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Old 06-03-2006, 10:24 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I'm totally floored by what you've been told and am speachless as to why, given this day and age of lawsuits someone would make such a suggestion given the basic math doesn't add up.

The Touareg would be similar to the fit and finish you are use to in the RX, yet depending on model, you could tow even up to a 22', though some do tow 25's with them which I'm not comfortable with that large with that vehicle.

If domestic is an option, a Tahoe with a 5.3L and DOD (displacement on demand) or it's GMC counterpart. Of course none of these will get the MPG you're use to with the hybrid RX.

If an interior that doesn't have as many amenities, the Trailblazer is a great low cost tow vehicle depending on model and can cost thousands less, but again, not as decked out as a Touareg or an '07 Tahoe. Those are a few that come to mind off the cuff, if you have others that you might be interested in, bounce a few off the forum. You'll have no problem getting feedback!
Thanks,
Among others, we are going to look at a used 4-Runner 4WD, V6, with a stated towing capacity of 6,400.(Is that really true? The problem with domestic cars is that they lose their value overnight and our experience with Toyota is that they don't. The used GX470 Lexus is nice, but more money. (But then you could say that about any Airstream.) The Touareg worked out its' tongue weight problem. When we were interested in it a year or more ago, it had no weight distribution system on it and Volkswagen didn't realize that a tongue weight of 271 lbs was not adequate for pulling a trailer of 7,000 lbs. When someone informed them of this, their legal department told them to pull their advertising pictures of the car pulling 25' Airstreams. Anyway, let's hear it for market populism.
Thanks for the info.
Mike G
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Old 06-03-2006, 11:11 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostic
Thanks,
Among others, we are going to look at a used 4-Runner 4WD, V6, with a stated towing capacity of 6,400.(Is that really true?
Mike G

Here is what's listed off the Toyota site for the new(er) Toyota 4 Runners:

Towing capacity [7] (lb.) (2WD/4WD-SR5/Sports/Edition Limited Edition)

V6 models (standard weight-carrying)
5000/5000 5000/5000 5000/5000

V8 models (standard weight-distributing hitch)

7300/7000 7300/7000 7300/7000


I think you could get by with the V6 and a 16' Bambi. If you have any idea of upgrading in the future (family, another pet, whatever) and you think you might need a bit more space, say a 19' or a 22', or if you plan on hitting the mountains big time, I'd think hard about the V8 as the V6 would start to show limitations.

The 109" wheelbase doesn't concern me too much with a 16' or a 19'. I'd start getting uneasy at 22', but that's just me being over cautions I think and besides, a 22' isn't not an issue for you now anyway...right?

The reason I say look ahead beyond today, upward of say 3 or 4 years from now is to take a good, hard, honest look at you in 3-4 years. We started off with the two of us and a dog with a 19' and it was so cute and we could tow it with what we had. Next thing you know the alum bug bit, interest rates were low and a bit over a year later, one day a 25' Safari was on the driveway somehow. I had to upgrade tow vehicles, but I upgraded tow vehicles to accomidate at least 1 to 2 sizes larger Airstream if I had to. Since then I've gotten married, added another dog to the zoo here and got into bringing fishing poles, croquet, lawn darts, etc. ....and that's how it starts.
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Old 06-03-2006, 05:39 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Here is what's listed off the Toyota site for the new(er) Toyota 4 Runners:

Towing capacity [7] (lb.) (2WD/4WD-SR5/Sports/Edition Limited Edition)

V6 models (standard weight-carrying)
5000/5000 5000/5000 5000/5000

V8 models (standard weight-distributing hitch)

7300/7000 7300/7000 7300/7000


I think you could get by with the V6 and a 16' Bambi. If you have any idea of upgrading in the future (family, another pet, whatever) and you think you might need a bit more space, say a 19' or a 22', or if you plan on hitting the mountains big time, I'd think hard about the V8 as the V6 would start to show limitations.

The 109" wheelbase doesn't concern me too much with a 16' or a 19'. I'd start getting uneasy at 22', but that's just me being over cautions I think and besides, a 22' isn't not an issue for you now anyway...right?

The reason I say look ahead beyond today, upward of say 3 or 4 years from now is to take a good, hard, honest look at you in 3-4 years. We started off with the two of us and a dog with a 19' and it was so cute and we could tow it with what we had. Next thing you know the alum bug bit, interest rates were low and a bit over a year later, one day a 25' Safari was on the driveway somehow. I had to upgrade tow vehicles, but I upgraded tow vehicles to accomidate at least 1 to 2 sizes larger Airstream if I had to. Since then I've gotten married, added another dog to the zoo here and got into bringing fishing poles, croquet, lawn darts, etc. ....and that's how it starts.
Dear SilverTwinkie,
Thanks, I've had this argument with my wife. What if we go for the 25' Safari that we've seen and liked. I particularly like the bed arrangement and the one I saw had a fold-down desk which would make a great office / edit room. (We produce documentaries shown on PBS)
However, a dealer is offering a good deal to clear out '06 models of 4Runners:$28,000.00 for the 4-WD V6. with lots of options.
It's troubling that they don't have the max tongue weight figure; the V6 doesn't have any weight distribution as does the V8, it doesn't list a "towing package," itemizing a bigger radiator, oil cooler, etc. but maybe it is a standard thing. The dealer is supposed to find out all this stuff and I've tried getting specs from the Toyota web site, but no good so far. The 4Runner is slightly lighter than the RX 400h, and it has slightly less horsepower, but it does have much better towing specs. Besides, my wife loves the 4Runner and she says if we get the 25' Safari, we'll get another car. Oh well! I feel better about towing with the 4Runner and your shared experience is much appreciated.
Mike G
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Old 06-03-2006, 07:42 PM   #32
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a little clarification

none of the tow vehicles have weight distribution NONE.....not the v6 not the v8. it isn't an option on any vehicle....none

some have load leveling rear suspensions.... which IS NOT the same thing as a weight distribution hitch....

wt distribution is a function of the hitch IF the hitch will accept weight distribution bars.

the 2inch hole on the back of your tow vehicle is not a hitch, it is the receiver FOR a hitch....

the v6 is rated to 5000 before OPTIONS, passengers and gear are put INSIDE....the suv will carry upto 1200lbs and that will reduce the towing capacity to 3800lbs... the max tongue wt for this setup is 500 lbs....on the ball.

the v8 is rated up to 7000 again, before OPTIONS passengers and gear are put inside..the towing capacity is REDUCED as cargo is added to the suv...so again it 1200lbs is put IN the suv the towind capacity declines to 5800lbs approx....

IF YOU BUY A WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCH and install it.....the max tongue wt will be approx 700lbs...

the little parethesis in the 4runner specs (with a weight distribution hitch)
means the owner CAN buy purchase and install this to increase towing to 7k.....

sorry to disagree but the 4runner is a poor choice for towing anything more than your bambi....

yes it has better towing numbers than the rx...models because it is body on frame constuction so the frame is better suited to tow....with a w/d hitch.

do not need w/d bars with your 16ft bambi regardless.....

but would benefit from a sway control setup....

the touareg towing specs (approx 7400lb) IS NOT affected by passengers, gear and stuff added inside......that's right.

the touareg has a gcwr (total of everything) of approx 3000lb MORE than the 4 runner....that means the 4runner is in the 10-12k range while the vw is 15k......

either the vw or a used land rover/lx would be much better for towing than the 4runner which is better than your rx400h....

and if you really want the 4 runner size....get a 4 door tundra..it will be better at this than the 4 runner.... look at 'dougjamie' profile for a picture of this setup.....bambi and tundra...nice!!!!!

still you will need to add sway control for any of these set ups....

and again you don't really need a w/d hitch for the 16ft trailer....19 or bigger yes.

the 25 safari is great but shouldn't be towed with ANY of the vehicles you've suggested...

please,
regardless of what you buy to tow with or what trailer you pull....i'd suggest spending a little time learning this terminology and towing math....before it cost you in money, safety and so on.....also keep in mind, most of us try to stay round 80% of the limits listed.....not 100% of the limits....

good luck
2air'
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Old 06-03-2006, 08:31 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostic
Thanks,
Among others, we are going to look at a used 4-Runner 4WD, V6, with a stated towing capacity of 6,400.(Is that really true? The problem with domestic cars is that they lose their value overnight and our experience with Toyota is that they don't. The used GX470 Lexus is nice, but more money. (But then you could say that about any Airstream.) The Touareg worked out its' tongue weight problem. When we were interested in it a year or more ago, it had no weight distribution system on it and Volkswagen didn't realize that a tongue weight of 271 lbs was not adequate for pulling a trailer of 7,000 lbs. When someone informed them of this, their legal department told them to pull their advertising pictures of the car pulling 25' Airstreams. Anyway, let's hear it for market populism.
Thanks for the info.
Mike G
I never bought anything based on what it "might" be worth tomorrow (except stocks/mutual funds).

2airishuman has pretty much summed it up for you...
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Old 06-03-2006, 08:39 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
a little clarification

none of the tow vehicles have weight distribution NONE.....not the v6 not the v8. it isn't an option on any vehicle....none

some have load leveling rear suspensions.... which IS NOT the same thing as a weight distribution hitch....

wt distribution is a function of the hitch IF the hitch will accept weight distribution bars.

the 2inch hole on the back of your tow vehicle is not a hitch, it is the receiver FOR a hitch....

the v6 is rated to 5000 before OPTIONS, passengers and gear are put INSIDE....the suv will carry upto 1200lbs and that will reduce the towing capacity to 3800lbs... the max tongue wt for this setup is 500 lbs....on the ball.

the v8 is rated up to 7000 again, before OPTIONS passengers and gear are put inside..the towing capacity is REDUCED as cargo is added to the suv...so again it 1200lbs is put IN the suv the towind capacity declines to 5800lbs approx....

IF YOU BUY A WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCH and install it.....the max tongue wt will be approx 700lbs...

the little parethesis in the 4runner specs (with a weight distribution hitch)
means the owner CAN buy purchase and install this to increase towing to 7k.....

sorry to disagree but the 4runner is a poor choice for towing anything more than your bambi....

yes it has better towing numbers than the rx...models because it is body on frame constuction so the frame is better suited to tow....with a w/d hitch.

do not need w/d bars with your 16ft bambi regardless.....

but would benefit from a sway control setup....

the touareg towing specs (approx 7400lb) IS NOT affected by passengers, gear and stuff added inside......that's right.

the touareg has a gcwr (total of everything) of approx 3000lb MORE than the 4 runner....that means the 4runner is in the 10-12k range while the vw is 15k......

either the vw or a used land rover/lx would be much better for towing than the 4runner which is better than your rx400h....

and if you really want the 4 runner size....get a 4 door tundra..it will be better at this than the 4 runner.... look at 'dougjamie' profile for a picture of this setup.....bambi and tundra...nice!!!!!

still you will need to add sway control for any of these set ups....

and again you don't really need a w/d hitch for the 16ft trailer....19 or bigger yes.

the 25 safari is great but shouldn't be towed with ANY of the vehicles you've suggested...

please,
regardless of what you buy to tow with or what trailer you pull....i'd suggest spending a little time learning this terminology and towing math....before it cost you in money, safety and so on.....also keep in mind, most of us try to stay round 80% of the limits listed.....not 100% of the limits....

good luck
2air'
Yes,
The 4Runner is only for the 16' Bambi. As I said before, a 25' Safari would mean buying another tow vehicle. Also, I have no interest in the VW Touareg. Yes, I do understand that weight is weight whether it is in the back of the tow vehicle, or in the trailer, etc. Thanks for the clariification about "weight distribution hitch." I have been considering the Reese Dual Cam HP Sway Control. Can you attach this without the spring bars? I have only seen them illustrated with the spring bars.
Mike G
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Old 06-03-2006, 09:42 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostic
Dear SilverTwinkie,
Thanks, I've had this argument with my wife. What if we go for the 25' Safari that we've seen and liked. ......... It's troubling that they don't have the max tongue weight figure; the V6 doesn't have any weight distribution as does the V8, it doesn't list a "towing package," itemizing a bigger radiator, oil cooler, etc. but maybe it is a standard thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostic
Yes, the 4Runner is only for the 16' Bambi. As I said before, a 25' Safari would mean buying another tow vehicle.
Mike -- Good for you that you realize the 25' would require a much bigger tow vehicle. When I upgraded from my 3850# Argosy to the Safari I had to trade out a Nissan Titan just because the weight bearing capacity of the truck wouldn't carry anything but a bare two people and the tongue weight.

Mike, I will point out that the Toyota 4-Runner website does have numbers that tell you what your tongue weight should be. Sometimes a vehicle website does directly list load capacity, though the 4-Runner's website doesn't. Load capacity is the maximum weight that should be on the prospective tow vehicle regardless of whether a trailer is in tow. What the 4-Runner website does list under Capacities is the Curb Weight and the GVWR; the difference between these two numbers is the sum that must not be exceeded by people, pets & luggage & hitch apparatus & tongue weight on the tow vehicle.* Thus I come up with about 1300# for a V6 2WD and 1500# for a V8 4WD. That being said, the wheelbase of a 4-Runner and so many other medium to medium-large SUVs is deficient for towing a trailer as long or heavy as a 25' or 28'. Opinions vary; do your homework.

I compliment you that you realize the 25' Safari is a step up. I would suggest it is two steps up; ie, the current day lower capacity Tundras would just be making the grade, but only if you don't place many other loads in the truck bed! It'll be very interesting how the numbers change with the larger 2007 Tundras -- I'll bet they learned something from the Titan numbers being so low (1300# load capacity for my former 4WD top trim level Titan). It is difficult to increase capacity and maintain a cushy ride though.

With or without load distribution gear you must pay special attention to not overload any axle rating. It is for this reason that weight distribution gear was developed to transfer some hitch load off the rear axle to the front axle. I will submit that load capacity and axle ratings are much more critical than tow capacity or GCWR -- but in this specifications driven world the latter two seem so, so simple. So, so simple ... . Honestly, you just about cannot exceed tow capacity or GCWR if you truly stay within load capacity and axle ratings.

* See Airstream's FAQ page sections on tongue weight & weight ratings. It's not running very well this week at all. If the link doesn't stay the same it has been in their Airstreamer customers' page, listed individually as the FAQ area (frequently asked questions). I suspect these problems have something to do with the June-July turnover to the new model year and that they're reworking their website.
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Old 06-03-2006, 09:45 PM   #36
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technically one could "attach" the reese dual cam without the bars, but the bars provide both the w/d and the anti sway functions, so both would be lost.

the spring bars flex when loaded, this flexion keeps them "in" the cams, which control sway.

so on a 16 with a possible tongue wt of 400-600lbs
the spring bars should match this parameter.....

given a single axle,
hitting a hole, road edge, having a flat and so on...
becomes a big event
and this would be a valid reason for sway control
beyond basic driving issues like wind and traffic...
and a properly adjusted brake controller.

i'm not promoting the vw,
just using it as an example.
it supports up to 700lbs at the ball without w/d...
and the tow rating is not affected by passengers, cargo or fuel
up to the max payload.
this is unusual.

almost every other vehicle used for towing
gives a tow capacity that IS
reduced by payload....
so the 5k rating for the 4 runner is a soft number
that's the point....
with 450lb of people and dogs
the rating drops to 4500...
and so on down.....

the v6 model and v8 model have the same frame
so there is no reason a w/d hitch couldn't be used on either
but the factory reciever on the v6 model
would need to be replaced with a receiver that will accept the stress of w/d
reese sells these too or the oem toyota v8 receiver...

have you ever weighed your bambi?
with personal gear for 2 and work items
and water and lp and so on?

it itsn't wise to rely on factory numbers
they are only estimates...

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-03-2006, 11:28 PM   #37
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A 16' Bambi will not exceed 3500lbs unless you store stuff on the floor, the countertops, under the table, etc. There just isn't enough room/storage space to put thousands of lbs of gear in it. Additionally, Airstream weighs the coaches and lists the base weight, this is NOT an estimate. They then add and list the weight of water, LP, etc, then has the NCC (net cargo capacity) to come up with the GVWR based on design and axle rating. If you exceed 3500lbs, which I doubt you would based on what you've said so far, you'll most likely bust the axle on the 16' Bambi, before you run into towing issues with the V6 4Runner. Where weighing the RV becomes important is when you have larger RVs and can carry more stuff with you, but the base weight and calcuated add on weights like water, LP, etc are in fact accurate. NCC is where folks get into trouble, but as I said in a 16' unit, you'll be hard pressed to over fill it.

Additionally, if you plan on upgrading, a lot of the chatter here is moot. If you upgrade, you'll get a new tow vehicle and that's half the issue that most folks don't get, but I'd stand by the suggestion that the V6 4Runner is good to 16', while the V8 4Runner might also be good for up to 22'.

On the issue of sway, you'd do just fine with a friction sway contol unit. When you get beyond 19', then Dual Cam, Hensley, etc start to make more sense.

As for weight bars, I can't see the 16' hitch weight getting beyond say 450lbs. Here is where some trial and error might come into play, unless someone has a 4Runner and a 16' and can tell you how it works. I had to try the 800#bars, then the 600s before I found the sweet spot for my setup. eBay sells the bars for something like $60 compared to buying them retail for $149 or more.

In the end, your 16', with the wife, pooches, fuel etc will do just fine with the 16' Bambi with the V6 4Runner. Beyond the 16', you seem to have a great grasp and understanding of what's needed.

Happy travels!
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Old 06-04-2006, 08:12 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
technically one could "attach" the reese dual cam without the bars, but the bars provide both the w/d and the anti sway functions, so both would be lost.

the spring bars flex when loaded, this flexion keeps them "in" the cams, which control sway.

so on a 16 with a possible tongue wt of 400-600lbs
the spring bars should match this parameter.....

given a single axle,
hitting a hole, road edge, having a flat and so on...
becomes a big event
and this would be a valid reason for sway control
beyond basic driving issues like wind and traffic...
and a properly adjusted brake controller.

i'm not promoting the vw,
just using it as an example.
it supports up to 700lbs at the ball without w/d...
and the tow rating is not affected by passengers, cargo or fuel
up to the max payload.
this is unusual.

almost every other vehicle used for towing
gives a tow capacity that IS
reduced by payload....
so the 5k rating for the 4 runner is a soft number
that's the point....
with 450lb of people and dogs
the rating drops to 4500...
and so on down.....

the v6 model and v8 model have the same frame
so there is no reason a w/d hitch couldn't be used on either
but the factory reciever on the v6 model
would need to be replaced with a receiver that will accept the stress of w/d
reese sells these too or the oem toyota v8 receiver...

have you ever weighed your bambi?
with personal gear for 2 and work items
and water and lp and so on?

it itsn't wise to rely on factory numbers
they are only estimates...

cheers
2air'
The Sprinter is rated tha same way as the Toureg. 5000lb tow capacity with 500lb. tongue weight with or without WD at full van load of 3550 lbs.....8550 lbs GVWR and CGWR of 13,550lbs. We'll see in a few weeks how well the 2.7L turbo diesel does in the mountains! I think I'd better get used to going S-L-O-W!!!
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:29 AM   #39
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From the RX400h Owner's manual (p465) "The gross combination weight (sum of your vehicle weight plus its load and the total trailer weight must not exceed 9,020 lb." - The curb weight of the RX400h...4,369 lb. - the estimated load of the RX400h, (including my wife and I, dogs, and everything else)... 700 lb. - GVWR of the 16' Bambi...3,500 lb. ---This leaves a margin of safety of 451 lb.
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:39 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostic
From the RX400h Owner's manual (p465) "The gross combination weight (sum of your vehicle weight plus its load and the total trailer weight must not exceed 9,020 lb." - The curb weight of the RX400h...4,369 lb. - the estimated load of the RX400h, (including my wife and I, dogs, and everything else)... 700 lb. - GVWR of the 16' Bambi...3,500 lb. ---This leaves a margin of safety of 451 lb.
Mike G
Mike -- You are right to leave a margin of safety. There have been some rules of thumb of staying as much as 15% below capacity.

The Tow Prep Package has useful items such as transmission cooler, heavy duty battery and radiator. These facilitate towing but don't increase capacity. Lexus' own http://www.lexus.com/models/glossary.html?entry=towing page says "Do not exceed any weight ratings and review all instructions and cautions from your trailer-hitch manufacturer and Lexus vehicle Owner's Manual. Note that the maximum amount you can tow depends on the total weight of any cargo, occupants and optional (or available) equipment in the vehicle."

The Lexus website fails to mention the GVWR of the RX400 alone. "my wife and I, dogs, and everything else" plus the tongue weight must not put your tow vehicle over its individual GVWR. This sum is called either "payload" or "load capacity." Another way of expressing it in formula is "Curb Weight" + "Payload" = "GVWR." Since the website doesn't have this number you will have to rely on your owners manual -- I'm sure it is in there.

My GMC Sierra's manual says, "The tongue load of any trailer is an important weight to measure because it affects the total or gross weight of your vehicle. The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) includes the curb weight of the vehicle, any cargo you may carry in it, and the people who will be riding in the vehicle. If you have a lot of options, equipment, passengers or cargo in your vehicle, it will reduce the tongue weight your vehicle can carry, which will also reduce the trailer weight your vehicle can tow.

Some conflicts between the tow vehicle GVWR rule and GCWR do exist. Go with the most conservative IMHO and this almost always ends up being the tow vehicle's GVWR. My manual quotes are clear but only backs up the experienced opinions I have trusted the most on these forums (RoadKingMoe and others).

My honkin' GMC 3/4-ton TV owner's manual says, "Maximum trailer weight is calculated assuming only the driver is in the tow vehicle .... The weight of additional optional equipment, passengers and cargo in the tow vehicle must be subtracted from the maximum trailer weight."

There is much more ... but glorious technology or not, you will find a consistent opinion in the forums that there never is such a thing as too much tow vehicle. And you will hear many guarded opinions about towing capacity of mid-sized SUVs (which is where the Lexus 300-400 series and Toyota Highlander fall). That being said, let's be safe out there and I am sure you will exercise all due analysis and cautions.


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Old 06-10-2006, 09:39 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325

The Excursion has some design flaws that contribute to that vague feeling I'm sure you're having. I switched to "E" range tires (my Ex came with "D"s that got recalled) and I replaced the junk stock shocks with some really good Edelbrock gas shocks. The rear axle four leaf spring stack is only half that of the Superduty trucks, and the four spring stack isn't sufficient to keep the axle centered under the Excursion causing rear-axle steering. THAT is a real problem without towing; it's a disaster with a trailer attached. That requires Land Yot radius rods and a Helwig 36mm sway bar to overcome the shortcomings of the design. My Ex now tows the 34' like it's on rails. It used to be white knuckles all the way.

Good luck with yours!

Roger
Just finished the installation of the Helwig rear sway bar and Rancho gas shocks all around. Noticeable difference on the test drive - we'll see how it handles with the trailer in tow and go from there with any additional mods. Thanks for the advice.
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