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Old 09-21-2010, 08:18 PM   #15
Rivet Master
1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 548
Just got back

Just got back from the first run. The 1/2 ton Express Van 5.3 3.73 came in over weight when I went to the scale in route home. Axle one 3600 Axle two 4220 third axle 4420 Total 12240 at Gordy's Truck Stop La Pine Or. I am towing a 1973 Trade Wind empty tanks, some propane. How did they do it in the old days with Station Wagons etc.? 12240lbs with canoe, me, wife, dog a spare tire for TW and really not too much extra. I could shave it back a few hundred pounds like one jack instead of 3, 2 canoe paddles instead of 4. Etc. I didn't carry a bunch of canned goods, tools etc. Kind of the basics for on the road travel. Yes, I have a come-a-long and some large tie down straps but if I have to worry about that I am in trouble.

It had to work going up a 6% longish grade engine temp went up 40 degrees in moderate weather. I want to be at that 80% and keep the worries to a minimum.

So it looks like I will be in the market for a tow vehicle. Thanks for your input


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Old 10-12-2010, 10:57 AM   #16
3 Rivet Member
jspafford's Avatar
2006 25' Safari FB SE
San Diego , California
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 103
Hi, Tony
We pull our 25' Safari with a 2005 Express van 3500. You've no doubt discovered the super flexibility of using a full-sized van as a tow vehicle:
oodles of space for people and stuff in the van, good visibility, excellent value when compared to SUV prices.

We usually travel with one bench seat installed for our dogs - just high enough for them to see out, and the back two bench seats removed and stored at home. We put the travel boxes there: emergency box with jumper cables, tow strap, flares, snow chains, multimeter, quick fix equipment, etc.; campsite box with stuff that goes right out into the campsite: table cover, lantern, trash bags, etc.

The van also carries chairs, generator, firewood, water jugs, backup gas can (there's also a backup gas can in the trailer,) compressor/battery jumper (nifty tool!) and one set of clothes.

At home the van is the go-to vehicle for out-of-town family events. We take the extended family and friends everywhere.

I recommend you search for a used 12-passenger van (don't get a 15 passenger van, the extra length is a detriment to towing and handling.) There are many available, retired from schools, rental angencies and van-pool organizations. They have had good maintenance and generally light use, rarely used as tow vehicles.

Here's a review:Chevrolet Express Van Review -

The 3500 (one-ton) Express has 10,000# capacity. We get 12-15 mpg while not towing, and 9-11 mpg while towing.


John and Lynn,
Silvia ('06 25' Safari SE FB) and Silvester ('05 Chevy Express 3500)
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:35 AM   #17
4 Rivet Member
1971 29' Ambassador
Leonardtown , Maryland
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 262
Images: 3
We also use the 3/4 ton truck with a shell. I put our supplies in Rubber Made containers. One for drinks (water, fruit juice and sodas) another for extra clothing when needed, one large one for chairs and the ground mat. another for truck supplies(tow strap, ropes, tent stakes stuff to change tires), These boxes will stack. I carry a triangular garden hoe with a long handle to teach the front of the truck bed. Tools and satalite dish are near the tailgate with two coolers. I have a kitty litter bucket at the back with bungie cords, bug spray, wd40 and other needed items.
When we go on the road it is for several weeks to several months.


Rebee - WBCCI #1325
2002 Classic Ltd 30'
2007 Dodge 2500, 6.7 Cummins
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:50 AM   #18
Always Airstreaming!
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2005 22' Safari
1960 24' Tradewind
Anytown , Connecticut
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,114
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We don't like packing, unpacking and then doing all over again. We did that when we had the tent! What belongs in the Airstream stays in the Airstream, everything else in the truck. We have camped every weekend since easter but two as we did last year. Food, clothing, books, movies and what have you are either cleaned, replaced or added by Tuesday evening so we are ready to go except of course the freash produce and meats. The truck has my kayak, our bikes, chairs, tables, EZ-Up, grill, adult beverage cooler, flags, tarps, ropes etc. which stay in the truck all season (mid December). It is best to put things where they belong and when you hit maximum load start taking things out! A ligher Airstream is always a happier Airstream. Keep you load balanced and all will be fine. You will be very surprised on how quickly you can overlaod your setup. Getting to a CAT Scale whith fresh water tank and propane tanks filled along with your usual load is the only way to weigh the rig. Don't forget any passangers including Fido are also to be weighed. Keep it light, keep the shiny side up and happy camping!

J. Rick Cipot
Sandi Gould
NEU New England Unit
Airstream Life Magazine
Proud Member of WBCCI
WBCCI #3411
AIR #17099
2009 Silverado 2500HD
2004 22' Safari
1960 24' Tradewind
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