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Old 07-19-2004, 01:52 PM   #15
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Leipper:

Most of what you are concernd with is making it safe in reguards to handling. Yes I belive it can be done. I am not discounting that.

Can Am is not fixing the fact that the drive line components were not designed to handle those sorts of stresses. A CV in a Intrepid is not something that you can go and get a 3/4 ton vairent. They go bad enough just hauling the weight of the car and people now stick a 5-6k trailer behind it?...Front drive does not make a good tow vehcile and to site my point look at the front drive GMC motor homes. Plenty of motor but they have serious problems keep the drive line togther.

A 10 bolt axle is a GM is another goody. They are used in most half ton GM's including the S series. I won't own one if I can help it. They blow up enough without dealing with the trailer weight. My buddy as blow three pulling a small utility trailer a lot for his buisness in in 40k . I blew one in a company van at 40k. That van NEVER had a trailer hitch on it and was well under it's GVWR. That was a major reason I went with a 3/4 ton sub was to get the 14 bolt axle that runs a larger ring gear, Much stronger housing and larger wheel bearings.

While physics says you can move mountains with leverage/gearing it doesn't say how long something is going to last when it WAY past it's rated capacity. Can Am is not fixing that problem.
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Old 07-19-2004, 01:55 PM   #16
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Couldn't be happier.

'nuff said.

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Old 07-19-2004, 02:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlboro Mafia
'61 Safari with a 4-door 4x4 Toyota Tacoma with NO problems. Didn't even have the brakes connected(thought they were).
a 61 safari is the same 22ft platform as our 59 Caravanner. it's about 3500lb fully loaded. It's within reasonable weight for the vehicle and that vehicle has a longer wheel base then you think. I believe it's about 115 inches. The Tacoma has a 8.4 inch ring gear I seem to recall as well and it's a pretty strong axle.
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Old 07-19-2004, 02:36 PM   #18
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I'm going to make a strong statement here, but I believe it to be true:

There are two kinds of folks out there pulling trailers. Those who have been pushed around by their trailer, survived it, and determined that they won't let it happen again if it's within their ability, and those who haven't yet been pushed around by their trailers, but will be at some point.

The latter group is typically the folks who say "I've done it this way and never had problems". "YET" should always be the next word in the explanation.

Confession time:

I towed a '70 Safari 23' single axle all over the western US for eight years with my '77 Ford F250 Supercab longbed. I had a Reese DC setup with it and the thing towed like it was on rails.

After we sold the Safari, and moved to Iowa, I found and bought a '61 Bambi 16'. I pulled my Bambi with my '98 Astro AWD. I had soft sidewall tires from the dealership on the Astro, didn't use the trailer brakes (they're not required in Iowa for trailers under 3,000lbs gross), and didn't have WD or sway control. After all, it was ONLY 1850lbs dry, and probably less than 2300lbs wet, well under half the rated tow capacity of my Astro at 4800lbs. Everything was setup properly, tire pressures were at max, draw bar and hitch were appropriate, safety chains were set up right, and the lights all worked. A few test runs around the local area worked out just fine. Good enough, or so I thought.

I KNEW what I was doing! I had years of towing experience. I KNEW that we'd be fine 'cause the tires were all new, the bearings had just been packed, and I was well below the rated towing capacity of the Astro with the Bambi. The test drives went very well.

I blithely embarked with my family on a trip to Arizona from Iowa. I was nearly sent into sway hell with the first passing semi, and it didn't get any better. I couldn't do better than 55mph without being all over the interstate. Every gust of wind caught the rig. I did make it to AZ, and tried desperately to get a Reese DC setup, but no one in a hundred miles of where I was had them in stock.

I drove home under the same conditions. It was the road trip from hell. I made two near-panic stops during that trip, and it was a miracle that I got stopped without crashing. The Bambi tried to go sideways both times. I will NEVER drive with a trailer like that again.

A few months later, and a Reese DC and brake controller installation later, I picked up an Argosy Minuet 6 Metre to restore. I towed it home from Milwaukee with the Astro, and hardly even knew it was behind me. The difference was absolutely night and day.

My OTHER current tow rig is a '94 Toyota SR5 V6 extended cab pickup towing a 17' Burro widebody at roughly 1800lbs dry, about half of the rated tow capacity of the Toyota. I just recently bought both. I have a Prodigy in the Toyota, and have installed a Reese DC setup on the truck and trailer, even though the tongue weight is just 230lbs, well under the dead weight rating of my receiver hitch. I just put a new Dexter axle WITH brakes under the Burro. I have no intention, if it's within my power, to ever be driving a vehicle that is being drug around by a trailer again.

Those of you who that have less than a one-ton truck with duals and don't use WD or sway control equipment and have managed to get along fine without problems so far, I wish you well, and may you never be in circumstances where you need it and don't have it.

Roger
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Old 07-19-2004, 04:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper
...and its own brakes, tires, and suspension should be sufficient to control its braking and handling (it is designed this way).
I won't quote the "laws of physics", but I will quote Murphy's Law:

my brake controller failed a couple of weeks ago. just up and stopped working while I was driving down the road. had it 2 years. that means I've used it less than a dozen times. Oh, sure...it was under warantee, and I got it replaced at no charge. I don't have a warm fuzzy feeling about it. But I do have a truck that is capable of stopping the trailer.
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Old 07-19-2004, 04:15 PM   #20
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59Toasters note about wear and tear is definitely something to keep in mind but a bit confused between wear and tear and bad design. Any trailer rig needs special attention to maintenance because the loads and stresses do require some consideration.

Murphy's law, though, applies to any rig. It is, again, why responsible drivers have to pay particular attention to rig maintenance and upkeep.

As far as the Bambi wanting to go sideways, that is wierd. Ours traveled quite well without any such shenanigans.

[toungue in cheek]
But for those big truck guys or those afraid of Murphy's law or whatever, why not just put the trailer in the back of the truck? Here's a sample. [/tongue]

see http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/me...rstrm-uhl2.jpg
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Old 07-19-2004, 04:36 PM   #21
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A single axle trailler is more prone to sway then a dual axle. Think about it. I would be less worried about sway with the bigger trailer. You have 4 tires pointed the same direction it is going to want to keep going that direction and take more to influence it from going that direction.
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Old 07-19-2004, 04:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper
Murphy's law, though, applies to any rig. It is, again, why responsible drivers have to pay particular attention to rig maintenance and upkeep.
Murphy's law, as predictable as it is, seldom strikes in the same place twice. While it is theoretically possible that the trucks brakes could fail completely, at the exact same time as the trailer's brakes or control system, it is extremely unlikely. TV brake failure is pretty unlikely all on its own, due to the reduncancies that the manufacturers build in.

brake controller failure is NOT extremely unlikely. But lucky for me, (ok, it actually wasn't luck), my truck is capable of stopping itself, AND a 5k lb trailer. My Knuckles were only one shade lighter on the short trip home than they were when we started.
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Old 07-19-2004, 04:41 PM   #23
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How about an "airstreamforums guide to towing" ?

Even though I'm only a semi-frequent visitor to this site (which is great BTW), it seems the tow vehicle debates are endless

While it's kind of amusing, I wonder if "we" could put together some sort of overall tow vehicle reference guide. I know there are lots of variables, and it's complicated, but I'd bet that if the mavens around here each listed their favorite tow vehicles in rank order there would be a pretty strong concensus. Such a reference would have a huge benefit to this community!

(I'd do it if i knew what I was talking about )

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Old 07-19-2004, 05:27 PM   #24
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FWIW, I am having STILL having 'sway' issues with our 34' tri-axle behind my Excursion! New tires, aired up properly, Hi-Perf Reese DC setup, properly set up, friction sway control in addition to Reese setup... and although there isn't perceptible sway watching, I can feel the rear end of the Ex being pitched around on the interstate by the Behemoth.

Here's what I've figured out. I belong to another forum on Excursions and apparently this is an issue with the Ex. The SuperDuty Ford 3/4 & 1 ton trucks have a full leaf spring stack in the rear. The Excursion, while on the same frame, is essentially a big station wagon. For the ride quality, Ford reduced the spring stack to 1/2 that of the SuperDuty. Same spring leaves, same shackles, same axles, just half of the spring leaves. They filled the gap in the spring stack with a spacer.

The truck is heavy enough to cause the springs to axle wrap. This isn't an issue with the SuperDutys, only the Ex. Not only can the springs not control the fore-aft rocking of the axle under load, they also allow a small amount of lateral motion in the axle. Essentially this causes the rear axle to steer the truck. This can be a little disconcerting when the truck is unladen, but add 900lbs of tongue weight and 8k lbs of trailer, and its REALLY disconcerting. There's nothing like having the trailer move the body over the back axle, and having the back axle steer the truck.

Fortunately, there's a guy out there who's figured out a solution, and that's adding radius rods to the axle to keep it in place. I found out about this months ago, but he builds them in his garage and took a several month hiatus from production. He does it as a hobby, but everyone who has them raves about how stable they make the Excursion. I'm ordering a set for my Ex muy pronto.

My point to all of this is that sometimes sway issues are induced by the tow vehicle's design limits and inability to accept lateral input from the towed vehicle. Fortunately, in this case, I think the tri-axle may actually be helping in some degree to stabilize the Ex going down the road; I'm not really sure exactly what the dynamics are yet, but it's just a d*mn uncomfortable feeling to be sure.

I'll report back in a couple of months when I get my radius rods in hand and installed and let you know what my experience is then.

Roger
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:01 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
Here's what I've figured out. I belong to another forum on Excursions and apparently this is an issue with the Ex. The SuperDuty Ford 3/4 & 1 ton trucks have a full leaf spring stack in the rear. The Excursion, while on the same frame, is essentially a big station wagon. For the ride quality, Ford reduced the spring stack to 1/2 that of the SuperDuty. Same spring leaves, same shackles, same axles, just half of the spring leaves. They filled the gap in the spring stack with a spacer.
I'll report back in a couple of months when I get my radius rods in hand and installed and let you know what my experience is then.

Roger
Roger, why not go to a boneyard and pick up a pair of rear springs off an F350, or SD? It may ride a little rougher, but should eliminate the sway problem
Terry
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:50 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by argosy20
Roger, why not go to a boneyard and pick up a pair of rear springs off an F350, or SD? It may ride a little rougher, but should eliminate the sway problem
Terry
You said it Terry. Ride quality! It's also our family car. If I'd wanted a truck ride, I'd have bought a truck to begin with.

Roger
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Old 07-28-2004, 09:04 PM   #27
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When I asked this question, I was not aware of the previous threads and how much energy and emotion they evoked. Thanks to Maurice, for directing me to them. I was somewhat disappointed at the comments and sometimes the tone of the discussions, but they also addressed several of my own concerns. Interestingly, several covered the topic of the relative weight between the tow vehicle and the trailer and what might be the result in an emergency such as trailer brake failure. That was one of my concerns and got me to thinking and calculating.

My van weighs 3835 lbs and the trailer I was considering was a 1992 25' Excella. I don't know the weight of that year but the new one would be about 7000 lbs fully loaded, or about 183% of my vehicle weight. Not really comforting if it is pushing me downhill.

My other vehicle consideration was a GMC Envoy. In researching the GM website, I find this SUV weighs 4425 lbs and has a tow rating of 6300 lbs, or 142% of the vehicle weight. Sounds a little better.

In my most recent copy of my favourite woodworking magazine, there was a two page spread promoting the new Nissan Titan and the fact that it could pull 9000 lbs. A look-up on their website told me it weighed about 4800 lbs and one model was rated to tow 9500lbs, or 198% of it's weight. I'm not sure this is much safer than my hoped for van/ Excella combination in a brake failure situation.

Of course there re many other factors such as brake strength, etc , but it seems to prove once again that this whole subject is much more complex than I had ever imagined.

I was also disappointed that nobody with small vehicle towing experience responded with their experiences, good or bad, that would have provided me with factual information in addition to all the theoretical and larger vehicle information.(actually one did off-line so as not to start the pot boiling again. I guess he knew about the previous discussions.)

So, I guess I'm not much further ahead. On the one hand a wishfull AS wannabee hoping Can-Am is on to something, and on the other hand , still concerned that they might be wrong.

I guess I may have to revert to a well balanced coin or get the tents out of storage.

Thanks to those that did take the time to respond!

John
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Old 07-28-2004, 09:49 PM   #28
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