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Old 09-26-2002, 01:16 PM   #29
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I don't mean this as an insult to anyone, especially Wayne, but the Internet, and hence forums such as this, represent a cross-section of the entire population.

We've seen this range on the road... from those blasting along with overloaded rigs at 70+ mph, to those pulling a 25' at 50- mph with a 170"+ wheelbase dually, AND a Hensley.

We see one rule of thumb that's conservative and one that allows pulling a 26' with a 104" wheelbase. That's why there's so much debate and variability in advice.

Recipients should consider that the providers of Internet advice are a representative sample of the population... the population subject to the process of natural selection... and carefully choose which to follow in matters of health and safety.

While the legal system is all about debate, I suspect it won't be a long one if an accident investigation finds you were towing much over any manufacturers stated limit, also including GVWR, GAWR, and GCVWR. You'd probably even fail the "reasonable man" test unless you had engineering data disproving the manufacturers rating.

The ironic thing is that this may be worse in a civil case than a criminal one, because legal firm investigators often dig deeper than police. It could cause a judgement against you, even if the plantiff was at fault in the accident but sued you anyway. Happens all the time... at least in the US legal system.

Just some thoughts...
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Old 09-26-2002, 02:03 PM   #30
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Natural Selection...I love it!! LOL!!

I wonder about the "liability" thing, though. I can't speak to owner's overloading cars, but I can tell you that there have been a number of liability suits filed against small airplane manufacturers....after pilots overloaded the airplanes. The thing that doesn't make any sense is that pilots *know* about this stuff, they are tested on it in order to get this license. No pilot can ever use the excuse "gosh, I didn't know it was overloaded". I guess the thing is that they don't plead anything, because they are dead. the relatives of the deceased make these claims, and juries are stacked with non-pilots, the lawyers for some reason don't explain to them that "all pilots know about this stuff, because its on the test"...I don't know...but both Piper and Cessna were almost put out of business by a number of these suits.

I can also tell you that a Cessna 172 "looks" like it can carry alot more than it can, because it is quite roomy. you can easily fit 4 average sized adults into one....but the aircraft is not capable of carrying the load. Still, no excuse, IMHO, because like I said: pilots are supposed to know this stuff. There is no such requirement for automobile drivers....you don't have to prove to anyone ever that you know about gvw's, gcwr's, and the like.

And also, the suits here were filed against the deep pocket, not the person that made the mistake. If a similar thing were to happen with someone like our friend Wayne, it would be Nissan that would be sued, for putting a hitch on a minivan. Unless of course, Wayne's estate is worth more $$$ than Nissan.....
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Old 09-26-2002, 02:19 PM   #31
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Tow Vehicle

Folks

Way to much "Drama".... not a Canadian "Snow" job either.

Just passing on information as I experiance it.

Some ( not all ) mini vans are clearly misunderstood vehicles.

Here in Canada there are a number of RV dealerships that have minivans, usually the Ford Windstars, set up with 20 to 25 ft. trailers as demo units that are there to give folks a chance to test drive and experiance the performance. Most folks are pleasantly surprised and impressed with all aspects of the test drive.

Regards.......
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Old 10-03-2002, 01:59 AM   #32
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nissan tow

i was wondering how long it was going to take wayne to get his hackles up over everyone bashing on his mini-van.

I am planning (though it is starting to sound that i am foolish in thinking so) in towing my 25' tradewind behind my 1997 nissan xtra cab 4x4 p/u. the trailer is still several months away from being roadworthy, but i did tow it home.

so i guess i have a few months to realize how foolish i am to think about towing a 25' behind a truck rated to tow 3500.


after i get done with new axles/brakes/tires/shocks maybe ill just take her out for a spin and decide then
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Old 10-03-2002, 07:30 AM   #33
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Thumbs down To Dave Cole

I tried (briefly) to tow my 3240# loaded Scamp 5th-wheel behind a Nissan rated at 3500# towing capacity. I say briefly, bcause it just was't up to the task. Stability was not too bad, but the engine was screaming on every little rise in the road.
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Old 10-03-2002, 09:26 AM   #34
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Angry probably right

you are probably right. the only hope i am holding out is that my truck is geared really really low, and the engine doesn't redline until 5800 rpm. the nissan dealer also told me that the 4x4 xtra cabs came stock with 1-ton springs. which all means that she is one tough little truck.

which also means i am still a fool to think i can tow a 25' airstream with her
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Old 10-03-2002, 11:36 AM   #35
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Taking that spin

Dave,

When you do take her out for a spin I recommend you spin her over to the scales and have her weighed. And realize that there is no water or gear in there. Then make the decision. I believe that with the proper information you will come to the proper decision.

>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 10-03-2002, 04:07 PM   #36
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Dave,
The lure of owning an Airstream of any year and towing it behind what we use as a daily driver is overwhelming. I told myself that my '92 Chevy Z71 4X4 with 5.7 liter engine, 5 sp. manual and 3.42 rear end ratio would be up to the task when driving out to AZ. and bringing my 31' '77 Excella 500 back to TN. The trip out there was rough because my best friend could not go with me at the last minute. I left before 6 a.m. on a Thur. and made the 3,200 mile round trip by Sunday night at 10 p.m. I slept in the truck a couple hrs. at a time and had a 6 hr. layover in AZ. while purchasing a new replacement equalizer hitch because the other welded unit made the trailer sit too high. I finally got a chance to sleep 7 hrs. in the trailer on the way back somewhere in New Mexico. I just couldn't drive any farther. I averaged almost 20 mpg. out there and got 13 on the way back. This was where I found that the shortbed truck with LT265-75-16 tires was not up to the task of taking the hills of AZ. and NM. I found myself downshifting into 2nd gear and keeping the revs high to make it to the top of some of the hills. Every semi truck that went by sucked me in and them pushed me to the side. My knuckles were white and my eyes were glued to the rearview mirror when not looking out the windshield.

After purchasing my '01 2500HD ext. cab 4X4, I have none of the aforementioned problems and I arrive at my destination in good spirits without my muscles tensed up and hands tired. Not only will you have to decide if the vehicle you have is up to the task of towing without maintenance problems in the near future but you must also decide if you have the stopping capability should some fool pull out in front of you or a couch fall off a pickup in the middle of the interstate. Both have happened to me and I sure am glad that I was driving a vehicle best suited to the job. I sure would hate to loose both my vehicle and a newly purchased treasure I have wanted for a long time.
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Old 10-03-2002, 05:46 PM   #37
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Question

I too own a Safari-- a 1971 one--4200 dry-- and I'm also in the process of looking for a newer used tow vehicle which will also serve as my all purpose car. My '94 K5 Blazer has a 94" wheel base which makes a difference when I back up Airabelle. I get confused with talk of GVW and GCWR and need a kindergarten lesson here. Concensus says go for a bigger engine, automatic transmission, bigger number rear axle ratio and smaller diameter tires. To me that means at least a 350 (old fashioned term I know) or a Vortex (what?). What I'm thinking is that axle ratio should be 3.73 not 3.55 which is on most vehicles I've seen. This means it burns more gas but will get me up and over the mountains. I'm lost when it comes to tire requirements. Some of the trucks I've seen sit high above the asphalt without lifters so they must have big diameter tires. I have test driven a Dodge v8 (or similar Vortex) and love the way it corners. I plan to drive a Chevy and a Ford before deciding. I know everyone has his/her favorite vehicle company but is there a general formula I can use, complete with number equations?
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:00 PM   #38
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Formula

Have your shiny pride weighed at a scale! Include water and gear if available when you have it weighed. If not estimate the weight for the H20 and gear. H20 weighs 8 pounds a gallon. Weigh your gear on a bath scale or put it in the trailer when weighed.

Find out manufactures spec for tow limit (and make sure the required equipment is on the rig you are considering).

Then make sure the weight of the trailer is 75 to 90% of the limit.

So if your bullet tips the scale at 5000 #'s. I would be looking for a vehicle that the manufacturer (key word is manufacturer!) says can tow 5555 to 6666 pounds of trailer. If it is not known get documentation showing what the equipped vehicle will tow. A dealer should be able to get the data and show you. DO NOT RELY ON HEARSAY.

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Old 10-03-2002, 10:52 PM   #39
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Jeanne,
Vortec is a term Chevy uses to describe the cylinder head design. It aids in combustion. I had a '77 K5 Blazer with 350 V8, turbo 350 auto transmission, 3.08 rear end ratio and 31 inch tall tires on 15" tall rims. I put an Edelbrock Performer Plus camshaft and manifold on it and utilized the stock Rochester Quadrajet 4 barrel carburetor. It was a good vehicle that got 15 mpg on the highway and was capable on the logging roads and steep hills I sometimes had to traverse in TN. If I were to hook up my '77 Excella 500, the Blazer would have been a dog. The rear end would not have let the engine perform to its full potential.

My next truck, a '92 Chevy Z71 K1500 4X4 had a 5.7 (350) with a 5 sp. manual, 3.42 rear end and slightly less than 31 inch tall tires (265-75-16) that had 16 inch tall rims. This vehicle would have been a better puller due to a higher numerical rear end and slightly shorter tires. It did fine on the straight aways but the engine was high in the RPM's and in 2nd gear on steep hills. I could feel the engine straining.

Ahhh, the present truck! An 8.1 (496) big block (can you say rat motor) has the grunt (torque) needed to pull all day long. This '01 Chevy 2500HD 4X4 extended cab has an Allison 5 speed automatic transmission, 3.73 rear end ratio and 30.5 inch tall tires (245-75-16) on 16 inch tall rims. The rear end ratio as you can see is higher numerically and better suited to towing. I should have picked the 4.10 rear and swapped to 32 inch tall tires for a better looking stance but then I had to worry about hitch heigth. This is the best towing rig of the 4X4 vehicles I have owned to date (no sense mentioning the '77 Jeep CJ7 I had for a couple of years---that was fun!).

Action made some good points that some of the other forum members have also brought up in previous posts. When you start looking for another vehicle, buy one that will hand all the situations you intend to encounter. If you know for a fact that you will never traverse the mountains of CO., no sense in buying a vehicle that will be able to leap tall buildings. If my trailer had been shorter and lighter then I might have chosen the 6 liter V8 engine in the '01 2500HD or the 2500LW. The story has it that 15% of those engines have the dreaded cold start knock that sounds like a diesel and I wasn't ready for that. I would think that engine would be perfect in either 2500 truck, Tahoe or Suburban for the 22-27' trailers as long as the rear end ratio was the 4.10. I have heard that the 6 liter is a good puller with the 4.10 while some have said the 3.73 rear in the 2500LW could use some help. I have a fix for that, 4.10 and a tire change to bring it to around 3.90.
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Old 10-04-2002, 09:26 AM   #40
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davidz71.....

Do you run a weight distribution hitch on your 2500HD? I just use a straight hitch on mine. Truck seems to set pretty level, but at highway speeds it seems a little "light" on the front end at times. The trailer came with a Reese weight distribution hitch, but it sets a little to high for my truck. I hate to spend $200 for another ball hitch with the arm sockets, but if it will help, it might be worth it. I usually stay in a 150 mile radius of home, but went on a 400 mile trip this past weekend.
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Old 10-04-2002, 10:27 AM   #41
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Unhappy

The only question I still have is about the tires. I don't understand how they fit into the towing equation. Also the rims. I need more info about this. Assuming I'll buy a half ton 4x4 with at least 350 horses (what's the equivalent in liters?) an axle ratio of 3.73 or thereabouts-- what size tires and rims should it have?
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Old 10-04-2002, 10:36 AM   #42
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Tires/rims

What the factory puts on the truck as original equipment is just fine. All you really need to know unless you're a dyed-in-the-wool off-roader.
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