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Old 07-31-2007, 09:29 PM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
Edmond , Oklahoma
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Posts: 79
Towing Question

Been away a while and need some quick answers as I return to getting the AS up and running. I need a tow vehicle and a friend has a 2005 Silverado 4wd with a 5.3L Vortec engine, 4 speed auto and a 3.42 rear axle he wants to sell me. I will be towing a 1979 31 foot Excella with it, what is your opinions? I think that the Excella has a GVW of 8100 pounds and the specs say that the truck is rated for 8400 pounds. I think it is marginal but don't know if I should make a deal on it? It is loaded and I know he'll make me a good deal, so...?


1979 31' Excella 500
Under Renovation,
As yet to be towed!
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:33 PM   #2
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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3/4 ton would be better.
4WD will burn more fuel and not be used very much.

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Old 07-31-2007, 09:36 PM   #3
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8100 lbs seems pretty high. Are you sure of that figure? What is the dry weight of your trailer? My 1972 Sovereign is about 5,300 lbs, I can't see yours weighing that much more than that.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:50 PM   #4
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Central , Ohio
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My understanding is you should not exceed 80% of the tow vehicles rating. Here's the weight chart for various A/S trailers - looks like your OK.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:59 PM   #5
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Not big enough. The Gas? engine is too small for that load. Especially in the hills.
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:02 PM   #6
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1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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I agree that the 8100 seems high. My 1979 Safari has a dry weight of 3900 and a gross weight of 5800, 1900 higher. Using that for your Sovereign would add 1900 to the dry weight of 4800 to get 6700 not 8100. In 1979 the tow vehicle of choice was a full size car with a large V8.

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Old 07-31-2007, 10:05 PM   #7
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Since you are asking, the truck may be marginal for a 31 footer. Some important truck facts weren't posted initially. The year and model 1500, 2500, 2500D, wheelbase, length of bed, trailering package with heavy duty cooling, etc. The rear axle ratio is not ideal either. Can you hitch it up and give it a test drive?

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Old 07-31-2007, 10:16 PM   #8
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Hi, as is, this truck is too marginal; You would have to, at very minimum, change both differentials to 3:73 or 4:10 ratios.

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Old 07-31-2007, 10:19 PM   #9
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1979 31' Excella 500
Edmond , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 79
I'll check on the trailer weight to be sure, if I remember correctly the empty weight was in the mid 4000 pound range and the max weight was 8100. I'll check just to be sure. Yes, I forgot to put it in the original post it is a 1500 crew cab short bed. I think the wheel base is right at 143 inches according to what I have found on the Internet.
1979 31' Excella 500
Under Renovation,
As yet to be towed!
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:45 PM   #10
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1994 34' Excella
1978 31' Sovereign
Mansfield , Georgia
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I tried towing my 1968 24' Tradewind with a Ford F-150, 5.0 gas engine, tow package, auto transmission, and found it was way under powered for even moderate interstate highway grades.

On Interstate steep grades my speed dropped to 50 mph floorboarded, and I averaged less than 11 mpg during the trip.

I bit the bullet and bought a 2006 Ford 3/4 ton, 6.0 turbo diesel, tow package. Geeze Louise, what a difference.
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:59 PM   #11
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In the long run, you are much more likely to be happy with a 3/4 ton something.

Remember that an insufficient tow vehicle is the primary cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:46 PM   #12
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2005 25' Safari
North Las Vegas , United States
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Moosetags is right.

Better to have more then you need, then need more then you have because you don't have enough!

And there is nothing more worse then having an engine that over heats as you go up a grade (hill).

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Old 08-01-2007, 12:27 AM   #13
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1977 31' Sovereign
ORD , Nebraska
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I must say I agree with the majority of posts here. The 5.3L with 3.42's should give fairly good gas mileage unloaded, but with your trailer not only will it return poor mileage but will do so at much slower than desired speeds. We pull our 31' with an '05 Duramax and love 65 mph getting 14+ mpg.

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Old 08-01-2007, 08:17 AM   #14
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1989 25' Excella
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We had two 5.3l's. One w/ 3:73 one w/4:10. I would not be happy towing a 31' with either of these.
The 3:42 only makes it worse.

As already suggested, you DO want a 3/4 ton for this job...


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