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Old 01-28-2006, 10:30 AM   #29
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1996 30' Excella
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I have to put my 2 cents in, consider that the brakes on the trailer may not be up to par. If the trailer has been sitting a long time or the previous owner hasn't maintained the trailer brakes, brake springs rust and fall apart leaving your trailer brakes useless and then it will put more strain on your TV brakes. When I drove 2500 miles to pick up my 8 yr old trailer I heard a swish swish sound coming from the wheels, brake parts rolling around inside the wheel. Consider insurance liability if in a worse case scenario, you couldn't stop in time and had a fender bender, this could cost you more than you ever thought. The rent or borrow a TV sounds like the best bet. Maybe alot cheeper to see if someone from this forum has the time to help you with this little adventure.
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Old 01-28-2006, 02:43 PM   #30
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Are you sure you don't know anybody with a trailer who might have a tow vehicle? In-laws, out-laws, bored snow birds, Craig's List? Maybe your buddy with the truck would like to get away for an adventure? By the time you install a brake controller, trans. cooler, etc., etc, it will be easy to drop $1,000, and if you're not going to use it again to tow, that's money you could spend on a rental, if you could find one with a brake control. I used to have to tow a trailer that was too heavy, with no brakes, twice a year, 60 miles. You can NEVER fully relax. 1,500 miles is a long way.
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Old 01-28-2006, 03:00 PM   #31
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hi crsdawg and others

welcome to airstreamin'

i think there is another forum somewhere for 'accidents waiting to happen'

my approach would be to find someone who has one,

or rent a flatbed truck. load it and tow it home.

then you can replace tires and service brakes, bearing, suspension, hitch, lights AND figure out mods for the van in the comfort and leisure of home.....

why spend on these items just to tow it home?
you might end up wasting money on the t.v. only to trade it.
might get a better deal on trailer tires and so on......once it's home.

if you are pinching pennies to get it home you will likely "inspect" the safety issues with a bias toward 'maybe i can make it one time' and the base t.v. is just the tip of towing cost issues.

how much does it cost you to really look around for a flatbed towing option? that would me my mode de travel......

cheers and happy travels
2air'
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Old 01-28-2006, 04:27 PM   #32
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Not good!

I recently towed a 70's Excella 500 for about 300 or so miles with my Suburban.
It was not a light or easy to handle trailer, with bad axles and cheap tires. It towed very poorly. It also felt much heavier than it's advertised weight, even though it was empty of water and propane.
In it's defense, i did not spend a whole lot of time setting up the weight distribution, nor did I adjust brakes or bearings etc. Everything was supposed to be recently done by the PO.
In retrospect, I would have used a heavier tow vehicle to drag this old trailer home.
I can not recommend using an Astro Van to tow a 31ft trailer like this in questionable/unknown mechanical condition.
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Old 01-28-2006, 05:01 PM   #33
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Where is the trailer located? Perhaps someone on the list would go look it over for you... to ensure the "bargain" trailer is a good one.

I also recommend renting a truck. It may cost about the same as outfitting your van.
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Old 01-28-2006, 09:27 PM   #34
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Exclamation

I am so glad to see that others agree that it isn't smart to tow a 31' with a Safari. Safety is ALL that matters when towing, don't just think of yourself but of the ones you might take with you if you loose control. Our 79 Excella 500 weighed in at 6080 pounds empty. We had to have it weighed so we took out anything that would add weight, mattresses, food, water, etc. The book said dry weight was 5858. So if you are only supposed to tow 5500, you will be over weight and with what you are towing with, that's not smart. Can't you find something closer, surely there is an Airstream closer to you for sale and maybe the seller would deliver it to you? ou might pay alittle more but you'll be safer and in the long run, cost alot less.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:16 PM   #35
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i wanted to tell everyone that i've decided to hold off on this particular trailer.

i look at the numbers and my van will pretty much at it's limit. i think i'd be ok for a short trip, but after looking at mapquest and doing the math, i'd be towing for 3 1/2 days. that's just to big of a window for something to go wrong. the AS is sweet(dent free, great int, everything working, new tires....)and it's a good deal and all, but my gut(along with many posters) keeps telling me to pass. if it was a shorter trip i don't think i'd be so hesitant. i wish using another tow vehicle was an option, but it's not. the $'s just don't add up. by this time i'm sure the rig has been sold, so it's probably a moot point anyway.

i've decided to be patient and try to find something closer to home. anyone know of a reasonably priced 31 footer somewhere near southwest MO?


thanks again for all the advice, this forum is great.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:39 PM   #36
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CRSGAWG, I think you made a wise choice. Better safe than sorry. I know you had your heart set on this one but something better will come your way. I can tell you from experience that totaling an Airstream just makes you sick, totaling 2 of them makes you even sicker but certainly more careful. Good luck on finding the right one for you, it's out there .
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:05 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by crsdawg
hiya guys, great site. i hope that asking for answers on a first post isn't looked down upon, but i'm getting very close to pulling the trigger on a '70's excella 500 and i'm worried about getting it home. the trailer is pretty much going to be my stop gap living quarters for awhile. i want to go with airstream because they hold their value, and are just plain cool. i figure if i'm going to become trailer trash, i might as well have some style while i'm at it.

anyway, here's what's bothering me, my tow vehicle is a gmc safari, and the AS i'm looking at is about 1500 miles away. i've looked at the #'s and it's kinda close. the excella weighs in at 4800 lbs, and my truck has a towing capacity of 5500 lbs. the trailer will be dry and i'm just going from A to B. i realize this is not the actual tow weight of the trailer and that's what's worrying me the most.

my question, is this going to work?

getting this trailer would really help me out and it's a bargain(why i'm willing to go so far for it), but i sure don't want to destroy my van getting it here. i've actually seen a couple guys mention they've towed 31' AS's with an astro/safari, but everyone else seems to have v8 suburbans or 3/4 tons. is my van going to be ok for the one long trip? once i'm back home i will probably not move it much.

i'll be on interstates almost the whole way and will only have one area of moderately sized moutains to cross, not i-70 corridor type stuff by any means. after that i'll be going through the northern plain states and then south through MO for the rest of the way home. while i've never towed anything this long before, i'm very experienced with shorter trailers, so driver skill shouldn't be a major factor.

i've thought about adding a trans cooler, beefier shocks,and a wieght distribution hitch, to help out. would those changes make any difference?

any input would be appreciated.
Sorry for my ignorance, but what size is an excella 500? 50 feet? I also am planning to pick up my new (2004) 19' Bambi in Tampa and haul to Michigan. I have a 2000 Astro van and was planning on hauling it that. As I speak, I have a 2002 Yukon Denali in my driveway- brought it home from the dealership tonight to test drive. I think I'm going to buy it and feel REALLY good about hauling that silver honey box home. I know this isn't any help for you- I'm just excited and wanted to share! I was nervous just with the 19' so I understand your consternation over this. Good luck!
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:13 AM   #38
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Sorry for my ignorance, but what size is an excella 500? 50 feet? I also am planning to pick up my new (2004) 19' Bambi in Tampa and haul to Michigan. I have a 2000 Astro van and was planning on hauling it that. As I speak, I have a 2002 Yukon Denali in my driveway- brought it home from the dealership tonight to test drive. I think I'm going to buy it and feel REALLY good about hauling that silver honey box home. I know this isn't any help for you- I'm just excited and wanted to share! I was nervous just with the 19' so I understand your consternation over this. Good luck!

The Excella in this particular thread is a 31' I believe.

Buy the Yukon and use that to tow your Bambi home. Congrats on your new Airstream!
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