined weight rating)... DO THE MATH !!!!!

The GCWR was, in previous years, listed in the Owner's manual. Now, GMC lists it on the "trailer towing label" in the vehicle. I couldn't find it online, but if you use the GCWR as a starting point, subtract the "maximum trailer weight" typically, you'll come up with the tow vehicle curb weight (empty weight). If you start with the GCWR and subtract the tow vehicle GVWR (maximum allowed weight) it will be substantially less than the maximum trailer weight rating....

What almost every manufacturer is doing is the old "math stumper" we played as kids.... Count fingers on one hand "backwards" 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 (6 fingers on that hand) and on this hand, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then say, 5+6= 11 fingers.....

GM (and all the others) use GCWR, GVWR and Max Trailer Rating the same way.....

To them, it's "marketing" to you, it's "your family's safety"... Why they can't be "honest" is, IMHO, because they gotta sell trucks and to sell, they gotta beat the competition.... That's Marketing's job, not Safety engineering's job.....

07-21-2021, 06:43 AM
Great info guys thanks.

travelin texans
07-21-2021, 08:00 AM
That tag on the newer GM vehicles lists "conventional trailer" & "gooseneck trailer" weights, it DOES NOT state "travel trailer" or "fifth wheel" & I can assure you there is a difference. The conventional/gooseneck trailer you can adjust the weight directly over the axles thereby lightening the tongue/pin weights which is exactly how the vehicle manufacturers arrived at these weights. With TT/5th wheels the weights are fixed in place with little to no way of moving it around making the tongue/pin weights much greater.
Yes your vehicle will "tow" the advertised weight, but due to the payload it most likely can NEVER safely "carry" that much weight along with the weight of all the other items the payload includes.
DO NOT use any numbers from brochures, websites & especially any number the vehicle or RV sales people spew out, the literature numbers are always too lightweight in the real rv world & the majority of the sales people have absolutely no experience in towing & don't really care as long as you buy something.
You've made the smartest move by asking those here that have YEARS of RV towing experience that only have 1 objective........keeping you, yours & everyone else on the highway with you safe.
Now whoever's advice you chose to take or how you proceed with this advice is up to you!
Good luck, be safe!

07-21-2021, 08:15 AM
I remember trying to balance the budget while providing some fun and keeping your family safe. It’s a tough balancing act.

This may not be an option for you, but I have a Silverado 2500 (3/4ton) Duramax. Let’s do a quick compare it to a 1/2 ton or less SUV. If it is an option I can research exact numbers for you.

Much Bigger brakes, heavier everything including axels wheels and tires, bigger fuel tank (like double capacity and range), double the payload and towing, a turbo means it has nearly as much power going up a 8000’ pass in Colorado as it does at sea level. It’s got a transmission that set so you hardly use brakes going downhill. The overall weight means you’ll be in control over your trailer rather than the tail wagging the dog of the suv.

Ford and Ram both have great 3/4 ton option, I actually wish I had gone to a 3500 for not much more money.

Towing capacity 13,000 - 14,500 or more
Payload 5741 - 6689

What ever you decide, just be safe.

07-21-2021, 10:00 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. I considered the duramax option but with 6 seats needed, it would be rather cramped in a truck. I know now offer the 3.0 in a yukon xl but at the time I bought my yukon xl, it wasn't available in the AT4 trim. I own an older '02 duramax, good truck. Thanks everyone

07-21-2021, 02:17 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. I considered the duramax option but with 6 seats needed, it would be rather cramped in a truck. I know now offer the 3.0 in a yukon xl but at the time I bought my yukon xl, it wasn't available in the AT4 trim. I own an older '02 duramax, good truck. Thanks everyone

What kinda shape is the older dura max in? Is that a option for a tow vehicle?…I realize it’s pretty old but as long as it’s in safe mechanical shape and isnt clapped out you may get by with that until truck prices fall and inventory is available

07-22-2021, 04:14 PM
The 2002 LB7 Duramax is my daily driver. 110 mile round trip to New Orleans daily for work. Truck has a 6.6L turbo diesel, mated to an Allison 1000 5 speed tranny. 2 years ago I installed 8 new Bosch injectors myself. Ran great until 4 months ago I blew a head gasket. Had heads rebuilt for $5k. They also reconditioned the injectors that had 35,000 miles on them. Now, she's good. But, it's a pain to travel in. I went yesterday and put eyes on this 243BHS TT. It looks as if I had to stop in an emergency, it would swallow my Yukon XL. I'm now looking at a 23' TT, 3800 dry weight. Nothing is in stone and I'm open and not in a rush. I still have my Sportsmen camper.

07-23-2021, 11:54 AM
Saw this guy last year in Yellowstone. Think overloaded?🤣

Those front stabilizers, if that's what they are, appear to be no more than 2 - 3 inches off the ground. Hope there are no speed humps between the campground and home (or potholes, flat pieces of paper on the road, or big shadows). I feel sorry for that person...i feel like the man upstairs granted me a fair amount of common sense. I think the driver in the picture is the guy he took it away from.


07-24-2021, 09:03 PM
Yeah, the guy and his wife were our next to site neighbors. Very friendly Canadians. Their sewer hookup for their site was well within our campsite. They said they refused to hookup their sewer because it would ruin our time being so close to our table. Friendly people... and tow brave��

07-24-2021, 09:14 PM
If anyone would consider checking this out for me. I walked away from the Bullet 243bh. I'm considering a No Boundaries 19.3 model. Tandem axles, fiberglass exterior, double bunks, Murphy bed, can sleep six. Weighs in at 4200 UVW, 3350lb Cargo. 6500lb GVWR. 550 tongue weight. Length of 24' with exterior height of 10'. Same tow vehicle. 2021 Yukon XL AT4. 7500lb max tow, 750 max hitch weight, wanting to stay at or below 80% tow capacity. It comes with offroad mud tires����