Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: Escalade towing
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 > Escalade towing

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Paranoid

Ohio

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Posted: 07/01/09 08:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From various websites, regarding the 2002-2006 Escalade,

The Escalade AWD offers a towing capacity of 8100 pounds. The big ESV is rated to pull 7700 pounds, while the EXT can pull 7300 pounds.

and

Weights: gross vehicle weight rating (lbs) 7,000, curb weight (lbs) 5,537, gross trailer weight braked (lbs) 8,100 and max payload (lbs) 1,463

So a tongue weight for the Escalade AWD would be 810 pounds (at max trailer weight), roughly? I know, I get it, that is assuming that with all other things you had 810 pounds of payload capacity available. With that 1463 pound payload, (there aren't a lot of options you can add to a "base" Escalade, so we don't have to worry too much about the accuracy from a "base" to a "loaded" model) you would still have roughly 653 pounds of payload capacity available on the Escalade AWD when towing at maximum trailer weight (8100 pounds) (assuming tongue weight at 810 pounds).

Now, we can get into debates of wheelbase - but overall, so far, the numbers illustrate that the Escalade AWD is a highly competent towing vehicle for a darned heavy trailers. Probably as, if not more competent, than a lot of full sized trucks.

My question then, is - I'm using the weight distribution drawbar and weight distribution bars that came with my Nissan Titan and it feels like the back is still settling more than the front. (The Escalade stock hitch receiver is a class IV). I'm still towing a 24' Thor Tahoe (22FDTT) that has a dryweight around 4500 and a loaded weight of around 5500. I'm also using a Reese friction anti-sway bar. Haven't had any problems with sway, and honestly, there hasn't been a lot of "bounce" on the hitch (something that used to happen fairly frequently with the Titan). But I'd like to see the front and rear suspension sinking an inch like all the articles *say* it should. In all honesty, I don't think I ever saw this with my Titan, either.

I'm curious about a couple things. I know there are a lot of aftermarket suspension things for towing for Chevy's in general, and I'm sure for Suburbans and Tahoes... but would most of these aftermarket devices for the Tahoe bolt on to the Escalade? I'm wondering if anyone has direct experience with any after market towing oriented upgrades for the Escalade (or Tahoe/Denali).

Second, one of the chains on the WD bars from the Nissan hitch is cracked. So far, I haven't been able to find a Nissan dealer that can replace just the bar or the chain (only the whole kit). If that is the case, I think I'll just go with an aftermarket WD dual-cam anti sway hitch setup. Any suggestions, and what can I expect to pay at Camping World? I'm thinking a higher quality dual-cam WD hitch, profesionally installed, might solve most of my issues.

Finally, anyone know of a good place to get my rig weighed near Canton/Akron Ohio? It seems like guys at truck stops are always confused when you want to get your tongue weight, too. I wish there were places that catered specifically to RVers and TTs.

I guess part of my indecision on the WD/Dual Cam system is that I'm not sure what I need and the Camping World catalog is kind of confusing.

It looks like I need:

https://www.campingworld.com/shopping/product/reese-pro-series-rb-weight-distribution-kits/7030

and

https://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/reese-dual-cam-sway-control/4215

And it looks like combined, the cost is going to be around $600+ installed.

Is that about right?

* This post was edited 07/01/09 08:31am by Paranoid *


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BarneyS

S.E. Lower Michigan

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Posted: 07/01/09 08:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For the weights you talked about, I think this Reese Round Bar 1000lb "Strait-line" hitch or the 750lb version would be just about right.

If you prefer the trunnion style of hitch, then Reese 800lb trunnion "Strait-line" hitch will also work fine.
All of the above hitches combine the weight distribution with very good and effective sway control. You should be able to use your old shank and ball with all of them.

Regarding weighing your rig, find a Cat Scale near you. They have three platforms in one. You put your truck front axle on one, the rear axle on the 2nd and the two trailer axles on the third.
As to actually how to interpret the weighing, see this post by our member Ron Gratz.

After you get everything, take a look at this sticky post in the Towing forum for step by step information on how to set up your hitch. Most dealers do not have the knowledge or take the time to do the job right. It is not hard to do and you learn a lot about your hitch at the same time.
Hope this helps you out a bit.
Barney

* This post was edited 07/01/09 08:50am by BarneyS *


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YC 1

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Posted: 07/01/09 09:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Could it be that you are confusing the ride leveling system on the Escalade. I tow a heavy boat but the tongue weight is probably only 200 lbs or so. No weight distrubition bars. As soon as the boat is hooked up I hear the leveling system activate and it rides level. Perhaps your arms are telling the truck that there is not as much weight on the rear and they are deflating a bit.

As for towing. The engine I believe is the Corvette engine. With 400hp it hauls Bass. It tows my 20 ft Ranger with ease and the tow haul mode is excellent. Using a mud and gravel ramp this weekend I don't think I spun a tire getting in and out. Three large 4wd trucks had to be helped out with tow straps. Hidden under the bed cover was 50 gallons of water that did help in the traction department.


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Paranoid

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Posted: 07/01/09 06:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've wondered about the ride leveling and if I am confusing it - but the systems are so automated in the Escalade - there isn't a way to disable it, I don't think. I can disable the VSS system (I think that is what GM calls it... ESP on a BMW... vehicle stability system...) and I'm convinced a 1500 class vehicle should have weight distribution with any good sized travel trailer. (Honestly, the thing about the Escalade, with the automatic, all the time, AWD, and the self leveling system, is that they're all completely automatic, with no actual way to TELL what they are doing. The Land Rover, if actually LOWERS when you stop, to make it easier to get out, and I think it lowers at highway speeds, too, for more stability. The Escalade system - there is no indicator it is doing anything, other than some occasional noises from the system. Although now you've got me thinking, I'm wondering if we hitched up with the engine RUNNING last time. I think we did the FIRST time... but that could explain my measurements changing...)

I thought hitch weight at the ball was constant, even with distribution. I've heard conflicting things about this, anyhow. But either way, if I'm "moving" too much weight off the ball with the WD, and the leveling system deflates because of that, it should level correctly (because it is deflating because the weight has moved off of the ball... right?) It just doesn't make sense. I'll tell you my measurements... the front stays at 5" from bottom of the fender to the tire, the back drops to 4" from the bottom of the fender to the top of the tire, so I get ~1" more drop in the back (the front remains basically unchanged). This is about the same as the Titan dropped, actually.

The Nissan WD hitch, receiver and drawbar are pretty poorly designed. The ability to get to the nut to attach the ball is very difficult... the Reese tools won't work - there isn't enough clearance. It is very hard to describe, but I'm fairly certain I want to dump everything from the Nissan hitch setup. The ball is from 2005 and has towed the trailer from California to Ohio, (and all over the west before that), so it is time to replace it, anyhow.

I did install my original Nissan hitch and followed the directions and I've had several people look at it, (dealers and other campers) and everyone has said it is set up correctly - I was just hoping that maybe someone else with more experience would do a better job than I. Guess not. I am certain that one of the Reese or Equalizer set ups would be easier and miles ahead of the Nissan setup.

We have considered moving up. Some of the Ultra-lites that came out after our Thor offered slide outs and larger floorplans for a marginal increase in weight... It isn't something we'll do soon, and I don't plan on going to a 32' model with triple slides - but a modest step up would be nice. The other important thing is that we're mostly in a seasonal spot here, and most other trips are going to be short and close (maybe into PA, New York, or West Va., but not much further, and not through any terrain anything like the Sierras or Rockies.)

I'm pretty content with our current TT, but DW would like a walk-around bed and bunks (right now we've got a corner twin that is cramped in the back, and the dinette folds into a bed and a scissor couch. DW would like bunks so she doesn't have to tear down and rebuild the kid's bed daily). I'm ok with a walk around full sized bed (sleeping back there with her after drinking is a *hassle*) which we could do in the same size, but stepping up to bunks too seems to put us in the 27/28' range minimum.

When we were looking, I had it in my head that capacity for the Escalade was ~5500 - and was disappointed with what I was seeing on the dry trailer weights we were looking at. When I realized that it was more like 8000 pounds, that seemed a little better, and meant I maybe could accommodate DWs wishes while still having something that was reasonable to tow behind my TV.

havedreamwilltravel

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Posted: 07/01/09 11:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, the load leveling is automatic and cannot be shut off. However, we love having the load leveling system with ours! It's great!

What you need to do when setting up your weight distribution hitch is to back it up under the ball, turn off the car, close the doors and let it sit and deflate completely (about 15 minutes).

After 15 minutes, do your initial measurements. Now drop the trailer onto the ball and hook it all up. Take your next set of measurements.

Measurements should be pretty close front to back but at this point get them within an inch or so of each other (our final was front dropped 1/4" and back 1 1/2"). It's important during all of this to NOT open any doors on the car. Sometimes opening doors will trigger the auto leveling on certain cars.

Now, start it up and let the load leveling take over. While car is idling re-do your measurements. Once the leveling kicked in our rear went up and inch so the final measurements were 1/2" rear, 1/4" front drop (IIRC - it's been awhile so the actual measurements might be a tad off but you get the idea). Put a level on the trailer/truck and they are truly level.

This is how you set up a WDH with the auto leveling system.

BTW: We use the Equalizer and it's very easy to hitch/unhitch and we love it. We are towing a 29'1" ball to bumper bunkhouse w/walk around queen bedd TT with our shorty Denali. The hitch does a great job - even through Mojave and it's winds. No slide on ours. Final weight is 6500#'s fully loaded. Honestly even with the torque and horsepower I wouldn't want to tow heavier even though the Denali could tow heavier. I like a LOT of margin in these things. We have the Jayflight 27BH model. Love it.


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havedreamwilltravel

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Posted: 07/01/09 09:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Also look at Equalizer. Great hitch. Great price at RVWholesalers.com. Easy enough to set up yourself. Watch their video on how to set it up, read the manual beforehand and you'll not have too many problems doing it yourself. We have never used a WDH w/sway and we did it with no problems.

There is no such thing as "professionally" installed. They basically throw it together and send you on your way. Your better off learning to do it yourself.

Your also going by 10% hitch weight. Should be closer to 13%.

We tow with the sister car to the Escalade - a Yukon Denali shorty allbeit a newer one on the new GMT-900 platform. And yes, VERY capable tow vehicle. We tow 6500#'s with a 850# tongue weight. We have a higher cargo capacity than yours. I still wouldn't max out and tow up to the capacity though. What you can tow and what you can carry are 2 different things.

Are you planning on getting a larger/heavier trailer? Seems the one you are towing now is a nice fit for your Escalade and i'm not sure i'd tow heavier due to the cargo capacity limitation.

H & E

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Posted: 07/02/09 05:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 2005 EXT that I pull a 34’ Rockwood with. We pulled it just over 7K miles last summer and 2200 so far this summer. The TT loaded weighs 6960 the tongue weight is 960. I have replaced the stock receiver with a Putnam XDR and use an Equal-I-zer sway control hitch. So far all is working OK. It took me a couple of times to get the hitch adjusted correctly.

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