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Old 09-07-2011, 11:46 AM   #1
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Sacramento , California
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Take the plunge or not?

I came upon (via Internet rather than IRL) a 1970 Overlander that looks to be in good condition. Asking price: $4900. Owner admits that tires need replacing.

Also, I will have to change vehicles to tow it. I went to the local dealer and they have a decent 99 Chevy Tahoe. So first question: will this tow it? What do I need to had to tow safely if so?

Copper plumbing has been redone, new shower, new floor. Outside appears to be in good if vintage condition.

I'm worried about the axles and made the sale conditional upon them. I've read Andy's article about how to check them out.

Owner has towed around his property and says it tows great with no bouncing, etc.

The inside is clean and neat.

Any feedback appreciated. How much for the four tires? If the axles are bad? I've read those heaters are dangerous, is that true?

Thanks for any input before I take the plunge. I feel like the kid on the high dive who wants to jump but is afraid.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:24 PM   #2
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Re: the '99 Tahoe: The answer is "it depends." If it has a useful rear-axle ratio, tow package and V8, it'll probably do fine. You may need to go look in the glove box for the build codes and look up the decodes on the internet to figure out what the rear axle ratio is, most car salesmen don't know a ratio from a radio much less how to figure out what it is.

Figure $125ish per tire for decent tires.

If the trailer has been well-maintained as far as sealing seams, windows and roof openings goes and you don't find hidden problems, that seems a reasonable ballpark. Some Suburban furnaces from that timeframe were recalled. Many of them had the problem corrected, and it's easy to tell whether or not the recall part was installed BUT you have to take out the furnace to see. Verifying the recall update is on my list of projects before we use the furnace in our '75.

Axles are available and not rocket science, it's only money. I'm figuring a budget of $2k for the pair is conservative, it seems like you can do it for less than that.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Thanks

What would be considered a "useful" rear axle ratio?

And thanks for the info! This forum is great.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailernewbi View Post
What would be considered a "useful" rear axle ratio?

And thanks for the info! This forum is great.
I think 3.73 or if you're planning on mountain trips, preferably 4.10.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:00 AM   #5
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Take the plunge or not?

Greetings trailernewbi!

Welcome to the Forums!

The Overlander is a wonderful coach that combines a reasonable size with a good floorplan. The asking price on the Overlander in question is about what I paid for my Overlander in 1995 when it was in good campable condition. The 1970 Overlander is going to have a dry weight of approximately 4,575 pounds (see the pdf attached to this post) with a dry hitch weight of approximately 465 pounds. Dry weights are approximate because they do not include options, accesories, fluids, or personal possessions stored in the coach. With typical options and accessories, dry weight can approach or top 5,000 pounds. With my Overlander, I know that my travel weight (loaded for an extended vacation) will be between 5,850 and 6, 100 pounds . . . typically hovering around 6,000 pounds with a loaded hitch weight of 750 pounds (I upgraded to 40 pound LP tanks which are typically full at the beginning of each major trip when the coach has been weighed).

One of my tow vehicles is a 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban that I ordered new with the heavy duty trailer towing package. The Tahoe from 1999 "can" tow the proposed coach, but it will be a "marginal" choice (IMHO) if you plan any travel in the Rocky Mountains. The 5.7 Liter V8 just didn't have the necessary power to manage my Overlander in the Rocky Mountains, and that is one of the three major reasons why I traded a 1995 Chevrolet Z71 K1500 club cab pickup on the Suburban. The Z71 had the complete factory heavy duty trailer towing package, but the truck simply did not have the necessary power reserve to deal with mountain grades and the Overlander (5.7 Liter and 3.73 gearing). When I ordered my Suburban in 1998, the 1999 Tahoe had a maximum trailer tow rating of 6,500 pounds with the 5.7 Liter V8 and 3.73 gears. . . .4.10 gears were not offered on the Tahoe at that time -- to get the 4.10 gears from the factory, it was necessary to upgrade to the 2500 series Suburban. My Suburban has the 7.4 Liter V8 and 4.10 gears, and it walks away with the Airstream without flinching wherever I have taken it in the Rocky Mountains . . . but I will readily admit that it is "over-kill" with its 10,000 pound trailer tow rating. I actually get better fuel mileage towing with the Suburban than I did with the Z71 . . . 9 MPG with the Z71 . . . and 11 to 12 MPG with the Suburban, but the solo fuel economy with the Suburban is about 3 MPG less than with the Z71.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Airstream weights and measures.pdf (100.1 KB, 17 views)
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