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Old 09-02-2002, 03:19 PM   #1
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This is all new to me, however I am excited about finding / buying a vintage airstream. We look forward to touring / camping with our children. My question is towing. Is it difficult? What type vehicle is needed for towing? Any info will be helpful and appreciated.

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Old 09-02-2002, 08:07 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums...hopefully you will find the answers you are looking for. Variations of this question have been discussed in a lot of different threads...here is a link using "tow vehicle" as the search to get you caught up

Tow Vehicle Thread Links

If you come up with any questions or a different angle for discussion...please post them so we can all benefit from any responses...good luck!

Shari

P.S. The one thing I can tell you first hand is...not enough power in your tow vehicle makes for very slow going in our Colorado mountians. A large V8 is a must as a minimum...especially for a larger unit
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Old 09-02-2002, 09:34 PM   #3
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What's the next car/truck?

Shari,
Just curious, what type of vehicle are you considering next as a tow vehicle? My wife and I have been batting about various thoughts (I thought an old Pontiac convertible would be cool or the old 57 Bel-Air fourdoor I've been staring at for sale in our neighborhood for awhile), but am open to anything. Have you considered a V8 Jeep (I know from your other posts that the six is not powerful enough)? I've even considered putting a V8 conversion in my Astro - I know, others say it's too short, but I really haven't noticed any sway problems. My wife feels a full size van is too big! I'm hoping I'll get a big "ah ha" about some car/truck I haven't thought of yet (besides the full size van/truck/suv route)
Marc
P.s. - Maybe I'll get a Windstar - JUST KIDDING!!!
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Old 09-02-2002, 10:42 PM   #4
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We did consider a Grand Cherokee, although there was a thread that dissuaded those thoughts completely...the wheel base is still too short. Right now we are considering either a mid/late-90's GMC or Chevrolet Suburban. Would prefer a Tahoe or Yukon because we don't need a third seat or the size of a Suburban for normal life, but we are alittle concerned about the shorter wheel base on those too. Probably stick with the Suburbans...

I hear (& see current pictures) of people towing with old vintage cars & LOVE the concept. However, I want to make sure we end up where we are going when we set out for a road trip (I'm funny that way!) ...so we have kinda nixed that idea. Don't wanna be stuck in the middle of Timbuktu waiting for an obsolete part to be delivered... If we were in a situation to have multiple tow vehicles, one would be a vintage "something" for short weekend trips (Mr. InsideOut would LOVE a '48 panel truck) but we're not able to have a spare vehicle right now....oh well!

Shari

P.S. I think you'll be kicked off the Forums if you get a Windstar...
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Old 09-02-2002, 11:41 PM   #5
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We are opting for the cheap and convenient use of my mother's Dodge 350 van conversion/Class B motor home. It may not be the "best" tow vehicle but it fits the bill in that it can handle the load and it has a long wheel base. Also, we don't anticipate towing the 1975 Overlander over the Rockies... At least not yet.

If we find we have problems using this van we may have to break down and buy a "real" tow vehicle. However, if this works, we don't mind being passed on hills or anything like that. After all, I'm travelling in order to relax, not run a race...
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Old 09-03-2002, 02:06 AM   #6
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Running a race is one thing...redlining & overheating at 35 mph is another...

Shari
We're "staying on the flats" for now!
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Old 09-03-2002, 04:37 AM   #7
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Shari,

Your take on the wheelbase has me a bit puzzled. A 19 foot Airstream should be fine behind a 4 door tahoe. I would stay away from a 2 door. We have a member in our unit towing a 25 ft 80's model with a tahoe. They seem to do fine. I don't know if they have towed in the mountains yet, things are pretty flat here in Florida. Personally I think a surburban would be overkill, unless you were planning on getting a larger trailer in the future. Based on he hard work you have done on Maxwell I kinda doubt that you would be "upgrading" in the near future.

Dont' get me wrong, I agree that more is better when it comes to towing, but this will not be the only use for the vehicle. I think that striking some balance is as important as the saftey and towing concerns. Just my $.02 worth.
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Old 09-03-2002, 07:58 AM   #8
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Brett ~

You're right, we have NO intention of replacing Maxwell...however, at some point he may get a big brother, who knows! I would be more concerned about the wheel base issue with a longer trailer.

The other determining factor is availability of older 4-dr Tahoes in our price range....it's that budget thing again! There seem to be 7 Suburbans available for 1 Tahoe. Like I've mentioned in previous threads, we weren't planning on a new tow vehicle when we started this adventure, so budget is a big factor on this one.

We really haven't ruled anything out...it's going to be a matter of what's available when we are ready to bite the silver-bullet!

Shari
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Old 09-03-2002, 09:29 AM   #9
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hello! Your subject is one we were concerned about. We have just purchased a 78 Argosy, so haven't got experience on towing yet. We also live in Colorado, have 6 cyl jeep and a V8 Tahoe. The previous owner of our trailer has a 6 cyl Blazer and said it towed the Argosy just fine ( dont' know if he took it up mountains). Hubby is picking up trailer w/Tahoe (on flatland) but we have always used the jeep when camping. We will be anxious to find out which (if either) vehicle will do best. Will be happy to post when we have more info. Leigh
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Old 09-03-2002, 10:21 AM   #10
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My money is on the Tahoe by a long shot! Our Jeep, although on paper should be fine, it's not adequate in the mountains while towing.

Shari
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Old 09-20-2002, 08:50 PM   #11
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Yippee!

Well, the Jeep Cherokee has made it's last trip! Thank Goodness!

Today we purchased a "new-to-us" 1996 GMC Yukon. It's a 4-dr, 4x4 with a factory tow package, a Vortec 5.7L V8 engine and 3.73 rear axle ratio.

October 4th we will take it on it's maiden voyage to Albuquerque...hopefully, we will make it there alot easier, faster & most importantly safer than we would have in the Jeep! Besides, I don't think Mr. InsideOut would have emotionally survived the anticipated 12+ hours it would have taken us to get there in the Jeep @ <45 mph! He can't stand driving as it is...now it should only be a normal 7-8 hours from Denver at 55-60 mph.

Thanks to all who posted advice that helped in our decision-making process

I'll post an update after the trip...

Shari
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Old 09-20-2002, 09:08 PM   #12
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Towing

Hi Allan,

Towing is really not particularly difficult. There are just a few things you need to remember, like keeping extra safety margins for braking, turning and accelerating. It is quickly learned even by an average driver. You need a little more space to maneuver, like in gas stations and parking lots, but that's not too tough either. Backing up can be challenging, but after backing our 25 footer into a few impossible situations a few times, it's not too bad. In short, there is absolutely nothing to be scared of, if you use common sense and play it safe.
I tow our 5000+ lb Tradewind with a Dodge 350 van. The van has a 5.9l V8 and an automatic transmission. The rear end is a 3:93. It shleps the tradewind very well, even steep and long hills or mountains don't slow it down much below 50mph. Surprising, because the van does not feel very powerful when driving without the trailer. We keep the overdrive turned off to make sure it uses the maximum amount of fuel possible. Just kidding about the fuel. Overdrive off keeps the transmission from slipping in and out of overdrive all the time.
We like the van because of it's great roominess and comfort on long trips with grandkids or kayaking gear etc. They are very cheap to buy used, because they're such boring heaps. But the actual user value is extremely high. We can bring everything and everybody when we take off, with room to spare. Most SUV/pickups/vans will be good tow vehicles, just ask the forum or cruise through Shari's links above. Welcome to the forum!
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Old 09-20-2002, 09:37 PM   #13
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I hate to even ask the question, but...
I'm looking at used Suburbans to tow my 78 Excell 31'. With the Suburban in mind, what should I be looking for?
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Old 09-21-2002, 05:16 AM   #14
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Suburban for 31'

3/4 ton Suburban with big block (7.4 or 8.1 engine depending on year) will take you anywhere you want to go. The 3/4 ton has the transmission to handle it, the 1/2 ton doesn't.
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