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Old 03-23-2014, 09:30 PM   #1
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1966 30' Sovereign
Ojai , California
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What do i need to tow my '66 Airstream Sovereign?

Hello my lovelies!
So after much research on this marvelous website I have sold my car to purchase a suitable tow vehicle. After alot of Craigslist nightmares, I am the proud new owner of some sweet new wheels. Not really, but I am hoping it will do the job. A '98 Ford Expedition. In the very impractical color white. It's the one with the 5.6-liter engine.
It has a tow-package. What kind of ball-hitch thing do I need? What size? What is a brake controller? Does it plug into the socket thing on the back of the Explorer? Does that mean I need a new battery for the Airstream because i don't think the one on it works? Do i need a marine grade battery? And do i need a transmission cooler?
Sorry for all the questions. I tried very hard not to pester you guys by reading this site but I just got so confused I gave up.
Thank you guys and dolls!
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:57 PM   #2
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I had both a '97 Expedition, and a '98. I recall they came with a 4.6 l engine or a 5.4 l engine. Neither had excess power in the early years of production, they got slightly better later. Which one do you have? I thought my 5.4 did fine, but with the 4.6 model I had to climb to work sites at high elevations, and it noticed the altitude.

What is your rated tow capacity, given the tow package and engine? I know there was a heavy duty trailer towing package, but there may have also been a lighter duty towing package on the option list.

You need a weight distributing hitch with sway control. There are lots of brands available, from basic to the Hensley/Pro Pride level, depending how much you want to spend.

You need a brake controller, installed in your truck. It is mounted within reach of the driver. Various types available. I believe the HD trailer towing package included prewiring for the brake controller, but not the controller itself.

You should have a charged battery on the Airstream. If the current one is shot, replace it.

Pretty sure your towing package includes an auxiliary transmission cooler (the HD towing package did), but perhaps others will chime in.

Good luck, and fire away with questions.

Jeff
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:43 PM   #3
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Thanks Jeff - you are an angel!
I have the 5.4-liter engine not a 5.6 - duh!
Actually I am going to PM you.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:53 PM   #4
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You will need a weight distributing/anti-sway hitch, witch will consist of a hitch head (the part with the ball that is on the tow vehicle) and weight bars/friction anti-sway device.
You will also need an electric brake controller- a device mounted in the vehicle that ties the vehicle's braking system in with the trailer's braking system- when you depress your brake pedal the trailer brakes will be applied, too. The brake controller has a "gain" control that allows you to "dial in" more or less trailer brakes until you have a smooth, fluid stop without the trailer jerking the tow vehicle to a stop (too much trailer brake) or not stopping quickly enough (not enough trailer brake).
If I get a chance I will post pictures of the devices mentioned.
Some of these devices may already be in place.
Basically, jcl covered the same points.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:50 PM   #5
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This is quite alot for my extremely small brain to take on-board!
But I appreciate the help and advice and I think I understand what I have and what i need.
What i do NOT know, and cannot work out, is what size ball-thing is needed for a 1966 Sovereign??!!!
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:03 PM   #6
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go to Etrailer to buy your hitch, they are great to work with ...
you will need a 2" ball on the weight distributing hitch you buy
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emmabowles View Post
What I do NOT know, and cannot work out, is what size ball-thing is needed for a 1966 Sovereign??!!!
Emma

It is a hitch ball, not a ball thing.

The Airstream spec sheet says that in 1966 the coupler was a 2".

It may have been changed to a larger one since then. I would look on it for any markings, indicating a size like 2", or 2 5/16".

Jeff
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:47 PM   #8
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Whether the coupler is 2" or 2 5/16" it should be marked.
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