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Old 01-09-2003, 02:35 PM   #15
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Thumbs up Re: Towing Airsteams in the 1960s ???

Quote:
Originally posted by overlander64
I know that the brand X trailer dealer who sold me my first new travel trailer in 1980 tried to convince me that my 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 with a 383 c.i. engine having 335 hp V8 could tow a 6,000 pound 26' Nomad - - I chose an 18' trailer weighing 3,000 pounds as a more realistic match.

Kevin [/B]
Hi Kevin.. Back in the mid 60's my Dad started a trailer club up here in Ontario. It soon grew to 50 trailers with a waiting list to get in. One of his close friends had a 65 Plymoth Fury 2 door with the same engine that you had. He had the only Airtream in the club, a 27 ft International. He loved the performance of the Fury and the way it towed the 27ft er. Took it to Florida and back every year plus weekend trips. More evidence of the towing advantage of the A/S's
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:19 PM   #16
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A '63 30' Sovereign weighed 4500 lbs dry
while a '03 30' Classic weighs 7230 lbs dry.

A '63 16' Bambi weighed 1875 lbs dry while
a '02 16' Bambi (last year of production) weighed 2880 lb dry.

And others have already mentioned the older cars' full frames, torquey big-block motors, and truck trannies. Today, cars are made as absolutely light-duty as possible for higher gas mileage. They use smaller engines and get horsepower through rpms rather than torque. (HP=(torqueXrpm)/5252). The SUVs of today are just the full-sized station wagons of the 60's. Problem is the trailers have gotten a lot heavier, so larger tow vehicles are necessary.
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:36 PM   #17
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Remember, the Interstate system was not complete in the early 1960's. The secondary state highways were used and the speeds on those (at least the posted speeds) were not 70 MPH.

You could tow a lot slower on those roads and therefore didn't need a powerfull truck. Also, trucks back then were very spartan and for the most part, not comfortable for long trips.

A lot of the half ton trucks back then with 6 cylinders and 3-on-the-tree transmissions probably didn't have as much towing power than your average 8 cylinder automobile with an automatic transmission. 3/4 ton and higher trucks were not common except on farms, businesses, etc.

Remember on the "Long, Long, Trailer", Lucy speeds up to 30 MPH and Desi freaks out. (I forgot the movie names they used)
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Old 01-09-2003, 06:47 PM   #18
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I always woundered about that Moe....

Why did they get heavier? And by near 3000 lbs to boot. Comparing two models set up the same way (60's -03'), the 60's model had porcelin toilets, sinks (bath and kitchen) steel water tanks, wood interiors and a frig that weighs twice what they do today. Where did they put it all? Remember, I said set up the same way. Oscar
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Old 01-09-2003, 09:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diana Langley
So how do older engines compare to new ones as far as power? They used to use terms like 386 V8, now it's 3.6 liter V6.

I have seen pictures of family cars towing trailers from the 60's too. I guess I'm still stressing a bit about my 4Runner towing my '65 Globetrotter up and down a steep grade.

Diana, for example, the "454" or "350" designations on Chevrolet V8's refers to engine dispacement expressed in cubic inches. The liter designations measure engine displacement or capacity in liters. The same Cheverolet engines are refered to as 7.4 liter or 5.7 liter in metric terms. A liter is approx 60 cubic inches. Engines of comparable size and design have improved in fuel efficiency and greatly reduced exhaust emissions. The horsepower/torque figures are pretty equal to the old days. My dad pulled a 6,500lb boat with a '68 Olds, 400 cubic in. V8, auto trans. about 200mi. a weekend when I was kid. Used lots of gas but with air shocks the car didn't mind a bit. All that stopped in '73 when the gas mess hit.
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Old 01-09-2003, 10:18 PM   #20
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Hi to the towing gurus !!
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Old 01-09-2003, 10:18 PM   #21
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Hi to the towing gurus !!
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Old 01-09-2003, 10:37 PM   #22
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Oscar,

There are a number of reasons for the increased weight.

1 Bigger and more holding tanks. In 63 they had no grey water tank and the fresh was 20 gallons. Today we have 3 tanks and the fresh is 50 gallons. 30 gallons of water can weigh alot.

2. All of the units today come with AC and a awning as standard equipment. These were options that could be added, usally after manufacture, but as an owner you need to add them to the weight of the trailer. This means that published numbers can run lighter for older models.

3. Stuff. The older trailers had less storage than todays trailers and so the new ones have more cabinets to hold all of the stuff we "have" to take with us. Also those cabintes in the 60's were made of medium hard wood plywood, not the oak that is used today in many of the models. As a hard wood oak is very heavy stuff. Also they used to try to make them as light as possible, but now they don't seem to worry as much. I am thinking of John Irwin's drawers that weigh 8 LBS each empty. This is in a new 2002 international.

4. The newer trailers are wider than the ones from the 60's. I know I saw a list of the model year changes but I do not remember exactly. I think there is a 1 foot in width and a 6-8 inch interior height diffrence. This adds alot of weight even if it is alumimum.

Those are the biggest things I can think of, but I am sure that others can come up with a few more.
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Old 01-09-2003, 11:29 PM   #23
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It's me again (the non-computer person),
It would seem towing is one of the most questioned activities in AS Land. Including in my part of the kingdom. We passed on a 31' - '72 Sovereign LY. With the help of the great forums members we found we were under-powered.
We have, just today, passed on a '73 - 27' Overlander. Checked with Overlander '64 (Kevin) and found we are still under-powered. There seems to be a pattern developing !
We have a '97 GMC Sub - 4x4 - 1500 series towing pkg. with about 70K easy miles. What WILL the ..um....DARN thing tow (she says losing patience)?
We started out with an eye for and still would love, a Tradewind - '69 - early '70s. We have an idea of the features we'd like but don't know the year best to fit those desires.

Any thoughts thankfully appreciated,
suz and ike
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Old 01-10-2003, 08:48 AM   #24
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My 1963 Overlander (now sold) had no grey water tank. Most all the cabinets and other builtins were covered with 1/8th inch plywood veneer. The walls were painted aluminum - no covering. Floor was originally linolium, no rug. A far cry from my 10,000 lbs 1991 34' Excella.
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Old 01-10-2003, 12:38 PM   #25
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Compliments of Airstream

Cover page from the owners manual ('65 TradeWind), no hefty truck, but a swell looking convertible.

regards...

keylime
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Old 01-10-2003, 01:55 PM   #26
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Sub pull

Suz, your Suburban manual should state what it's towing capacity is. Just remember to try and stay alittle under that limit (some say 75-80%). That's where I'd start. Also try a search in the forums under "towing" or "suburban." There was also a poll recently about what the members used to pull....a lot seem to have 1/2 ton p/u's. Your Suburban is a close relative. A clue to how much a relative trailer weighs is the Gross Vehicle Weight rating on the front road side. There should be a plate there with this info. I say "clue", as only actually weighing the trailer will you have an accurate number. Happy hunting - the Tradewind sounds fine.
Marc
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Old 01-10-2003, 02:05 PM   #27
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Key lime....

Swell is right. You could also describe it as
"vacationing Al a carte".
Can't do it much better than that.
Wonder if the Plymouth has a Hemi under the hood?
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Old 01-11-2003, 12:54 AM   #28
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SUB PULL

MARC,
THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT. IKE HAS CHECKED THE MANUAL BUT I GUESS THERE ARE A NUMBER OF VARIABLES TO CONSIDER. WE'RE LEARNING - THANKS TO THE GREAT AIRSTREAM SITES AND ESPECIALLY THE GREAT PEOPLE !

suz
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