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Old 04-11-2003, 09:57 AM   #15
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My Suburban

I bought a 1993 2500 Suburban with a 454, 7.4 liter, too.

I paid $3750 to the seller. Then I spent another $1150 or so for complete check of all systems, oil change, tranny fluid and filter, new radiator, replacement of rear axel seals, replacement of a bypass hose, and new oil in the "pumpkin."

This was a good deal, I think. Vehicle came with electric brake, Air Lift air springs, a 12DCV charging unit aft, and a 6-pin trailer plug.

I looked for several weekends before "pouncing" on this one. It has 188K on it, but no rust, and not rips to the interior.

I really like it. Drives very nicely. Tomorrow, I get to find out how it tows my '71 Overlander. (Fine, I'm sure.)

Good luck!

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Old 04-11-2003, 12:53 PM   #16
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I don't know how heavy your Classic is.
dry 6000 / GVWR 7300 / tongue 730

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Old 04-11-2003, 04:34 PM   #17
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My Day:
9:00 2 year old wakes me up (had to burn up a couple roll ever days so was off.)
10:00 At bank getting a $5000 Cashiers check.
11:00 Ira Iburg from here calls to tell me he's home.
11:30 pull into driveway and wife see's 88 Suburban I decided to buy.
12:00 Heading home at 1/8 throttle at 65mph having to watch speed because Burb likes to go. 454 Just feeling like it's in the bottom edge of power band.
Just before. Older then Overdrive so this one has 3.73 gears and plenty of torque to handle it and a good gear for the hwy since it doesn't have the overdrive. For the next couple years this will be my daily driver.
12:50 just about at exit. 65mph I give the old girl 3/4 throttle. Leave wife in dust who was following. 3 seconds late I lift at 85mph.
12:50.05 Stupid grin on face that last rest of the way home.
Spent the rest of the day standing in line to get tag after eating lunch.

The burb I just picked up from Ira spent the last 12 years with a 31ft Excella behind it. 71k on the clock. It's been cross country coast to coast a few times.

Don't limit yourself to just the new ones. Yeah the pre 91's body is dated but you can find some that were very well maintained. Ira drives a hard bargin and we eneded up on agreeing to $5k. It was worth every penny. It's as tight as the day it rolled off the line. The reason being is everyting is stronger and it was never operating at it's limit even with that 31' behind it.

I really could have got away with a 1/2 ton for the Airstream we have but the 3/4 ton with the 454 it is heavy duty everything including that rear axle.
The 3/4 tons get the same Full floating 14 bolt that the 1 tons get. I have had a 10 bolt in a 1/2 ton truck fail at 50k and that truck (Service van from work) was never abused, never overloaded. I drove it off the lot with 14 miles on it. For towing that 10 bolt GM used from 81 to current is just not good. The HD1500's get a Semi Floater 14. Much better axle the the 10 bolt but still not nearly as strong at the Full floater but for what your wanting to do you would be hard pressed to hurt it.
The 454 will deal much better with the weight and when you hit a High mountain pass where you have lost 20% of your power over sea level due to thin air, the 454 will still be holding it's own you will be glad you have it.

The After 90 3/4 ton trucks have over drive 4L80e transmission and everybody I have talked to that owned Suburbans with both 454 and the 5.7 are within about 2mpg with overdrive. It's not as thirsty as everybody thinks. It's as thirsty as your right foot is heavy. Drive it easy and it's fine.
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
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Old 04-12-2003, 07:32 PM   #18
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On Monday I'm going to look at a 77 24' Argosy.

My tow is a 94 150 XLT 4WD extended short bed w/cap

Some opinions on ratio of trailer vs. tow would be welcomed

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Old 04-12-2003, 07:42 PM   #19
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It is gratifying to hear that some of you are happy with the 454/7400 Vortec V8s....really liked the 460 Ford in our Class C Jambo but just do not like Ford SUVs.

Now shopping for a Suburban....when is the mileage on the odometer a problem? Course it depends on if the owner took care of it and got oil changes.....

Kistler & Brenda

2002 Classic 25'
2003 Expedition EB 5.4L, AWD, AdvanceTrac Class IV hitch pkg. Reese dual cam/Prodigy
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Old 04-12-2003, 07:44 PM   #20
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As a guess, the Argosy must be about 4000Lbs dry.
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Old 04-12-2003, 07:57 PM   #21
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Mine worked great

There are some pretty good rises on Hwy. 169 between Le Sueur and Mpls., MN, and the 454 in my 93 Suburban did well today. I found myself speeding I was so at ease with the ride. I just posted a word about it on another thread here.

My tow vehicle is new to me as of 3 weeks ago. It has 188K on the "clock," but most of them I found had high mileage. That's actually pretty good news. They LAST. Plus, many are well maintained. Hold out for a good deal.

It's my first rig of this size. I'm surprised how much I like it. Gas mileage? Ummmm....gee, let's see here....let's just say "sub-optimal."

I went with the wisdom found on the A/S Forums and went with the 3/4 ton to handle my 71 Overlander.

That's all I know about tow vehicles. Today was my first day towing anything.

Good luck!

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Old 04-12-2003, 09:04 PM   #22
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What tow vehicle would you suggest?

Greetings Steve!

On Monday I'm going to look at a 77 24' Argosy.
This would have the year that the Argosy Minuet was introduced. It is unclear whether the full line (20', 22', and 24') were all introduced at the same time - - or if they were staggered with the 20' being introduced first. If they were all introduced in '77, you might be looking at one of the seemingly quite rare 24' Minuets. A Minuet is distinguished from the standard series by the floor width - - Minuet 7' - - Standard Series 7' 8".

If the coach is the 24' Minuet, the Empty Weight without options is listed in the factory literature as 3,820 pounds with a hitch weight of 510 pounds. The coach was available with either a center twin bed arrangement or center double-bed (pull-out lounge); in front, the choice was a convertible lounge or dinette arrangment.

If it is a standard series coach, it could have one of three distinct floor plans. One of the more unusual for any Airstream product is the rear curbside door model that featured a front bedroom with either a pair of twin beds or a double bed; a center dinette, streetside center kitchen, and rear bathroom. The factory literature lists the Empty Weight of this coach without options as 3,750 pounds with a hitch weight of 475 pounds. The two other 24' standard series coaches featured the more familiar front curbside entrance door with a front lounge streetside kitchen with the refrigerator immediately to the left of the entry door with an ajacent pantry cabinet - - the difference would be in the center of the coach - - one features a double-bed (pull-out lounge) while the other features twin beds on either side of the aisle - - both have very similar rear bathrooms. The twin bed model is listed as having an Empty Weight without options of 3,610 pounds with a hitch weight of 560 pounds. The double bed model is listed as having an Empty Weight of 3,610 pounds with a hitch weight of 560 pounds.

Whether standard series or Minuet, the coach would have tandem axles.

The issue with your truck wouldn't be so much that of length rather whether it is equipped with the necessary engine and differential ratios to tow the weight involved. I towed my '64 Overlander with a short-bed, club cab K1500 Chevrolet pickup for three years - - the Overlander was a bit too much for the truck when facing any kind of grade; but a 24' should be within the range of a well-prepared 1/2 ton 4 x 4. For a safe towing margin, I would suggest that a factory rating of approximately 6,000 pounds would be wise for a trailer of this size as it will weigh in the vicinity of 5,000 pounds when fully loaded ready for a trip - - especially when you consider that the factory published weights do not include fluids, or options which can add up rather quickly.

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 04-12-2003, 11:32 PM   #23
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dry 6000 / GVWR 7300 / tongue 730

In that case, I would go with a small block V8.

GM: 5.7L
Ford 5.8L
Dodge (whatever the Dodge equivalent is, 5.9L)

- and 3.73 rear and a 4-speed heavy-duty tranny with OD.

I had good luck with Ford trucks and GM sedans and cannot go wrong with either one. I also like the older style Dodges (pre-1994) but the mid-90's ones had a lot of quality issues according to one review.

or if doing a lot of towing, pick a diesel for better mileage but in my opinion it is only worthwhile if towing over 10k/year. Then wouldn't be restricted by weight/size.
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Old 04-14-2003, 09:19 PM   #24
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I'm back and not alone

As I said I was looking at a 77 Argosy 24' on Monday:
I looked and bought and my truck handled the job fine. The return trip was 275 enjoyable miles.

Thanks for all the help.......Steve
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Old 05-20-2005, 02:31 PM   #25
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Kevin, I'm thinking of buying an old muscle car... a 1965 Lincoln Continental. Automatic, V8, 430 engine. 52k miles. What do you think? Can it pull my 26' '63 Overlander with ease? Can you see problems with this set-up?
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Old 05-20-2005, 03:16 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by '63 princess a 1965 Lincoln Continental. Automatic, V8, 430 engine. 52k miles. What do you think? Can it pull my 26' '63 Overlander with ease? Can you see problems with this set-up?
Those were great driving cars! I had a 63 convertible for a long time and that thing would run 80 all day long and get 14 miles per gallon, which for a car of that era wasn't bad. The 430 engines were really a good engine. Chris Craft used them in their large cruisers up to 1967 when the 427 came out. There are still a lot of them in use today, I've got a 33' with two.

I think the 3.25 axle ratio was standard (which is what mine had) and you would probably want something a little lower like a 3.73. Steven Oulette at Baker's Auto in Putnam, CT is the expert on the older Lincoln's. I'd give him a call and pick his brain. I'm not sure how the unibody construction would do, but there is a 65 Lincoln shown hooked to a Overlander in one of the old Airstream brochures. I think it is shown in the Airstream book.
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Old 05-20-2005, 03:34 PM   #27
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Pre Owned bargains..

For the record, we tow our 25' Excella with a 4wd 1500 Suburban, with the pre-vortec 5.7L v-8, rated at 200hp... It's a 1994 model, just reaching 60,000 miles.. After 7500 miles pulling this trailer, I wish we had the bigger V-8, as freeway speeds up big hills like "Grapevine" into LA can reach as low as 45 mph over in truck-lane land...

Having said that, in mid 90's, the 4wd versions actuially carried higher tow capacity I think, given same towing package, which should be a must have...

At least in Calif, Chevy and GMC have seen Tahoe and Suburban sales tank by 20% or more, and GM has been extending "friends and family" pricing generously, which runs 25% off MSRP + rebate in some cases.. That has led to dip in used Suburban prices as well, as people panic over gas prices.. I'd consider newer body style, but 7400 engine, and look between 1996 and 2000 models for real bargains. Find one well maintained and it shoudl last a long time...

John McG

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 05-20-2005, 03:49 PM   #28
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The same pricing and big vehicle dumping is going on here in the midwest. Our 3/4 ton van tow vehicle was our second car. Much for my wife to use during the day. While it was low use it still is pricy to operate based on current gas prices. To counter we picked up a Honda CRV for her to use. Big enough to do some minor hauling (not towing) yet about 2.5 times more mileage than the van. So we are a two person 3 vehicle family. She's happy with something smaller to drive, I'm happy on the gas mileage situation, and my van tow vehicle will probably last for years. Not too bad a trade off.


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