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Old 02-24-2009, 01:54 PM   #1
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Towing an Airstream with a VW Bus

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience towing a small Airstream with a VW Bus.

Currently, we live in a 29' Class C RV. It's great and all, but it's on it's way out and I've been itching to get a little '79 VW Bus and fix it all up. I know they have a small engine, 60HP at best, so I'm not sure if I would be able to tow anything, let alone even a small Airstream.

Anyone have any ideas on this? I'm even open to the idea of having a larger, more powerful engine put into the VW if necessary.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clicknathan View Post
I was wondering if anyone has had any experience towing a small Airstream with a VW Bus.

Currently, we live in a 29' Class C RV. It's great and all, but it's on it's way out and I've been itching to get a little '79 VW Bus and fix it all up. I know they have a small engine, 60HP at best, so I'm not sure if I would be able to tow anything, let alone even a small Airstream.

Anyone have any ideas on this? I'm even open to the idea of having a larger, more powerful engine put into the VW if necessary.
The engine is sort of not a question.

The problem is that you will not be able to install a load equalizing hitch on that van, that you must absolutely have for safe towing, regardless of the size of an Airstream trailer.

Andy
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:05 PM   #3
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In another lift time I towed with a VW 36 hp, see attached picture. Now I have to say the trailer only weighted 900 lbs and I did have to wait on the turnpike on ramp for a UPS truck to come by and use him as a slingshot to get over 50 mph but it did work.

However i think you are asking for a bit more than can be expected for man and his machines.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:34 PM   #4
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I've been driving VW buses for 35 years...lots of them. My daily driver is a 1967 camper. You will overheat the engine fast towing even a bambi. The only trailer I have seen towed are Eriba Pucks or little things that motorcycles tow. Go to thesamba.com and type in eriba in the search window. Also, go to the forums section and ask the question to bus owners. Also, you can only get very small hitches that will work with a rear engine, nothing near what an A/S would need.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:36 PM   #5
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Sorry bud, but even with a flux capacitor, you are pop up bound, if even that.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:39 PM   #6
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I was wondering if anyone has had any experience towing a small Airstream with a VW Bus.
Wally did.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f492...ere-47715.html
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:45 PM   #7
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Wally did.l
Hmmmm...I'll bet not for long. :-)
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:51 PM   #8
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If you want to tow with the always underpowered VW busses, move from Pa. to somewhere that is absolutely flat and very close to sea level to get more power out of that engine and not have to go up a hill. Then find the plans for the original trailers that Wally Byam designed in the early '30's, a build one of those, and you're on the road.

In other words, no.

I had a bus, maybe late 70's, that I got in a trade. It had the 2nd generation fuel injection system and it was fun, we camped in it a few times, and it was pretty fast for a VW. It also was cold in the winter and leaked oil even after I fixed that problem. When the oil leaks eventually got to one quart every 100 or 200 miles, it had to go. I'd never consider towing an Airstream made in the past couple of generations. I do remember, though, that back bumper was made of really strong steel because it had been pushed in by something by a previous woner and I never could pull it out even with a tree and a come along.

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Old 02-24-2009, 03:14 PM   #9
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Talking none tons

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Hmmmm...I'll bet not for long. :-)
prolly longer than some of these guys!

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Old 02-24-2009, 04:51 PM   #10
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As a long time VW fan and owner of camper vans I advise against it. The 79 has a fuel injection air cooled engine of about 80HP. It is barely strong enough to power the van itself. Any trailer would be too much for it.

You would be far better off getting an American van. Believe it or not a Ford Windstar or Freestar van will tow an Airstream if properly equipped. This is the minimum. The VW is just not powerful enough.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:21 PM   #11
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Im surprised this question hadnt been asked along time ago! I have a 71 Bus that has an OEM VW hitch which is mounted to the frame with heavy angle iron...of which i dont happen to know the dimensions...I belive it says the tongue weight max is 400lbs, and max tow weight is 1500...So, as much as Id like to use it to pull my 67 Safari, its a bit under powered and even that hitch is a bit light. Im guessing that no one else made a hitch nearly as heavy duty as this one either. Even though the bus was considered a 1-ton vehicle with its huge frame and breaks, it was a bit underpowered!
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:42 PM   #12
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I had a 78 with a 2 litre engine and can honestly say no way! Too underpowered for the task you're thinking. It was, however, a Westfalia, so there was no need for a trailer as it was all set for camping. If you want to tow with a VW, wait for the diesel Passat wagon to hit our shores or get a Toureg.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:47 PM   #13
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I always wanted a split screen VW camper but converted to the flat 6 from a 911. I still don't think it would be ideal TV material but it would half solve the bhp problem.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:17 PM   #14
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Running stock, I would say no... but your notion of an engine swap is interesting. There are some VW lovers who have done some interesting exchanges. I think Subaru engines are common. According to Kennedy, you can do a fairly clean swap with an Subaru engine bumping to about 130 hp. I've also seen posts where guys (or gals) bumped to a 3.1l 230 hp engine. Giddyup!
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