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Old 04-11-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Smile New and need help deciding on tow vehicle

Hello Everyone!
I just purchased my first vintage airstream. A 1972 31' Sovereign. I love it !
It is in wonderful orginal condition ,I am only the second owner. It is alot bigger than what I had planned on buying but I could'nt resist. Any way I need to pick it up tommarrow. I have a Ford Expedition with tow package, 5.4L engine ,rear axle ratio is 3.73 . Do you think I can tow it safely with this? I added electric breaks yesterday to help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I hope I didn't get in over my head. I can always get a bigger tow vehicle for our trips but this is what I have to get it home . Please help!
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:36 PM   #2
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I'm thinking things like how far, what kind of roads, what kind of hitch and/or sway control, what kind of experience you have towing other things, how fast you intend to drive, and what year Expy all come into play.

My vote for an answer without knowing any of that is "possibly."

We had an Expedition before we got the A/S, and used it to pull an SOB in the low-mid 20' range, but about 4000 lb. It was OK, mostly for hundred mile trips on back roads w/out sway control.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:54 PM   #3
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Bethy Ann - Congratulations on buying the '72 Sovereign!! You'll never regret it. As to your tow vehicle - some thoughts you'll want to ponder:
1. How far do you have to tow the trailer, will you have to go up & over any mountains or hills, and you need to be thinking about a weight distribution & anti sway hitch, SOON.
2. How much experience do you have towing anything that long? Do you know that the trailer tires (and thus the sides of the trailer) are not going to "follow" or run in the same "tracks" as your tow vehicle - ie the trailer will tow thru a 90 degree turn in a shorter arc than the tow vehicle, and could clip a curb, light pole / sign post, not to mention someone standing on the corner. If you do NOT have any experience towing a large trailer of any kind, ask an experienced friend to help you with that 1st tow home, then maybe give you some lessons in a large vacant parking lot.

Sad to say, at the end of the day I think you are going to decide on your own that your 5.4L Expedition may not have both the towing & overall control you'll want for that size trailer. Like you said, you can always get a new tow vehicle. My own experience is that having the right tow vehicle for my AS sure made my travel & use of the AS a lot more enjoyable. I'm also many others here will give you some helpful hints.

Please let us know how your trip taking the Soverign home goes.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:01 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums!

What a can of worms this could be .

I have a 3/4 ton Duramax, with all the trailering options, plus a few upgrades with aftermarket products. I love it, and would not consider anything else.

That being said, the 3.73 gears in your are rig exactly what I have. Brakes are quite necessary, at the weight of a 31' AS. With a weight distributing hitch and anti-sway system, I would guess you have enough vehicle, but you want for more power in hilly country.

Enjoy yuor trailer!
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:03 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
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RedSHED,
Thank you so much for your reply . To answer some of your questions:
We will be towing it about 30 miles on the highway (mostly down hill) and we will have a couple of small hills to get it home. I have a 1997 expedtion with the factory tow Pkg. The Airstream has torsion bars but does not have sway bars. As far as towing experience we have a restored 1968 frolic about 17' and it weighs about 3200 lbs. Quite smaller than the Sovereign. What kind of vehicle would you suggest I buy to tow it? There seems to be alot of Suburban 2500 fans on here. Thanks again! Bethy Ann

Wow, Thanks for the warm welcome and advice everyone!
I will let you know how it goes tomarrow.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:20 PM   #6
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Suburbans are nice, but....

to me, I love my Excursion. I got the V10 (I don't drive enough miles for a diesel) has the 4.3 rear end and the tow package. I like the enclosed unit with the extra seating. I bought it used and visited the Airstream Park in Helen, Ga. Top of Georgia is a great area and the Excursion pulled my 32' Excella through the mountains great! There are a few other Excursion owners here.. most are diesels.... that your choice...

Good Luck and many many happy travels......
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:23 PM   #7
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It's the sort of thing I'm positive my Dad could do but am equally certain my down-the-street neighbor could not. As for myself, I think I'd probably try it. But I doubt I'd go over 50 and I'd commit to memory the secondary roads on the way home. That says more about me, I'm afraid, than anything else

I'm not wild about crosswinds, but given my druthers would prefer one from my right than left, as the semi's can have a pretty decent bow wave and scoot things around a little bit. This isn't as bad at 50 as it is at 60.

Others on here have lots more experience towing Airstreams than I do
Ultimately only you know what you can or can't do.

I think the only really limiting thing about the Expedition is the wheelbase, and I recall the rear suspension being a little softer than I liked for towing.
We sold ours and got a used 1500HD Chevy, which is a really nice match for the '85 31' I think.

The previous owner of ours used a 1500 Suburban and put many thousands of miles on it.

I'm of the opinion that if you don't slow down going up hills, you're probably overpowered. That's fun in a car, more fun on a bicycle (when you can do it), but just expensive pulling a trailer.

Others' opinions vary.
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:46 AM   #8
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You will gain a lot of experience very quickly when you first start pulling a 31 foot trailer. A lot depends on how and where you are going to pull it. I would suggest you start slow on straight side roads. Given the size of your TV, I would think you need sway control as well as weight distribution. A good investment for the safety of you and your family would be a good hitch with good self centering sway control. Hensely are nice but may not be in your budget. Reese Dual cam is almost as effective and cheaper.

If you intend to pull in the mountains a lot you may need a bigger TV. Slowing down and enjoying the trip may be a cheaper and more enjoyable way to go through the mountains. Super highway traffic, with passing big trucks, can be a bit challenging to your rig. It will be tiring to battle their pushing you around all the time as they pass. Good sway control will help but a bigger TV with longer wheelbase makes it easy. My wife would not pull our 31 footer on I 90 with our 3/4 ton van but is now will pull it with our one ton crew cab dually with the long box and wheelbase.
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:24 AM   #9
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

My suggestion would be to get a good hitch sytem (Hensley, Equalizer, etc.), a quality trailer brake controller, and give it a try with your Expedition. If you later feel that the Expedition is not adequate, the hitch and brake controller are easily transferable to another tow vehicle.

I would not consider towing a 31 with an Expedition without a quality weight-distributing/anti-sway hitch system. The result would most likely be a very unpleasant towing experience.

Brian
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:20 PM   #10
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Thumbs up Sweet Success

Hello everyone,
Just wanted to let you know the drive home was a success. Thank you all for your advice this forum is the best! We had a heavy duty weight distributing hitch just like you recommended and all went well. ( Although my hubby did the driving I can't take the credit ) , I think I will need a little practice before I will feel safe driving it. I followed him home in our car and I couldn't quit smiling! There is just something about an Airstream moving down the highway . Well, need less to say I am so thrilled and my two boys are soo excited that they wanted to camp in it tonight! LOL A million thanks for your advice I am sure I will have more questions. I just wish I knew more about how to post on here. I will figure it out. Oh by the way ,what do you recommended I use to wash the AS ? She needs a bath really bad.
Ps. We are going to look for a new TV so thank you for all your recommendations.
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethy Ann
Oh by the way ,what do you recommended I use to wash the AS ? She needs a bath really bad.
I use Meguire's Wash/Wax, and a soft brush. Depending on how good the clear coat is on your new trailer, you may want to use a wash mitt (on a stick) instead of a brush.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:00 PM   #12
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Thumbs up Welcome To The Forum

Glad the trip home went well. Ain't new "toys" fun.

Dad always said "you never forget the first time"

As others have noted as long as your safe and your comfortable towing the rest will take care of itself.

I just purchased the micro-fiber mit on a pole from this outfit. (they have some other worthwhile products also, The paint sealant works great)


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Old 04-16-2008, 10:49 PM   #13
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Talking Thank you everyone !

I justed wanted to thank everyone one for all of the helpful information. I think I have decided to buy a Ford Excursion. My Hubby wants to polish the AS but for now we will wash and wax. From what I read it is a long and back breaking process, and I want to enjoy it first a little bit. We are doing all the important things first. It is at the garage now wheel bearings ,shock replacement, new tires. I just want it back home to wash and decorate. Has anyone put cork floor in their Airstream?
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethy Ann
I justed wanted to thank everyone one for all of the helpful information. I think I have decided to buy a Ford Excursion. My Hubby wants to polish the AS but for now we will wash and wax. From what I read it is a long and back breaking process, and I want to enjoy it first a little bit. We are doing all the important things first. It is at the garage now wheel bearings ,shock replacement, new tires. I just want it back home to wash and decorate. Has anyone put cork floor in their Airstream?
YOUR WELCOME..

Sounds like your doing just about what we did with our "first". Couldn't wait

to get camp'n.

As you can see we never got around to the polishing part. Funny thing,

the "old school" look kind of grew on us and it sure was a lot less work.

Most important>>>>>>>> HAVE FUN!!!
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