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Old 01-14-2008, 07:03 PM   #1
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Tow 1985 Limited 31' with Dodge 1500?

Guys,
I need some help and some information. My Father is looking at a 1985 31 foot Airstream Limited. His tow vehicle is a 1996 Dodge 1500 2wd, 3.55 rear axle, 5.9L gas engine and full tow package with oil and trans cooler. I don't know the weight on the Limited and I can't find a weight chart anywhere (all the links I found here don't work). The truck is VERY conservatively rated at 7,600lb towing weight and it will have an aftermarket exhaust, air intake and chip on it to help out. Buying a new truck is not an option right now. What I need to know is can this truck pull this trailer and what is the weight of the trailer? I know a 3/4 ton would be better, I pull my Airstream with a Dodge Cummins...so we can skip the inevitable comments about the superiority of the 3/4 ton and diesel I already agree with you on that! My father will be traveling in the mountains as well as the flat lands, so really good info is a must. Thanks in advance guys!!
-Don
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra93
Guys,
I need some help and some information. My Father is looking at a 1985 31 foot Airstream Limited. His tow vehicle is a 1996 Dodge 1500 2wd, 3.55 rear axle, 5.9L gas engine and full tow package with oil and trans cooler. I don't know the weight on the Limited and I can't find a weight chart anywhere (all the links I found here don't work). The truck is VERY conservatively rated at 7,600lb towing weight and it will have an aftermarket exhaust, air intake and chip on it to help out. Buying a new truck is not an option right now. What I need to know is can this truck pull this trailer and what is the weight of the trailer? I know a 3/4 ton would be better, I pull my Airstream with a Dodge Cummins...so we can skip the inevitable comments about the superiority of the 3/4 ton and diesel I already agree with you on that! My father will be traveling in the mountains as well as the flat lands, so really good info is a must. Thanks in advance guys!!
-Don
Don,

Is this what you are looking for? http://www.airstream.com/docs/weights-1.pdf

Dry weight 5600 lbs.

Bill
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:12 PM   #3
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Tow weights

Bill,
Thanks a lot for that chart!! I couldn't find it anywhere.
Just curious...you listed 5600lbs for the 85' 31 foot limited. The chart said 6,200lbs. Did I read it wrong? My Dad is interested in the unit but if the weight is truly 6,200lbs then after you add the weight of the appliances and 500lbs of personal stuff then the 1,000lb headroom limit for the truck is gone. If it's 5,600lbs then it might be doable.
-Don
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra93
Bill,
Thanks a lot for that chart!! I couldn't find it anywhere.
Just curious...you listed 5600lbs for the 85' 31 foot limited. The chart said 6,200lbs. Did I read it wrong? My Dad is interested in the unit but if the weight is truly 6,200lbs then after you add the weight of the appliances and 500lbs of personal stuff then the 1,000lb headroom limit for the truck is gone. If it's 5,600lbs then it might be doable.
-Don
Don,

Sorry, I missed the Limited part, you are correct. There should be a plate on the front of the trailer which shows the GVW, that is really the number you want to concentrate on not the dry weight. Your father may be OK with the 1500, just don't get in a hurry and pull to the slow lane going uphill.

Bill
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:43 PM   #5
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Uhh....

I can tell you the 3.55 rear end is an issue. I had a similar rear end in a 1500 suburban and its like riding a 10 speed bike in 9th gear uphill pulling any wieght.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafariSS
I can tell you the 3.55 rear end is an issue. I had a similar rear end in a 1500 suburban and its like riding a 10 speed bike in 9th gear uphill pulling any wieght.
And the rear axle bearings in those are iffy. A friend had a 2000 Ram 1500 with a 5.9, and 3.55 gears, pulling a 6000 pound travel trailer. I had to go rescue him and his trailer when the rear end came apart on him while towing.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:20 PM   #7
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And the rear axle bearings in those are iffy. A friend had a 2000 Ram 1500 with a 5.9, and 3.55 gears, pulling a 6000 pound travel trailer. I had to go rescue him and his trailer when the rear end came apart on him while towing.
Terry,

Is this still a problem with the 1500 rear axle? If so, what exactly came apart?

Bill
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkerfoot
Terry,

Is this still a problem with the 1500 rear axle? If so, what exactly came apart?

Bill
I'm not sure if it's still a problem, but the 2000 1500 had the same setup as my Dakota.
The pinion bearings came apart.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:56 PM   #9
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You know it might be worth the time to look at changing to a 373 or even better 410 gears if possible. Whatever the cost is will probably save on future repairs and make the whole experiene better. It makes a huge difference in the tow rating.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:39 PM   #10
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We tow our 2002 22' CCD (5,000 lbs GVWR) with a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500, 5.9 L. When we bought the truck it had the 3.55 rear end.... we have since swapped it out for a 4.10 and what a difference! The Dodge handles the trailer pretty well with the 4.10. I can't imagine towing anything over 5,000 lbs with the 3.55. This is my real life towing experience in the mountains of the west. Hope that is helpful.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:36 AM   #11
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I think I had the same problem with the rear-end on mine...its a 5.2 w/ the 3.55 rear. I was getting a clunking sound...suspected u-joints/driveshaft issue, and had the mechanic check it out...turns out that it was coming apart from the rear-end. now the question is: is the repair they did permanent, or is it likely to be a recurring problem?

I find it can be a bit of a dog on hills. You might have less trouble w/ the 5.9, although, I think that its only rated as having 20 more hp than the 5.2. Funny thing is that the power band on this motor is above 2500rpm. It'll maintain speed on a steep hill, if you start out @ 65mph. Hit the base of the hill at less than that, and you'll be doing 40 in 2nd gear shortly.

My trailer has a 5800lb gvw...probably weighs around 5000, most of the time.

changing out the rear end isn't practical on this truck, as its a 4x4.
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
I think I had the same problem with the rear-end on mine...its a 5.2 w/ the 3.55 rear. I was getting a clunking sound...suspected u-joints/driveshaft issue, and had the mechanic check it out...turns out that it was coming apart from the rear-end. now the question is: is the repair they did permanent, or is it likely to be a recurring problem?

I find it can be a bit of a dog on hills. You might have less trouble w/ the 5.9, although, I think that its only rated as having 20 more hp than the 5.2. Funny thing is that the power band on this motor is above 2500rpm. It'll maintain speed on a steep hill, if you start out @ 65mph. Hit the base of the hill at less than that, and you'll be doing 40 in 2nd gear shortly.

My trailer has a 5800lb gvw...probably weighs around 5000, most of the time.

changing out the rear end isn't practical on this truck, as its a 4x4.
Chuck, it will probably recur, as the problem is in the strain of the gearing and the size of the bearings. Lower ratio will take some of the strain off the bearings, also replacing the dino gear lube with full synthetic gear lube will prolong things (synthetic doesn't break down like the dino oil).
Sometimes you can get new lower ratio ring and pinion for your existing axles.
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