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Old 11-26-2005, 08:03 AM   #1
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1972 29' Ambassador
1968 22' Safari
Tyler , Texas
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First time aboard!

Greetings to all! I'm one of those folks who had it all land in his lap at once. I bought some undeveloped but nicely leveled investment property on the Texas coast this August, but the cost of putting a house on it--well, I had to take a breath! The realtor said I could get by for years with a 5th wheel or something, since these didn't require permits and were pretty cheap used (I didn't know what a 5th wheel was, and had to look it up). I had never considered owning a trailer before!

But then my world-traveller son had just come back from Austin with word that a friend's father was looking to sell a 29' Airstream Ambassador that he had personally renovated and spruced up. Just seeing its picture ignited a passion! I'm being swept away with the winds of new enthusiasm! Even my wife is getting a little excited! I bought the thing SIGHT UNSEEN (except pix) on my son's word and the integrity of the Airstream's owner. I'll take possession in December and have it hauled from Austin to Tyler, TX where I live so that I can learn how to use the dang thing (I have no serious idea about the plumbing, AC, tanks, fridge, or anything).

I've still got to find a tow vehicle for it. I own a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 V6 with 2WD--is it possible (and safe) to outfit this car for towing? Someone help me! Thanks in advance,

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Old 11-26-2005, 08:43 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Vince Brach
I had never considered owning a trailer before!
I've still got to find a tow vehicle for it. I own a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 V6 with 2WD--is it possible (and safe) to outfit this car for towing? Someone help me! Thanks in advance,
Welcome to the exciting world of Airstream ownership!

Your tow vehicle is neither safe ( short wheelbase), nor adequate ( engine/transmission too weak) for a 29ft Airstream, even if it is a vintage model. Being 29ft, it would be a 1969 or later model, weighing over 5000lbs empty, probably close to 7000lbs travel ready.
This means that your tow vehicle should be able to tow about 8400lbs to allow for safety margins.
You might consider a 3/4 ton Suburban or pickup truck with a towing package and at least 3:73 gearing.
Alternatively, do a search for tow vehicle and kick back fora few days on teh forums, there's a huge amount of information on this subject already.
Same with your trailer's systems, like fresh water, black water, tanks, batteries etc. This is like an Airstream encyclopedia.

Best wishes!

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Old 11-26-2005, 08:50 AM   #3
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Welcome to the Forums Vince!

Look at other issues raised in the towing forum (click 'Forums' at top left of this page). A good starter is on Airstream's FAQ page, To begin thinking of tow vehicle it is important to read the sections on tongue weight, trailer weights, and weight ratings.

You didn't give what year or other particulars applied to your trailer. But the trailer weights section gives starting points for tongue weight. Travel weight is always heavier. You've got a lot of catching up to do. Pay special attention to weight distribution/anti-sway aftermarket gear installed on the tongue A-frame area. If the previous owner towed I suspect this is already installed. You will want a brake controller installed in your tow vehicle. The forums will return countless search results on many terms used in this reply.

On multiple points your 4L V6 will probably prove unsuitable. I don't know the stats -- look at your owner's manual. There is probably a payload capacity listed (payload capacity = difference between the truck's GVWR and empty/curb weight). This is the total weight you can load in the Cherokee -- people, pets, luggage, hitch receiver and tongue weight. The V6 is another issue. Another problem is the rear differential ratio -- 4.1? 3.73? -- It might be closer to 3.4 and that is totally unsuited to towing. (lower ratio = better mileage, low pulling power)

What if you bought a new Jeep with the largest V8 and a 3.73 rear end? The problem remains that any SUV has too small a wheelbase for anything but the shorter trailers (please don't hook an ultra-small SUV to a 16' based on this oversimplification). Your tow vehicle must have some heft and means (wheelbase) by which to exert influence. Safety in emergency maneuvers is obvious. The risk is losing grip with the road much earlier in weather or sudden situations. I would refer you to posts from 2 or more years ago that actually gave something of a formula ... I seem to recall roadkingmoe and pick giving this ... anybody?

You didn't say -- do you intend to park this unit? Do you only need to transport it to the coast? Borrowing a vehicle already set up would be a better starting point in that case.

Come back often!

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Old 11-26-2005, 09:04 AM   #4
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Rivet 26.982 amu -- I get it!

Ain't Google wonderful?

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Old 11-26-2005, 09:17 AM   #5
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Do you plan on travelling with your trailer - or are you just using on your lot?? If just your lot - how far is your house from the lot - a slow escort - could get your trailer there with the Jeep - without going to all the expense of a new tow vehicle - just to move it from a to b.

We pulled the 99 Excella with our Yukon - on a slow escort and it was fine - slow escort meaning someone following you with 4 ways - and you drive slow and steady.

Or rent a two vehicle or have someone else tow it as you are doing now.

But if you plan on travelling with her with your lot as the home base then - keep looking - there are so many to choose from and eveyone here will have their own preferences - many are just as good as each other.

Some need larger safety margins as they may drive faster or load their trailer more - everyones situation is different right down to where they live and their tipical travel situations - Mountains vs Flats etc.

Good luck with your search
Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright now, then it is not the end.
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Old 11-26-2005, 10:53 AM   #6
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canton , tx
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Welcome neighbor...My Airstream is self propelled but, I pull a heavy horse trailer with my Nisson Titan...It works great...over 9,000 lbs towing capacity..lots of hp and torque...I have the crew cab so it's like a big suv inside...I suggest you go out on the loop and test one along with the Ford, Chevy and Dodge 3/4 ton for a comparison...Joe...
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Old 11-26-2005, 02:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Canoe stream
Ain't Google wonderful?
BTW, for you non-chemists, 26.982 amu is the atomic weight for aluminum.

Vince - if you are still in the market for a tow vehicle, and assuming you will be towing your A/S and not just parking it on your land, then maybe PM me. I may be selling my 2005 Ford Excursion 6.0L diesel truck. I had used this to tow my 28 ft A/S this past summer, but due to extenuating circumstances, have to sell both my A/S and tow vehicle. sigh.... Let me know if you are interested. It has a 11,000 lbs towing capcity and is fully rigged to tow an airstream safely.

- mike

'05 Int'l CCD 28' >sold then 8 years later> '13 FB Int'l CCD 25'
'05 Ford Excursion Ltd >> '14 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew
6.0L Diesel 3.73 >> 5.3L V8 Ecotec3 3.42
Titus Moto Lite, Nerve Cruiser
Mike, Angela, the kiddies & 10 yr old puppy, Kenzie, our Golden Retriever and best friend ever
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