Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-27-2006, 01:58 PM   #1
1 Rivet Short
 
1989 25' Excella
By The Bay , Rhode Island
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,547
Images: 3
$.02 Worth of towing advice

As a resource for those contemplating an AS for the coming season, or a TV upgrade, I thought I would put together a summary of my towing experience over the years for those that are interested, and/or may be faced with the oft asked; “to ½ ton or not to ½ ton”? It may give some of you something to think about BEFORE you buy.

1) Started some years back with a ½ ton Suburban and a popup. Found out we loved camping again but hated the hassle of a popup. But it did reinvigorate our interest in camping and we started to go quite frequently. The Suburban was, of course, more than enough TV for a popup (about 3500# loaded), but the single axle did still provide some porpoising and even sway at certain speeds. I had yet to discover WD hitches and anti-sway devices at this point. We started to camp more frequently and after a couple of season moved up to an SOB.
2) The Wife found an SOB she really liked, so we sold the popup. Some time around here we bought a second Burb and I also was smart enough to realize we would need a WD hitch as the SOB was a bit heavier than the popup, about 4500# loaded, still well within the capabilities of a ½ ton Burb. Bought an Equalizer hitch. This setup (dual axle) actually towed better than the lighter, but single axle popup. We had a great time with the SOB and found ourselves venturing further and more frequently than ever. This was way better than a popup.
3) Along comes the 25’ Excella. Still had the ½ ton Burb and Equalizer hitch. Set off on our maiden voyage with the AS to one of our favorite campgrounds on Cape Cod (about 1 ½ hour trip). Whoa wait a minute! What is this spongy, pushed around, engine whining, transmission shifting feeling I am experiencing? Now remember, the Suburban is no slouch and is at the top of the ½ ton food chain, and still well within the legal limits of this setup, but all of a sudden it was no longer in control as noted in situation #1 and #2 above. This was to be a two part trip, so I spent some time reviewing and adjusting my hitch setup before we left on the second leg of the trip. Headed out for leg #2 and still did not feel real good about this so I took it pretty slowly for the next few hours. Once again, after arriving at the second stop, reviewed my hitch setup, checked tires, suspension, etc. Everything looks fine. Towed the return trip (no highway) slowly and we made it home safely. I have to admit; I was very nervous, clenching the steering wheel the entire way, and did not let on to my Wife just how nervous I was. I spent the next week reviewing everything again, very concerned as this was the beginning of the season in New England, and we had many trips planned for the summer. Checked the truck, checked the tires, called Equalizer, went over everything I could think of. I finally realized, I was at the limits of the ½ ton Burb, which we really loved (great family vehicle, ski vehicle, etc). If we wanted to stay close to home it might be OK to continue, but we have grown quite fond of adventuring-we like to hitch up and go! With the camping season looming I knew I had to do something, as I was not at all comfortable with that last towing experience. Well, I was always intrigued with the legendary towing capacity of the Duramax/Allison and found myself back at the Chevy dealer. Traded the Burb and got a nice new ¾ ton crew cab. Less than 24 hours later we were hooked up and headed to Maine (300+ miles) for ten days. “This is more like it”! I thought as we headed north. Now the TV was in control again, just like in scenario #1 and #2 above. A much more relaxed, safe towing experience. Once again, I felt comfortable and ready to go at a moments notice. No apprehension, no spongy feeling, no up-shifting, etc. This is the way towing should be. Well our camping season was back on track, we are venturing all over again at a moments notice, and life is good.

My point in all of this rambling; what if I never had the benefit of the experience of scenarios #1 and #2 and started out by towing a 7000# camper with a ½ ton vehicle?
I would have thought that all that pushing around, transmission downshifting, death grip on the helm, etc was a”normal” towing experience. Well it’s not. If you are contemplating getting into this game, or currently are under gunned with your tow vehicle and the above describes your towing adventures, then there is in fact a better way. I was fortunate enough to work my way up through the ranks safely, and many others here have done the same, and I think will echo my experience. There will always be naysayers that want to tow way too much with a smaller vehicle, or maybe have to due to financial considerations, or just don’t care to venture far from home. Many of them have ended up in a ditch. If you really like to travel, as we do, I can assure you, you will never regret having more than enough tow vehicle underneath you. Go big block gas, go diesel, whichever you prefer, but if you are getting beyond 6000# or so, get the ¾ ton. Traveling at or near max capacity is not much fun.

Bill
__________________

__________________
*Life is Good-Camping all around the Continent*
*Good people drink good beer-Hunter S Thompson*
BillTex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 02:23 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
janetb's Avatar

 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
Santa Cruz , California
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 907
Bill, What an useful post! And not the least bit rambling. Your insights are very helpful to us newbies--especially those of us who are towing cautiously and close to home while we wait for the new TV.
Thanks!
Janet
__________________

__________________
janetb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 02:33 PM   #3
4 Rivet Member
 
2007 25' International CCD
Arlington , Virginia
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 323
Images: 5
I can speak to the 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton. A 1/2 ton CAN pull a 25' AS, however its not a "relaxing, carefree existence. I agree, go for the 3/4 ton if you can afford it. I kicked my Titan to the curb and now drive an 06 PSD CC. This my friends is a SERIOUS no joke truck!
__________________
Streamer1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 02:43 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
 
bobchevy89's Avatar
 
1977 24' Argosy 24
Inverness , Florida
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 264
Thumbs up great post

Hello Bill ,
that was a very good article. I hope it willbe seen by many new owners.a lot of newbe's think that a 1/2 ton vechile wile do because it looks big enough. then after a bad towing experience do they learn.there are a few ,not too many people that think 1/2 ton will surfice. after this I hope that they will grasp what you have experienced..KAMA to you..
Bob
__________________
just want to camp happy
bobchevy89 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 02:47 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
bhayden's Avatar
 
1978 24' Argosy 24
Woodinville , Washington
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 661
Images: 10
Bill,
Interesting read. At first I was surprised that you had such a white knuckle experience with the 'burb. Then I read the weight for your 1989 25' Excella. It's only a foot longer but almost twice the weight of our '78 Argosy 24. Now I remember back when we were shopping why there was a hard limit for us at 23'-24' and how much difference there was in weight as AS marched into the 80's and 90's.

I guess the moral of the story is don't assume that 1-2' doesn't make any difference. You have to consider the whole package and if you're locked in for some reason to a certain class of TV stay within it's limitations. Weight is probably more important than length although wheelbase, overhang, engine torque, hitch wetup, brakes, single vs. dual axle, etc. all make a significant contibution to the towing experience.

-Bernie
__________________
bhayden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 03:25 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
TIMEMACHINE's Avatar
 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
Huntington Beach , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,293
Images: 2
Experience talks

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]3) . Go big block gas, go diesel, whichever you prefer, but if you are getting beyond 6000# or so, get the ton. Traveling at or near max capacity is not much fun.

Bill
A very good lesson and an even greater summary.
__________________
TIMEMACHINE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 03:57 PM   #7
Aluminut
 
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
 
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,334
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex
There will always be naysayers that want to tow way too much with a smaller vehicle, or maybe have to due to financial considerations, or just don’t care to venture far from home. Many of them have ended up in a ditch. If you really like to travel, as we do, I can assure you, you will never regret having more than enough tow vehicle underneath you. Go big block gas, go diesel, whichever you prefer, but if you are getting beyond 6000# or so, get the ton. Traveling at or near max capacity is not much fun.
Amen! Been to the mountain top as well and can mirror your comments.

Always amazing to see a converted 1/2 tonner get the right tool for the job...it's like a big light has been turned on and the fog cleared.......
__________________
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 04:16 PM   #8
More than one rivet loose
 
thecatsandi's Avatar

 
Currently Looking...
Keymar , Maryland
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,754
My $0.02

Bill. Great info.
My observation has been that even though I had a 3/4 ton truck. The right powerplant makes a big difference. My old truck was a F-250 5.4L Gas. My new one F-250 6.0L Diesel. Towing is much easier now.
__________________
Michelle TAC MT-0
Sarah, Snowball

Looking for a 1962 Flying Cloud

thecatsandi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 04:17 PM   #9
Moderator
 
Stefrobrts's Avatar

 
1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 11,906
Images: 50
Blog Entries: 1
I don't know what you guys are talking about, my 1/2 ton pulls just fine
__________________
Stephanie




Stefrobrts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 04:20 PM   #10
Site Team
 
azflycaster's Avatar
 
1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,127
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
I don't know what you guys are talking about, my 1/2 ton pulls just fine
Yup, all 2460 lbs!
__________________

Richard

Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
azflycaster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 05:28 PM   #11
Moderator
 
Stefrobrts's Avatar

 
1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 11,906
Images: 50
Blog Entries: 1
I wondered who would catch that first
__________________
Stephanie




Stefrobrts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 05:49 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
boatdoc's Avatar
 
1973 Argosy 26
Norristown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 644
Images: 1
Arrow 1/2 to 3/4 ton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Amen! Been to the mountain top as well and can mirror your comments.

Always amazing to see a converted 1/2 tonner get the right tool for the job...it's like a big light has been turned on and the fog cleared.......
This evening at about 17:30 me and my wife got a new baby. Leftover 2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD SLT2, Crew Cab 6.0 Liter gasoline. We have considered Duramax for a long time, but reading Diesel Forums many complains are posted about parts availability so I have chickened out from buying Duramax. Can wait to test it out towing. I am sure it will tow my 26 Arg just fine. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
__________________
boatdoc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 06:49 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
1989 37' Airstream 370
Hastings , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 63
Blog Entries: 1
TV size

How did we ever do it 30 years ago when we pulled a 31 foot AS al over the country with Cadillacs, Lincolns and Buicks.

For years I pulled a 34 Foot AS Limited (9,000 lbs.) in the rocky moutains with a 92 1/2 ton Burb 350 small block with no trouble.

When I sold the Burb it ad 194,000 trouble free miles on it.

Pat370
__________________
Pat370 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2006, 08:02 PM   #14
Aluminut
 
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
 
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,334
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat370
How did we ever do it 30 years ago when we pulled a 31 foot AS al over the country with Cadillacs, Lincolns and Buicks.
Pat370

Those cars 30 years ago had nearly i-beams for frames. They had 400ci engines or in a lot of cases larger. A time when excess was king....until the oil embargo, then things leaned out. These vehicles were somewhere between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton in raw density.

I don't think one can compare cars and RVs of today, particularly Airstreams which weighed a good deal less than they do today.
__________________

__________________
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Towing Experience app Tow Vehicles 9 04-19-2004 10:51 PM
30 Footer Advice Needed JaceBeck Our Community 13 10-04-2002 12:51 PM
Towing Regulations by State InsideOut Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches 2 09-16-2002 08:35 AM
Towing cars CBBOB Airstream Motorhome Forums 13 07-24-2002 09:15 PM
Advice please - Travels, Flags, Fuel and Caravans NickSowter On The Road... 6 06-27-2002 11:04 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:06 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.