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Old 11-05-2005, 10:02 AM   #1
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Tow vehicle help...please

I am so confused about buying a tow vehicle for my 1974 Tradewind. In the meantime it sits in my driveway. I hear and read so many different things. I have talked with A/S owners, and read all of the forums related to this and I still can't decide. I need an SUV, I want leather, I don't want to buy new and would like the best gas mileage possible. I am a single woman, so I would rather have more than less in terms of tow capacity (don't like the idea of getting stranded on a mountain top!) I have considered a Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban. There is currently a 1999 Eddie Bauer Expedition with a 5.4L Triton V-8. Any thoughts? Pam
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
I am so confused about buying a tow vehicle for my 1974 Tradewind. In the meantime it sits in my driveway. I hear and read so many different things. I have talked with A/S owners, and read all of the forums related to this and I still can't decide. I need an SUV, I want leather, I don't want to buy new and would like the best gas mileage possible. I am a single woman, so I would rather have more than less in terms of tow capacity (don't like the idea of getting stranded on a mountain top!) I have considered a Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban. There is currently a 1999 Eddie Bauer Expedition with a 5.4L Triton V-8. Any thoughts? Pam
Pam,
The Expy would work...if it has the factory towing package on it( and I believe most of the Eddie Bauers came with it). It would also depend on which rear end is in it. There is a fellow just up the road from me that tows with one, no problems. The 5.4 should get around 18-20 over the road not towing and in the 12-14 range towing the AS. Tank average mixed driving will run in the 16-18mpg range. We have had quite a collection of Fords and have been happy with all of them. Currently for some reason all we have are Pickups

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Old 11-05-2005, 10:30 AM   #3
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Pam, I'm not sure why you need and SUV, so I'm going to suggest you rethink that part of the equation and consider a Crewcab pickup. In my opinion, you should purchase a 3/4 ton vehicle, and at the top of the list for consideration should be the GMC or Chevy Crewcab 2500 Duramax Diesel with the Allison automatic transmission. Since you don't seem to need a pickup, I would suggest trying to find a short bed model. The Durmax is known for getting 18-19 mpg in daily use and 16-17 mpg pulling an Airstream. The brakes, suspension, motor and transmission will all work together to make pulling your trailer seem quite easy and these models are known for having a comfortable ride. I've seen several good examples on Ebay recently, one being a 2003 white short bed crewcab with 46,000 miles which went for about $26,000. It was a personal vehicle as opposed to company vehicle, and had only been used for personal use and to pull a bass boat.

I have read recently about issues with Triton motors older than 3 years old having problems spitting out one of the rear spark plugs, so if you decide you still want a Ford, I would suggest trying to get one no more than 3 years old.

Good Luck.
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:46 AM   #4
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Pamelake, forum members will be pleased to assist you with this decision, but there are a couple of difficult issues raised by your post:
1. You are confused by all the various opinions you have received, and now you are asking for more opinions. You will only become more confused.
2. You list your priorities as SUV, leather, not new, ample towing capacity so as not to get stuck at the top of a mountain. I politely suggest that you may not have been involved in a serious wreck when a trailer went out of control. If you had, your priority might be a tow vehicle with adequate weight, wheelbase, suspension and brakes to keep you safe.

I know the above is not what you wanted to hear, and for that I apologise. I suggest that you find, either through this forum or at campgrounds, owners with the same size and weight trailer as yours, who have been towing the rig safely for several years, in the regions you wish to travel, and buy the tow vehicle that most of them use. I went through this process to decide on the tow vehicle for my 6000 pound (loaded) Excella 25. I ended up buying a used threequarter ton diesel truck. Without leather. Good luck in your quest.
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Old 11-05-2005, 11:19 PM   #5
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Thanks, for the replies...I really appreciate the time taken to ‘school’ me in this important decision. I didn’t know much about the Expedition so these are good things to consider. Nick, I understand what you are saying about getting more confused by asking the question again. But, I really have learned a lot by asking people with experience towing and do feel like I am more educated now then I was last year. I am in the unfortunate position that I need one vehicle to serve several functions. I would like the SUV because I do a bit of traveling for work and carry quite a bit with me that wouldn't work in a pickup. When I say I want something with plenty of tow capacity I guess I am thinking that means “a tow vehicle with adequate weight, wheelbase, suspension and brakes to keep you safe” And the leather is for my canine companion. I have had dogs in cars with cloth seats and with leather. Leather is cleaner and holds up much better to doggie abuse. So, I hope you don’t think I am being frivolous and want something ‘pretty’. I have been in a near collision when someone else was driving and pulling a trailer that jackknifed and once with my brother when we did not have enough power going up a hill. Both of those situations humbled me and have made me want to go about this in a thoughtful way. Unfortunately, I didn’t come into this love of Airstreams with a background of knowledge about trucks and with the help and patience of the members of this forum and people who are towing similar sized trailers (I have been known to lurk at campgrounds and at A/S rallies) I am learning. Thanks, Pam
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
I would like the SUV because I do a bit of traveling for work and carry quite a bit with me that wouldn't work in a pickup. When I say I want something with plenty of tow capacity I guess I am thinking that means “a tow vehicle with adequate weight, wheelbase, suspension and brakes to keep you safe”
With the above in mind I'd recommend either a Chevy Suburban/GMC Yukon XL 2500 (3/4 ton) or (if you really want a diesel) a Ford Excursion. If you don't want a diesel then ignore the Excursion.

A Suburban with the 6.0 gas engine and 4.10 gears would be a good compromise between solo gas mileage and having enough power to tow your trailer. With the 8.1 gas engine you'll have plenty of power but pay the price in extra gas used. A diesel powered Excursion will barely know your trailer is behind it AND get better mileage that a 6.0 powered Suburban.
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:01 AM   #7
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Hi Pam, I have an older (95) F-250 and I am quite happy with it. It is a pickup, so it may not fit your needs. However, it has a canopy on it and it stays dry in the bed. Have you looked at conversion vans ? There are a few on here that tow with vans both ford and chevy.

I wouldn't do the Expedition, it is based on the F-150 platform and is sprung pretty soft. I will echo the opinion to stay away from the triton engines. Their reliability is not quite up to par.

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Old 11-06-2005, 02:16 AM   #8
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hi pam
i agree with steve, and if you want better fuel milage the diesel excursion is the choice...however it is a beast to drive, as it has a hugh turning radius and parking is a learned experience...they are a chore as daily drivers in any urban area....great as hiway crusiers.....sluggish as urban hoppers.

now if you're willing to live with the sub/yukon mpg...then look for a used one with the quadrasteer option. much easier to park/drive in the city. and turning/backing/parking the airstream will be improved with the 4/wheel steering too. used gm/chevys with quadrasteer are hard to find however. unleaded is under 2 bucks here now. and care is cheaper for the gas engine than the diesel.

another option is a 3/4 ton van....gmc/chevy has a little better model than ford....lots of power and towing capacity like a suburban with more storage that's easier to use because the step in/lift in height is lower....while "vans" don't have the coolness factor of suvs or big trucks...the folks here who have them seem very happy with their chevy/gmc vans! and really they are a good choice for a tow vehicle that also much do other things...

go test drive some of the big beasts mentioned....all of them will be an adjustment from passenger cars, but test drive a bunch....really. after driving each model 2-3 times things that initally annoy will seem tolerable and after a few more drives..you will like things and start to ignore the BIGNESS factor. some dealers will let you take one home for 24hours or a weekend, so after driving a bunch try this too.

so get out a drive some big rigs and report back soon!

cheers
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:59 AM   #9
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Pam, a good person to consult would be Hunter Hampton, who has run the Yahoo Airstream list for many years. She is a lovely person whom I am sure would give you good advice. She has travelled , alone and full-time, with her 25 ft Airstream for several years. She also has several large dogs who travel with her. I'm no dog expert, but they look to me like the Border Collies used in shepherding here in the UK. They are lovely, affectionate dogs, and she takes great care to ensure they are happy in the trailer and in the tow vehicle. She has tried several different tow vehicles, and I canot imagine a person better qualified to assist you. I will PM her e-mail address to you, although, in fact, it is in the public domain.
Nick.
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