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Old 11-05-2005, 08:13 AM   #1
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2005 25' Safari
summerfield , Florida
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tow vehicles....

we are seriously looking to buy a 25 ft safari, but are not sure if we could safely tow it with our 96 chevy tahoe. Read where a guy had a 22 ft international, towed it with a 95 hi-top astro van. Would like to know what everyone has for tow vehicles for their 23 - 25 ft safari's. thanks for the feedback....
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Old 11-05-2005, 08:32 AM   #2
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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The Tahoe would move the 25' Safari, but there are a few issues I'd bring up. First the wheelbase of the Tahoe is fairly short for a 25' coach. Second, the 5.7L you most likely have is a good engine as is the trans (4L60e?). The problem is that the vehicle will slow significantly on the hills and the shorter whellbase could be an issue. How do I know?

I have a 25' Safari SS that I towed with a '96 Impala SS clone that I modified heavily (upgraded lower control arms, springs, shocks, 3.73 gears, programming, cold air intake, 3.5" Driveshaft, secondary trans cooler, deep pan trans, deep rear axle cover, etc). It had the exact same 5.7L and the 4L60e trans. The car had about a 118" wheel base. It basically in terms of power and body on frame construction is similar to that of 1/2 ton truck, which is what the Tahoe is really. On the flat road, the car had gobs of power. Heat was never an issue for any item in the driveline....period. When I got into hills, the car would slow considerably (say from 62mph to 50mph or slower depending on the hill on the highway). With the programming I was able to engage the torque converter sooner than later, and thus safely tow in overdrive. The real big issue for me was our final trip around Lake Michigan almost two years ago. There were several times when wind was an issue. Though the car only weighed about a thousand pounds less than the fully loaded Safari, the fact that the wheelbase was only 118" really enhanced the effect of the 1000 pound difference between the two machines in moderate to high winds. It was an accident waiting to happen. I actually thought 3x on the trip I was going to loose it. Thankfully I didn't. I got home and bought a Suburban, 3/4 ton with the 6.0L engine. Though the wheelbase is only a foot longer than the SS, in some really windy tows this past year, the Burb was a champ. Add to the fact the the burb weighs more than the SS, only added to the tow comfort. The 6.0L does loose a bit of speed on hills and I would have preferred a diesel Suburban, but the reality is that there is no diesel burb, and I wasn't ready to take on a 500+ cubic inch 8.1L engine. The 6.0L is a good compromise and has done a night and day job.

So the Reader's Digest version of all this is that your Tahoe will tow the Safari. My suggestion would be if you are serious about 25' or larger, consider another tow vehicle. Less than 25', I think you'll be happier towing, particularly in the wind. 22' or 23' would be the largest I'd consider based on my exp. I did have a 2003 19' Bambi before trading up to the 2004 25' Safari. The SS towed the 19' Bambi flawlessly, even in the wind......
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Old 11-05-2005, 08:53 AM   #3
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tow vehicles....

Greetings stonecrest2!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stonecrest2
we are seriously looking to buy a 25 ft safari, but are not sure if we could safely tow it with our 96 chevy tahoe. Read where a guy had a 22 ft international, towed it with a 95 hi-top astro van. Would like to know what everyone has for tow vehicles for their 23 - 25 ft safari's. thanks for the feedback....
I agree with Silvertwinkie, the 5.7 Liter V8 with its likely 3.73 differential gearing would be a "marginal" tow combination for a coach the weight and size you are considering (assuming your Tahoe has the heaviest rated trailer towing package available in 1996). My '64 Overlander is about 1' 8" longer than the Safari 25, but weighs approximately the same in ready-to-tow mode, and it was a marginal towing experience with my '95 K1500 Z-71 Club Cab Chevrolet pickup (6,500 pound trailer towing package) -- it was not capable of satisfactory performance in the Rocky Mountains -- the combination was creeping at less than 20 MPH when crossing through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 in Colorado -- it was after that trip that I ordered my current 1999 K2500 Suburban with the 7400 VORTEC. The pickup was marginally acceptable on the flats -- it was obvious that it was near its maximum and its fuel economy was actually 2 to 4 MPG less than the replacement Suburban with the larger engine.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-05-2005, 08:57 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forums Stonecrest2!

The famous Caprice! Silvertwinkie and I have a lot to say about that mighty tow vehicle, the Nissan Titan -- I will be trading up because the new 25s have an empty weight of 5300# and tongue weight with weight distribution of 800# or more! The Titan did do better with my Argosy (empty weight 3900#), but still had very little reserve. My Titan is nothing but a half-ton truck and my max capacity on the Titan is 1269# (lower than others because my truck's trim level already includes the hitch receiver installed -- around 200# just for that alone!). Within this load I must include passengers, my two dogs and the tongue weight. I can't put any topper, bikes, canoe or whatever in the truck, stay within the recommended numbers, and defend myself asking my insurance company to still cover me after any mishap.

Look at another post of this morning, http://www.airforums.com/forum...aru-19018.html, for a deeper idea of how to look at all of this.

Any half ton truck would be at its max or worse with a 2006 25'11" trailer. There is no 15% capacity margin of safety as is recommended. GM does have a 1500HD truck that might do better. I'm honestly moving up to a 3/4-tonner. Suburbans and full-sized vans are available in the proper capacity range.
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Old 11-05-2005, 09:27 AM   #5
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Does anyone have an opinion about a 1999 Ford Expedition with an 5.4L Triton V-8 towing my 1974 tradewind? I am so stuck trying to make a purchase and in the meantime my A/S sits in the driveway! I have considered a Tahoe, Yukon, or Suburban. I need the SUV and want leather. And all of this with the best gas mileage possible
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
Does anyone have an opinion about a 1999 Ford Expedition with an 5.4L Triton V-8 towing my 1974 tradewind? I am so stuck trying to make a purchase and in the meantime my A/S sits in the driveway! I have considered a Tahoe, Yukon, or Suburban. I need the SUV and want leather. And all of this with the best gas mileage possible
As long as your Expedition has the factory tow package and 3.73 gears it would be more than enough for your 74 Tradewind. If it has the tow package but 3.55 gears it will work but struggle at times. Swapping 3.55s out for 4.10 gears would work wonders.

Regardless of what you decide remember it's far cheaper to drive an older vehicle than it is to trade up for something newer. $20,000 will buy a LOT of fuel, even at $3.00 a gallon! NOTHING with a gas engine will get much better than 15 MPG driven solo if it has enough power to tow your trailer. My 6.0 Powerstroke diesel powered F250 crewcab manages 16.5-17 MPG while commuting and 11.5-14 MPG while towing my 30' Excella.
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Old 11-05-2005, 11:58 AM   #7
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Stonecrest,

I tow a 2003 Safari 25SS with an 02 Ford Explorer. It is not an ideal setup, but it works pretty good. Your 96 Tahoe compared to my 02 Explorer:

96 Tahoe
Wheelbase: 117.5 in
Engine: 5.7L 250 hp
Curb Weight: 5412 lbs
Max Trailer Weight: 6500

02 Explorer
Wheelbase: 113.8 in
Engine: 4.6L 239 hp
Curb Weight: 4374 lbs
Max Trailer Weight: 7,000

The trailer GVWR is 6300, close to both the Tahoe and Explorer max rating. Your Tahoe has a few more inches of wheelbase (good), a few more horsepower (good, but offset by additional weight). I would try it... watch the loading of the trailer.

Also, the earlier comments about needing a 3/4 ton truck to tow a 25' are "conservative". For example, the Ford 1/2 ton is rated to tow up to 9,900 lbs.
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Old 11-05-2005, 12:06 PM   #8
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I tow my 24' tradewind with a '96 F150 (5.0 V8, 8.8 gear ratio). I can tow ok in the mid west but I think it would be a nightmare at high altitude. I want a 250 powerstroke for sure
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Old 11-05-2005, 03:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
from dmac: The earlier comments about needing a 3/4 ton truck to tow a 25' are "conservative". For example, the Ford 1/2 ton is rated to tow up to 9,900 lbs.
Tow capacity is an overblown public relations gimmick. My Titan hasw 'tow capacity' of 9600# so why am I bothering? You can tow 9000+ pounds if Eddie Arcaro is driving and there is only one gallon of fuel and nothing else aboard the TV. One had better pay the most attention to not overloading the TV's capacity (Empty weight + capacity = GVWR). Capacity needs to be respected whether the bed is full of oak or pulling a trailer.

Thus tongue weight becomes a larger issue relating to tow vehicle suitability and safety. Add in a 15% safety margin and new 25-footers overload just about every 1/2-tonner on the road. I'm serious -- they overload 'em even without the 15% safety margin! The same TV might be better suited to the much lighter weights of the same trailer twenty-five years ago. I am still happily using my Titan but under very well considered loading situations ... and they don't give me much freedom for bringing along toys or ranging very far from home. Proper tire pressures, well calibrated brake controllers, etc -- it never ends but one had better include each safety factor before not regretting the unforseen.

Strong statements excepted, certain specific vehicles may work okay if you do the math. (1500HD and others for instance) I only suggest we not play the same addition games we might play with the IRS ... :O
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:43 PM   #10
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An example...

The F150 Crew Cab with 5.4L engine and 3.73 gears...

- GCVWR is 15,000 lbs
- GVWR is 7,200 lbs
- With the truck at gross, that leaves 7,800 lbs for a trailer (also within the 9200 lb max towing limit)

- GVWR of a Safari 25 is 6,300 lbs
- 7800 lbs is 23% higher than this (1500/6300)

The 5.4 has 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, which should be enough go power. Yeah, more is better...

I keep bringing this up because here diesel fuel costs $1.00/gallon more than regular gas. This more than offsets the mileage improvement of a diesel. So now the time to recover the extra investment in a diesel engine increases to forever. You really gotta want one!

Also, Andy has often talked about 3/4 ton+ trucks pounding the heck out of Airstreams due to the stiff suspendion.

There must be a reasonable compromise.
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