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Old 04-07-2016, 07:32 AM   #1
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Tow Vehicle for a 1972 27ft Overlander

I have a 27ft 1972 Overlander Double Airstream, picked it up from my father-in-laws friend at a great price. It's all original, and so far it looks like everything is functional. My question is about getting a tow vehicle, I'm a hot rod guy and have been looking for a vehicle that has both high performance and can tow this rig. From what I've found in the Internet and the tag on my airstream the following are the specs of my trailer.

GVWR: 6200 LB
Dry Weight: 4510 LB
Hitch Weight: 480 LB (I'm assuming dry weight)

I live in Michigan and will only be towing 2-4 hours from my home during the summer and fall months. I'd say 6-8 times a year would be max times a year.

So now it comes to Tow Vehicle, I've been looking for a reason to buy a high performance "family" vehicle and I think getting this airstream might be the reason. So, I'm considering a 2014+ Grand Cherokee SRT, it has a tow capacity of 7200 lbs. The other vehicle I am considering is a 2006 Ram Quad Cab SRT-10, which has a towing capacity of 7500 lbs.

Most of my internet research has others looking at newer (heavier) airstreams with a SRT GC. I have never hauled many heavy loads for any notable distances. Also in consideration is that in the tow vehicle will be myself, wife and two daughters 9 & 5. My concern is that the airstream will be a lot longer than the Grand Cherokee.

Any comments, recommendations etc are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:00 AM   #2
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If neither of those will work for me, maybe I'll go classic and try to find a year matching suburban.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:28 AM   #3
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1) If you care about manufacturer numbers:

You are fine as long as tow capacity is concerned. What you should look at is the payload capacity of your tow vehicle. Add the weight of all passengers + cargo + the actual tongue weight of your Airstream (published tongue weights are usually understated). Compare that to the payload capacity of the Jeep, printed on the sticker on the driver side door jam (do not rely on the published payload numbers as those are always overstated). If you have enough payload capacity, then you are good. You have some wiggle room here as your weight distribution hitch moves 15% to 20% of the tongue weight to the trailer axles. Also, you can place your cargo in the trailer to lighten up your tow vehicle and be within the payload limit. Then you just need to get a good weight distribution hitch with sway control (which is another can of worms topic).

2) If you don't care about manufacturer numbers:

There are folks on this forum who claim a reinforced receiver and professionally set up weight distribution hitch can do towing magic and trumps all manufacturer ratings. I personally do not believe these stories and consider such recommendations reckless.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:48 AM   #4
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"There are folks on this forum who claim a reinforced receiver and professionally set up weight distribution hitch can do towing magic and trumps all manufacturer ratings. I personally do not believe these stories and consider such recommendations reckless."

That's simply not true. One of the folk you're referring to is Andrew Thomson at Can-Am Airstream in London, Ontario, recognized as one of the best hitch exerts in North America. He has forty years in business, thousands of hitch setups, no magic. You have virtually no towing experience; your comment is reckless.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:52 AM   #5
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Have to concur. Modern vehicles have superb brakes with anti-skid, excellent suspensions, far more horsepower per cubic inch than the classic Detroit iron that has successfully towed all manner of Airstreams for decades and Andy T., for one, has been doing this forever with thousands of satisfied customers.

Mike
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:02 AM   #6
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As you mentioned, your trailer and your tongue weight are much lighter than the newer trailers. I think with proper loading of the tow vehicle and trailer you will be well within all the specs for either of those tow vehicles. The fact that you are only doing a limited amount of towing is more reassurance you should be fine.

Get a hitch that is good at controlling "sway" and it should address your concern of the trailer being longer than the tow vehicle.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:21 AM   #7
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Just for reference the payload of the GC is 1350 lb, so how much tongue weight should I expect to see on my trailer?
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:53 AM   #8
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You can weigh it using a bathroom scale (http://hildstrom.com/projects/tonguescale/)
or buy a Sherline scale (https://www.etrailer.com/Tools/Sherline/5780.html)
or take your trailer to a CAT scale

The good thing about older Airstreams is they have much lower tongue weights.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:57 AM   #9
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your Overlander is relatively light n the overall scheme of Airstreams. A good weight distribution hitch and bar set up will go a long way. Try E-trailer they are very helpful and have great prices on the set up. Watch a video there to get some knowledge ...

Congrats on finding a great trailer.
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Old 04-07-2016, 11:14 AM   #10
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Looks like the Ram SRT-10 QC has a payload of 1,009 lbs.

So to be clear, I take the trailer tongue weight into account when looking at payload right?
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:01 PM   #11
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Great as always

We have a Tradesman hemi 1500 and pull our 72 Overlander just fine..
Over 8000 feet in Colo. I do miss my 98 turbo CUMMINS but over all the hemi does just fine without any fancy hitch.
By the way we carry a 1200/ lb. Rhino side by side in the box..
Empty,, the little hemi is a rocket with 400 HP..
Sodbust
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:41 PM   #12
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FYI, I have a 69 Overlander and we use the Toyota Tundra Crew Cab, TRD. It's marvelous tow vehicle. We've pulled ours from TN to AZ and from AZ to CA since we got it in September.

The biggest hit with us is how much room there is in the back seats. I have sons that are all well over 6 foot and they fit link they were riding in an old Marathon Taxi.

I know someone who has the same vehicle in 4 wheel drive and they pull a toy hauler, they have had similar experience with theirs.

Good luck

PS the Airstream pulls so we'll I doubt you can make a bad decision on the tow vehicle side. Also get a weight distribution system, you won't regret that decision either.

Tony
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:17 PM   #13
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We tow a 1978 28' Ambassador with a 2011 Lexus RX350. This was set up by Andy Thomson at CanAm RV and we have a Hensley Hitch. Have towed from the east to the Pacific and back. Wonderful towing. This replaced a 1999 3/4 ton Suburban with a 454 engine. The Lexus tows so much better than the Suburban (and I loved that Suburban) and handles like a dream.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tlavergne View Post
We tow a 1978 28' Ambassador with a 2011 Lexus RX350. This was set up by Andy Thomson at CanAm RV and we have a Hensley Hitch. Have towed from the east to the Pacific and back. Wonderful towing. This replaced a 1999 3/4 ton Suburban with a 454 engine. The Lexus tows so much better than the Suburban (and I loved that Suburban) and handles like a dream.

Really? Isn't the tow capacity on those like 4000 lbs? Aren't you way over you total weight?
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