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Old 03-27-2008, 11:24 AM   #1
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1986 31' Sovereign
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Will this truck handle it?

Hello all, first post.

I am getting a 1986 Sovereign 31'. I have a 1995 Chevy K1500 (1/2 ton) regular cab long box 4x4 truck with a 5.7L v8 with an automatic transmission. Do you think this will be an OK tow vehicle?

What would you recommend for sway control equipment?

Thanks
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:08 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.
We have a 31' Sovereign that is lighter in weight, and a 3/4 ton truck with comparable engine to tow it. At times it is barely adequate to tow our trailer, you may want to look at a 3/4 ton truck.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:12 AM   #3
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My "opinion" is, unless your truck has a towing package and lower differential gears of at least 4:11, you will not be satisfied towing that big and heavy of a trailer with that truck.

In regards to sway control, I think the Hensley is the best, but at $3K, it is also the most expensive.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:36 AM   #4
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sfelsheim

welcome aboard! good to see another badger on the forum.

your truck will do ok if you have 3.73 or lower gears. i used chevy 1/2 tons for years with no problems other than a lack of power on really long hills.

you will find 3rd gear to be the best, resist the temptation to put your truck in overdrive even on long flat stretches. you will heat the ATF up in a hurry. the 700R4 tranny you have is a good unit IF it is kept cool and out of overdrive.

if you plan on upgrading your truck at some point i would suggest one of the '99 and later chev 2500 models with the 6.0 motor and 4L80E trans. i have one with 4.10 gears '00 model, best tow vehicle i have ever owned.

a full load equalizing hitch will be a must, friction sway control a minimum.

john
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:45 AM   #5
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1500 Iffy

IMHO, that's asking a lot of a small block. Especially without the tow

option. Best advise, give it a few short trips, see how it feels.

You will find a lot of opinions on hitches and sway controls, but there are

many threads you can search for help. Spend some time look'n and do

what your comfortable/safe with and enjoy your new Stream..

By the way welcome aboard.

we require photos
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:01 AM   #6
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What does a 31' AS weigh?? My dad pulls his 29' salem with a 4.7L dodge 1500 quad-cab no problems... its no speed demon but does the job. I would guess the AS is about 1500-2000lbs heavier though?? But then again a lot of the ford f-250's simply have the same motor as the f-150's you just get more suspension.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:53 AM   #7
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Will this truck handle it?

Greetings sfelsheim!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfelsheim
Hello all, first post.

I am getting a 1986 Sovereign 31'. I have a 1995 Chevy K1500 (1/2 ton) regular cab long box 4x4 truck with a 5.7L v8 with an automatic transmission. Do you think this will be an OK tow vehicle?

What would you recommend for sway control equipment?

Thanks
I purchased a '95 K1500 Z71 club cab pickup with the factory heavy duty trailer towing package new to tow my '64 Overlander. It was my least favorite tow vehicle as it had marginal power to tow my Overlander -- we were creeping at less than 35 MPH going through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I70 in Colorado. It did, however, have a better 4WD system than my '99 K2500 Suburban.

The heavy duty trailer tow package on the '95 K1500 pickup was either 6,000 or 6,500 pounds depending upon the model. Mine had the 3.73 gears (4.10 were not available on the 1500), transmission fluid and oil coolers. I gave up on the 1500 and traded for my special-ordered '99 K2500 Suburban in April of '98 and have been a "happy camper" ever since. The 7.4 Liter in the '99 with 4.10 gearing actually gets better towing MPGs than the 5.7 Liter did in the '95.

I have used the same Reese Straight Line Hitch with Dual Cam Sway control to tow either of my trailers since '95 and have been completely satisified with its performance. It is critical, however, follow the initial setup dirctions to the letter.

I would definitely suggest considering a more capable tow vehicle for a coach the size and weight of your '86 Sovereign 31'.

Kevin
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:51 AM   #8
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1986 31' Sovereign
La Crosse , Wisconsin
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Thanks everyone for all your information!!

I will be picking up the AS next weekend, so I am pretty excited!!

I will post pictures when I get it.

Thanks again
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:05 AM   #9
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The previous owner of our 1985 31' Excella towed it with a 1/2 ton Suburban with 3.73 and a 5.3. Before that he used another K1500 Suburban, and before that an early 80's Oldsmobile, which would have had a pretty similar construction.

I think he set his expectations accordingly, and was generally pleased with the result over many tens of thousands of miles.

We use a 1500HD with a 3.73 axle and the 6.0 engine, and I'm generally satisfied. We had quartering crosswinds at 20 gusting to 30 on our trip to Chickamauga last week, and we did get some sway from trucks, but it wasn't anything unmanageable.

If you want to go 65 or 70 mph I think you'll find yourself wishing for a little more truck, but if I was in a hurry I certainly wouldn't be pulling a trailer.

(Am I the only one who gets the irony of retirees driving at 70 mph? Going to be late for work maybe?)
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:30 AM   #10
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John pretty much summed up what I was thinkin'.



Quote:
Originally Posted by john hd
sfelsheim

welcome aboard! good to see another badger on the forum.

your truck will do ok if you have 3.73 or lower gears. i used chevy 1/2 tons for years with no problems other than a lack of power on really long hills.

you will find 3rd gear to be the best, resist the temptation to put your truck in overdrive even on long flat stretches. you will heat the ATF up in a hurry. the 700R4 tranny you have is a good unit IF it is kept cool and out of overdrive.

if you plan on upgrading your truck at some point i would suggest one of the '99 and later chev 2500 models with the 6.0 motor and 4L80E trans. i have one with 4.10 gears '00 model, best tow vehicle i have ever owned.

a full load equalizing hitch will be a must, friction sway control a minimum.

john
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