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Old 09-03-2010, 04:01 PM   #29
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Loan guarantees aren't the same thing as loans, which aren't the same thing as a bailout (which connotes a grant or gift that needn't be repaid.) Ford made better decisions much sooner than GM and Chrysler, and consequently is in a less-bad position now.
I sure wouldn’t mind being able to pay off my mortgage with a low-interest, government-backed loan…
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:31 PM   #30
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Hi Don

Over the years we have had literally hundreds of customers that tow 34' Airstreams with 5.3 GM engines. These customers have towed 34's over pretty much every mountain pass on the continent, from Panama to Alaska and everywhere in between. It can be done if done properly. Longevity has not been an issue, I was driving one yesterday with 130,000 miles on it that has been towing a 34' extensively since new. It runs great and the Airstream and its owners are not all beat to pieces by a stiff suspension.

If you would like to keep your existing truck it will work very well with a few modifications. Do you know what your axle ratio is? What size tires do you have? What year is your truck and your Airstream?

Let me know if I can help.

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:50 PM   #31
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:48 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by SafariGeorge View Post
Hey Don.. As you can see the tow vehicle subject tends to elicit many and usually strongly held opinions!

Andy Thompson, Jr of Can-Am RV in Lambeth (London) Ontario, Canada is an expert in this field. He is nationally known contributor to several RV publications, and author of the long-running column Hitch Hints.

I have asked him two or three such questions in the past and I have never known him to hold back OR charge a fee....

Generally I found that there is a tendency to over kill on tow vehicles, but you may find differently.

TF 1 866 226 2678
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info@canamrv.ca

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Agreed, Andy Thomson is an expert and a good man. In 2001 I wanted to use a 2001 BMW X5 4.4i with Sport Package and some Dinan upgrades (about 300 hp & 350 #ft. of torque) to pull a yet un-purchased Airstream. Through Hensley Mfg. I was referred to Andy with whom I spent some hours over a several month period on the phone (I live in Houston, he's in London, Ontario, Canada).

As he had never assembled an X5 with an Airstream, he went to his local BMW dealership to look at it; he then advise me that it was "built like a one ton truck" and would have no problem towing the 31 foot Airstream Classic Limited I was considering. I ordered my 31 foot Airstream Classic Limited from him and drove to his dealership in Canada for delivery.

I spent two weeks in Canada at his dealership having a genset (Onan Microquiet 4000) installed under the curbside twin bed, having a Hensley hitch installed and having Airstream "quality control" matters and "omissions" corrected by his dealership.

While at his Dealership (he put me and my family in a new 31 foot Airstream on his lot rather than we have to pay for lodging) I was free to roam about his dealership at will. I picked his and his employee's brains during that two week period and figure I got $10,000 worth of towing education from them. Well worth the time, although I must say the rest of my family wasn't as pleased with the stay as this "gear head" was.

We left the dealership in June of 2001 and drove to GlacierNatl.Park, then South to Arizona and back to Houston, Texas. Went over the Continental Divide three times, only having to use 2nd gear about 3 times. Spend most of the time in 4th & 5th gears. Came off the divide on a grade going 85 mph, passed a semi and had no controllability problems what so ever; the Hensley hitch is worth every cent of the $2,700 I paid and the X5 is a super stable and capable tow vehicle.

As of this date, the X5 has 101,722 miles on it, 32,000 of which have pulled the Airstream, without any major issues. The Onan genset has 912 hours on it (had to replace brushes and a carburetor recently).

You may ask why an X5. Well I could only justify it with the following rationale: It could easily tow and control the Airstream; at my destination I then had an extremely capable sport vehicle that could handle the "twisties", all while doing so in luxury. Thus I had three vehicles in one ........ albeit at 3 times the price
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:23 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by withidl View Post
Agreed, Andy Thomson is an expert and a good man. In 2001 I wanted to use a 2001 BMW X5 4.4i with Sport Package and some Dinan upgrades (about 300 hp & 350 #ft. of torque) to pull a yet un-purchased Airstream. Through Hensley Mfg. I was referred to Andy with whom I spent some hours over a several month period on the phone (I live in Houston, he's in London, Ontario, Canada).

As he had never assembled an X5 with an Airstream, he went to his local BMW dealership to look at it; he then advise me that it was "built like a one ton truck" and would have no problem towing the 31 foot Airstream Classic Limited I was considering. I ordered my 31 foot Airstream Classic Limited from him and drove to his dealership in Canada for delivery.

I spent two weeks in Canada at his dealership having a genset (Onan Microquiet 4000) installed under the curbside twin bed, having a Hensley hitch installed and having Airstream "quality control" matters and "omissions" corrected by his dealership.

While at his Dealership (he put me and my family in a new 31 foot Airstream on his lot rather than we have to pay for lodging) I was free to roam about his dealership at will. I picked his and his employee's brains during that two week period and figure I got $10,000 worth of towing education from them. Well worth the time, although I must say the rest of my family wasn't as pleased with the stay as this "gear head" was.

We left the dealership in June of 2001 and drove to GlacierNatl.Park, then South to Arizona and back to Houston, Texas. Went over the Continental Divide three times, only having to use 2nd gear about 3 times. Spend most of the time in 4th & 5th gears. Came off the divide on a grade going 85 mph, passed a semi and had no controllability problems what so ever; the Hensley hitch is worth every cent of the $2,700 I paid and the X5 is a super stable and capable tow vehicle.

As of this date, the X5 has 101,722 miles on it, 32,000 of which have pulled the Airstream, without any major issues. The Onan genset has 912 hours on it (had to replace brushes and a carburetor recently).

You may ask why an X5. Well I could only justify it with the following rationale: It could easily tow and control the Airstream; at my destination I then had an extremely capable sport vehicle that could handle the "twisties", all while doing so in luxury. Thus I had three vehicles in one ........ albeit at 3 times the price
What a timely first post...

Built like a 1 ton?

Towing at 85 mph?

hmmmmm....

who is that little Guy that lives under the bridge?

Beware vendors in camoflage...
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:45 AM   #34
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You did not say which Yukon you have but the maxiomum tow rating for them is usually between 6500- 7200 lb and I suspect you are above the limit for that. If you have a 3.42 or lower number for your rear end gear ratio you are going to have difficulty. You need 3.73 or 4.10 with the 5.3 motor.

Modifying your current vehicle may not be as economical as trading for a more capable vehicle, New or Used. Dodge, Ford, GM, Toyota, and Nissan all make vehicles that can tow larger loads. Try to find one that offers a towing capcity that is at least 125% of your dry trailer weight to allow capacity for people, cargo, including water and LP gas.

You also need to have the right class of hitch to accept the tongue weight and total weight of your trailer. I suggest a frame mounted class IV hitch that is good for up to w12,000 lb and 1200 Lb of tounge weight. Your Yukon probabaly has a class III which is only good for 5000 Lb towing.

See this link for explanation of hitch ratings: Trailer Hitch Class FAQ
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:52 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by BillTex View Post
What a timely first post...

Built like a 1 ton?

Towing at 85 mph?

hmmmmm....

who is that little Guy that lives under the bridge?

Beware vendors in camoflage...
Additionally, the factory BMW X5 tow rating is 6,000 pounds with a 600 pound tongue weight for both weight bearing and weight distributed loads. The X5 is way overbuilt. Andy Thomson looked at the OEM hitch (which I had installed, $500) installation and advised that no additional strengthening was needed for it's attachment to the X5 unibody (it inserts where the bumper shock tubes were removed). After 32,000 miles of towing an 8,300 pound GVWR Airstream, which has been loaded to over 8,900 pounds, there is absolutely no bending, fatigue or failure of the receiver or other hitch components or attachment points.
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:00 PM   #36
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Something I have always wondered about, apart from vehicle warranty issues that might arise, is that if one had the misfortune to be in a bad accident, and if it came to light that the weight of the trailer you were towing far exceeded the tow vehicles stated capacity, could it leave you in a less than desirable legal situation or affect the validity of your insurance coverage?

I really don't know, maybe it is a non-issue ...... but that thought it is one of several reasons that I opted not to go that route!

Brian.
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:36 PM   #37
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Something I have always wondered about, apart from vehicle warranty issues that might arise, is that if one had the misfortune to be in a bad accident, and if it came to light that the weight of the trailer you were towing far exceeded the tow vehicles stated capacity, could it leave you in a less than desirable legal situation or affect the validity of your insurance coverage?

I really don't know, maybe it is a non-issue ...... but that thought it is one of several reasons that I opted not to go that route!

Brian.
You have a valid concern. As to the hitch, I reasoned that the only liability would be if the hitch were to break free of the tow vehicle causing an accident would I be liable, but after talking to Andy Thomson and seeing his operation (he also installs custom hitches) felt the X5 hitch was more than adequate, which it has proven to be so.

As to warranty, which is not a legal liability, a vehicle's drive train, suspension and braking system are designed to endure the maximum acceleration and braking effort the vehicle can generate. The only difference when pulling a trailer is the DURATION of the effort. As long as the vehicle is not "shock loaded" there should be no problem. BMWs being advertised as "the untimate driving machines" have been designed to withstand severe service and even "shock loading" better than most other vehicles so I really didn't have concerns about warranty.

My assumptions and deductions seem to have been accurate as 9 years of towing have not evidenced any weakness in the assembly.
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Old 09-04-2010, 03:53 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex View Post
What a timely first post...

Built like a 1 ton?

Towing at 85 mph?

hmmmmm....

who is that little Guy that lives under the bridge?

Beware vendors in camoflage...
Hi, other than the fact that a BMW has huge brakes, It is not anywhere near built like a one ton truck, unless you are talking about those stupid fake one ton pick-ups Toyota made years ago. I hope you meant 85 KPH. You are a fatal accident in progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
Something I have always wondered about, apart from vehicle warranty issues that might arise, is that if one had the misfortune to be in a bad accident, and if it came to light that the weight of the trailer you were towing far exceeded the tow vehicles stated capacity, could it leave you in a less than desirable legal situation or affect the validity of your insurance coverage?

I really don't know, maybe it is a non-issue ...... but that thought it is one of several reasons that I opted not to go that route!

Brian.
Hi, he said it himself, a 6,000 lb tow rating, towing up to 8,900 lbs; I guess you get a free pass in Canada, but don't be the cause of a fatal accident on this side of the border. Vehicular Manslaughter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by withidl View Post
Additionally, the factory BMW X5 tow rating is 6,000 pounds with a 600 pound tongue weight for both weight bearing and weight distributed loads. The X5 is way overbuilt. Andy Thomson looked at the OEM hitch (which I had installed, $500) installation and advised that no additional strengthening was needed for it's attachment to the X5 unibody (it inserts where the bumper shock tubes were removed). After 32,000 miles of towing an 8,300 pound GVWR Airstream, which has been loaded to over 8,900 pounds, there is absolutely no bending, fatigue or failure of the receiver or other hitch components or attachment points.
I find it strange that one man has the ability and knowledge of several vehicles above and beyond those who designed and built them. Many people have done things that worked for many years and thousands of miles, but that doesn't make it right. I own a BMW X-3 and I wouldn't tow a shopping cart with it.
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:50 PM   #39
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Hi, other than the fact that a BMW has huge brakes, It is not anywhere near built like a one ton truck, unless you are talking about those stupid fake one ton pick-ups Toyota made years ago. I hope you meant 85 KPH. You are a fatal accident in progress.



Hi, he said it himself, a 6,000 lb tow rating, towing up to 8,900 lbs; I guess you get a free pass in Canada, but don't be the cause of a fatal accident on this side of the border. Vehicular Manslaughter?



I find it strange that one man has the ability and knowledge of several vehicles above and beyond those who designed and built them. Many people have done things that worked for many years and thousands of miles, but that doesn't make it right. I own a BMW X-3 and I wouldn't tow a shopping cart with it.
Well hi! I try to offer another prospective for the sake of knowledge and you come at me with a "holier than thou" attitude. Shame on you!

No, I meant the 85 miles per hour as stated. I live in Houston, Texas, on your side if the border so you are indeed at risk. I only went to Canada to purchase the Airstream. I can and do tow the assembly on the level in the USA at 70 to 75 mph sustained, transmission in 5th gear with the torque converter in lock-up; zooming to 85 mph for a mile or two "ain't no big thing" if your assembly is set up correctly. I would suspect that your assembly is not set up correctly and thus you are insecure with it and project that insecurity toward me.

Andy Thomson of Can-Am RV made a video for Hensley Mfg. which I have demonstrating the first "cab forward" Dodge Intrepid, with a custom hitch and transmission cooler towing a 10,000 pound 3 axle Airstream through a slalom course and on the road with total controllability. He had the assembly set up for several years as a demo. There is GREAT misunderstanding about tow vehicle capability and I would suggest you may be one of those who just don't understand; one of those that think you MUST have a big powerful tow vehicle to pull and control a large Airstream; it just ain't so!

For what it's worth I've attached a photo of my assembly along with Andy Thomson's article titled "Tow Vehicle Assessment" for your education.
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:02 PM   #40
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I didn't see any specific mention of wheelbase length in the responses so far, but towing that 34' trailer would have me thinking about wheelbase length and axle width in addition to engine/transmission/gears.

Of course, the longer the wheelbase -- generally the longer the overall length of your setup and the greater the challenges in traveling to some areas.

These high-tech hitches may work miracles, but they cannot make your truck wider, longer, and heavier when you need it most.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:20 PM   #41
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we don't wanna seem UNwelcoming...

so WELCOME with' to the 3 ring circus here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by withidl View Post
... I try to offer another prospective for the sake of knowledge and you come at me with a "holier than thou" attitude...
well with' therez curious issues in play.

your account is nearly 6 years old,

yet the first posts are NOW and on this topic ?

that is VERY unusual and prompts one to wonder...

still it's great a thread appeared that PULLED u into the abyss here...



now that u r IN IT understand that many may applaud the info provided...

while others question it or critique' it or down right OBJECT 2 it...

that's life in a forum.
_______

the x5 should have had ~ a 1200 lb payload rating along with that 6k towing figure...

typically the towing capacity is REDUCED by people, gear, accessories IN or ON the vehicle...

so a wag (wild arse guess) is U may have had 500-800 lbs of people, fuel and gear with out the trailer?

which means the TC is now 5200-5500.

WELL BELOW the reported trailer weight.

and since a haha weighs ~250 lbs,

so add THAT along with a typical 31 ftr TONGUE weight, lp gas, spare tire AND the x5 payload...

suggests the set up would have been grossly OVER every parameter....

payload, tongue, towing capacity, tire rating, axle rating and so on...

hp yes, torque ok, brakes good...

but the rest is pure WACKY...

which is but ONE of the things yer' shop wizard is known 4.
_________

wanna drive 85, ok with me.

wanna make CRAZY LANE changes to proVe handling prowess, go for it...

((that's a canAm thing right?))

but understand that BRAGGING about a rig combination that is this far outside the bubble...

well that bragging bubble is gonna be popped.
_________

so, EXPECT to be questioned

or the info ridiculed, and MAJOR questioning 4 posting some of this stuff...

in the same way that when someone posts...

"hey i drank 6 beers and 2 shots of jack and towed GREAT, while texting on my phone blindfolded"...

they might draw fire.

don't take it personally but hi risk behaviors (or those considered hi risK) will get attacked.
________

now the OTHER sorta odd or inconsistent bit is this...

according to the ENTRY by U in your profile (the exchange with marc) BACK in 2005...

5 years ago this rig had been used for towing 25,000 miles already...

and those "3" passes on the continental divide...

ALL happened ONE TIME on the maid voyage nearly 9 years ago?

??does this mean you have only used the x5/stream for 5,000 miles in the last 5 years?

in other words 1000 miles a year or less of towing since 2005?

also it would appear the x5 has only been drive 30,000 miles in the last 5 years too?

in other words less than 1/3 of the total mileage reported now?
________

does it also mean your haha is nearly 10 years old?

has it been serviced (bearings inspected/packed, painted or anything)??
________

details matter

and ENTHUSIASM about what reads like a GREAT field trip to canada 9 years ago is fun to read...

but WHY did you wait so LONG for a first post on this stuff?

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:32 PM   #42
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Girl Talking

I think many men and women are intimidated by big trucks. When I got my first Airstream I'd been driving compact cars for years. I'd never driven a big truck in my life. I felt awkward as anything for about 3 weeks, then just adjusted to it. The first tow vehicle was a 2003 Suburban 2500 - gas hog. I traded in for a 2008 Chevy Silverado long bed quad cab 2500 diesel.

If you are avoiding a bid truck because you think it will be hard to drive or uncomfortable, the new ones can be like a BarcoLounger on wheels. Every accessory but power nosepickers!

Most of the controls are in exactly the same place, and it was really easy to shift from gas to diesel. Most people don't realize it's diesel because it doesn't rattle and roar like the older ones. I can also approach 20 mpg when I'm not towing, and 14 to 16 when I am. That is darned good for a bigass truck! We just had the near miss with Hurricane Earl. I use my tow vehicles to get staff to the office in high water conditions. We run a 24/7 Answering service. We never close, so a big "high water" truck is a plus.

Were I to do it over I LOVE the torque of the diesel, but I'd get the short bed and 4 wheel drive. Almost never used it on the old vehicle, just enough to keep the gears lubed, but I've gotten stuck TWICE without it in the new one. Oh, yes, I've also dinged it up three separate times backing into unseen objects - a low pole and a mail box, and a rock. Then this other guy sideswiped me. He pulled in the right lane from a side street, then tried to move into the lane where I was - at 20 mph during rush hour! Nearly crapped, but now will put the baby in to have all of the blemishes removed, and those backup sensors or a backup camera added.

Paula
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