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Old 03-09-2006, 03:07 PM   #1
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My 1972 Tradewind is 4300# dry and aproximately 4800# loaded. At the moment, I'll just be parking it on my property to live in while I'm building my house. I'd like to start looking for a tow vehicle, but funds are pretty low right now so I'll definitely be looking at older vehicles. Now, I'm mechanically challenged, so a lot of the information I've been reading here kinda sails over my head. Can anyone in very simple terms tell me what to look for. Will any 1/2 ton pickup with a long wheel base (say 120") and a decent sized V8 under the hood do the job? I'm not so worried about what kind of trailer hitch or accessories that are needed, as those aren't my primary concern right now. I'm mostly interested in what sort of truck to get. Feel free to recommend whichever truck company you like because I honestly don't have a favourite (never owned a truck before). Any suggestions would be really appreciated...but remember, I'm mechanically challenged

Cheers!
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Old 03-09-2006, 03:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120
My 1972 Tradewind is 4300# dry and aproximately 4800# loaded. At the moment, I'll just be parking it on my property to live in while I'm building my house. I'd like to start looking for a tow vehicle, but funds are pretty low right now so I'll definitely be looking at older vehicles. Now, I'm mechanically challenged, so a lot of the information I've been reading here kinda sails over my head. Can anyone in very simple terms tell me what to look for. Will any 1/2 ton pickup with a long wheel base (say 120") and a decent sized V8 under the hood do the job? I'm not so worried about what kind of trailer hitch or accessories that are needed, as those aren't my primary concern right now. I'm mostly interested in what sort of truck to get. Feel free to recommend whichever truck company you like because I honestly don't have a favourite (never owned a truck before). Any suggestions would be really appreciated...but remember, I'm mechanically challenged

Cheers!
I have a 1/2 ton Sierra GMC with a 5.3, plenty of power to tow our '75 Trade Wind. Good luck in your search!
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by balrgn
I have a 1/2 ton Sierra GMC with a 5.3, plenty of power to tow our '75 Trade Wind. Good luck in your search!
Is it a two-wheel drive? Do you know if something with an old 350 in it would work? Thanks in advance.

Cheers!
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120
Is it a two-wheel drive? Do you know if something with an old 350 in it would work? Thanks in advance.

Cheers!
How old is old to you?

I tow with a 97 Suburban, 350V8, 3:73 axle, 2WD
It does a fine job of towing a similarly sized trailer as yours, and did very well with my revious trailer, a 1971 Tradewind.
I believe that a pickup of the same era with the same mechanicals would do even better, since it is lighter than a Suburban.
Axle ratio is important. You need to somehow figure out how to read the axle'snumber to determine what ratio it has. A ratio of 3:73 or shorter ( larger number like 3:92 or 4:10) is definitely preferred.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120
Is it a two-wheel drive? Do you know if something with an old 350 in it would work? Thanks in advance.

Cheers!
Mine is a 4 wheel drive. a 350 would be plenty of power. These thing tow great! you'll probly want a weight distribution hitch.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:53 PM   #6
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You could find an older (1970's to 1980's model) truck to tow your coach with. Many of them had 4.11 rear axles during that time, and they tended to be relatively easy to work on, and get progressively more complicated the newer you go.
On the other side of the coin, newer trucks are more reliable, and should require less work to keep running trouble-free.
Try to avoid a GM truck with a 700R4 transmission, this would be in the mid 80's to the early 90's. All vehicles have their issues, that one is just one that jumps to the front of my mond.
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
How old is old to you?
Well, I'm 42, so anything made prior to 1963 is what I consider old.

Since I would only be towing the trailer occassionally, I was thinking of trying to find a truck of similar vintage to the trailer, maybe a bit newer. I want to find something that is easy to repair and light on the pocket book.

All of the advice so far has been great. Thanks very much to you all!
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Old 03-10-2006, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120
Well, I'm 42, so anything made prior to 1963 is what I consider old.

Since I would only be towing the trailer occassionally, I was thinking of trying to find a truck of similar vintage to the trailer, maybe a bit newer. I want to find something that is easy to repair and light on the pocket book.

All of the advice so far has been great. Thanks very much to you all!
I hear you on the occasional use issue. Terry's suggestion might work best for you. Find a 70's long wheelbase pickup with at least a 350ci engine, and a 4:10 axle, and you should be ok. It might take alittle moey and exper help to get it tow worthy. Make sure you get a good HD radiator,and add a transmission cooler.
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Old 03-10-2006, 08:58 PM   #9
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I notice that new trucks with towing packages seem to always have automatic transmissions. What's the reason for this? My father always drove standard transmissions and hauled a trailer. Is it just because it's easier, or are there safety implications that I'm unaware of?
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120
I notice that new trucks with towing packages seem to always have automatic transmissions. What's the reason for this? My father always drove standard transmissions and hauled a trailer. Is it just because it's easier, or are there safety implications that I'm unaware of?
Good question. I think that manual transmissions are rough on the tow process, since there's a long lag every time you shift. The automatic is seamless power, for the most part.
Might be that clutches and gear boxes wear out quicker than automatics while towing. Plus, it's difficult to cool a manual gear box, easy to cool an automatic. Maybe that's the reason?
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
Good question. I think that manual transmissions are rough on the tow process, since there's a long lag every time you shift. The automatic is seamless power, for the most part.
Might be that clutches and gear boxes wear out quicker than automatics while towing. Plus, it's difficult to cool a manual gear box, easy to cool an automatic. Maybe that's the reason?
Or people do not know how to drive a manual transmission. I don't think that manual transmissions have a cooling problem like an automatic.

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Old 03-11-2006, 09:39 AM   #12
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I just find t interesting that if you go to any of the manufacturer's truck sitesand go through the build your truck process, as soon as you select the towing package, the selecter forces you to select an automatic transmission. I would probably go automatic regardless, but was just curious why they do this. I've always driven standard transmissions, but could see the advantage of an automatic for a TV.
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