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Old 04-19-2004, 08:27 AM   #1
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Question Towing Experience

Hello All!

We are looking to upgrade to a 2003 Airstream 28 Classic. I currently have a Ford E150 conversion van with a towing capacity of 6900 lbs. The van has a 5.4L with 3.55 gears, trans cooler, and an Airlift system in the rear. We are currently towing a lighter trailer. The dealer in my area is telling me that there will not be an issue regarding weight, I am not so sure. Does anyone have experience towing with this type of configuration? Based on the specifications this trailer will be over the capacity of our Van. Two dealers are saying that due to Airstreams being easier to tow, that I will be fine.

Thanks in advance for your help!!

Al
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Old 04-19-2004, 08:51 AM   #2
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Um..."there will not be an issue regarding weight?".

I don't think so.

according to Airstream, the 28' classic's empty weight is 6700lbs. So if its just you in the van, you don't weigh more than 150lbs, and you keep the trailer AND van empty at all times, then I guess yeah, "there won't be an issue w/ weight".
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Old 04-19-2004, 12:39 PM   #3
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With a conversion package can come weight. Apart from your towing capacity you need to keep an eye on your Gross weight and axel weights. The hitch weight on that trailer is 800lbs empty can will take 400lbs water. That cann't leave much for people, gas, dogs, and pepsi in the van. You need a bigger vehicle or older trailer. The vintage trailers run half the weight.
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Old 04-19-2004, 01:29 PM   #4
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Hi Al, Your van sounds exactly like ours. We pull a little lightweight vintage trailer with it. We have been considering getting a newer trailer, and I agree, the 28 is beyond it's ability to tow. I'd stick with a smaller trailer, a vintage trailer, or look at upgrading the van to something a little more stout. I think if I was getting a trailer that heavy I'd probably upgrade to a diesel tow vehicle as well. Good luck!
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Old 04-19-2004, 04:56 PM   #5
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Al:
I tow a 28' Excella with a Dodge 2500, a 318 engine and 3.55 axle. I bought this van specifically to tow the Airstream in 1997 and I now have 44,000 miles of towing on it. The operators manual states this vehicle has a trailer towing capacity of 7800 lbs. When towing , I lock out the overdrive and tow in 3rd gear. Never had a problem. For some reason Chevy and Ford has rated their vans down on towing capacity with the 350 +/- engines compared to Chrysler. I checked this factor before I bought my van. However, I am looking at the Chevy van with the 6 liter engine for when I trade. Chevy has it rated to tow about 10,000 lbs. which is more like it. Go for the 3/4 or the 1 ton version in a van to tow with. Good luck. Jeff
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Old 04-19-2004, 05:27 PM   #6
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That's funny; my dodge has a 318 and a 3.55 rear axle, is only a "half-ton", and is rated to tow 7200lbs. but its a 4x4, so has those extra parts. anyway, I find it to be a tad pokey on the hills towing a trailer that is much lighter than the one we're talkin' about in this thread. (mine is 5500gvw). I wouldn't want to go much heavier.

so what's the difference w/ the 3/4 ton? could have an entirely different tranny, I suppose. but still, the "rated" difference isn't much.
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Old 04-19-2004, 07:04 PM   #7
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Towing with conversion van.....

App, Welcome as a new member to The Forum. IMHO, the previous comments to your question were absolutely correct! Several years ago, I towed a 4600' Globetrotter with a similar van (E-150, Windsor V-8, dual exhaust, special tuning) and found even that was marginal on the mountains in the East and the West. Aerodynamics play no part when you are going up and down hills! Weight is the problem. Either be prepared to go very slowly or think 3/4 ton Truck or SUV. You will be glad you did.

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Old 04-19-2004, 07:49 PM   #8
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Al,
The van would be beyond it's limits. Conversion vans already lug around 1000lbs of trim and plush, so once you load fuel, water and food, you're lookng at an overload situation. Try and find the Gross Combinet Vehicle Weight Rating ( GVCWR) for the van AND trailer, and see where you're at. You might want to run the van over a scale, to find out it's exact weight.
You would be better off to find a van or truck with the proper gears and weight rating.
Or, a lighter trailer.
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Old 04-19-2004, 10:14 PM   #9
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I have actually moved our 1959 with almost EXACTLY the same spec van. It was a 98 with 92k on the clock and VERY well maintained with a recent tune up. I think it had the 5.0 not the 5.4. It was a 3.55 gear. It was miserable with 4 adults in the van and this was not a high top. The coach was just under 4k. We had a couple grades to pull and the van was down to 40mph and pinging badly trying to make it.
Nope it is not a good choice. Under powered and wrong gear.
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Old 04-19-2004, 10:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjlingl
Al:
IHowever, I am looking at the Chevy van with the 6 liter engine for when I trade. Chevy has it rated to tow about 10,000 lbs. which is more like it. Go for the 3/4 or the 1 ton version in a van to tow with. Good luck. Jeff
Jeff, just a note on the GM vans. Unless you have a weight issue, the 1 ton GM van has less towing capacity than the 3/4 ton version. Heavier frame pulls the towing capacity down.

I'm currently using a 3/4 ton GMC with the 6 liter engine 4.10 axle. Max towing capacity is 9,900 lbs on this model.

Jack
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