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Old 12-01-2008, 05:52 PM   #29
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If you decide on getting a wagon (though I'd try to keep the truck), probably the single best upgrade is to switch to the 3.73 gears in the rear end. It would only make about 1 mpg difference in fuel mileage, but a world of difference towing.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:02 PM   #30
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If you decide on getting a wagon (though I'd try to keep the truck), probably the single best upgrade is to switch to the 3.73 gears in the rear end. It would only make about 1 mpg difference in fuel mileage, but a world of difference towing.
Well, I will keep that in mind. I will try it out first to see how it feels to me.

Thanks for all the comments and observations! I have learned a lot, especially about the Award TT.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:46 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
All of my benzes are 123 body style and rated only for 3000# for a trailer with brakes. Surely you aren't suggesting my benzes are more appropriate to tow my 30' Award with than a Roadmaster.

I fail to see how a leveling hitch would require more tension on a vehicle with a long overhang. In this case the leveling bars are prying against the front wheels as the fulcrum. Side to side motion would be more with a long overhang though, I see that.

I towed for a couple of decades with a friction anti sway device and I do not have a very high opinion of them. On my 29' avion I had two and to stop the swaying I had them clamped down so hard they started peeling off the edges of the device.

I am not interested in buying a relatively new mini van to use to tow my trailer. I can see if you want a dual purpose vehicle and will not be taking long trips that a mini van would be a good choice, but front drive especially with towing is not my cup of tea.

I am looking for an inexpensive tow dedicated vehicle, and I see my choices as one of these behemouth wagons or an older diesel pickup or suburban. I think I see that I can buy a lot nicer condition wagon for my money than pickup.

I do appreciate all the suggestions. I think that there is a whole different philosophy in the great white north about vehicles in general. Smaller is better, unlike our gas guzzling over consuming Yank attitudes.

I will never forget seeing a canadian towing about a 40' fifth wheel with a half ton ford. The single tires on that little truck were looking very worried to me, but he assured me that it towed the humongous trailer like jewel.
1. On reflection, I think I'd be more comfortable with a W124, or maybe a 126. Suspension advances and lower profile tires would make a difference. Also, the 3 litre and larger engines would perform better.

2. I see your point, and I had go check out some old posts at the Open Roads Forum to come up with a response. The fulcrum is really the rear axle, and the WDH bars are removing tongue weight from the rear axle and moving it to the front. A longer rear overhang amplifies the tongue weight, and more tension is required to remove it. You want weight on the front tires to restore steering feel and stability, and to force the front tires to do their share in resisting trailer yaw (sway). Very small adjustments in tension can make significant differences in how a combination performs. Also, you generally want more tension with a car or SUV than with a pickup, since a pickup is designed to carry a significant load and will normally handle and ride better with some additional weight on the rear axle.

3. I would respectfully suggest that if you had the friction bars clamped down that tight, your hitch setup needed more work. I use a pair of friction bars as insurance, not to achieve stability. On winding roads at speeds of less than 50 mph or so, I actually back the friction bars off a turn so the car's steering will return normally. Winding roads are very enjoyable that way.

4. If you are prepared to spend the money for a dedicated tow vehicle, a 1500 series Suburban is probably your best bet. Set up will be very easy, with off the shelf parts, no custom fabrication required. Towing fuel economy will be similar to the Roadmaster.

5. There is more to an effective tow vehicle than size and weight.
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:44 AM   #32
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Thanks for your thoughts.

The 124 and 126 are both rated for 3000# towing with a braked trailer, IIRC. I have owned several of both models, and while they might work, I would not want to use them for towing a nearly 5000# trailer loaded.

While I agree with you that the long tail will make the vehicle more sway prone, I disagree that with leveling bars the rear wheels are the fulcrum. The rear of the car is the load being lifted, the front is the fulcrum. Draw your lever and place your load. The front gains weight by lifting and removing weight from the rear. (It will put more load on the trailer wheels too while you are at it).

I agree that a 1500 sub would be fine.

I have towed with saab, volvo wagon, 1500 subs, 2500 subs, one ton ford van, and my 2500 dodge....with straight load only hitches, and with leveling bars, friction anti sway devices and the reese cam style hitch with anti sway built in. I am looking to buy an inexpensive vehicle to tow my camper and my utility trailer with my autocross car on it. I am probably going to give the buick a whirl. I have found one with 92K miles on it for $2500 and if it doesn't work out as well as I think, I am not out much.

I don't think I will be in any hurry to sell the dodge though. It really is the ideal tow vehicle in so many ways. I am looking at eleminating the payment though at the present.

I really hate the fake wood on the side though!
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:58 AM   #33
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I see your point about the fulcrum. I think there's more than one pivot, though. Weight distribution is a fairly complex topic. Here's a link that can provide many hours of interesting reading, if you're so inclined:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Towing: Weight Distribution (WD) Hitch --- How it Works

I would have expected a somewhat higher tow rating for the 123 bodies. Even a new C-Class has a tow rating of 4000 lbs, and an E-Class 4200 to 4400. These are fairly heavy duty tow cars in Europe. Of course, these are EU ratings, not affected by US litigation or warranty concerns.

You mentioned you have an autocross car too. So you have the skills to make the Buick handle properly if you put some thought and money into it. I wish you success with your Buick "Woody"!
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:34 PM   #34
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I see your point about the fulcrum. I think there's more than one pivot, though. Weight distribution is a fairly complex topic. Here's a link that can provide many hours of interesting reading, if you're so inclined:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Towing: Weight Distribution (WD) Hitch --- How it Works

I would have expected a somewhat higher tow rating for the 123 bodies. Even a new C-Class has a tow rating of 4000 lbs, and an E-Class 4200 to 4400. These are fairly heavy duty tow cars in Europe. Of course, these are EU ratings, not affected by US litigation or warranty concerns.

You mentioned you have an autocross car too. So you have the skills to make the Buick handle properly if you put some thought and money into it. I wish you success with your Buick "Woody"!
Thanks. The fulcrum thing is complicated. When using a straight bumper hitch with no load leveling devices the rear wheels would be the fulcrum. When it comes to sway the rear wheels are the fulcrum too. I will take a gander at the above site.

Thanks again.

This evening I spotted a 94 chevy wagon at a neaby town on a small lot. It looks like it should be about the right price and it already has the spun aluminum moon wheel covers! Now all I need is a set of mooneyes for the rear window!

Oh and it doesn't have any fake wood!
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:41 PM   #35
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I have a 96 Roadmaster Estate Wagon and I love it. All you have to do to take care of the marshmallow suspension on some roadie models is take off the stock dynaride suspension and put Monroe severe service on and suddenly you have a pretty doggone good handling behemoth. One other thing that wasn't mentioned that lends the roadie to be a good tow vehicle is the low center of gravity.

Check out the Buick Roadmaster forum and you can get any info you need, there are a few people on there that tow with a roadie. One guy tows a 30' AS with his roadie sedan.

You could also look for a caprice wagon of same vintage, the roadie, caprice and I believe Deville are all the same. You can't beat that LT1 motor. 2500.00 hundred is a very good deal for one w/92,000 miles as long as all else is okay. Have fun.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:48 PM   #36
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thanks very much! I'll check out the roadmaster forum.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:48 AM   #37
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I have a 96 Roadmaster Estate Wagon and I love it. All you have to do to take care of the marshmallow suspension on some roadie models is take off the stock dynaride suspension and put Monroe severe service on and suddenly you have a pretty doggone good handling behemoth. One other thing that wasn't mentioned that lends the roadie to be a good tow vehicle is the low center of gravity.

Check out the Buick Roadmaster forum and you can get any info you need, there are a few people on there that tow with a roadie. One guy tows a 30' AS with his roadie sedan.

You could also look for a caprice wagon of same vintage, the roadie, caprice and I believe Deville are all the same. You can't beat that LT1 motor. 2500.00 hundred is a very good deal for one w/92,000 miles as long as all else is okay. Have fun.
Are you speaking of monroe springs or is that just a shock package?
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:10 PM   #38
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I too, tow our '64 overlander with a 96 roadmaster wagon. we just returned from our 10th trip with this set up and it performed as well as always.

I usually get right at 10mpg consistently... unless I knock it down to about 60mph and then have gotten as much as 11.5!

We are actually about to relist it for sale if anyone is interested only because we've gotten a full sized van.

I've never had a problem with handling or power or comfort.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:27 PM   #39
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The Monroe severe service are shocks. You can upgrade the springs by getting a set of the Caprice police package springs, just a stiffer spring the same size.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:46 AM   #40
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The Monroe severe service are shocks. You can upgrade the springs by getting a set of the Caprice police package springs, just a stiffer spring the same size.
Thanks very much!
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:20 PM   #41
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I too, tow our '64 overlander with a 96 roadmaster wagon. we just returned from our 10th trip with this set up and it performed as well as always.

I usually get right at 10mpg consistently... unless I knock it down to about 60mph and then have gotten as much as 11.5!

We are actually about to relist it for sale if anyone is interested only because we've gotten a full sized van.

I've never had a problem with handling or power or comfort.
I pmed you the other day about your Buick. I am interested in knowing more about it. Please pm me or email to twalgamuth@comcast.net.
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:00 PM   #42
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I had a 1984 Chev Caprice Classic V8 station wagon and found out it had the same brakes rear axle and even wheels as a half ton Chev pickup van or suburban. I believe the front suspension had a lot in common too. Such as ball joints, steering parts etc.

This was completely different from the Caprice sedan which was built much lighter.

If this is also the case on the newer models of Chev and Buick full size rear drive wagons they should be better tow vehicles than a Chev half ton pickup or Suburban. Since they share the same engine, trans, suspension, brakes, and wheels but are built lower to the ground.
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