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Old 03-21-2013, 05:30 PM   #1
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Truck suggestions to pull '68 Tradewind

Would appreciate any suggestions on what kind of truck to purchase to easily pull our 68 Tradewind. Ours isn't cutting it getting up big hills. Also, what is the actual weight of a loaded down Tradewind? Looking for used about $10-$12000.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:36 PM   #2
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I would think almost any 1/2 ton, V8, tow package equipped truck would easily tow a '68 24'. We towed a '75 23' to Alaska and back with a 5.3L GMC 1/2 ton and were totally please with the experience.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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I pull my 68 TW with a 2001 Toyota Tundra 4x4 with the 4.7L V-8. I have an Equalizer hitch. The truck does a good job. On some very long steep climbs in the Smokie Mountains a little more power would be nice, but I'm try to never get in a hurry towing.
I get around 17mpg average when not towing and around 11-12 when towing.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:38 PM   #4
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My TV is a '08 Tundra, Double Cab, 5.7L V8. Towing a 26' Argosy. It does a great job.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinter View Post
........what is the actual weight of a loaded down Tradewind? Looking for used about $10-$12000.
Airstream lists the dry weight at 3985 pounds. Easily add 500-600# for full tanks and the stuff we lug around. Rolling onto a CAT Scale is the only way to know for sure.
I pull my 300# heavier '72 TW with an older Expedition, and, while not having ventured into the Rockies, haven't had any problems out East.

Tom
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #6
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Pull my 68 overlander with a 2008 Suburban and am pleased. Equalizer hitch. Live in northern Wyoming and usually average 40s mph up the mountains. 75 no problem on interstate. Gas mileage, well that's a different matter!
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:56 AM   #7
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Need more info, what truck are you using now?
What do you consider not cutting it getting up big hills?

Someone on another forum was complaining his truck was worthless as a tow vehicle and the manufacturer grossly overstated it's capabilities (7000lb tow limit and 1300lb payload) since he couldn't hold 80 MPH going up a long steep grade while towing 6500lbs with 1000lbs of gear in the bed and 500lbs of people in the cab. Yes that is 1000lbs over the CVWR and at least 800lbs over the payload rating.

Now if that is the type of the performance you are looking for you need a 3/4 ton with a diesel.
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:52 PM   #8
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Well my husband is a big chicken to get on here so I will do my best to describe our truck and see what you think.
We have a 1995 GMC 1/2 Ton with a 3.73 Rear End. 6600lb. Heavy Duty Chassis. Pos Tract, Limited Slip, LO5 - 5.7 Litre Engine. (Hope I said it right). The body of it is in good shape.
When pulling on normal grade hills seems to do ok but last year noticed when going up what I think are steep, steep hills we barely made it. So...my question is there anything we can add to give us some more power? Or, someone suggested instead of buying someone else's problem for $10,000, just get a new engine for about $3000. Is our's just getting old and losing pressure/power, etc. or is there something we can do or just get newer? Would love to put that extra money back into the camper.
Thanks.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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Are you downshifting to keep the RPM's up in the 3500 - 4000 range on those steep grades? I can't really speak for your GMC but that is the "happy, torquey" range for my 5.6 liter Nissan V8.

It's loud and sometimes I swear I can actually see the gas gauge going down but for a few miles, it isn't a big deal and the temps (oil and tranny) never budge. My truck has 150000 miles on it now and still tows my 31' up to Yellowstone from Miami...

Mike
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:45 PM   #10
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Truck suggestions to pull 68 Tradewind

Greetings Splinter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinter View Post
Well my husband is a big chicken to get on here so I will do my best to describe our truck and see what you think.
We have a 1995 GMC 1/2 Ton with a 3.73 Rear End. 6600lb. Heavy Duty Chassis. Pos Tract, Limited Slip, LO5 - 5.7 Litre Engine. (Hope I said it right).
I purchased almost the same truck in 1995 only in Chevrolet clothes . . . 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Silverado with 5.7 V8, 3.73 Gears, and heavy duty towing package in addition to Z71. After a disasterous trip to the Rocky Mountains in 1997, I traded it on a 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban with the 7400 VORTEC and 4.10 gearing as well as the 10,000 pound trailer towing package. That 1995 Chevrolet had almost no power towing my 6,100 pound Overlander (fully loaded for six week vacation), and when I arrived in the Rocky Mountains it was 20 MPH in first gear and I didn't think that it was going to make the summit. Towing in the Rocky Mountains with that truck and a 6,100 pound Airstream was not a vacation it was my second most stressful Rocky Mountain vacation behind that with my 1982 Pontiac tow vehicle in 1982 when I was down to 8 MPH on the same grade.

When I ordered the Suburban in 1998, my dealer tried to convince me that the new 5700 VORTEC would likely prove satisfactory where my earlier 5.7 Liter V8 was not. I didn't want to take any chances so I went with the 7400 VORTEC with the highest rated trailer tow package, and have been well satsified ever since. The larger motor is only slightly less economical solo, but gets 1 or 2 MPG better fuel economy than the smaller motor when towing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinter View Post
The body of it is in good shape.
When pulling on normal grade hills seems to do ok but last year noticed when going up what I think are steep, steep hills we barely made it. So...my question is there anything we can add to give us some more power? Or, someone suggested instead of buying someone else's problem for $10,000, just get a new engine for about $3000. Is our's just getting old and losing pressure/power, etc. or is there something we can do or just get newer? Would love to put that extra money back into the camper.
Thanks.
There isn't one universal answer to your question, but you might consider:
  1. Is your pickup primarily used for towing or is it used for commuting to work as well?
  2. How often do you encounter grades that causes the dreaded feeling of inadequate power?
  3. Are you generally satisfied with all other aspects of the truck other than towing?
  4. How confident are you that you could find a more powerful tow vehicle within your budget and still have adequate fuel economy/performance for the other duties that the vehicle might be expected to perform?
There are some things that you can do to determine whether there is a mechanical issue or if you are just pushing the limits of your pickup:
  • Have a mechanic perform a compression check and cylinder leak down test to determine whether there are valve or ring problems.
  • Have a mechanic check the condition of the timing gear and chain. There may be an issue if the timing gear and chain have more than 100,000 to 150,000 miles. I had to have a new timing gear and chain set on my Suburban at 169,000 miles.
  • Have a mechanic perform a full tune-up including cleaning and adjusting the fuel injectors.
  • Have fuel pump tested for pressure and volume and consider replacing all fuel filters including the screen sock on the fuel pickup in the tank.
Should the mechanics check out to be in sound condition, you might consider upgrading to a more aggressive differential gearing . . . possibly a 4.10 or 4.30. Unless there is a problem with rings, valves, or timing chain, I doubt that just installing a remanufactured motor will resolve the issue. With the computer control systems in the more modern vehicles, I don't know whether upgrading to a larger motor would be a practical consideration as the 5.7 Liter was the largest V8 available in the C/K 1500 series in 1995 if my memory serves correctly.

Good luck with your investigation.

Kevin
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:29 PM   #11
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Well, overlander64 gave you some good advise.

The only thing I can add is that if you replace your truck and stick with a 1500 you should make sure you get the highest number/lowest gear you can since if your truck isn't down a lot in power from new a newer vehicle with similar gearing may not give you enough of an increase in power.
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:52 PM   #12
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Your truck should do better. I agree with the others about checking it out mechanically.
With your budget, it is better to fix up what you have rather than purchase someone's old truck. If your truck is terminal, an old Dodge Diesel or pre-2003 Ford Powerstroke would more than do the job and if you shop carefully you can find an ugly one in good condition for the amount of your budget.
The engines on these vehicles last in excess of 200,000 miles without losing power. Everything else wears out so you need to find one that has been well maintained.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:33 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone. We are having a mechanic look it over today and see where we stand. Leaning towards fixing it up. Will let you know the results and will probably have more questions LOL.
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