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Old 11-26-2008, 09:39 AM   #29
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Curious after seeing ads of late-70s full-size GM B-body wagons and sedans (Caprices and Bonnevilles) towing BIG Airstreams in the brochures, I wanted to see how their curb weight stacked up. Using an old magazine, here's what I found:

1980 Buick Electra V8 - 3830 lbs
1980 Cadillac Deville V8 - 4220 lbs
1980 Chevrolet Impala - 3560 lbs
1980 Ford LTD - 3670 lbs
1980 Chrysler New Yorker V8 - 3920 lbs

And some newer stuff:

2005 Dodge Magnum V6 - 3950 lbs
2005 Honda Odyssey - 4615 lbs
2005 Ford Five Hundred (now, Taurus) AWD - 3950 lbs
2005 Chrysler 300C - 4105 lbs
2006 Cadillac DTS - 4130 lbs
2006 Chevrolet Impala - 3710 lbs
2006 Buick Lucerne - 3845 lbs

One can debate the merits of unibodies vs body-on-frame, or rear-wheel-drive vs front-wheel drive. One can debate the difference from the 160-hp 80s engines vs 240-300 hp modern engines. Or one can argue about independent suspensions, bigger brakes, and stability control vs, well, not having those.

But there isn't a difference in curb weight when comparing full-sized cars from then to full-sized cars of now.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:52 AM   #30
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Hi Finalcutjoe
Since you are close by stop over to our store sometime and try out one of our demos.

There is a Dodge Charger connected to a 34' for test drives at our store most of the time. Give us a call to make sure it is here and come take it for a test drive. Our current one is a 3.5 instead of the hemi so you will have to imagine what 150 additional HP does.

We have set up 43 of the Chrysler sedans for towing since 2005 and so far there have been no durability problems. The transmissions appear to be bullet proof, the same transmission is used on the SRT8 with a 6.1 litre. As well there is a company that supercharges the Hemi to 700 BHP and they can leave the transmisison stock. I have a concern about rear axle temps in heavy headwinds at high speeds but this is a concern with all high powered rear drive tow vehicles these days.

The tradewind it will play with. If you need a hitch receiver we can build you one here and ship it to Idaho for you.

Here is another picture I can assure it is not photo shopped I have about 100 more if you want to see them all.

Andrew T
wow, I stand corrected...

back in the day, I could see towing our '76 31' Sovereign with our '76 Country Squire... I just assumed everything nowadays was so severely de-contented, there was no room for hedging the tow ratings (not to mention modern A/S weights)

heck, with the way things are going... I better start looking into towing my +10k lb A/S with something other than a 3/4 ton 'burb...
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:06 AM   #31
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With the car we have "0" sway with precise steering control. ...
what are you towing with these days?
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:17 AM   #32
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Well, I think it's cool... Who needs a 3/4 ton, when you can ride in comfort... And don't try and tell me a 3/4 ton is comfortable.. I've ridden in them I know.............
We are quite comfortable towing with our 3/4 ton 2007 Dodge Cummins Mega Cab. Admittedly, maybe I say this because I've never ridden in a Cadillac and just don't know any different. We've got tons of leg room, extra space, power and brakes, and we love the towing mileage we're getting.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:38 PM   #33
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Go back and Look at the weights of Sedan and Wagons in the 60's and 70's They were BOATS compared to the tin cans built today,that have been cheapened and lighten to the point there is nothing left other than POP CAN metal.
The older, full framed cars worked OK for towing. They had a frame with a heavy body bolted to it. The body's added nothing to the rigidity of the vehicle, really the body just go's along for the ride, adding weight.

The modern unibody cars/vehicles use the body and integrated sub frame which makes for a very stiff unit to attach drive train and suspension. The current unibody cars are not as light as folks think considering all the components now are mostly aluminum. Much of the weight is in the unibody and that is one reason why these vehicle ride and handle so well with or without trailer in tow.

Chuck... For the past 4 years we have been towing with a pro setup 2003 Infiniti sport sedan. About 200hrs of towing with no problems except for a set of $35. rear coil spring isolators to compensate for a slight sag. In 5 or 6 years, after the long term I will write up towing review from our experience with this vehicle.
If it is anything like our former TV, a very reliable Nissan Mini van we will be very happy. Note the Nissan towed for over ten years and had 435,000klm's on it with "O" tranny issues. At 16 years old it still ran fine until it was broad sided last Spring by a careless women driver and was written off.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:49 PM   #34
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I have a concern about rear axle temps in heavy headwinds at high speeds but this is a concern with all high powered rear drive tow vehicles these days.
An interesting comment. I talked to a fellow from Montana a couple of months ago who had replaced his 1500 Suburban with a 2500 following a differential failure. I've also noticed that Nissan pickups have finned aluminum differential covers.

I recall reading an article about how manufacturers set truck tow ratings. The main performance indicator seemed to be hillclimbing ability in first gear, but differential temperature monitoring was done as well.

Front wheel drive vehicles seem to avoid this particular heat issue since a hypoid gearset is not required.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:07 PM   #35
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Here it is in plain writing. The maximum recommended towing weight is being exceeded. (3,800 lbs when equipped with tow package)

A modern 25 footer easily weighs over 6000 lbs easily when loaded for the road.

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

Don't do it.

-yakman
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:34 AM   #36
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One question; No make that three.

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Originally Posted by yakman View Post
Here it is in plain writing. The maximum recommended towing weight is being exceeded. (3,800 lbs when equipped with tow package)

A modern 25 footer easily weighs over 6000 lbs easily when loaded for the road.

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

Don't do it.

-yakman
Hi, this is all fine and dandy until someone gets involved in a fatal accident. [hope this never happens] But, how do you explain to the law, why you are over taxing the factory set/specs towing a trailer up to/or near double the vehicle's tow rateing? Are the laws in respect to towing different there? [Canada] And who, if anyone modifying a vehicle, can legally change the tow rateings?
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:51 AM   #37
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Hi, this is all fine and dandy until someone gets involved in a fatal accident. [hope this never happens] But, how do you explain to the law, why you are over taxing the factory set/specs towing a trailer up to/or near double the vehicle's tow rateing? Are the laws in respect to towing different there? [Canada] And who, if anyone modifying a vehicle, can legally change the tow rateings?
Quite simply, there are no laws in Canada and the US respecting manufacturers' tow ratings. California says that if you have a tow vehicle that weighs less than 4,000 lbs, the trailer can't weigh more than 6,000 lbs. Saskatchewan says that the trailer can't exceed the tow vehicle's GVWR, unless you using a weight distributing hitch or it's a fifth wheel - then the limit is 2x the car's GVWR. Rather generous, I'd say. Otherwise, I have been unable to determine any legal restriction.

It may or may not be illegal to exceed the car or truck's gross axle weight ratings and/or GVWR, depending on the jurisdiction.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:24 AM   #38
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There is an assumption here that tow ratings equal a manufacturer's evaluation of the safety of a towing setup. But this appears to be a very gray area indeed.

From what I've gathered, talking to several former and current vehicle engineers, the primary factor in rating towing capacity is often powertrain (namely transmission) cooling. This is commonly tested by towing at highway speeds up desert grades at 100+ deg temps. An engineer told me that one newer SUV is quite capable of towing more than its limit, and is very well behaved doing it.

I've been told of cases where a V6 pickup would have qualified for a higher tow rating than the V8 truck - but that would not have made sense from a marketing standpoint. I've also been told that a manufacturer's minivan was an inherently more stable platform than their SUV - but the van got a lower ultimate rating. Also consider that tow ratings for pickups often fluctuate, playing an annual game of leapfrog with their competitors; all of this despite the vehicle not receiving major (if any) changes.

These factors make me wonder if car companies are truly testing their non-SUVs for their towing capability. Given the time constraints and need to control costs in modern vehicle engineering, it is quite possible that a manufacturer confirms that their sedan can tow an nominal amount (on par with the competition), and then they leave it at that.

After all, if you need to tow more, the manufacturer has a nice range of SUVs or trucks to sell you. On the other hand, consider that in Europe, where people are less prone to move up to a SUV due to fuel prices and higher vehicle prices in general, European-market cars have higher tow ratings than do their American counterparts (and they often have smaller engines there.)

There are more durability cycles done with trucks than cars. And you'll void the warranty quickly if a problem does arise and it's obvious you've been towing over the limit. But given the higher inherent handling capabilities and shorter unloaded stopping distances of some of these cars and minivans compared to trucks (or compared to 60s and 70s "big iron" sedans), it's really tough to definitively say that safety is compromised.

SAE has been rumored to be developing more substantial evaluation methods for determining tow ratings. It would be great if we could really see how a variety of vehicles - not just rival body-on-frame trucks - stack up. It would certainly be in the RV's industry's best interest....
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:25 AM   #39
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And don't try and tell me a 3/4 ton is comfortable.. I've ridden in them I know.............

WADR...you haven't ridden in our's.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:56 PM   #40
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Here it is in plain writing. The maximum recommended towing weight is being exceeded. (3,800 lbs when equipped with tow package). A modern 25 footer easily weighs over 6000 lbs easily when loaded for the road. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
Don't do it.

-yakman
Those cars I mentioned earlier were towing "in excess" of their ratings. And, interestingly, as time went on the ratings went up, even as engine power -- in real terms -- declined. Around 5,000-lbs circa 1967, and, by 1977 up to 7,500-lbs (on some Chrysler models).

The days of heavy TV's is about over, except for a few. We need, as a group, to understand what our alternatives may be for the day that our current TV's are no longer reliable.

As to rear gear temps, a gauge can be installed, and, at any rate, fluid changes should be done at 12-15m miles maximum. REDLINE still, I believe, makes the best gear oils.
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:20 PM   #41
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[QUOTE=REDNAX;642966]

The days of heavy TV's is about over, except for a few. We need, as a group, to understand what our alternatives may be for the day that our current TV's are no longer reliable.

Oh no! Are we entering the "Mad Max" time period of the world? No more heavy TV's? If we can't afford to drive a heavy tow vehicle, we can't afford an Airstream.

Hopefully we don't have any "pioneers" in the airline industry who stretch recommended weight ratings.

yakman
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:33 AM   #42
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Kind of like a gun?

Hi, that'll be the day when they try to pry my cold, dead, fingers off of my Lincoln Navigator steering wheel.
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