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Old 01-01-2003, 02:30 AM   #15
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I knew about the greywater thing, but I understand they're not that difficult to retrofit. Plus it seems like that one thing wouldn't be a real show-stopper, like no A/C in Texas would. Am I being naive?

Can somebody run me down a quick hierarchy of trim lines or something? If they still made the same models it'd be easy to go price them and figure that out, but I haven't had much luck finding a guide or anything. I'm not really even sure what an International _is_. (I've seen that mentioned with the Overlander and the Tradewind I think..haven't I?) If anybody has some secret tome of known lemons or something, it'd be real cool to see.

Shari, maybe you'll share with me your secret wealth of cool upholstery fabrics? I've sorta been fantasizing about taking a class at the local community college. I tend to like doing everything my own self...

Thanks!
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Old 01-01-2003, 05:20 AM   #16
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Brand new to this; need logistics advice

Greetings Holly!

You can find the information about the differential ratio in your Suburban by checking for the option code placquard that is typically found in the glove box. Once you have found this information, contact your local GMC/Chevrolet dealer and ask him/her if they can help you determine what towing options were included on your Suburban.

If the Suburban is a C/K 1500 series, ideally, you would hope to find at least a 3.73 differential ratio to have adequate capacity for your intended Overlander - - this is assuming a later model Suburban where the largest gasoline engine available in the C/K 1500 was the 5.7 liter (350 c.i. V8). If it isn't present, your Suburban will definitely need an auxiliary transmission oil cooler - - this was part of the factory Trailer Towing Package. In addition to the trailer wiring and hitch that you mention, you will also want to consider supplemental towing mirrors as the stock mirrors on most later Suburbans simply will not give you enough reach for safe towing. There are a number of slip-on, clamp-on, or permanently installed auxiliary mirrors available in a wide range of costs - - my personal choice are the McKesh clamp-ons, but they are at the high end of the cost range. As a novice to towing, I would also suggest that you might want to consider a sway control unit such as Reese's Dual Cam system for a little insurance for those difficult situations.

The Overlander that you are considering isn't vastly different from the one that I have owned for the past eight years. You will likely find that the empty weight of the trailer is approximately 4,900 pounds with a fully loaded weight approaching 6,000 pounds. The far Northern Illinois location would indicate that the coach may have been exposed to road salt if it has been towed to any great extenet during the Winter. This is not reason to discount the coach - - it is just an indicator that the visible portions of the frame should be checked for significant rust damage - - expect surface rust but when tapped lightly with a hammer, the metal should be sound. My coach spent much of its recent life (past 15 years) in Northern Illinois/Southwest Wisconsin and it hasn't suffered any rust damage on the frame.

In checking out the coach, you will want to pay particular attention to the condition of the floor especially around the perimeter and near exterior doors and hatches. If you find soft spots, many can be repaired with epoxy preparations so long as the area isn't too large - - if large soft areas or holes are found, floor repair/replacement can become quite expensive. The only item that is somewhat unique to this era coach are the Corning windows - - these curved, tempered glass units are very difficult to replace if broken or damaged - - most owners choose to replace broken or damaged Corning windows with either Lexan or Plexiglass. Other items on the coach are tried and true systems that would simply need to be checked for functionality. The coach in question is in the middle to end of the production sequence for its design - - the newly revised coaches would be introduced in 1969 so there aren't any particular bugs to the coach in general other than the issue of the Corning windows.

As with any Vintage coach, you will want to determine if there is substantial evidence that the tires on the coach are less than five years old and are of the correct capacity and design (ST) for trailer towing. In addition, the brakes should be fully checked out and adjusted as part of the wheel bearing repack - - an especially important step for towing in Winter as you want to be sure that the brakes are functioning uniformly if you encounter slippery surfaces.

If all proves to be what you are looking for, towing in the Winter can be something of a challenge but is not totally impossible. Extra time should be allowed for lay-overs due to Winter storms. I would not encourage a novice to consider towing if ice is expected on the roadways - - at most, a two day lay-over will usually allow for main roads to be cleared for safe towing. Keeping an eye on the Weather channels will allow you to choose a window of good weather to make the trip. My suggestion would be to allow at least three-times as much time for your return trip with the trailer as with the Suburban solo to allow for the possibility of running into inclement weather. So far this Winter, we have had very little precipitation of any kind in Northwestern Illinois - - but we have had three Winter Storms in the past four weeks in Southern Illinois that would have made travel with a trailer ill-advised for a day or two at a time.

Good luck with your decision.

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 01-01-2003, 06:06 AM   #17
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Thanks so much, Kevin. I'll say it again: you guys are incredible.

I've been wary of coastal area trailers because of the rust, but I hadn't even thought of the north-ish winter salt factor! I think I better go up there and look at this baby in person, whether or not I plan to tow it back. I don't mind restoring the interior, but I want all the structural stuff to be rock solid.

The owner says the tires are new, but I didn't even ask about the glass. My thinking has been that I want Corning windows, but now I can't decide whether it's that important if they're that hard to replace.

If there's any chance at all of ice or snow I will wait until Spring to pull. I'm a single mom and I'll want to get back home!

Mainly I'm wanting this to be a fun place for camping around Texas and the Southwest, and a retreat where I can get away and finish the book I'm trying to write. It will also be a piece of functional art (my favorite kind) for me to mess with.

I guess I'm still wondering which trailer I'll be happiest with (she said, as she drifted off-topic...) My favorite interiors have almost all had the dinette layout, but my first thought was to go smaller, say 20-25'. I haven't found anything that really jazzes me in my price range (without gotchas) until this one.

So all information, opinions, advice, stories from the trences are eagerly awaited.

Happy New Year!!!

Holly
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Old 01-01-2003, 07:34 AM   #18
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4521red

Forget what hex said about the steak. I'll happily talk Airstreams with anyone, anytime, for nothing at all.

If you go with a well prepared tow vehicle and are prepared to wait out bad weather at any point, I don't see winter as a big problem. Traffic is usually lighter and, with no need for AC, your tow vehicle has it a bit easier.

The key is being able and willing to stop when the weather is threatening and before conditions deteriorate. Go with a good cell phone and a list of numbers where you can get road condition information.

Pick service stations and motels that have plenty of room so that you never have to maneuver in close quarters until you are more experienced at towing.

Keep your gas tank above half full so that you are never faced with having to enter a station you aren't prepared to handle (I have a friend who just gouged a brand new Safari because she got into a gas station she should never have entered).

Tow at about 55; fast enough that you aren't a traffic impediment ans slow enough to not exceed your abilities. Swing wide on corners; remember that the trailer turns inside of the tow vehicle. Those signs on 18-wheelers saying they make wide turns are there for a good reason.

With an older, narrower, trailer, I think a good set of slip-on mirrors are all you need. I use slip-ons with my 8' wide International and need nothing more. Point your regular mirrors to see traffic close to you and beside you. Point the towing mirrors to see back along the trailer to traffic further back.

I have friends who tow 34 footers with Suburbans. WIth any decent equalizer hitch and sway control, you should have all the stability you need.
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Old 01-01-2003, 07:37 AM   #19
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Wow!

I just noticed while double checking my spelling in that last post that it was my 1000th post on this forum.
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Old 01-01-2003, 07:46 AM   #20
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You're the #1 post-er on the site. You must've been at this Airstream thing for a while to have so much good info to impart!

Thanks again.
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Old 01-01-2003, 08:06 AM   #21
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Not so long

Only an Airstream owner for 7 months, but I have towed trailers of many sorts over the last 50 years; small boats, big sailboats, horse trailers, stock trailers, building equipment trailers, automobile trailers, glider trailers, U-hauls, popups, 5th-wheels, and conventional travel trailers.

I'm a cautious driver. In 54 years of driving (knock on wood), I have never been in an accident other than having been rear-ended three times while at a dead stop. Not to say there haven't been a few close calls over the years, mostly due to my momentary stupidity.

What I spelled out to you is what I would do myself except that, with more towing experience, I would probably tow faster once I felt out the rig. My usual towing speed is 60 to 65.
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Old 01-01-2003, 10:07 AM   #22
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Brand new to this; need logistics advice

Greetings Holly!

As a fellow Free Wheeler (a WBCCI Member who is single and travels alone <without spouse or significant other> and belongs to the Free Wheeler Intra-Club), I can suggest one additional piece of trailering equipment that will significantly reduce the difficulties when trying to hitch up your rig solo. There is a device called a "Hook-Up Mirror" which is a convex mirror approximately 6" x 8" mounted on a magnetic pole (attaches to trailer hitch "A" frame just behind the jack) that allows you to see the coupler and ball mount from the driver's seat. This device will save you many trips in and out of the driver's seat at hookup time - - and will amaze some of your uniformed neighbors in the typical campground. In more than 20 years of towing solo, I have been able to avoid damaging either the tow vehicle or trailer using one of these devices.

Unfortunately, CampingWorld does not list this product on their web site but they are in their master catalog and I have seen them in their suburban Chicago store.

Good luck with your inspection!

Kevin

P.S. The link below illustrates a mirror similar to what I use that attaches to the tow vehicle with suction cups rather than to the trailer - - works well with the Suburban or other station wagon type vehicles but does not work with a car as does the trailer hitch mounted version that I use.

Tow Vehicle Mounted Hitch Up Mirror
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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