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Discussion Starter #1
We bought our 2004 QX56 to give our go at getting a travel trailer and deciding if we like it or not. I've already replaced the rear air shocks with new ones, I was just wondering what everyone else would recommend doing before I tow this summer (assuming there are places to tow to).

My current list:
1. Bilsteins up front
2. Some sort of Brake Controller (recommendtions?)
3. Standard oil changes/coolant flush, brake fluid flush, etc.

Should I look into a transmission cooler? Anything else I should think about?

What we have booked for now is a Grand Design 2400BH, which should be well within the constraints of the QX, but I think ideally we'd like to go to a 2800BH. I fear it's too long, but everyone I know assures me that with a good sway hitch I'll be fine. Weight is about 1K below the rating, and I doubt we will ever take water with us; not the type of camping we'll be doing.
 

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Both of those are really nice trailers. My wife and I are looking at upgrading to a 5th wheel, and Grand Design is at the top of our list right now. For towing with an Armada / QX, I'd stay with the 2400. The 2800 is quite a bit longer and heavier, and while the QX would probably do fine, you are pretty close to the limits with that. Remember your max tow rating assumes an empty vehicle. Extra people, supplies, cargo, etc all go against your tow rating. Example, I have a 26' TT that weighs about 5500 lbs loaded. I'm right at the limit for GVWR for my Armada, even though I'm way under my max tow rating.

As far as equipment, don't skimp. Spend the money to get a high quality brake controller. Lot's of recommendations on this forum and others on what to get. I've been using a Tekonsha Prodigy since 2000, and have been very happy with it. I'm certain Tekonsha has come up with many more variations since I bought mine. As far as a hitch, I highly recommend you buy a hitch that incorporates both weight distribution and anti-sway into the design. Do NOT use a clip-on friction anti-sway device, particularly with something as long and heavy as the 2800. Again, sharing what I'm using and been happy with....I have the "Equal-i-zer" brand, that has both WD and anti-sway incorporated. There are other brands on the market, and again, take a look through this forum and other RV forums for recommendations. Don't go with the lowest cost brand, you'll regret it later. I spent about $500 on my hitch set-up, which was only $200 or so more than a less capable, add-on friction anti-sway device.

Lots of folks on this forum that use their Armada / QX to tow, so ask your questions, do some searching here and elsewhere, and most important, let us know what you get, and then share your experiences with the rest of us.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Both of those are really nice trailers. My wife and I are looking at upgrading to a 5th wheel, and Grand Design is at the top of our list right now. For towing with an Armada / QX, I'd stay with the 2400. The 2800 is quite a bit longer and heavier, and while the QX would probably do fine, you are pretty close to the limits with that. Remember your max tow rating assumes an empty vehicle. Extra people, supplies, cargo, etc all go against your tow rating. Example, I have a 26' TT that weighs about 5500 lbs loaded. I'm right at the limit for GVWR for my Armada, even though I'm way under my max tow rating.

As far as equipment, don't skimp. Spend the money to get a high quality brake controller. Lot's of recommendations on this forum and others on what to get. I've been using a Tekonsha Prodigy since 2000, and have been very happy with it. I'm certain Tekonsha has come up with many more variations since I bought mine. As far as a hitch, I highly recommend you buy a hitch that incorporates both weight distribution and anti-sway into the design. Do NOT use a clip-on friction anti-sway device, particularly with something as long and heavy as the 2800. Again, sharing what I'm using and been happy with....I have the "Equal-i-zer" brand, that has both WD and anti-sway incorporated. There are other brands on the market, and again, take a look through this forum and other RV forums for recommendations. Don't go with the lowest cost brand, you'll regret it later. I spent about $500 on my hitch set-up, which was only $200 or so more than a less capable, add-on friction anti-sway device.

Lots of folks on this forum that use their Armada / QX to tow, so ask your questions, do some searching here and elsewhere, and most important, let us know what you get, and then share your experiences with the rest of us.

Keith
Awesome, thanks for the advice. The length is what worries me the most about the 2800, honestly the sway is what I'm scared of. The difference between a 1/2 ton truck and the QX is mostly wheelbase.

I will look into the Tekonsha, I don't wanna skimp on a controller, and I am aware I'm going to need to spend some money for a hitch. I was kind of budgeting like $800-$1000, so I think we're in good shape there.

Forgive my ignorance when it comes to towing, I believe if I understand it correctly, the tongue weight is what adds to the gross weight of the tow vehicle? If I have my specs right, the weight of the QX is like 5600lbs, the max weight it can hold is 7300ish? Tongue weight of the 2800 is around 600lbs or so, which would mean I've got about 1000lbs of capacity left in the vehicle itself? Or do I not understand this that well? Sorry, I'm really trying to figure out how all these numbers fit together, I'm pretty good, but I'm also visual, so it's taking me time.
 

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That's a good unit, the next generation controller after the Prodigy, which was one of the best when it came out 20 or so years ago.

To respond to your previous question, yes the tongue weight needs to be considered when calculating Armada Max Weight (GVWR). Make sure that the 600 lb tongue weight isn't an empty trailer. Assuming the battery and propane are on the tongue, that will have an impact on the tongue weight. So will cargo you load in the trailer. Also make sure you include the weight of your WD hitch and bars. You'd be surprised how quickly this all adds up.

Let us know what you come up with, and please share pictures.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We are pretty seriously looking at one of the smaller of the two. It's the 2400BH, found one that already has the theater recliners instead of the dinette, which is what we want. We were planning on renting this summer, but with things being how they are, might as well just buy.
 

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This is definitely the time to buy. Was looking at used 5th wheels a few evenings ago, and was finding ones I liked that were less than three years old at less than 40% of MSRP....and that was what they were asking! But need to buy a new truck first. Not sure if I'm ready to drop $100K for a truck and trailer right now. Wanted to wait another year or so for my youngest to get further along in college (no cost to us, fortunately, as he has a full ride, courtesy of Uncle Sam).

Grand Design really makes some nice trailers / 5th wheels. Looking forward to hearing of your experiences.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is definitely the time to buy. Was looking at used 5th wheels a few evenings ago, and was finding ones I liked that were less than three years old at less than 40% of MSRP....and that was what they were asking! But need to buy a new truck first. Not sure if I'm ready to drop $100K for a truck and trailer right now. Wanted to wait another year or so for my youngest to get further along in college (no cost to us, fortunately, as he has a full ride, courtesy of Uncle Sam).

Grand Design really makes some nice trailers / 5th wheels. Looking forward to hearing of your experiences.

Keith
This one comes with an E2 hitch, I think it is? Are those any good? Looked like it was in the $400 range.
 

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This one comes with an E2 hitch, I think it is? Are those any good? Looked like it was in the $400 range.
Not sure what that is......can you post a link or picture of the hitch?

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hopefully those work for everyone, from Facebook, so who knows. I'll rehost if they don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not sure what that is......can you post a link or picture of the hitch?

Keith
Not sure if you have to quote the person to get the notification to pop. I posted pics above but they're from Facebook, so not sure if they work without rehosting.
 

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Your pictures posted fine.....yep, that looks like a pretty good hitch setup, uses the same basic design as the Equal-i-zer brand hitch. Pretty affordable as well. If it is as durable as the Equal-i-zer, you won't have problems with that setup. Recommendation.....buy an extra set of the L-clips that hold your bars to the L-brackets. e2™ Pin Pack | Fastway Trailer
Amazing how quickly those can disappear when you least expect it. Cheap insurance.

Let us know when you get the trailer, and how it tows.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Your pictures posted fine.....yep, that looks like a pretty good hitch setup, uses the same basic design as the Equal-i-zer brand hitch. Pretty affordable as well. If it is as durable as the Equal-i-zer, you won't have problems with that setup. Recommendation.....buy an extra set of the L-clips that hold your bars to the L-brackets. e2™ Pin Pack | Fastway Trailer
Amazing how quickly those can disappear when you least expect it. Cheap insurance.

Let us know when you get the trailer, and how it tows.

Keith
Yeah, sadly, had a deal agreed to and the dude decided to sell it to a "friend" today instead. Really pretty peeved.

All I can say is, I hope his friend follows through, because if he comes back in a couple weeks, I feel like I'll have misplaced a couple grand from my offer...
 

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Yeah, sadly, had a deal agreed to and the dude decided to sell it to a "friend" today instead. Really pretty peeved.

All I can say is, I hope his friend follows through, because if he comes back in a couple weeks, I feel like I'll have misplaced a couple grand from my offer...
Ah, man, that sucks. You know, thought, it wasn't meant to be. It's definitely a buyers market right now, you'll find something better. I've always thought that in car buying, the search is half the fun anyway!!!

Good luck!

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ah, man, that sucks. You know, thought, it wasn't meant to be. It's definitely a buyers market right now, you'll find something better. I've always thought that in car buying, the search is half the fun anyway!!!

Good luck!

Keith
Yeah, I used to be like that. With kids at 8 and 10 right now, it's more of a hassle. I know what I want and I have to wait to find it. Seller seemed unreliable from the start and I said as much to my wife, but just feels like wasted time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's a good unit, the next generation controller after the Prodigy, which was one of the best when it came out 20 or so years ago.

To respond to your previous question, yes the tongue weight needs to be considered when calculating Armada Max Weight (GVWR). Make sure that the 600 lb tongue weight isn't an empty trailer. Assuming the battery and propane are on the tongue, that will have an impact on the tongue weight. So will cargo you load in the trailer. Also make sure you include the weight of your WD hitch and bars. You'd be surprised how quickly this all adds up.

Let us know what you come up with, and please share pictures.

Keith
So the controller I got said for Armada and Titan but doesn't look like the right connector. It's more of a square shape rather than a rectangle, the one in my QX is flatter.

Is that normal or did I find the wrong connector?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I found the wrong connector. No idea what that one on the right side was, left side had the electric brake controller.
 

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We bought our 2004 QX56 to give our go at getting a travel trailer and deciding if we like it or not. I've already replaced the rear air shocks with new ones, I was just wondering what everyone else would recommend doing before I tow this summer (assuming there are places to tow to).

My current list:
1. Bilsteins up front
2. Some sort of Brake Controller (recommendtions?)
3. Standard oil changes/coolant flush, brake fluid flush, etc.

Should I look into a transmission cooler? Anything else I should think about?

What we have booked for now is a Grand Design 2400BH, which should be well within the constraints of the QX, but I think ideally we'd like to go to a 2800BH. I fear it's too long, but everyone I know assures me that with a good sway hitch I'll be fine. Weight is about 1K below the rating, and I doubt we will ever take water with us; not the type of camping we'll be doing.

Dewstain - didn't see your post which would have helped me a bunch! About a month ago, I went through a two-week process of buying and configuring both a 2015 QX80 tow vehicle with 123,000 miles on it as well as a Grand Design Imagine XLS 23BHE (slightly shorter and lighter than your 2800BH).


In case anyone hasn't seen,here's a good video on setting up the QX80 brake controller connection with this pigtail adapter from Amazon.

I too went with the Tekonsha P3 and really liked the ease of use while driving. Saved a newby like me from some interstate jitters once I realized how effectively and dynamically it worked in applying predictable levels of braking on the trailer.

The dealer threw in the chain-style WDH with bolt-on friction sway brake, which I took on a 300 mile round trip through the Ozarks. Once I really clamped down the pressure on the sway brake, I had zero scares despite traversing some pretty hilly, wind-exposed and WINDY areas at 60-70 MPH. Knowing that I could reach down and gently blip the Tekonsha brake any time I had bad wind effects was enough - almost never had to use it. I do plan to upgrade, and after doing some research, the Husky Centerline 800-1200 pound spring bar style will be my next purchase - it's a bolt-on unit, so no drilling on the trailer A-frame, and gets reviews right in line with the $500+ hitches from Equalizer and others.

My one caution would be that the Grand Design trailers are light on the tongue weight, I guess to give you more TV GVW capacity when you actually load the pass-through compartment on the trailer.

Your trailer looks to be about 5700 UVW with only 505 pounds on the tongue, well below 10% which is the bare minimum and way short of the recommended 12%+. Driving the trailer home from the dealer on the interstate and running with only UVW on the trailer and with a very low setting on the sway brake almost had me turning around to drop the trailer back off at the dealer. Once we loaded up 200-300 pounds, almost all to the front of our trailer, and clamping down the sway brake, driving was almost enjoyable.
 
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