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Old 12-07-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
Montrose , Colorado
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Suggestions needed on tow vehicle

I have a 1972 25' Tradewind which my Chevy HHR cannot tow. I recently moved back to the Colorado mountains and have been debating as to whether I should trade the HHR for a 4WD SUV. Price and MPG are
also important factors to be considered. Any ideas? Thanks!

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Old 12-07-2010, 10:56 PM   #2
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Unless you want a pickup choices are limited.

Chevrolet Suburban (3/4 ton)
Ford Excursion
Nissan Armada

Maybe a few others.

The smaller SUVs might barely tow a 25' trailer but why go do the expense of switching to a marginal setup.

MPG is going to be awful with all those. I don't use my tow vehicle for a daily driver.

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Old 12-08-2010, 01:34 AM   #3
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Menlo Park , California
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I tow our 71 Tradewind with a 1996 Ford 4WD F250 w/ a 7.3 liter PowerStroke diesel. These are available used for not too much money. In the flats towing at 60 mph, we get around 14 to 15 mpg. If you're in the Rockies, I'd look for one w/ 4.11 gears rather than the 3.55s.

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Old 12-08-2010, 03:41 AM   #4
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My 2 cents worth

We tow our 1977 Tradewinds with a Toyota 4 Runner/V8/4x4, and it tows beautifully, although the gas mileage drops like a rock.
Many people will advise you to buy a large vehicle, diesel or otherwise. We have owned several, including 2 diesels, GM & Ford, all had great features, but we just wanted something comfortable, fun, and easy to park, not to mention 4x4, since we live in a mountain region also.
My second choice in a tow vehicle is a Tahoe, which we also owned. It was a great car, and we towed a 31ft. AS at the time. You can find them on the used market for not alot of money. A Hensley Hitch is also a great investment with a short wheelbase tow vehicle..but that's another subject all together.
Good luck with your search.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:33 AM   #5
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You most likely won't need 4 wheel drive very often, but when you do it can save the day. Just pulling up a steep grade on gravel to a campsite can be tough without it. I will never have another truck without it.
Bruce & Rachel
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2001 Toyota Tundra
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:46 AM   #6
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A 3/4 ton was mentioned above, but unless you just want a 3/4 ton, I don't think a 3/4 ton is required to tow a '72 25' because they were much lighter than the 25' trailers today. I used to tow an '01 25' with a 1/2 ton successfully. No matter the tow vehicle, you will be going slow in the mountains.

No vehicle that will pull your Airstream will get the fuel mileage of the HHR.

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."-- Thomas Jefferson
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:47 AM   #7
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Irmo , South Carolina
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A vintage TradeWind is light enough to tow with just about any larger SUV. It's nowhere near the weight of the newer 25' Airstreams. I tow mine with way more truck than needed, but I wouldn't be afraid to pull it with a Tahoe or even a V8 Ford Explorer.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:09 AM   #8
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Keep you HHR and get a used truck or larger SUV. No vehicle capable of hauling your trailer gets good fuel economy and if you drive a lot or in the city, you will get tired of paying the price for a large vehicle.
Keep in mind that not only is Colorado full of high passes, but the high elevation saps the performance of gasoline powered tow vehicles making them run harder and less efficiently.
A turbo diesel tow vehicle maintains its performance and fuel mileage in high elevations making it worth the price premium.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:22 AM   #9
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're lad to have you with us.

As to your tow vehicle question, I agree that you are going to have to get something other than the HHR. I would weigh the Tradewind loaded up, ready to camp. I will guess that it will weight somewhere in the 5,000# range. Accordingly, a full size half ton would be a suitable tow vehicle. A Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, Ford Expedition, or large Japanese SUV would work well. There are also some great pick-ups in this class that would also make excellent tow vehicles for your Tradewind.

I would not be very comfortable with one of the mini trucks or SUV's. To me, there is just not enough tow vehicle there for a job of that size. As to the four wheel drive issue, I prefer four wheel drive. It can get you out of trouble pulling a heavy trailer up hill on an unpaved surface. I has saved Lucy's butt a couple of times. We also use the four wheel drive extensively for expeditions into the wilderness without Lucy. I would think that living in the mountains of Colorado would make four wheel drive very desirable.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
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2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:01 AM   #10
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Check out a VW Touareg V6 TDI Diesel @ 25mpg highway.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:12 AM   #11
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I think you have to look at how many miles per year you are going to tow the airstream. Are you going traveling or weekending with relatively short trips? We have a 25' Excella that weighs 6300 lbs. At first we towed it on trips up to 300 miles each way with a ford 150 with the small V8. It towed okay and we felt safe. Lots of downshifting on grades and in the mountains we would crawl some mountains instead of actually pulling them. Pretty sure the transmission would not have liked it over a long period of time. We caught the caravanning bug and did not want to take the 150000 mile ford (bought used) to Alaska. We bought a new 2500 Dodge diesel. Worlds better. Overpull, probably, but once we used this truck we know we will not go back to a 150 gas tow unless we drop back to weekending. The Dodge Diesel is also my wifes everyday ride. She loves it. We get about 15 mpg towing. (actually 13 to 17, mostly depending upon headwinds or tailwinds, I think) Got 9-10 with the 150, but we went a lot slower with it also. In the last couple of years we have seen a lot of Tundra and Nissan trucks towing Airstreams. They work well also. Also many different heavy SUV's with up to 25' trailers. For a smaller tow car a Hensly hitch might be a good thing to have. I have not felt the need with the big truck.
The Dodge was a big expense for us. But the depreciation has not been bad. I could sell it now with about a 10000 hit for 80,000 miles and 3 years use. In 45000 miles of towing the diesel has used about $5,000 miles less fuel. And the 4 wheel drive and heavy tow have saved me one potential large towing bill when I made a mistake in a gravel bank in YNP, but managed to get it out with the 4 wheel drive low and some praying.

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