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Old 02-08-2014, 03:11 PM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Towing ignorance

I apologize, I have posted about this before but I am finally about to pull the trigger and get a truck for my '76 Tradewind 25' (5800 GVWR) and I need final advice. All these towing numbers are still confusing me so bear with me. :/

My question is will a 5.3 v8 silverado 1500, 4 speed trans with an 8700 tow capacity, 3.42 rear axle and 295 hp, 335 torque be enough? My brother is my go-to tow guy but he's all about More Power! More Power! But he's a guy who can afford anything. I cannot. The above truck is in my budget but I don't want to get something that will be destroyed from towing too much weight.

According to the More Power guy a 3.4 axle is not good enough but to upgrade that on an older truck doesn't make sense to me. I do plan on getting the brake controller and extra cooling system installed with whatever truck I get.

Are there any other specs I need to consider? Any additional advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

M
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Old 02-08-2014, 03:20 PM   #2
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My humble opinion is that the truck you have in mind will do a fine job with your trailer. Transmission cooler a necessity. Get a real welding/hitch shop to look at your hitch if you have one or install one if you don't. Get a good weight distributing hitch and then...

Enjoy the journey,

Mike
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:13 PM   #3
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My 08 Chevy with the 5.3 has plenty enough power to pull my 31' Sovereign as fast as I want to go anywhere.

I keep it in third gear all the time while towing and get 9 MPG at about 70 MPH, and over 10 at about 60.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:25 PM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
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I am 99% that my truck has 3.73 gears, but I am running 20 inch rims with tall tires, (the truck is 4wd), giving up about 10% on the speedo/odometer, so effectively 3.40s compared to a truck with stock tire size.

In my educated guesstimate, the truck you mention will pull fine. These trailers cut through the air pretty easy.
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:33 PM   #5
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With a 5.3 v8 silverado 1500, 4 speed trans with an 8700 tow capacity and 3.42 rear axle it will be a bit rough going up hills (wont really be worth trying to pass tractor trailers). Other then that you just need to watch your payload, tongue weight, passengers and everything else in the truck count as payload.
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:52 PM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Well maybe I just got one of those few special trucks that just run good off the assembley line for no good reason, but there isn't a hill between Little Rock AR and El Paso TX that I can't make my little 1/2 ton pull at 70 plus easy enough.

I have been in the trucking business all my life, I have driven all kinds of trucks, frankly I was pleasantly surprised at how well the little truck does pull. It is true that my little truck can't pass every truck going up a hill pulling my 6500 lb trailer, but it can pass most of them.
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:59 PM   #7
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I agree with Wazbro.

It would always be nice to have more power or more transmission gears, but your truck has plenty of power to do a nice job of towing your Airstream. If I had your truck, I would never sell it to get one with more power. It is just not necessary.

The decent is more important than the ascent. Enjoy your towing rig.

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Old 02-08-2014, 09:59 PM   #8
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I am planning on going to Globe AZ and Prescott, AZ in the next week or two, I will update this thread then.

This far the steepest hills I have climbed were Ranger hill west of Ft Worth and the climb between Van Horn, TX and El Paso, TX. Not extreme hills, but substantial.

On ranger hill a couple of days ago I pulled it on cruise control.
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:41 PM   #9
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Comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by merrypaws View Post
I apologize, I have posted about this before but I am finally about to pull the trigger and get a truck for my '76 Tradewind 25' (5800 GVWR) 2005 Safari 25' (6300 GVWR) and I need final advice. All these towing numbers are still confusing me so bear with me. :/

My question is will a 5.3 v8 Silverado 1500, 5.4 V-8 Lincoln half ton 4 speed trans 4 speed trans with an 8700 tow capacity, 8900 tow capacity 3.42 rear axle 3:73 rear axle and 295 hp, 300 HP 335 torque 355 torque be enough? My brother is my go-to tow guy but he's all about More Power! More Power! But he's a guy who can afford anything. I cannot. The above truck is in my budget but I don't want to get something that will be destroyed from towing too much weight.

According to the More Power guy a 3.4 axle is not good enough but to upgrade that on an older truck doesn't make sense to me. I do plan on getting the brake controller and extra cooling system installed with whatever truck I get.

Are there any other specs I need to consider? Any additional advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

M
Hi, you should be fine with this truck. Your specs in Bold and mine in Red / Bold. My specs are a bit better and my trailer is a bit heavier too. I would say try it and maybe have the gears changed to 3:73's.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:23 PM   #10
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Dela Where?

Good news - better minds than mine say your truck is fine. Me? I know that you can drive from Delaware to Florida without getting 100 ft above sea level if that's what you want to do. Even if you're heading to the mountains, the mountains east of the Mississippi aren't nearly as formidable as the Rockies, and there are a LOT more 4 lane interstates that have smoothed out that climb. You'll be fine even off of those interstates. Start easy and work your way up.

BTW, I would like to say a word or two about towing at 70 MPH. First if you pay attention to the endless trailer tire threads you'll know that TRAILER tires are rated for no more than 55 mph. You can upgrade to 16 inch tires and get light truck tires on most Airstreams but even so, towing at 70 MPH simply isn't smart. No matter HOW good your tires are and how robust your tow vehicle is, in an emergency you have a second or two to react and at 55 MPH you have more time to correct, avoid, evade or even just smack something else LESS violently and keep yourself and your stuff intact. (I speak from bitter experience here. I have a nice new Eddie Bauer and new Ford F-150 Ecoboost because I was going pretty fast when I rolled.) I walked away... smarter or at least humbled. I also figured that at age 64 I'd better admit my reflexes weren't as fast as they once were. I'm willing to accept "geezer-ette" status and keep it at 55 mph. The gas mileage is noticibly better too and at $4 per gallon that's good.)

The observation that going DOWNHILL is more important than uphill is entirely true. Braking AND keeping your speed slow enough that you CAN brake effectively is very very important. Brakes on a 3/4 ton or 1 ton truck are monsters, not so much on a 1/2 ton vehicle - so second hint is if you chug to the top of a hill barely making 50 MPH, don't be in any hurry to go down the other side any faster.

Take your time and enjoy the trip as much as the destination. If you're tired, hungry or just need a pit stop - you're pulling a bed, a kitchen and a bathroom - so stop and use them. Plan your trips and if you've got only 4 or 5 days don't try to DO a 1000 mile trip, There are great places to visit within 100 miles of anywhere.

Enjoy and be safe. Paula
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:22 AM   #11
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Most tires are rated at 65, I think. Might be wrong. 70 still too fast!, jim
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:43 AM   #12
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I agree with Foiled on all the points except one: the ST (Special Trailer) tires actually are rated for 65 mph. However, I like to drive 60 and under for all the reasons she stated.

And I think your vehicle will get the job done.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:27 AM   #13
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Last time I took my trailer to London for winter storage, I was overtaken on the 401 highway by a guy towing a 22' or thereabouts. He must have been going an easy 70 or even faster. I winced, just looking at it. 60 is my personal max.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:34 AM   #14
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What is important is this:

Towing capacity
Payload capacity

BOTH are important. The problem is that salespeople focus ONLY on the first one. Look in the door or try to find the payload capacity of the truck and then compare that to cargo, people and tongue weight added together for (payload). The tow capacity you already know. That is it really. Whether it is mountains or whatever, you are within specs- might go slower but it works.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:27 AM   #15
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The truck/AS combination you mentioned should be just fine. I handled our 1977 Tradewind with much less for a number of years - and had some significant hills too.

Good recommendations from others on safe towing speeds. I always keep my speed under 60 mph (100 kmh) when towing. That's a lot of weight to stop or move when an emergency arises! Here's an interesting video:

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Old 02-14-2014, 07:53 AM   #16
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Hopefully the truck you have, or going to get has the factory tow package.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:18 AM   #17
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I have an 05 silverado 5.3 but with 3:73 rear. I pull a 30' Classic through Georgia, Tennessee and Carolina's. I run in tow haul mode and if it starts shifting frequently I shift to 3rd. It does lose power on steep grades but I still pass most in truck lane. I do tow at speed limit and build up speed just before climbing a mountain. I think you are fine with what you are towing. I would recommend LT tires and check your receiver. My 05 has 100k miles on it and I'm trading next week. Just wanted a new one.

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Old 02-14-2014, 11:25 AM   #18
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Cruise Control?

I thought in towing an AS or any trailer you don't use cruise control.

Thought I saw that somewhere.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:46 AM   #19
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Use Cruise Control & Tow-Haul mode (it was selected by the Touareg when it sensed the trailer was hooked up) for many, many, many miles, three different tow vehicles with three different trailers all over this continent, wouldn't drive any other way, assuming the conditions permit it....
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:03 PM   #20
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I don't use cc with my 05 since it shifts to lower gear more frequently than I like. Newer truck may be less of an issue but my 4 speed shifted in and out of OD on every rise in the road.

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