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Old 10-09-2006, 10:44 PM   #1
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1978 24' Argosy 24
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Question 2004 Chevy Tahoe Z71 as Tow Vehicle?

Hi all! I am looking at purchasing a tow vehicle for my '78 24' Argosy and wondering if there are any thoughts on the 2004 Chevy Tahoe with the Z71 special package as a Tow Vehicle potential. It states towing capacity at 10,000 (my total weight is about 5.000, including stuff loaded) and has the transmission cooling line...'
After reading all the posts about the Buick Roadmaster (which we own) we opted not to fix it up to possible tow standards and we have yet to take our trailer out...waiting to do it safely...SO I am very curious to thoughts on this. The wheel base is 116 inches...is that wide enough for our mid sized trailer?
Thanks in advance, and really, thanks in GENERAL! I use this forum a few times a week and am always so amazed at the wealth of info and community. Cannot wait to get on the road,
Katy
with the
Airvermaker
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Old 10-09-2006, 10:52 PM   #2
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I towed my 25' Safari to Yellowstone/Tetons with a '96 Tahoe with a 350 engine. I used load sabilizer and sway control. It towed beautifully, plenty of power, very stable towing. The Z-71 should do even better.
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Old 10-09-2006, 11:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aversenti
Hi all! I am looking at purchasing a tow vehicle for my '78 24' Argosy and wondering if there are any thoughts on the 2004 Chevy Tahoe with the Z71 special package as a Tow Vehicle potential. It states towing capacity at 10,000 (my total weight is about 5.000, including stuff loaded) and has the transmission cooling line...'
The tow rating of an 04 Z71 Tahoe isn't 10,000 lbs, it's 7,800 lbs, and that's only with 4.10 gears.
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:37 AM   #4
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tahoe...

should work fine. The 2004 has the newer generation 5.3(I believe) which is stronger than the 350 TBI in your wagon. It probably has bigger brakes as well. As long as the Z71 model doesn't mean that it has huge off road tires, you're good to go! I agree it probably isn't rated to pull 10,000 lbs. I'd be surprised if you really are at 5000 pounds. My 26ft Argosy with stuff is at 4,800 lbs on the truck scale. You should be lighter at 24ft. Regardless, you have plenty of tow vehicle with the Tahoe.

I'd also opt for an additional tranny cooler. The one from the factory goes through the radiator. Adding a "plate" tranny cooler will really ensure that you have a good handle on keeping that tranny cool. Everygreen RV can set you up as well.

By the way, here's the link for Evergreen RV in Lynnwood/ North Seattle
http://www.evergreenrvsupply.com/AboutUs.htm
Marc

Smaller mom/pop operation - nice people.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:59 AM   #5
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Thanks all! The 10,000 pound figure came from my dad...the owner of the car, so it may have something to do with the tow package he got! I am definitely getting the load stabilizer and sway bars...thanks much and will keep you posted...k
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:23 PM   #6
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We borrowed the mother-in-law's 2000 Tahoe with the 350 this last weekend and hauled our '76 Argosy 24 over Stevens pass and then back over North Cascades. Our van was in the shop having some work done; tranny temp gage + synthetic trans fluid, new shocks installed, etc., report to follow. The hitch arrangement wasn't optimal as the height of the reciever on the Tahoe is higher than our van. This left the trailer nose up and the angle of the hitch head was such that I wasn't able to transfer quite as much weight back to the front as I would have liked.

Even with this less than optimal set-up you could hardly tell the trailer was there. Granted it wasn't a scorcher but when we pulled into Winthrop Saturday the temperature was 65 degrees and climbing several steep grades and at over 4,000' of elevation the engine temp never even budged off of 190. Power to spare on all the hills. In fact the ride is so nice I had to remind myself several times to keep the speed down to 60mph.

As far as towing goes I think you'll be extremely pleased. Althought the mother-in-law's Tahoe seems to have every option under the sun (including factory towing and 4WD) it doesn't have tranny temp. I think there is a gage option that includes this and it's nice to have for piece of mind. The Tahoe also had the Prodigy brake controller and that works fantastic. The newer ones are probably even better but the 2000 can pull down 18mph on straight highway if you baby it. Not sure what we got towing but my only complaint is the tank is rather on the small side (~21 gallons) which means you have to plan you fuel stops a little more carefully.

-Bernie
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Old 10-12-2006, 04:59 PM   #7
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Hi bhayden--The transmission temp gage is only on newer Chevy 3/4ton vehicles, and all Tahoes are 1/2 ton. Tahoes generally have lower numerical differentials than Suburbans.--Frank S
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:50 PM   #8
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We sometimes tow our 25' Safari with our '04 Tahoe with the 5.3 liter and Autoride. It does pretty good. Our primary TV is an '05 Suburban 2500; it does much better. Our long trips are the Suburban's job.
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:26 PM   #9
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The Tahoe should be ok for the 24' Argosy....better than the Roadmonster.

The Z71 if I recall does have a bit stiffer suspension for the off road crowd and I'd be a bit concerned about the stiffness, but as for towing what you stated, I think you'd be ok. I think you are right at the threshold before crossing into the 3/4 ton sandbox.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:10 PM   #10
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1978 24' Argosy 24
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ahhhh well...my dad (who had the aforementioned Tahoe as a business car) was amazed when the leasing agent quoted 29,000 to buy it...I KNEW 15,000 was too good of a deal for a fully loaded SUV...back to the drawing board...I know s.twink...roadmonster or not, we may try to make it work with tranny cooler, top of the line hitch/level, etc, and a LOT of work (brakes, etc.)...it IS a super cush car and the wheel base is actually the same as the Tahoe...still thinking on it...You know how WA is around this time of hibernation...all I really need to do for the next few months is cover the Airvermaker and clean the inside and work on the floors...

Well, I will keep you all posted on the tow vehicle dilemnas...and thanks so much for all your words o' wisdom!

Cannot stop sighing...LEATHER SEATS....MAN o MAN!

Katy
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:55 PM   #11
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Ouch, almost double what you were hoping for. The 1993 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon is probably going to be OK with your Argosy. Back when I was a kid we had a '72 Pontiac Safari wagon that we used to towed a two horse trailer with tack room. Loaded that was a good 5,000#.

From page 13 of the '78 Argosy owners manual, "Tow Car Equipment" it says,"To determine generally what the tow capability of your car is, divide the total weight of your trailer by the cubic inch displacement of the automobile engine. This ratio should be between 10 and 20 pounds of trailer weight per cubic inch of engine displacement with 15 pounds per cubic inch considered optimal. For example, with a 27' Argosy weighing 5500 pounds totally loaded for travel and a car with 350 cubic inch displacement engine, divide 5500 by 350 giving a value of 15.70 pounds of trailer weight per cubic inch engine displacement. "

OK, your Roadtoad is Old School and the engines of 1993 are superior to what was being turned out in 1978. Buick rated the car for 5,000 pounds with the towing package. Don't know if you have that but looks like a tranny cooler and WD hitch gets you the equivalent. The dry weight of the 24 is 3840 pounds and although the GVWR is 5800 you really don't need to be hauling around (literally) a ton of cr*p.

By the time you have the brake controller, tranny work and hitch all done you'll be into it for close to a grand so make sure the cars in condition to last long enough to warrant the investment.

-Bernie
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:16 AM   #12
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Yeah, the Tahoe should be fine, with proper sway control, as it is a swb vehicle. Sway control is always a good idea with any TT/TV anyway.But no-way is it rated to tow 10k pounds. I had (2) 1/2 ton Suburbans that were not rated to tow that much and the Tahoes are rated slightly less than the Subys.
The tow package does nothing for weight ratings; it just includes the hitch, 7 pin plug, maybe a tranny cooler, maybe 4:10. Better check on the last, both my Suby had tow package, one had 3:73 one had 4:10...

You should be OK.

Bill
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:23 AM   #13
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1978 24' Argosy 24
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THANKS Bernie! Yes, the car is in amazing condition. Was J's grandfather's car, then father's company car...it is so cush...but we will get it checked out and I will take all your suggestions for SURE...we have a mechanic, but he specializes in vintage cars...he always works on my '62 Skylark, and I guess he fixed my city Honda, but I really want a specialist for this one! Thanks and will keep you posted!
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:01 PM   #14
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Given the history of the car I think you'll be plenty happy using it to tow the Argosy 24. The Buick really is Old School as far as the general layout. Your vintage mechanic should be right at home installing the trans cooler and might have a good recomendation on welding for the hitch. Folks on the forum have recommended Evergreen RV. I think it's up around Lynwood; that stretch of Old 99 is RV central. We've used Chuck's Cheveron up there. They do a lot of MH work but I'm looking for someone a little more knowledgeable for trailers.

My experience so far points to having the transmission flushed and replacing all the fluid with synthetic. The plate coolers are the best. I haven't installed an aftermarket one yet but I did have a deeper pan installed which helps moderate the temperature and also gave me an easy place to mount the sending unit and a drain plug for changing fluid without dropping the pan. I had the mechanic flush the transmission and put in sythetic when I had the mechanic install the transmission temperature gage . People have said (don't know for sure if it's true) that it's important for the transmission to get up to operating temperature. I know that's true for an engine and that't why there's a thermostat but I'm not convinced it's true for transmissions. Anyway, with the gage installed I've found that the temperature doesn't even budge this time of year until after about 20 minutes of normal driving. Steady state temperature around town or on the freeway is ~130 F. The highest I've seen it, which was after climbing a big hill (no trailer) was 150 F. Although I went with the synthetic because it reportedly reduces heat and stands up to high temperature use better than regular ATF I've since found out that another benifit is vastly improved cold weather performance. It remains viscous down to -40 F and I've definitely noticed improved shifting on cold mornings right out of the driveway. Towing a trailer the add on cooler is probably more important than the gage. It makes some sense economically to have them done at the same time since the mechanic is into the hydraulic system anyway. Gages are a "fun" thing to add. They're not terribly expensive and looking is still free .


I'd also recommend having your trusted mechanic flush the cooling system and replace the antifreeze with a 50/50 mix of water and the new extended life coolant. If he has the tools he can do an infarred scan of the radiator to make sure there's no blockages causing a hot spot. I think the factory recommends installing stop leak with the fluid; at least when it's new. Not sure if that's important when changing antifreeze but I always do it on my older cars. There's also some "snake oil" formulas that claim to improve cooling. Purple Max, the brand of ATF my mechanic install makes one called Purple Ice. I'd love to hear some real world experiece from someone with a temperature gage that's tried it. Hopefully the fan is electic and not attached to the front of the water pump. That change has made water pumps last way longer. If it's the old style with the fan bolted direct to the water pump then you can covert to the electric fan or my choice would be to install a fan clutch (might be there already).


If you haven't bought a WD hitch yet I saw a good deal on the local Craigslist yesterday. I still have most of our EA-Z-Lift system. We switched to Reese because that's what the trailer had. We got the trunion bars and the clips on the A-frame, but not the hitch head or shank with the trailer. I also ended up with an extra Equalizer hitch head (long story).

The other thing we did before towing with our van was to change the oil to a synthetic blend. I might go to full synthetic (Mobil 1) if we're towing in the heat of next summer but in general my theory is that at half the cost of full synthetic I'd rather change out the oil twice as often. I've also read that there might be an advantage to having some conventional oil in the mix becaue it stays put (clings) better on engine parts. Don't know about that theory but since I use the factory recommended 5W-30 weight oil it's always been a concern that that stuff drains out of the top end of the block so quickly and completely.

Hope to see you out on the road; we'll be sharing the slow lane together

-Bernie
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