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Old 06-08-2012, 09:40 AM   #1
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1977 Argosy 28
here to day gone to Maui , Florida
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towing a 1977 Argosy 28'

I believe this weighs close to 6000lbs. We are looking at a late 80's gmc s15 with v8 engine. The truck is four by four. Comes with class 3 hitch, although not sure if it is a weight distributing. Even if it is not weight distributing it is good for 6000lbs, right? Says so here:
Trailer Hitches, Hitch Accessories, Hitch Wiring

The rear gear is 3.73. A higher gear would be better? We are still getting more info on the truck. What kind of horsepower would that engine need to effectively pull up and over the Rockies?

I think the wheel base is 117in.

Thanks in advance for any and all thoughts
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:11 PM   #2
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Age is a problem for the tow vehicle; reliability being key . . especially the electrical system. And, as the coolant system is the most neglected on any American vehicle, it may also be of real concern.

4WD and that short wheelbase can be made to work if properly set up (see thread with the term "Cat Scale" in the title; read), but I think that most would pass on this vehicle due to age alone . . the other shortcomings are more a matter of owner savvy and skill (although it should be strongly noted that lifted 4WD with offroad tires is perhaps the worst tow vehicle imaginable). Gearing to optimize power in the correct rpm range is crucial for optimal performance.

A search of this site will reveal the factory published weight figures for the trailer (note tonque weight) but these are optimistic in that options, standard supplies, etc are not included. A more realistic number for the trailer weight can be found by asking in the subforum which features that age/line of trailer.

As a small TV with a not-too-big trailer can be helped with a used Hensley Arrow weight-distributing hitch (as to best bang for buck) where money is a concern. Same for a top brake controller and LT tires on the trailer.

Expect that the age of trailer may require new trailer axles. This is where I would start; here, and with LED running/stop lights and making new all the other "road" items (7-way, safety chains, etc) as the particular tow vehicle may change when the trailer is a given for some years to come.

Take the trailer to a public weight scale and get an "empty" weight (full fresh water tank, full propane tanks and only permanent trailer supplies aboard) of the axle and tongue. These numbers will help in the advice others can give about a particular combination.

Your expected use (distances, terrain, climate and nights aboard expected) will also fill out a picture that allows more and better advice based on experience. It is a matter of the more you read, the better will become your questions . . . simplicity in answers is not so easy to achieve as the range and breadth of things is much more than first appears.

Welcome!

.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:10 PM   #3
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1968 24' Tradewind
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Rednax makes excellent points. Even a "low" milage 80's model truck can have a lot of issues that are all age related more than milage related. Radiator, tranny, AC, heater core, starter, all can cause issues (I have a 99 Tahoe and have replace all of these I and take care of my vehicles). If the truck you are looking at is a short wheelbase model, I would pass on it and find older long bed or Suburban.
Short trips to local campgrounds vs long trips over the Rockies will place very different demands on a TV and a different set of potential problems. A WD hitch is a must. I like the Equalizer but Reese makes an excellent product.
When you go to the truck scale (CAT scales are at most truck stops) go inside first and tell the attendant what you are doing, they will be very helpful. When you pull on to the scale leave the axles on one pad and the truck and tongue on another. Get a total weight of the whole package. Lower the jack and put the weight of the tongue on the front pad and pull the truck off of it. Knowing what the trailer weighs and what the tongue weight is allows you to make decisions based on facts. I would recommend keeping the total trailer weight under 80% of the max capacity shown in the owners manual.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:22 PM   #4
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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towing a 1977 Argosy 28

Greetings GoGoddess!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Argosy travel trailers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGoddess View Post
I believe this weighs close to 6000lbs. We are looking at a late 80's gmc s15 with v8 engine.
The truck that you are considering must be heavily modified from stock. During this time frame, it is my understanding that the largest motor available was a 4.3 Liter V6. I don't believe that the factory produced any S10/S15 trucks with a V8. I had a similar setup with a 1994 S-10 Blazer that had the 4.3 Liter V6 . . . and I would be reluctant to tow even my light-weight Minuet 6.0 Metre with that vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGoddess View Post
The truck is four by four. Comes with class 3 hitch, although not sure if it is a weight distributing. Even if it is not weight distributing it is good for 6000lbs, right? Says so here:
Trailer Hitches, Hitch Accessories, Hitch Wiring
Something to keep in mind is that the hitch may have a higher tow rating than the vehicle to which it is attached. The lower of the two numbers should dictate towing decisions. I suspect that if you check the owners' manual for the truck you will find that it is rated for a maximum trailer weight of 5,000 pounds (if that much).

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGoddess View Post
The rear gear is 3.73. A higher gear would be better? We are still getting more info on the truck. What kind of horsepower would that engine need to effectively pull up and over the Rockies?
The Argosy 28 is a large, comparatively heavy trailer that would constitute a significant overload for an S15 pickup of any variety. As with the trailer hitch, the differential gearing will not make a truck suitable for a 5,000 pound trailer successfully tow a 6,500 to 7,000 pound trailer. I suspect that your coach will scale out somewhere between 6,500 and 7,000 pounds . . . the published numbers in Argosy literature are very optimistic when it comes to empty/dry weights as they reflect a coach without options, empty water tank, empty waste tanks, empty propane tanks, and absolutely no options or accessories. My '64 Overlander is two feet shorter than your Argosy 28, and its empty/dry weight is nearly 500 pounds above the published figures as it is equipped with nearly every option and accessory offered that year . . . when it is ready to travel, the scale weight is between 6,000 and 6,100 pounds.


With your intentions of traveling in the Rocky Mountains, I am confident that you would be unhappy with the performance of the S15 towing something as large as the Argosy 28. The brakes on my '94 S10 Blazer overheated and/or experienced fading without much encouragement solo, I would hate to think what the situation might be like towing a large trailer in the Rocky Mountains. I think that you would be much happier and safer with a full-size pickup based tow vehicle with a large block V8 and a trailer tow rating of at least 8,000 pounds.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:50 PM   #5
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1977 Argosy 28
here to day gone to Maui , Florida
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Thanks for your time and responses! I just started into reading the sticky. I will be looking for a TV with 8000lb capacity.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:17 PM   #6
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1977 Argosy 28
here to day gone to Maui , Florida
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We got a 96 F250 diesel with the 7.3. The original owner had the truck refitted by a company called western hauler, great seats and seems to be well taken care of!
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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towing a 1977 Argosy 28

Greetings GoGoddess!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGoddess View Post
We got a 96 F250 diesel with the 7.3. The original owner had the truck refitted by a company called western hauler, great seats and seems to be well taken care of!
Congratulations on your find! Your Western Hauler shouldn't have any problems towing your Argosy or any Airstream product that you might choose to haul in the future. The strong tow vehicle should make your towing experience a pleasure!

Enjoy your rig!

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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