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Old 02-20-2003, 12:39 PM   #1
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Airstream / Intrepid

The legendary 1994 Chrysler Intreped that Can Am used for many years has been mentioned a few times in different threads. I was going through a newsletter and saw this article. This is the notorious Intripid at a test track negotiating a slolam run with a big A-S in tow. Here are the highlights.

The Intrepid is used to demo large Airstreams over 90% of its driving time.
It has over 60,000 miles of towing on it.
Few problems developed as a result of towing.
It went through the slalom faster than a Suburban or a Blazer. Note that this Intrepid towing a 34' A-S went through the slalom almost as fast as some vehicles did solo.
Options were a custom hitch & HENSLEY, transmission cooler and brake controller.
3.5 V6 front wheel drive ( weight on drive wheels) proved to be a success.

This won't appeal to everyone but does illustrate the capabilities.
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Old 02-20-2003, 02:10 PM   #2
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Sure doesn't look like a 3/4 ton hd diesel duramax psd 4:10 ... etc.

I guess I'm from MO. I need to see it in person.
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Old 02-20-2003, 02:58 PM   #3
 
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Talking

I bet he must check his brake connection very carefully before traveling in mountains.

Can anybody calculate how fast he will go, the day he looses the brakes on the trailer, let's say downhill on a 10% grade?

Chantal
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Old 02-20-2003, 05:49 PM   #4
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Did the article have an asterisk and disclaimer at the bottom, professional driver on a closed course? I wonder how Chrysler feels about this, and I wonder if CanAm accepts liability for adapting vehicles to tow 2, 3, or 4 times what they are rated to tow?

CanAm is modifying machinery which is easy to do. The problem comes when you put people (most of whom aren't going to tow 60,000 miles in their life) in their daily driver with 8000 lbs. strapped to the rear and give them the impression it isn't there. Safety should be the primary concern when driving/towing, and I am a long way from being convinced this is safe in the hands of the average driver.

John
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Old 02-20-2003, 07:15 PM   #5
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Personal Experience

I had the good fortune to test drive Can Am's Intrepid 34' AS combo 3 years ago. This was the first time towing a trailer for me.

The man who founded Can Am specialized in matching tow vechicles and Airstreams from the beginning. To day his family carries on his work and are considered towing experts by the RV industry in both the USA and Canada. Visit their website and review the towing articles and you will understand and appreciate the level of expertise provided at Can Am RV.

As for my own experience using the Intrepid we did interstate driving , county road driving and emergency handling manevours including emergency braking. The combined unit exceeded all my expectatioins.

Seeing and driving plus knowing the large number of satisfied customers Can Am has indicates Andy Thompson Sr and his family are true pioneers that have proven their knowledge and capabilty to make the RV industry safer for both the owner and the future owner of an RV.

As you can tell from our profile we are proud owners of a Classic 325 MH we have owned MH in the past and the MH fits our lifestyle today.

Do not criticize something until you research all the facts and then make your descision pro or con.

Thanks for the support from this forum
Ray
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Old 02-20-2003, 07:32 PM   #6
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Well, I have to wade into this discussion.

My relatives have bought 5 Airstreams from Can-Am over the years and have come to trust Andy and his crew implicitly. He has always set up their tow vehicles, ranging from a Chrysler Imperial (late 60's early 70's) to a 3/4 Ton Dodge Van - needed to haul the Honda Goldwing and 31' excella.

I too will be joining the clan shortly and will be pulling my 25C Safari with a Chrysler 300 M to which Andy has added a custom receiver, tranny cooler, tranny temp guage and Hayes Dana brake controller.

I test drove/"towed" at Can-Am a 30 ft Classic with a Windstar (since traded in on a new Intrepid SE-same power train as my 300 M) and was suitably impressed with performance and drivability.

At the lastest RV show in Toronto, Andy had the Intrepid/30' Classic on display and had a video running of the trip he made to California last year with the rig.

As for losing the brakes going down a 10% grade, I am not sure many drivers would be able to handle the situation driving a Honda Civic, let alone pulling a trailer. I am not even sure how some drivers would handle driving an F350 PS and losing the brakes towing a trailer - I think there would be some major "brown" pants.

Just my two cents.
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Old 02-20-2003, 07:54 PM   #7
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It is interesting to see a definite difference in the realization of towing capabilities between us south of the border and north of it. I am just waiting for Wayne and his Nissan Quest/Tradewind combo to enter the fray. I do believe that us Americans are somewhat entrenched in the ideology of big V8's and towing mass when you see totally the opposite in almost every other country. Europe for instance. But in regard to Canada there is a big difference, seeing our Canadian friends pulling our American made Airstreams with FWD passenger cars and minivans as some have and that is probably what shocks us the most. I am sure if they were pulling Awards ( a now defunct Canadian brand) around like they do, it would probably be much easier for us to accept.

As for me, I will stick with my F-250 Powerstroke!!!

Chas
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Old 02-20-2003, 08:00 PM   #8
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It's all in the Hensley Arrow hitch!!!!

John
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Old 02-20-2003, 08:56 PM   #9
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Look again

Quote:
I am sure if they were pulling Awards ( a now defunct Canadian brand) around like they do, it would probably be much easier for us to accept.
Chas:

Take a look at www.AwardRV.com or the latest Trailer Life Buyer's Guide. Award is live and well and selling trailers in the US and Canada.

OTOH, Awards aren't terribly light. Their lightest trailer, a 23-footer, has a slightly lighter dry weight than my 22' International (3980 vs 4200), but a heavier max weight (5400 vs 5000). Their larger trailers are likewise in the same ball park, weight-wise, as the similar length Airstreams.

If I did not own an Airstream, Award would probably be my next choice. They are definitely first class trailers.
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:13 PM   #10
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Well I'm jealous. I would certainly like to have had the opportunity to drive such a rig. I was wondering if one of you from north of the border would be so kind to post the web site for the Can Am Company. There's got to be something we can learn here.

As for the Award travel trailer. We owned one from 94 to 01. It was a 27 foot model and had a 5000 gvw. Once I scaled the entire rig. (Astro Van pulling an Award) and all axels of the tow vehicle and trailer were under gross wights. The trailer was difficult to tow until we purchased the pullrite hitch. I think the wheelbase of the astro was just a little short for the job.

We finally traded the award in for the Airstream and are very happy with our decision. The award began to loose its integrity to keep the weather out. Once moisture made it into the sandwich wall construction, mildew, mold and panel separation soon followed. I never want to own another sandwich constructed vehicle.
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:56 PM   #11
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Can Am RV Link

Here is the Can Am address
www.can-am-rv.com

hope this helps
Ray
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Old 02-21-2003, 09:41 AM   #12
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I didn't know they were actually building Awards anymore. I was interested in them years ago, saw a new 27' back in the early 90's at Stahlmann Sales near S.A. Tx, fell in love with it but they sure as heck were pricey. I am glad I didn't get one for I have heard they have a tendency to come apart, actually splitting down the center at the roof!! The frames on the first generations were galvanized steel, probably something to do with the Canadian winters, road salt and such. Most of the ones I see down here are turning dingy yellow, the sun is taking it's toll on the plastic and fiberglass.

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Old 02-21-2003, 11:10 AM   #13
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Intrepid v6 Puller

Chas... Ya buddy, I'm here. Was out of town with a family emergency and all is well. Might as well jump into this one. It is my cup of tea.

JD1...Cool pic at the track. This combo is familiar to me.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of test drives were performed in that Intrepid combo over the years. I first drove it about 7 years ago when it was hooked up to a 31'. While jaw waggin with Andy I for the most part forgot the trailer was in tow. The combination felt so right and stable. A couple years later my dad was visiting from BC and I took him to Can am to see this amazing rig. On that particular day the Intrepid was hitched up to the 34. Dad took that combo for a run on the highway and was impressed with the ease at which the whole packaged handled. He had towed RV's for 45 years but nothing over 21'. Now at 70 years old he got to pull a 34' triple axle. I thank Can Am for the opportunity. I know Dad talked about that drive for a long time after that.

John.. Re Hensley... I have read about the testing that Can Am did. I will try to find the paperwork but I can recall the Hensley was added to all of the test vehicles and made a major increase in the speed on all test runs. Jd1 may have this info as well but I also read that wider wheels and low profile tires were added to the Suburban but it still wasn't enough to keep up with the Intrepid combo.

Ray... You best summed it up. Can Am's knowledge, capabilities, and experience are the key. Their dedication to quality and safety...... their customer sat.
The other issue you spoke of is "research all the facts and then make your decision pro or con". Sounds fair.
We are very lucky to have such a broad base of tow vehicles to choose from. If we all towed with the same thing we would have little to talk about.

Chas... There were some Awards at the RV show. They are back in production. They are known to tow well but like Mark said they probably don't have the longevity of the A/S's.

Here is a link that I posted before that gives one an understanding on Can Ams view and methodology on towing.

Click on the link below and view the blue "Features" column. Scroll down and you will see an article, "Hitch Hints" Looking for a tow vehicle. The article is written by Andy from Can Am

http://www.rvlifemag.com/

or ( see thread on the "Perfect Tow Vehicle")
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Old 02-21-2003, 01:18 PM   #14
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Just wonderin', maybe your fellow Canadian, "Super Dave Osborne", was the original test pilot on the Intrepid/triple axle A/S lashup?

Chas
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