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Old 03-04-2013, 09:47 AM   #1
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1970 23' Safari
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Towing help

I was just given a 1970 Safari 23' and I towed it home with a 2005 Ford Explorer V6. Granted, the airstream had been sitting for some time and Im sure neither vehicles tires were perfectly inflated but that thing was didnt tow very well on the highway. Is that just not a good vehicle to tow that particular airstream with or is something else the problem. I also did have the vehicle or camper connected as far as camper brake lights, signlals etc,( Thats a different story) but does anyone know the weight of the 70 safari and other towing info about that? I dont want to mess with it if its not safe and Im def. not going to buy a different vehicle.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:01 AM   #2
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Well, the Explorer has a pretty short wheelbase so it is not optimal but, with a decent weight distributing anti-sway hitch set-up, you can certainly tool around safely although slowly.

Serious mountain grades will challenge your V6 but that is what the "granny" lane is for. Make sure trailer and Explorer brakes are in tip-top shape.

Mike
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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A short wheel base tow vehicle vehicle, not so good.

Proper tires, and a quality weight distributing hitch with sway control, set up properly, will mitigate the concerns considerably.

Bob
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:50 AM   #4
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Odds are high that the Explorer's tires are optimized more for ride quality than load carrying capacity, that doesn't help matters. Also, if you weren't using a weight-distributing hitch it could make a big difference in the handling of the Explorer by taking weight off the steering axle.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:57 AM   #5
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Towing help

Greetings brownd355!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownd355 View Post
I was just given a 1970 Safari 23' and I towed it home with a 2005 Ford Explorer V6. Granted, the airstream had been sitting for some time and Im sure neither vehicles tires were perfectly inflated but that thing was didnt tow very well on the highway. Is that just not a good vehicle to tow that particular airstream with or is something else the problem. I also did have the vehicle or camper connected as far as camper brake lights, signlals etc,( Thats a different story) but does anyone know the weight of the 70 safari and other towing info about that? I dont want to mess with it if its not safe and Im def. not going to buy a different vehicle.
I suspect that the Safari may be approaching the trailer tow limit of your Explorer depending upon the differential gearing involved. More than that, I suspect that there may be issues with the hitch rigging. The following are base dry weights for 1970 Airstream Safaris:
  • Safari Land Yacht -- Rear Side Bath -- Twin
    • 3,500 pounds -- hitch weight 425 pounds
  • Safari Land Yacht -- Rear Side Bath -- Double
    • 3,460 pounds -- hitch weight 415 pounds
  • Safari Land Yacht -- Full-Width Rear Bath -- Twin
    • 3,850 pounds -- hitch weight 410 pounds
  • Safari Land Yacht -- Full-Width Rear Bath -- Double
    • 3,800 pounds -- hitch weight 400 pounds
The thing to keep in mind with these numbers is that they reflect a base model coach with no optional equipment, no accessories, and all fluids empty . . . so the actual dry coach weight can be considerably higher.

My suspicion is that you may have experienced some instability due to hitch adjustment. If the coach wasn't towing near level (nose high/nose low), sway can become a much greater problem due to changes in the towing geometry. Towing significantly out of level also can contribute to overloading of the trailer's axle and/or uneven braking of the trailer. Weight distribution adjustment can also have a direct impact on stability particularly where it relates to sway control devices such as the Reese Dual Cam sway control system.

Tires on both the tow vehicle and trailer can impact stability. The trailer should have either ST (Special Trailer) or LT (Light Truck) tires for towing stability. A truck-based tow vehicle or SUV should, ideally have LT (Light Truck) rather than P-Metric (Passenger Car) tires for their increased sidewall stiffness.

It is quite possible that you had multiple conditions contributing to the instability. Improperly adjusted trailer brakes or bearings could also impact towing stability.

Good luck in identifying the culprit of your towing instability!

Kevin
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:47 PM   #6
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I have a similar sized trailer ('77 Safari) but I tow with a larger vehicle (Tundra).

The first time I towed it was ok but I didn't love it. I had lots of truck so I had a large margin of error, with a smaller truck your set up makes more of a difference in your comfort towing.

I've done the following to improve how my rig tows and I'm really happy.

1) Set up the hitch
I spent a whole afternoon adjusting the hitch to get it where I wanted it. Make sure you're loaded the way you would travel, the extra gear makes a difference.

2) Adjusted the truck's tire pressure. this was trial and error. My truck has 16" LT tires and I've found they run best at 45psi for towing, the manual recomends 29psi.

3) new brake controller - I started with a time based controller and upgraded to a Tekonsha P3, Big improvement.

4) Trailer tires - mad a huge difference - I'm running LT tires and the trailer tracks much better.

On top of all that I plan my routes carefully to avoid mountains and big cities when ever possible.

Good luck!
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:04 PM   #7
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If you are avoiding the mountains, you are missing an awful lot of beautiful country.
I can understand avoiding the cities.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
If you are avoiding the mountains, you are missing an awful lot of beautiful country.
I can understand avoiding the cities.
True!
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