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Old 08-28-2003, 06:46 PM   #1
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Towing vehicle for 31' ??

Dear Knowledgable Airstreamers,

I am in the market to buy a 31' Airstream (1978 to 1981). I need some advice on what kind of tow vehicle to buy. I definitely want a truck probably with passenger seats (does not have to be 4 door). I am completely inexperienced when it comes to power requirements etc. and I am a newbie as far as towing goes. I want to spend no more than 10K on a used vehicle.

What kind of truck should I be looking at?

In your responses please feel free to state the obvious (I don't know a damn thing about cars)

If this question has already been answered on the posts perhaps you could point me in the right direction.

Thank You

Los Angeles, CA

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Old 08-28-2003, 07:00 PM   #2
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Mark, any 1/2 ton (F150, C1500, Ram1500, etc) extended-cab will be more than sufficient. V8 power would, of course, be mandatory. These trailers were designed to be pulled by the full-size sedans and station wagons of the day, so you really don't need to go crazy and get a 1 Ton Dually. I have found through my own brief (so far) experience that the longer the tow vehicle, the steadier it will be to tow with.
That means that a Tahoe or Bronco would be less desirable than a Suburban.
I don't know about prices in California, but here in sunny South Florida, you can get a good mid-1990's version of any of the above for $5000-7500.
Whatever you get, should have a Trailer towing package, which, among other things, consists of an oversized radiator, transmission oil cooler, and a heavy-duty frame mount trailer hitch.
After you get the truck, you will need to get a trailer brake controller, which mounts under the steering column area, if your truck doesn't come with one.
Good luck searching, and let us know what you wind up with, both A/S-wise, and tow vehicle-wise.
(in Florida)

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Old 08-28-2003, 08:42 PM   #3
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2004 25' International CCD
Salem , Massachusetts
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Posts: 457
Wink towing vehicle

Hi Mark,

we were in a similar situation just a few months ago and started a thread under "International CCD" called "Best tow vehicle for 22' CCD". We got lots of feedback and learnt a lot. You may check it out and find info that suits your situation.

Most people tend to agree with the fact you need: a strong V8 tow vehicle, a "Jordan" or "Prodigy" brake controller, maybe a "Hensley" or "Pullrite" hitch, but most defiinetly a "Reese dual cam" (anti-sway device).

In our area, NY, you may find a 97 F-250 for under $10,000. Maybe LA is different... A super cab (a 2 door with seats behind you) should suit your needs perfectly.

One huge advise, DO NOT buy a tow vehicle which is at its limit for your AS. You need some headroom.

Check the vehicles GVCWR, GVWR and tow capacity. Try to leave approx. 500-1000 lbs min as headroom between the max tow capacity and the weight of your trailer once loaded.

There's many other threads on this subject, just write "towing" under the search section.

Best of luck
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Old 08-28-2003, 09:24 PM   #4
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Get a big motor and low gears in the rear axle, like a minimum of 3:73, and at least a 6.0l engine, or if you're looking for a mid 90's model, go for a 454 in a Chevrolet, or 460 in a Ford truck.
I just bought a 97 Suburban, and it has the factory tow package, the right gears and a 5.7l V8. It is just barely enough, but definitely not overkill for my 25ft tradewind. This truck would be relatively anemic with a 31ft. trailer. For comparison, I also own a Dodge Ram maxiwagon B350, which tows as well, and pulls a lot harder than the Suburban. It's just much stiffer when empty and not fun to drive unless it's loaded to it's max capacity.
I guess the best and safest choice for a beginning tow expert, is a long wheelbase and a big enough motor, and small enough gears in the rear end. I would tow a 31 foot trailer with the Dodge, but not with the Suburban 1500.
You will find many interesting opinions, and even some posts with real experiences in the tow vehicle forum.
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