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Old 10-28-2003, 01:12 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle for 28' argosy TT 1978

I Just bought a 1978 Argosy trailer that I am pulling with a 1984 GMC vandura with a 305 v8. I'm thinking I need a diesel, and would greatly appreciate any advice on a vehicle that not only could pull this trailer, but could also look as stylish as the trailer itself (good luck) I prefer vintage vehicles, if there is something out there capable of the job...
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Old 10-28-2003, 03:56 PM   #2
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Tow vehicle for 28' argosy TT 1978

Greetings!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Argosy ownership!

You will need a tow vehicle equipped to tow at least 6,000 pounds. Your 28' Argosy will likely weigh at least 6,000 pounds if rather conservatively packed and could approach 6,500 pounds. My '64 Overlander that is 26' 8", weighs in a few pounds above or below 6,000 pounds when fully loaded for an extended trip (I tend to be a bit of a pack rat).

I have owned a number of tow vehicles since I acquired the Overlander in 1995, and my favorite two were the 1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer (full-size with big block V8) as well as my current 1999 K2500 Suburban with the 7400 VORTEC. My travel generally includes at least four to six weeks each summer that often includes extensive travel in the Rocky Mountains. The Jeep just barely had enough power for the trailer but handled the trailer well if you could overlook the low speeds on mountain grades - - the Suburban with its 10,000 pound trailer tow package walks away with the trailer under nearly all conditions. I do ocassionally tow the Overlander with my '75 Cadillac Eldorado, but it maxes out the trailer tow capabilities and is just a "flat lands" combination.

There are a number of vehicles available that when equipped with the trailer tow package can handle a 28' Argosy. My preference would be for a full-size vehicle with a big block V8 and gearing in the neighborhood of 3.90 to 4.10 especially if any mountain travel is anticipated.

Good luck with your search for a tow vehicle!

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 10-28-2003, 04:42 PM   #3
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Hi - if it helps...

My Argosy manual (1977) lists weights for a 28 footer:
GVWR 6200 lbs and factory weight w/o options 4375 lbs or 4040 lbs (rear bath).

Have fun!
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Old 10-28-2003, 07:12 PM   #4
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You don't have to have a diesel, but you could use more horsepower and suspension. Diesels have their advantages, to be sure. A great deal would depend upon how much you are towing.

In your place I'd want a 3/4 ton van, pickup, Suburban, or similar. Some of the real late model "1/2" ton trucks are rated for that kind of load as well.

In the GM line, a 350 (what is that now, 5.4 liter?) gas engine with a 4.1 rear end, or a big block with 3.73 or 4.10 should be great.

The diesel choices run Ford, Dodge, Chevy, in no particular order. There are strengths and weaknesses of each. You would want a turbo diesel - the old 6.9 Ford or 6.5 GM diesels non-turbos are going to struggle. If you go GM, I would not recommend the pre-Duramax diesel for that kind of load. I have one, and it is ok with my 25' Sovereign, but I would not want to have to pull anything heavier.

Mark
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Old 10-29-2003, 10:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the help. I'm really curious about the cadillac pulling the trailer. How well did it work? Are there improvements you could make to use it regularly? For that matter, has anyone ever towed with any of the 70's muscle cars?
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Old 11-03-2003, 08:43 AM   #6
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Tow vehicle for 28' argosy TT 1978

Greetings!

Quote:
I'm really curious about the cadillac pulling the trailer. How well did it work? Are there improvements you could make to use it regularly? For that matter, has anyone ever towed with any of the 70's muscle cars?
The Cadillac (Eldorado) of the 1970s (through 1978) was generally rated for a maximum of 6,000 pounds towing. This is the case with my '75 Eldorado convertible. The limiting factor is the final drive ratio at approximately 2.70; and as a complex front wheel drive vehicle, changing the final drive ratio is expensive but not impossible. The drivetrain is basically very similar to that used in similar vintage GMC motorhomes. With the Overlander, the Cadillac has adequate power except on steep grades; and it does struggle to get started on even modest grades when the pavement is wet as the front wheels try to break loose before they gain traction.

The following modifications have been required to make my Eldorado an acceptable trailer towing vehicle: new heavy duty four-core radiator, new heavy duty (12,000 pound) rated auxilliary transmission fluid cooler, new heavy duty water pump, new heavy duty alternator, new heavy duty mechanical fuel pump, new heavy duty heat shielded starter, new heavy duty cargo coil springs (rear), new Air Lift air bags in rear springs, new heavy duty shocks (front and rear with air ride control in rear), custom fabricated Reese Receiver Hitch, new custom wheels (finding unbent, ture-running originals proved nearly impossible - - the Eldorado wheels are unique to the 1968-78 Eldorado and Tornado), and new custom dual exhaust system with twin catalytic converters.

The 1970s era Cadillacs (post 1971) with the rear wheel drive platform would make more versatile tow vehciles as it would be possible to change the differential gearing much more easily. It would be quite possible to have a 500 cubic inch V8 with 4.10 gearing that would handle most of the similar vintage Airstreams.

I have also towed my trailers with a 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible with the H.O. 383 cubic inch V8 having 335 HP, and 3.90 final drive ratio. The modifications were quite similar to those required by the Cadillac. The one exception was the requirement of a major valve job that included machining hardened seats into the heads to reduce the likelihood of valve recision due to the use of unleaded fuels under the stresses of towing. The car actually does quite well, but I feel safer with the more modern disc/drum brake combinations on my later model vehicles with the twin-cylinder master cylinders for braking.

Good luck with your search for the ideal tow vehicle!

Kevin
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Old 11-03-2003, 07:35 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot for all that info. I've got a lot to think about, here. I think I'll hang onto my van for awhile, while I look into different tow car possibilities.
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Old 11-30-2003, 06:17 PM   #8
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Towing Argosy

I Just bought a 1978 Argosy trailer that I am pulling with a 1984 GMC vandura with a 305 v8. I'm thinking I need a diesel, and would greatly appreciate any advice on a vehicle that not only could pull this trailer, but could also look as stylish as the trailer itself (good luck) I prefer vintage vehicles, if there is something out there capable of the job...


Lovecraft..

I just sold a 1979 Argosy to a gentleman that picked it up with a 2000 Chevy Station wagon. The Argosy was listed as a 25' but measured bumper to hitch at 30' and grossed out at 7800 lbs. He managed fine from the looks of it. I'm not sure what engine he had but he was very prepared to pull the trailer.

Regards
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Old 11-30-2003, 07:49 PM   #9
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I have a 1990 big block 454 cu in Suburban. Rated @ 9600# towing capacity. 160k but runs REAL good. Quiet engine, no smoke no rust. Like new interior. Slight paint fading on 1 side. $3200.- but you are in Texas and I`m in Delaware.
Dick
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