It's been a while since I've posted here. I remember all of the threads about how bad tires are these days, particularly those made in China.
Recently bought a '94 GMC Suburban and put some Les Schwab Open Country H/T 10 ply tires on it. Found out they were made in Japan. Hadn't seen that before. Hope they are better than the Chinese rags.
Recently replaced my really old 1965 Chevy Van (w/292-TH350) which I towed with since 1988 with a "newer" old '94 GMC Suburban. Van is still going strong but it doesn't have A/C. Much prefer the pre-OBD II vehicles so I can work on them myself. Burb has 126,000 miles, one owner, always garaged, looks new inside and out and mechanically in great shape. We have the Carfax that shows maintenance records from day one, old owner put new trans fluid, antifreeze and brake fluid before he sold it.
Engine sounded "good" but had no power. Found that the, plugs, wires, cap and rotor had never been replaced (the one thing the original owner didn't do). Tuned it up, added MSD adjustable timing control and installed a "fastchip" computer chip which made a huge difference. Lots of power now. "fastchip.com" out of Oklahoma customizes the chip for your vehicle. You have to send them your computer serial number so they can send you the right chip, plus they need to know your rear end ratio. I've never bought something for my vehicles that made such a major difference in power. Only was $159.
Love old trucks.
With gas powered TV, pulled into my local Chevron station where I gas up all the time, filled up with what I thought was regular 87 octane. TV quit running after a few miles, turns out idiot fuel truck driver filled gas tanks with diesel. The dealer had set up an insurance program so all of his customers who had this problem could get it fixed at no cost. About 3 years later my cat failed prematurely, been wondering if the diesel was the cause. Shouldn't have signed off on the insurance fix so quick.
Thanks much BenK.
The 94 is quite a bit different than the 96 as my fuse box is at the bottom of the dash left of the steering wheel.
I did find the red and blue wires all wrapped up under the brake booster and the red one does have a terminal on it. They are really long, which is great.
Thought I'd run the red wire over to the battery for a direct hookup, then tap the hot wire(black?)from the Prodigy into said red wire. The Prodigy wiring diagram shows a direct hookup to the battery.
The blue will go thru the firewall direct to the Prodigy. Now just have to locate the white wire on the brake switch. Of course hook up the ground, I think I'll take it all the way to the battery also.
Was RV.net down yesterday? Couldn't get on til this morning.
jacking the body up leaving the wheels on the ground didn't work cause the wheels would start to come off the ground before the shock eye was in position.
Found a YouTube video showing that after jacking the body up as far as possible with the floor jack, then you place a small hydraulic jack between the top of the axle and body, then jack the body and axle apart which brought the bottom of the shock into alignment with the bracket. Worked great cause the bottom of the jack sat on a flat spot on top of the axle where it contacts the rubber bumper. The top of the jack fit perfectly to the side of the bumper on a ridge that fit the indentation in the jack top.
Had to watch to make sure I didn't stretch the brake lines too far. Just made it.
Trying to install Monroe load adjusting shocks in the back of the 94 Suburban. Got them bolted in on the top, but the bottoms hang so low that jacking up the body still leaves it 2" below the mounting bracket.
So I guess I put my floor jack under the bottom of the shock and jack it into position, or, find a spring compressor?
I'm asking even though Chris and boogie indicated the wires might be under the brake booster cause mine's a 94 and theirs are newer.
I looked under there and there are several red and blue wires coming up from underneath.
So, finally got the Burb home and am trying to hook up the brake controller and install 7-pin connector.
I found these wires up under the hitch. The bundle of wires is labeled:
White - ground
Grn Dk - R. Turn
Yellow - L. Turn
Brown - RR Lamps
Grn Lt - B/U lights
I figure this harness must go all the way up to the front to under the dash or engine compartment and be already hooked up?
The red and blue wires are labeled:
Red - PWR Feed
Blue Dk - AUX
Hopefully these go all the way to the front but probably aren't hooked up because they would be, Blue for trailer brakes and red for power to the TT. Anyone know where they would come out in the front?
I use Monroe Load Adjusting shocks on the back to stabilize the rear end to keep from bouncing and rolling. They don't increase capacity, just keep things stable. I think its too easy to assume that air bags will increase the carrying capacity of the TV, but it's dangerous to make that assumption.
Our '04 Envoy is equipped with Billstein's from the factory and they sucked. Replaced them with Monroe.
I'd much rather have an aluminum roof than the rubber stuff they use now, doesn't tear or get black or leak (as much), lighter weight too. I LIKE the sound of rain on the roof.
As most have said, every manufacturer (good or bad) produces good ones and lemons. Even if you inspect the TT carefully on the lot, it could fall apart on you after a couple of trips. For us, the most important aspect of a TT is the floor plan.
So go from there, find one u like, show up in the morning to give yourself time to go thru it carefully (ask the salesman to leave you alone), or take a good trailer mechanic with you to check everything. Have them plug it in and put propane in the tanks and turn on everything. If they will let you, hook it up and tow it on the nearest freeway. However, most dealers won't let you, but at least ask. I only had one dealer that let me, turned out it was too heavy for the TV. Good thing I got to try it.
(btw, if the spare has cover on it, take it off, we ended up with one that had had the sidewall half scraped off, but didn't find it out till after the purchase).
We used to buy new TT's all the time and were lucky to always get good ones. After going too deep in debt doing that, we worked hard to get out of debt and now won't finance anything, all cash now. So, we only buy used. Since I know what to look for (and am good at fixing things, even bad water damage), when we find a decent clean, straight TT we negotiate a price and pay cash. Our current TT is a 22' 2004 Tahoe Lite by Thor of California. We knew that these TT's had terrible problems right out of the factory and couldn't believe the horror stories that were told right here on RV.net.
By the time we bought it a couple of years ago, all those problems had been worked out, so now it's perfect and everything works good. Somebody had replaced the entire floor and fixed some front end leaks. There were and are no other leaks anywhere. All appliances work, we like the floor plan and it tows great and straight.
Protect-All works good for me and is quick and painless. Come to think of it I do have some Nu-finish sitting around somewhere, maybe I'll try it next time.
I don't wax and polish all on the same day. I'll do a section, a side, back or front on one day, another one the next, etc. Got arthritis in my shoulder and two new knees, so it doesn't hurt so much by doing a section at a time.
This is why we have worked hard to get completely out of debt and will no longer finance anything. If we don't have the cash, we can't have it.
We have discovered that using the internet, you can find very nice used vehicles for good cash prices. It did take 3 months, but we recently found a creampuff '94 GMC Suburban (one owner, always garaged, low miles) for our "new" TV. Paid $4500. I prefer the older vehicles anyway that I can actually work on and have spark plug wires that I can see.
My first reaction was that you don't have a big enuff TV to be able to tow a TT that will comfortably fit your family.
Also reminded me that I was in the same position as you when we started RV'ing in 1987. Got tired of tenting in the rain (Pacific NW) with 3 kids. Bought a well used 1973 19' Prowler, turned out neither our 1965 Chevy Van nor our 1978 Aspen Station wagon would pull it. So, had a 292 6 cyl engine, TH350 trans installed in the Van and towed with it 90,000 miles since, usually 24' TT's. (Took it all the way back to Mt. Rushmore and down to Disneyland) So, we made the age old mistake, bought the TT before thinking about what the TV could tow.
Recently made the same mistake 29 years later (will I ever learn?). After towing our 4300 lb 2004 22' Tahoe Lite to Bend OR last year in 100 degree temps with the van that has no A/C, we realized it was time to upgrade the TV, one with A/C.
At the time I thought the Tahoe weighed less than 3500 lb loaded (shoulda weighed it first), and since we wanted to have a smallish TV so wife could drive it around, in December we bought a 2004 Envoy with the 4.2 6 ci, 3.42 gears. Much to my surprise the Envoy (a loaded w/every option 4x4 cream puff) weighs 5000 lbs. The max tow rating is 5,000 lbs and total combined vehicle weight is 10,000 lbs. So we were almost at max rating right off the bat. Did tow a couple of times and it was just "ok" but really struggled up 6% Stevens Pass (2nd gear, 4,000 rpm at 53 mph).
So, had to jump back on the internet for next 3 months until we finally found a cream puff low mileage super clean 1994 GMC Suburban 1500 with 350 engine. Has tow package. It's rated to tow 7500 lbs, so it does the job. It is a half ton but so was the Chevy Van. 1/2 tons usually have a higher tow rating than similarly equipped 3/4 tons since they are lighter. It has no trouble towing the 4300 lb TT.
I think if your TT gets above 5,000-6.000 lbs unloaded, you should get a 3/4 ton truck with a larger engine than the 5.0. My old 292 6 cylinder van would out pull that, got to have a lot of torque to get the massive weight started. Those little V-8's rely on high rpm's to develop power which stresses the engine and transmission a lot. When we had a 30' Arctic Fox we towed it with a 1988 454 3/4 ton Suburban.
Oh yeah, I also recommend the Equal-I-zer hitch, takes all of the sway and therefore most of the fear out of towing. Used them for years.
Welcome to the club and I hope you find something that will fit all your needs and will be SAFE hauling your precious cargo around. You can't be safe and protect your family if you cut corners.
It's a good idea to listen to us old timers who are still around, we've apparently done something right, or have been very lucky, or both.
Wow, thanks for all the info, wasn't expecting so much help.
As I had to do everything from replacing the engine and transmission in the '65 Chevy Van, and wiring everything including the brake controller with no pre-run wires, I do have a lot of experience doing this. Don't need to pay $67 for the Tekonsha harness.
I was hoping for and thankfully got some pictures of where some of these wires and connections are located on the Burb so I didn't have to spend a lot of time chasing them down.
Now that I have the long searched for '94 GMC K1500 SLE Suburban, I need to install the 7-pin connector and Prodigy brake controller.
It has the tow package so I assume it has some pre-installed wiring to make it a little easier. Anyone know where all that is and then what I need to hook everything up?
Tekonsha says I need a $67 hook up kit that includes the 7-pin female truck connector. I can buy the connector by itself a lot cheaper, then buy some wire. I would think the existing wiring would go all the way from the hitch to under the dash? Where is the under-the-dash wiring?
Except for the '65 van, all other TV's I've had have had the components installed, so this is new to me.
Thanks for any help.
this thing had to be garaged as the original paint shines like new.
The Envoy behind the Burb is mine, it's now for sale.
No aftermarket junk, just as it came from the factory, no aftermarket radio cut into the dash. Has a cassette player which I prefer even a separate equalizer not the pre-set **** they all have now.
(Sorry for the rant)
Except for worn driver's seat, could have been in the showroom.