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Old 10-20-2005, 11:01 AM   #1
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Question Towing a 30' - What TV

We are looking at buying a used Airstream, probably 30'-32' and I wanted to get some thoughts on a tow vehicle.

Right now we have an 05' Impala V6 LS w/frame hitch, 99' Lumina car V6 w/frame hitch, witch is our main tow vehicle for our enclosed trailer, 88' F250 Reg Cab I6/C6 At.

We are planning on buying a used 3/4 ton conversion van as well. I want to stay away from any type of Diesel truck.
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Old 10-20-2005, 11:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlebear89
We are looking at buying a used Airstream, probably 30'-32' and I wanted to get some thoughts on a tow vehicle.

Right now we have an 05' Impala V6 LS w/frame hitch, 99' Lumina car V6 w/frame hitch, witch is our main tow vehicle for our enclosed trailer, 88' F250 Reg Cab I6/C6 At.

We are planning on buying a used 3/4 ton conversion van as well. I want to stay away from any type of Diesel truck.
Littlebear,

Hi and Welcome to the Forums

A lot will depend on what vintage you get. The 31' trailers run from around 5500# to around 9200# depending on the year and the loading. Neither of your cars is going to be up to the task. The truck might...those I-6 were a good strong motor. It will also depend on where you are towing...midwest should be okay. Rocky Mountains or High Sierras...I seriously doubt it. As far as the conversion van is concerned...you will need to weigh it to get a true idea of the weight of the van...it will affect the overall towing capacity.

Aaron
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:00 PM   #3
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What's wrong with a diesel???? Don't pick on the diesel!!!! The diesel is goooooooooood. The diesel is your frieeeeenndd.


Frederic
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlebear89
We are looking at buying a used Airstream, probably 30'-32' .... 88' F250 Reg Cab I6/C6 At...planning on buying a used 3/4 ton conversion van as well....
Littlebear89:

Much has been discussed and cussed in previous threads concerning Tow Vehicle (TV's)...you may want to a Forum search (upper line pulldown) with various word combinations.

As for as your present F250....remember that it is MUCH more important to control, handle, and stop a trailer rather than to pull it fast. The control and stop factors are SO MUCH more important than the "fast" factor, yet some people (when discussing the "new" - and questionable - horsepower ratings of engines) have a hard time understanding this concept.

Now...without the benefit of knowing exactly just what tow rating Ford gave your F-250 - and this is the number you should BELIEVE - regardless of ANY advice you may receive here in the Forums - or elsewhere - I would THINK ...(that and a 50 cents will get you a soft drink at Wally-World)...that your 3/4 ton Ford will do OK - but I KNOW it will not be fast.

Slower is safer - and usually much more enjoyable. Most people recommend about an 80% "safety factor" for the tow rating of the puller.

As far as the 3/4 ton van goes...there is a lot of "cross-over" on the ratings....as an example, I have both a '97 Ford E-150 and a '95 Dodge B-250...(both conversion vans)...weight, dimensions, GVWR, axel ratings, and towing capacity are almost identical for the two vehicles...go figure.

I plan to tow my '78 Sovereign of the Road with either vehicle...weight distribution and sway control are both required - as is a proper brake controller and breakaway switch.

I do not know how any GM product would figure into the 1/2, 3/4, 1 ton debate. I do remember looking at a new "standard" GM conversion van in about 2000, and was impressed at the robustness of the undercarriage.

Believe in the Manufacturers Rating of the individual Tow Vehicle you are looking at...there are manifold reasons each individual unit is rated as it is by the design and test engineers.

Luck...let us know how it goes down....
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:23 PM   #5
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What's wrong with a diesel???? Don't pick on the diesel!!!! The diesel is goooooooooood. The diesel is your frieeeeenndd.
Frederic
Frederic:

With the goulish pontification of the oil-burners - could it be that you own a "quickie" oil change shop?

One of the main reasons I got rid of the noisy 1 ton dually pickup/conversion van (see avatar) early this year was the $60 per on the oil change.

Another thing I can't figure - the current price differential of gasoline/diesel at the pumps - it just doesn't make any sense.

Having said that - the Freightliner that Don-in-East-Texas pulls his 30'er with is looking better and better all of the time.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlebear89
We are looking at buying a used Airstream....
You might want to check out this thread...

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=16375

The get-together isn't too far from you.

There will be several trailers in your size range, and I am reasonably certain that most everyone will be glad to show you the good, the bad, and the ugly of their pride and joys.

Most importantly, you may learn what too look for (and watch out for) when you start inspecting trailers for purchase. Old Airstream purchase inspections are nothing like automobile inspections...you need to disassemble, poke, prod, and push to insure no hidden rust or floor problems are present.
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:01 PM   #7
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I still reccommend a diesel. Sure you could get an F-150 that'll tow up to 9800, but you're going to get 8mpg towing and probably only about 12 not towing. With a diesel, you could see as much as 12mpg or more towing and 18mpg + not towing. If you are going to let a few dimes a gallon cut your fuel economy in half, that's just crazy.

Conversion vans are generally lousy tow vehicles as well. They've got so much "stuff" in them that their tow rating has been reduced to that of a mid-sized SUV. Good tow vehicles if you don't want a truck are the Excursion or the 3/4 ton Suburban. If you really must have a gas motor, get the biggest one you can.

I 1,000% agree with 87MH about the fast factor being fractionally important compared to proper suspension and braking requirements being met, but a very slow rig on the interstate can sometimes be just as dangerous. Not your fault, just all the other idiots out there moving 100Mph.

Just my $.02
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Old 10-23-2005, 08:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH
Frederic:

With the goulish pontification of the oil-burners - could it be that you own a "quickie" oil change shop?

One of the main reasons I got rid of the noisy 1 ton dually pickup/conversion van (see avatar) early this year was the $60 per on the oil change.

Another thing I can't figure - the current price differential of gasoline/diesel at the pumps - it just doesn't make any sense.

Me, own a "quickie" oil change shop? Nah!!! LOL, I'm just a simple Army guy, working my way through this thing we call life. I'll agree that the price of an oil change sucks....I pay $52 at the Dodge dealership, but the horsepower and torque that my CTD produces blows my old 97 Ram 2500HD gasser out of the water. The gas mileage isn't so bad either....at 65MPH, with the cruise control on, I'm getting about 22MPG, and the engine is nowhere near broken in yet...I only have 8600 miles on it. As for fuel prices, well I paid $2.75/gal yesterday, which isn't too far off the gas prices, so I'm not too upset about that.

Frederic
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Old 10-23-2005, 10:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlebear89
We are looking at buying a used Airstream, probably 30'-32' and I wanted to get some thoughts on a tow vehicle.

Right now we have an 05' Impala V6 LS w/frame hitch, 99' Lumina car V6 w/frame hitch, witch is our main tow vehicle for our enclosed trailer, 88' F250 Reg Cab I6/C6 At.

We are planning on buying a used 3/4 ton conversion van as well. I want to stay away from any type of Diesel truck.
NONE of your current vehicles is up to the task!

To tow a 30' Airstream you need three things, weight, wheelbase, and horsepower. My F250 weighs 6800 lbs empty, has a 156" wheelbase, and has a 325 HP/570 LB FT torque diesel. My truck has proven to be an outstanding tow vehicle.

If you're dead set against a diesel then I suggest you buy the largest gas engine you can find with a minimum of 3.73 gears, 4.10 would be better.
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Old 10-23-2005, 11:33 AM   #10
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I think Aaron and Steve are right on the mark here. I also saw the cost of diesel around here now up to $3.69/gallon. Though it's expensive now, I can't see it staying that route if that is one of your reasons for shying away from a diesel. I will say that if you have a 9000lb+ coach, a diesel is really a heck of a tow vehicle. Though a big block gasser will do, that higher weight really starts to fall into the diesel sandbox. Norbert here has a Ford diesel van and he loves it. Of course if you're talking a 6 or 7k coach, a good 6.0L and/or 3/4 ton with larger engines, trans, brakes, etc are plenty good..... but as Aaron said to give you a real sense, it's important to know what year yer looking for since the weights can vary.
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Old 10-23-2005, 12:42 PM   #11
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Steve is dead on with his assessment.....just change the Ford to a Dodge... 350HP/610lbft

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Old 10-23-2005, 05:37 PM   #12
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I pulled my old 1969 31' International all over the west for thirteen years with a Chevy 6.2Liter diesel Heavy Half Ton. I wouldn't do it again for several reasons, but mainly the lack of adequate power.

I used a 1994, 5.7L (pre-Vortec) 1500 Silverado pickup for the first two years I pulled my Limited (scale weight, 8400#). It did OK, although it had to work real hard to do it. I had 3.73 gears and before I started to use it I had an auxiliary transmission cooler installed. If you have the 3.73 gears you ought to be OK with the Vortec engine. Regardless of the make of vehicle, if it is an automatic transmission have an auxiliary transmission oil cooler installed before you pull.

In January, 2001 I replaced the Chevy with a 1996 Dodge diesel with a 4:10 differential, five-speed manual. I now have 127,000 miles on it and I'm extremely happy with this old truck.

I returned home yesterday from a trip to Nebraska and Colorado. Total miles – 3964; 249.6 total gallons of fuel used (15.88 mpg over-all); $754.04 total fuel cost ($.19 per mile fuel cost); $3.02 average per gallon fuel price.

Eliminating all solo and mixed driving I had 1926 exclusive towing miles; 124.5 gallons used; 15.47 average mpg.

I tried to stay off the interstates as much as possible and kept my RPMs at 2100 most of the time.

There’s been a fair amount of talk here about whether or not the present fuel costs will curtail RV-ing but I saw a lot of RVs on the road. I didn’t enjoy paying out as much as $3.31 per gallon for fuel but the purpose of the trip was some very important family business including our 50th wedding anniversary reception in our old home town, Grand Island, Nebraska.

In my opinion you'll be happier with your Airstream if you don't try to get by with something under-powered and too small.
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Old 12-02-2005, 10:54 PM   #13
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Bigger is better...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH
Frederic:

One of the main reasons I got rid of the noisy 1 ton dually pickup/conversion van (see avatar) early this year was the $60 per on the oil change.

Another thing I can't figure - the current price differential of gasoline/diesel at the pumps - it just doesn't make any sense.
This discussion reminds me of something someone told when when I used to own a 35 foot powerboat. I asked this simple question: 'How much fuel do those twin 454 engines burn?'

To this, the man said, 'If you have to ask, you can't afford it.' I believe in being frugal and all that, but when it comes to towing, safety is the driving factor versus fuel and oil prices. We had an F-150 supercrew that had the 5.4 v-8 in it. Sure the truck would pull the trailer, but it really had a problem stopping it, which IMHO is more important.

Now we're pulling with an F-350 equipped with a diesel.

Ciao

Mitch
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