Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-25-2004, 08:21 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
RVNUTTY's Avatar
 
1973 25' Tradewind
Leavenworth , Kansas
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 32
Images: 5
Send a message via Yahoo to RVNUTTY
What would the least expensive tow vehicle be?

I just bought my airstream (finally after 10 years!) Now I need something to pull it with it. I can't afford new or classic. Something with a big engine right? What old cars have big engines? Maybe something from the 70's or 80's with a big V8, huh? My a/s is 25', 1973 Landyacht. I only have $3000 to spend. Any suggestions? Please help...I am going to be full timing soon out of necessity not luxury.
__________________

__________________
RVNUTTY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2004, 08:28 PM   #2
Just an old timer...
 
85MH325's Avatar

 
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,031
Images: 37
Re: What would the least expensive tow vehicle be?

Quote:
Originally posted by RVNUTTY
I just bought my airstream (finally after 10 years!) Now I need something to pull it with it. I can't afford new or classic. Something with a big engine right? What old cars have big engines? Maybe something from the 70's or 80's with a big V8, huh? My a/s is 25', 1973 Landyacht. I only have $3000 to spend. Any suggestions? Please help...I am going to be full timing soon out of necessity not luxury.
Hi! Welcome to the Forums! You've come to the right place for help. There'll be lots-o-info for you!

Regarding your question, I'd think that the best alternative would be to find a low-mileage early '90s van conversion, either Chevy or Ford already equipped to tow. Most of them were taken care of, have truck frames under them with the heavy running gear, are very comfortable to travel in and are being sold currently for peanuts as they have very poor resale compared to pickups and SUVs. They're also easy to get parts for, although the drivetrains are a little more difficult to work on because of the 'doghouse' location of the powerplant.

All things equal though a low-mileage van conversion in good condition should be easy to find and fairly inexpensive and will tow your trailer as well as any truck around.

Roger
__________________

__________________
AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2004, 08:29 PM   #3
Just a member
 
thenewkid64's Avatar
 
1978 28' Argosy 28
Tampa Bay , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,539
Images: 21
Send a message via AIM to thenewkid64 Send a message via Yahoo to thenewkid64 Send a message via Skype™ to thenewkid64
Your best bet is going to be a late 80's suburban, there should be ton of them available. a 2500 or 1500 model will work fine if the Airstream you just bought is going to be it. The truck is a frame built vehicle and will tow your trailer with aplomb. It also should be able to be bought with a minimal cash outlay. Buy the best you can possibly afford now. It will save you money later.

Quite often the suburbans can be found with most of the right hardware installed. you will want to have a trusted mechanic check it out before you buy it. Not that it will eliminate later failures, but will hopefully stop you from buying a money-pit. The 454 is a good motor, I would avoid the diesels and the 350's in the market you will be looking in. The 350 will be underpowered, so will the diesel. The diesel will also have a higher maintenance cost.


There is my $.02, and remember I offer a money back guarantee on my advice, I will cheerfully refund all that you paid for it
__________________
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
-------------------------
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato


thenewkid64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2004, 08:40 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
 
RVNUTTY's Avatar
 
1973 25' Tradewind
Leavenworth , Kansas
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 32
Images: 5
Send a message via Yahoo to RVNUTTY
THANKS for the quick replies! Super answers....and the answers were great! Now to go shopping for the "horse" since I just bought the "cart" tonight...and only for $3,000!!! (I know! I know!) Reading the original manual right now...don't see how I can get any sleep tonight I'm so excited. The countdown begins...
Tomorrow I have to hire someone to tow it to my yard ...I hope the towing service can do trailers.
__________________
RVNUTTY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2004, 08:53 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
What would the least expensive tow vehicle be?

Greetings RVNUTTY!

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

Quote:
Something with a big engine right? What old cars have big engines?
To find an automobile with the engine, frame, and towing capability for your Trade Wind; you would be looking at one of several possiblities. Full-size GM cars from 1971 through 1975 would have been equipped with the largest V8s of either 454, 455, or 500 cubic inches; from 1976 through 1979 the largest V8 would have been 402 cubic inches in GM autos other than Cadillac where a 425 cubic inch V8 was available through 1978 (at least in the Eldorado). In the Ford/Lincoln/Mercury line, the 460 cubic inch V8 was available in full size cars through 1978 (if my memory serves correct) - - possibly longer in the Lincoln line-up. The Cadillac Brougham deElegance was considered to be a prime tow vehicle for Airstreams from the late 1980s through the early 1990s when equipped with the trailer towing package and 5.7 Liter LT1 engine - - the same could be said for the same era Buick Roadmaster series as well as the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser Wagon.

I love towing my trailer with a similar Vintage auto, but it does have its down-side. It is difficult to find the older cars with factory towing packages so numerous upgrades are likely to be necessary - - my '75 Cadillac required a new 4-row core radiator (to replace the 3-row core factory unit), a heavy duty transmission fluid cooler, new Cargo Coil rear springs, rebuilt torsion bar front suspension, Air-Lift spring inserts (rear), heavy duty alternator, heavy duty voltage regulator, heavy duty fuel pump, upgraded wheels, upgraded tires, transmission shift kit, and custom dual exhuast with dual catalytic converters. The modifications won't really be complete until I can have the final drive changed to 3.05 from its current 2.70, but the cost is phrohibitive due to the front wheel drive arrangement. The modifications for a pre-1971 car can be even more costly as the valve train will need attention to prevent damage from burning unleaded fuels - - my '65 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible tow vehicle needed to have hardened valve seats machined into the heads at a cost in excess of $1,500 in 1980.

A similar vintage Suburban, Jeep Grand Wagoneer (AMC prior to Chrysler takeover), or IHC Travel All would be turck based vehicles that would likely require less modification work to become viable tow vehicles. My '84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer required the most limited number of modifications of any tow vehicle that I didn't purchase new - - a heavy duty transmission cooler, and a recored radiator were all that it required - - its factory equipment included the 360 V8 (AMC), 3.90 differentials, heavy duty cooling and suspension.

If you belong to your loacal WBCCI Unit, you might try asking around. I know that several members that I have visited with have indicated having retired tow vehicles that they might consider selling to a member who intends to use the vehicle to tow a vintage Airstream. I know of at least two VAC members who have relatively recently acquired very nice mid-1970s vintage tow vehicles from member of their units.

Good luck with your search!

Kevin

The 1975 Cadillac on its first outing with the Overlander April, 2003.


The 1965 Dodge Coronet with its first coach, a brand new 1980 Nomad - - one day this will be my restored tow vehicle for the Overlander.
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2004, 09:00 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
Happycampers's Avatar
 
1979 30' Argosy
Havelock , where we park it
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,652
Welcome Rvnutty..

Your journey has just begun and you haven't even left yet.. lots of fun and work also.. but a gem to have.. Annie
__________________
Happycampers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2004, 10:03 PM   #7
Well Preserved

 
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,193
Quote:
Originally posted by RVNUTTY
THANKS for the quick replies! Super answers....and the answers were great! Now to go shopping for the "horse" since I just bought the "cart" tonight...and only for $3,000!!! (I know! I know!) Reading the original manual right now...don't see how I can get any sleep tonight I'm so excited. The countdown begins...
Tomorrow I have to hire someone to tow it to my yard ...I hope the towing service can do trailers.
Most tow trucks have the capability to tow trailers. The wheel-lift type has an adapter that attaches to the stinger. They also have temporary lights to run to the rear of the trailer so it doesn't get "customized" while stopping.
As far as tow vehicles, an F250 with a 7.5 liter, or a late '80's Suburban with the 7.4 would do nicely. If you can't find one, the next best thing would be an E250, 7.5, or a G series Chevy van, with the 5.7. Stay away from the Dodge vans, as they don't really have a complete separate frame, they are a quasi-unibody. I will echo the reccomendation to get a mechanic to check over the tow vehicle before purchase. Obviously, with the amount of cash you have to work with, you won't be getting a creampuff, but you should be able to get a good, relaible vehicle.
Happy full-timing.
Terry
__________________
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
Terry
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2004, 10:17 PM   #8
uwe
418
 
uwe's Avatar
 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1974 29' Ambassador
Yucca Valley , California
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 1963 26' Overlander
Posts: 4,767
Images: 41
Send a message via Skype™ to uwe
I second Roger's idea, get a full size van.

I used to tow with a 1 ton Dodge ( B350), and it worked very well.
Often the higher capacity vans already have the right gears and tow packages. The 1/2 ton vans often do not. My 1993 Dodge Van came with 3.9o gears and a heavy duty tow hitch, all I had to do was add a transmission cooler. ( $ 250.00) I paid $ 2500.00 for it when I bought it, and right away put about $ 1000.00 in it, in maintenenace and feel good items. ( brakes, oil change, tune up, K&N Filter etc.)
This van took me over 100k miles with not much fuss, I must say, a very cheap tow rig.
Make sure someone knowledgeable about towing goes with you to buy the vehicle. Or ask questions to the forum before putting your money down.
Good luck
__________________
Uwe
www.area63productions.com
uwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2004, 02:50 PM   #9
Site Team
 
Janet H's Avatar

 
1964 26' Overlander
1964 19' Globetrotter
Eastern , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 12,447
Images: 90
tow yourself...

we recently rented a ford 250 for a few days while having some work done to our tow vehicle. Budget had several on their lot. It came with a tow package..... $40.00 per day for local use (under 100 miles) there was a milage charge for longer trips. Be sure to check your insurance or the insurance of your tow company.
__________________
1964 Overlander | '08 Touareg V6
Current Project: 1964 Globetrotter

.
Let's have a polishing party: I'll supply the trailer and buffing supplies. BYOB (bring your own buffer)

AirForums Custom Search
Janet H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2004, 03:52 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
59toaster's Avatar
 
1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,197
Images: 22
Suburban.
You can find under 100k Subs in pretty good shape around the $3k mark. Little more with a 454. I would stay wit hthe 3/4 ton if possible. I just don't care for the transmissions or the rear ends in the half tons for the size vehicle your looking at.

91 is a good year. It's old body style but it has the 4l80 Over drive translission that replaced the TH400.

TH400 is as bulit proof as it gets but no over drive. Get it with a 454 and you have same motor and transmission as these motor homes.

www.autotrader.com is a good place to look.
__________________
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
59toaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2004, 10:13 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
Tarheel's Avatar
 
2001 34' Limited S/O
Moyock , North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,010
Images: 21
I would go for any of the big 3 250-350 vans. Conversion vans are often bought by older persons and can have low mileage and health issues causes them to sell. I have been tempted by them myself. My trailer was pulled by a 94 powerstroke custom van. It was an attractive combo.
__________________
Keep the shiny side up.
WBCCI # 348
Past Region 3 President
Past President Tidewater Unit 111
Rick Bell in "Silverbell"
Tarheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2004, 10:19 PM   #12
Aluminut
 
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
 
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,334
Hey I hear some places in Canada are using Intrepids.....

Sorry, my bad...just couldn't resist.
__________________
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2004, 10:39 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
Tarheel's Avatar
 
2001 34' Limited S/O
Moyock , North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,010
Images: 21
Wouldn't a Porsche 911 pulling a Bambi be cute
__________________
Keep the shiny side up.
WBCCI # 348
Past Region 3 President
Past President Tidewater Unit 111
Rick Bell in "Silverbell"
Tarheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2004, 10:48 PM   #14
Aluminut
 
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
 
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,334
Or that Porsche SUV....
__________________

__________________
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.