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Old 06-27-2006, 05:00 AM   #15
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Short month? This project is at almost 3 years.

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Old 06-27-2006, 06:21 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by SilverToy
Can you finish that series!?!?

AND BE SURE TO POST ANY AND ALL OF ANY AS MH RESTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go For It!!!
The entire construction series is posted here. Warning to dial-up users.

BTW, this is the car that's going inside the "Toybox".


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Old 06-27-2006, 06:56 AM   #17
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Love the toy!
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:24 PM   #18
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That custom toy hauler is unbelievable! Your finishing work and creative engineering are very impressive. Finding the right Tow Vehicle is a tough one. I understand the need for something classic but she better have some serious capability, after all, your babies will towing behind her. 13000 pounds would push the limits of a 3/4 ton and even some 1 ton trucks, unless you look at a newer truck.
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Old 06-27-2006, 02:30 PM   #19
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I understand your concerns.

Traditionally, a tow vehile had to provide the stop and the go. Trailer brakes left a lot to be desired. My trailer overcomes the braking part of the equation by providing 24,000 lbs of braking capacity that is electrically/hydraulically by a 1600psi actuator.

The go part is also virtually overcome by the trailer too as it has virtually no rolling resistance. 110 lbs of pressure in six tires leaves little work for the bearings to do. As I stated before, I can roll the empty (8,000 lb) trailer around with very little effort, using only one hand. I'm a big guy but I don't think I can produce even one horsepower.

As I understand that the '79 Airstream came with a 454 and a 400 transmission. Both of those can be tweaked with off the shelf parts. I'm sure the engine is capable of much more than it currently delivers.

Wind resistance is significantly less than a traditional trailer as the side view of the trailer is a cross section of an airplane wing. All of the original wind catchers (visors and gutters) have been removed to make it slipperier. The opening windows were removed in favor of fixed polycarbonate panels that were installed flush with the sides of the trailer.

While I haven't actually tested my trailer on the road yet, all of the engineering types that have looked at this agree that it will take very little work from the tow vehicle to make it stop or go.

The laws of physics are on my side.
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Old 06-27-2006, 04:26 PM   #20
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Go for what you want

You have built an awesome toy hauler and have the awesome toy for inside.
You seem to know what type tow vechile you would like. Go for it and if for any reason you don't like it, you can always sell and change to a more traditional tow.

My opinion is it would look like a house pulling a house. That would be unique.

Keep us posted on what you decide to pull your toy hauler.

Kay & Roy

Happiness is the toys of choice.
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Old 06-27-2006, 04:26 PM   #21
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Hi Barry, Just my two cents here. Been following your trailer conversion off and on for a couple of years. I think most who have closely studied what you've done would agree that the self leveling attributes create a situation to where there is little or no weight on the tongue, and therefore on the hitch of the tow vehicle. However, though rolling resistance is minimal, the 13000 pounds is going to really start asserting itself when you start getting into climbing situations with any degree of grade. The 454 and TH400 are an excellent, virtually bulletproof combination. But if you consider the weight of a typical 3/4 or one ton pickup with this combination and the maximum pulling capability, then add a few thousand pounds more motorhome on top of that, then add 13000 pounds of trailer and then try to travel up any appreciable grade, you are probably going to have a problem. Not with tongue weight, not even with stopping the trailer, as given the considerable investment you've made in both the Lincoln and this trailer, you're not going to cut any corners, but with sheer dead weight.

If this is what you want to do, I would first locate a Chevy pickup with the same engine/drivetrain combo, load the trailer, and find the steepest mountain pass you can, monitoring trans, differential and engine temps. At least that way you can start to get a feel for weak links and/or whether the combo is up to the job. Do this before you spring for a MH that might not be adequate to the task.

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Old 06-27-2006, 04:40 PM   #22
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Good advice. Thanks.

I post my progress and ask my questions just to get this kind of input.
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Old 06-27-2006, 04:55 PM   #23
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My Classic AS Moho pulled a Jeep Grand Cherokee (before I owned it) for many miles, but it was way over the suggested maximum. I would think anything over 3000lb would be pushing it, however that is not to say that the chassis where the hitch is attached could not be beefed up, and with mods to the engine for power and so on, that it would not work in this case.
Too bad I already sold my 280 last week, it would have polished out nicely and been a great match to that beautiful rig of yours.
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Old 06-27-2006, 05:12 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by coriolis1
find the steepest mountain pass you can
Where's the closest mountain to southern Michigan?

Your mention of steep mountain passes hadn't even entered my mind as I've rarely had to deal with them. Typically, if a trip is over 3 hours, I usually fly. I've driven the Mark II to Concours in several states, but most were quite flat. I thonk the steepest grade in Michigan is the Zilwalkee bridge.

We are new to motorhoming, if that's a word. I've never spent a night in one. I used to camp as a child. My wife think's that staying at a Holiday Inn is roughing it so we've not spent much time on the road. She's all for traveling in class, though. She loves the idea of a classic motor home as a tug.

However, I do haul equipment in my lighting maintenance business. I have a 14-foot Ford box truck with a V-10 that I could test it with, I also have a 55' bucket truck. Wouldn't that make a sweet looking combo?

Are you saying that the gearing is insufficient to make steep grades at slower speeds? Anyone ever convert to a two speed rear axle. I had that in a '71 GMC 6500. You could pull tree stumps with the higher ratio.

Where could I tap engineering drawings for the model I seek?
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Old 06-27-2006, 05:15 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by ALANSD
it would have polished out nicely and been a great match to that beautiful rig of yours.
I was under the impression that the '79 was the only model that used aircraft aluminum (Alclad), is that correct?
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:21 PM   #26
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I too have been following your project with admiration and amazement. It's exciting to consider the Classic as a suitable TV for this particular trailer - obviously I could not agree more that the combination would look terrific.

The 2000# weight limit is a serious constraint on our Classics. Most of us here theorize that AS de-rated the P30 chassis when they added extensions to support the rear of the coach. As Chaplain Kent has mentioned, the receiver itself is limited but I honestly think the real limit is further up where the frame extensions meet the original chassis. Moving the tow attachement point further up the frame (thinking conceptually about an upside down fifth wheel hitch) could improve things, but regarding your point about mass - while we could all get just about anything up to speed, it's the "edge of the envelope" maneuvers which define the limitations. Emergency braking in wet conditions on a downhill turn comes to mind. While in your case the braking power of the trailer might do a better job of stopping the motorhome than the other way around, consider that when the trailer weighs almost as much as the motorhome, preventing the trailer from coming around, trying to pass the motorhome would put a lot of strain on the entire combination.

AS did make a diesel pusher version of the 360 on the Spartan chassis (see picture). You may consider this model as a starting point. It's a more modern looking coach but still aluminum bodied with the distinctive curved panels and rear windows. For more information on the models made by year check out another member's website ( The trouble is they are few and far inbetween and typically fetch high values on the used market ($65K + ).

Re your question on polishing; any airstream skin can be polished, even the "matte finish" later models (check out for some examples of a later model motorhome polished to a mirror shine)

I certainly look forward to seeing what you come up with for this project. We're all pretty dedicated to our Classics and are always working to engineer better ways of doing things to not only keep them on the road, but to improve them along the way as well.
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:32 AM   #27
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Classic solution-

Probably the same year as the Spartanette was before you did that incredible resto/chango job...

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Get an Alaskan Truck Camper from the same era, bolt it down and go-

You don't have living space in the front of the Spartanette?
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:51 AM   #28
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I've looked at several COE and semis from the era. Unfortunately, I'm 6'5" and nothing from that era is big enough for this body. The beauty of an Airstream, or other motorhome, is the spacious cabin.

The "living space" of the trailer is only meant to be a meeting place and a respite from the sun during the Concours d'Elegance that we participate in. I never had plans to sleep in it.

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