Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-13-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
1994 25' Excella
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 44
Looking for best 'Swiss Army' TV?

Hey all,

Short time lurker, first time poster here. I'm the type who tends to jump in off the deep end and work things out (or have a near-drowning, as I did when I was 5 years old). I am also the 1988 trailer backing-up champion of my native home town of Mosfellsbær, Iceland. I then retired from competition and moved to America.

I just picked up a 1994 25' Excella and towed it from San Diego to L.A. in my 2004 Xterra 3.3L Automatic. The little donkey of an SUV (we call him "Brighty" in our family) did remarkably well with the factory tow package and a freshly installed brake controller. It´s true what they say about towing Airstreams. But it's clear that with a fully loaded trailer and 3 passengers, the little Xterra will be slightly overmatched on family road trips. And I hate breaking down on family road trips.

So now comes the eternal question: What's my best "Swiss Army" TV? I used to fix up old Mopars, (I easily towed a 3000lbs. enclosed trailer with a restified 1969 440 Plymouth Satellite Wagon before I got out of kart racing) so I'm partial to ChryCo products.

Here's my list of candidates for a sub-$20,000, daily driver/tv/family hauler:

a) Hemi Magnum Wagon (I would air bag the rear end and add trans cooling)

b) Hemi Cherokee with factory Tow Package.

c) A vintage Grand Wagoneer (driveline restified for modern tow needs)

d) Vintage B/C-Body Mopar Wagon (with BB driveline restified)

e) Hemi Durango with factory Tow Package

f) 5.9 Dakota Club Cab

I'm shopping the classifieds wildly right now, so please spit ball away. I'm hoping to make it safely out to a campground near you with the family.

CheersH
__________________

__________________
godaddy64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 03:47 PM   #2
_
 
. , .
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8,812
from that list the dakota or durango will work.

flexibility (the swiss army thing) depends

on IF a truck or small enclosed suv space fits your definition of 'flexible'.

i prefer the truck/shell since this keeps camping crap OUT of the cabin.

many folks like suvs and there are dozens of threads here debating this issue.

LOTS of vehicles will tow a 90s 25 footer.

much depends on where u wanna take the stream.

the magnum for example is capable of towing a 25,

but won't be ideal for backwoods or NON highway paths.

all the vehicles have a gcwr, payload and towing capacity.

this info is available online many places.

cheers
2air'
__________________

__________________
all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
2airishuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 03:48 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
MO Airstream's Avatar
 
Springfield , Missouri
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 34
Man a Vintage Wagoneer or B/C Wagon would look retro cool! But then again the Magnum would be a neat TV set-up too...I'm no help but full of opinions!
__________________
MO Airstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
bolerama's Avatar
 
Saskatoon , Saskatchewan
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 754
Images: 30
Blog Entries: 6
We tow with a Grand Cherokee, but I covet vintage Wagoneers and Magnums. You sure offered a tough line-up. I guess your choice will be dependent on what comes up. Good luck! Sounds like fun!

Lisa
__________________
Lisa and Paul

2008 23' Int. CCD "The Atomic Pod" https://atomicpod.wordpress.com
2002 Chinook Destiny | 1973 13' Boler (fiberglass egg) "The Boiler"
WBCCI #23223 (=23 CCD)
bolerama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 05:13 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
1994 25' Excella
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 44
2air, how 'bout an AWD Magnum? That might be both more stable on the highway, and free to roam a bit further off it.

MO, In hindsight, my Plymouth B-Body was probably the ultimate vintage wagon AS TV. A matte-black 1969 Satellite with a 440 Roadrunner drivetrain. Six-Pack lift-off hood, 17" Torq Thrust rims, Modern A/C, VDO gauges, late model cop car brakes, road racing suspension, Gear Vendors overdrive, trans cooler and a 10,000 pound hitch wired up. It was an incredibly useful Hot Rod and towed like a champ. It was an indestructible daily driver for years until... on a few trips the electronic ignition module began cutting out while towing... which usually happened in the middle of an 8-lane interchange. After 3 of these near-death-like moments I hastily sold it at a great loss to get into a Crew Cab Toyota Tundra. That one was great for towing, not so great for city parking. The Satellite was nimble by comparison, and infinitely cooler.

While the Xterra is even less cool than the Tundra was, it's a beloved and most reliable family car. But it's time to put Brighty out to pasture and up the Horse Power.
__________________
godaddy64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 05:59 PM   #6
2 Rivet Member
 
MO Airstream's Avatar
 
Springfield , Missouri
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by godaddy64 View Post
2air, how 'bout an AWD Magnum? That might be both more stable on the highway, and free to roam a bit further off it.

MO, In hindsight, my Plymouth B-Body was probably the ultimate vintage wagon AS TV. A matte-black 1969 Satellite with a 440 Roadrunner drivetrain. Six-Pack lift-off hood, 17" Torq Thrust rims, Modern A/C, VDO gauges, late model cop car brakes, road racing suspension, Gear Vendors overdrive, trans cooler and a 10,000 pound hitch wired up. It was an incredibly useful Hot Rod and towed like a champ. It was an indestructible daily driver for years until... on a few trips the electronic ignition module began cutting out while towing... which usually happened in the middle of an 8-lane interchange. After 3 of these near-death-like moments I hastily sold it at a great loss to get into a Crew Cab Toyota Tundra. That one was great for towing, not so great for city parking. The Satellite was nimble by comparison, and infinitely cooler.

While the Xterra is even less cool than the Tundra was, it's a beloved and most reliable family car. But it's time to put Brighty out to pasture and up the Horse Power.
Infinitely cooler indeed! I love the look of a retro-rod and and AS mated up...adds to the iconic draw of what AS is!

And for the record, I have known many, many folks over the years who have loved their Xterra's...regardless of cool factor!

AWD Magnum....hummm...I can see that happening! I rode in a Hemi (Patrol car) Magnum a couple of years ago...that lead-sled scooted decently.
__________________
MO Airstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 06:18 PM   #7
_
 
. , .
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by godaddy64 View Post
2air, how 'bout an AWD Magnum?...
i am a big fan of awd wagons, having owned and driven quattros 4 25 years.

and i've seen big streams pulled by the mopar wagon.

but have u driven one?

it's a harsh ride, has poor visibility, with minimal cargo space and very low ground clearance.

and the typical 40-60 series tires they roll on aren't ideal for many towing situations.

IF u believe that carving up the turns, changing lanes and having folks rubber neck at ya matters, go magnum.

it's your story to write and live, but the RIGHT tool makes rv'n good.

many capable options, many more marginal options

and an infinite number of make believe wayz 2 toe.

where do ya wanna go with the stream, how often and with what toys?

a young family with kids means taking toys, dogs, grills, gen sets and ?

it's not like u can simply strap stuff to the trailer.

cheers
2air'
__________________
all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
2airishuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 09:38 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
JimGolden's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619
Images: 7
300

How about a '69 Chrysler 300 convertible with a 440? Those are freaking way cool, and would tow that trailer like it wasn't back there!
__________________
- Jim
JimGolden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 01:38 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
NevadaGeo's Avatar
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Genoa , Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,305
A lady I know tows her new Swiss Army bambi with a Jeep Cherokee, in gorgeous style.
__________________
I admit to being powerless over housecleaning and social niceities
Airforums 22655 and now, WBCCI 22655

NevadaGeo
NevadaGeo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 09:04 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
crispyboy's Avatar
 
1994 30' Excella
alexandria , Kentucky
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,655
Images: 3
I've always been partial to old Jeep Grand Wagoneers. If you don't mind tinkering with things, getting a good hitch such as a HAHA or Propride to compensate for the short wheelbase.
Driveline is the biggest drawback for the JGW. The axle ratio coupled with the 3 speed transmission is really too high for any mountains. It will do the job just not very quick. The AMC engine can be brought to life with a decent camshaft and possibly different pistons to up the compression ratio. The rest of the motor is solid.
Here is a picture of my old setup. The trailer is a 22 footer. It was a good setup but we needed more room in the trailer and wanted to go bigger. Sometimes we have a good thing and don't realize it.
__________________
Steve, Christy, Anna and Scout (Border Collie deceased 11-30-2016)
1994 Classic 30'11" Excella - rear twin
2009 Dodge 2500, 6 Speed Auto, CTD, Quad Cab, Short Bed
Hensley with adjustable stinger
WBCCI # 3072
crispyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 11:47 AM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
1994 25' Excella
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 44
ooooh... that's one sweet woodie Wagoneer! Anything with wood grain on it, I'm in. But my main concern with any vintage TV is reliability. That old Satellite of mine was a tank... until it broke down. I've had new cars conk out for no good reason as well. It's a calculated risk.

Another thing to keep in mind: 90% of the time, I'd be driving this vehicle in the city. Commuting, picking up kids, groceries, plus the occasional home improvement project. We might find time for 5 AS camping trips per year at the most.

If camping is all we did (and money were no object) I'd go for a new-ish, long-ish 3/4 ton Diesel 4x4 Crew Cab pick-em-up and be done with it. But with all this city driving and mall parking etc, I'm still searching for the right compromise on all accounts. And let's face it, out here in the West, steep and long inclines are a fact of life. I must have enough brake/power to be safe. I do plan on low speed climbing/descending.

So a Magnum might be super sweet 80% of the time (I drove one, and visibility is not the strong suit indeed) and a handful 20% of the time, with a failure rate of 1%. A Hemi 4x4 Cherokee/Durango might be regular sweet 90% of the time at the same chance of failure. A 440 C-body might be 85% sweet, plus ultra cool, but with a 3% failure rate, and the old Wagoneer might fall into that same category. In the end, you pays your money and you takes your chances. But I'd rather sacrifice cool for safe at this point, all other things being even.
__________________
godaddy64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 10:20 PM   #12
Vintage Kin
 
slowmover's Avatar
 
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,580
Images: 1
Temptation . . . .

and all the right options
__________________
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2011, 01:45 AM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
1994 25' Excella
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 44
Update: Fuel prices are up and mileage matters. I also went to a desert race recently, and realized that what I *really* want is a big 4x4 quad cab diesel pick-up. It is clear that I will be going off highway sooner or later, so a Dodge 2500 with a long bed has moved up to #1 on my personal wish list. A nice one of these does run at least 15K, and it's not exactly a city scooter.

Now to make matters even more complicated: My good buddy and sailing enthusiast is also looking for a Swiss Army Tow vehicle. He has proposed we split the costs of a rig, and get something cheap and short that he could store at his house. A long truck won't fit. We both agree upon 2-door Chevy Tahoes, the 1998 5.9 liter Cherokee Limiteds, second generation Broncos with the 5.8, or even one of those beautiful 2-door Dodge Ramchargers with the 360. Fuel consumption is still a concern, so the ultimate compromise might look something like...

taking the body from this:
1986 Dodge Ramcharger 4x4
and putting it on something like this:
1994 Dodge Ram Cummins Diesel Truck

Presto: A diesel, 3/4-ton 4x4 Ramcharger for a little over 10 Grand... split two ways. We might fight over who gets to drive that beast daily around L.A.
__________________

__________________
godaddy64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.