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Old 07-21-2006, 08:07 PM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
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What TV do I tow this 25' Tradewind with???

I have this 72 Tradewind 25" and I don't own anything to tow it with. I am on a limited budget and need to get this things on the road again.

I see a lot of late 80s/ early 90s Suburbans, Broncos, Blazers and Jeep Cherokees etc. listed in for sale in my budget and my area and am having trouble breaking down what the differences will be from a towing standpoint.

My trailer will weigh around 5500lbs and I'm going to be living in it indefinately so gas mileage will play a hand in my decision and the Suburbans seem like a real killer.

I 've been reading in the threads that certain vehicles have wheelbases that are too short. Is there a standard minimum wheelbase for the 25" airstream. Does this exclude any SUVs in particular.

If everyone can give any sort of feedback regarding these choices it would be a lifesaver. I need to get out of the city and on the road asap.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:11 PM   #2
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Consider towing with a full sized van. There are loads of used vans on the road with v-8's. They are also easier to find and carry lots of stuff!
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:28 PM   #3
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That was my first thought as well, but my girlfriend who is going to be living with me doesn't feel comfortable driving the van while we will be parked at a site.

She wants something that handles more like a car. My first thought was a truck but she wants more storage places like an SUV has.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Broncos, Blazers and Jeep Cherokees
aren't going to be the best choices for towing. If you don't want a van, and the Suburban is out due to gas mileage, I'd look at an extended cab, longbed pickup. Some will tell you 3/4 ton, but 1/2 ton will tow your AS just fine.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:35 PM   #5
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How about a 1977 Lincoln Continental.

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Old 07-21-2006, 08:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirSpleen
I have this 72 Tradewind 25" and I don't own anything to tow it with. I am on a limited budget and need to get this things on the road again.

I see a lot of late 80s/ early 90s Suburbans, Broncos, Blazers and Jeep Cherokees etc. listed in for sale in my budget and my area and am having trouble breaking down what the differences will be from a towing standpoint.

My trailer will weigh around 5500lbs and I'm going to be living in it indefinately so gas mileage will play a hand in my decision and the Suburbans seem like a real killer.

I 've been reading in the threads that certain vehicles have wheelbases that are too short. Is there a standard minimum wheelbase for the 25" airstream. Does this exclude any SUVs in particular.

If everyone can give any sort of feedback regarding these choices it would be a lifesaver. I need to get out of the city and on the road asap.
How about a 2500 Avalanche with 6.0 litre engine and 4.10 rear end ratio? That combination in a 2500hd ext. cab shortbed truck would also be the ticket. I'm not a fan of the ext. cab long bed or the crew cab long bed due to parking problems and maneuverability. While a 1500 pickup, Tahoe or Yukon will tow the trailer, the 3/4 ton vehicles will get you there more comfortably due to bigger brakes and heavier duty running gear.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:09 PM   #7
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1972 25' Tradewind
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That continental is sweet.

I wish we had a nice car that could tow it and still have a place to store extra stuff (backseat) or give rides to a few extra people.

Does the engine have to be a V8 to adequately pull 5500lbs of airstream?
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirSpleen
That continental is sweet.

I wish we had a nice car that could tow it and still have a place to store extra stuff (backseat) or give rides to a few extra people.

Does the engine have to be a V8 to adequately pull 5500lbs of airstream?
AirSpleen,

Probably, unless you can find an old GM 292 I6 or Ford 300 I6, the newer 6 cylinder engines are just too small. Also I remember that there was a large GM V6, but do not remember the displacement, I think it was mentioned in the "What does GMC stand for" thread.

BTW, the Lincoln has a 460 CI 4V engine.

Bill
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirSpleen
Does the engine have to be a V8 to adequately pull 5500lbs of airstream?
Yes - or something equivalent.

If price is an obstacle - I urge you to look at the van option. You will probably be able to buy a nice van for half the cost of an SUV big enough to tow with... They can have back seats and are really nice for taking bikes or firewood along. Try going to a used car lot and having your sweetie drive one.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirSpleen
Does the engine have to be a V8 to adequately pull 5500lbs of airstream?
There is "no substitute for cubic inches" as the old saying goes. My '92 Chevy Z71 4X4 shortbed truck with 5.7 engine, 5 speed manual trans, 3.42 rear end and LT265-75-16 tires was a dog when I towed my newly purchased '77 Excella 500 31' from AZ. to TN. While the empty trailer weighed a little over 5640 lbs., it labored on hills even though it was fitted with a Jacobs Electronic Ignition and throttle body spacer. Every truck passing me sucked me toward them and my knuckles were white most of the trip. Most of my problem had to do with the 3.42 rear end ratio as well as the D load range tires. A change to a '01 2500hd ext. cab shortbed with 8.1 gas engine, 5 sp. auto transmission and E load range tires cured all the problems mentioned above. A 6 litre engine with 4 sp. auto trans and 4.10 rear end ratio would have fit the bill also but I wanted the same transmission and rear end differential as the Chevy 3500 dually. My present configuration tows my current '86 25' Sovereign like a dream as would the 6.0 litre equipped 2500hd. That engine has a rather flat torque curve and loves the 4.10 rear end rather than the 3.73 rear end.
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Old 07-22-2006, 12:22 AM   #11
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It's a double edged sword,
1-Long wheel base for comfortable towing
2-Plenty of tourqe to climb the hills and merge into traffic
3-Fuel economy

For cheap money, the full sized vans are a good deal. Lots of options there; cargo, passenger and conversion, in 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton and 1 ton configurations. Ford and Chevy offered diesels in the mid eightys and up. These where not the most powerfull diesels ever built but fuel consumtion to power ratio is better then that of gas engines. In regards to the girlfriend, have her drive a passenger van ( windows all the way around) and see how she likes it. This TV has the most storage.

It would help if you give a price range and what you intend to do with the TV. Towing of course, but are you just running up to the mountains or beaches for a quick weekend getaway? or are you planning to tour the country for the next year?
In the end it comes down to what you feel good with, I know of some AS owners that tow up to 31' with an Astro van (midsize). This is something I would not recommend, but then again that particular owner is thinking about going all the way to Alaska with that set up.
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Old 07-22-2006, 12:51 PM   #12
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We've been towing with a 1995 full size ford van for four years (the passenger van, a clubwagon). Our trailer is a bit smaller than yours, but the van has a 351 V8 so there's plenty of extra capacity for us. We wanted the option of moving up to a bigger trailer someday. It could easily pull that tradewind.

We love having all the extra room for gear in the back, plus room for the dogs. It's a bit of a drag to drive around once you're camped, but since you can't tow with a mustang, you have to drive some sort of a truck It's no different than driving an SUV or a Bronco (I used to have a Bronco, and it was fine for the woods, but I didn't want to tow with it).

We used to use a weight distributing hitch on it, but decided it rode better without it. Our van has been converted to heavy duty rear airbags in the suspension by the previous owner, so the tounge weight has no effect on it.

We do use a friction sway control. We've never felt any sway, so I don't know if it works, or if the long wheelbase on the van takes care of that potential problem.

But overall, I have to say we love our van. It's big so we feel safe if there was an accident, you have a great wide view from the driver's seat, I can always find it in a parking lot, it's carpeted, comfortable seats, AC (which we can run while towing), automatic, power everything. It's a pretty nice ride. We've gone halfway across the country and back with it, and we're still happy. When we wear it out, we'll definitly buy another van.
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Old 07-22-2006, 06:31 PM   #13
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If you go used, whether it's a car, van, or p/u truck, make sure you have the drivetrain checked by a qualified mechanic. You would also be better off going with a 3/4 ton van or p/u that has a tow package. Most tow packages (from the factory) have auxiliary transmission cooler lines for better reliability over the long 'haul' and other beefed up areas such as suspension. Most V6 motors and their attached transmission are not up to the task of pulling 5,500 lbs, save for the 300 +/- CID Inline 6 motors found on full-size half ton trucks and vans. All owner's manuals dictate their towing capacities.


Since you said you are looking at towing 5,500 lbs just make sure you factor in your the total weight of a loaded trailer and tow vehicle and that it doesn't exceed the gross combined weight restriction for you tow vehicle.

Good luck!
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Old 08-20-2006, 12:40 AM   #14
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1972 25' Tradewind
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Well There it is



After a lot of deliberation we got a 86 Suburban 1500. The original owner was an old man who kept it so fresh and so clean in a garage and put an amazingly low 46k miles on it.

We have fixed it up a bit by adding the reciever hitch, transmission cooler and fixed a small exhaust leak. I'm also amazed that it has decent gas mileage, 20 mpg without the trailer and I estimate around 10-12 while towing, which it does like a dream. All that is left is to put heavy leaf springs in the back so we don't bottom out everytime we leave a gas station.

I tried to resist getting the Suburban at first but when you come down to it there are only a few TVs that have the wheel base and the power and the enclosed bed for storage is a nice touch as well since we plan on going full time. We were inches away from buying a Jeep Grand Wagoneer from a questionable backyard mechanic but my gut led me to the righteous Suburban.

Thanks everyone for your help. There was more than one moment that I pulled out my laptop and consulted the forum to fact check any story I heard from the car salesmen.

-->Bill
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