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Old 06-29-2011, 05:12 PM   #183
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I just caught up with this thread...Thanks for all the nice comments on a Nomad. I arrived home with a complete, running, driving car....it is now all over the barn floor...and parts of Texas....being checked, and redone a bit.
Barry, could you send me some more info on the one in Wash? And some sort of contact...either thru you or direct. Thanks.
Robin C
I guess "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", isn't a Texas motto.
Neil
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:16 PM   #184
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Greetings AirXL!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream Ownership!

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Originally Posted by AirXL View Post
Hello all,

I have been driving a 1970 Ford XL convertible 390 2v for the past five years, keeping it in a "good enough" driving condition. Last month I purchased a 1969 25' Tradewind(my first airstream/trailer/RV) in great condition. Now, I feel myself getting closer to living the dream. However, I realize that the Ford will need some work to get me to that dream. I'd love to get some input on a wish list of upgrades and hitches that would get the car to the point where I could drive cross country with no worries.

Thanks

You are faced with a situation quite similar to the one that I faced with my 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible and 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible. My suggestions would include:
  • New radiator with at least one additional row in its core to improve cooling -- even if this means going with a custom radiator it does pay dividends in greatly reducing the likelihood of boiling over in the worst conditions.
  • Quality valve job that includes hardened valve seat inserts to insure that valve recision does not occur as a result of the strain of towing (using our modern unleaded fuel) -- this was the first modification on my Dodge after I tried towing without having it done (I know from first-hand exprience that recision can happen very quickly).
  • Heavy duty auxilliary transmission fluid cooler with supplemental electric cooling fan. This is the approach that I wish that I would have taken with my Cadillac as its transmission gets much warmer than I would like on long grades when towing either of my trailers.
  • New heavy duty water pump if the current pump's age and condition is uncertain.
  • Examine starter and alternator to be certain that they are in sound operating condition as the stress and heat of towing will quickly bring about the failure of either of these components.
  • Factory four barrel carbueretor and intake manifold. The four barrel carburetor will provide much better overall performance when towing than the two barrel.
  • Dual exhaust system if the car isn't already so equipped.
  • Examine front suspension and replace any parts that are worn out or nearing that point.
  • New premium gas charged shock absorbers on all four corners.
  • New heavy duty springs in the front and rebuilt leaf springs ins in the rear adding a leaf or two if the car wasn't equipped from the factory with the heavy duty suspension package.
  • High quality four-corner brake job with premium parts for greatest safety. If the car wasn't equipped from the factory with front disk brakes, consider upgrading to front disc brakes.
  • Reese weld-up receiver hitch package installed by a welder familiar with building hitches. I searched for over a year to find a welder that I felt comfortable trusting with the job of welding up the hitch for my Cadillac.
  • Thoroughly service both transmission and rear differential - - any deffered maintenance on these components will show up very quickly when the car is towing your Airstream.
  • Quality pendulum-type brake controller at the very minimum to apply your trailer brakes.
  • New tires if the current tires are the equivalent of the factory base standard F78-15 tires as they had very little reserve -- my suggestion would be the equivalent of the H78-15 on your car for good towing performance. I use the equivalent of H78-14 on my Dodge (original size was F78-14) and the equivalent of JR78-15 tires on my Cadillac (my Cadillac was factory equipped with the JR78-15 tires) to insure good towing performance.
  • Examine universal joints and replace if there is any evidence that they are nearing the end of their service life.
  • Heavy duty round-pin type 7-pole connector with matching end for your Airstream. You will experience far fewer problems with corroded terminals with the round-pin than with the current blade-type connectors. The round-pin connectors can be found at parts houses that deal with semi-trailer trucks as these are parts common on semis.
I have had excellent performance and very good reliability with both of my cars. In 2008, the Cadillac completed a round-trip from Carbondale, Illinois to Bozeman, Montanna with only one issue. Just 200 miles into the first leg of my journey, the remanufactured GoodWrench Alternator failed and both the car and trailer had to be towed in (alternator was replaced under warranty and my towing insurance paid for the tow). My Dodge has never had a problem when towing and it made many trips prior to being retired until I can get the resources together to upgrade to four-wheel disc brakes.

Good luck with your rig!

Kevin

My 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 in its hey-day as a towcar -- 1982 - - - - - - -



My 1975 Cadillac Eldorado at the conclusion of its first trip with my Airstream - - 2003

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Old 06-29-2011, 07:44 PM   #185
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When you got the bug... it's great when you can combine them.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:45 PM   #186
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I did just that

What Overlander 64 just said. I did all that to the 58 Buick. Ready to roll if I can ever get the new disc brakes to work right.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:39 AM   #187
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In the August issue of Hemings Motor News on page 454 "i" listings is a drop dead georgeous "restored to a high standard" l968 Travelall 4X2, 24,000miles. High price of $29,900. Unfortunately no information as to engine. It is located in Charlotte, NC. rkmotorscharlotte.com.

If I didn't already have a TV I could be tempted. Pat
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:20 PM   #188
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In the August issue of Hemings Motor News on page 454 "i" listings is a drop dead georgeous "restored to a high standard" l968 Travelall 4X2, 24,000miles. High price of $29,900. Unfortunately no information as to engine. It is located in Charlotte, NC. rkmotorscharlotte.com.

If I didn't already have a TV I could be tempted. Pat
Having owned a few Internationals, I think that it must be an over-restored truck to be priced at $29k.

I saw a beautiful factory-correct restoration a few years ago of a D-series Travelall that only cost $20k. Sadly, the truck was rained on during the show so I think it's already rusted away.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:33 AM   #189
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:42 AM   #190
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There you go Hampstead. Your dream vehicle has been found in Houston. Giddy Yup man!



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Old 08-03-2011, 12:23 PM   #191
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OK I've searched and searched and most of the vintage tow vehicle posts deal with 60s and newer "vintage" tow vehicles. I've read volumes of trailer life and other magazines from the late 40 through mid fifties. All the ads for every brand including Airstream show pictures of their trailers being pulled by just about every car on the road. More cars that trucks 50 to 1.
There are some interesting articles about beefing up suspension, brakes etc. but mostly the trailers are pulled by off the show room floor automobiles. One ad shows, I think a 22 foot Alma, being pulled by a post ww2 jeep. They were all 4 cylinders.
I have a 42 myself.
I have two 55 "Wally Byam Holidays" 15' ham cans with ele brakes. I have been looking at a 49 Plymouth Special Deluxe as a tow vehicle. I drove one in college. The Plymouth only had the flat six. 95 HP as I recall. I don't think Plymouth went to anything larger until 55.
Most of the posts I read talk about dropping in new V8s, beefed up transmissions and stronger frame work, disk brakes, and extended radiators etc, etc.

If the cars of the late 40s and early fifties pulled trailers back then, wouldn't they do so today? I know without question all the newer and stronger modifications would be better but I'm sort of a purest I guess. Does anyone tow with a late 40s or early 50s vintage stock or almost stock auto?
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:31 PM   #192
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Lanny, the short answer is yes - however, keep in mind that we did not have freeways back then and cars were a lot less reliable than today - there is also the disadvantage of breaks - the guy in front of you will have disk brakes and you will have drum - guess who can stop faster - - - - having said all that, if you plan backroads and somewhat short distances, you will be fine

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:42 PM   #193
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All the ads for every brand including Airstream show pictures of their trailers being pulled by just about every car on the road. More cars that trucks 50 to 1.
How true it is...
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:43 PM   #194
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Thanks Ken. I noted that in the long long trailer post the trailer was pulled by a Buick Roadmaster straight eight. Maybe I should look for a 49 Buick? I'd love a 50s super estate wagon. They had the straight 8 as well I think. Any suggestions on how I would find out what a straight six could pull? For now all I have are the Holidays. On the brakes, that's one change I could live with.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:55 PM   #195
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Thanks Ken. I noted that in the long long trailer post the trailer was pulled by a Buick Roadmaster straight eight. Maybe I should look for a 49 Buick? I'd love a 50s super estate wagon. They had the straight 8 as well I think. Any suggestions on how I would find out what a straight six could pull? For now all I have are the Holidays. On the brakes, that's one change I could live with.
lanny
By the 50's, all the major car companies were making V8s. There were some very good V8 engines that would be good for towing. Today's small block Chevy engine that is the basis for the current Corvette engine was introduced in 1955. Obviously, it has evolved, but the original architecture is still there.

What can a straight six pull? Define straight six. The current Cummings Turbo Diesels in pickups are straight sixes. So are many of the large diesels in 18 wheelers.

Chevy built a very good 292 CID straight six that was a truck engine. Made good hot rods and tow vehicles.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:13 PM   #196
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwebb

If the cars of the late 40s and early fifties pulled trailers back then, wouldn't they do so today? I know without question all the newer and stronger modifications would be better but I'm sort of a purest I guess. Does anyone tow with a late 40s or early 50s vintage stock or almost stock auto?
lanny
The expectations of both tow vehicle drivers and other motorists have changed. In the 1940s it was common for trucks and even cars to slow down while going up hills that are taken at speed today. Speed limits were lower varying by state and year but driving or encountering a car or truck running at 40 or 45 mph and slowing further for hills was not unusual.

Other motorists don't tolerate that much today even if the driver of the vintage rig would.
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