Hybrid Tahoe @ Land Between the Lakes

I’ve improved on my travel time between San Antonio and Nashville nearly every time I have driven. Once I set 11 hours I decided to give the cross country racing a brake.

I went camping at Pickett State Park in Tennessee with four friends last October. We drove the Hybrid Tahoe.

After the epic guys camping trip™. My engineering marvel, the Hybrid Tahoe, broke down in Nashville. While returning from Pickett State Park the engine began a very quiet knock and oil pressure dropped to 25psi. The lowest safest operating oil pressure for the hybrid’s 6.0 liter LS engine is 20psi. It was LOW but not too low. It made it back to Nashville safely, but the minute the car came to rest in a friend’s driveway the oil pressure dropped to 0 and loud knocking/rattling ensued. I shut it down, diagnosed the problems and after realizing the fix was above my skill level I contacted the engine shop in San Antonio who preformed the rebuild back in July.

Engine had a 2 year/unlimited mile warranty with free towing. Cool. Exception: shop will not cover towing outside San Antonio. Shoot. Can I fix it in Nashville? Local chevy dealer,”Yes, That’ll be $7,000.” Me, “No thanks.”

A mural depicting Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in East Nashville taken the morning we left.

The decision was made to ship the car back to San Antonio from Nashville.

Plan A: A nationwide car transport company quoted $1,000 for the tow. I still thought I could save some money so;

Plan B: Get a U-Haul flat bed! $500. This was the cheapest way to get Hybrid Tahoe back to the San Antonio engine doctor.

Plan B in detail: Daniel volunteered to help. Day 1: Daniel would drive the Yukon from San Antonio to Nashville in a quick 11hrs, we would enjoy Nashville for a few hours with Jordan then hit the hay. Day 2: get the U-Haul and tow Hybrid Tahoe home. Average 70mph, get home in under 14 hours. Seemed simple enough.

Jordan and Daniel killing time in Opryland

U-Haul has an online algorithm to determine if you are deserving of using their trailer to tow stuff. For the car hauler trailer we needed, U-Haul’s algorithm said our vehicle doing the towing (2017 GMC Yukon Denali) had to have a towing capacity higher than and weigh 10% more than our vehicle in tow (2009 Chevy Hybrid Tahoe). So,

Yukon weight must be ≧ Hybrid Tahoe weight +10%

At 5,956 lbs the Hybrid Tahoe weights 483 lbs more than the Yukon (5,473 lbs). U-Haul trailer max load is 5,290 lbs. Oof. Thats not gonna work. Thankfully U-Haul employee turned a blind eye, entered the vehicle in tow as a (much lighter) 2001 2 door tahoe, told us not to exceed 55 MPH and gave us the ok.

We got the trailer connected. We got the Hybrid Tahoe loaded. (We loaded the Husqvarna on the back of the hybrid just for kicks and giggles too.) We were set to go. I noticed on our U-Haul trailer, like all others, there is a sign visible in your review mirror that says Speed Limit 55. Meh, I thought. “Ive driven much heavier trailers much faster than 55 before! Lo and behold, I’ve driven U-Haul trailers faster than that before!” “We’ll be fine” I told Daniel…

We departed my gracious friend’s abode in east nashville and merged onto Briley Parkway towards I-65. So far, so good. Yukon was happy, engine purring smoothly, breaks stopping us gracefully… we took the ramp onto I-65. Next stop Carlisle Arkansas! We accelerated up to highway speed… 30…40…50…. 4th 5th 6th gear, nice and smooth ride, Yukon still happily towing like we’re pulling a much smaller load, then 55… the U-Haul started swaying uncontrollably. (Here is a video to illustrate.) I instantly recognized this as overloaded/bad wight distribution trailer sway. I let off the gas and hoped for the best. I think I yelled a bit too much and scared Daniel… the trailer keep swinging lane to lane until we slowed back to 47. After a couple more acceleration attempts we discovered 47 was the sweet spot and nothing above that would be safe, or mentally/physically tolerable.

This guy tailgated us all the way to San Antonio!

We decided to continue the drive and began calculating how long it would take us to get to San Antonio driving at 47 MPH. It would be tedious… it would be painfully boring… it would be the drive of a lifetime!

WHATATAHOE

It took us 21 hours 11 minutes 21 seconds from that scary merge onto I-65 to Daniel’s house in Bulverde. Mission was successful. Successful in getting the Hybrid Tahoe to its loving mechanic, and successful in setting the world record for the longest non stop drive from San Antonio to Nashville. Whew.

#hybridtahoerescuemission

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