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Old 06-18-2011, 12:04 AM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
Port Townsend , Washington
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Newbies! Best vehicle to tow 31ft 1974 Sovereign?

Hi there,
We are new first time owners of a 31 foot 1974 Sovereign with rear twin beds, side bath. Wondering what is the best truck to purchase to tow this baby and what questions we should make sure to ask. Our understanding at this point is: 3/4 ton, manual preferable... We can not afford a newer model so we have been looking at older F250, etc. Thanks!
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:16 AM   #2
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I would imagine any older 3/4 ton truck or Excursion/Suburban with a tow package would do fine. I had a 1995 F250 with the 460 engine and 4 spd auto transmission that handled my rig just fine.
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:20 AM   #3
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Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

Your on the right track....any 250 or 2500 series will be fine, wouldn't go further back than 95, but it really depends on mi, condition and maint. history. On the GM's inspect the hitch receiver carefully for cracks.

Good luck....

Remember you can't come back unless you have pic's to post...
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:49 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Thanks!

Thanks so much for the welcome! Our photos are coming soon, we want to wait until the reflooring we're doing is finished

In the meantime, we've come across a few potential candidates for pulling our trailer, and were wondering what members of the forum might think. Here's the deal:

-1982 F250 3/4 ton - it has a 6 cylinder engine, 4 speed manual transmission, its 2-wheel drive with about 125K miles on the original engine. Is this engine big enough? If I'm right, I think its a 4.1L engine, definitely 6 cylinder. Priced at $1,200

-1993 Ford F250 - 1993 FORD F250 XLT 4WD (<- the craigslist link - I call dibs though!) - Clearly a better car, but seems priced quite high (at $5,000) and I don't know if I need to spend the extra $$$....

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

Thanks!

we'll post our pics asap~!
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:56 PM   #5
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I don't think the 4.1 litre 6 cylinder with have the power you need. You would be at a crawl in 1st or 2nd going up any hill with a 31' on behind.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:34 PM   #6
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1973 31' Sovereign
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I found a 99 2500 Suburban Diesel back in 2007-08 on free craigslist finder.
It was listed in Fla. Had 102000 thousand miles, was a fire chiefs, town wholesaled all and upgraded. i was living in Jersey then, took plane to Fla, they picked me up @ Airport paid them $4200. and on road again. 40000 miles later 4 tires and a heater core. perfect TV for my 31' center bath.

Good luck on your search.
Jim.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:40 PM   #7
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Having been there and done that, try to find either a mid 1990's-early 2000's 3/4 ton with an automatic transmission. The manual transmission takes away from the tow capacity. If you don't like what you see in that range, a early 2000's+ 1/2 or 3/4 ton pickup or Suburban/Excursion (etc) would be good. V8 power is a must, unless you find a Dodge with a 5.9 Cummins diesel 6 cylinder. Again, automatic is preferred because of the reduced tow capacity with a manual.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:18 PM   #8
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I had an 85 F250 2wd with 460 big block, could pull a house and the mountain too!...but, the throttle body/carb setup and that big six blade fan that acted like a giant wind brake were nothin but problems! Heat sink starting on the big block is a prob too. Stick with fuel injection and electric fans if your budget allows. Checkout copart online auctions too, fleet vehicles are always cropping up on there.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:32 PM   #9
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Tyler , Texas
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I have the same trailer as you and our '05 Suburban 1500 4WD pulls it fairly well. It does have a towing package with the 410 rear end. There are times I have wished for the 3/4 ton, so I recommend it. I would definitely not try it with a six cylinder, get the largest 8 cylinder you can afford or better yet, one of the diesel choices.

Best of luck, hope to see you on the road!
Stephen
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:44 PM   #10
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1975 27' Overlander
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That would be the 300 ci straight six - 4.9 litres.

I'll be the contrarian, and suggest that the truck would do just fine up to about 55 mph. Lots of effective torque, just not top end power.

I wouldn't worry about the tow rating, that should be a truck transmission with a granny gear.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF View Post
That would be the 300 ci straight six - 4.9 litres.

I'll be the contrarian, and suggest that the truck would do just fine up to about 55 mph. Lots of effective torque, just not top end power.

I wouldn't worry about the tow rating, that should be a truck transmission with a granny gear.
If you want to be in 3rd gear @35mph on the freeway with that 4.9, have at it. And the tow rating is for manual transmissions, whether the heavy-duty one, or the wimpy transmission that uses automatic transmission fluid for lubrication. I've pulled our Sovereign with a F250 with a 5.8 and a heavy duty manual transmission. I decided after the second clutch and first internal bearing repair of the manual, to ditch it and get an automatic.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:58 AM   #12
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There are many choices but you are correct to start your search with 3/4 ton pickups.

There is no need to limit your search to manual transmissions. Over time there have been fewer and fewer pickups made with manual transmissions, and usually they're either part of an economy "work truck" package or are in trucks with diesel engines. Automatics work fine for towing although they do fail from time to time.

You can also consider 3/4 ton Suburbans, the Ford Excursion, and 3/4 ton and 1 ton vans.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:08 PM   #13
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1974 31' Sovereign
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I tow our '74 Sovereign with a Chevy Tahoe 4X4, 5.3 engine. With the Reese Dual-Cam anti-sway, it tows great, at least around Florida and the South. I would want something bigger for mountains.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:48 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
If you want to be in 3rd gear @35mph on the freeway with that 4.9, have at it. And the tow rating is for manual transmissions, whether the heavy-duty one, or the wimpy transmission that uses automatic transmission fluid for lubrication. I've pulled our Sovereign with a F250 with a 5.8 and a heavy duty manual transmission. I decided after the second clutch and first internal bearing repair of the manual, to ditch it and get an automatic.

Aw, c'mon. It shouldn't be that bad. 4th gear should be a 1:1 ratio, not an overdrive. The 4.9 is rated at 225 lbs feet of torque; not great, but sufficient with a low final drive ratio. And the granny gear 1st helps with two things - starting on a steep grade, and saving the clutch from excessive slippage.

Sure, anything more than a 2% grade would require 3rd gear (my guess), but if someone wanted a cheap TV for towing on two lane roads in the flatlands, it would get the job done.

I do know that the 4.9 isn't built for speed. Getting more than 80mph out of those early '80s Fords was a bit of a feat. However, there seemed to be consensus at the time that 300 six was a more durable engine than the 302 V8, and better suited to a work truck.
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