Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-28-2012, 12:06 AM   #1
Rivet Master
 
dscluchfc's Avatar
 
1984 31' Excella
Abernathy , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 849
Will It Tow It?

I have a friend who has the chance to buy a 29 ft Airstream, but he is stalled.

He has a pickup with a 350 Vortec and 125K miles on it that is in exceptional condition. The pickup has 3.73 gears, and he says it won't tow the trailer.


I asked months ago about when they were going to buy it from his relative and now he says, "We are looking at options for towing it, our truck wont do it. We talked to an Airstream technician. We cant afford a new truck and the trailer at this time."

I am thinking...WHAT?!?!?!

That pickup will tow that 29 footer!
So I said so and got this reply:
"We dont want to abuse this truck like that. It is a VERY exceptional truck for its age. Only 125k, all original 350 Vortec, has the factory towing pkg. .373 gears. And the trailer comes with the load leveler hitch. The technician told us it was suspension and brakes that was the issue."

And I am thinking....the suspension and brakes??????????

So I reply:
"I don't know what "technician" he talked to, but the suspension doesn't take a beating because of the weight distribution hitch, and the brakes don't take a beating because of the trailer having it's own brakes.

There are two things which are stressed. The first is the motor because it is required to provide the power to pull the trailer, which should weigh in at less than 8000 lbs, and with weight distribution hitch have less than 200 lbs tongue weight.

The second thing which is stressed is the transmission. If the pickup doesn't have a heavy-duty transmission cooler (half inch line/ tall cooler) then one needs to be mounted in front of the radiator and I would put in a tranny temperature gauge as well.

My Yukon had 160K miles on it and all I did was put a transmission cooler on it and the transmission temp gauge and I towed 2 years with it before buying the Duramax.

The 350 can handle it, the brakes can handle it, the 3.73 gears is better than the 3.42s I had, and the wheelbase on the truck i longer than that short Yukon....and your pickup probably has a tow package to help the transmission shift points....my Yukon didn't have a tow package.

I towed a larger trailer with less than you have, and it did it fine. My only issue was pulling up hills...I had to gear down and grind it out.

The other limiting factor I had was the 265x75-16 tires which robbed torque from the drive train. The better choice would have been 245's which are a little smaller but transfer more horsepower to the ground than the larger tires do....gears/physics/ratios...

I say you got bad information. The suspension and brakes are not an issue, IMO."

SO, what say you AIR Forums Members?

AM I right?....or is this so called "technician" correct?
I will show this thread to my friend....

I rest my case....and thanks for your thoughtful replies!
__________________

__________________
David
TAC # TX-18

AIR # 410
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsphotoscapes
dscluchfc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 12:22 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
ROBERTSUNRUS's Avatar

 
2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,268
Images: 18
Blog Entries: 51
Hi, It sounds OK the way you say it, but maybe if there was more information on the truck; Like year, tow rating, horse power, torque, carbureted or fuel injected Etc. Also I don't think an 8,000 lb trailer is going to only have about 200 lbs tongue weight. maybe more information on the trailer too.
__________________

__________________
Bob

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
YAMAHA 2400 / AIR #12144
ROBERTSUNRUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 12:48 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
dscluchfc's Avatar
 
1984 31' Excella
Abernathy , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 849
Vortec = fuel injected 350 with 125K miles on it.
Tongue weight on a properly set up weight distribution hitch is only going to be 200-400 lbs because you are not going to want the truck squatting under the tongue weight, you want it towing about level which means those weight distribution bars are going to transfer the tongue weight to the front of the tow vehicle so all tires are equally weighted.
I am guessing the trailer will weigh 7500 or so...my 31 ft weighs about 8000.
__________________
David
TAC # TX-18

AIR # 410
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsphotoscapes
dscluchfc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 06:17 AM   #4
Vintage Kin
 
slowmover's Avatar
 
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,583
Images: 1
I think something is screwy. That truck, those gears, that engine spec, are about ideal for towing. If they're worried about engine condition then a compression test and blowby test should settle things. Big coolers/filters on trans and power steering fluid otherwise (given perfect book maintenance; time, not just miles).

Don't know what year the truck is, but suspension & body bushings ought to be looked at/replaced, IMO. Same for changing to BILSTEIN shock absorbers. Also, to change anti-roll bar bushings to polyurethane, and add a rear one if not so equipped; HELWIG). LT tires, obviously. Steering wander, brake drag, alignment are all in need of inspection.

After all, it's a truck. What good is it if it won't do the work? 5k annual miles towing ought to be ideal. Work out a few kinks (only a "maybe") and get on down the road.
__________________
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 06:36 AM   #5
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawas"
 
ROBERT CROSS's Avatar

 
2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 11,153
Images: 1
Thumbs up 350 Vortec...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dscluchfc View Post
Vortec = fuel injected 350 with 125K miles on it.
Tongue weight on a properly set up weight distribution hitch is only going to be 200-400 lbs because you are not going to want the truck squatting under the tongue weight, you want it towing about level which means those weight distribution bars are going to transfer the tongue weight to the front of the tow vehicle so all tires are equally weighted.
I am guessing the trailer will weigh 7500 or so...my 31 ft weighs about 8000.
Vortec=at least a 1996, 3:73 axle=towing package, 125k=complete maint. needed to insure proper condition for towing. All things being properly done...WD hitch,with sway control, brake controller, hitch receiver inspection for rust and cracks,(class III, IV), there is no reason the truck wouldn't make a very good TV for that Airstream.

Bob
__________________
PFC.....

“After all these years the reason I continue to love Thanksgiving.....I still sit at the kids table.”
RLC

Sandra wanted to go to Cleveland on vacation,
but I’m the Husband, so we went to Cleveland.
RLC
ROBERT CROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 06:41 AM   #6
Well Preserved

 
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,190
I have a pickup truck with a 4.7 engine, 3.55 gears, and it tows our 7100 pound 31' Airstream just fine. The truck also has 17" tires on it.

Just an FYI, using WD does NOT change the tongue weight one ounce. The weight is still there, it is distributed forward to the front axle of the truck, and rearward to the axles of the trailer. And the tongue weight for that Ambassador will be closer to 500 pounds at least, at 10% of trailer weight on the tongue and a 5000 pound trailer.
__________________
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
Terry
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 06:44 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Aviator's Avatar

 
1997 34' Limited
1970 27' Overlander
South of Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,655
Images: 2
No problem with the truck if it is truly in good condition. IMHO, the technician is the one blowing smoke.

I pull a 34' with an F150, 5.4L (351c.i.) engine.

Your friend will need to add a brake controller, but that is about it.
__________________
Craig and Carol
1997 34' Excella 1000
1970 27' Overlander, International
2009 Ford F150 5.4L
ProPride hitch with 1400# bars

AIR 41028
TAC GA-8
WBCCI 10199
Past President Southeastern Camping Unit (12)
Aviator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 08:42 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,402
Images: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Vortec=at least a 1996, 3:73 axle=towing package, 125k=complete maint. needed to insure proper condition for towing. All things being properly done...WD hitch,with sway control, brake controller, hitch receiver inspection for rust and cracks,(class III, IV), there is no reason the truck wouldn't make a very good TV for that Airstream.

Bob
Ditto. I pull my 8500# Classic with a 2000 Express Van, 350cid, port fuel injection, 3.73 gears on occasion. It's overloaded by the numbers and could use a few more ponies and some more torque, but it's not hurting anything.

We really need to know the weight/year/model of that trailer.....I am sure it is quite a bit lighter than my Classic.
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 09:19 AM   #9
Moderator
 
DKB_SATX's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,401
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviator View Post
No problem with the truck if it is truly in good condition. IMHO, the technician is the one blowing smoke.

I pull a 34' with an F150, 5.4L (351c.i.) engine.

Your friend will need to add a brake controller, but that is about it.
A 351 was about 5.8L... the 5.4L is about 330 c.i.
__________________
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 10:39 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
TouringDan's Avatar

 
1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,470
I agree completely with the previous posters. Your friend's truck will be fine assuming a thorough inspection to make sure everything is in proper shape and all worn components replaced.

Sometimes people believe what ever an "expert" or "knowlegable person with a title" tells them. What the Airstream Tech told him is different from what he should have told him IMHO. Also, your friend may not be completely committed to buying the Airstream and is just looking for an excuse not to.

I sense and understand your frustration. This one is a no brainer- just buy it.

Dan
__________________
TouringDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Will It Tow It?

I am with the Airstream technician who recommended against this tow vehicle for the 29-foot Ambassador. My '64 Overlander is somewhat shorter and still weighs 6,000 to 6,100 pounds ready to travel with a hitch weight between 725 and 750 pounds. Prior to purchasing my '99 K2500 Suburban in April 1998, I towed with a K1500 Z71 Chevrolet Club Cab pickup with 5.7 Liter and 3.73 gears with heavy duty 6,500 pound trailer tow package. The truck was grossly underpowered for the '64 Overlander -- the pickups's suspension was far too stiff for a Vintage Airstream, and the pickup's brakes were only marginal for the situation. I purchased the pickup new with the intention of towing the Overlander and was disappointed with the pickup's performance from the very first time it was mated to the Overlander - - and that was in the flat lands of Illinois - - the situation degraded quickly in the hills of Southern Illiinois and Southeast Missouri let alone when attempting one trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. The 5.7 Liter may pull the 29-foot Ambassador, but it will be a marginal combination (IMHO)

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 12:07 PM   #12
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawas"
 
ROBERT CROSS's Avatar

 
2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 11,153
Images: 1
I agree with Kevin on the Z71 suspension....it IS stiff.

Not completely though on the trucks ability, didn't have an AS when we used our 350 Blazer to tow some pretty heavy car haulers without concern.
I guess it's how subjectively you define ability.

Bob
__________________
PFC.....

“After all these years the reason I continue to love Thanksgiving.....I still sit at the kids table.”
RLC

Sandra wanted to go to Cleveland on vacation,
but I’m the Husband, so we went to Cleveland.
RLC
ROBERT CROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 01:58 PM   #13
3 Rivet Member
 
Pat Conway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 128
IMHO Kevin is correct in diagnosing the combination as marginal. We had a 1999 Suburban 1500 with the 3.73 rear end, a 4 speed automatic, an LT model that was big and comfortable. Admittedly it was a little tired with 67,000 miles when we first bought it to tow our 1988 25' A/S tt. It could tow in Florida on the flatest road, after finally climbing to speed (God help me if it was an uphill merger onto the Interstate), but on the slightest grade I found myself off on the shoulder with every semi-tractor trailer on the road screaming past me with their horns blazing. On a caravan on the Natchez Trace I was having to request that others in front of me with their diesel tow vehicles wait for me as I couldn't keep up with them on the hills. Their response was "what hill"?. The best thing that tow vehicle did for us was my wife saying to me "Don't you think you had better get us a diesel?" I think it was better suited to soccer mom duties or only towing a much lighter trailer. Yes, the tow vehicle met the specs, but in reality it was marginal at best.
__________________
Sun City Center, FL
1988 25' Excella
Pat Conway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2012, 03:19 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
ROBERTSUNRUS's Avatar

 
2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,268
Images: 18
Blog Entries: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
I am with the Airstream technician who recommended against this tow vehicle for the 29-foot Ambassador. My '64 Overlander is somewhat shorter and still weighs 6,000 to 6,100 pounds ready to travel with a hitch weight between 725 and 750 pounds. Prior to purchasing my '99 K2500 Suburban in April 1998, I towed with a K1500 Z71 Chevrolet Club Cab pickup with 5.7 Liter and 3.73 gears with heavy duty 6,500 pound trailer tow package. The truck was grossly underpowered for the '64 Overlander -- the pickups's suspension was far too stiff for a Vintage Airstream, and the pickup's brakes were only marginal for the situation. I purchased the pickup new with the intention of towing the Overlander and was disappointed with the pickup's performance from the very first time it was mated to the Overlander - - and that was in the flat lands of Illinois - - the situation degraded quickly in the hills of Southern Illiinois and Southeast Missouri let alone when attempting one trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. The 5.7 Liter may pull the 29-foot Ambassador, but it will be a marginal combination (IMHO)

Kevin
Hi, I tend to go with Kevin, but I still don't think the original poster has given enough information about the truck or trailer to make a proper decision.

I will give my example:

2005 Airstream Safari 25-B GVWR 6,300 lbs.

Tow vehicle:

2000 Lincoln Navigator Tow rated at 8,900 lbs.
5.4 L V-8, dual overhead cams, 32 valves, 300 horse power, 355 torque @ 2,750 RPM, 3:L73 gears, four speed automatic trans, and factory tow package.

Original poster's specs:

Vortec 350, Chevy truck, 3:73 gears, 125K miles, and a 29 foot Airstream. This is not enough information to even make an educated guess.


[my opinion]
__________________

__________________
Bob

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
YAMAHA 2400 / AIR #12144
ROBERTSUNRUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Well it's Here - '69 Tradewind mrgreen Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 69 08-23-2013 09:15 PM
Am I damaging my Suburban by towing with it? phbarnhart Tow Vehicles 82 07-24-2013 10:22 PM
Is it worth it? RSantiago 1972 Overlander 51 07-11-2012 10:49 PM
our first airstream .. and it needs lots of work help!!! rebeccamwood General Repair Forum 11 03-29-2012 08:00 AM
5 year search, we got it! Sodbust 1972 Overlander 23 03-24-2012 09:34 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.