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Old 08-21-2013, 01:38 PM   #15
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How the Insurance companies would react to a severe over GCWR is another question. I have heard stories and speculation but have no hard facts
Insurance companies do not want to spend a lot of money on checking everything. They seem more interested in your credit rating than anything else (aside from collecting premiums).

So I doubt they are thinking much about GCWR. So long as GCWR doesn't show up as a problem very often, they just figure a few accidents caused by excessive GCWR are far outweighed (pun alert) by all the people without such a problem. And the problem most likely manifests as a tow vehicle that wears out too soon. That is no cost to an insurer.

If there is a lawsuit and a victim's lawyer discovers that GCWR may have contributed, it may come up. I doubt many lawyers even have heard of GCWR and I don't know how you prove excessive GCWR is a direct cause if an accident, but you may be able to prove it is one of several factors.

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Old 08-21-2013, 01:44 PM   #16
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Borrowed from another poster, BradB, but worth posting here too - a 1987 Airstream brochure:



I wonder what the tow rating on this TV would be, happily married to a 34' triple axle. What I do suspect, strongly, is that my 2008 Honda is superior in any way to the car on the Airstream brochure - payload, engine, brakes.

(I didn't grow up in North America, so I have no idea what car this is. Perhaps somebody else can dig up the numbers)
I don't know about that. I really like my 2012 Accord coupe, but it doesn't have those cool blue arrows that go back around the trailer.

(It's a Chevrolet Impala)
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:52 PM   #17
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Awesome. Three gears and 110hp.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:52 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
Borrowed from another poster, BradB, but worth posting here too - a 1987 Airstream brochure:



I wonder what the tow rating on this TV would be, happily married to a 34' triple axle. What I do suspect, strongly, is that my 2008 Honda is superior in any way to the car on the Airstream brochure - payload, engine, brakes.

(I didn't grow up in North America, so I have no idea what car this is. Perhaps somebody else can dig up the numbers)
It is a Chevrolet Caprice Classic, '77-'90. Since it's an '87 Airstream brochure, I'd guess it's an '86 or '87. It was never available with larger than a 350 cubic-inch V8 (either gasoline or the AWFUL GM 5.7l diesel). By the mid 80s, you couldn't get the gasoline 350 anymore, just a 305. My old car book tells me that was good for all of 165 horsepower.

EDIT: Oh, and note that it's probably the OLD formula for SAE horsepower, so rated on the current scale it would be even less.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:57 PM   #19
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It looks like manufacturers tow ratings are not believed. SAE came up with standard methodology to do the ratings and manufacturer's lowered (in most if not all cases) their tow ratings. I think the Tundra's went down a few hundred pounds from 10,000. Of course, it has been argued that SAE's engineers are lackies for the manufacturer's.


Gene
At risk of being wrong, I believe I read in a recent (last 6 months) Turbo Diesel Register that the SAE did come up with a set of standards. I also recall it saying that Toyota is the only one following them at this time
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:33 PM   #20
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It is a Chevrolet Caprice Classic, '77-'90. Since it's an '87 Airstream brochure, I'd guess it's an '86 or '87. It was never available with larger than a 350 cubic-inch V8 (either gasoline or the AWFUL GM 5.7l diesel). By the mid 80s, you couldn't get the gasoline 350 anymore, just a 305. My old car book tells me that was good for all of 165 horsepower.

EDIT: Oh, and note that it's probably the OLD formula for SAE horsepower, so rated on the current scale it would be even less.
So was Airstream promoting unsafe tow setups in their marketing materials?

Given that there are many voices on this forum who strongly opine that some of today's setups not involving trucks cannot be trusted, despite the fact that these vehicles are stronger and more capable than almost any vehicle available to the average family during the 1980's, this leaves me with two possible conclusions:

a: towing 30 years ago was inherently unsafe and a far riskier activity as it is today. They just didn't know any better and didn't have the technology available to do a better job. As with airbags and seat belt laws, we've moved on.

or

b: towing 30 years ago was inherently safe, the TVs performed fine under most circumstances. Considering the improvements in car design since the mid-80's, towing today is even safer than it was then, even with a family car.

I am not trying to be confrontational with this post, nor am I trying to change anybody's opinion, I am genuinely interested in people's thoughts on this.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:53 PM   #21
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Let's not forget that that mid '80's Chevy was not a unibody. It was a body on frame construction much like we see in the trucks of today. Power and gearing were big factors then as now but they were vastly different from the cars we see today. Not to say better but surely different. I'm sure that many miles were accumulated towing the Airstreams of the day with tow vehicles from all different manufacturers.

As stated above the lawyers may not be up on the GVWR's and the details of towing but you can count on the State Police commercial vehicle inspectors being on top of things. We are only likely to encounter them if involved in an MVA where a fatality is involved. Outside of that we non-commercial towers are rarely in their sights. But commercial towers beware.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:53 PM   #22
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Excellas in '86 and '87 dry weight was between 5,900 and 7,100 lbs. The 350, though derated, was available in 1985 because I inherited an '85 Toronado with a 350. Still a lot of power, but a terrible car with frequent brake problems.

I don't recall the Caprice having anything but a bad reputation as did most GM cars during that era. There was speculation GM would go bankrupt then, but they improved their cars (not enough) and made it through. The same lame GM kept losing market share and it took another 20 years to clean out the place and now their vehicles are far, far superior.

Was it safe? If you go with the standards of the day, maybe. By today's standards, no.

Were there more towing accidents back then? Maybe those statistics exist somewhere.

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Old 08-21-2013, 02:54 PM   #23
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So was Airstream promoting unsafe tow setups in their marketing materials?

Given that there are many voices on this forum who strongly opine that some of today's setups not involving trucks cannot be trusted, despite the fact that these vehicles are stronger and more capable than almost any vehicle available to the average family during the 1980's, this leaves me with two possible conclusions:

a: towing 30 years ago was inherently unsafe and a far riskier activity as it is today. They just didn't know any better and didn't have the technology available to do a better job. As with airbags and seat belt laws, we've moved on.

or

b: towing 30 years ago was inherently safe, the TVs performed fine under most circumstances. Considering the improvements in car design since the mid-80's, towing today is even safer than it was then, even with a family car.

I am not trying to be confrontational with this post, nor am I trying to change anybody's opinion, I am genuinely interested in people's thoughts on this.
Those old cars, with their limited horsepower/torque, could not pull those trailers very fast. So, probably, the setup was safe for the speed they were travelling. Not being able to go fast also meant stopping (more critical than pulling) was also easier.

I believe, in general, the safety standards have improved in the past 30 years (just compare the IIHS crash test of old vs new cars). Same for towing safety. I would argue a modern car can pull an Airstream more safely than a 30 years old car. I would also argue exceeding the published company ratings (towing capacity, GCVWR, axle weights, payload, and tongue weight), even with after market modification, is unsafe.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:56 PM   #24
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Time has absolutely marched on.

My car is a 2005 Subaru Legacy GT station wagon. 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with a 5-speed manual transmission. The most exotic thing about it these days is probably the manual transmission.

It returns similar performance to the Ferrari 308 GTS from Magnum PI. A recent "entry-level" Ferrari (the F430) was measured as doing 0 to 60 and back to 0 in about the same time it took a 308 to just get to 60 (the 0-60-0 time for the F430 was 6.48 seconds, an '80 308 GTS is listed at 6.8 seconds 0-60.

The performance and refinement delivered by cars and trucks available to "regular-guy" first-world citizens is astonishing compared to the state of the art 30 years ago.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:05 PM   #25
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40 years ago, when I got my first AS most tow vehicles were Suburbans, International Travelall or Pick up trucks with a reasonahle number of large cars thrown in (Cadillacs or similiar.) At that time the biggest AS was the 31 footer. Some of the rigs were marginal, at least in the mountains. Go back a few more years and the Interstate highway system was not complete and a lot of towing was at slower speeds.
There has been dramatic improvement in towing capability, braking ,transmissions, and cooling etc. since then
Also keep in mind that the average vehicle was pretty well worn out at 50,000 miles and a 100k vehicle was rarity. ( my 99 Dodge cummins has 576K )
Hitches were usually fabricated by the local welding shop so who knows what you got.
Not sure when the WD hitch became available but they did exist in the 60's
Probably the worst tow vehicle today is better than 90% of what was used back then.

I am sure some on here remember the Axle hitch, vapor cool ,seide safety skids and other add on products
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:35 PM   #26
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At risk of being wrong, I believe I read in a recent (last 6 months) Turbo Diesel Register that the SAE did come up with a set of standards. I also recall it saying that Toyota is the only one following them at this time
SAE did come with a standard (0-60 in less than 30 secs, breaking, not heating up going up a mountainous road with AC on, etc), and only Toyota agreed to implement it. GM, Ford, and Chrysler all refused. Why? because their vehicles' tow ratings would take a hit (they surely would have implemented the standard if their cars/trucks were as capable as they advertised). So, take the towing capacity of the big 3 with a grain of salt. When Toyota says Land Cruiser can tow 8200#, it has actually passed a rigorous, standardized test. Not the same thing can be said about many other makers.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:40 PM   #27
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Those Ferraris are sure slow. I think a Tundra 5.7 L. engine with a Toyota supercharger has clocked 4.5 sec. to 60, though I don't know how quick it stops. For the price of a Ferrari I can get a bunch of Tundras. The Tundra stock engine is about 6.5 sec. to 60. I keep waiting for some kid to ask me if I want to drag.

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Old 08-21-2013, 07:48 PM   #28
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Those Ferraris are sure slow. I think a Tundra 5.7 L. engine with a Toyota supercharger has clocked 4.5 sec. to 60, though I don't know how quick it stops. For the price of a Ferrari I can get a bunch of Tundras. The Tundra stock engine is about 6.5 sec. to 60. I keep waiting for some kid to ask me if I want to drag.

Gene
Compared to what's on the market today, yeah, the 308 is pretty slow. A $500 programmer will get my Legacy's 0-60 time down to around 5 seconds. I don't want that, I have a hard enough time keeping my foot out of it as it is.

I wouldn't recommend you running for pinks against an F430 when you're in the Tundra, blower or no.
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