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Old 11-17-2015, 03:15 PM   #1
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Question Big Truck, Little Airstream: Is it a Problem?

If your tow vehicle is well and truly overpowered for what you're towing, can you ignore some of the additional gear recommended for towing?

I've just acquired a 1971 Caravel. 3290 lbs, hitch weight 390 according to the charts. I need a tow vehicle. My puny little 4 cyl pickup won't handle even this much weight, and I'm certainly not going to put it behind the Prius.

I'm planning to move to New Zealand, which makes it advantageous to buy a vehicle that's 20 years old or older -- newer vehicles require conversion to right-hand-drive which costs muchas dinero.

A neighbor is selling a GMC Vandura 2500 with pretty low miles on the speedo. He has used it for towing 27 foot trailer and loads up to 7000 lbs. It sure would be good to buy locally where I could have a trusted mechanic look the thing over. Question is, is overkill going to bite me in places other than at the gas pump?
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Old 11-17-2015, 03:17 PM   #2
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:25 PM   #3
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I have a 2500 Chevy van, with a 3000 lbs trailer

I still need a weight distribution hitch. The hitch doesn't just shift weight back up to the front wheels of the tow vehicle, it also stiffens the " hinge " between the TV and the trailer. The few times that I towed without the weight distribution, the rig " porpoised " if going over any bumps or seams in the road.

A 2500 is not that much of overkillÖbut you may not want to inflate the tires to max pressure, especially in hot weather.

My tires are rated for 80 psi. The front tires are inflated to 50 psi.( for a better ride ) The rear tires are inflated between 60 to 80 psi, depending on the load I am carrying. While towing, I inflate the rear between 65 and 70 psi, to take some of the stiffness out of the tires so the trailer won't get beat up.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for replies. I think I'll move on the 2500 van. Secondary advantage of a full sized van is it'll allow hauling a little more junk! 18' doesn't leave much space for a toolbox, bicycle, solar panel for battery charging, dogfood . . . and on and on.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:56 PM   #5
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Why not buy something in New Zealand and save yourself the additional freight costs?
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:14 PM   #6
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Driving that truck in New Zealand will be in interesting experience. Roads are far narrower, gas prices are roughly double. It'll stick out like a sore thumb.

I'd ship the trailer and buy a tow vehicle over there.
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Old 11-18-2015, 04:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
Driving that truck in New Zealand will be in interesting experience. Roads are far narrower, gas prices are roughly double. It'll stick out like a sore thumb.

I'd ship the trailer and buy a tow vehicle over there.
My New Zealand Airstream contact that suggested bringing over an American gas guzzler as well as an Airstream. Seems these sell at much higher prices in NZ than here. He imports both Airstreams and trucks, and says he makes a few grand on each pickup he imports. This mystifies me, given high gas prices and small roads, but following the vehicle ads on trademe.co.nz (sort of Craigslist and eBay combined) bears out what he says.
I won't have a full container, so bringing over a vehicle won't add much to costs, and I won't have to pay import duty, which also helps.
My plan is to sell and use the proceeds to buy a mid-size Toyota pickup or van (NZ gets selected use vehicle imports from Japan at prices below what you'd pay for the equivalent on a US market).
Plus, $2600 for a GMC 2500 van with 91k miles and known history, excellent condition, new tires and battery, etc. isn't half bad. If I decide to sell the thing in the US, I won't lose my shirt. As it stands, I can't tow my TT.
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:59 AM   #8
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I've seen a bunch of trucks in NZ, but they tend to be hobby cars, rather than daily drivers.

But yes, if you can make some extra cash, why not indeed.

Where in NZ will you be living? It's a great country.
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Old 11-20-2015, 04:47 AM   #9
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Where in NZ

Like your signature quote, I have no fixed plans. The areas that are looking best to me at this point are Northland (Kiapara) and Cormandel. But there are so many beautiful places. The Airstream project is a way to see a bit more of the place before settling down, and a place to live for some months if I end out buying land rather than a built house.
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