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Old 08-13-2010, 08:07 AM   #1
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1980 Excella (31 Ft) Gross Weight/Tongue weight?

I am considering the purchase of a 1980 31 Ft. Excella. In order to identify a suitable tow vehicle it would be helpfull if I I could learn the approximate vehicle weight and tongue weight. Can anyone help with this info?

Also would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what vehicle would serve as a suitable tow vehicle?

Thanks !
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:12 AM   #2
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I believe that Excella would have a dry weight of around 7200, a gross of 9000 or so, and a tongue weight in the 800-950 lbs area if loaded properly.

You could tow it with a larger F150, just, but an F250 or 2500HD would be more comfortably within its range towing that trailer.

You'd definitely want a 5.4 gas or larger turbo diesel engine.
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:17 AM   #3
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There are 4 configurations of 31' Excella listed on the chart, but they are all around 4700 pounds with a tongue weight of 600-650 pounds. This is the factory dry weight and you can expect your weight to be higher. Only a trip to the scale will give you the real numbers.
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:30 AM   #4
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That low? *boggle* I towed a 99 31ft Excella last year and to be safe I visited the scale - it was 7200 lbs!

This is of interest to me because my "forever airstream" was always expected to be 26-28ft, due to weight concerns towing a 31ft with an F150 FX4, but if that's all they weight - and my rebuild will certainly strip off a LOT of lbs - then a 31ft AS would be in the running too!

(My last rebuild, the Tradewind dropped from 3155 to 2720 - though it was partially stripped out when I got it)
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:11 AM   #5
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I think any 250/2500 diesel will do the job nicely.Consider the GMC /Crew cab /Duramax. I'm not a Chevy guy but I like the looks and sound of that unit. Don't spare the horses on the hitch.I use a Reese Dual cam,which gives me WD and anti sway all in the same hitch. I feel a 3000 k$ hitch is actually overkill but not a bad investment.
There are those that feel you can tow that big a trailer with a smaller TV,but my personal feeling is,its just a wreck goin some place to happen.
GOOD LUCK on your TV search.
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:36 AM   #6
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1980 Excella (31 Ft) Gross Weight/Tongue weight?

Thanks folks for the info help! I will have to look for a larger tow vehicle than the one I was contemplating, but .... better safe than sorry huh?!
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Try looking at Airstreams webpage. I think the weight is shown there on the older units as well as floor plans. I have a 1980 Excella center bath and pull it with a 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive unit with no problems at all. I don't think I would consider anything less though.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:32 PM   #8
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It's an airstream. Airstream themselves think it should be towed with a bicycle!
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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I have a friend that tows a newer ( '02) 31'er using a full size Chevy van 1500 series. I've riden with him several times. It seems adaquate. He's been all over with that combination, Yellowstone, East with no issues. He's a very, very conservative driver. During my rides with him I felt that every now and then, like during a turn, if he applied the brakes that for a brief moment the trailer had control of the truck. Not the other way around. I did not feel comfortable and when I got my trailer I opted to purchase a 2500 series diesel pickup. In looking I had trouble finding the truck I wanted and ended up with a 3500 series Dodge. Personally I think that for ease of towing and making the trip more relaxed that the 2500/3500 does the job nicely. I've just come home from a trip out west and over 6k miles. Other than the long days driving I feel comfortable and relaxed during the tow. I use the cruise control and just sit back and enjoy the ride. You will see many combinations out there. It's obvious that many of them are adaquate for the job but it's what you're happy with that will count the most. I can handle the passes in Colorado easily and cruise the flatlands and enjoy the ride. I never feel that the trailer has the stick and my truck has sufficient braking power that even if the trailer brakes were to fail I could handle it. I think you would find that the 2500 / 3500 series in any brand would do the job nicely and with ease. Anything less and you just may be riding the fence. That's my opinion for what it's worth.

Hope you enjoy many towing miles.
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:54 PM   #10
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83 Excella

Did tons of research, reading and checking out specs on different Airstreams-I also talked to hitch experts. I wanted 28-31', on the lighter side. My present tow vehicle is a Dodge Dakota, V8. I now have a 31', 1983 Excella. Weight is 4,950 lbs, empty. It can hold nearly another 2,000 lbs, which I don't plan on doing. My vehicle is rated to tow 6,900 lbs. I have the Reese Weight Distribution Hitch and Dual Cam Sway Control which is great. I will have a full size Dodge down the road. In the meantime, I will keep well under my allowable weight so as not to beat up my 7 year old Dakota and to be very safe. I would not do this combo without the Weight Distribution Hitch.
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