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Old 05-05-2005, 09:19 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Does the Banks system help towing?

Hello again, all! We are planning a big cross-country this summer in the '86 345 with kids and dog, and we are wondering how to haul some extra gear. We would like to bring bicycles and two kayaks. Does having the Banks system on the AS help any with the towing capacity, or is that limitation more (as I gather from Inland RV Andy's comment in a previous thread) a drivetrain/tag axle issue? Our choices seem to be: small, lightweight toad; pull our enclosed Wells Cargo trailer (700 pounds, no brakes); strap on bikes and kayaks to the AS. Are there horrified expressions at these last two possibilities? Is there any chance we could pull the Chevy Venture, perhaps to break it off and drive it under its own steam up the mountains?
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:56 AM   #2
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why not pull the toad and put the bikes, etc on or in it? I pull a Saturn sedan with my 4 bikes inside. I have also seen them with the bike rack on the back or roof of the toad. As for Kayaks, I have no clue there.
The Banks should help you pull of course, but the weight rating for towing will still be what it is spec'd at. There really is almost no tow'd that can be pulled acording to those specs, but everyone does it (this is not an endorsement just a statement), keeping to the lightest practical vehicle. My p.o. pulled a jeep cherokee, which is going outside what I would consider for the AS even with the added brake attachments.
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:27 AM   #3
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Adding a Banks (or any other headers and free flow exhaust for that matter) should improve the engine's power output and in some cases fuel economy but Alan is right it will not change the tow rating of the chassis.

While there is no official word on why AS's have a 2000lb rating and other same year SOB MoHos on the P30 have higher ratings; most people thing it's the chassis extensions added by AS and the huge arc the tail of the 345 makes in a turn that is the limiting factor.

You could certainly put a three of four bike hitch rack on the back of the AS and then hitch you're cargo trailer to that....then perhaps a yakima rack on top of the trailer for kayaks. Of course, you would not have a toad, but maybe that's OK. Put a scooter in the cargo trailer? I've often wondered if it would be cheaper to travel without a toad then rent a small car for a day or two instead of hauling all of that weight behind me.

I'll take the 345 just about anywhere but I like the idea of a second vehicle in case I need to get parts for on the road repairs.
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:31 AM   #4
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One more thing. I wanted a Banks too, but ended up buying an exhaust kits from Jegs (Heddman Headers, H-Pipe, 2 1/4" Sticks, Mufflers, Hangers and Hardware, etc). I installed it myself and spent a fraction of the cost of a Banks. I've seen a definate improvement in engine performance and typically get better mileage than I did whith the stock exhaust.

Plus....the 345 turns some heads now when I get into the gas....like a hot rod....the kids (and Dad) think that part is cool. Mom just rolls her eyes.
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:58 AM   #5
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I tried the Banks System that was comprised of headers, chip, exhaust and transmission reprogrammer module and while it did increase power at the top end of the power band, low end performance decreased. Fuel economy actually dropped by 2 mpg. Towing performance increased a little, but it wasn't anything that would tear your pants off. I ended up taking the Banks system off and selling it to someone else. In the long run it was a big waste of money.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:07 PM   #6
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Being an avid car nut, anytime you add power, more times than not, you are doing so at the cost in MPG. I fully agree with whats been said here....you'll get better response and a bit more power, but the tow rating will stay as is. The only way to get a better tow rating would be to change the gears to 4.10s or larger, or change out the axle to something more stout....but then that becomes only one part of the issue. After you do something to the axle, you then need to make sure the trans is good with it, cooling is good with it, and so on and so on down the driveline.

One thing is for sure, with little to no question, getting larger gear ratings 4.10s, etc will clearly lower your MPG. I lost about 2mpg going to 3.73s from the 2.93s the Impala had, I would guess you'd be in a simialr boat, but frankly, I would be darn shocked if the chassis didn't already have 4.10 in it. If not, that would be a good place to start to look for more two capacity....but be careful of RPMs.
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Old 05-05-2005, 03:29 PM   #7
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As usual, quick and knowledgeable help! Steven, we were figuring putting the bikes inside the trailer, and kayaks on top. I would probably have to come up with some more stuff to put inside so it would weigh enough to not swing around wildly . . . no problem there, I've long outgrown my backpacking days, and believe in having lots of stuff along with us. Then we would just be renting a car occasionally, if we wanted to split up the troops. With the dog along, someone (usually me) will be keeping the home fires burning, and supper on the stove, unless we park her in some sort of doggy day-care. As she was a pound rescue, I'm not fond of the chain-link fencing experience for her, but at least she's not being left in a kennel while we go for five weeks. Whether or not we have a car along for roadside security, we are planning to chuck in the tent and basic camping gear for the remote possibility of an extended repair being needed, so we have digs while we wait. First up: Yellowstone, then California here we come!
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Old 05-05-2005, 04:03 PM   #8
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Yep...we travel with three kids and two dogs. It's all about room for your stuff. I like the cargo trailer idea. You should paint it to look like a little AS Trailer!

Keep us posted on the big trip. We're planning a "Western Parks Tour" for next summer. Can't wait.

If you come through Louisville, stop in an say hey.
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:17 PM   #9
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Yikes, I was getting antsy about two kids and one dog. (Sixty pounds of dog, though.) I've been thinking about painting the trailer; it is already silver, so a nice red beltline would look nice . . . although it is a bit squarish for the AS . . .
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:56 PM   #10
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Toad and Banks

I had a 310 that was stock and a 345 with most of a PO's Banks kit on it. The 310 would out run and get better mileage than the 345, even tho the 345 also had a GV overdrive on it. The 310 engine had been rebuilt not too long before I got it, that might be a better place to spend the 3 grand or so if you have very much mileage on your coach.

If you compare the Banks headers with the typical hot rod headers, you will find that the Banks' primary tubes are about twice as long. That is supposed to give better low end torque. Banks also supplies a K & N filter, which a PO had thrown away on my 345. The person I bought it from didn't know what the Banks or the GV was, so it had been installed at least 2 PO's back.

I pulled a 5700 pound Z-71 (with aux braking) with both of them. Other than cutting down the gas mileage and acceleration, both did fine with it, even tho it was way over what A/S says you can tow.

Flat towing a car will accelerate the wear on the front tires, since the alignment is not set up for being towed, and I assume the drag is worse than that of a trailer with 2 straight axles. (I wonder if anyone has ever done a comparison between flat towing a car and adding the weight of a trailer, but reducing the drag, as far as gas mileage is concerned.)

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Old 05-06-2005, 06:22 AM   #11
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Points well taken! I have access to my brother's back-porch type assembly, goes into the trailer hitch and provides a platform that would work well for the three or four bicycles going, but the kayaks may prove a challenge. Any experiences with rigging them up on the roof, on either side of the air conditioners? Could we use the large awning as an anchor, since it is held on by the arms rigidly when rolled up, for at least one kayak? Could they stand up at the rear corners? Husband is checking out a very used Saturn four-door as a toad; our pockets are not deep enough to include a new car, and I doubt renting one would be a good idea. If we go with anything dragged behind, it would take the bikes and kayaks, as well as extra gear. The Wells Cargo is one axle, just an eight-footer, but it has no brakes - is that an issue, or is less than a thousand pounds okay?
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Old 05-06-2005, 06:37 AM   #12
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two comments- woah Neal 5700 lbs! That is amazing. Is that 310 still around? I have tried to go to see it a number of times....still not made it.
also- anyone- what would a gear vendors over and underdrive do for the towing capabilities?
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:27 AM   #13
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Bringing the Bicycles

Here's a pic of the 345 and Saturn just before we pulled out of Houston bound for Cloudland Canyon.

One of the advantages of the high bicycle mount is that I can just see the handlebars out of the rear window - without the rear view camera I cannot see the Saturn at all when it is on the hitch.

It is somewhat reassuring to see the handlebars when I look at the rear view mirror - I KNOW that the Saturn is still there!
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncleneal
Banks also supplies a K & N filter, which a PO had thrown away on my 345.
Next time you get a K&N all oiled up and ready to go hold it up and look thru it. They are good for power but I would rather have a little more restriction for a street engine. Along with the headers add some tubing that will bring in cold air instead of the preheated air that the engine is getting, a Banks at 1/3 the price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncleneal
Flat towing a car will accelerate the wear on the front tires, since the alignment is not set up for being towed, and I assume the drag is worse than that of a trailer with 2 straight axles.
I agree there would be less drag (and wear) on a trailer as opposed to the toe in that a steering axle should have. The only thing I can see that would increase wear is if the steering hit the lock on a corner and it scrubbed the tires (like the tag does). But if it is rolling down the road being towed or under its own power why would wear increase?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD
what would a gear vendors over and underdrive do for the towing capabilities?
Effectively all an overdrive or underdrive does is change the rear axle ratio by the percentage of the overdrive or underdrive. It won't increase towing capacity but an underdrive will make it easier to climb hills.
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