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Old 09-12-2010, 06:22 PM   #1
Bex
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1976-1979 Ford F250, Whats the best spec??

For pulling our 28ft Argosy?
I thought I might look for one but when I check out what folks have to say on the Ford forum, the majority think its a great idea, there are a few that think its OK to pull my 1976 trailer occasionally (maybe to a show) but not to make a habit of it, especially in the mountains.
What the opinion of folks that have a vintage TV, same era as their trailer.
It would be great to hear from folks that actually have a '70's trailer and TV like ours. If I do decide to go this route, what engine size, tranny and axle ratio should I look at?
Suggestion has been 460 with a 3.55:1 which might have been the camper specials? I have a couple to look at next week and value opinions before I go.
i do realise maintainence/repair is likely to be an issue, but I have a very vintage friendly workshop my other vehicles are service at and they cannot wait to start work on it (whatever I buy)

Bex
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:24 PM   #2
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We have a 1976 24' Argosy (5k lbs loaded) that we tow with a 1973 International 1210 Travelette Camper Special 4x4 (6k lbs loaded). The Travelette is a crew cab body style, and we have the 8' bed version. The truck has a 392 ci engine with 3.73 gears and a 3-speed torqueflight automatic transmission. This transmission is the same that Chrysler used for years. The 392 engine is a low-revving engine with a max continuous duty rpm limit of 3600 rpm.

The truck has more than enough power to tow the trailer at highway speeds. Highway speeds being 55-65 mph, as long as the ground is fairly flat. Rpms are in 2400-2800 range at those speeds. Once we hit slight grades, either I ease our speed back a bit OR I accelerate to put the rpms into the 3k range and hold speed. For grades 5+%, I will downshift into 2nd gear to maintain 45-50 mph more or less wide open.

You will appreciate the stability provided by the longer wheelbase. It's hard to imagine towing with a 119" wheelbase truck again, which was the wheelbase of our first tow vehicle.

The biggest limitation IMO to towing with older vehicles is the lack of transmission gear options. The difference between 2nd and 3rd gear is very large.

With a 3-speed automatic (or even a 3-speed automatic with overdrive), I would have upgraded to 4.10 gears if we pulled through mountains extensively. 3.73 gears get it done in flatter areas and are an all-around good gear option. 3.54 gears are ok in flat areas. Again, this is with an engine that I knowingly will not run above 3600 rpm and produces max torque around 2800 rpm.

We like towing vintage with vintage, but it's generally not all that safe compared to the vehicles on the road with you and the speed those vehicles like to move.

Lots of other factors to consider too, such as upgraded brakes, modern ignition and fuel systems, and passenger comfort.

Good luck on your decision.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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Bex, I saw your post on FTE and generally agree with those who recommend caution as far as relying on an older F-250 as your everyday tow vehicle. I have a '76 F-250 SuperCab with a 390 4V and 3.73 gears that I use as a utility truck around town. It has plenty of pulling power for our '59 Overlander. But I prefer our 2002 F-250 crew cab for trips. The '76 has a horrible turning radius and along with the typical maintenance issues of an older truck, it just wasn't worth the hassle to use it as our primary tow vehicle. We also have two kids, so modern safety features are somewhat of a plus. If I was going to use the '76, I'd need to retrofit some shoulder belts in the back (and overhaul the front belts as I don't think they work very well).

That being said, if your up for it, don't mind an occasional road-side repair and your willing to spend between $5,000 to $7,500, I'm sure you can find a pretty sweet dentside Ford with a 390 (last made in '76) or a 460 that would easily tow your Argosy. I would avoid the 400 engine for your purposes and I'd lean towards the 460. I think the 390 could handle the job, but the 460 would tow it with ease. Personally, I think the 400 was a crappy engine. I'd also look for a 3.73 or higher gear ratio since you are planning to tow in the mountains and I would definitely install a good transmission cooler.

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Old 09-13-2010, 07:36 AM   #4
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Thanks Guys.
I think the decision is made.
Newer truck it is. My son is set on having one for school and his birthday is coming up, he has worked hard for me this summer and is wanting to buy it and I want to help him with part of the cost.
I am not sure I was ever "sold" on a vintage truck, the idea was nice, but its also something my son will want to be driving and the safety aspect is a concern (I really had not given that too much though, frankly, thanks for drawing that to my attention).
I have a mechanic waiting to put a 3:73 in my GMC 2500 right now so I think we shall go with that first, then keep looking for the (more modern) truck for him.
I might still address the vintage truck thing at a later date.

Bex
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:44 AM   #5
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Looks like we are pretty close in comparison but we are towing with a half ton. And my research showed that half ton , or 3/4 ton meant how much weight was pushing down in the bed. (I am not going to go there) but this is our new (vintage ) truck (1984).
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:57 PM   #6
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So just to throw some fat on the fire the brown truck (In the earlier photo) is pristine condition. One owner, original mileage, used summertime only for holidays. Service records available. 460 with a (possibly, not real sure) 3:55 axle maybe a 3:42. Only thing currently wrong with the truck is a slight blow on the exhaust manifold.
Asking 3500.
Going to see it tomorrow.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:53 PM   #7
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The exhaust manifold fix is expensive. That is a very good rig for towing,poor fuel milage but very stout engine. The exhaust manifolds on that vintage 460 shrink with age and use. That shrinkage breaks the bolts holding the manifold to the head. It is ussually the rear most bolts on either side that breaks. If driven a lot with the manifold leaking a burned valve will be the result. The bolts are stainless steel and have to be drilled out, not impossible but time consuming. Also the manifold will need to be replaced at a cost off about $600 for the part. We used to get about a $1000 to replace the 460 manifold,per side. If you are not carefull it is easy to ruin the head while drilling, that means more money. Factor that into the cost of the truck. Adios,John
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:31 PM   #8
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Thanks for the heads up Diesel1, I appreciate it!
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:44 PM   #9
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A 28' Argosy weighs how much?

FWIW I pull our 1975 31' Sovereign (7200 GVW, usually 6500# when we tow) with my bride's 2003 F150 with a 4.6l V-8. It does have factory tow package and I don't go to the mountains, for that I use my 1996 F-350 PSD, CC with 4.10 gears (talk about overkill).

On the late 70's 460's, best thing I ever did was to dump the factory manifold for headers. We had a 1978 F250 Camper Special that we used as a work truck. The OEM 400 went south around 100k of hard use. We picked up a gently used 460 from the salvage yard out of a Lincoln Town Car, went through the engine, swapped out the cam for a Isky Blue Racer RV cam (more torque) Eldebrock high rise manifold, Holley double pumper and Black Jack headers. That truck would HAUL, and after a heavy duty rebuild of the C-6 it was a beast, the only thing on the road that could out haul it at the time was a custom built early generation Gale Banks modified 6.9 diesel. That truck is still running today with over 600k on the odo.

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Old 09-14-2010, 08:33 AM   #10
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Plated at 6200lbs GTW, checked it last night.

As for the other stuff, I was was born and raised with "the Queens English", but that's all Double Dutch to me

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Old 09-14-2010, 10:39 AM   #11
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Plated at 6200lbs GTW, checked it last night.

As for the other stuff, I was was born and raised with "the Queens English", but that's all Double Dutch to me

Bex
That means unless you are maxing out you trailer weight your real world towing weight is going to be around 5500-600# range. A properly equipped 1/2 ton v-8 can handle that easily. One thing to watch for using a 3/4 ton is the stiffness of the springs. Airstreams prefer a softer ride. I use an Air Ride Hitch when towing with my big dually truck.

The rest of the stuff is motorhead

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Old 09-14-2010, 07:07 PM   #12
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Air ride hitch, sounds interesting, what is it?
Point me in the right direction for info please?
I could just search, but asking increases my post stats

bex
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:12 PM   #13
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Not need to show me, I found some info.
Thanks
Woah there goes another post!
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