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Old 08-02-2006, 10:09 PM   #1
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1969 31' Sovereign
Boise , Idaho
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1969 Sovereign Towed by Durango 5.7L Hemi

Hello all,
This is my first post and I am asking for advise. I have learned plenty about Airstreams since visiting this site a few weeks ago and it has been a great help.

I am planning on purchasing a 1969 Sovereign twin 31' and pulling it with my 2004 Dodge Durango w/5.7L Hemi. The Sovereign has sway bars and I will have a brake controller installed. The wheelbase of my Durango is 119.5" which is probably on the shorter side for a trailer this size. Any thoughts on how it will tow? The towing capacity is 8,950lbs , dry weight of the trailer is 4995lbs according to Airstream, plus roughly 1000lbs of stuff.

I am also wondering about the bed, seating arrangement. I havn't seen anything like it. It basically has a sectional in the main quaters with the double bed slide down, the two section fold out table from the wall and a end table in the corner that seperates the double bed from what looks to be another couple of couch seats. Please let me know if this was an option or was something some handy man did after market.

Thanks for your help, I thought I would put it in the hands of the Airstream experts.
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:21 PM   #2
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1976 25' Tradewind
. , AZ to Maine
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Welcome to the Forums. Lots of great people and ideas here.

If you do not like the arrangement of the trailer, maybe you should look some more. There are a lot of Airstreams out there.

Towing with what you have should not be a problem if:
Tires are good, Weight distributing hitch is properly set up (lots to getting it right), brakes work, lights and time to work it out so you feel comfortable with what you are doing.

Good luck,
R
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrodwong
I am planning on purchasing a 1969 Sovereign twin 31' and pulling it with my 2004 Dodge Durango w/5.7L Hemi. The Sovereign has sway bars and I will have a brake controller installed. The wheelbase of my Durango is 119.5" which is probably on the shorter side for a trailer this size. Any thoughts on how it will tow? The towing capacity is 8,950lbs , dry weight of the trailer is 4995lbs according to Airstream, plus roughly 1000lbs of stuff.
We pull a 2006 25 FB LS which has a factory certified weight of about 5,300 pounds with a 2005 Dodge Durango hemi. No sweat.

Your towing capacity may not be 8,950 pounds for several reasons. First, that capacity is only true for the low axle ratio option, not for the standard axle ratio. Second, if you have 4x4 that reduces the capacity by a few hundred pounds due mostly to its weight I suppose. Third, some people say that the short wheel base is a problem. I strenuously disagree with that suggestion, but our trailer is only a 25 whereas yours will be longer, perhaps 3 feet distance between the trailer axle and the Durango's rear axle. With the proper weight-distribution hitch settings it may be a non-issue, but it is something on which you might seek other opinions.

Good luck.
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Old 08-03-2006, 01:52 AM   #4
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Hello myoung , have you guys towed a 31 ft trailer with your durango?
I am a supporter of your durango and 25ftr ,but just because a vehical can pull somthing doesn't mean it should .the tv needs to be able to controll the trailer at all times if possible ,and stop it even in a panic situation .your setup as I have posted before is just fine .but adding 6 more
feet to it and alot more weight changes things quite abit .I would like dodge
to pull a 9000# trailer with that durango and see how it does .That would
be interesting to see .A 9000 # tow capacity ? I can't see how thats possible
to rate it that high ,there is more to towing a big trailer than just horsepower
under the hood.The tv brakes ,trans ,can it handle it? rear axle strength ,
All good questions to be considered.

Scott
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Old 08-03-2006, 07:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottanlily
Hello myoung , have you guys towed a 31 ft trailer with your durango?
I am a supporter of your durango and 25ftr ,but just because a vehical can pull somthing doesn't mean it should .the tv needs to be able to controll the trailer at all times if possible ,and stop it even in a panic situation .your setup as I have posted before is just fine .but adding 6 more
feet to it and alot more weight changes things quite abit .I would like dodge
to pull a 9000# trailer with that durango and see how it does .That would
be interesting to see .A 9000 # tow capacity ? I can't see how thats possible
to rate it that high ,there is more to towing a big trailer than just horsepower
under the hood.The tv brakes ,trans ,can it handle it? rear axle strength ,
All good questions to be considered.

Scott
Scott,

As I thought I made clear, I haven't towed a 31 foot trailer, which is why I suggested that other opinions should be sought. A couple of your points seem at odds with the facts, however. First, the proposed 31-footer is said to weigh more than 300 pounds LESS than our trailer. Perhaps, the tongue weight is less too. Second, 6 feet is the difference in length between 25 and 31, not the difference in wheelbase length, I believe. I'm presuming that the trailer axles are placed about mid-length just a bit to the rear of the center of gravity and as such probably means that the 31 has a wheelbase about 3 or so feet farther away from the TV than the 25. Third, the Durango with the low axle ratio does, in fact, have a listed tow capacity of 8,950 (a bit less with 4x4) for the 2004 model. The Dodge web site provides the stat as does a summary of top-10 tow vehicles in this article http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/...6/article.html. Fourth, the Dodge Durango, unlike most other SUVs, is derived from trucks in that it has a separate frame and chassis rather than a less rigid unibody, Along with the truck heritage comes another item far less commonly seen in SUVs these days, a solid rear axle with coil springs and a Watt linkage for added control. I'm quite confident that the rear axle is strong enough in all respects.

All said, 31 feet of trailer behind a Durango does seem like a big, honkin' rig relative to the TV. Heck, 25 feet seems big, but manageable. Many people, I'm sure would feel more comfortable with a more similar TV-to-trailer size, length, weight, bulk, etc.
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Old 08-03-2006, 08:06 PM   #6
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Hello myoung ,

I understand the figures as posted by an automotive /truck manafacturer.
I also understand clearly the physical size and weight of a large trailer.
It is not just the weight, its the overall size and length.I also would want to know the tongue weight of the 31 ft versus your 25ftr are they the same?
I think the longer trailer would have more ,as the axles should be farther
back from the coupler .Anyway ,my ideas are focused on the trailer and
tow vehical being compatible ,and your last paragraph states it pretty well.
Just because dodge gives a high tow rating ,does not mean that you
can hang 9000 # on the back and climb up mountain passes .I don't think
the suburban with a 8.1 v8 claims that high a tow rating .I don't want to
debate the merits of your tv ,you know I have not spoken againts you
on that in any way.But it is not the answer for all trailers regardless of
how big they are.If I were jerrodwong ,I would hitch up that durango to the
31 ftr and go for a ride ,see how the trailer tows ,go up some hills ,do you
have to have it in low gear to get up a grade?How does it stop ,does the trailer want to push you around ? there is more to it than the hemi under the hood, good marketing though by chrysler though.

Scott
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Old 08-03-2006, 08:29 PM   #7
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I honestly feel you are pushing the limit. Anything you get going 65 MPH, you need to be able to stop and that wheel base is going to make for an interesting experience. The 5.7 is probably OK but there so much more to it than horsepower and torque.
Many people tow 31 footers with 1/2 ton pick-ups and I have too in the past. It can be done but its just not what I call fun.
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Old 08-03-2006, 10:27 PM   #8
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Oh, that reminds me, we seldom drive more than 55 mph. Retired now and in no hurry.

I too would want a 1/2 or 3/4 ton truck if steep mountain passes or higher speeds were desired. I'll bet too that if we had 31 feet instead of 25, we'd probably find ways to fill the available space and so the weight would get excessive enough to move up to a real truck.
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Old 08-04-2006, 08:57 PM   #9
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Hi, Jerod,

I towed a '79 31-footer over 2,000 miles with a '93 V8 Dakota that I specced out specifically for towing with ALL the necessary goodies and none (except wee creature comforts) that were not related.

This truck weighed 4300 lbs loaded and full fuel. I bought it for a smaller Argosy. It did FINE with the 28' Argosy, but with the 31', the trailer could "wag the dog" very easily, even with a properly adjusted dual cam hitch.

I have a 3/4-ton long-bed Cummins now, but I'd suggest that you should consider not just the tow vehicle weight or tow rating, but also the wheelbase, WIDTH of wheels center to center, and contact area of the tires. In all these cases, bigger equals better.

My Dakota was not PLANTED enough on the pavement and HEAVY enough to resist the sail-plane induced movements of the trailer when a large truck passed, and that was very unpleasant.

The dual-cam relies on the tow vehicle being planted well.

Think about it. If the cams stay engaged and transmit the movement of the trailer to the vehicle... effectively, the trailer is steering the tow vehicle from the rear end.

It's not a coincidence that you find 31' and 34' Airstreams being pulled by big-honkin' vehicles. I personally don't think that a Durango wil be up to it.

There's also the question about using a modular engine for heavy towing, but I'd hope that that would have been answered somewhere by now. (It never worked very well in the Cadillacs, if I recall correctly.)

Okay, a big dose of my opinion here. Be kind, please.

Lamar
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Old 08-04-2006, 09:14 PM   #10
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I towed a '77 Excella 500 31' with a '92 Chevy 1500 regular cab 4X4, 5.7 engine, 5 speed manual trans and 3.42 rear end ratio. The 3.42 obviously did not cut the mustard and the tires were not load range E which contributed to swaying when trailers passed me. I could get up to 75 mph without problems but the steep hills were murder. A 3.73 rear end or even a 4.10 rear end along with better tires would have helped. My past trailer is around 500 lbs. heavier in dry weight than the '69 you are thinking about buying. The Durango will pull it without a problem but I would be more concerned about stopping in emergency situations. Only a Durango/31' Airstream owner could answer this. If you like the Durango then I would be thinking about a 25-27' trailer to lower your dry weight and make it more manageable.
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