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Old 08-24-2012, 04:39 PM   #15
I Bought it I Broke it...
 
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1976 31' Sovereign
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I didn't end up getting that particular van, but found one I love even more. As of today we're the owners of a 1995 Chevy G20 5.7L with a class V hitch and only 105,000 miles. Took it to a shop before we bought it and everything checked out. it even has a power bed, so going from couch to bed is as easy as flipping a switch.

Next up is to build a solar powered, battery charged little sink/ outlet/heater area where one of the captains chairs currently are.

Thanks again Jack for all your insight, you really helped me figure out what I needed and what to look for (tranny was in great shape!)
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clicknathan
I didn't end up getting that particular van, but found one I love even more. As of today we're the owners of a 1995 Chevy G20 5.7L with a class V hitch and only 105,000 miles. Took it to a shop before we bought it and everything checked out. it even has a power bed, so going from couch to bed is as easy as flipping a switch.

Next up is to build a solar powered, battery charged little sink/ outlet/heater area where one of the captains chairs currently are.

Thanks again Jack for all your insight, you really helped me figure out what I needed and what to look for (tranny was in great shape!)
That's great. Just curious, how do you know the hitch is a class V? The reason I ask is my 2003 GMC new, had a class IV which was GM's supplied hitch. Keep in mind that a class V hitch will handle a hitch weight of 1,400 lbs. Class IV is 1,000. I assume if it is class V, it wasn't a factory supplied hitch.

Jack
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:37 AM   #17
I Bought it I Broke it...
 
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1976 31' Sovereign
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I had actually read their is technically no such thing as a Class V hitch, at least per international standards or whatnot. The hitch has a sticker saying it was a custom install by a company named Curt out of Wisconsin. It states it can support 1000lbs w/ a weight distributing ball mount (600lbs otherwise) and can tow up to 10,000 with weight distribution or 6,000 w/o.

I am still reading how weight distribution works, but I'm assuming it involves the ball portion of the hitch and not the mounted portion...though if you were inclined to fill me in on any details there I'd appreciate it!

My experience towing to date is limited to carrying a small Uhaul trailer behind a truck. As we traveled in an old VW Bus before our family exploded in size, this is all new territory to me.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clicknathan
I had actually read their is technically no such thing as a Class V hitch, at least per international standards or whatnot. The hitch has a sticker saying it was a custom install by a company named Curt out of Wisconsin. It states it can support 1000lbs w/ a weight distributing ball mount (600lbs otherwise) and can tow up to 10,000 with weight distribution or 6,000 w/o.

I am still reading how weight distribution works, but I'm assuming it involves the ball portion of the hitch and not the mounted portion...though if you were inclined to fill me in on any details there I'd appreciate it!

My experience towing to date is limited to carrying a small Uhaul trailer behind a truck. As we traveled in an old VW Bus before our family exploded in size, this is all new territory to me.
You have a Class IV hitch. Here is a link with a break down regarding hitch classes. http://www.hitchesonline.com/hitch_selection.htm

A weight distribution hitch involves a system which acts like handles on a wheel barrow that distributes the hitch weight of the trailer between the front wheels of the tow vehicle and the axles of the trailer. This prevents the rear end of your tow vehicle from squatting in the rear due to the weight of the hitch on the ball.


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Old 08-25-2012, 06:32 PM   #19
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Just returned from 10,000 mile trip to Alaska. TV was 2003 Chev 1500 conversion van with 5.7 v8. Trailer 1973 Overlander. Cat scale read out, 7300# ON tv AND 5960# on trailer hitched together. No problems towing but could have used more power in the mountains especially on the 8% grades.Fuel ranged 12mpg for the trip, didn't vary much from mountains of BC to flatlands of N. Dakota except for price. Only draw back on the Chev Express Van is lack of onboard computer, compass and outside temp. Had to do the mpg, oldschool with pencil and paper. Drove 60 mph or less the whole trip, most of the Alaska Highway was less. No flats, no broken lights or windshield and no damage to the AS. Worked for me.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:04 AM   #20
I Bought it I Broke it...
 
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Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
Towing with that vehicle was strictly 3rd gear only since that transmission was not qualified for towing in OD.
Jack - we ended up with a 1995 Chevy G20. It's only got a 3.43 rear end but 5.7L, v8 and we beefed up the radiator and added a tranny cooler.

It's been working wonderfully, I was towing in 3rd gear (Drive) but after we got the new radiator I've been towing in OD, keeping it at around 55mph (which is all we can really do anyway before we start swaying...)

We have had some overheating issues climbing hills in Western North Carolina (2000' elevation changes over very short distances, a few miles). Haven't made it out west yet but plan to do so by the fall. We're full-timing in it so the overheating is a bit of a concern...but since we'll be in the plains and smaller hills of the Dakotas all summer we should be okay.

I'm curious though, do you think I should be keeping it in Drive all the while? Is 55mph too fast for Drive / 3rd gear?

I had considered also bumping up the rear end but after talking to some people about it, they thought I'd need an entire new rear axle and though I haven't looked into pricing...it seems like something like that would be cost prohibitive. The interior of the van is in such pristine condition, and we're using it as our (mom, dad & baby #3) bedroom while the rest of the family sleeps in the Airstream...so that was a big incentive to buying this particular model (plus the cost for a '95 was way lower than something newer and it had only about 100,000 miles on it.)
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:07 AM   #21
I Bought it I Broke it...
 
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Here's a peak at our setup from instagram.com/wandrly if anyone's interested.

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Old 04-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clicknathan View Post
Jack - we ended up with a 1995 Chevy G20. It's only got a 3.43 rear end but 5.7L, v8 and we beefed up the radiator and added a tranny cooler.

It's been working wonderfully, I was towing in 3rd gear (Drive) but after we got the new radiator I've been towing in OD, keeping it at around 55mph (which is all we can really do anyway before we start swaying...)

I'm curious though, do you think I should be keeping it in Drive all the while? Is 55mph too fast for Drive / 3rd gear?
If you are towing keep it in 3rd. Don't use OD based on the specs on your van. You should address that swaying issue though. That's really an unacceptable condition.

Jack
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:03 AM   #23
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If you are towing keep it in 3rd. Don't use OD based on the specs on your van. You should address that swaying issue though. That's really an unacceptable condition.

Jack
Agreed on all points. A WD hitch will help with van/trailer steering & braking, and either add-on or integrated trailer sway control will help with that aspect.

Start with trailer tongue weight. That needs to be from 12-15% of the trailer total weight.

And then weigh the combined rig.

Tire loads are what it all comes down to in the end.

http://www.rma.org/tire_care_info/ti...0311_FINAL.pdf

How to set up proper weight distribution is mainly acquiring numbers, plugging them in to a chart, and adjusting WD hitch to acquire the formulaic answer.

The short version is that the van needs have the same weight on the steer axle when unhitched as when hitched up with weight distribution applied. Known as FALR (front axle load restoration).

When this is done, the TW is also distributed back onto the trailer axles. All of this "leverage" makes for better handling and braking. And, if tongue weight was a good number, then with WD properly distributed (and any anti-sway devices at work) the combination should not be seeing any sway.

Loss-of-control accidents are a very big deal. Yours (by your description) is just waiting to happen.

Tire loads, friend.

A CAT Scale (most truck stops, see online locator) is about $10 for the first pass across the scales, and $1 or $2 for every other. Print out the chart in the pdf for weighing a combined rig, and read a little on how to adjust your hitch.

You'll be very glad to take a couple of hours over this. No comparison to how bad it is right now to where it will be once ironed out.

(And the pic of the rig at camp looks nice!!)

.
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