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Old 03-05-2008, 03:19 PM   #1
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Question Just bought our 1st Airstream

Yup, the fever bug got us... we have been oooooing and aaaaahhhhing vintage airstreams for some time now... and finally found that one silver bullet that fit juuuuussst right. lol


The thing I am most concerned with now is picking it up... noooo, not litterally. We are to go and get our new dream tube in July and was woundering if any of you know if my 1985 restored F150 with a 302 and 4 speed bulldog tranny will pull her.

She's a shinney 31' Sovereign with a middle bath and queen bed in rear...

help... do you think my wee truck will do the job?

Thanks,
Greg and Samantha

Join us at the "Great Smokey Mountain Getaway Airstream Rally"
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f288...way-40186.html
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:33 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums! Glad to have you "in the family"...I can't answer your TV question, but I wanted to welcome you aboard anyways!

Good luck!

Shari
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:38 PM   #3
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I think your truck will have problems with a trailor that big. How is your suspesion? I imagine a trailor that size would squat the rear end of your truck pretty bad. I would also say that a 302, even a built one, wouldn't have the tourque to get a trailor like that up hills. These are just my thoughts and I dont really know the specifics of your truck.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoMatt
I think your truck will have problems with a trailor that big. How is your suspesion? I imagine a trailor that size would squat the rear end of your truck pretty bad. I would also say that a 302, even a built one, wouldn't have the tourque to get a trailor like that up hills. These are just my thoughts and I dont really know the specifics of your truck.

The suspension was upgraded by the farmer I bought it from... Whatever he put on it sure does nice when a real heavy load in in the rear bucket.

Last week I hauled 5 bobcat buckets of pee-gravel in her and the rear didnt sink a bit.

I too was concerned about those hills on the way home though... I guess thats why I was asking...

I really appreciate your input and will do some testing before we go get our airstream. Thanks
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:32 PM   #5
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Which transmission do you have? Is it the normal 3 speed plus OD manual transmission, or the NP435 four speed with the granny gear? I know the latter was available with the 300 inline six. If you have the V8 with that transmission, pulling power will be adequate, even with a 3.08 final drive.

The tongue weight (no more than 800 lbs loaded, I'd say) of a vintage Sovereign shouldn't be a problem for a half-ton pickup with a properly set up weight distributing hitch. You will need to pay attention to stability. Sway control and stiff sidewall LT tires on the truck are items to consider.

When the trailer was new, cars of similar size and weight to your truck were used to pull it.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:33 PM   #6
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Greg n sam...welcome to the forums.

We tow a 75 Ambassador 29' with a 1/2 ton chevy with no issues, but I would still look into your tow vehicle further. Gatlinburg sure is nice, and you have a HUGE contingent of TN airstreamers close to you.

If you like to travel a little ways, we host a rally for forum members in April and October every year, but so does the TN airstream crowd.

Whatever the case...welcome to the forums!!!

Steve
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:40 PM   #7
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your TT/TV combo question, you may be pushing the envelope. You don't mention how far you are going to tow the Airstream to get it home. If it's a fairly short distance, you can give it a try and see how it feels. If your TV is truly outclassed, it could be a very long and uncomfortable trip home.

You will be needed to get some sort of weight distribution/anti sway hitch system. You will also need a trailer brake controller. These are things you will need regardless of the type TV that you have. There are a number of threads on these issues on these Forums.

Safe Travels,
Brian
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF
Which transmission do you have? Is it the normal 3 speed plus OD manual transmission, or the NP435 four speed with the granny gear? I know the latter was available with the 300 inline six. If you have the V8 with that transmission, pulling power will be adequate, even with a 3.08 final drive.

The tongue weight (no more than 800 lbs loaded, I'd say) of a vintage Sovereign shouldn't be a problem for a half-ton pickup with a properly set up weight distributing hitch. You will need to pay attention to stability. Sway control and stiff sidewall LT tires on the truck are items to consider.

When the trailer was new, cars of similar size and weight to your truck were used to pull it.
The restored F150 has the NP435 four speed with the granny gear. I have already purchased and installed 33X12.5 Bighorn Maxxis all terrain tires mounted on 15 inch rims ... I just went out and looked at the suspension and it is lifted a little compaired to factory (i'd say about 2 to 3 inches).

Thanks....

Our First ever Rally in August this year: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f288...way-40186.html

Keep in touch, I will talk to my wife about attending the rally you mentioned which is coming in October as well...
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your TT/TV combo question, you may be pushing the envelope. You don't mention how far you are going to tow the Airstream to get it home. If it's a fairly short distance, you can give it a try and see how it feels. If your TV is truly outclassed, it could be a very long and uncomfortable trip home.

You will be needed to get some sort of weight distribution/anti sway hitch system. You will also need a trailer brake controller. These are things you will need regardless of the type TV that you have. There are a number of threads on these issues on these Forums.

Safe Travels,
Brian

Groovy, thanks Brian...

I have been looking at some weight distribution systems and anti-sway systems before leaving... Remember, we wont be going to get the trailer until July.... So, it looks like I have some time to buy what is needed.

Regarding the trailer braking system; Dont all of the 78 and newer 31' airstreams have braking systems standard? or do I need to buy one and install it?
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:25 PM   #10
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Proud new owners of this:



1978 Sovereign - Paid full price ($5,800) bought it right here at Air Classifieds... Aint she a beaut!
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:29 PM   #11
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Yes she is, what a beaut. Enjoy it and welcome aboard. Now get out and use it!!!
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_n_sam
Groovy, thanks Brian...
<snip>
Regarding the trailer braking system; Dont all of the 78 and newer 31' airstreams have braking systems standard? or do I need to buy one and install it?
I don't know what braking system your trailer has but I think the question is, "how do you control the TT's brakes".

In the case of our 2007 19' International Bambi with electric brakes, the answer was to install a controller in our TV. Fortunatly, our TV came prewired for a controller. It is a bunch of wires that gets power from the TV's electrical system, includes a harness to connect up to the brake controller and runs back to the hitch for connection to the TT through the standard connector. If your TV doesn't have this prewiring, then the installation will be more involved but certainly not impossible for a TT mechanic.

I hope this is helpful!
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_n_sam
The restored F150 has the NP435 four speed with the granny gear. I have already purchased and installed 33X12.5 Bighorn Maxxis all terrain tires mounted on 15 inch rims ... I just went out and looked at the suspension and it is lifted a little compaired to factory (i'd say about 2 to 3 inches).
Oops. . . those tall tires will effectively give you a taller final drive, and reduce pulling power. They are also effectively the opposite of a stiff sidewall LT tire - great off-road, but not the first choice for a highway tire.

I'd suggest 215 or 225/75 LTs, and getting rid of the lift kit for optimum stability while towing. Yeah, the truck won't look as impressive, but it will tow better.
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:15 AM   #14
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF
Oops. . . those tall tires will effectively give you a taller final drive, and reduce pulling power. They are also effectively the opposite of a stiff sidewall LT tire - great off-road, but not the first choice for a highway tire.

I'd suggest 215 or 225/75 LTs, and getting rid of the lift kit for optimum stability while towing. Yeah, the truck won't look as impressive, but it will tow better.

Thanks for the advice Albert... I will have to look for some more tires... grrrr, I may just sell the truck and buy a better TV... If you know of anyone who is looking for a very nice off roading truck, let me know. A pic of the F150 is below:



She has a new Fire Engine Red Paint job and she has only about 70,000 miles on her.
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