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Old 04-01-2013, 09:26 AM   #1
rec
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1989 29' Excella
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towing a 29 foot Excella with a classic "muscle car"

I hate, and I mean with a white hot flaming passion, this big ass truck (Ford F-250) with which we tow our home around. I have been trying to imagine what other kind of vehicle might have the oomph to manage our full-timing lifestyle, and I am wondering if a classic "muscle car" (like a 60's or 70's era mustang or maybe dodge charger) could cut the mustard. Has anyone else tried this? What sorts of conversions (like transmission, cooling, etc.) might be necessary? Do you folks know a mechanic who does those kinds of conversions? If anyone can share any thoughts or specs, I would surely appreciate it!
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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Of course it can be done but you have to do your homework on the best way to outfit the automobile you have in mind. This would be a fun project if your a gearhead and like to work on things yourself.

You will need:
- radiator with extra capacity (3 core minimum or an aluminum cross flow)
- correct gear ratio
- transmission cooler
- towing mirrors
- the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension need to be up to spec for reliability
- a hitch will probably need to be custom fabricated. The uni-body Dodge cars of the day had a factory diagram of building a hitch for their automobiles.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:14 AM   #3
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There's a thread for that: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ars-44920.html

In my opinion:
  • Mustang-Way too small. Not much dog for that much tail.
  • Charger-Closer. Available with a big-block, great engines.
I'd still lean towards full-sized cars or station wagons for a tow car, especially for a larger Airstream. There were some very nice full-sized cars back then. Lots of fun.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:51 PM   #4
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I'm a bit curious... why do you hate towing with your F250 so much? I have an F350 and can't imagine doing it any other way. And I have towed numerous different trailers around...
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:22 PM   #5
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It's not the towing that I would hate so much, it's the everyday transportation when not towing. For this reason we bought a 2012 Dodge Ram Express 5.7 Hemi in the short regular cab. Black. It reminds me of the street rod days, easy to drive around town with it's short wheelbase, but does a heck of a good job towing the Airstream as well.

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Old 04-01-2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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I'm in the same boat. Never owned or wanted, needed a pick up.

Like the others have said going with vintage muscle is possible but can be a lot of work and possible headaches.

Fast forward to the idea of using a late model Hemi Charger or the like. Many of us here are towing with modern sport based vehicles and they work great with minimal issues. For your size of Steam you would want to consult with forum member "Andrew T", (Can Am) who specialize in the setting up of cars for towing Airstreams.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:48 PM   #7
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Look at some of the pictures of historic caravans and see what sort of vehicles pulled the trailers around back in the day. I agree a Mustang would be too small, but old station wagons are actually kind of cool.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:18 PM   #8
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1978 Olds Cutlass Convertible. Big honkin' V8, no smog gear.

Hitch, towing setup from Can-Am

Mileage? Well... Think about how you will be styling!

Mike
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:21 PM   #9
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I don't know how "classic" you'd consider them, but the early 90's Caprice and Roadmasters (Sedans and wagons) were, IMO, the last of the great rear drive, full framed TVs. LT1 motor was a great engine.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:24 AM   #10
rec
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1989 29' Excella
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I'm with you dkottum -- fine for when we're pulling, but a pain in the tush when we're not! I would be driving a smartcar or some teeny roadster, if I had my druthers. great feedback -- will definitely look into some of the other suggestions for a wagon or a convertible (although we travel with cats, and I could just see them blowing away accidentally!) Mostly, I think muscle cars are COOL -- and isn't that the reason we all chose Airstreams over those crappy looking boxy fiberglass RVs?
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Ruler View Post
Fast forward to the idea of using a late model Hemi Charger or the like. Many of us here are towing with modern sport based vehicles and they work great with minimal issues. For your size of Steam you would want to consult with forum member "Andrew T", (Can Am) who specialize in the setting up of cars for towing Airstreams.
Now that is a good idea for the original poster - the newer muscle cars are improved in every way except simplicity - I like the idea of being able to fix a vehicle myself if it breaks down - sort of like a security blanket.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
1978 Olds Cutlass Convertible. Big honkin' V8, no smog gear.

Hitch, towing setup from Can-Am

Mileage? Well... Think about how you will be styling!

Mike
If you can find a '78 Cutlass Convertible that wasn't produced by a redneck with a sawzall that would be a neat trick. The last convertible Cutlass GM made was in '72 before they changed the bodystyle to the mid-70s one. Of course, you specified "no smog gear" so you'd be looking for a modified something-or-other anyway.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:55 PM   #13
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There's always the option of a classic "muscle" pickup, too. My 1969 Chevy C10 is a great tow vehicle, but with a stick, 4 barrel carb, overbored 292, headers, dual exhaust and a few other hot rod mods, the coil-sprung truck drives like a muscle car. All depends on your cup of tea.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:25 PM   #14
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dkottum

I never had much trouble with my pickup or with using it about town. Yes, every now and again, I do venture into a parking lot that has spaces only large enough for a shoe box or that has the rows spaced so closely together that its almost impossible to turn into the space without making several corrections. Having a pickup is almost a 'must have' item when you live in the mountains. It also comes in handy when pulling something other than an Airstream!
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