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Old 11-06-2007, 11:05 AM   #15
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I modded my Chevy sedan to on paper be able to tow at least 8000lbs, up from its 5000lb rating.

I modded these items:

Engine managment (better fuel to air ratios via PCM=more HP and torque)
3.73 gears
Alum/composite drive shaft
Added a second air to oil cooler
Added a ram air torque converter cooler
Adjusted the torque converter to lock sooner than later
Added trans temp gauge
Added brake airflow air dam up front to cool front brakes better
Added K&N air filter, TB bypass, airfoil, OBD1 PCM, and on and on and on.

The car could have moved my house.

But the one thing I couldn't do was lengthen the frame for more wheelbase, heavily modify the body to accomidate the longer frame, put a 10 to 12 bolt rear end in (not enough space for a full floater back there) or put a more stout trans in it...upgrade to 4l80e from a 4l60e (again not enough space.

What I'm trying to say is that I could increase the horsepower, torque and cooling capacities, but it would have been difficult, if not impossible to modify the overall characteristics of the stance, load and personalities designed into the car itself (frame construction, wheelbase, etc).

So yes, you can mod the car to have better HP, torque, cooling, etc, but you won't be able to modify (very easily) the other parts of the equation that really, truely also count. Of course, if you are towing a 19' Bambi, the first part of the equation is really all you need to worry about....larger, then part two comes into play, as I found out going from a 19' Bambi to a 25' Safari.
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:02 PM   #16
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mm, I agree with most of the advice here. If you are a fan of offroading, will an Airstream go there? (my answer for 4 wheeling: No!) Some years ago, with some of the same thoughts I tried a truck camper to go places I wouldn't tow anything. The camper was poorly constructed and went back to the dealer. First issue—quality. The RV manufacturing market is fractionalized—lots of innovation, but many quality issues with small manufacturers. If you want to 4 wheel, take a tent. Airstreams aren't perfect, but far fewer quality issues than a lot of campers.

I think if money is an issue (isn't it always?), 2air's suggestion of a second hand TV is a good one. Then you have a vehicle that can tow an Airstream and one that can go to remote and beautiful and quiet places with that tent. A V8 Toyota 4Runner will tow a Bambi, but not much more, and is an excellent 4 wheeler.

Don't underestimate the effect on a relationship of a small trailer. Barb and I love each other, have been together for 21 years, have withstood my incessant house remodeling, but that small camper was hard on us—and that was only a few days. Everyone has a different tolerance for limited space and that tolerance usually decreases over time. If you are only using it in warm climates and can live outside most of the time, you won't get in each other's way, but two people trying to pass each other in the galley over and over can be a test.

Size—yours. Check out whether you fit on the toilet, in the bed. Airstream beds are smaller than standard—doubles are mostly 48" wide, for example. Do you want to take a shower in with the toilet and bath sink, or would you rather have a separate shower?—those aren't all that big either. Do you want to sleep on dinette cushions (looks uncomfortable to me) and make and unmake the bed every day so you can use the table? How long before that gets old?

Bambis (and the new Safari Sport) aren't for more than a couple of days boondocking. Little potable water and black and grey water capacity. Showers fill up the grey water very fast and are impossible unless you are in a campground. A Jeep has little storage too and long term storage of food, clothes, gear, tools, requires bringing a storage shed along (maybe an air drop).

We ended up buying a new truck and getting a 25' Safari FB. It's still kinda tight, but we refused to get anything longer and more expensive. It's a compromise. We sure liked the 27' though.

As you go through all the threads you find the 80% recommendation. All weight ratings—there are a lot of them to consider—are advised to be reduced to 80% or so for safety and reducing wear and tear on both vehicles. Tongue weight can, I think, be a bit more than 80%—more like 90%. On a completely rebuilt vehicle, any tow ratings will be total conjecture unless you're a mechanical engineer with access to a testing lab.

I really wanted to believe my older truck would tow a 25', but all I would be able to save was the truck body if I were inclined to start modifying.

Now you can read about tow vehicles and enter the endless argument over Toyota vs. GM vs. Ford vs. Dodge. We all really do love our trucks! But select the trailer that fits both of your lifestyles first, then find the TV that can tow it well and safely.

Welcome to the forum. In about 6 weeks I've learned than I ever imagined and knew how to question a salesman. Take your time and do your research—amongst all that aluminum at a dealership all reason can disappear. Note how many recent model Bambis are for sale on the classifieds here and elsewhere—there's got to be a reason for that.

Gene
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:52 PM   #17
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On the TV side...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmccurdy
Here's the wrinkle: I like the Jeep enough that I would be willing to do some fairly extensive modifications (beef up the suspension, re-gear, there's even a shop that will put a 5.7L Hemi in one of these rigs, which is not entirely off the table...) in order to effectively be able to tow a 19' trailer w/ a dry weight of 3500lbs. (4200lbs. loaded?)
With its 116" wheelbase the Wrangler Unlimited is a good choice for such a program - it is longer than most of the 5000lb rated vehicles out there and even longer than the 109" 7200lb tow rated Jeep Grand Cherokee.

If you don't have the 4.10 axle you will want that upgrade. And you will need to upgrade the powertrain - 205HP and 240 ftlbs of torque won't cut it - but don't need to drop in a Hemi. You may also need to beef up the hitch connection to your frame.

I tow a 16' Bambi (3500lbs) with my Toyota Highlander Hybrid (107" & 3500lbs) and it tows like a dream. This is partly because Toyota chose to give the HiHy the same 3500 rating it gave the normal Highlander but the HiHy has about 50 extra HP and a LOT more torque (the electric motors give max torque starting at 0 RPM). But it is also partly because the Equal-i-zer hitch is quite stable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmccurdy
I know of at least one aftermarket outfitter who is selling (presumably road legal) modified Wranglers with a GVWR close to 10,000lbs, so I have to assume the manufacturer's specs are not completely set in stone.
In the US, tow ratings seem more to be a battle between legal and marketing than an engineering opinion. At this point you may do better to look at Wrangler forums or one of the canadian companies that specialize in 'converting' cars into tow vehicles to better understand what is possible.
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:02 PM   #18
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On the trailer side...

Though we love our Bambi I'm not sure it is the right choice for off road adventures. But if you do end up going with a 16' Bambi and intend to take it on less than stellar roads you really should upgrade your tires. You can upgrade from 215/75R14 LR Cs to 225/75R15 LR Ds without upgrading your axle by getting a 15" wheel that matches the 14" wheel pattern and has sufficient PSI and rim weight ratings. Or you can upgrade the axles as well - Airstream at Jackson Center will do this for about $2000.



Utility & Boat Trailer Tires / Aluminum, Galvanized & Painted Trailer Wheels
15" 5 on 4.5 Lug Aluminum Trailer Wheel
STOCK #: 1350116
Rim Pattern: Modular
Tire Diameter: 15"
Rim Width: 6"
Rim Finish: Polished Aluminum
Rim Weight Rating: 2150 lbs. @ 65 psi
5 lug on 4.5" Bolt Circle, 3-1/8" Center Hole
Price: $99.00
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Old 11-06-2007, 04:08 PM   #19
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mmc----Welcome to the forums. You've already received some good input, so I'll stick to your question aboutt "re-rating". Yes, you can improve the Jeep's capabilities as a tow vehicle, but not in the sense where Chrysler will grant you a bigger number rating. The manufactures rate their vehicles using their own criteria. Maybe in the future there will be an independent agency that establishes ratings for the automakers using a generally accepted standard from SAE or ASTM or some other professional societies/organizations.

Good luck on your quest to have fun with the Jeep and an Airstream.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljmiii
At this point you may do better to look at Wrangler forums or one of the canadian companies that specialize in 'converting' cars into tow vehicles to better understand what is possible.
When I wrote the message I was headed out the door and didn't have time to look up this link - Welcome to Can-Am RV Centre: Home
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:38 PM   #21
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Wow! I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed with the depth of the replies I've gotten here. I really appreciate that in a forum, and seeing as I tend to gravitate toward vehicles with a strong community following (I count the Jeep among them), I know I'll be right at home w/ the airstream....

That said, a quick update on my situation: I've decided to heed the numerous responses I've gotten in this direction and pick up a 2001 F-150 w/ the tow package. I'll be storing my Jeep for a year (disappointing, but not the end of the world), and in the end this plan won't cost me much more than the basic mods I was considering in the first place.

On the plus side, we're stepping up to the 23' Int'l CCD, which gives us the same bed/bath arrangement as the 19' but seems to have much more effective living and kitchen space up front. Not to mention those cool high-mounted porthole windows (not sure what you call them).

Oh, and FWIW, I'm quite sure our relationship will endure -- I'm extremely lucky to have found someone that was possibly more exited that I am about the prospect of living in a tiny tin can for a year. And I did get a kick out of Jim Clark's comment, but I think our family planning is under control, thanks
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Old 11-08-2007, 12:08 AM   #22
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hey m2c2urdy...

good follow up thanks!

the 23s are sweet and so much more liveable than a 19.

2 axles is a big plus, as is 2 batteries.

the 150 should work fine and the 01 look smaller than they really are.

so share a little more, where are you kids gonna park it and live or is this to be a transusa journey?

what is your trade and how many dogs go on this trip?

are you gonna have or keep a blog site?

start hanging some pictures here, we wanna snoop at yer stuff!!

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:07 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmccurdy
Wow! I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed with the depth of the replies I've gotten here. I really appreciate that in a forum, and seeing as I tend to gravitate toward vehicles with a strong community following (I count the Jeep among them), I know I'll be right at home w/ the airstream....

That said, a quick update on my situation: I've decided to heed the numerous responses I've gotten in this direction and pick up a 2001 F-150 w/ the tow package. I'll be storing my Jeep for a year (disappointing, but not the end of the world), and in the end this plan won't cost me much more than the basic mods I was considering in the first place.

On the plus side, we're stepping up to the 23' Int'l CCD, which gives us the same bed/bath arrangement as the 19' but seems to have much more effective living and kitchen space up front. Not to mention those cool high-mounted porthole windows (not sure what you call them).

Oh, and FWIW, I'm quite sure our relationship will endure -- I'm extremely lucky to have found someone that was possibly more exited that I am about the prospect of living in a tiny tin can for a year. And I did get a kick out of Jim Clark's comment, but I think our family planning is under control, thanks
I tow with a 2001 Super Crew 5.4 V8. 25' Safari, mostly flat land some minor hills gets the job done.
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:10 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmccurdy
And I did get a kick out of Jim Clark's comment, but I think our family planning is under control, thanks
That's what I thought to.
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